Big Daddy Ritch is
High In the Saddle, Faith & Family
June 3, 2019 by Abbe Davis
Imagine this, if you will. You are at your first Heavy Metal rock festival. You have now heard about six bands in a row, each drummer enjoying their double pedals a lot. Am I in the middle of a war, in a field, during the Revolution? You look around to make sure cannonballs aren't flying through the air. Suddenly, another band comes on. Gritty, steel-spurred Rock shows up proudly on the stage. The singer has this take-no-prisoner power in his voice, and he isn't playing around. He is Texan Rock in style, with a biker look; a tall Viking big dude. Their songs make you think about the spirit of Pantera and Lynyrd Skynyrd; having that effect on the crowd, too. Yet another tune comes on, and it's gutsy with a ZZ Top thing happening, so the crowd gets into it and starts swaying. Their kick butt guitarist has figured out a riff that is essential to the grind of the tune, as if it were the only sound that ever could be in the song, and he is great. These Southern boys from Denison,Texas just have it down. They are Texas Hippie Coalition, and their music and lyrics embody what Texas is about, tall and proud. Nobody else at the festival is like these guys, and they rock hard. This is what Rock 'n Roll is all about, when a band shows up and unexpectedly wows the crowd with something real and different, and solid. It is classic.
Their latest single is "Moonshine," off of their new album, High In the Saddle. The tune's guitar riff continuum is sultry and pressing, with a great hook, "Yah my baby, yah she crazy, but she's my Moon-shine___" It's a song you want to listen to repeatedly, in fact, this album is addictive, it is just that good. High in the Saddle is the band’s sixth studio album - a follow up to their 2016’s Dark Side of Black. The album focuses more on melody and has variety, and deep south charm. Texas Hippie Coalition shows off their original southern grunge rock called Red Dirt Metal.
Producer Bob Marlette has done it again, as he did with their 2014 Ride On, with strong direction. This album has bold guitars and grooving rhythms; southern grit sparks it off. "Bring It Baby,"is a piston of solid emotion, with Big Daddy's bold, Metal vocal. You cannot deny that this man has feeling when he sings. The pre-chorus is just sexy as can be. GThen there is "Stevie Nicks," and "Man In Black,"- a high five to Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac) and the legendary Johnny Cash. "Bullseye" and "Tongue Like A Devil," is good time rock flavored up Texas style. This album has everything to be proud of.
The band was formed by Big Daddy andJohn Exall, and has been around since 2004. They had to prove their Red Dirt Metal in Denison, Texas and they never wavered. Current members in the band are Cord Pool on hot lead guitar, and the strength and support of Nevada Romo on guitar, Larado Romo on bass and Devon Carothers on drums.And what is Big Daddy Ritch about, as the lead singer? He is a proud Christian man who values his family, loves to tell tales about how amazing his dad was, and values his friendships and the fans. In fact, their fans even set up a Hippies Helping Hippies coalition to give to people in need.
THC even hosts "Eat 'n Greet" events to raise money for charities. They have heart. Big Daddy Ritch is the band's heartbeat and soul, and also happens to be the father of two kids. His own popular brand of BBQ sauce is called Red River Red, and his motto is, "Whiskey, Waylen and Weed," yet it's also "Faith, Family and Freedom." And if that isn't enough to keep him busy, Big Daddy also has a company that makes medicinal marijuana, as well as Hosstyle Clothing; a XXX brand of clothing. This man loves it when any man is an empire, and he seems to have a good business sense about building one. He is about creating, and when he does, he goes for success. Yet don't let his bold look fool you, there is a gentle soul under the Rock 'n Roll. I was glad to get to know that side a bit:
BDR: Hi there, Abbe.
AD: Hey Big Daddy Ritch. How are you?
BDR: Good, baby, good.
AD: Great, where are you?
BDR: New Yoaahkk City.(laughing)
AD: Oh my goohdness, fahgedaboudit! When I lived there, my favorite expression was, "This is neither here nor theyah, but..." And I always thought that was great, like, where the hell is it then?
BDR: (boisterous laughing...I like him already) Ha, that is great.
