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Q&A’s with the band Tora Tora

Tora Tora kicked off the 2nd day of the M3 festival with a rocking 30-minute set that the band did not disappoint at all and were happy to be playing at M3 Festival. Fans who attended got to see the band live and also meet the group. After the performance, the band took time out to meet the fans who were happy to see Tora Tora was back. This is not a reunion as the band is back and here to stay having released a new album earlier this year Bastards of Beale the collection doesn’t disappoint it stays true to the band’s sound. The band still maintains all original members Anthony Corder-Vocals, Keith Douglas- Guitar, Patrick Francis- Bass, and John Patterson-drums. I had the opportunity to talk to Anthony Corder and John Patterson about being at M3 festival, the new album and more.

Angel Alamo: How does it feel, playing M3 Festival? This is your first time.

Anthony Corder: Man, it was awesome. I didn’t want to come off stage. I loved it. It was so fun.

John Patterson: Oh, it was awesome.

AC: It’s been a bucket list thing for us, isn’t it?

JP: Absolutely.

JP: We’ve been trying to get out here for many years, and we finally did it.

AC: The audience is awesome. They’re crazy.

AA: And it lived up to everything that we expected.

AC: Yeah.

AA: Cool. Hopefully, we’ll have you guys back next year, hopefully.

AC: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We’d love to come back.

AA: How long did it take the band to record your latest album, Bastards of Beale?

AC: Six days.

AA: Six days, wow.

AC: Seriously, six days.

AA: So was that like writing, recording like?

AC: We were writing it-

JP: We had everything … it, what, took a year to write everything?

AC: I think it was from like November to maybe June.

JP: Yeah.

AC: November of ’17 to about June is when we went in, but we did a ton of pre-production because we wanted to go in and cut as much as we could live in the studio. So the band was all in the room, I was in a little booth, and we would do the takes and then … We were kind of doing it old-school. It was kind of fun.

JP: It was old-school.

AC: It was really fun. The energy and everything were super.

AA: What are the band’s future plans? Can fans expect to see more albums, more tours coming?

JP: Oh, yeah. We’re … Anthony was talking a little bit, a little earlier, we’re writing new songs, going to start working on a new album. We’ve got a few gigs coming up here the next few weeks. Got one in Denver, a gig at home.

AC: Yeah, we’re going to Denver. We’re doing an acoustic show in Memphis that we’ve never done. We’ve never done an acoustic kind of setting. We’re going to do that as a real special kind of thing for our home audience. And then I think we go to Missouri, and I think the tentative stuff is Texas and Chicago.

JP: Bastards of … I’m sorry, Bastard of Beales stays true to the band’s sound. Going into the recording, was that the plan?

AC: Yeah. I think we were trying to just … We were excited, like everybody else, about what it was going to sound like, and we were wondering what it was going to feel like, and all that stuff. I think we kind of picked up right where we left off with Revolution Day.

AC: I mean, from just my perspective or whatever. But it just felt like it was a continuation of where we left … picked up. And it’s funny because it’s been a long time. We were kind of nervous.

AA: Yeah, it kind of feels like that last album came out right after maybe the third album.

AC: Yeah, that’s what we were thinking, too. But we were excited. I mean, Keith definitely … It’s the four of us, me and Keith’s guitar sound, and Patrick playing bass, and John on drums. I mean, I know that sounds cliché, but that’s the sound. Jeff Powell, the guy that produced the record, he wrote to me … we had done a show in Memphis, and he wrote me a couple of months after the show, and he said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about y’ all.” He was cutting straight to vinyl at Sam Phillips studio in Memphis. He said, “Do you guys want to come cut a couple of songs with me, do like a single, two sides, and two songs?” And I said, “You’re not going to believe it, man. We want to do a whole project. Do you have time to do it?”

AC: But we were talking about what had gotten his interest was, he said, “I saw you do this benefit y’ all were playing,” and he goes, “Man, the sound. It’s the four of y’all when y’ all get up there together.” Because there was a bunch of bands and a bunch of people sitting in playing with each other and all that, and he was like, “When the four of y’ all are playing, that’s the Tora Tora thing.” Do you know?

AA: What artist made you want to go into music? Was there an artist or album that just kind of made you want to just-

AC: This is a good question.

