Lil' Band O' Gold
It’s hard to talk about music in Louisiana, or even rock'n'roll more generally, without mentioning Fats Domino. With most of their lineup hailing from his home state, swamp pop supergroup Lil’ Band O’ Gold don’t understate the influence he has had on their music. With the release of their star-studded record of covers, Lil’ Band O’ Gold Play Fats, singer and guitarist CC Adcock opens up about The Fat Man.
“The music that we play is called swamp pop,” Adcock begins, “and swamp pop is really just Fats Domino’s music. Before the world found out about Fats – just like Elvis Presley – Fats was playing clubs and high school dances and drive-in theatres here in the Deep South, especially Louisiana. People like (drummer) Warren Storm grew up listening to Fats long before the world did, in the early ‘50s. (Saxophonist) Dickie Landry grew up here listening to Fats at this little club out the back of his family farm; of course it was a black joint, and he was 12, but he’d sneak out at night and go and hang out and listen to it.”
Even though Fats was already in his early 40s when Adcock was born, his sense of melody and the loping feel of his music have well and truly rubbed off. “The thing about Fats,” he recalls, “is that I think early on I realised that Fats is a great equaliser; you could listen to Fats with your grandmother and your parents – even if it was some cheap trick version of Fats Domino, everyone would know it’s a great tune and everyone in the car would be like, ‘Turn that up.’"
Testament to this is the guest list on the new Band O’ Gold record, with Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco and Robert Plant all making contributions. “He’s an amazing cat,” says Adcock of the Led Zep frontman. “He’s got such wonderment about music and discovering new forms of music, new collaborations – he’ll try anything. It’s amazing. Given his stage and the cannon he was shot out of, it’s hard to believe he could be still so wide-eyed about trying new things and making new music.”
Jimmy Barnes and Tim Rogers both make appearances as well, and while he’s coy about confirming anything, the invitation is certainly wide open for both to join the octet on stage for their forthcoming Sydney and Melbourne shows. “And when Cold Chisel plays the Lafayette, we’ll make a big gumbo and give it out at the show,” he jokes. “Cold Chisel. Hot Gumbo.”
As famous as the south might be for the blues, the biggest lesson Adcock took from playing with The Fat Man himself was the smile. “For a kid that grew up in my generation, rock'n'roll, music had evolved from the '50s,” he explains. “Elvis set everybody down a small path, which was cool, but I never saw Kurt Cobain smile.” He pauses, “Maybe that ain’t what his music was about, but I tell you what, it might’ve helped the old boy. It would have. It not only makes you sing better when you smile, it makes everybody around you feel good.”
And as much as it’s not all about Domino, with the band still planning to record some more original material and keep on touring, it still very much is; Adcock reveals plans to continue expanding their Fats catalogue and working on a few more collaborations in the process. “I don’t think Fats is going to do it anymore, I can’t see him doing any more shows” he admits. “But we’d be happy to be a substitute so people can get their fix.”
BY NILS HAY
Lil' Band O' Gold Play Fats is out now on Dust Devil Music/EMI. LIL' BAND O' GOLD play The Regal Ballroom on Wednesday June 27 and Thursday June 28, plus The Espy Gershwin Room on Friday June 29.