A Q&A with Dave Schools of Hard Working Americans

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They’ve had to make some reparations. But certainly in the blues tradition, outright theft is an acceptable tradition, but most blues artists weren’t selling 10 million records like Led Zeppelin was. So they got in a little trouble. Their profile was high. The way we’ve approached it is that we’re all about making sure that when people hear these songs, they know who wrote it, they know where we got the inspiration to do what we did with the song. That’s one of the great things that jam bands do, they’re notorious interpreters.

When I was talking to Todd earlier he said he considered you to be one of the moral and ethical leaders of his musical generation. Do you see yourself as that?

You know, I really don’t, but I’m glad that Todd does because I think he’s one of the greatest songwriting talents out there and I count him as a friend. So for someone to say something like that about me – I’m smiling inside right now. But I think it’s a mutual respect that means we work well together. I would never try to make him do something he’s not comfortable with as an artist, and he would never try to make me play a bass line that he doesn’t think I’d play. We had a really easy time working together in the studio and making this record together. What’s exciting is the fact that we know we have 45 minutes of material and we’re not going to stretch the songs out to 10 minutes, that would be doing them a disservice – although believe me, this band can jam. I know we’re going to have to do some of Todd’s songs to fill up our time, and I’m really looking forward to him being willing to reinterpret his music with this band and let us attack his songs with the same sort of fervor that we attacked his friends song’s with.

[Hopefully], we can do “Play A Train Song” in a Hard Working American’s way where he can get up there and front it as Todd Snider the frontman of the Hard Working Americans as opposed to Todd Snider the peace-loving, porn-watching hippie. He’s unashamed and thank God, we need more people like him. That’s the role of an artist, to remind people to say the things we’re thinking. Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable. It might not be the most popular opinion, but he ain’t afraid to say it and that’s important. Love the guy. I love all these guys, it’s just wonderful. I can’t wait to put the band onstage and see what happens next. That’s the exciting part now.

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