WEGL sat down with Mobile, Alabama's The Red Clay Strays after their show in Atlanta. The band is currently on the road with Elle King as she dots the country on her "A-Freakin-Men Tour".
Y'all have just kicked off your tour with Elle King, tonight is the second show, correct?
Brandon: Second of twenty-eight, right?
John: Twenty-eight shows, forty days. Forty days and forty nights.
Drew: Honest, pretty fitting.
John: It's pretty weird.
It's been a big year for you guys, you just put out your debut album, Moment of Truth, you're out on your biggest tour to date, and y'all just announced a tour with Eric Church.
John: We're part of his tour, he's got a bunch of openers. But we'll do three? Two shows?
Andrew: It's four shows!
That's still really impressive, how is that sitting with you guys?
Brandon: We've never played with him. For all he knows we could suck.
John: The fact that we're doing any [shows] is crazy.
Drew: We tried to tell him that we suck and he was like "nah man, y'all got this raw thing going on".
John: I like the way you tried to sound like Eric Church just then.
Drew (impersonating Eric Church): "Nah man, y'all got this raw thing going".
John: I feel like thats the Brent Cobb accent too.
Andrew: Yeah, thats more Brent.
So, y'all were down a man tonight. Has that been a challenge? Drew, I know earlier you mentioned you spent two weeks learning all of Zach's part.
Drew: Something like that, yeah.
Andrew: It's Drew's challenge for sure.
John: I feel like it's more of a mental challenge than it is a skill thing.
Drew: We have a lot of parts that we have to have in the songs to feel good I guess, we've been playing them so long. All of a sudden you miss it and it's weird.
John: We all get used to having him [Zach] there doing all those parts, it's something that you rely on. So then not having that, even though we know that Drew is more than capable of doing it, its always in the back of your mind that you're missing it [Zach].
Andrew: But there's definitely some moments where I close my eyes and it's like Zach is right there playing. You don't miss anything (directed at Drew).
John: Dude, like, "Sunshine" he'll have a slide there and he'll play those chords—
Andrew (recreating the sound of a slide guitar to the best of his ability): Whoooooow.
John: And then boom!
Andrew: He's playing his part and then going back to it.
John: I'm trying my best keep time the best that I can and dude doesn't miss a lick. I'm back there trying not to cry. I look over there like "god daaang, get it boy". Its like Zach's here!
Brandon: We don't even need Zach.
John: We don't need you, Zach!
Brandon: Red Clay Strays claim they don't even need Zach.
Brandon: No, no, Zach's flying in tomorrow.
John: Last show he'll have to miss. Thank god.
Speaking of hashtags, here's a question I've been wondering about for ages. Y'all always sign off your posts with the same hashtag, #HBYCO—
John: How 'bout you come on.
Andrew: How 'bout you come on.
John: How 'bout you come on.
Where does that come from?
Drew (pointing at John): Him.
John: Working with my godfather, T-Bone. He always use to be like "how 'bout you come on" and—
Andrew: Isn't it trucker lingo?
John: I mean, it is, but thats not how I was introduced to it. He wasn't a trucker. I've been saying it since, gah, I was probably seventeen? Eighteen? It's bad. My brother used to be like "stop it, stop saying it" and now I can help it. It's synonymous with "hell yeah", "that's a good time", or "right on".
It's become a core part of y'all's brand now.
Andrew: Yeah, we kinda just kept using it.
Brandon: It's our label hashtag.
Andrew: John's studio at home—
John: It's How 'Bout You Come On studios, my publishing thing is How 'Bout You Come On Records. It's a feeling, it's a thing, it's 'how 'bout you come on'.
What does the future hold for The Red Clay Strays after such a huge few months? How does it feel to be where you right now?
Brandon: A year ago we couldn't have told you we'd be right here, it's unknown. It's God's will man.
Andrew: We are 100% committed to it now. The sky is the limit.
John: Relatively dumb.
Andrew: Yeah, we don't get it.
John: People are dumb for listening to us. Y'all are dumb! That is for real something I tell people, when we were, damn, I guess six, seven years ago now?
Drew: Seven years.
John: So we'll call it six years ago, when we first started this, we just, I don't even know what started it, Andrew drove an Acadia and we were just like "you wanna not play just Mobile anymore?"
Andrew: "Hell yeah, f*ck it let's go!"
Drew: Andy and I booked a tour. Our label was trying to push us to get out anyway.
John: Our 'label'.
Drew: Our 'label'.
Andrew: We would stay up until like twelve o'clock to get the western time zones to get people to answer their phones at the bar. They'd be like "you know it's a Saturday night and you're calling us right now?"
John: I would like to say for the record, when he said 'we' he means him [Andrew] and Drew. Andrew and Drew. John Hall had nothing to do—
Drew: We were hanging out at your parents' house—
Andrew: Yeah, in the old music room.
Brandon: Because you [Drew] were homeless.
Drew: I was homeless, I was living with Andy! Haha.
Andrew: It used to be a garage.
John: Your daddy turned it into a man-cave, where we used to practice. I've still got a dropbox slap full of your daddy's man-cave recordings.
Andrew: Yeah, we needed a spot to do it and luckily we had a two car garage that had a little A/C unit in it. It worked. I think dad enjoyed it more than we did.
John: Your daddy loved that.
Andrew: Mom would have to come get him like "leave them alone".
John: Do you remember the time when your mom caught me cussin'? Duuude—
Brandon: We're still in an interview.
John: I know!
Brandon: As far as the future goes, we're working on another album.
John: We are currently working on another album, I think we can say that now.
Brandon: It's either keep up or die, ya know? Gotta get another album out.
John: Death is involved. Death is always involved!
Brandon: Your career will die.
From what y'all have told me it is going to be an exciting album. It is so good to see Alabama musicians succeeding like y'all have done.
Brandon: Everybody's always like "congratulations on your success" and I'm like—
John: We haven't succeeded.
Brandon: I don't feel like I'm successful, but cool I guess.
Drew: I haven't successed.
John: "I have not successed".
You say as you're sitting in the green room of one of Atlanta's most iconic venues.
John: That is true.
Brandon: Well you know, I appreciate that man.
So, y'all are from Mobile [Alabama]. I'm an Auburn guy, I have to ask, are y'all Auburn or Alabama fans?
Andrew: Me and Drew—
Drew: War Damn, son.
John: Roll Tide 'till I die.
Andrew: War Eagle.
The Red Clay Strays' upcoming tour dates can be found below.