Interviews

Published on August 25th, 2002 | by Gerry Galipault

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For your listening pleasure: Sixwire

MEMBERS: Andy Childs (vocals, guitar), Steve Mandile (vocals, guitar), Robb Houston (vocals, guitar), John Howard (bass), Chuck Tilley (drums).

HOMETOWN: Nashville.

ALBUM: “Sixwire” (Warner Bros. Nashville; release date: Aug. 27).

THE SOUND: Country with hints of rock and R&B.

THE PRODUCER: Mandile.

FIRST SINGLE: “Look At Me Now” (after 16 weeks, the song is at No. 34 on Billboard’s country chart, as of Aug. 3).

OTHER TRACKS: “Way Too Deep,” “Saving Grace,” “Say It Simple,” “Please Believe,” “I Hope She Comes Around,” “Jack,” “I Can’t Help How I Feel,” “Broken,” “I Heard That,” “Brave Soul.”

WEB SITE: www.sixwire.com.

SOMETHING TO KNOW: Childs was a solo act with RCA in the early 1990s; he scored two chart singles in 1993 (“I Wouldn’t Know” and “Broken”). The other members have played with such artists as Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Phil Vassar, Delbert McClinton, Pam Tillis and Lee Greenwood.

THIS IS HOW COUNTRY SHOULD SOUND. YOU GUYS HAVE COME OUT OF NOWHERE, BUT YOU’RE NO STRANGERS IN NASHVILLE:

Childs – “A lot of the guys in the group have worked for other stars on the road. We’ve all been in the background of someone else’s career for the last several years, and everybody had a good knowledge of how the whole record deal thing works. When we put the band together and got together to put the album out, we put a lot of experience behind it. But we were afforded the opportunity by Warner Bros. to do everything ourselves, and that may be the thing that’s missing in Nashville sometimes, that many artists or albums are manufactured by the hit factory here. It’s kind of rare that a band is totally self-contained; there are others, like Diamond Rio, who’s always been that way and they still make great records.”

WHAT SONG DEFINES YOU?:

Childs – “The first song on the album called ‘Way Too Deep.’ Steve and I wrote the song, and when we wrote it and recorded our demo for it, we reached a definition of what we were with that song. It’s very guitar-oriented, and there’s a lot of vocals going on, a lot of what we call counterpoint vocals where there’s vocals flying everywhere. It’s really upbeat and in your face. That, to me, defines our sound for the most part. Everything we wrote and recorded after that was probably influenced by that one song.”

WHAT WAS YOUR MANIFESTO FOR THIS ALBUM?:

Childs – “The only goal we had in mind when we started this project, which was about three years ago, was that we were going to write our own songs, play all the stuff ourselves, and if we landed a recording contract that we would stick to our guns, that we would do our own material, play everything and that Steve would produce. We were fortunate with Warner Bros., they’re a little more artist-oriented, and they allowed us to make a lot of the decisions. Having been signed to another label before, I can tell you that that’s not always the case. In my previous recording deal, I had very, very little decision making.”

ARE YOU GLAD TO BE OUT OF THE SOLO LIMELIGHT?:

Childs – “It just kind of came and went so very fast. I wasn’t very successful as a solo artist, and I think maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t like to work alone. Being a solo artist years ago was really lonely. I felt like it was me against the world. I always pictured myself when I was growing up as a lead singer and a songwriter in a band; all my favorite artists were in bands. I feel so much more comfortable working with a group of guys.”

YOUR PERSONAL MUSICAL HERO?:

Childs – “I had two when I was growing up. The first was Glen Campbell, and the second was Kenny Loggins. I was a big fan of Loggins & Messina first, then Kenny Loggins as a solo artist. The other guys in the band and myself all like the Eagles and groups from the ’70s and early ’80s like Poco, Doobie Brothers, Pure Prairie League – groups that specialized in guitars and harmony.”

DO YOU DOWNLOAD SONGS? IF SO, DO YOU FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT?:

Childs – “No, I don’t, but the reason I don’t is because I don’t have a portable MP3 player and the computer my family and I use to surf the Internet, I don’t have a CD burner. What I think about downloading music is that in the future I think it’s going to be a fabulous option. I think that the record companies, in general, and the publishing companies got caught with their pants down; everybody was trying to figure out how to keep people from copying music off the Internet, instead of jumping on the bandwagon early on and figuring out how to take advantage of it. If we move towards services that you pay for that allow you to download a lot of music, that’s the way to go.

“The writers of the songs and the artists themselves deserve to get paid for their hard work, because there’s never as much money in it as people think there is. You work years and years and write songs and you get nothing, except for maybe a measly draw from your publishing company that you can’t live off of. And then you get this one big hit; it took you 20 years to get there. Copying off the Internet hurts that person. We need to do two things: We need to develop pay services, and the CDs we put in the stores should have a little more with them, nicer packaging, with enhanced CDs.

“It’s worth going to the store to buy the Sixwire CD because it’s going to be an enhanced CD. There will be video clips, a documentary on making the album and links to our Web site – stuff you can’t get by downloading it off the Internet.”

YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW OF ALL TIME?:

Childs – ” ‘The Wonder Years.’ It goes back into my era; I was born in 1962, so most of what they covered seems to be in the early ’70s, and when I watch it, I’m like, ‘That’s me.’ Daniel Stern’s voiceovers in the show are amazing.”

WHO’S SORELY MISSING FROM THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME?:

Childs – “In the ’80s and up until about ’92, I used to work as a music director for a lot of ’50s and ’60s stars. My favorite to work with was Anthony Gourdine of Little Anthony and the Imperials. He should be in there. He’s friggin’ amazing. His voice is as amazing today as it was in the late ’50s and early ’60s. A couple of the songs they had, like ‘Hurt So Bad’ and ‘Goin’ Out of My Head,’ they’re incredible and nobody sings them like Anthony Gourdine.”

UPCOMING TOUR DATES: Aug. 14, Fayetteville, Ark., KFAY; Aug. 15, Russellville, Ark., Valley Fest at State Park; Aug. 31, Buffalo, Six Flags/Country Jam; Sept. 2, Springfield, Mass., Six Flags; Sept. 7, Little Rock, KSSN Listener Appreciation Show; Sept. 8, Denver, Six Flags; Sept. 14, Oklahoma City, KXXY/Country Fest; Sept. 21, Alexandria, Va., WMZQ Chili Cookoff; Sept. 23, Cleveland, WGAR; Sept. 24, Chattanooga, WUSY; Sept. 27, Cape Girardeau, Mo., Festival of Roses; Oct. 5, Philadelphia, WXTU Chili Cookoff.

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About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



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