We continue with our conversation with Cowboy Mouth founder and front man, Fred LeBlanc.
You can read Part 1 of the Interview here: Cowboy Mouth’s Fred LeBlanc
Cretin: The first time I heard about the band, my brother told me about the show and how unique it was with the drummer front and center on the stage. He said it worked, and obviously he was right.
Fred LeBlanc: It’s something I always knew about myself. I had a certain vision for the way I saw myself and the things I could do. There are certain things I’ve had to adjust to make the whole drummer/front man thing work. I sit on a riser, so I’m not taller than anybody, but I’m not shorter either. I play with only one symbol and a small drum kit so people can see me. There’s more of an eye contact approach, and that really works.
Cretin: Sure, that helps build that connection you have with the crowd.
Fred LeBlanc: Exactly. And, it also let’s me set the tone and pace of the show. If I feel something isn’t right, I can change it right away, or if the energy gets intense, I might speed up a little, but hey, it’s rock and roll, ya know?
Cretin: It’s more fluid, and your shows are definitely fluid.
Fred LeBlanc: All of the best rock and roll moves in and out, in and out. These days when you listen to radio, everything is so perfect. There’s no swing to it. Put on headphones sometime and listen to Sticky Fingers or Beggars Banquet from the Stones. It’s a mess, guitars are out of tune, drums speed up and slow down but you know what? It works, because it’s human. It moves, it interacts with itself. It’s an organic beast.
Cretin: You’re right. It was raw passionate stuff, whereas a lot of today’s stuff is over-produced, and devoid of passion.
Fred LeBlanc: Yeah. I’m not one to say that all music needs to be recorded on one microphone through a Victorolla. I use pro tools, too. It’s the standard, but at the same time you have to remember to master the machine and not have the machine be your master. I try to communicate an idea, an emotion, so that the listener experiences those same things. With music, a straight line is not always the shortest path.
Cretin: You and John Thomas Griffith have been together for all fifteen years, how did that pairing come about?
Fred LeBlanc: It’s funny, because I started Cowboy Mouth with two other musicians and we had rehearsed for two months, and it was just terrible. I was about to give up. Nothing was clicking at all. Nothing against the other musicians; we just weren’t compatible. I got the idea to call Griff in and gave him a couple of songs and he learned them fast. Literally, within three seconds we went from really sucking as a three-piece to really being great as a four-piece. It was really that instantaneous. It was one of the wildest moments of my life. I was like “Did everybody else hear that?”
Cretin: Good stuff.
Fred LeBlanc: I love playing with Griff. Lord knows we’ve had our ups and downs over the years. I’m sure as much as we both love each other, there are just as many times we drive either other nuts and want to kill each other. That’s just the nature of bands. He and I, we play well together. We both play with a lot of force. We’re the same kind of players, which is really good. The band that we have now with Cass and Matt is one of the strongest we’ve ever had. We’ve never had a bad version of this band, thankfully.
Cretin: What’s next for the band? We’ve heard rumors of another studio album being close to fruition.
Fred LeBlanc: I’m almost finished it. I have a studio here at the house and have almost all of the tracks done, and I just need to tweak it a bit and hope to have it out in the next month and a half. You’ll have to check out our website and Facebook page to see how we do it; we’re going to try something a little different this time.
Cretin: Sounds interesting. We’ll keep an ear out for it.
RARA’s Six-Pack. Six fun, mindless questions
You’re favorite Saints player ever ? Man, that’s like choosing your favorite child. I’d have to say Steve Gleason. He was always this happy get back to the earth guy, who sort of stumbled into football. A really cool guy. The first year after Katrina, the Saints made a great run. Cowboy Mouth had played outside the stadium before the first game of the season, and I was predicting we’d go to the Super Bowl. Early in the game he blocked a punt and I always say it was that moment the Saints fortunes turned around.
He’s a great guy and he’s been diagnosed with ALS. He’s started a foundation that people should look up, and give to, if they possibly could. (Editor: check it out here: Steve Gleason Foundation)
Your favorite city to play in? New Orleans. I’m biased, what can I say?
Favorite Cover Song: A band out of Athens called Five-Eight. They did a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I Can’t Stand It.” They’re great and they’ve been around as long as we have. Their lead singer, Mike (Mantione) has one of the most under-heard voices in rock. He’s an insanely talented guy, and they’re a great band.
If you could share the stage with any one band, past or present? The Clash or Lee Dorsey. That would be fun. (we proceeded to have a long conversation on The Clash, and both clearly agree they’re one of the greatest rock bands EVER)
Favorite local bar in New Orleans? I’m a big fan of Carrollton Station. Great vibe in a good little neighborhood, it’s easy. That’s my favorite place. It’s not a typical New Orleans bar, it’s away from The French Quarter. There’s places like Le Bon Temps Roule which is a good bar. The Balcony Bar is great, too.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever signed after a show? An infant. I signed his forehead “Trouble maker.”
Rock On (Are You With Me Edition) – Cretin