Opportunity Knocks for Last Chance Riders
"The music scene is a tough grind regardless of the city you’re in."
Atlanta may be the next Nashville when it comes to pumping out new music and new bands. In the 80's, it was the Indigo Girls. In the 90's, Mastodon and Sevendust came out of Atlanta. In the early 2000's, some guy named Zac Brown who appeals to the Country and Southern Rock genres. Moving ahead to 2019, there may be another band ready to join those ranks. 'Last Chance Riders.' Only time will tell but these guys (and gal) are starting to make Atlanta, "Hotlanta" once again.
by: Kreig Marks May 2, 2019
TRR: You guys have been together since 2016 or, as I read, did the band form at a charity festival in Dahlonega, GA. in 2018?
Jim: An iteration of the band started in 2016 as a 4 piece. DeWitt was the sole songwriter and lead vocalist, and we were having a blast playing shows and getting to really know each other. We had all talked about looking for a lead vocalist, and as fate would have it, by 2018 Jessie joined the band. That was the true beginning of the Last Chance Riders.
TRR: Where did all of you meet?
Jim: John and I met in middle school and played in bands together throughout high school. In 2016 we put together a cover band to perform at a charity event that DeWitt happened to be attending. The Jessie Albright Band was performing at the same event. Looking back on that weekend and thinking about life before we formed the group, it reminds me of how special it was that we even crossed paths that weekend. We were unknowingly destined for this opportunity.
TRR: Are all of you from Atlanta?
Jim: DeWitt is originally from Atlanta. John, Shane and Jim are all from Georgia. Jessie is from Vermont and lived in Boston prior to moving to Georgia.
TRR: Who came up with the name Last Chance Riders?
Jim: It was DeWitt’s idea that he mentioned to Jim in a conversation, long before band names were a topic of discussion. Once the ideas started flowing within the group, that name didn’t come up until we were having a hard time deciding on something. We all liked it when Jim brought up the idea, and it stuck.
TRR: Atlanta seems to be home for a lot of bands with very different styles. You’ve got Zac Brown, Mastodon, Sevendust, Georgia Satellites, TLC, Attila. With your sound, you seem to be influenced by the Classic Rock bands of the late 60’s and 70’s and there seems to be an upswing in that style of music again. What’s your thought on that?
Jim: We definitely have a sound rooted in the late 60’s and 70’s. I call it “vintage fresh.” We have noticed an upswing in the popularity of Rock. That’s cool. If for any reason that upswing stops or changes, we are going to continue doing what it is that we do now, and that’s to blow the roof off of every venue we play. To absolutely blow the doors off of the place. Rock isn’t dead. We Are Rock. Rock is here and we’re it.
TRR: Let’s talk about the album Jet Lag Super Drag. Interesting name. Tell me about that?
Jim: Jet Lag Super Drag was taken directly from the lyrics DeWitt wrote for Downright Disgusted which is a vignette where misspent youth meets the ups and downs of addiction and sobriety, with a sprinkle of Rock 'n Roll thrown in. Like falling asleep on ecstasy in Amsterdam, then waking up in pleather pants, and realizing your backpack is on Air France but you still have your guitar!
TRR: (laughing) Wow! Who wrote the songs for the album, they’re all very solid songs?
Jim: Thank you. DeWitt and Jessie write the songs. As a band we are all proud of the music we make.
TRR: You recorded the album at Sonica Studios, with John Briglevich, who’s known for his work with Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, Edwin McCain and Stuck Mojo. How did you guys hook up with him?
Jim: We checked out all the studios in Atlanta that have experience recording Rock, and Sonica was on our list. DeWitt had recorded a solo project there a few years earlier and, after the band met John Briglevich, we were hooked. Johnny B is the man!
TRR: How did the recording go? How long did it take to complete?
Jim: It was a fantastic experience. We recorded the album in five days. First we tracked everything live and went back with some overdubs. Drums and vocals received the most attention. Our budget was limited and, given the amount of time we had, we could not have asked for better. Our goal was to record four songs and we recorded eight. We were pleased with the outcome.
TRR: With respect to your writing, who are some of your influences?
Jim: Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC
TRR: On the album, Jet Lag Super Drag, what is your favorite song to perform live?
Jim: "Downright Disgusted" and "Tidal Wave."
TRR: How’s the music scene in Atlanta these days? Are you seeing a shift from pop to rock?
Jim: The music scene is a tough grind regardless of the city you’re in. Atlanta and the surrounding metro area has some really great venues that cater to what we are all about, and we hope that continues.
TRR: With regards to the music industry, has there been anyone who really helped mentor you guys, or did you have to just learn a lot about the industry on your own?
Jim: It would be tough to name or even count the number of resources that we have been able to learn from. We do most of the work ourselves, as a band, but we have gone to great lengths to create a solid plan and we do our best to stick to that plan, whatever it may be.
TRR: What is your most memorable show?
Jim: Opening for Robert Randolph and the Family Band was definitely high on the list. John Briglevich, from Sonica Studios, came and ran sound for us for no reason other than he is cooler than the underside of your pillow and wanted to make sure we sounded like Last Chance Riders.
TRR: What’s the craziest fan moment you can remember?
TRR: A lot of band’s I’ve interviewed have had a nightmare show or a Murphy’ Law show. Have you had one of those?
Jim: The shows that seem most like a nightmare are typically if and when the monitors or stage volume is wrong. If Jessie can’t hear her vocals and we aren’t able to hear each other it can be frustrating as a performer but in the end it often goes unnoticed by the audience. we did have a performance get postponed because a tweaker climbed up and into the ceiling and wouldn’t come down. The cops came and chased him all over the place and the ceiling tiles were falling behind him. He eventually wedged himself between the walls of the place and EMTs had to cut the sheetrock out to remove him. It was pretty rad.
TRR: What’s on the table for the rest of 2019?
Jim: Write more. Play more. Record.
For more information about the Last Chance Riders, go to https://www.thelastchanceriders.com