Todd Snider talks about some Hard Working Americans – Interview


It’s no big secret that we here at “Our Kind Of Music” are HUGE fans of Todd Snider and just about anything he does. I’m so glad I got a chance to ask Todd a few questions about his latest project, a jam-band super-group called – Hard Working Americans. These five veteran players – TODD SNIDER on Vocals; DAVE SCHOOLS of  Widespread Panic on Bass Guitar; NEAL CASAL of  The Cardinals and Chris Robinson Brotherhood on Guitars and Vocals; CHAD STAEHLY of Great American Taxi on Keys; and DUANE TRUCKS of Col. Bruce Hampton’s school of music on Drums  – are putting in the hours and keeping at the grind for music lovers everywhere. The band is proud to introduce their self-titled debut album, scheduled for release January 21st on Melvin Records and Thirty Tigers. In the sidebar to the right, you can listen to the Hard Working Americans performing “Down to the Well” (written by Kevin Gordon).

Here’s how the Q&A went…

TS:  Its good to hear from you again, Blake. Thanks for helping us…

OKOM:  The last time we spoke you’d mentioned how much you’d love to be in a jam band. Now you’ve formed Hard Working Americans. How long have you been planning this type of project?

TS:  I have loitered back stage around the jam scene for a while… I dig that kind of music and that kind of crowd. When someone comes up and say they like me, I like it, but I really really like it if they have on like a (Grateful) Dead, Black Crowes, Widespread (Panic), Phish, or Moe t-shirt on. I don’t know why that is, or how it even relates to the question really. I am always trying to do different things with music or writing, or anything artsy fartsy I just like to do it, and to make a short answer long… it started when me and David Schools jammed together in San Francisco. I like the way he approaches my songs a lot… and just music in general. So we decided to form a hard rock band. If we keep going it’ll get even more rock. I want to be like Black Sabbath. It took a year or so to put this all together but it wasn’t planning as much as it was letting it happen.

OKOM:  Hard Working Americans brings together some extremely talented guys from different spots along the fringe of the musical spectrum. Was this by accident or design?

TS:  A lot of people were almost in this band – namely Jeff Austin.. eventually it came to Chad and me and David deciding to try calling Neal and talking him into it. We all love CRB (as key and peele say… that’s my shit). And then we wanted david to decide who to play drums with, and he said this kid Duane was peaking and I agree. He’s kinda the star of the album..  David Schools produced it all though and is our leader. All four of them produced really. It was fascinating to watch them work. I don’t play guitar in this.

The Hard Working Americans – “Stomp and Holler” Video


OKOM:  You’ve told me before you’re a huge fan of Chris Robinson. How did you manage to pull Neal Casel from Chris’s band into Hard Working Americans?

TS:  Oh, we did not do that nor would we want to. We have to just plan it all right… or someone does. He is still playing with Chris. They have a new record coming out soon.

OKOM:  You’ve worked with Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi a lot in the past. Have you worked with any of the other members of Hard Working Americans before this project?

TS:  I’ve sat in with (Widespread) Panic a few times when we opened for them, but the other guys – I had never played with until we got to the studio.

OKOM:  All of the songs on the new album are covers of songs written by some very talented people. How did the final choice of songs come about?

TS:  I have always kept a pile of songs that I really loved with this vague hope that I would get to produce a singer who needed songs some day. Jason D. Williams was going to do some of these, but then just started making up his own. So I suppose there’s about thirty of them. I sent them all to David with an outline of how it could be culled to hint at a story line and/or theme if not just outright have them. And from there I followed the band.

OKOM:  Most of my stoner friends don’t get shit done… But in the last year, you’ve managed to: put out two albums; write a book; star in a movie; form a new band and record an album with them; PLUS tour extensively. What do you do in all your spare time?

TS:  I play in the (Eastside) Bulldogs. We’re about two days from done with an album of Tim Carroll songs, and have some gigs coming up, and also I do reverend stuff… now that I am one. I smoke dope, play guitar, work on my songs, watch the old lady paint, make out, and walk the dogs… We watch a lot of tv too.

OKOM:  Thanks much for your time, Todd!

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