Indie Band Spotlight:
by Mark E. Waterbury
BAND MEMBER INTERVIEWED:
Lead Vocalist David McBee
Power Rock with Southern roots
NUMBER OF CDs SOLD:
SIZE OF FAN BASE:
MM: How did Big Dixonís formation come about?
DM: I was on hiatus from a band I had been in Virginia when I came to Gaffney
(South Carolina) and I was reading an ad about a band looking for a singer. I
auditioned and weíve been together ever since. Chris (Smith, percussion) and
John (Fusco, guitar) had previously been together about twelve years. Mike
(Watson, bass) had also known them for a number of years. But the band Big
Dixon actually started when I joined.
MM: When the band formed, did you start writing original music right away?
DM: There were a few covers, like old classic rock covers when we started
out. I told them that I was very, very interested in doing original material.
John and Chris were doing some original music and they had a pretty good
setlist with originals mixed in. Johnís a really super songwriter, and if you
tell him you want a song written about a particular subject, heíll sit down
and write it. Everybody in this band is actually great at writing originals.
At this point, we already have two and a half complete albums worth of
material written and ready to be recorded, but weíre going to wait to see
what happens to this first CD.
MM: Is the Spartanburg area a tough area to get noticed in for a band
DM: The only band that ever came out of here to be very successful was the
Marshall Tucker Band. We get labeled as Southern rock because weíve got that
bluesy, hard edge, but I donít think itís really Southern rock. Itís
Southern, but itís heavier then your typical Southern rock. There have been a
few other bands to come out of here, but itís really hard because everyone is
in these little cliques. You have the musicians who know everybody and then
you have the ones who donít know anybody. They just play and have fun and
thatís us. The whole ďrock starĒ image used to be a priority in my life. But
now I just like to play and make people happy more than anything else in the
world. If weíre playing in front of only five people and one person comes up
to us and tells us we really moved him and really liked us, that means more
than if a million people came up to me and handed me a million bucks.
MM: So part of your philosophy is when you are performing you give a great
show no matter what size the audience is?
DM: Exactly. We put on the same show for five people that we would for five
thousand. We give it everything we have at all times on stage.
MM: Is the band good at interacting with the audience after shows as well?
DM: Chris and I mingle, and I am very outspoken and outgoing personally. I am
constantly PR-ing for the band. Everyone in the band is friendly and nice and
talks to everyone, but primarily Chris and I like to mingle around and hang
MM: Do people seem to get into your original music right away the first time
they hear it?
DM: We have a song called ďAnother DayĒ which has been a very popular song.
A lot of people request it, and a lot of people also request ď7 Days a WeekĒ
and ďBent Like a Reed.Ē We have another song that is going to be on our
second album called ďCanít Buy Heaven,Ē but we may release it on a single
because every time we play that song, it doesnít matter where we are, we just
get e-mail after e-mail about it with people requesting it. At one club, we
played it three times in one night we got so many requests for it.
MM: How did you connect with Lost Gold Records?
DM: We made South Carolina history by being the only heavy rock band to ever
play at the Newberry Opera House, which is world famous and has been there
for a long time. They mainly have country acts there, but we got a really
good response. Thatís what landed the record deal for us. I was in a prog m
etal band called Shock Opera. My dad met one of Lost Goldís owners Bruce
Elrod at a festival. He told Bruce that his son was in a band and gave him my
number. We talked and I played some of Shock Opera's music for him, and he
really liked it and wanted to sign us. But the other guys in the band wanted
to wait for a big national label to come knock on our door. So I left Shock
Opera, and later turned Bruce on to Big Dixon's music. He actually set up the
Newberry show. He was there along with the other owners and some of the label
backers. After the show, he told us we were going to get the ball rolling. We
sent him the CD we recorded in 1998 in Macon, Georgia, and now itís out
MM: What kind of level of success would you like to see Big Dixon get to, and
what do you need to do to get to that level?
DM: We need to play live as much as possible. Play everywhere we can and not
be picky about where we play. We need to get out to as many people as we can,
and keep focused in the same vein of music. When we play live, we have lots
of energy, weíre in your face. When I sing, I sing with everything Iíve got.
I donít know how to describe it, but if you feel good about what youíre
playing, feel good in your heart and it makes people happy, I donít care what
kind of label they slap on our music, calling it Southern rock or whatever.
As far as success goes, I just want to be comfortable. I want to have a song
that I can hear on the radio and know that Iím reaching people with it, and
Iím comfortable. I donít really care about being rich or famous, if it
happens, it happens. I want to be comfortable, be able to play in front of
people and stay out on the road. :->