Over 10 million albums sold. Multiple awards won. Grammy nominations and multiple #1s including my favorite, “God Blessed Texas.” And after almost 30 years, they are still hitting the touring circuit and they have a new album! This week’s Artist Spotlight is on the band, Little Texas!
Had a chance to chat with Duane Propes, original band member (vocals and bass guitar player) and not to mention fellow Texan! I also think we have another connection…just check out his hair…we could be twins! 🙂
Katie: Do you remember the first gig ya’ll had as a band? What was it like?
Duane: Our first show as Little Texas was in the fall of 1989 at Miss Kitty’s in Marietta, GA, opening for Travis Tritt. Travis had just released the single for “Country Club” and was on his last week as the house band there. He was on Warner Bros and we were in development there, so it was a natural launch pad. We saw how excited he was to start playing nationally, so that really wet our whistles to go out and do the same. Little did we know that we were about to go play nationwide (without a record) and just a few years later we’d be on a year long arena tour with him.
Katie: What was your goal as a young band?
Duane: To survive!! We had just about everything stacked against us – too young, no facial hair, rock show, too edgy, you name it. When “Some Guys Have All The Love” came out in 1991, we were the youngest band to ever have a charted single. Average age was 24. We were doing close to 300 dates in a rickety old bus that used to belong to Foghat with a nut case driver who thought he was Dale Earnhardt. But we knew that we had built a fan base from Myrtle Beach to LA, so if we could get back in their faces and go to the places we hadn’t been, we’d make it work.
Katie: Little Texas has been on the touring circuit for almost 30 years…how do you guys keep from getting burnt out?
Duane: Well, we did get burnt out. The band broke up for 6 years. These days we try our best to do shows on weekends where we know that our fans can and want to get out of the house. We try to keep it fun, and yeah, sometimes the travel schedule can almost kill us, but as long as we can be home with our families for the majority of the week we’re pretty happy about life.
Katie: Most of Little Texas reunited in 2004 and released a CD in 2007…and this year a new CD was released…every band evolves over time…what is the biggest difference in the current band’s sound compared to almost 30 years ago?
Duane: The biggest difference is that we broke it down to a guitar band, which is what we really wanted to do in the first place. Porter and I started playing together in high school in Longview, TX, doing 3 piece rock bands, so we’ve always had an amazing chemistry, musically and personally. But what matters is the background vocals, which has always been me and Dwayne, and those are still 100% intact. Red Dirt purists will say that that what we do isn’t “Texas Music,” but if you were in the Texas circuit in the early 90’s, the bands that were making money were slick, big harmony bands with keyboards, which is exactly what we were. We had one of the big “Texas acts” tell us that we ruined Texas music with “God Blessed Texas.” My reply to that is that is that we got a Grammy nomination from that song, and it if you go into any Bucee’s in Tejas, you’re gonna see a shitload of stuff in there with that phrase on it, whereas you didn’t see it before 1994. I believe it’s the unofficial anthem for the Great State, because it’s real. We witnessed it.
Katie: What’s the most important piece of advice you guys can give to an up and coming band?
Duane: In the words of Snoop, “Keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind!” Seriously though, when you see something that works, stick to your guns and don’t let anyone tell you no. Go with your gut and do what you can do can do on our own before handing over your checkbook. On the other hand, welcome change when good opportunities come your way. Sometimes people from the outside of your world see things that you don’t.
Don’t forget to pick up their latest and 8th CD, Young For A Long Time, now available here: http://www.littletexasonline.com/music.