Friday, April 26, 2013

Ham Bagby at OZ Music

Ham Bagby at OZ Music for Record Store day

Alabama Music goes to OZ Music in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by Ham Bagby for Record Store Day.

I've been playing gigs in Tuscaloosa and wherever I can since the late '90s. I play a lot of weird covers and some originals that range from mildly serious to absolutely absurd in content, and I like to pretend that people like it (although I honestly don't pay attention to such things). I get the most credit for hosting the Open Mic Night at Green Bar and for my yearly Ham Ham Jam Jam at Egan's Bar and Grill.
Describe your sound
I love old country, R&B and rock 'n' roll, and I try to keep my mind open to anything and everything. When I play, I like to play a lot of guitar solos. I think the guitar solos are where it's at. I suffer from having learned a lot of really big and crazy guitar stuff in my younger years, so I try to fit all of it into my sets to validate those chops. I'd hate to think it was all a waste of time.
What made you want to write and play music?
I remember loving Prince, Michael Jackson, Hall and Oates and a lot of pop stuff from the '80s when I was young. I think I also had all of the Weird Al records, too (which is probably where the humorous side came from, even though a sense of humor has always been important to me). Shortly after that period of listening, I graduated to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, but that was also around the same time that Yo MTV Raps started to come on. I think rap music has been a surprising (influence) on me. I'm fascinated by it. Mainly, I love the attitude and the determination of those early artists. Obviously I don't rap, but I refer to myself in the third person and whatever little subtle things I take from there. So I took all I could from everything I heard when I was younger when I started playing guitar, and I tried to force them to fit together. Les Nuby from Vulture Whale once told me I sounded like Waylon Jennings meets '80s rock.
What should people expect from your live show?
I just want to entertain. I'll play some songs you know, but don't necessarily think about hearing a three-piece rock band play. I play a lot of guitar solos and try to sing like Aretha or X-tina. I say "tip your bartenders" 500 times a night. Usually I close with (the title song from Bagby's upcoming album) "S***'s Crucial." Expect that, that right there.
Favorite venue to play in Tuscaloosa
I love Egan's because I feel like I really figured it out there (I am still learning), shows and performing started making way more sense in that room. No stage, ankle deep in beer, you know? Green Bar is big, too (same guidelines, less beer wading). Also, it's a physically larger room so you can get a bigger crowd and that happens sometimes. I recorded my record in that room, and I do the Ham Ham Jam Jam at Egan's. Honestly though, I really like all the bars I play. I've made some pretty amazing music with some amazing people all over Downtown and the Strip, so I feel like it would be a shame to say I only like playing two rooms.
Advice for newcomers to the Tuscaloosa music scene
Go to open mics and play as much as you can. Meet as many people as you can and find places to perform. Never be rude to a sound guy, especially over a microphone. Thank the door guy and the bartenders at the end of the night and make sure you learn their names (and tell the crowd to tip). Don't play the same covers as everyone else, if it's about covers, find some deep cuts everyone knows and make the scene fresh. Definitely don't be afraid to write and throw in a few originals. If you want to play all originals, good. You're going to need to start traveling and finding other bands to split bills with. There's three or four venues in Tuscaloosa that cater to original music, and that's cool, but you need to get it out there. Also, if you're young and in school and you want to play music live, learn your instrument like a freak in your free time and listen to music of varying genres all day long. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Where can people hear your music?
My new record is coming out soon, it's called "S***'s Crucial is Track 7." If you like my Facebook page, Ham Bagby, I will keep you abreast of all the developments. There's a ton of silly little videos on YouTube you can look up (once again by searching for Ham Bagby). Apparently, if you Google me stuff comes up, also.


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