I have always been a Hip Hop emcee with a love for all music and writing styles.
I’m a bigger Country Music fan than I am of today’s hip hop scene, in 2004 I came
across a Country Rapper in Tennesee and I knew this was an epic genre to be,
it fit my style so well I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Short after I found some local boys had dipped into this category of artistic
endeavor and that such artist are in absolute scarcity.
Moonshine Bandits are from the heart of the central valley, the very origin of 7/8’s of the Worlds agriculture and crops. Some how California has been so flamboyant in our
other amenities and pop cultures we’re often not thought of as farmers or country boys to the rest of the World. Moonshine Bandits are not about to let the truth of that fact
go over looked. You can see this in the John Deere color schemed trucker cap in which Tex wears and the Fresno State / Valleys Green “V” emblem that they all sport on their stage outfits.
These good ol’ boys are raised on Jack Daniels Whiskey and American farming,
mix in Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash, and right there plain and simple yet unique and
patriotic you’ve got the Moonshine Bandits.
After becoming a fan of Moonshine Bandits (MSB fans are called SHINERZ), I followed them for years finally getting to meet and hang with them last Thanksgiving at a performance they did in Modesto for my web show Cali Mic Check. The day was debaucherous, filled with laughs, singing, rappin, beer, liquor and a lot of Moonshine.
I sat through an all day, all night interview / drinking session with the boys which are Bird (Lead vocals) Tex (Lead Vocals), Derrty D (back up vocals/ hypeman), B Diddy (Drums),
Dj chopstiqs and their on stage pole dancer Kristen. I had a time of my life type night, you
can see this episode at www.youtube.com/CaliMicCheck, believe me it’s more than worth your while.
Moonshine Bandits performed here in Fresno again in August 2010 and I was able to finagle some time and ask these questions on behave of NoTown Magazine.
1. What’s coming up New with Moonshine Bandits in the next Month or two?
On the Road. We will be spending most of our weekends in Smoke filled rooms w/ the fresh aroma
of whiskey, beer and vodka. We will be in Fortuna, CA, Copperopolis CA, Redmond OR, Berkeley CA and Fresno CA.
Aside from the shows we are concentrating on marketing our Cold House Vodka and our new song Super Goggles!
2. How many Albums including Mixtapes, singles etc have you put out? Please tell me about them.
A) Life in a Paper Bag – 4 Song MSB Demo
B) Soggy Crackerz Soaked in Beer – First Full MSB Album in CA
C) Soggy Crackerz – First Nationally Distributed MSB Album
D) Wild West Compilation – Various Artists / National Distro
E) Whiteboyz in the Game – Various Artists / National Distro
F) Intoxicated Mixtape – Various Artists / Free Download
G) Prohibition – National MSB Album
H) Divebars and Truckstops – National MSB Album
3. When can we expect your next release and what can we expect from it?
We don’t have a set release for our next album, we are just taking our time in the studio…We have new material recorded and have digitally released new songs like
“Super Goggles”, “Summer Girl”, and “American Pride” World Wide on Itunes, Napster, Amazon etc.
4. Where can we purchase your merchandise, music, Vodka etc?
MERCHANDISE – http://www.moonshinebandits.com/MSB09/
MUSIC – Shows, Anywhere Online Itunes, napster, rhapsody, amazon, Best Buy.
VODKA – see www.coldvalleyvodka.com for a list of stores selling Cold House Vodka
5. Who produces your current material? What is the process when you guys write a song, break down rolls between Tex, Bird, Diddy, Derrty and Chop Stix. Who does what??
Bird and Tex write the songs and concepts. Most of our songs start with a hook concept. Tex likes to write when he is in the shower, driving on the road or in the Shiner Saloon then call bird about it, and we work on melodies together. Bird comes up with hooks and calls Tex and vice versa…Bird may come up with an entire song, hook and concept and Tex may just lay down a verse. We have written so many songs together we often think the same and that just comes w/ time. We used to argue in the studio when we’d record, now we are just having fun, and the music is sounding much better. Of course over time, your lyrics and song writing matures. From our ideas, then we contact Our producers Tyrant and Derek Stephens from Washington to help create the music. Our mixing and post production is done by Eric Hoegemeyer from Rustbelt Studios in Detroit. Like most musicians, there is a team involved in making the music. We feel our team is strong. Mark Miers (infamous keyboardist from Kracker’s Band) has also contributed to our music.
