RattleSnake Daddy experience

By Trevor Wallace
August 16, 2010

Everyone has a dream.  As a child, some dream of becoming a firefighter, others an astronaut or quarterback of their favorite football team.  Not Rattlesnake Daddy though.  He wanted to be a rock star.

Centered in Hollywood, Calif. Rattlesnake Daddy sets up every night at local bars and welcomes others to groove and jam with him on stage.  Using his self-proclaimed “spontaneous song composition” method, Rattlesnake Daddy plays his own music while inviting others to pick up a guitar, bongos and for the musically challenged, tambourines.

“I’ve been working towards this for 15 years.  I’m the only person I know that’s even doing this sort of thing,” Daddy said.  “There’s no one I know that strings together shows like this.  I just do whatever I feel like at the moment, always responding to what’s going on.”

Rattlesnake Daddy had been diligently working towards this idea of inviting the audience to play music with him after touring with U2 in the ’80s.

“They would invite a member of the audience to play guitar while the band played ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.’  Every time the audience member went on stage, it was like I went on stage.”

Austin Love, a member of the audience who joined Rattlesnake Daddy on stage, considered it to be a musical experience he hadn’t seen anywhere else.

“It was an interactive experience, and the overall feeling of the show was almost captivating.  He had this whole sound with the instruments people were playing that made it feel like it was the audience’s show,” Love said.

Rattlesnake Daddy had spent many years as a musician during his youth, touring with bands such as U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Willie Nelson.

“I loved being on the road, and it was great fun.  But being on the road, if you don’t have enough people coming out to see your show, you’re sleepin’ on the side of the road.  Rattlesnake Daddy can tour by himself in a Prius,” Daddy said.

“I’ve played shows with 3,000 people, and to tell you the truth, I get the same type of elation with that as I do playing for maybe 30 people at a bar,” Daddy said.

“With Rattlesnake Daddy, there’s no practicing or rehearsing.  I come with grooves I’ve already recorded, and if an audience member comes and messes up, it doesn’t matter because the music continues on,” Daddy said.

Having a one-man show that can turn into 10 people on stage who have never played together means that each show Rattlesnake Daddy plays is a unique one.  The same song is never played twice, and you can only see that show once.  The next time Rattlesnake Daddy plays, it might as well be a different band altogether.

“My feeling is that music has become so separated between the star and the audience.  I wanted to get rid of that separation, that wall.  I love people that have never been on-stage before, because they bring a freshness of spirit that can’t be faked,” Daddy said.

The type of show Rattlesnake Daddy puts on has given him the freedom to still have the grooviest, most rockin’ band in the world, while having a relationship with the audience at the same time.

“I don’t have to pay them, and I don’t have to rehearse (with) them.  It makes it a lot easier for me.  I really am just doing my thing,” Daddy said.

When asked what he would do if the venue decided it’s time to close up shop, does and whether or not he would continue to play, Rattlesake Daddy simply replied, “All I need is a wall outlet. I’ll just go to someone’s house.”

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Trevor Wallace

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