Charlie Daniels talks about latest album “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan”

Charlie Daniels is best know for delivering the world with the hit song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and numerous others. Today on April 1st, 2014, The Charlie Daniels Band is releasing their first album in 7 years called “Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan”, which is a tribute of songs to the great Bob Dylan. Charlie has been in the business since the early 1950s and shows no signs of slowing down.I know it is April 1st but no this is not an April Fool’s Joke, Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the legendary singer/songwriter about the new album and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: This is your first album since 2007, tell us about how “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan” came about?
Charlie Daniels: Actually, it came about in an rather offhand way due to a TV show called “Hell on Wheels” that takes place back in the 1800’s. We were asked to do some music for this show and we had these instruments that were around the 1800’s, which were acoustical instruments. We had never done any acoustic work before. We always used electric instruments in one degree or another. We were so impressed with the different sounds that came out of the band that we decided that we should do a whole album of acoustics. Well, we taught what better well to draw on than the Bob Dylan catalog since you can never run out of material that way. I am a big Bob Dylan fan and I just wanted to pay homage to Bob and some of his music in our way. We tried to pick songs that we could put our mark on. We didn’t want to copy anyone else’s arrangement or something. As a result we get “Off the Grid – Doin’ it Dylan”.

MG: How did you end up choosing these specific ten songs (and only ten songs) from Dylan’s library to cover?
CD: Well, we went through the common process of trying to do songs that we felt we could do totally different than they have been done before. We didn’t want to copy “Mr. Tambourine Man” like The Byrds did it or other people’s recordings of his songs. We were looking at his songs and seeing if we could make a CDB song out of it. We simply approached it like it was new music like we were doing for these songs for the first time. We came across one that we felt that we couldn’t get far enough away, which was “Lay Lady Lay”. I really wanted to do that song but we could not find a way to do it that would take us away from the version on “Nashville Skyline”, so we decided to leave it alone. The great thing about it though like I said is that with Dylan, you can never run out of material.

MG: Did you have a plan upfront to add your unique style of music to Dylan’s songs or did it just happen in the studio?
CD: Yeah, we had a plan. We knew that they were Dylan songs but we wanted them to come out as CDB songs, if you will. It’s not that they still weren’t Dylan songs after but we wanted to have people to realize that it was a Dylan song but it was Charlie Daniels Band re-doing it.

MG: You previously recorded “Country Pie” on Dylan’s album “Nashville Skyline” in 1969; how was it getting to record this song again?
CD: Yeah I recorded “Country” Pie” with Dylan back on “Nashville Skyline”. I was also worked on his albums” Self Portrait” and “New Mornings” as well. I had fun recording that song both times though [laughs]. It is such a great song.

MG: Why do you think that these songs are still so relevant in today’s times?
CD: Well, they are classics and a classic is a classic. Half the time we don’t know what Dylan is talking about anyway [laughs]. We all can draw our own conclusions for some of them. “Time They Are a Changin'” and songs like that are very clear. But there are some that he leaves up to us to find out what they are about…and that is a beautiful thing. Everyone in this generation can find their own meanings.

MG: Was there any order to the composition of these songs?
CD: No, we didn’t anything chronological or genre-wise for this album like let’s pick one from the 60’s and then from the 70’s, nothing like that. We just went through his catalog and picked the songs that we were capable of doing that, like I said, we could put our mark on. Our main criteria was to make them CDB songs.

MG: Did you find that any of these songs were more difficult to cover than another?
CD: Well some of them were to an extent. Dylan writes his songs in his own way. Some of his songs have longer verses than others. I tried to make them basically the same length. I actually cut out some stanzas in order to make that work. I did it though without violating what the song was about. It didn’t affect the tune at all. But I also did it so that the song sounded our way, which was the goal.

MG: Having been in the business for 50+ years; what inspires you to continue making music?
CD: I love what I do. I am in LOVE with playing music and entertaining people. I just love it. It is just a blessing from God that I have been able to make a living doing something that I love so very much. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

MG: Do you have any plans to tour for this album this year?
CD: Oh yeah, I am on tour right now. As I speak with now, I am in Pennsylvania. So stay tuned because we have a lot of dates scheduled in the upcoming months.


