So, one of our biggest supporters (Tim Hicks) has a “Newish” album at the record stores and any where you can download good music. 5:01+ has 4 new songs including his current single Young Alive and in Love. We had a chance to sit down and talk with Tim to discuss the new album and the tour that kicks off this fall.
Corey: Tim, thanks so much for doing this, we really appreciate your time. Lets kick it off with 5:01+ and why the re-release of 5:01 with 4 new tracks?
Tim: Ok, so here’s what happened. I kinda felt I was in a weird position. We had 5:01 come out in August of last year. And the way the scheduling worked we ended up getting on with the Dierks (Bentley) tour. Then I was down in Nashville writing and then an exclusive college tour, but we never did a proper tour for 5:01. And when we were talking about what song to release next it could have easily gone Callin’ All Trucks, Drinkalong or Dust and Bone. But I felt that the people had had 5:01 for a year and I wanted to put some fresh stuff out. But, I also felt like I wasn’t done with 5:01 yet because we hadn’t really worked it. I had all these tunes piled up that I had written and I cut some of them and I was lookin’ at the label guys sayin’ I wish we had for example, Young Alive and in Love when we cut 5:01. It would have fit right in. And they came back saying we don’t have to follow the rules here. We really could do whatever you want. If you want to do a re-package of 5:01 and we add some new tunes and we get some fresh stuff on the radio and it keeps things interesting and creative. I thought, wow, that’s kind of a great idea. It’s kind of weird. The train never really stops. By the time you release a record your usually sick of those songs because you wrote them a year ago, you cut them six months ago. You end up listening to mixes for a month. There is just this whole process, and in the meantime your still writing new stuff. And for song writers or at least the ones I know and talk to your best song is your most recent one because it’s fresh. So I wanted to have something new to release to radio and get excited about. But still wanted 5:01 to have the life it deserves.
Corey: Well it’s a smart choice from our perspective because it really is a solid album and adding the four new tracks is a real bonus.
Tim: Thanks man, Ya and it just sort of made sense with the tunes that we picked. For instance, Underdog I wrote with the same guys I wrote Thunder with. And for whatever reason scheduling wise we just didn’t get another shot to write together because they were busy and I was busy. So we had this other tune kicking around that everyone was digging and I thought well lets put it on 5:01+. The other thing is that it was really important for me, for fans to be able to complete my album. I didn’t want everyone to have to go out and re-buy the entire album to get the 4 new songs. I mean if you want the record / CD yes you have re-buy the whole thing but most of my fan base is the iTunes crowd. I just like the fact that the fans can download just the 4 songs if they want.
Corey: So did you write all four new songs?
Tim: Ya, three of the four I wrote. Young Alive, is an outside song by Cary Barlowe and a couple of his buddies and he is a well known song writer down in Nashville. It was just one of those ones ya know. You go into the pitch meeting and its really weird and they make ya sit in the middle and everyone takes turns playing you songs and when they played me that one, they had actually produced the demo more with a Def Leppard type feel and I laughed. They started playing me the song and I couldn’t help it and I was like “come on” Def Leppard is pitching me a song? where is Joe Elliot, come on really? (laughing). So we had a laugh about it and the publisher said that Cary was a big fan of Def Leppard and they were really looking to see if they could get a reaction out of people. I said “Well you got it” (Laughing). But then the wheels started turning. I grew up listening to a lot of that stuff and Hysteria is still one of my favourite records of all time and even some of the earlier stuff. But once we heard it and I thought about it, I really thought this isn’t that far off from what we do. Denny is my A&R guy at Open Road / RGK and he said I think this is a Tim Hicks song. So it was kind of funny how it all happened. Starting from laughing, not laughing at it but just a shock. You know, they are playing me Nashville new country songs then all of a sudden Def Leppard comes on and I was like “Yeah, I need that” so thats how we wound up with Young Alive and in Love.
Corey: Right on, so you talked about not really doing a tour a little earlier for 5:01. So, with 5:01+ you just announced a fantastic tour hitting the road with Cold Creek County & Jason Benoit.
