T.E.N. has gone through changes over the last year and sometimes there’s no better way to get back on track than to visit Rehab. T.E.N. recently found itself sittin at a bar with the band that sings “Bartender Song/Sittin At A Bar” when we caught up with Demun Jones and Danny Boone at the War Bama Club in Silas, Alabama where they shared about life on the road, the music business and “His Royal Highness: The King Of Tweakers.”.
The Entertainment Nexus– What have you guys been up to lately?
Demun Jones– We’ve been winding up the new Rehab record and working on the Danny Boone solo project.
TEN– You yourself have a solo project as well.
DJ– I do. It’s actually the first release off of “Boombox Records” and we partnered up with Average Joes on that as well. Danny Boone is executive producer and I wrote and produced most of the songs along with Billy Hume, Mike Hartnett from Rehab participated. Everybody in the band has some kind of participation in it but it was mostly myself and Billy. Danny is on a couple of the songs, I got 8Ball on one of the songs and there’s a new video out for the first single “Get Better.” It’s on Youtube and all of our sites.
TEN– The single has blown up pretty well.
DJ– Yes, it’s getting a lot of hits. We are about to start incorporating a “Demun Jones solo set” earlier in the night right before the Rehab set. I think when I do that it will also give it another push. But, in the independent world it kind of works backwards from the model that’s dying now…you know, the major labels, they come out with an album and whatever it does the first week, tells you what is going to do and then it is down from there. In the independent world, you put a project out and then you work it up into what you can accomplish most. Right now we have a pretty good foundation. I think it’s a good first video for my solo project and I’m really looking forward to the future. We’re gonna to another video, but I’m not sure what the song is going to be yet, there’s a couple that it could be. It might be “Goin Back To Cali” or might be “Lick.” I’m getting pulled a couple different ways on it. A couple of ladies told me I should do “Lick.” (Laughs) I don’t know, we’ll figure it out and it’ll be good. It’s on ITunes also right now and rehabmusic.com and demunjones.com. The album is called; “Light.”
TEN– Tell me a little about your solo project.
Danny Boone– I’ve been doin hip hop songs this whole time and workin with other artists such and I’m getting older and at that certain point where I need something to do, what I wanna do and not what a label wants me to do, which of course, after drinkin and everything…drinkin allowed me to do a lot of things that I didn’t want to do. I was always like: “Shit, fuck it. When I get done, I can go out here and get drunk and I won’t care about this stuff” but it was always there the next day. The fact that you’re doin stuff for a label and a bunch of people, who sometimes never really created music, they’re just tellin you what to do. You do that and you’re not always happy with everything. I just want to get my opportunity to do what I came to do from the jump, whether it does well or not. Ya know, just have my creativity.
TEN– You mean outside of Rehab.
DB– Yea, you know. Even Scott Weiland did a solo project and everybody thought it sucked. They might think mine sucks but it’s jus something to do.
TEN– Tell me about the new Rehab song: “King Of Tweakers.”
DJ– It’s another example of Danny’s greatness when it comes to shedding light on dark subjects. It’s regarding active addiction mostly. It’s kinda poking fun of bein hooked on meth and getting drug around. I think he’s going strike a lot of chords with that. People are going to relate, if they’ve never done it. I never really got into meth but I got into other stuff and I also had a couple of incidences where that could be the soundtrack for a couple of days anyway. (Laughs) Thanks Bubba Sparxxx! But no, it’s about meth and poking fun at some of the darker, humiliating things that occur to you or your loved ones when that happens, you know.
DB– It’s doin good on the internet, according to other people. I’ve never really checked. I’m not that internet savvy. We’re gonna shoot a video for it soon.
TEN– In a time where artists want to make money, you’re offering it as a free download…
DB– Yea, yea, it’s real hard to make money now for people who aren’t the status of Jay Z or Lady Gaga, Eminem and all of them. It’s good to give somethin to your fans because if you don’t have as many fans and those fans are still stickin with you…they don’t have to spend their money to come see me, they can go see anybody… so we appreciate them stickin by us.
TEN– I caught you guys a couple of years ago when you were touring with Uncle Kracker. (See Uncle Kracker interview April, 2010) You guys have also tour with Kid Rock and many other big names. What it’s like being out on the road with somebody big like that?
