Interview: Dillon Sampson

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I am the kind of person who always tries to keep an open mind about things. Lately I think I have completely opened my mind to different kinds of music. I set down to talk to Dillon Sampson to talk about songwriting, books and just life on the road. But really during this time we had deep conversation about life. Which was amazing!

While sitting down talking with Dillon, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself. I learned that it’s okay to look at the world in a different way than others. I mean can you imagine a world where we all were the same that would be pretty boring.

Sampson these days has been busy these days finishing up shows with Dolly Shine, writing music, recording music and working on a new podcast with fellow Oklahoman Caleb Shirtum of Kaitlin Butts and the Burnouts.

Courtesy Dillon Sampson

The way he talked about his experience of playing with The Damn Quails, it sounded like his involvement with band really shaped him into a different kind of bass player. He spoke of never having a set list while on stage. That one of the lead singers would just turn around to the band and say the name of the song and the key that it would be played in. After that 4 beats later they would be playing it. (Side Note: in no way would I ever be able to do that ever!) It really seems he has grown so much since before he joined the Damn Quails.

Something that really struck me was when he said this, “When I started to play for the (Damn) Quails, that’s really when I started writing songs. Charlie Stout and Bryon White really brought me out of my shell.”

We then talked about what it was like to be on the road for long periods of time with bands. That it’s not picture like many people think it is. There are great times with great fans, but there also times where drug abuse and alcohol take over people. The important thing to remember is to have 
boundaries and know what they are when you start out.

With talk of life on the road we talked about the essentials that he had to have.
1: A big jug of water, to keep hydrated while on the road.
2: The ability on drives home to venture out to Historical markers.
 3: Anything Jack Kerouac.
4. Music.                                      

Sampson gave us a few musicians that you should be listening to Rayland Baxter, Billy Strings, Austin Meade, Dillon Leblance, Wavves, and Alt Jam. If you haven’t heard of these before go check them out now!

Then we had a pretty harsh topic in between the two of us. The RED DIRT and TEXAS COUNTRY music scene. We spoke that the music has changed since the days of (Cross Canadian) Ragweed. In those days there was no social media so you really didn’t know who a band was unless you heard on the radio or at a show. These days you have the issue of bands pretending to be a bigger deal than they are now. One of the comments he made that I liked was, “In the music scene you can’t talk about it, you have to be about it.”

At one point I got to tell the story on how I started listening to Red Dirt and Texas Music. I started listening when Josh Abbott Band released the song Taste. I then moved on to songs like 17 by Cross Canadian Ragweed. Just to think that’s when I first really started liking music.
Then Sampson told me a story of having a cousin who played baseball at university. When his cousin came back home he had a Charlie Robison’s album Life of the Party, that Sampson really came to liking to. Right before his cousin left he gave the album to Sampson. Just to think that small thing is probably the reason he is doing so well in the music scene.

I really want to thank Dillon for agreeing to talk to me about the music and how it affects his life. 

Link for Red River Family Hour: Red River Family Hour


  1. What a great interview and opportunity to share a different perspective with someone!

  2. I see you enjoyed a lot, love the interview xoxo