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Interview - Big Daddy Ritch, John, Timmy & Cord (Texas Hippie Coalition)

Interview with Big Daddy Ritch, John, Timmy & Cord from Texas Hippie Coalition
by Eric Klunk at 01 December 2014, 3:40 AM

Mayhem Fest 2014 was a riot! Among the line up was the awesome TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION. Eric Klunk had the opportunity to sit down with the entire band and have a great discussion about the Mayhem tour, an on going bicycle steeling battle with MUSHROOMHEAD, the Ride for Dime in Texas, and plenty of other intersting stuff. Enjoy!!

Thanks for giving us the time guys. So how’s Mayhem been?

Big Dad Ritch: Easy cheesy, Awesome man.

Just like summer camp?

John Exall:  Shit it is Summer camp.

Big Dad Ritch: Nothing like fat camp (laughter). I was a little rough on him. (laughter)

So what were some high points of the tour so far?

Big Dad Ritch: Shit they’ve all been high points so far. The high point is the day we’ve played Seattle marijuana was legal to sell out of stores. Colorado bought some weed there, that was a high point. Just being able to do it and not get in trouble is pretty cool and buying it in a store is kinda weird.

It’s kinda cool isn’t it?

John Exall: It is but it still blows me off a little bit though.

Timmy Braun: We’re kinda at the point now where sometimes we forget where we are.

John Exall: When we get to some of the shows and we’ll be walking out smoking out being like “Hello Cleavland” (laughter)

Timmy Braun: The last part of the tour is pretty much where our home towns are.

Where is the hometown for you guys?

Timmy Braun: Dallas for most of us except for (him) he’s from Oklahoma City.

Do you see a lot of your family, friends and hard core fans coming out?

John Exall: We got chapters that come out from all over the nation, even worldwide. There’s not one time that I haven’t seen one person that I don’t talk to on Facebook.

Big Dad Ritch: There is people here today that are here to see us from the UK.

JohnExall: I mean how flattering is that? Somebody  came all the way from there to see ya.

Big Dad Ritch: There was someone here from Germany.

Timmy Braun: We had a guest list for pretty much every show.

Big Dad Ritch: Yeah they don’t like our guest list (laughter)

So have you guys done any of the Ride’s for Dime?

John Exall: Yeah, we’ve done them all but 2.

How are they? Is there a big turn out?

John Exall: Yeah they are awesome, we champion anything that’s out there to go and help put instruments into children’s hands. For little kids to rock and put music back in school. It’s the way it needs to be.

What are some of the other bands that you’ve played with for these?

Big Dad Ritch: This year Kill Devil Hill will be there, Shadows fall was there last year, Hatebreed, always the big ones.

Do any of you guys ride?

John Exall: As much as we can but we’re always gone. Usually ride something stolen, quickly then dumped off somewhere. We’ve been steeling bicycles on this tour, don’t tell Mushroomhead (Laughter)

How long have you guys been playing together?

Me and John have been together over a decade. Timmy’s been with us for the past 3 or 4 years.

Big Dad Ritch: Cord has been with us the last year and a half.

Cord: 2 years now.

John Exall: It’s been a year and a half, I think he’s trying to get a raise. (Laughter) We said after 2 years you could talk to us about more stuff , he’s like ok. (Laughter)

What are your plans after Mayhem?

Big Dad Ritch: The Ride for Dime is coming up August the 15th in Fort Worth Texas.

Are there other Ride for Dime’s in the country or is it just in Texas?

Big Dad Rich: Well the Ride for Dime in Dallas is pretty much the main one, that’s the big party. I believe there is one in Philly, run by a friend of ours named Philly Joe. He’s been doing it for some years now, I think it’s the 2nd longest one running now. Chicago is the 3rd largest one, a lot of the major cities are starting to have one, Tampa Bay has got one, Nashville has got one now. A lot of these schools are starting to shut down their whole music programs completely, and just not have it. There was a school in Texas 3 to 4 years back that they weren’t going to have music because they didn’t have any instruments. That Ride for Dime we took all that money and we bought all the instruments for that whole school. That will carry on for years and years after.

Does Vinnie or Rita ever come out?

Big Dad Ritch: Yeah, We had one big Ride for Dime down there and I got to go on stage with Ace Frehley, Vinnie Paul, members of Snot, lead singer of Slipknot/ Stone Sour, Corey. And it was like, we were doing a Kiss song, I can’t remember, it might have been Rock and roll all night or Shock Me or some shit like that. I think we did a couple, but it was just really cool to up there with a bunch of real rock stars.

Who were some of the bands that were new to you on this tour?

John Exall: We’ve been pretty aware of most of the bands on this tour but there has been a few that snuck on that we weren’t aware of.

Big Dad Ritch: The bands that might not have been on my radar that I have been taking a liking to have been Miss May I, Suicide Silence, we already knew about upon a burning Body, being Texas boys and all. They seem to be tearing up some audiences as well. The bands that seem to be kicking it on the COLDCOCK Stage MushroomHead, on the American Stage Body Count is killing it, main stage KORN, loving it. You know, a lot of good bands out here man that’s why we always encourage everybody to go see as many bands as you can. I’ve seen a lot of the press you know before Mayhem started, you know you had all these sub-genre heads that were complaining that there is not enough death, there’s not enough this there’s not enough that. I think that what John Reese has done here is practically genius. He just mixed up a whole metal festival letting all little sub-genres being represented. Nineteen bands is fucking awesome! If you think about it, there was at least a thousand bands that wanted to be on this bill. You know what I mean? We are one of the bands that gets to be here and represent, we want to make sure that all the bands that weren’t represented know that we are staying true and we are trying to save the art, the lost art which is heavy metal.

It’s bigger in Europe than it is in the U.S.?

Big Dad Rich: It’s been like that for a while, even in South America we notice that too. We go down there and it’s like we’re the Beetles man, it’s a trip.


Big Dad Ritch: It’s like another music that’s different over there, we saw a big, huge gigantic street sign over there that said that said Texas Hippie Coalition and down in the corner it said Guns and Roses and I’m like these people have lost their minds! (Laughter) At least it was two good looking red headed guys on the bill! (Laughter)

How did you guys get the name Texas Hippie Coalition?

Big Dad Ritch: Well coming from Texas we are proud to be from Texas so you always want to pay honor and homage to the great state but my parents raised me as a hippie, my dad was the first marijuana bust in Grayson county history down in Texas. As soon as he got busted we ran up to Washington state and hid out up there. I had hair down to my ass since I was like you know, I never got my hair cut until I was like thirteen or fourteen years old. I forget I think it was or some theatre arts class, It was ridiculous (laughter). But you know I’m just letting my parents know that I was happy and proud to be raised a hippie and the coalition part is just because we love our fans. And we want our fans to feel a part of it and the coalition extends beyond these four men right here and the coalition has been growing like a weed. (laughter) 


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Edited 28 March 2023

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