About a year ago I got a really nice Facebook message from this guy I’d never met before. It was really complimentary and encouraging. It came at just right right time too. I was kind of bummed out and wondering if anybody cared about what I do. Anyways. The guy that sent the message was Dusty Redmon. We kept in touch and now we are bro’s and talk all the time! He’s a great guy and a killer guitar player. He can play the heck out of some slide guitar. (that’s southern for “he’s quite an accomplished guitar player”). One of the best parts of what I do for a living is meeting people like Dusty.
I caught up with Dusty while he was out of tour with his band The Almost in support of their new Album “Fear Inside Our Bones”.
Oh. Hey James.
What are you doing?
Right now I am heading towards Spokane. It’s a day off. We stayed in Redding last night. No big deal.
Are you kind of famous?
I had quite the number of MySpace friends at one time.
I think you are kind of famous. Maybe.
You and my grandma think alike. In that case, you must LOVE the show “Touched By An Angel.” I think you’re pretty famous, James. And fabulous. I don’t think I’m very famous though. I think if we had a “Fame-Off,” you’d win pretty easily.
What’s a “Fame-Off”? Nevermind. You have a little boy! How do you like being a dad?
I love it. I’ve never felt more worth than I do in being a father. On the flip side, it makes touring SO much tougher. We’ve kinda spoken about it a little. I’d do anything for Dillinger, even if it meant never touring again. I think you’ve got such a cool gig now with your online consultations. For an influential player like you, it’s a dream for some people to be able to talk to you one-on-one. I don’t think I could do much with that, but I think it’s very cool that you’re doing it.
Tell me a little about how you got started in music. What’s the story?
I was inundated with a lot music throughout my young life.
Inundated. Good word! Sorry… go on.
Little DR jammed on stuff like Black Sabbath all the way to George Jones. In high school, some friends and I started a hardcore band called Beloved and after graduation, started touring and eventually signed a record deal. I toured ten months a year for a while, playing a lot of rad clubs, basements, theaters, churches, and dingy bars. Beloved broke up in 2005 and I started playing with a band called Dead Poetic after that for a couple of years.
And then you joined The Almost? How did that come about?
Dead Poetic was about to release the only record I wrote for and recorded on, “Vices,” when my buddy Aaron (who I knew from touring with his band UnderOath for years when I was in Beloved) asked me if I would join his new solo project. I had to tell him no, and two weeks later Dead Poetic broke up. That sucked. By February, his guitarist quit and he called again. Talk about The Lord providing.
One thing I really like about you is that you are a really nice guy and you don’t seem to be jaded about the music industry, even though you’ve been around the block and I’m sure have seen a lot. I know people that haven’t done nearly as much as you that have the worst attitudes. What keeps you positive?
Man, that’s really nice. I act pretty grumpy sometimes, but I honestly feel lucky to have the smallest shred of success, albeit minimal. I’ve seen a lot of places with some of my best friends, gotten to take my wife with me sometimes, and been able to meet the most encouraging people.
Who are some of your influences?
You know I’m a Mike Campbell junkie. I think he’s really made me want to keep my playing simple. I love players who write parts that serve the song, not their shredability. Yeah, I literally just made that up. Pretty cool. Lead parts should always be about melody, and I think that’s why I reached out to you in the first place. Your work on “Economy” reminded me so much of Campbell that I felt compelled to let you know personally. I know you’re a big MC fan, but who else pushes you?
Yes, I love Mike Campbell. His style is so simplistic, but so perfect. He knows exactly what to play. I love Joe Perry. I feel like Joe writes the absolute best guitar solos of all time. I just heard Angel on the radio this morning. That solo is so amazing. And clean! Such a good clean tone on that solo. I tell people all the time to learn a couple Joe Perry solos. It’s like going to music school.
I feel scared to like Joe Perry. I mean, don’t get me wrong- I loved Aerosmith growing up. They write incredible rock songs. Maybe it was just “Livin’ on the Edge” that got me scared of what my friends would think if they heard me jamming Aerosmith. “Love In An Elevator” is totally riff city though. I love all those ballads too, I guess. Ok. Ok. My name is Dusty and I’m a Joe Perry fan.
Now that we are being honest, If you weren’t a guitar player what would you be doing?
I think being a barber would be awesome. Like a man’s barber. Spinning Motown records in a barber shop all day, drinking Cheerwine, shooting the breeze… I don’t think I could imagine you doing anything else…maybe being a tattoo artist.
I don’t have the attention span to be a tattoo artist. I’d ruin people’s skin. I’d probably try to be a writer. Or a Doctor. Doctors make pretty good money so that would be a good career for me. Because I think being rich would probably be pretty cool. Have you seen rich people’s houses? Their cars? Wow! What’s the hardest thing about being a musician?
Balancing the love of playing and performing with the reality of being a father and a husband who needs to provide financially for a family. Records don’t sell anymore, so touring is how I make my money. And I hate money, but I’ve got cute mouths to feed. It’s a really tough balance that I literally pray about daily.
What kind of gear are you playing these days?
I’ve got a couple of awesome handmade tele clones from James LeClair (leclairguitars.wordpress.com) out of Tampa. He cuts his own bodies and necks, and also winds his own pickups. They rule so hard. I’ve also started jumping on strats too. I’ve actually got two out with me now. I run those through a bunch of pedals into a 1962 Fender Tremolux and a Bad Cat Classic Deluxe 20r. I’m pretty set on that blackface-style amp. Headroom makes all the difference in the world to me, and I think it’s hard to beat that outside of that blackface circuit.
Bad Cat makes some great stuff! If you could only play one guitar for the rest of the week… no, the rest of your life, What would it be?
I think a real 52 Telecaster could just about do anything I would ever need. If you asked me this ten years ago, I probably would’ve said something like a PRS or something. What would you shred on?
I don’t know… maybe a 60’s Strat. 1961. Black. Rosewood neck. Probably. But maybe a 1959 Les Paul. Because I could always sell it for $400,000.00 if I quit music.
If you were starting a supergroup who would you call first?
Um… Is this a cry for attention? You, of course. My old tour manager is FOH for Kevin Bacon, so maybe him.
No, it wasn’t a cry for attention. Kevin Bacon is in a band with his brother. The Bacon Brothers. That’s a real thing. The Bacon Brothers.
So the new record is out! Are you guys gonna be busy this year?
Yeah it’s already kinda gotten started. “Fear Inside Our Bones” came out on June 11, and we are in the middle of a short headlining run now. We just shot a video for our first single with our now-mutual friend Vitor Belfort. I get to spend five days at home before leaving on a Relient K tour in July. Maybe an Almost All the Bright Lights tour soon? That could be our super group’s name.
Now we are talking. What are you doing later today?
I think we are going to see some movie. I dunno. Mind your own business.
Okay, Okay! Bye Dusty. Thanks.
Goodbye dear James. Thank you. Let’s get Pinky’s soon.