DR Exclusive Interview: LoCash Cowboys
LoCash Cowboys, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, have criss-crossing the country, honed their craft on stages large and small, developed one of the most dynamic live shows in any genre of music. Along the way, earned endorsements from the likes of Budweiser, shared bills with artists including Charlie Daniels and ZZ Top, performed at halftime of NBA and U.S. Olympic team basketball games, and secured television appearances ranging from Tanya Tucker's reality show "Tuckerville" to "Pageant School: Becoming Miss America," writing the theme songs for both.
The dues have been paid and it is time for LoCash to reap the rewards as they embark on the next step of their journey, releasing their upcoming single “Here Comes Summer” and CD to follow. I recently sat down with them to talk about the journey, the memories, the future and a little bit of everything in between.
BM: The single’s out! So, how does it feel?
Chris: The feeling is fantastic yet still stressful. You’ve got to learn the patience thing, which we’ve learned in this business anyway – the “hurry up and wait” business. But finally, the single is out, and I think the coolest thing is we’re counting on our friends and our fans that we’ve built for six or seven years on the road. It’s cool watching them do their work – being our friends and helping us succeed and watching it happens is pretty cool.
BM: What has been the best or the thing that’s surprised you the most, fan-wise?
Preston: It’s been amazing because everybody’s gotten on the phones, called every radio station in the country and started requesting it like nuts. Then, they’ve been online at CMT.com and GACtv.com and all these different sites. And, all of a sudden, our video started to pop up on the front page of things. Where as before, a few weeks ago, you had to dig around to find it. Now, all of a sudden, it’s like one click away and we’re right there. So, I think the voice of the fans is really resonating throughout the industry now. Like Chris said, it’s just come down to that, we’re #57 on Billboard right now – 56 steps from the ultimate goal. It feels good to know the end goal is perfectly in sight, and we can start working toward that.
BM: Way back when we first met when we all were relatively new to Nashville, we used to sit and talk about “some day”. Is it what you thought it was going to be?
Chris: Honestly, yeah, everything that we’ve dreamed about. You work hard. I mean, if you ask, you shall receive. But, if you work hard enough, you’re going to get it. Has it taken longer than we wished? Absolutely! But you never know. It’s like Jeff(rey Steele) says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan.” It really is great now. Of course, we are always still saying, “What if someday we do this?” I don’t think that’s really going to go away for me and Preston – or any artist, for that matter – we always want more. We’re always content and blessed with what we have, but we still strive for the best.
Preston: Hard work is nothing new to us. This act is built to climb; it’s built to work hard. We’re the two hardest working dudes I’ve ever met – and we’ve met a lot of people! So, I feel like the goal is attainable; it’s right in front of us and it is sweet right now just to be on Billboard and see your name on there. You kind of have to stop and savor that moment, because that in itself, is a huge thing to accomplish. There are thousands and thousands of people who would give anything to be #57 on Billboard right now. So, you do have to stop and appreciate what we have accomplished. But also, don’t get stale standing there and enjoying it too long, because we’ve got a lot of work to do.
BM: Of all the songs on the album, how many did you write?
Chris: I think we have eight out of the eleven. We’re not saying that we have to write all of the songs on there. We have, of course, a great producer who is writing with us. I mean, Jeffrey Steele, who writes hits after hits. But there are some other songwriters on there that we picked up, whose songs we fell in love with.
Preston: We wrote forty or fifty songs with Jeffrey, so we could have easily picked eleven songs that the three of us wrote together. But, one thing he really taught us from day one was never overlook a sure-fire, big hit song. We wanted our album to be all killer and no filler. Every song has got to be a single. So, when those obvious songs hit the table, like “Keep in Mind” that he and Shane Minor wrote together, it was unavoidable. It was one of those songs that screamed, “This is hit! This is chance!” So, we went after it. Like Chris said, we’ve probably got three or four on the album that aren’t songs we wrote, but they’re big hits.
BM: Do you have any criteria when you’re going through and picking songs?
Chris: It has to kind of match what Preston and I want out of life, kind of the vibe we like. We actually feel these songs. Miranda Lambert’s song, “The House That Built Me,” was actually pitched to us five or six years ago, but we didn’t have a label at the time, so we had no clout. She said it hit her and she couldn’t help but cry. It’s kind of the same thing with other songs, if they hit them the right way, you’ve got to have it, because you can sing it better that way.
Preston: And, the cool thing about when we were going through the song choice, it was as simple as the three of us would sit in a room – Chris, me, and Jeff – and we would take votes on the songs. We were like the king of lists, so first, it was take votes and make lists of songs we were going to take the studio. Then, we cut 25 songs. On each list, we had to be unanimous, so each individual song got voted on. If it wasn’t unanimous, then the jury was still out on that song. We couldn’t put it on the list to go cut it or dwindle down to the eleven that make it to the album. And, there are still a couple songs in limbo right now. There’s a new song called “Friend” that we cut, and it’s getting a great reaction on the road! We took it to the studio and we got an amazing recording on it. So, all of a sudden, this “Friend” gets stuck in the mix. Now, all of a sudden, which song is going to go? So, until that album is in stores…
Chris: We could hear another one. I mean, there are a couple other songs Preston and I have heard and it’ll be like “Crap! Do we go back to record and put this one on?” So, you never know.