AD: First of all, when is your birthday, Happy Birthday1?
BDR: Yah, thank you so much. I'm a Gemini, coming up this month on the 11th.
AD: My twins are on the 19th.
BDR: Rock 'n roll! You have twins? That's crazy.
AD: Yah, they are crazy, a boy and a girl.
BDR: Gemini power.
AD: I love Geminis. Geminis are cool.
BDR: It's weird, cause I never knew much about astrology, but when I got older I started looking back at all of my really, close, close friends, and they're all Gemini's.
AD: Ha. You guys band together because Geminis have many channels, many aspects, which is what I want to get to right now about you. Let's see, your life combines Red Dirt Metal, BBQ sauce, Eat 'n Greets, medicinal marijuana, what haven't you done that you still wanna do?
BDR: I wouldn't mind doing some acting. Maybe I can be in the Viking show or something (ha).
AD: (laughing) That's cool.
BDR: Me and Lagertha could strike up a relationship or something.
AD: (laughing) About MMA, why do people like MMA? I never got into it, but, it's so theatrical, what is all that? Why don't they just go out there and slam each other down? What's the whole show about? It's not my thing? To someone who doesn't really go to those things, what is it all about?
BDR: Energy. Every man, no matter how much testosterone he has in him, (ha) or doesn't have in him, he still wants to be an alpha male. We all have it in us. We wanna be alpha. We're not all fighters, but the ones that are, that's where they're at, they're in the MMA world. Man, I mean, it's a spectacle.
AD: That's cool, yah. Makes sense. I end up laughing when I see it on TV. It's funny, and I like it for that reason. I get what you're saying. That's true. A chance to strut that, right?
BDR: You know, ya can't go everywhere and rip your shirt off.
AD: (laughing a lot) YOU can though, because you're in Rock 'n Roll. I think you could probably do that more than your buddies, right?
BDR: I mean, ya know, I'm not Matthew McConaughey, so I don't walk around with my shirt off all of the time. I think, it's just a man thing.
AD: So you'd wanna do acting, but you're pretty funny. Would you ever want to do comedy?
BDR: Oh, yah. I would definitely. I was voted "All American" in Theater Arts and all. I was always going to be an actor. Later in life, I formed this band just to have fun.
AD: What was that moment when you knew you could sing?
BDR: I was always singing and people would be like, "Man, you know, you can sing." Finally, I formed a band and was like, "Man, I guess I might be a singer."
BDR: You get your own personal style. Maybe in the first couple o' years I might not have been that good. (laughing) (this guy is so humble, if you hear him live, he sounds amazing)
AD: Yah, but you know, if they were telling you that, it's cool. I wanted to ask, "Moonshine," the single, love it, it's so sultry. for High in the Saddle, how do you view this album, do you think it is high energy or...?
BDR: Our album is a mix of rock and super grunge, it's "Red Dirt Metal," swampy, dirty, grungy, and we try to do it our way and not play it like the songs from 2018. We wanna do it our way with our own sound. We never try to cater to one style. On this album, we did some that are considered Heavy Metal, like, "Tell It From the Ground," "Bring It Baby," and stuff like that. Then we have songs that are more in the storytelling vein, like "Stevie Nicks," and "Bullseye," and then the party rocking songs like, "Dirty Finger."
AD: You were in South Florida a few years ago, at Fort Rock. I loved hearing you guys. I hadn't gone to Metal Fests much, and at that one, I was getting tired of battle fire drums, one after the other.
AD: It's cool man, but when you hear like four bands in a row, for me, with how I am, I was like, "Ah...getting redundant...?" And then you guys come out and I'm like,"Yah!!!!!" (laughing) It was so ballsy and different, we went nuts! Then I tried to meet you backstage to talk with you, but they said you took off to get some lunch.
BDR: I know that in Florida, they had our media tents sent up for right after we played which was weird. It was pretty crazy and they were running me around on golf carts.
AD: I'm so glad I can talk to you, this is awesome. I had hippy parents growing up, they were into metaphysics and granola, and all of that stuff. When did you realize that your parents were different or like hippies? Did your friends say anything about that to you ever?
