Casey Johns of the Dix Hat Band

Saturday, October 18, 2014

By Kate Kinder
Editor in Chief

Mr Casey Johns of  Crane America! Currently in Lubbock,Texas is the bass player with the Dix Hat Band.
His hobbies include: "I've always enjoyed shooting and music!  Those would be my two favorite hobbies.  That and herpin!  And Irish Car Bombs… if that’s a hobby."

When and why did you start playing?
"I started playing guitar when I was a senior in High school.  I was really big into what was going on in the Texas music scene with Pat Green, Boland, and Randy Rogers.  There are plenty of others to list but we just played a lot of covers and started a band. Well what we thought was a band at the time.  All we knew was that we wanted to play music. It wasn’t long after that I picked up a bass and fell in love."

Which instruments do you play?
"I play Upright and electric bass primarily, guitar, some harmonica, and like 6 chords on the mandolin.  Oh and a really really bad faded love on the violin.  “it’ll wake the dead”."

What was the first songs you learned?
"I think the first song I ever learned was Party Crowd by David Lee Murphy.
It was one my buddy knew so he showed how to play it. I bought a guitar the next day.  After that we would play any song simple enough for us to figure out."

Is your family musical?
"Not really. My granddad could play the harmonica really well but I think I’m the first to try it as a profession."

Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
"I've been on an Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile kick lately and those guys are some of the best in the world.  I think I’d truly be star struck if I ever got meet em.   I can’t leave out the guys like Willie and Waylon, which I grew up listening to.  Robert Earl Keen Jr., Pat Green, Boland, Ryan Bingham, all the Texas and Okie guys.  They’re the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place.  I feel really fortunate that I have been able to share the stage with some of them.""

Which famous musicians have you learned from?
"Haha that’s a very long list.  I try to learn as much as I can from every musician I get to play with or listen to.  Music is something that can be played at any level and there’s always something new to learn.  So its hard to say what I’ve picked up from any specific person.  Some day I’ll learn to play my instruments.  Till then I’ll keep trying. Once when we played with Jason Boland for an early show on a Sunday there were only like 50 people at this outdoor show.  They played a kick ass show despite the small crowd. I felt like we got a private concert.  I learned that day that true pro’s put on the same show regardless the crowd.  Not to mention him and his crew were all top notch dudes!"

What are your fondest musical memories?
"I would have to say It’d be in the early days of Dix Hat Band.  We had a great rehearsal one night and several songs just worked.  I’ll never forget the feeling I got from us playing everything right and the music flowing like it should.  It was hard to believe we just did that. That’s why I keep playing music.  That and the first time we played with Robert Earl Keen.  That was the biggest stage we’d ever stepped foot on.  We were all extremely nervous but him and his band came up and shook our hands after the show. It all seemed so surreal."

Were you influenced by old records & tapes?
"I remember listening to Willie, Waylon and Kris growing up.  I definitely will always be taken back when one of their tunes comes on the radio.  I think my list of influences have evolved and grown as I have."

What is a typical week like for you?
"My weeks are pretty unstructured. I’m usually trying to wrap my head around the music business during the days. Weekdays Adam and I play anywhere we can as the Frogloggers and usually with Dix Hat Band on the weekends.  Playing music full time is wonderful especially when the gigs are rolling in.  The rare days we have off we usually end of jamming anyways.  So my weeks pretty much consist of music of some sort."

What's your favorite thing about being on the road?
"I enjoy traveling to different places seeing new things meeting new people.  I also enjoy seeing the same people over and over at shows.  They become friends pretty quickly and its always good to see how they are doing after not being back for a while.  Often times they bring more people out to hear our music and that’s a great feeling.  It’s a great drug playing live especially when your on the road with the same guys for days on end.  You really start to get tight and things start clicking really well."

What's the funniest thing that's happened on the road?
"Looking back on it it’s funny when Kelly got pulled off his drum throne by an excited wobbly fan during an encore at Taos one night. I’ll spare the details but looking back on it we laugh.  Also when the shower head shot off and hit Kelly in the head once in Del Rio, after battling the roaches.  For the record I wasn't in the shower with him but heard it in the next room.  We laugh constantly maybe someday we’ll rig the van with cameras, I think there’d be plenty of footage."

Best place to eat while on the road?
"Man I’d have to say one of my favorite burgers is up at the Riff Raff Brewery in Pagosa Springs Co.  Ever go there get the Cabrito Burger!  Plus the owners a Tech Alumni!
Oh and the beer at Taos Mesa Brewing... If that's a meal. You've gotta get you a Scottish Stout."

What's the best town play in?
"It is hard to beat our hometown of Lubbock!  The energy is always there and I get excited to play for those folks who have watched us come up.
They always have to try and be louder than the time before.  Its great."

Thank you so much Casey! I can't wait to see y'all again live!

xxx West Texas SweetHeart

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