I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH SEE THE GREAT CHAMP HOOD PLAY WITH TONI PRICE FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS. I WAS HOOKED WHEN I SAW THE MAGIC THAT THE FOUR PLAYERS TOSSED BACK AND FORTH ON STAGE. THERE WERE NOT MANY TUESDAZE NIGHTS THAT I MISSED DURING THAT TIME. FROM TIME TO TIME, CHAMP WOULD SHIFT THE SPOTLIGHT TO HIS SON, WARREN. WARREN WOULD SIT IN FOR A FEW SONGS AND KNOCK THE CROWD SILENT WITH HIS FIDDLE. IT WAS AMAZING TO SEE THIS MUCH TALENT ON A STAGE. WARREN WAS ONLY IN HIGH SCHOOL AT THE TIME. I BEGAN TO FOLLOW WARREN’S EXPLOITS IN THE DIFFERENT BANDS HE PLAYED WITH. THE SOUTH AUSTIN JUG BAND WAS THE FIRST TIME I SAW HIM PLAY IN HIS OWN BAND. I WAS HOOKED. HE LEFT THAT BAND AND WENT TO SCHOOL AND HE WOULD RETURN NOW AND AGAIN. HE IS BACK NOW AND SITS IN MOST FIERCLEY WITH TONI PRICE. HE SITS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STAGE WHERE CHAMP WAS THRONED. WHEN HE TAKES A SOLO, HE IS LIKE A MAD WIZARD. THE MUSICAL JOURNEY THAT HE TAKES THE ROOM ON IS OTHER WORDLY AND IT FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE HISTORY OF TUESDAZE NIGHTS AT THE CONTINENTAL.. I HAVE HEARD THAT WARREN’S SUNDAZE NIGHT GIG AT MOMOS IS AWESOME. YOU WILL, NO DOUBT HEAR MORE FROM WARREN HOOD IN THE FUTURE. MY ADVICE IS TO CATCH HIM LIVE (LOCALLY) WHILE YOU CAN. HERE ARE SOME WORDS WE SHARED:
Austin DAZE: -How old were you when you first started playing fiddle and mandolin?
Warren Hood: – I started Playing violin at age 11. In my district the schools forced all 6th graders to join the band, orchestra, or choir for at least a year. I chose Orch. and never looked back I didn’t start mandolin until I was 17.
AD: -I understand you are a classically trained violin player, please elaborate.
WH: – I was strictly classical until I was 15 and I discovered Stephane Grappelli. He inspired me on a classical level with his beautiful tone and command of the instrument but it was his improvising abilities that moved me most of all. He was a major reason I crossed over from classical to jazz, swing, country, bluegrass, and ect… From the time I was born I was always listening to my fathers shows. So, even before I started playing my ears were in training without me knowing. Though I say I was strictly classical when I started, my father did teach a small handful of fiddle tunes. I have never competed in fiddle contest, but I did compete in a many solo contests. I won many awards but the greatest was the Austin Symphony youth award. My prize was a concert series as a soloist with the Austin Symphony. I give a lot of credit to my private violin Teacher Bill Dick. I studied with him from the age of 15-19. I give him as much credit for the player I am as I do my dad.
AD: – And what the hell is the difference between a violin and an fiddle anyway?
WH: – A Fiddle and Violin are the same instrument. The difference is the style.
I can switch from a classical approach to a song to a fiddle approach as if it were flipping a light switch.
AD: – Champ told one of our staff members that you were a better player than he was when you were still in High School. Why do you think he said that and what do you think the differences are between your playing and your Dad’s?
WH: – Champ did tell people I was a better fiddler than he was when I was in High school, but Champ didn’t give himself much credit for anything. He, in my opinion, was a better song writer than 95% of the song writers he backed up, But you never heard about that because he was too humble to do his own songs. In Highschool I could play faster and cleaner than Champ, but who cares? It takes a life time to achieve what I call his “old man tone” and melodic sensibilities. That is what music is all about.
AD: – What do you enjoy most about being a musician? The least?
WH: – The thing I enjoy most of all about being a musician is the traveling. I get to travel the world to amazing places and meet all kinds of people. All of my good friends I met in some kind of music setting. We either played together or met backstage or they were just a fan I met when the show was over. The thing I don’t like is the uncertainty. Sometimes I hit slow months and I don’t know if I’ll make rent. But sometimes I’ll make two months rent in a weekend. It can get stressful like any job. I hate the business end of music industry.
AD: – Where do you see yourself in the next 5 -10 years?
WH: – In 5 years, I see myself either having my own band or being a part of a band where I am an equal member. I write and sing too, and I need an outlet for that. Being a hired gun is already getting old and it won’t be long before I make a change. In ten years, I would like to be traveling across the country with a band of my creation, selling out small theaters that seat 500 people and playing all the major festivals as a headlining act.
AD: – What do you want to accomplish overall?
WH: – Overall, I want the respect of true music fans as well as my musical peers. I want to show up to a bluegrass festival and have people like Sam Bush or Bela Fleck invite me up to sit in. I want my music to change and further the course of popular music.
AD: – WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
WH: – There have been a few highlights that will be hard to top in my career, so far.
#1 would have to be performing with Lyle Lovette and friends at the Austin Music Awards in a tribute to my father. Others includ performing on Austin City Limits, The Grand Ole Opry, and winning the band contest at Teluride.
AD: – WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT AUSTIN?
WH: – Austin is a great place because of the great music, food, and people.
As long a people keep going out to support the clubs and artists, Austin will continue to be the Live Music Capital of the World. We throw the term “live musical capital of the world” around loosely here, and some people around here are jaded and don’t think it is true. I have lived on the west and east coasts and traveled between many times. Believe me, there is no place like Austin when it comes to live music.
AD: – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF SXSW?
WH: – SXSW is a great festival that generates a lot of money for the local economy and gives many musicians a chance to be heard by a much larger audience than they would otherwise.
AD: – WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLUB/VENUE TO PLAY AND WHY?
WH: – My favorite venue to play is the Continental Club. It does’t sound as good as some of the other rooms in town, but I have been going there since I was 10. I used to hear my dad there with Toni Price on Tues. while shooting pool.
Now I play with Toni on Tues. and it feels very natural. Though Champ stopped playing there 3 years ago It feels like it was so long go. Almost as if those days were a dream and I have been in that chair on the side of the stage the whole time.
AD: – WHAT MUSICAL PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? WHERE CAN WE SEE YOU?
WH: – Right now, I am playing primarily in four bands. I play with Toni Price, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, and The Waybacks when I can. My favorite thing to do is my new Sunday night residency at Momo’s. Every Sunday night from 10-12 I play with my group called “Warren Hood and the Hoodlums.” the band consists of me, Seth Walker, Mike Keller, Andrew Nafziger and Nate Roe. It’s mostly blues but we give it our own twist.
AD: – WHERE IS YOUR MIND WHEN YOU ARE DEEP IN A SOLO? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT? ARE YOU HERE AND NOW OR ARE YOU SOMEPLACE ELSE?
WH: – When I am In a solo, nothing in the world exists but me and my fiddle.