JP: That’s a loaded question.

AA: Or artists that made you say Okay, this is what I want to do”? Like, there was a band, or album even, that just kind of made you want to go do music?

AC: There’s so many.

tora tora logoJP: Yeah, that’s a long list. There’s not one. For me, anyway, as a drummer, there’s not one album, but it was a collection. Mainly three different drummers. There was Alex Van Halen, Tommy Aldridge, and Neil Peart. Those guys influenced me more than anything, and listening to them made me want to play. So if you want to say that’s what got me into it, then that’s what it is, you know?

AC: Yeah. That’s crazy. I think my family had a lot to do with mine, the singing part. We’re all from down in the Delta in Mississippi, and I don’t think I realized it, when I was younger, what kind of profound effect they would have on me, as far … They were musicians, kind of like porch pickers. You know, they’d just sing harmonies and play guitar. And as I got older and started getting into stuff, I was listening to all of the … I mean, these guys kind of corrupted me, got me into all different kinds of music.

AC: But it depends on what era you’re talking about, too, because I think we were inspired by what everybody else was. We were fans of all the classic rock, and Zeppelin, and Bad Company, and Aerosmith, and all those kind of guys. But as I kept digging in deeper, we got into the blues guys, the Elmore James, and Etta James. God, I wanted to be Etta James for a long time. She was a great singer. I used to drive them nuts, playing all these old blues records and stuff.

JP: He would. He’d crank them up in the bus and then just … We’d be like, “No! Come on, man!”

AC: But I think I was inspired by a lot of stuff, and I think my granddad … he played a lot of Mississippi John Hurt and stuff like that, so that blues thing definitely was ingrained in me, that aspect of it.

JP: Yeah. You know, being from Memphis, that kind of music, I didn’t grow up playing it, and neither did the other guys, Keith and Patrick, but it’s still in you because you grew up in it, and it kind of just soaks into your blood, you know?

AC: Yeah, that’s true.

JP: And it comes out in your playing, and I think that’s a big part of our sound.

AA: How have you guys been able to maintain the same lineup? I mean, it’s the four original guys, where that’s a rare thing now, it seems. So how do you guys keep that together?

AC: We signed some contracts. No, I’m joking. I’m kidding.

JP: We’ve got a lot of information on each other.

AC: Yeah. We blackmail each other. No, really, we’ve been friends since high school, so we’ve known each other for 30 years, and we do enjoy playing and creating music and writing. I think we’re … we don’t really say this, but we’re kind of inspired by each other. You know, the stuff that Keith plays, man, I mean … Even on this last record and stuff, where the guys would get together, and they would come up with some of the early arrangements and stuff and send it to me. We’re kind of located in different places now. They’re in Memphis, and I’m in Nashville, so it was kind of a different approach to writing I think we just enjoy doing this stuff together.

AA: When you guys got together in 2008, was it the plan to do a short reunion tour for, hey, let’s just get together? Or was the goal was to, hey, let’s get this started again?

AC: What do you think?

JP: I don’t know that there was a plan. We just said, “Yeah, let’s play.” But as far as sitting down and strategically planning anything out, that never happened.

AC: Yeah. No, and man, actually, we had played a little bit around town. I was playing a little bit. All of us kept the creative thing. I think that the passion for creating music and playing and all that never went away for any of us, but we were kind of involved in different things. But I think around 2008, we just wanted to go test the waters for a minute. We missed it a lot. And when we had initially stopped playing together, like after the A&M’s record label stuff and all that had kind of gone away, we were like, “Hey, man, let’s take a break,” because we were all kind of just freaking out. We had been really busy for about six years and playing, and we were like, “Let’s regroup when we have time.” And I thought it was going to be like a month. I was like, I’ll see them in a couple of weeks or whatever. And man, it was like six or seven years before we played together again.

AC: It was a big break. But I think that we all just needed to process the thing that was going on with us because we had taken off like a bolt of lightning, you know? We were young kids, and we were signed in Memphis, and we put a video out, and all of a sudden it was on a countdown on MTV, and we were playing arenas, opening up for people and just … we were like, “Wow, this is what our life’s like right now.” And then, all of a sudden, it went into like a screeching halt, where we just went, “Oh, my God. My identity and everything that we’re about is changing all of a sudden.” And I think all of us just had to step away for a second, just to kind of process the whole thing.