DJ– Well the first couple of days it’s like “WOW! We’re out here with…!” But then you like start talking to them and being around them and it’s like “Damn, we’re out here with them, does that mean…?” You accept them as people because instead of it being someone you saw on TV a bunch of times, they become your friend. I can say that about Kracker…Matt, he’s really a friend of mine. He’s called me on the phone to talk about stuff and I call him to ask him advice. I remember when he was Kid Rock’s dj. Bob, Kid Rock, is a friend to the band, but he is also on a more worldwide/superstar status than Kracker. Kracker is almost a household name but when you say Kid Rock that’s like saying Bon Jovi, Hank Williams Jr. or Elton John or some shit. I mean this guy’s a superstar and he carries himself as such. He’s done favors for us that have affected me and my career and all of our families and I’m real grateful to him. He’s a leader and I try to follow the leaders. I’ve learned a lot from watching them and their camp and how they handle business. I’m trying to copy them every chance I get.
TEN– I met Kid Rock years ago back when he was playing clubs.
DJ– Yeah, he was almost to the point of quitting when it happened for him and he did it. I know that he’s performed in front of six people before and I’ve talked to one of those six people and they were like; “This sombbitch got up there and didn’t like it was a stadium full of people!” And that’s how you do it, ya know. We’ve had to do that before and it’s tough when the crowd is not full. But you do four or five of those and then you go play in front of 2500 or 12,000 and a kinda feels like you took some steroids.
TEN– Uncle Kracker wrote the song “Some People.” Did he write it for you guys or was it already written?
DJ– That’s a song that he had already written and actually Danny and Kracker recorded a duet version of that, that’s kinda lying around somewhere and hopefully it will see the light of day. He’s a great songwriter. He’s written a lot of Kid Rock’s hits that people don’t know he wrote like “Cowboy” “Bawitaba,” and “All Summer Long.” He’s just a writing machine. A friend of mine, Lamar Williams Jr., who sings on my album a lot and is the son of Lamar Williams from the Allman Brothers, is recording one of Kracker’s songs that I got from him called: “She Don’t Cry Anymore.” It sounds like something Smokey Robinson would write back in the ‘60s. It’s beautiful…it’s perfect. He’s got that “Motown Flavor” he’s a really special guy.
TEN– “Bartender Song” took Rehab to the next level in popularity. Do you remember the first time that you heard the song on the radio?
DJ– I do actually. The first time that I heard it on the radio was in its second incarnation. The first time Epic never pushed it as a hit song. No one ever took it seriously, I know Danny didn’t. It was something that he, Brooks and Cody did in a few minutes. Really, they wrote it in a few minutes. I’m talking 20 minutes tops. They thought was a joke. So when I heard it on the radio, it was like 2008. It was on “Scratch & Sniff” or one of those syndicated national radio shows and I knew it was gonna go because we have sold hundreds of thousands digital downloads through jukeboxes and stuff like that before they played it on the radio. I don’t think that was just from word-of-mouth, which had a lot to do with it, I think it was because we did 250 shows a year from 2003-2007. You’re talking about a couple of million people that we’ve played in front of every time that you get an impression like that and people like the song they talk about it. When they see it on the jukebox they play it and I’m sure that’s what did it. It’s like handing out your business card to a few million people and them loving it. And it was a good feeling, I really feel like Danny’s greatness is beyond what the numbers say. Far, far beyond cause I get to hear all songs that he writes instead of just the ones that come out. Most of them are pretty brilliant. I was glad to see him getting what was due to him on something like that. I still think that song hasn’t seen its brightest day. One day, some movie is going to use it for the soundtrack or some shit and it’s going to be crazy.
DB– We had done the song so many years before and it was pretty popular on jukeboxes and stuff. I knew it was kind of a big thing. It wasn’t as special as, just bein honest, the first time we heard “It Don’t Matter” on the radio. That was the very first time I had heard anything of mine on the radio that I was connected to. That made me shit my pants damn near! “Sittin At A Bar” was a trip like: “Oh, my God. We were jokin when we did the song at first and we’re gonna end up bein a damn country act, which was cool because we are real lucky to be in the music business period. It afforded us a platform and once we realized it was popular we were like: “This is really gonna give us an opportunity to get a lot of our music out” ya know what I mean? We were real lucky in that aspect. I like country music and I didn’t mean it like that, I’m jus sayin that we weren’t expecting that…ya know what I mean? We were nominated for a CMT award!