BM: Have you fan-tested a lot of songs?
Chris: Yes, I think so. During our live performances when we sing all the songs, the vibe we get from the crowd always means a lot. “Keep in Mind” is one of our slow songs and the crowd likes that one a lot. Obviously, our single “Here Comes Summer” is a perfect song right now. With all the flooding, I know Nashville is ready for it and I’m sure everybody else in the United States is ready for summertime.
BM: I think you’re right. Time to move on past all of this. Speaking of the flood, were you affected by it personally? Did you lose anything?
Preston: We’re all affected by it, because I think each one of us has friends or acquaintances that have been truly affected by it. In particular, our fiddle player lost, basically, his whole house. The Harpeth River rose and cracked one of his windows and poured into his house. He had seven feet of water in his entire home. He has a pretty nice house, so when you look at the pictures and you go out and visit, you can really feel what happened to him. So, we started a little thing called Fiddler on the Roof. If you want to help somebody out, go to www.ryanjones.net and email him personally. If he needs a Subway sandwich, he’ll tell you! Whatever it is to get him through each day, it’s one of those kinds of things. But, the community has really been amazing! People have been coming by his house every fifteen minutes, knocking on his door, and saying, “What can we do?” And with the big concert with Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, these guys are pulling together. I think Nashville will be back on its feet really soon.
BM: Are you guys a part of any of the benefits yet?
Chris: Unfortunately, we’ve been out of town like crazy. There are some things we’ve got in the works that we’re trying to put together to raise a little bit of money. There are a lot of people who do not have flood insurance; because they’re not in the flood zone, they’re not allowed to have it. But, Vince Gill raised almost a million dollars, I think it was (in his telethon). Nashville musicians are all coming together for the community. And, we love this community. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t.
BM: What do you all have planned for CMA Music Festival?
Preston: Everything! Streaking! We’re the guys who sign up for everything! We just love to have fun! I think last year we did the dog training event, where they jumped in the pool. We threw Frisbees to them.
Chris: I had fleas the whole week; it was horrible!
Preston: I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have one flea! You got the mange, too, didn’t you?
Chris: I did, for a while. (laughing)
BM: So what pranks are you going to do?
Chris: We are pranksters! We’ll try foaming at the mouth and see if that works..
Preston: Well, we already know that one doesn’t work, so we’re not doing that. But, we’re always pulling pranks on each other. I mean, we’re ten guys on the road by the time you add in the band, the road manager, the merch guy, the bus driver, and a couple friends who are out on the road with us. It gets crazy.
BM: What’s been the best one?
Preston: Oh man!
Chris: There’s been millions and millions of them.
Preston: There’s a lot of them! One of my favorite pranks is, we had this new merchandise guy come out on the road with us. His name was Ty, and he was a funny dude. He was a little nervous to be out there and wanted to get everything just right, especially that first week. He’s dotting every “i” and crossing every “t,” making sure every penny is accounted for with the merchandise money. So, I went to the lead guitar player and said, “Dude, maybe you should pull our nervous merchandise guy and be like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but here’s how it works out on the road. When you collect all your merchandise money, you bring it to me. I take a 20% skim right off the top. You hide the numbers and then you turn it in to Chris and Preston, ok? That’s how it works; it’s always worked that way. I want my cut every single night.’”
Chris: The poor kid is scared to death!
Preston: He doesn’t know what to do, because (the lead guitar player) was like, “I know how to lie around this, so if you tell them, you will be fired!” Chris and I are sitting back smiling, we’re just waiting. Finally, about 24 hours goes by, and this kid comes up to us, shaking, and asks us, “Can I talk to you guys?” He says, “I feel like I have to be honest. It’s like the Mafia out here, man! The lead guitar player is demanding a 20% skim on all merchandise money right off the top,”
Chris: We’re good at keeping straight faces.
Preston: We were like, “No way, he wouldn’t do that!” So, we really lured him right in. And, we didn’t let it go too far, but it was funny watching the kid shaking his boots. But, it showed his honesty. It was a good test to see if he was going to be an honest kid.
Preston: Kind of a long story, but man, it sure was funny that day. Maybe you had to be there. And now, here we are, on Billboard.
BM: Well, we’re about ready to wrap this up. But, what else do you have to tell the fans?
Chris: Gotta tell everybody about the new album, of course, coming out this year. The single, “Here’s Comes Summer,” is on iTunes and many digital outlets. It’s a great song. The video is out on GAC; please vote for us at gactv.com. Don’t forget cmt.com also. And, don’t forget, in June, BamaJam. We’re going to be at BamaJam in Alabama. Come see us! Here comes summer! Here comes BamaJam!
B.M. Guys, I love you both, proud to call you my friends and I wish you only the best! I cannot wait to join you when this song goes to the top spot!
LoCash: We love you too, and thank you for all you do. You will be the first to know when we land on number one!
For more information on LoCash Cowboys visit http://www.locashcowboys.com
Source: Digital Rodeo's Bev Moser