BDR: My dad was the coolest dude that ever walked the planet earth. He used to always tell everybody, if I was half as cool as my dad, I'd be the second coolest dude on the planet. My dad wore bell bottoms, and he had long hair. All the women just loved him. My mom, she was just a young girl with long hair and always had a flower in her hair.
AD: Aww, wow, that's great. Love it.
BDR: I just remember growing up we didn't have a TV, and all we did was listen to albums over and over. My mom would have Pat Benatar, and the Eagles on. My dad would play Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Steve Miller, Bob Seger.
AD: So how did you get to Pantera then? How did you find Metal?
BDR: I did discover Mötley Crüe on my own, and I remember whenever my dad came in, and I showed him the album, Shout at The Devil, when I got done he was like, "This is probably one of the best girl bands I've ever heard."
AD: (LMAO!!!) Oh my G-d, that's hilarious.
BDR: Pantera actually came and played in my home town in Denison, Texas, when I was like 14. I went down and watched them play and became a fan immediately. I've probably been to 30-40 shows of Pantera throughout my life, and I've just always been a monster Pantera fan. I'm not an associate and I doubt they would call me a friend, but I was definitely an acquaintance and I got to shoot shots with them, drink with them, and I even went to Vinnie Paul's house for Christmas one year. He introduced me to his dad. I know a lot of people that knew them and could talk about them in larger ways than I can. They have my utmost admiration, and Vinnie Paul was....I have this thing about one-man empires, and Vinnie Paul was definitely a one-man empire, and I always looked up to him.
AD: He was amazing. When you guys all began with Red Dirt Metal, how did that go over, because you were playing in places in your area of Denison, and I mean, how did that go? Did people instantly like you guys, or did they have to get used to you?
BDR: Well, I don't think that we were accepted by the folks who were long-time Pantera fans at the time. In Texas, it takes you a while to earn people's respect, so after we'd been around about two years, then they started accepting us.
AD: Did your parent's get to see you have success in Music, are they alive now?
BDR: My dad has passed. He came to one of my shows and he said, "Your female to male ratio was awesome, to see that many girls come to the show, lets me know that you're gonna do good in this business."
BDR: Where the women go, the men will come. That was my dad's thing, he'd always tease me with the ol', you know they got that, "Stay Classy, San Diego," and he'd say, "Stay Sexy."
AD: Ha, that's great. I hear at 19 your dad gave you his motorcycle and told you to, "Ride On," were you happy about that or was it confusing to you? I'm sure you were happy to have his bike. Where'd you go?
BDR: Well, at that time, the police were looking for me, and I came home to tell my dad that the law was looking for me.
BDR: When he tossed me the keys, he let me know that I didn't need to be there, and that I needed to get on down the road. I did. I got on down the road and went to Vegas for a little bit, up to Washington State for a little. I hid out long enough for the heat to die down, and then came back to the town, upon request, I went in for questioning, and charges against me were dropped.
AD: Ah, good. Now look, we want to play a game here called Rock 'n Roll Roulette. I know you don't have much time, but I wanna have fun doing this, so what you do is, you finish my sentences, are you ready?
BDR: Hell yah.
AD: My favorite Metal song ever is
BDR: Cowboys From Hell.
AD: My favorite country tune is
BDR: Long Haired Country Boy.
AD: A BBQ sauce is only as good as its
AD: A woman is only as good as her
AD: (laughing) You can take away my ribs, but never take away my
BDR: Balls (laughing).
AD:(LMAO) HOSSTYLE clothing features clothing that is
BDR: Triple X or bigger.
AD: I like a woman who is
BDR: Well, (laughing) I always say, "Classy and Nasty."
AD: (laughing) That's fair.
BDR: I always wanted to have a strip club, but the sign said "Big Dad Ritch's Classy Ass Bitches." Classy would blink on and off, and when it blinked off it said, "Nasty."
AD: (laughing) Yah, cause then you get it all.
BDR: A good Christian man is always
AD: A good Christian man never would
BDR: Sleep with his best friend's old lady.
