I remember he spit a loogie on the ceiling.
It was my first show; my first exposure to the local scene, but it still remains, sixteen years later, one of the most punk rock things I’ve seen.
It was the New Years Rock Your Socks Off show at the Herrin Civic Center featuring The New Jerseys, The Kilroys, and Side Walk Slam. It was the Winter of 2000 or 2001, I can’t remember that part, but I will never forget the effect that night had on my life.
A few years later, I started playing in a band of my own, and those rock stars that I looked up to since that night had now became my friends. They accepted me, despite the fact that my first band was absolutely terrible. They treated me as an equal despite the fact that my “singing” and guitar “playing” were the main reasons for my first band’s terribleness.
I met David Curtis that summer and it didn’t take long for us to become close friends.
The years that followed saw the formation of new bands, breakups of old bands, countless shows, and the enterprising endeavor of at least two music venues in Southern Illinois that were either failures or successes depending on who you talk to.
David has now started the second act of his music career as a solo artist in Nashville, TN where he lives with his wife and son. In September of this year, he released his excellent new album “One Voice.”
Late last month, I caught David on a day home sick from work and we were able to exchange a few emails back and forth. It was nice to catch up about our old music scene, as well as discuss our hopes for what may come next.
Dane wrote on Nov. 28 at 10:04am:
We first met in the summer of 2004, bonding over our love for music and playing shows. That summer in particular I remember us playing several local shows together and how our late night conversations were often spent anticipating upcoming shows or breaking down shows that we had just played.
There was just an electricity and excitement to that summer: playing shows, late night diners and convos with friends, the whole routine of that. Both of us have played a lot of shows since then and our music careers have matured, taking us to some different places, but do you find that the excitement still remains for you?
David replied on Nov. 28 at 10:30am:
I loved that time! I remember the Southern IL scene was really buzzing especially for it not being a big city. I loved the after show diners that was a must. I think the excitement really is still there and now probably more since I play out much less. After taking on a full time job and music having to slow down a bit when I do get the chance I think relish it even more.
When I was out on the road with Run Kid Run and we were touring heavy there were definitely nights of going through the motions but I think as a performer you have to bring it whether you're feeling it or not. People are paying money (well, hopefully) to see you play music and it's our job to deliver...sorry, tangent.
So to answer your question: yes the excitement is still there! For my cd release show I just played I was nervous and that hasn't happened in a long time. It felt really good to have that nervous energy to start a show. I remember the first time I played a solo show, like really just me and an acoustic, I was terrified. I love that stepping out into something new so scary but so rewarding.
Dane on Nov. 28 at 1:03pm:
I think I still feel the excitement too. Like you said, there were definitely nights in the previous few years where it would be a less than ideal show: a long drive leading to a crappy venue with a poor turnout etc and it would be a definite "going-through-the-motions" thing.
However, since I play so few shows any more, I try to take advantage of each opportunity I get to be on stage and to pour all I have into it. Also, we're getting older and I keep thinking that eventually I'll age out of this. I mean we've each been playing in bands for over ten years now, for you it's probably more like fifteen or twenty years.
I remember when I first started writing songs, it was such an intense experience, trying to find my voice and having a way to get some thoughts out of my head. It was so new and exciting, but even now, I still get so excited when I write a new song. I guess I thought I would run out of inspiration to write songs by now, but that isn't the case. Where do you draw your inspiration from to write songs at this stage in your career? And to elaborate further on that, will you take us through your songwriting process a little bit?
David on Nov. 28 at 10:10pm:
Man, 15 to 20 years is that right? That's crazy yeah SWS my first band started in 98 so that is 18 years ago. Wow, you say we may age out of it, but I hope not. I hope I'm always creating something, playing the occasional show to celebrate the new release. I just need it; I have to have that outlet.
So, yeah, songwriting, it doesn't get old does it? It really is so fun after you get an idea and record it on your voice memo then eventually get in the studio and it shapes into what you thought it could be. You and I have said this before but the easiest time to write a song is during heartache and I'm sure every artist can relate.
Now I find inspiration with my faith in God, my beautiful family or through the pain that either I feel or my loved ones feel. I don't think I could ever write from a fictional standpoint. I have to have that heart connect for me to want to sing it. Always in writing I want to be honest with the listener. My songwriting process 95% of the time starts with a riff then usually a melody line then finally lyrics. I wish it was the other way around sometimes that I would just be flowing with lyrics but that's not the way I was made to create. My phone is full of riffs that hopefully turn into songs eventually.
Dane on Nov. 29 at 9:49am:
It’s still insane to me that your first band was Side Walk Slam. You got signed with your first band! That never happens or at least it didn’t happen with anyone else from our area.
But you spoke about being honest with the listener when you write songs and you recently had a son. Do you ever think about, as he gets older, him discovering some of the older songs you’ve written and him being able to see a more real, vulnerable version of his father? I think about that a lot with my sons and, if anything, it inspires me to create even more.
David wrote on Dec. 8 at 10:23pm
Wow, that is a great question. I have never even really thought of that, but it does inspire me to still be honest with my writing. I mean that what I'm already trying to teach him by example and words so I hope my life in all aspects shows that.
Dane on Dec. 9 at 11:12am:
Thanks, David. You posted an Instagram clip of your son listening to your new album a few weeks, it was adorable, it’s clear he definitely digs his dad’s music already.
Changing direction a bit, with your new album, "One Voice," what about making it excited you the most? And did you learn anything new from creating it that you hadn't learned with your previous records?
I think this will be the last question, my man.
David on Dec. 9 at 9:36pm:
I've done other solo releases but none to this magnitude. This release was really special to me. It was a record I felt I needed to make. Songs that I believe could speak hope and love to the listener and I hope it did just that.
I love and hate releasing music with myself being the boss. I have complete control over everything from tone, mix, mastering etc. but also with that comes the second guessing of everything or the promotion side, man, I'm not good at that. I have learned that a team is a great thing. I'm hopeful to make music again as a team someday, even if it's under my name.
Thanks for the interview!
Thanks for your time, David!
You can catch David’s fantastic solo album “One Voice” on iTunes, Amazon, and his bandcamp. You can also catch him leading worship on Sundays at Rolling Hills Community Church in Nolensville, TN.
(Don’t worry, his spitting loogies on the ceiling days are over.)