The Marshall Tucker Band interview with Doug Gray
The band was formed in 1971, in Spartanburg, South Carolina by original members vocalist Doug Gray, drummer Paul Riddle, flutist Jerry Eubanks, rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, lead guitarist Toy Caldwell and his brother, bassist Tommy Caldwell. You can find out more about them in this following interview we made.
It’s a great pleasure to have you on our magazine, Doug. What are you up to, these days?
We are currently touring all over the nation and we also just released our Greatest Hits on vinyl to celebrate our 40th anniversary as The Marshall Tucker Band. But we are also up to a lot of the same nonsense, playing music and drinking beer like good ol’ boys.
For the start of our interview I would like to talk with you regarding some of the very early days of Marshall Tucker Band. You and Tommy Caldwell joined a band called The New Generation back when you were still in high school. What do you remember from that?
We actually didn’t join The New Generation, we formed the band and we were clueless. But we were looking for a way to pay for the beer on the weekends. Tommy was younger than me but we had a mutual friend, a good man at that, and unfortunately he was the first one to die of the MTB in the automotive wreck. But nonetheless, we were a bunch of young guys who didn’t know any boundaries and the rest is history.
Did the band record or release anything?
I wrote ‘Because of Love It’s All Over’ and The New Generation had this song being played on 3 local radio stations in Spartanburg, SC. We had 500 of those old 45s produced and took them around to all our friends andbasically gave them away. So if people held onto them, there should be some of those old records in existence.
Later there was a The Toy Factory and you started to get quiet known and played with Allman Brothers and so, right?
Oh, yeah then came The Toy Factory playing copies- what we call covers now, everything we could do to just play music. Then in 1971 the Allman Brothers came through Spartanburg and the band’s promoter asked us, of all bands, to open for the brothers. We claimed we did it for beer, but we all knew it was a awesome opportunity.
I know you probably answered million times on this question, but still what are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording debut?
Hey, the best questions should be answered no matter how many times they are asked! We didn’t have any money so we were all staying in one hotel room when were were recording the first MTB record in Macon , GA in 1972. Imagine all those men and 2 beds and one bathroom. We would buy a big hoop of cheese from the local grocery store, Saltine crackers and Jack Daniels and that was our fuel. We had no money but we felt strong. And I’d be lying if I said we didn’t do a lot of drinking while we recorded our first album.
In 2012 you celebrated the 40th anniversary of formation in Spartanburg, SC and you released a double LP. It’s really nice, that it is available on vinyl, I always prefer listening to good old records, rather then CD. How do you feel about the fact you are still on the road after all this years? Is it still the same, or some things changed for you?
We are excited to still get to tour and play our music to a loyal fan base after all these years. Touring is still fun and thankfully it’s gotten a lot easier to be on the road now than it was 30 yrs ago. Before the buses didn’t havesatellite TV, obviously, so now with the improvements the quality of touring is 100% easier. So in that sense things have changed but we still love the vintage sound of a LP playing..oh and the ability to roll a joint on a record.
What are some of your future plans?
Looking forward to working with the armed forces overseas again.
Are there any particular memories in your long carrier that have a special place in your hart and you would like to share them?
The first time we played at Madison Square Gardens in 1974, I flew my family in for the performance. They had supported me for so many years and I wanted to pay them back. We waved good-bye to the crowd and left the stage, then the audience started to light their matches. You could smell that sulfur in the air from all those flames and at that moment, you felt like you had accomplished something noteworthy.
I would like to thank you for participating in this interview, Doug. Would you like to send a message to your fans and It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?
I sure would. Listen to the records and try to understand what we were going for from the beginning… and listen to us now, we still have the same message.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
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