TEN– What prompted you to rework “Sittin At A Bar” from the “Southern Discomfort” release?
DJ– It was because it is now a different form of the band than back then when the song was written. It was never performed and pushed…taken seriously from Rehab’s point of view. And, we realized that everywhere we went whether it was Georgia or Tennessee or Washington that every person in the crowd knew every word to the song. They, the fans renamed it “Bartender Song.” Everybody kept saying; “Sing Bartender, sing Bartender!” I mean everywhere, not just in some places. This is before we had a record deal. It felt like the right thing to do ya know. The record business is something where you don’t get a lot of chances. Most people get no chance ever and so when you see something like that, that makes a lot of sense…it’s hard to do it from a creative standpoint because you feel like you’ve already done that and you’re on to the next thing. I’m sure for Danny, that’s what it felt like but from a business standpoint it was a smart thing to do. It made a million people look at Rehab and take notice of our other songs, which are much better. In our show tonight, we’ll sing that song but it’s not gonna be the song that encompasses the most talent. The crowd will know it but it’s not gonna take our most effort to pull that song off. We got songs that are very melodic and confusing and lyrically dynamic and really difficult to perform. Probably 20 out of the 28 songs are like that and then it’s the simplest song of all that everyone loves.
TEN– How did Hank Jr. become involved with the song?
DJ– That’s funny too. Since Rehab spans a lot of the genres, we don’t really sit around and be like: “Alright, we’re gonna do a “country song” or we’re gonna do a “rap song.” It all sprouted from hip hop period with Danny and me. And then within the band, everybody has different influences. Universal (records) knew that and it comes across in our first version of “Graffiti The World” when they got that, they were like: “Okay, it’s rock, it’s hip hop…it’s all these things.” So, they went to one side and tried to get Snoop Dogg and went to the opposite side of the spectrum and tried to get Hank Williams Jr. Hank Williams Jr. just worked out ya know, from a business standpoint it made the most sense so we did it and he (Hank Jr.) came to the studio and did it. We shot our regular video and then a few of the guys flew to Nashville to film a few more scenes and then that was it. A lot of us never got to meet him but his participation robbed the whole country world’s attention on Rehab long enough for us to be nominated for awards and we were on CMT at number 2 or 3. We sold hundreds of thousands of single downloads and a lot of those people I’ve seen at our shows. We have country people with their cowboy hats on just rockin to our heavy stuff and hip hop stuff with a damn cowboy hat on. So, whatever it takes man, we’re not really from the world where “You just listen to this or you just listen to that.” I know all about Conway Twitty. I know all about Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin and the Gap Band and the Allman Brothers. But, I also know about Wu Tang Clan and Tupac and Biggie and Ice Cube. All these things have an equal influence on us and I know that I’m not alone in sayin that. Much of “Corporate America” wants us to fall in these lines so they know where to throw their products. But, in reality, everybody likes a little bit of everything whether they know it or not. When they hear it and like it…they can’t do anything about it except like it!
TEN– When you get a legend like Hank Jr. on board and lovin it…
DJ– You just made millions of people at least give you a listen. I’m not judging anybody but a lot of times you hear stuff on the radio and you’re like: “How in the hell did that get on the radio?” What it is is if you let any 20 million people hear any song, there’s gonna be a couple 100,000 that like it. That’s how half of the junk is on the radio these days.
DB– Yea, yea it was pretty…it was a trip man. We’ve been lucky.
TEN– Another music legend that crosses different music genres is Mr. David Allan Coe. Would you ever consider working on a project with him?
DJ– You know Kracker has worked with him a lot. They’ve written songs together and David Allan Coe plays his songs in his shows. I’m sure if the opportunity came up we would give it a thought. Why, do you have a connection? You hookin some of us up?
DB– Yea I would but I really don’t know the dude. I guess that I’d have to meet him. I know that he’s a legend and he’s put out some good music other than just the racial stuff. He’s done way better songs than that. A lot of the songs that he’s done, other people have done that people don’t know that are his. The dude’s been to prison and that’s the way they talk in there. He just kicks it the way he kicks it.
TEN– Yea, he’s a good friend of mine.