AD: At the EAT n GREET if someone doesn’t eat at all, I would
BDR: Disown 'em.
AD: Leftover food from the Eat N Greets are given to
BDR: My belll-ly.
AD: (LMAO!!) I"m thinking of you there, like, "OK, bye everybody, I've got this!"
AD: (laughing) I rode a bull once and it was
BDR: Uneventful (laughing)
AD: Did you ride a bull?!
BDR: Yah, and he never bucked, he just walked around the arena.
AD: You rode the wrong one.
AD: You need to get on the bulls that run through the streets in Spain, that's what you need to get on.
BDR: (laughing) When I was 7 years old, and I begged my grandpa to let me ride this Brahma (bull), cause he raised rodeo stock.I had begged him
to let me ride this Brahma bull, with the hump on its back, and he never would let me ride it. One day he'd been drinking, and he put me on one in the shoot, and we opened it up, and it came out and went into a full trot all the way around the arena. Then he took a cattle prod- to get the electricity going through it, and the bull shot me up in the air like a bottle rocket. I landed in red dirt with red dirt tears in my eyes, I couldn't breathe, gasping for breath. My grandpa was like, "What do you wanna do now boy?" I said, "I wanna ride that Brahma." (laughing)
AD: (laughing) What about horses, do you ride?
BDR: Oh yah. I love horseback riding. When you have that horse at like "full throttle", that horse- in his mind- is like he's in control of the situation. You're never going to push a horse to do something it doesn't want to do. That power from the animal just seems to extend from him to you.
AD: It's a trip when you first take off, because you know it's an animal, and it could have done anything, right?
BDR: Yah, just think about all the chemicals that are being released in your body, all at that moment. It's like being at Church and having the spirit move through you.
AD: Speaking of Church, what over the years in this Rock 'n Roll business, and in your other business ventures, are some things that have been the definitive wisdom you've gained out of your life? How do you think you've evolved with all of this?
BDR: You know, when I was 19 years old, my grandmother was at this Church. She was a Sunday school teacher, where my dad and my uncles and everyone attended. I was a kid raised Pentecostal. I was always afraid to approach the front of the Church to go eat the bread. But one day I got up and went to the front of the Church. Several of the ladies there said, "Ritchard, come on up here, don't be afraid." I went up there and then I went down, I went out, and was speaking in tongues and when I woke, I was screaming "I am the Sword of God," and the Church was chanting "Sword of God! Sword of God!" I was pretty freaked out, and the Pastor told me the Lord had big plans for me. My dad and I left, and I usually rode home with my Uncle, but my dad asked me to ride home with him. He said when he watched me up in the front of the Church, it looked like I was floating, not touching the ground. When I woke up, I saw concern and worry on my dad's face. He asked what had happened, and I told him this God-like figure was handing me a sword and told me I was the Sword of God. He asked me if I thought God wanted me to be a pastor. I told him I didn't think so, but thought he wanted me to reach people who aren't looking for him, in a different way, and to find those who are lost, who have no Shepherd. I told him when I talk to people about God, there would be a lot more people than there were at Church. Later on in life, I told God I would announce him three times before I take the stage, and that's what I do, and I don't think I come across as preaching to people. I'm only giving testimony about my relationship to God, and that's what it's all about. It's about relationships. That's what America needs to do, to find out how to have relationships with each other.
AD: It would be nice, instead of everyone pushing it, in other words, we're all going to find out when we cross over one day. But for now it would be great if we treat each other as one. It's beautiful to hear you doing that. It's great that you have your faith, even with this Rock 'n Roll life, and with all the traveling, yet you're there for people that way.
BDR: Faith, Family and Freedom. Those are three things that are very important to me.
AD: That's beautiful. As far as the tour schedule, I know you guys will be going full throttle. Where are you going now?
BDR: East coast, through the Carolinas and Pennsylvania, going down that way, Tennessee and Oklahoma. We finish up for a week in Oklahoma and Texas.
AD: Ritch, this has been a treat, and I love "Moonshine," and the entire album. Congratulations on everything you're doing.
BDR: Thank you, I really appreciate it and God bless. Take care.