music morsels
April 2008


Little Memphis
BAND NAME: Dan LaPorte of Little Memphis
MUSICAL GENRE: Roots influenced modern country

MM: I know you came from an Elvis tribute act, what made you decide you wanted to do original music and form Little Memphis?

DL: Doing the Elvis thing was fun and I love that music and can shine vocally with it, but with that being said, doing original music should be any artists goal regardless if they know it or not. When you have a fan base who knows your original music and can sing along to it at your shows, you can’t put a price on that. That in itself is the reason you do original music - to see that those people know and enjoy your music enough to be able to sing along with it. That is the sort of thing that drives you.

MM: How did you actually get Little Memphis started?

DL: We had a member of the Elvis tribute band Ed Leavitt who had previously written some original material. So we decided we wanted to get into a studio and lay some of these songs down. We pressed up demos and sent about fifteen or twenty of them out. Scotty Turner happened to be one person we sent one to, and that is how it all got started.

MM: When you sent those demos out, were you targeting anyone in particular to try to get your career going?

DL: There really wasn’t any target. What we put together was the best that we could do on a smaller level, and what we really wanted to do was to get the music out to people who may be able to help get us somewhere where we probably couldn’t get on our own. Basically, we had made one step by getting the music recorded, and then took the next step of getting it out there for some people to hear. but it wasn’t really a set target. It was just sending it out and seeing what happened.

MM: What was it like working with people like Scotty Turner and George Clinton?

DL: It goes without saying that it was amazing. Scotty was a great guy on a personal level, and on a music level, he has worked with so many people over the years, but he is very humble about it. The experience alone of hearing his perspectives on the music business was amazing. On top of that, he put together this class A group of guys to work on our project. We go into Bayou Studios with George Clinton, and he has worked with everybody and anybody as well. Working with him, talking with him, and getting to know him and what he does and how he does it, you really get appreciation for the whole process. Watching the players and what they did and how they did it was amazing as well. These guys had played with Travis Tritt,  Jimmy Buffet, B.J. Thomas and so many people. They were very professional about everything. For me, coming in and recording on this level, it was just fantastic to be there. The whole experience so far has just been phenomenal.

MM: Do you feel it also was a learning experience and gave you a bit of a lift as opposed to a band who just goes into any old studio with any old producers and players?

DL: Absolutely. Coming in, my expectations were more of myself, not of the players. They enhanced my expectations of myself and made me believe in my abilities. As far a learning experience is concerned, for me as a vocalist, it was very beneficial and was an experience that I can take back into any studio and know a lot more than I would have previously. In the music industry, no matter what level you are at, it is always going to be a learning experience. I had some previous recording experiences, but not the type where I could go in, ask questions and learn so much. There were no foolish questions with these guys and they gave me the most honest answers they could. The whole experience was definitely huge.

MM: Was the songwriting and arranging a cooperative effort?

DL: Ed would come at us with an idea, chords and words, but it wasn’t set in stone, it was ideas. I actually put most of the songs together as they are now, but it was a co-effort. Todd (LeBlanc) and everyone that was in the group were involved in the effort to make the songs what they are today.

MM: What did you do to get the band's name out once you had the songs recorded?

DL: We are working with a PR firm who also is helping to book us. On a more local level, we went to our local radio station and just recently did an interview and co-hosted a show along with playing some songs from the album. Our CD release party is coming up April 4th and the radio station is actually going to be there hosting the evening. So that has been a great help raising awareness in the local area. We of course get posters up throughout the area and try to do everything to let people know about Little Memphis. We used to actually open for our Elvis tribute band. We were playing mostly opry houses in front of anywhere from three hundred to fifteen hundred people. It was a great way to introduce Little Memphis to a diverse group of people in a short period of time.

MM: Do you see a broad appeal for your music for different age groups?

DL: We have seen our older crowd enjoy our music at the Elvis tribute shows, and they are taken to me vocally because of what we have done before. Some of the vocals are a bit Elvis-esque so they seem to latch onto that. I have also seen a midrange and younger crowd get into it because we take the old country sound and mix it with the modern. We wanted to bring country back. That is the essence of this album. The younger people are hearing the modern country sound like they hear on the radio, and while they are hearing that, they may not be realizing that they are hearing this older feel, too. They love country music and they may not realize it because they think the sound is modern country and don’t know that the mix is actually happening. The older people hear the strong base of older sound, but it is mixed so well with the modern sound that they are also just hearing the essence of country music without really realizing it. 

MM: What level of success would you like to see with Little Memphis and what do you think it will take to get there?

DL: It takes a ton of work from a lot of people to connect your music with people. First and foremost, I love music and singing in general, so for me to “make it” in the music business, it would be to play music for a living. We’re not necessarily talking being huge stars and being a millionaire with houses all over the place or anything like that, but to play music and make a nice living doing it. Doing what we love, and music is what drives me. To this point, for me coming from a small town in New Hampshire, the fact we even had a chance to work with someone at the level of Scotty Turner and George Clinton and the musicians we worked with, we have made it already as far as I am concerned.  Where it takes us from this point forth is icing on the cake.

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