7. Name a few key moments in your MSB career.
Playing for the U.S. Military was a huge highlight in our career. Getting the call from our Military to come play for them at their Military base in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin is something we will never forget. Playing in front of thousands of soldiers on the 4th is something that very few musicians can say they’ve done. Hearing the General say we rocked is an ultimate honor and getting our own private tour of the base was amazing. Tons of Touring moments, playing with the legendary outlaw David Allan Coe. Getting our name on a Vodka bottle and becoming partners with a Beverage Company for our own line of liquor is also a key moment. Getting to visit 40 of our 52 states on the road is a key moment. Meeting people on the road and hearing their stories of how our music touched them or how they related to it means alot to us also. Meeting all the other bands and artists we have met. Another key moment is seeing fans get “Shiner” Tattoos. We have the utmost respect for anyone that believes in us enough to mark their body for life, we are honored by that tremendously.
8. Top 3 Favorite spots to perform? (Brief descriptions why).
Eureka, CA (Humboldt County) area is a great area for us because they treat us as if we grew up in their area. We have just as many fans in Northern CA as we do in Central Valley CA. Redding, CA is the same, tons of “Shinerz” out there. Modesto, CA is one the best spots for us because it has the most hardcore “shinerz”, especially when we perform at X-Fest, this year we were one of the headliners and we are proud to say we held our own amongst platinum selling artists that are heard on the radio daily. There were well over 4,000 people in front of our stage partying their asses off to our music. Our fans are dedicated, they understand what we are building. We built everything from the Ground up, and our fans stick with us like family. We aren’t an overnight success story and we will never be. We earned everything we built, it’s a blue collar approach and our fans see that.
9. Favorite Fresno spots?
CROSS ROADS & AGR FRATERNITY HOUSE
10. Give a few Fresno shout outs, people etc…Stuff you love about NoTown
Big shoutout to Mike Oz and the Fresno Bee, Big shout out to our homie Gnarley Charley, shouts to E.Rose for all his support he continues to give us,
shouts to our favorite bar Cross Roads, shouts to the Fresno State Bulldogs, and a big shout out to all our crazy ass friends in the AGR Fraternity.
12.Favorite Adult Beverage? (For Tex, Bird, Derrty, B Diddy and Chop Stix)
tex – Cold House Vodka & Jack Daniels
bird – Cold House Vodka & Jack Daniels
derrty – Cold House Vodka & Captain Morgan
Diddy – Cold House Vodka & Jack Daniels
Kristin – Cold House Vodka & Malibu Rum
Chopstiqs – Cold House Vodka & Herbal Remedies
13. If someone had just enough to purchase ONLY ONE piece of work by MSB, what would you Recommend?
Divebars and Truckstops means alot to us, but Prohibition is where we found “our sound”.
15 .If you had to name just one, what would you say is the ONE move that has excelled MSB to their current Heights?
Our Live Performance. Our goal is making our show as wild as possible….Not only do we have one of the best DJ’s in California w/ DJ Chopstiqs, but Diddy on the drums adds a ton of energy, Derrty on backup vocals keeps the crowd hype, and our dancer Kristin is not only good looking, but also an amazing dancer that teaches hiphop dancing on her spare time. Our live show kicks ass, period.
16. What advice would you offer to somebody wanting to get into the music business?
Be original. We pride ourselves in being original and setting trends, not following. Our music is fusion of all genres because
we listen to music in all its forms. Be creative. Make sure your marketing is as good as your music, if not better.
Don’t burn bridges with people..If you get to a point where you make money from your music, RE-INVEST it in your music or your business.
17. Where and when did you record your first track ever? Please tell me all about that and the differences in your approach between then and now.
Our first track was recorded at G-Rocs Throdown Studios in San Jose, CA back in 99′. He would create the beat and we’d record right there. Money was tight
for us and studio costs were expensive. We would try to build the beat and record the song all in one hour just to cut costs, haha. That limits your ability to be creative. G-Roc is one hell of a musician having toured w/ MC Hammer in the 80s, and he taught us a lot about the music business because we asked a ton of questions. Now our approach is to take our time. We now have our own studio so we don’t have to pay anyone to track our vocals. We just pay for post production, etc.
18. Tell us all about the Shinerz
This was our favorite question of the entire interview. The definition of a shiner is “Rowdy individuals commonly known as Moonshine Bandit Fans.” The term “Shiner” was given to our fans to help unite them as one big family and a family that is growing rapidly. We didn’t have a radio hit or a fancy mtv video on television daily, our fans won’t vanish because we aren’t your typical overnight success story. We built from the ground up. We learned from our mistakes, we listen to our fan’s input. As our music and shows got better, we gained more fans. Our fans all share a common goal of having a good time. Being a shiner is not just about our music, it’s about having a kickass time and living life to its fullest because you only live once. Shinerz have tons of pride and know the Moonshine Bandits are building something bigger then just music. There are shinerz in Japan, Iraq, all over the United States. We get letters and emails all the time from people saying they are a Shiner For Life. We have had tons of photos emailed to us of “Shiner” Tattoos to show their dedication, and that is just flatout awesome.
19. What is the furtherest you’ve performed away from the Central Valley?
probably Chicago, i’d need mapquest to figure that one out.