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Dylan McDermott talks about his dark return in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Connecticut born, Dylan McDermott was encouraged by his playwright step-mother to pursue acting as a career. He began his career on stage, doing both Regional Theater and Broadway, and made his film debut in the Vietnam War film “Hamburger Hill.” His first major role was that of Jackson Latcherie, husband to the doomed Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.” In 1993 he got his first major role, that of Clint Eastwood’s partner in the Secret Service themed film “In the Line of Fire.” Starring roles in films such as “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Home for the Holidays” and “Wonderland” followed. In 1997 he began a long run on the Emmy Award winning series “The Practice,” winning a Golden Globe for his work on the show as well as an Emmy nomination. He also headlined series like “Big Shots” and “Dark Blue” and now, after appearing last year, he re-appears on the critically acclaimed “American Horror Story: Asylum.” While preparing for a new story arc on the show McDermott took the time to speak with Media Mikes about his work on the show, what scares him and the difference between appearing in a remake or a sequel.

Mike Smith: What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on set, or personally, from doing this show.
Dylan McDermott: Well, I mean if you watched all the episodes, you know that I’ve had to do some strange things clearly, but that was part of the ride when I talked to Ryan [creator Ryan Murphy] about this show. Obviously the cry baiting and walking around naked, and now I’m playing a serial killer, is all in terms of doing American Horror Story, this is what comes with the dinner. So you just have to be up for it.

MS: As a show that not only really stretches your acting abilities but part of your personal fear factor is there any one fear that you would like to try to conquer by doing this show?
DM: Well, I think if you had any fears , you’d better not have them walking into this show because all your personal things are public. So I think that you really have to be not too shy to do a show like this, let me just put it that way.

MS: Can you tell us a little bit about your character and where you hope he ends up at the end of the season.
DM: Well, he’s obviously a troubled man, so where I hope he goes and where he goes are two different places But I think he’s got a sole purpose in life and really that is, he feels so scorned by his mother. Everything is about his mother. The reason he’s doing all these horrible things is because he was rejected so harshly by his mother, obviously aborted. His father was a serial killer. His mother aborted him and he still lives. So his whole trajectory in life is really about her.

MS: Can you give us a breakdown as to how you got involved in this show again? Were you looking to come back and what happened? Did Ryan give you a call and say, listen, I’ve got this sick, twisted character that I want you to play?
DM: Yes, we talked in the summer and he said he was looking for something for me to come back. I wanted to come back and we weren’t sure in what capacity. Then the day the show aired, he called me and said he wanted me to come back as the son of ‘Bloody Face,’ the modern day ‘Bloody Face.’ He just told me; I hadn’t read any of the script, so I knew nothing about it. It was sort of a blind call. When he told me the story of it, I was just like flabbergasted. I mean, I couldn’t get—because it was just so horrendous how this guy would survive and what he would become and who he was. I was just fascinated by him. It was so different from, obviously, ‘Ben Harmon,’ to come back to this same show with a different character. I just thought it was a great way to make television completely different from anything you see on television, because when do you get to play different characters on the same show.?

MS: Without giving too much away, can you tell us how many more episodes you’re going to be appearing in?
DM: I will be, I believe, in the next three out of four.

MS: I realize it’s early yet, but could you see yourself coming back for the third series, if Ryan came up with another big idea for you?
DM: Yes, I mean I love this show. I just think it’s just really—if I wasn’t on the show, I’d be watching it; so I’m a fan of this show as much as an actor on the show. So whatever—like I said before, I really trust Ryan and he has a great instinct with me. If he asks me to come back on, of course.

MS: Do you have a favorite type of horror story?
DM: I do like the Polanski stuff more than anything else. I mean, “Rosemary’s Baby” is still one of my favorite movies of all time. The idea of her being impregnated with the devil and all that stuff is just like so frightening and being in New York at The Dakota, it’s so scary. I’m going to work on a movie, actually, in February, called “Mercy from Jason” and there is a similar theme to “Rosemary’s Baby” in the movie. So somewhere I am attracted to that in a strange way, so that does scare me; the sort of demon baby, more than anything else. Like we had in the first season of American Horror.

MS: Since you like psychological thrillers a lot…the whole demon baby aspect, would you ever consider doing a remake of “Rosemary’s Baby?”
DM: No, because that’s a great movie. I don’t think you can—it’s like remaking “Psycho.” You can’t. Some movies you just can’t remake and that certainly is one of them. Some things should be just left alone—maybe the sequel to “Rosemary’s Baby,” but not the remake.