An Interview with David Allen, The Drifting Outlaw
By Johnny Griffith
Mainstream country music these days is designed to trick your senses as a consumer. The artist who lay out multiple tracks of autotune, stage show songs, have likely never seen a tractor in real-life. It’s easy to get disillusioned with the product, especially if you want a touch of genuine in your life.
Luckily here in East Texas, we’ve got plenty of local musicians who are the real deal; David Allen might be one of the most authentic of the “Outlaw” country artists. Originally from the central valley of California, Allen moved to Texas at an early age and has been working the stages in this area for years. With a sense of authenticity and respect for where country music came from, David carries on that outlaw spirit with the likes of Waylon, Merle, and Cash.
We caught up to him recently in between dates and got to know him a little better:
Johnny: Your bio says you picked up the guitar for the first time at age 17. What caused you to grab one for the first time and how long did it take you to figure out this was something you wanted to do as more than just a hobby?
David: A good friend of mine (Darin Justice) was taking some guitar lessons and asked me if I wanted to start a band with him. I said yes and either I could play the bass or the drums. I couldn’t afford a $1200 drum set, so I bought a used bass for $150.
Johnny: Who were some of your early musical influences?
David: I was a huge Kiss fan, we both were! He had introduced me to Kiss and from there I was a “hair band” fan. It wasn’t until I graduated and started dating a barrel racer that I started listening to country music. She introduced me to Sawyer Brown and from there I fell in love with the “story” and meanings of the country music.
Johnny: At what point did you decide to start writing your own material and where do you draw your inspiration from?
David: When I finally got an acoustic guitar and started learning chords, I started writing songs. I just thought that was what a musician was supposed to do. So I learned to play “C, F, G” chords first. I must have written 20 songs with those three notes. Forward, backwards, sideways. When I got bored, I would learn a new key. I am still learning today to play progressions, and I will write three or more songs to every new chord I learn.
Johnny: Your music definitely has a component of the old “outlaw” country of the late 70’s early 80’s and one can definitely pick up threads of “Willie, Waylon, and the boys.” How would you describe your sound?
David: I’m embarrassed to say that I am new to the Waylon sound. That being said, I think he was the greatest writer, singer, and survivor of Nashville. I discovered Waylon about four years ago and he has become my greatest influence. There is an honesty and energy in every song he sang.
Johnny: Where did the nickname “The Drifting Outlaw” come from?
David: From Waylon’s “Outlaw” movement together with his mentor Hank Williams, who in my opinion was the first to change Nashville and move them into a more honest direction. Hank’s “Drifting” Cowboy Band.
Johnny: What would you say your percentage of originals to covers are in one of your shows? Or does it depend on the crowd?
David: It depends hugely on the crowd. The bigger the crowd, the more covers. Maybe I’m doing it backwards, but my original songs are so personal that I will do a lot more of them in an acoustic setting than with the full band behind me.
Johnny: What is the current lineup of you stage band and do you primarily play with a full band or do you do some solo shows as well?
David: Both, and I love both in their own way. The acoustic is personal and I will talk a lot more and do many of my originals. Mostly, we are a full band, and I love the band I have now and I like them to show off!
My lead guitarist, Jimmy Piatt, is the best I’ve ever played with, professional, modest, and always prepared. On bass I just lost the Rockabilly Hall of Famer Neil Sheckles for a better offer as a house band leader, but I have Super Dave Visniski now and we are as powerful as ever. Last, but certainly not least is my drummer Mark Wynn, who I’ve known for almost 40 years. I learn something from all of them every time we play. They are all great men and fantastic musicians!
Johnny: You’ve been playing music in this area for a while now, do you have a favorite memory so far?
David: A couple. Not sure if I should name the venue, but one night a drunk feller was dancing with my wife and decided to pick her up to spin her. He underestimated his strength and she is small, but all muscle. So about half way up they fell backward, he hit his head on the corner of the stage step and started to bleed pretty good. I start my show now with “We are the band that doesn’t stop playing till there is blood on the floor!” A few songs later another, more sober, young man asked her to dance and as they crossed in front of the stage I yelled down to him, “You’re taking your life into your own hands”. I was speaking about the accident earlier but it scared him pretty badly because he thought I meant he shouldn’t be dancing with my wife. The second memory was more ironic. I had just finished a Waylon tribute show and as I was packing up, five police came busting through the door and arrested me! Made me feel like I was in Nashville recording with Waylon.
Johnny: Any shows coming up that stick out as “must see” events?
David: Anything with the full band! Everybody is surprised at how good the show is the first time they come. We are consistent with every show. The more people, the higher the energy on stage and in the audience.
Johnny: What’s on the horizon for The Drifting Outlaw through the rest of the year?
David: I really want to finish my album. This is my second, but really the first because I didn’t like some of the sound on the first and wouldn’t release it.
Johnny: What can a first timer expect to see at a David Allen show?
David: You will be surprised!! We are the best country band in East Texas! You will get a four hour show of honest country music.
“Yesterday, The Las Vegas Beatles Tribute” Brings Tour To Tyler Sept. 14th
Capture the raw energy and sheer excitement of the most historical music group of all time, when “Yesterday, the Las Vegas Beatles Tribute” hits the stage for one night only at Wise Auditorium at Tyler Jr. College on Friday, September 14th at 7:30pm.
