I recently spoke with Big Dad Ritch from TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION about the band and about the cool new album, 'High In The Saddle'. Check it out below.
If you'd prefer to read the interview, click here.
Backyard barbeques, barroom brawls, tent revivals, and big rock festivals alike are
suitable environments for the Red Dirt Metal of TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, a band with a
sound so devilishly electrifying that they had to come up with a new genre to describe it.
BIG DAD RITCH captains this pirate ship of bikers, outlaws, troubadours, and hellraisers,
welcoming all comers to the THC party with gregarious charisma and Southern charm.
Across a half dozen albums, countless club gigs, and show stealing performances at
Rockstar Mayhem, THC has spread the good word of big riffs, big hooks, and wild times.
High in the Saddle is a record full of unashamed, full-throttle ass kicking. It’s the band’s
second pairing with producer Bob Marlette (Black Stone Cherry, Rob Zombie) and sixth
album over all, on the heels of the No. 2 Billboard Heatseekers slab, Dark Side of Black .
Rock/metal tastemaker Loudwire.com described THC’s “nonstop gritty, grooving, and
downright party rock” as “sounding like the bastard that spawned from a threesome
between Monster Magnet, Willie Nelson, and Pantera.” Guitarists Cord Pool and Nevada
Romo, bassist Rado Romo, and drummer Devon Carothers build songs with traditional
blue-collar and red-blooded American craftsmanship, skillfully transforming Big Dad
Ritch’s tales of recklessness and revelry into anthems for the Red Dirt Metal lifestyle.
Texas Hippie Coalition sounded just as at home sharing the stage with Korn and Black
Label Society as they have been supporting Nazareth, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and David Allan
Coe. Country trailblazers like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash are essential parts of
THC’s lifeblood, intermingled with the Southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top;
the Sunset Strip debauchery of Mötley Crüe and Van Halen; the heavy stoner grooves of
Clutch and COC; and the metallic Texas-sized crunch of the late, great Abbott brothers.
It’s clear the man can twist a phrase, like when Big Dad Ritch grabs his double barreled
shotgun mic stand and bellows, in his distinctive gravely drawl, “If you come lookin’ for
trouble, baby / Rest assured, you found it / I’m a mountain of a man, baby / And there
ain’t no way around it.” Bangers like “Come Get It,” “Pissed Off and Mad About It,” and
“Hands Up” are the reason THC is a staple at Sturgis and in clubs all around the country.
His hero was always Johnny Cash, but Ritch had once resigned himself to a quiet life of
picket fences and fishing. But then, the stars aligned with Texas Hippie Coalition.
By the grace of God, THC’s gear was left untouched when a storm knocked out two
stages at Rocklahoma in 2008. The boys happily lent their equipment to other bands so
the show could continue. By the time they played a second set on the festival’s last day,
the goodwill had spread. Thousands came to see them and THC blew up from there.
The storytelling of Big Dad Ritch (whose birth certificate reads James Earl Richard
Anderson) was front and center in the Red-Dirt-country-meets-hard-rock-and metal
bluster of the band’s debut, Pride of Texas (2008) and its increasingly bombastic and
hard charging follow-ups: Rollin’ (2010), Peacemaker (2012), Ride On (2014), and Dark
Side of Black (2016). “Turn it Up” and “Damn You to Hell” even cracked the mainstream
rock Top 40.
Ritch puts the band’s evolution in Old West terms. “In the beginning, you’re an outlaw
looking for direction. You gotta get the best guys for the job behind you,” he explains.
“Now we know how to rob banks, how to rob stagecoaches, and how to rob trains.”
Album number six kicks off with the alarmingly catchy slither of “Moonshine.” It oozes
everything THC stands for and smells like. A true THC manifesto, if ever there was one:
swampy grooves, Crüe type partying, and a Man in Black style saga. Cash wasn’t the only
early influence on Ritch; some kids had Farrah Fawcett posters, but Stevie Nicks was on
his wall. He pays tribute to the erstwhile Fleetwood Mac icon with the suitably named
“Stevie Nicks,” a tune about a woman with Nicks-like ethereal witchy woman qualities.
Crowd participation is a must for High in the Saddle songs like “Dirty Finger,” a
face-melting fireball of fun that works just as well in an arena or with a solitary
sing-a-long while speeding down the highway. And for all of the meat-and-potatoes
anthems, the band’s sixth offering mines new territory, with the ambitious “Ride or Die”
and “Why Aren’t You Listening,” which sees Ritch break ground with an even greater
vocal range. It’s a meditation of sorts of appreciation, reflecting on all of the blessings in
“I’m just out of have fun, man,” Ritch says with genuine modesty. “I never look at this as
something I have to do. It's something I get to do. I just thank the Lord above that He
has given me this talent that has allowed me to garner these wonderful things in life.”
Texas Hippie Coalition continues to ride or die for truth telling, unashamed, Red Dirt
Metal badassery, winning over new acolytes every damn day. As Blabbermouth once
asked: “How many more reasons do you need to try a little THC? Everybody’s doing it.”
About the author
Metalhead who hates bad parking.