The powerhouse acoustic rock trio, Heartbreak Rodeo, speaks with me in this Norman Music Festival performer question and answer session. Heartbreak Rodeo will perform at Michelangelo’s on Friday, April 28, 2017, at 8:20 pm. Since this is the festival’s tenth year, here are ten questions to get to know them as answered by Michael Bendure.
1. To get people to know you, how would you describe yourself and your music?
Our bass player, Chris, sometimes introduces us as “the country band Heartbreak Rodeo, who’s not really country music at all.” I think acoustic folk rock is probably a better description of our sound.
2. What song would you like a person who hasn’t heard your music listen to first?
I’d say to start with “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, then listen to “Ballad of Spider John” by Willis Alan Ramsey. We’re somewhere in between those two songs.
3. What’s your song writing process?
Truth be told, David Henson and I are both singer/songwriters of our own right, and we’ve each been writing songs for decades. Often one of us will bring a brand new or a “brand old” song to the band and say hey, what do you think about this? If it’s a good fit, in a matter of a few rehearsals we’ll have vocal harmonies and guitar parts figured out.
4. What are your thoughts on the Norman Music Festival?
“In a number of ways, Norman Music Festival is responsible for Heartbreak Rodeo’s formation and success thus far.Heartbreak Rodeo’s first official gig together was Norman Music Festival 7. David and I each had separate time slots scheduled to play the festival, and my band fell apart a few months before the show. David and I started practicing together, and we ended up forming a band and playing both NMF sets. Last year, our first show with our bass player, Chris, was at NMF 9, and he’s been playing with us ever since. So, in a number of ways, Norman Music Festival is responsible for Heartbreak Rodeo’s formation and success thus far. This will be our fourth NMF to play together. And by the way, we love everything about Norman Music Festival and consider ourselves pretty honored to live in such a music-friendly city.
5. In general, what inspires you?
I think all three of us would agree that our families inspire us most. The first rule in Heartbreak Rodeo is “family first.” We are each fortunate to have close, loving families, so our partners, children, and grandchildren come first. I think we’re all pretty inspired by them in their own ways.
6. You’ve just been offered an all expenses paid trip. Where would you go?
As a band? Hell, I’m pretty sure we’d go to Vegas. I think we could get into some real trouble there… if we tried.
7. Any plans while you’re in the Norman area?
We plan to drink wine and beer at Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar and listen to some of Norman’s best singer/songwriters as they play indoors on Thursday and Friday nights and outdoors on the Michelangelo’s Songwriter Alley Stage. We are all members of the SongWriters Association Norman (SWAN), and some of our best buds will be performing throughout the weekend.
8. Anything else you want the public to know about you?
We are huge Gin Blossoms fans and play so many of their songs, we could be a tribute band.
9. What do you think should be the Ninth Wonder of the World?
The movie, “The Three Amigos.”
10. What was the most extreme adventure you’ve had?
“We played the chords to “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC for about 20 minutes straight while they walked around and showed off their outfits. That’s pretty extreme for a couple of old cowboys.”Well, one summer David and I played the Mud Bug Festival in downtown Comanche, Oklahoma. We played on a truck bed in the middle of the street, and it was so hot, the radiation from the road below and the sun above were baking us and our guitars. Our clothes were soaked in sweat and we couldn’t keep the sweat out of our eyes. After playing a 45-minute set, they asked us to play some instrumental music while they put on a fashion show for some of the town’s teenagers. So we played the chords to “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC for about 20 minutes straight while they walked around and showed off their outfits. That’s pretty extreme for a couple of old cowboys.