Tim: Ya, totally looking forward to getting out and touring for this album.
Corey: Let’s maybe touch on the venue’s for a minute. I know you just played a parking lot party down at KX 94.7 and I know there were some little ones sitting down front and you made a comment that you don’t get to see the kids at all the shows. The new tour is actually more open than most tours because it’s not a “Bar” tour. Maybe touch on why all these tours end up playing bars instead of venues that would allow more all ages shows?
Tim: For sure as much as music is an art its also a business and promoters want to make money. Money is made on the beer sales. I am sure that is the reason, and it’s a drag for us because we know we have younger fans that don’t get a chance to see us at the 19+ shows. Trust me, we see it on social media all the time. Kids are bummed that they can’t get into a show. My own nieces and nephews are often left at home with babysitters, but really want to come see it. So you really hope that those fans can hit one of the shows during festival season. But unfortunately when your on the road its really just dictated to you by the powers to be like the agents, managers and promoters.
Corey: Ok, so lets talk about the all ages shows for a second. When you are playing a show like that how do you see the crowd react differently or do you?
Tim: Ummm… well I have poor eye site so I don’t see well anyway (laughs). Honestly though, I get a little self conscious when there is kids in the crowd. I feel my music or atleast a good portion of it is written for the drinking audience. I don’t apologize for that, I think that was a natural thing coming our of bars for so many years. And I have said it before and I really mean it. I wanted my songs to fit into my 3rd set when I was playing on Friday or Saturday at the bar in-between Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy & Chicken Fried. So I learned early on that if you want your songs to fit into those types of things you really need to cater to what’s in front of you which was the party crowd. I love that whole scene man. That’s sort of where I grew up and those are the people I am thinking about when I am writing. I know I made a joke the other day at that radio show where there were kids sitting down front “Kids ear muffs” I Like To Drink, She Like to Smoke I don’t want to instill those values into a seven year old kids mind. I do get a kick out of it when a mother comes up with her 7 year old and asks the little one to tell me what their favourite song is and they say Stronger Beer and I just think aww, man and get a laugh out of it and hope they see the humour in it.
Corey: So your two previous albums have been released in August this one is September. Do you feel you get the best bang releaseing at this time of year compared to maybe December?
Tim: I don’t think so, I think for me my records kind of lean a bit more to the party side of things and that’s just a good time of year to do it. People are Barbecuing, Camping, they are doing their thing with their friends and I think it was just coincidence because Get By hit radio January 2nd of 2013. And that was kind of the test to see if they were really going to do a record with this guy, are we going to sign him. By the time Get By came out, they were like oh… Ok, so they put Hell Raisin’ out and that went well. By the time Hell Raisin’ was finishing up they were like… Ok, we are going to release this record. That took us say from Jan to August and Hell Raisin’ was just finishing up and seemed like a good time to drop a record.
Corey: So over the last say 2 years since your “Mall Gig” at First Canadian Place things have just blown up I know your more comfortable now being Tim Hicks the “Artist” but what’s it like now for you walking around and getting recognized every now and then? Especially around home?
Tim: Ya, it happens more and more in my hometown like you said. And you are right lots has changed. It was a much different vibe back then. I feel fortunate that I have been able to have the kind of success we have out of the gate. That being said, I felt like I was ready for it after all those years playing, which certainly helps you stay grounded. For instance we played a gig where there was no table top on the table in the trailer and maybe somebody would have flipped out about it. We would be fine without a table. All I really had to say was remember the alley which was our Green Room for so many years. And that is not even a lie dude. We ate shepherds pie in the alley with the rats at our pub gig in Toronto. So thats one of the things I love about having the same band that I have for so long. We all really appreciate what we are being given here and the opportunity that has been set at our feet.
Corey: Let’s maybe expand on that band situation. It’s not just the four guys anymore. You have expanded and the sound has gotten bigger. Doug & Rob have been with you forever but that has grown.