DJ– Hell Yeah! Tell David that you’ve got a homeboy named Demun Jones that’ll rip it up! Yea, he’s real witty with his lyrics. I mean he’s an iconic writer of our age, ya know.
TEN– “Graffiti The World” is a “wake the hell up!” type of song. Do you think that it’s inspired people to take a look at the way the world is today?
DJ– I think that maybe it’s done that to a select few people. I don’t think that was Danny’s intention. I think Danny was high one night and was bein kinda analytical. In his “highness” there was mostly truth. The whole song is definitely thought provoking. We’re (society) used to just goin through the motions and not thinkin about stuff like that but really if you think about it, how can you own a piece of land? It’s really bullshit! So from that standpoint, it’s really brilliant beyond even what he (Danny) understood what he was doin and I think that’s when you have true art. True art is when it comes through the artist and the artist is not even…I don’t even think he could explain it to you. I take notice to it myself because I know that he couldn’t explain all that shit and what exactly it means. He allowed it to come through him and be what it was…a brilliant, beautiful gift, ya know. I wish you could hear it man, some of his shit is ridiculous. Wait until you hear the new record man! We don’t know the name of the record yet but it’s songs that were recorded over the last decade and just kinda left behind. “Welcome Home” was like that. It was written 10 years ago. It was just sittin around demoed and the label heard it and was like: “What in the hell y’all doin?” We’re about to do a whole album of songs, 10 out of 12 songs will be songs that we had to go find the studio files to them and go back through them. There’s some real brilliant shit on it man.
DB– I don’t know. I tell people all of the time, you know people always say: “Man, that’s such a political song and such and this and that.” I tell them I’m like; “It kinda is but I was so drunk and high when I wrote it I was just kinda…” It’s one of those things when sometimes when you get an idea for a song it’s written before you write it. It was one of those things like “We Didn’t Start The Fire” where once he came up with the hook and what the idea of the song was about, he just run down and list things. Ya know what I mean? Like if I did a song called: “Everything I Love To Eat” and I started naming off food. It’s pretty simple, really but at the same time…it has a lot of meaning. Maybe it did, I’m not no preacher or nothing. Sometimes you write songs you never know people will hear them.
TEN– The song “Red Water” is a dark song. What was the “One more thing to say” that the guy wrote in the steam on the mirror?
DJ– (Long pause) Danny wrote the words to it. I’m not sure and I don’t know if even Danny will know. I do know that there again, that wasn’t based on any one individual it was kinda based on “Just cause you got a big house and a family there’s still some “inner shit” goin on. That’s definitely one of the questions to ask him or maybe his “one last thing to say” is: “I’m not happy. This house, my wife and kid…I’m still not happy so I’m bouncing! We all know people who’ve killed themselves so…
DB– I have no idea. It’s got kind of a double meaning as far as the song is a long, drawn out way of sayin “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” The fact that he had something else to say and he’s dead and you don’t know what it is…you know what I’m sayin?
TEN– He could have said “I Love you” or “Goodbye.”
DB– That’s the whole point of the song. It’s like: “Man, you coulda lived another day but you killed yourself and had to write it on a fuckin mirror that they’re gonna get the steam of off it any damn way!”
TEN– It’s like your lyric on “Walk Away” where the man comes home with flowers and a bottle of wine but catches his wife in bed with another man. He grabs a gun and walks in on them and sits down on the bed with “Guns and roses and a bottle of wine.” That’s clever how you used that phrasing.
DB– I love that album, “Appetite For Destruction!”
TEN– “Welcome Home” is a song that proves you can write hit after hit and not just a “one hit wonder.” How has writing that second hit as well as the other songs on that cd changed your lives?
DJ– Like I said, Danny wrote that song years ago. I mean it’s just pouring out of him ya know? I’ve known him for quite a long time and I’ve never known him to go a week without writtin at least 2 or 3 songs. I’ve seen him write 2 or 3 songs in a day before. He’ll call me in the middle of the night and be like: “Yo Man, check this out!” and I’m like “WOW!” Then he’ll forget about it and then we’ll be workin on some shit and I’ll be like; “Danny, you remember this?” He’s like;” No, I don’t but thanks!” Brilliance is just drippin off him. He don’t even realize it. He’s one of those guys. He’s got it big time. I write some good songs too but I write em in 3 round bursts. I write a few dope ones and then it’ll be a few months and I’ll write another one. Then it might be 2 years and I’ll write 4 or 5 good ones but he’s like… (continuously snapping his fingers)
TEN– How autobiographical is your song “Talk About?”
