July 25, 2010
By David Huff
Texas Hippie Coalition - Rock 'N America 2010
Red Dirt Heavy Metal
When we first started out, I told the band there was an appetite for the music we’re going to play. On down the road, there would be a hunger. Today, people are starving for our meat and potato Southern rock sound topped by Pantera-style gravy.
– Big Dad Rich
The spectacular sunsets that fall on the Red River Valley underscore the frank harshness of this unforgiving country. The imposing beauty of this sacred area, nestled in a remote region along the Oklahoma – Texas border, exacts a toll on those who dare to call it home. But home, as they say, is where they heart is, and the soul of this breathtaking landscape is the Texas Hippie Coalition. Purveyors of the underground movement known as Red Dirt Metal, this high-octane five-piece band of uncompromising rocker are as tough as the very land that spawned them.
As each member of the Texas Hippie Coalition can attest too, there’s a price to pay when Nature’s beauty reveals itself to the chosen few. Addictions, betrayal, lies and greed, coupled with near death experiences, have knocked on the Hippies doors more times than the group cares to remember. The formidable glue that has bonded T.H.C. through good times and bad has been the Godfather of Red Dirt Metal himself – Big Dad Rich.
"I don’t write songs that are non-fiction accounts of life, explained the burly singer. When you hear the words of a THC song, I can guarantee you it’s as real as you’re ever going to get. The music that drives it is the exclamation point."
"When I tell people that come to our shows we’re just like them – that’s the truth. There have been times where we’ve barely been able to cover our rent. There were times we scrambled to pay our electricity bill and scrambled to pay the cable bill. But you know what, through it all, we’re still going to crack open a beer and enjoy the moment we’re in because you just gotta have faith."
Faith has indeed been the steady drum beat of the Texas Hippie Coalition since it’s founding seven years ago by Big Dad Rich. The singer handpicked an extraordinary group of ‘against-the-grain’ musicians to spearhead his decibel shattering band he simply dubbed, red dirt metal. They include Randy Cooper and Alden ‘Crawfish’ Nequent on guitar; John Exall bass; and Ryan Bennett on drums.
There’s nothing wrong with being a redneck as long as there is some Southern gentleman in you, said the imposing 6-3, 280-pound vocalist. I hope that image comes across in the music. In this state, you’re brought up with Southern hospitality values. We will respect you from the beginning, but the moment you show us disrespect, Texans have enough pride to put you in your place immediately. I often tell people that I am from Texas, and I’m living proof that size does matter.