Tim: Ok, so here is the nuts and bolts of it. When we were playing in a bars we would run tracks because I wanted to sound big but we couldn’t afford to pay players. So now, as this thing kind of gets bigger and bigger I need to have more guys to cover what is happening on the record. Plus, it’s just way more fun. The more the merrier when it comes to making music especially when you enjoy each others company. And respect each other as players. That’s something I had to fight for a little bit at the outset. Of course people were pushing other ideas’ but I had to say. I love my band, we all get along. They are great players, none of them are heavy drinkers or drug addicts. They answer emails in timely manner and show up on time. You know, what else could you want. And the most important thing that I have learned in this whole thing is that you really have to like one another because it’s like you’re married. When your living on the road and hanging out in RV’s and hotel rooms and planes, trains and automobiles you know. We have had guys sub in and it just didn’t fit in and it’s a drag. When you have got somebody that doesn’t want to be there you can really sense that energy. It really is the camaraderie and the energy we give to one another on stage that people really see. And they always say this, ” You guys look like you’re having so much fun” and I go.. “Cause we are” We really are having the time of our life. It’s Real!
Corey: But it’s infectious right..
Tim: Ya, totally.
Corey: Because as a fan you see the guys having a great time and smiling and just rockin’ out it just makes you feel more part of it.
Tim: Absolutely, and you know what if people don’t get that…I saw a tweet the other night that said Tim Hicks was average… That’s fine. I respect your opinion but I had a great time (Laughs) You know what I mean. My feeling is if were having a good time and making good music with one another people are going to see that and feel it. And, ya when you’re running around like an idiot, wrong chords are going to get hit from time to time and that’s live music. I would much rather have that kind of vibe on stage and have it be a little like gorilla warfare than be so structured and polished. And some guys love that and I respect that end of it. But to me, at the end of the day we are a dirty sweaty band. And what you see is what you get.
Corey: Ok so we are getting close to the CCMA’s you have a total of 5 nominations. How does that feel?
Tim: Unbelievable, Ok, so the way the timeline worked I didn’t think I was going to get any nominations this year. For whatever reason I had this feeling that there were other guys that have way more going on like Dallas. I really feel like this is his year and if he doesn’t win some big awards I am personally going to burn down Halifax (Total Jokes) He deserves it. He is a hard working dude. I feel he is just starting to gain the respect of the industry. And I think he deserved it a long time ago. But I was really pleased to hear that 5:01 got nominated for Album of the Year, that was the one that really hit home for me. Because of how hard you work, and you are on pins and needles man, When Throwdown came out and did so well out of the gate it was like how do you top that. The cliche is true, I worked on songs for a year in Nashville before I even released anything to radio. We had a ton of material piled up. The first one you can kind of calculate and talk about. RGK and Open Road asked me a thousand times in a thousand different ways who I was as an artist and how do you think your sound should be. You need to know those types of things in order to piece your record together. So when it came to doing the second record I had 5 weeks in Nashville. It was like make or break. So to get the nominations it really meant a lot because we toiled over that record. I mean as much as we could in the time that we had. I lost a lot of sleep. It just validated the whole thing for me and thats the one that really hit home. The Male Artist one to is fantastic. Just to know that people think I deserve to be up there with Dean, Dallas and all those guys. I still feel like I am the new guy. There was a moment that happened around Christmas time where we were driving and somewhere with the kids and the Canadian Spotlight came on the radio and it was the year end that was pieced together with all the interviews from the year. Well, mine came on and my wife had reached over and shut it off. I looked at her and she said “I am not trying to be rude. I just have to tell you this is really weird. It feels like this is happening to some other guy named Tim Hicks and it’s not you. So it really is surreal that all this is happening especially after so long of banging it out.
Corey: TIm, thanks so much for hanging with us again. Love chattin’ and best of luck on the new tour. We can’t wait to cover many of those #LetsGetCrazyTour dates.
Tim: You bet thanks for doing this.
Want all the latest on Tim head over to some of his social media outlets
Head over and check out Tim’s Mason Jar Session here.
Tim’s latest video – Young, Alive and in Love
More great images of Tim & the boys from Sean Sisk Photography