DJ– Danny and I wrote that and we wrote it in a very short amount of time. Maybe 30 minutes. What happened with that song is that we were almost done with the “Welcome Home” album and Universal was like: “This is too much like hip hop and this is too much like hip hop. We really don’t want it to be like this, we want it to be like this.” What it boiled down to is that they weren’t gonna put the record out unless we did, and this is what they said; “Simple, heartfelt songs.”
DB– (He starts singing the lyrics) it’s pretty autobiographical. The video we made, all we did was just get on the bus with a guy with a camera and ride out. At the time it was pretty autobiographical but I have since quit drinkin, which makes the road a lot less fun than it used to be! (Laughs) Just bein honest! “Yay, I’m so clear now!” Who gives a fuck! Also, I’m in touch with my feelings and that sucks, ya know what I’m sayin? (Laughs harder) We had a good time out there on the road and I remember just goin out there and givin it 110% every time we go out. There’s nights when it really sucks on stage. I’m pissed and I can’t let anyone know it. There’s no use in complainin, you gotta keep it entertainin. You got 20 more shows to go and these motherfuckers are drunk and want to have a good time.
TEN– You have to be who the fans think you are. It’s not the real you…
DB– Yea, they’re buyin your records and you got things to do and family to feed.
TEN– So even today, the record company dictates your projects?
DJ– We had to make a choice; “Do we want the album to come out?” This was toward the end of our relationship with Universal and it was like; “Okay, we’ve already put so much work into it, it would be a shame not to follow through with it and get the album out.” So, Danny and I got together and wrote “Talk About” and then we wrote “Old Friends” and then we wrote “Everybody Everywhere” and then we wrote “Decisions.” We did those 4 in 4 days in a row. Each night I went over and we completed a song. All of them are really true. All of our songs are true, especially for the time when we wrote them. We’re always on the road and leave our families back home to come out here and do this. We make a livin at it. We weren’t even gonna do that song but because it was either “Do these songs, do this.” We understood “this” and they weren’t gonna put the record out. Labels are full of shit! That’s why they’re almost outta here. They’re almost gone because they treat people like that. So anyway, we made the best of the situation, we got together and wrote 4 “heartfelt songs” in a row and they were like; “Yes, yes, yes, yes. Album’s done!” It’s completely analytical; we’re always on the road. We give it everything we got. Everything we get, we take it home with us.
TEN– Okay, it’s time to shift gears on you. Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never revealed before in an interview.
DJ– (Long pause with laughter) Let me think about which one. When I used to be in active addiction, I stole my little brother’s lunch money when he was 12. I stole $5.00 out of his jacket to get me to the dope spot instead of using 5 of my dollars out of a $100 bill because I wanted $100 worth of dope. That’s how fuckin sick I was! I’ve never disclosed that in an interview. And, I’ve paid that little fucker back a thousand times since then! I’ve probably bought him a wardrobe twice.
DB– (Long Pause) I have more stories about shitting my pants than most people. (Laughs) I do! I do! You tell that to your homeboys and you’re like: “Man, I had to use…I couldn’t…tried to get me to the toilet. I couldn’t quite get to the toilet and blah, blah, blah. They’re like: “Dude, that’s like the fifth time that you’ve told me a story about something like that!” and I’m like: “Really?” Maybe, maybe it was the beer and stuff. I don’t know. (Busts out laughing even harder)
TEN– We’ll hope it was that.
DB– Yea, let’s hope so. I don’t want to end up with a colostomy yet!
TEN– Is there anything else that you want to add or say?
DB– I appreciate your interview. It’s a cool interview.
DJ– Just make sure you check out the new Rehab free download of “King Of Tweakers” on Rehabmusic.com and check out the Demun Jones album on ITunes. If you don’t have “Welcome Home” yet, make sure you pick that up.
I want to thank Amanda French at Essential Broadcast Media, Jamie Reeder at Average Joe’s Entertainment, and April Dickey at The Scott Organization for helping with the interview and Chris at The War Bama Club for being so hospitable.
For more information on Rehab, please visit www.rehabmusic.com
For more information on Demun Jones, please visit www.demunjones.com