Published on October 28th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann0
The Punch List with George McDaniel of the Shutter Dogs
Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, bluesy Southern-rock guitarist George McDaniel of local rock quartet the Shutter Dogs responds, point by point.
1. What is your favorite local hang and why?
“I recently moved way out on John’s Island, so I don’t go out that often unless I’m playing. But, when I lived over on James Island we hung out a lot at Cha Cha’s because we all lived nearby and there was nice scenery.”
2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…
“When I’m drenched in sweat at last call with the crowd calling out for one more song.”
3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?
“The Hendrix tribute show. There were so many incredible musicians on that bill. But, I got so fired up because people were sitting down. I can understand sitting down and being respectful of the artist, but this was ‘Voodoo Chile’ and ‘Purple Haze.’ Stand up and rock the hell out!”
4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.
“Stevie Ray and Jimi getting mixed up with Southern soul.”
5. What’s your theme song?
“‘Ramblin’ Man’ by the Allman Brothers. When I was a kid, we would have ‘dinner music’ which was Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin. Then my brother and I had to help wash the dishes, so we would put on ‘dishwashing music.’ That was stuff like CCR, Koko Taylor, Allman Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. One of my favorites was always ‘Ramblin’ Man.’ My dad’s from Atlanta, and my mom’s from Perry, Ga., and Highway 41 runs right through both, so that line, ‘I was born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus, rolling down Highway 41’ had a special significance to me.
We play that song now, and we, as a band, worked very hard to get it right, particularly Chris and I to get those Dickey Bettis-isms. That song just makes me feel good. I love driving over the connector on a bright sunny day looking out at this beautiful city with the windows down and that song playing. Holy City, indeed.”
6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?
“My Fender Stratocaster, Susie. She’s a beast of a guitar, but she plays so beautifully. On the top, I have the letters ‘VACH,’ which stands for Vaughan, Allman, Clapton, and Hendrix. I get asked about that a lot, and it comes from my mom, Mary Sue, who is a classical pianist. It’s a play on one of her favorite composers, Bach. That guitar and I have been through a lot together, but she’s a tough bird, and she’ll be with me for whatever comes down the road.”
7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?
“That’s a tough one. I go through phases where I’ll be completely into a certain artist and just listen to them incessantly. But I always come back to Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s the reason I started playing guitar in the first place, and I still find myself in absolute awe of his music. Of his albums, my favorite is In Step. It’s his final album and the one that he did after finally getting clean and sober. His tone on that album is absolutely monstrous, and his playing is phenomenal. Crank that album up; the results are earth-rattling.”
8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?
“When my bandmate Chris Fulmer, my dad, and I got to sit with B.B. King on his tour bus. My dad used to work at the Center for Southern Folklore on Beale Street in Memphis, and he worked often with B.B. I have pictures of me as a toddler on stage at the Old Daisy Theater with B.B., but I had never had the opportunity to meet him as an adult. My dad worked it out, and we got to meet him and sit with him for about half an hour. To be in his presence was absolutely incredible, and I can’t even begin to articulate what all was going through my head. He was incredibly humble, and needless to say that we were all humbled. We split a bag of peanut M&M’s, which Chris brought because he heard they were B.B.’s favorite, and just got to talk to the King of the Blues. When Chris and I got off of that bus, we might as well have been on the moon. By the way, yes, I did get that picture signed.”
9. What’s your poison?
“A cold PBR and music that makes you stomp your foot or curl your toes and rock back on your heels.”
10. In 10 years, I will be…
“Still spreading the word on Southern music and culture. I’m applying to grad school this fall, and I want to work with children and adults to educate them about the vast wealth and depth of culture that I believe makes the South so special. My dad, a historian, likes to use the term ‘living history.’ If I can get people excited about learning their own story and keeping their history alive, then the story will continue.”
The James Island-based Shutter Dogs — lead guitarist George McDaniel, lead singer/guitarist Chris Fulmer, drummer Will Grice, and bassist Mike Kelleher — started jamming and booking local gigs last fall as a soul-tinged, Southern-fried, guitar-driven blues-rock combo. They mix several original tunes into their set of rock and soul standards and jams. Look for their latest recordings (tracked at Charleston Sound in Mt. Pleasant) soon.
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