AC: But it was a good thing. When we got back together, it was just like nothing had ever happened. And it wasn’t any hard blood or anything between all of us. It was just, I think our life had just taken such a random turn. You know, it kind of throws you a curve ball every once in a while. But it made us really appreciate it when we got back together. We were like, “Oh, man. This is like a breath of fresh air.” I knew there was something missing, and it was them being around and playing together.

AA: So how was that first show? It was 2008 in Rocklahoma, right?

AC: It was fun. It was hot, oh, my God.

AA: So how was it? Were there any jitters of, you know, how … are people going to remember? Were there any jitters or anything like that going on?

AC: I definitely think so

JP: Yeah, there was a little bit of anxiety-

AC: We were surprised, though, that people were wearing Tora Tora shirts-

AA: And they still are, in the audience.

JP: Yeah, that’s cool

AC: Yeah, we couldn’t believe it.

JP: I’m sure it’s … all four of us feel the same way, but when you see fans with your shirts on them there, it makes you feel … it relaxes me, anyway.

JP: It gets rid of a lot of anxiety. I’m not having to feel like we’re having to win people over, because our fans are there, you know?

AA: Yeah. Same thing here today. You’ve definitely got quite a few people with the Tora Tora shirts on, walking around.

AC: Oh, man. It was fun. That was a really great time.

AA: When you guys came out 30 years ago, Nashville was not the way that it is today, where now a lot of your peers actually live there to write music. What is it about Nashville that just seems like a special place now, where it’s not just known as country, but now a lot of your peers, a lot of people actually go there just to write songs in general. What is it that makes Nashville that special place?

JP : Well, Ant actually lives there, so-

AC: Yeah. I moved there in 2005, but I think it has a lot to do with just the infrastructure, that the industry itself is there. I mean, it’s always been considered kind of the third coast, with New York and LA and Nashville. And Nashville was built on publishing. When it started out, it was people selling paper, the hymns, to churches, right? And that’s how that city was built. And then that built this infrastructure that started … you know, 100 years ago, it started all this. But now I think the attraction is, especially when a lot of the ’80s guys were moving there, is it was cheaper to live there. You still had all the accolades and everything about being in the big city, but you were in this kind of … it’s a small town. I mean, it’s still growing. There are 100 people a day moving there. They can’t build the high-rises fast enough. I think there are 20-something cranes downtown that is… they can’t fit the people. I’m just blown away.

AC: But I do think a lot of it is the industry side of it. Memphis and Nashville, to me, they’re both river cities. They’re like Louisville and St. Louis and all those, where it’s a transient kind of place where people move in. But the thing that attracted everybody to Nashville was that infrastructure of your contacts, your networking, your relationships, and everything’s right there. LA is super spread-out. You’re all condensed in New York, where it’s like the population’s … you know, getting around and all that kind of stuff. But Nashville’s still like a … it’s still like a small town, even though it’s grown. Music Row is two strips right in the middle of the city, which is changing every day

AA: A lot of the bands that come from LA, a lot of them are now in Nashville.

AC: I remember walking in … I went to … I had been at William Morris one night for a Christmas party, and I turned around, and it was Tom Keifer and the Cinderella guys, and I was like, oh, my God, what are they doing here? And somebody looked at me, and they go, “Man, they’re all here.” Kip (Winger) is here-

AA: Yeah. Kip, Matthew Nelson-

AC: Yeah, the Nelson brothers are there.

AA: Nelson twins. Dave Mustaine just moved there recently.

AC: Dave Mustaine’s there. His daughter’s doing stuff with music. Mick Mars is there. John Corabi’s there. Have you ever seen the Rock N Roll Residency guys? You ever saw them?

AA: No, not yet.

AC: So they’re a bunch of musicians in Nashville. They kind of created a culture and a whole community of people getting together and jamming when they’re off the road. It was a place where people could get together, that were musicians, and see each other. And when you go to this event and you look around, it’s like all these ’80s people. You just go, oh, my God. I mean, it’s just crazy.

Check it out!

https://www.toratoramusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ToraToraBand/

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