“Yesterday” is a full two-hour show rich in memories portraying musical icons “The Beatles.”
“Yesterday” transports its audience to a bygone era of magical innocence. Featuring some of the most finely written songs ever performed, this production is a spellbinding enactment of the best-loved pop group in the history of modern music.
“Yesterday,” encompasses all eras of the Beatles music from the Hamburg days through Shea Stadium and into pop history’s magical Sgt. Pepper’s and beyond, with superior showmanship, flawless voices, and exceptional musical abilities, this is one not to be missed.
Complete with Beatles boots, drainpipe trousers, authentic costumes, musical instruments, and singing songs in their original key, “Yesterday,” performance is spot on in every way.
“Yesterday” is featured with other Las Vegas celebrities on giant LED video walls at McCarran International Airport, welcoming all to the “Entertainment Capital of the World” …Las Vegas! Of all the Beatles Tributes, “Yesterday” is Sir Paul McCartney’s favorite as he asked to come backstage for a photo with the band.
“Yesterday” has toured Japan seven times and performed worldwide on five continents. With superior showmanship, flawless voices, and exceptional musical abilities, this band is finally coming to East Texas and is not to be missed.
Here’s what the press has said about “Yesterday’s” performances:
“Don Bellezzo portraying John, bobbing with Lennon’s cheeky mannerisms, had a voice that was so accurate, it sent chills down my spine.” – Union News, MA.
“Outstanding vocals during Nowhere man. Everybody clapped and swayed with Lennon during ‘Revolution.’ McCartney sang ‘Hey Jude’ as the audience joined in the chorus and began waving lights in the air.” – Rockford Register, IL.
“‘Yesterday,’ which just opened at the Tropicana, is an explosion, a wonderful blast from the past. A thrilling and reverential tribute to the Fab Four, ‘Yesterday’ gets it right!” – New York Daily News.
“The audience jumped to their feet giving these four lads a standing ovation even at intermission.” – The Independence, IL.
“‘Yesterday’ was spot on in every way. By the time they reached the encores, the packed house was on their feet dancing and singing!” – Atlantic City Press.
“Yesterday, The Las Vegas Beatles Tribute” will be performing one show only at Wise Auditorium at Tyler Junior College on Friday, September 14th. Doors open at 6:30pm and show time is at 7:30pm.
Reserved seat tickets are $25, $30, and $35, inclusive of all credit card and ticketing fees.
Tickets are available online at markbellpresents.com or by calling the “Yesterday” tickets hotline at (817)896-3652.
Bibeau in Concert August 25th
Bibeau has a rare Tyler show booked at Click’s Live on Saturday, August 25th with our Louisiana brothers, Anxiety, the mod blues band, Matt Coats Trio and the fantastic female duo from the Dallas area Sweet Chaos (who recently opened for Bowling for Soup). Help break 500 people in attendance! Tickets will be available at the door for the low rock ‘n roll price of $7. Must be 18+ to attend unless accompanied by a parent/legal guardian.
Upcoming 10th Anniversary Season at Old Firehouse Announced
The Old Firehouse is an intimate, smoke-free and alcohol-free “coffeehouse” that has made a name for itself by bringing national folk musicians and their all-original music to Edom’s unique listening room and stage. Info can be found at theoldfirehouse.net or by calling (903)852-2781.
Concerts are typically scheduled each month from October through April and can be found at theoldfirehouse.net, along with links to samples of the music.
For the 2018-19 season, Old Firehouse will once again be offering Season Tickets for all nine Acoustic Music Concerts. By purchasing this season ticket, you will receive: admission for one person to all nine Acoustic Music Concerts, reserved seating of your choice that will remain yours throughout the season, one “bottomless” cup of coffee at each concert, freedom from having to remember to buy concert tickets month-to-month, advance ticket price for all concerts, and 20% discount on concert series merchandise (hats, t-shirts, tote bags, bumper stickers).
The cost per ticket is $111 (includes sales tax). Once the season begins, these tickets may no longer be available. Checks may be made out to “The Old Firehouse” and mailed to: The Old Firehouse, 8241 FM 279, Edom, TX 75754.
If you do not want to purchase season tickets, admission prices for concerts are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and events are on Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30pm with doors opening early so the audience can enjoy coffee and desserts that are always available.
Scheduled this season is:
- October 20th: Tony Ramey
- November 10th: BrownRandy & Friends (Neal Katz & Connie Mims)
- November 24th: Beth Wood
- December 8th: Terri Hendrix
- January 19th: Andy Gullahorn
- February 2nd: Beyond the Pale
- February 23rd: Tom Kimmel
- March 23rd: Jacob Johnson
- April 6th: Edie Carey
If you would like to sponsor any of these concerts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Make a Splash This Summer at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort
Blue Moon Gardens: More Than a Family Nursery
Fall Fun in East Texas: Fall Festival Guide 2018
Off Road Biking: Hitting the Local Trails
August 18th Lance Lopez Live @ XL’N Pool Hall & Club
August 18th: A Rock ‘n Roll Summer of CESSE Fun
Amy Holden Concert Benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, Aug. 24th
East Texas State Fair Returns Sept. 21st-30th!
“Yesterday, The Las Vegas Beatles Tribute” Brings Tour To Tyler Sept. 14th
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