By MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGAR
His new album, “Anthology,” is a two-disc set that serves as the greatest hits project for which his fans have been clamoring. It’s a culmination of the past 12 to 15 years of his blues-rock music on his Underworld record label. The album hit stores in June and features 31 previously released songs along with three new recordings.
360: What’s been the key to maintaining longevity in the music industry?
Too Slim: Working my ass off, trying to get better all the time, trying to take it farther, try to outdo what I did on the last one and seeking perfection. It’s been a ‘Got it in me, gotta get it out’ sort of thing. Try to learn from the last recording experience and try to inject something new in to it. So anytime you go into a new studio, working with new musicians, you get a different flavor. Trying to pull my influences all together into one big gumbo. People have trouble classifying the music but I call it blues-rock because it’s simple, but the music is a combination of a little bit of everything, I think. Blues, rock, jazz, country music, Americana, hard rock, punk rock – I listen to it all.
360: What’s the most emotional you have ever been while writing a song?
TS: That’s a hard one. There’s a lot of them with different emotions. … Well there’s one that I wrote for my wife called “Inside of Me.” It’s a love song to my wife. There’s also songs about struggles, then there’s happy songs that are just to party, but emotion-wise, I would say that song is a good example of an emotionally heartfelt song.
360: Is there a song/album that you look back on and admit you probably would’ve been better off not releasing?
TS: The first album that pops into my head that I shouldn’t have done is “Beer & Barbecue Chip” – it’s a live album. It was something my manager at the time talked me into. I didn’t think the quality of the recording was all that great. It was kind of thrown together and it’s sub-par recording quality in my book. I don’t think the performances on the album are all that bad but the sonic quality of the album just was really crappy.
360: Is there a song/album you can point to at the end of your career that best describes who you are as an artist?
TS: I would point them to “Anthology.” It’s a very good cross section of my music. It covers all the bases. That’s one of the reasons I put it out, there was an evolution going back to the earliest album I drew that material from, but I thought there was a real consistency too. I think the album shows versatility, songwriting and covers a lot of my influences.
360: Have you ever been in unfamiliar city on tour and just thought to yourself, “Man, wherever we are right now is pretty sketchy?”
TS: Yeah, a bunch of times. One time, in Cincinnati, I was trying to find the club and so there was the biggest rat I’ve ever seen in my life, squished in the middle of the road. I ended up trying to figure out where I could park to load into the club, and then I went into the club and the first thing the guy says to me is, “Where’d you park?” and I told him and he said, “No, you gotta move it right now! Everything will be gone in a matter of minutes. Go out to your van, move it over here.” When I saw the rat, I knew it wasn’t good. It was seriously the biggest rat I’ve ever seen. The body of it was at least a foot-and-a-half long.
360: Is there a city you visited and were shocked at how nice it was?
TS: I’ll tell you what the craziest one I ever did was, the one that blew my mind, was we played on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. We were doing a military tour for the troops and they flew us out to the USS Enterprise out in the middle of the Persian Gulf to perform for the troops. That was probably the most mind-blowing experience ever playing somewhere, I don’t think you can top that. Landing on an aircraft carrier and taking off from one is one of the biggest rushes you’ll ever have in life.
WHO: Too Slim and the Taildraggers
WHEN AND WHERE: 8 p.m. Tuesday, John’s Alley Tavern, 114 E Sixth St., Moscow
Aug. 8 -Blue Fox Theater in Grangeville
Aug. 9 – Canters Beer Garden in Lewiston
Dugar can be contacted at (208) 883-4628 or email@example.com.