Teddy Davenport & the Cushions

interview with Madison based songwriter
by Teri Barr
December 2017

Teddy Davenport and the Cushions

Teddy Davenport and the Cushions

“Music is my first love, it’s my best friend. Music has literally saved my life.”

Teddy Davenport’s past is the kind of story you often hear about in songs. But for his first full-length album, Teddy took control of his life, and decided to share large parts of it through some of the best music being released in late 2017. Teddy’s also lost and gained during the writing process, and as you’ll learn from our Q and A, he isn’t shy sharing it. Luckily, he’s also talking about the future, and a time when we’ll be able to say, “We knew him when…”

So, for now, enjoy Teddy and his new album which is being released with his band, Teddy Davenport and The Cushions at Harmony Bar in Madison on Friday, December 8, 2017. There’s also a Toys for Tots Fundraiser show at the VFW in Monona on Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 1:30 pm.

You’ll also find him on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, and his website: teddydavenport.com

Maximum Ink: The first time I met you I could tell music has always been a part of who you are as a person. Am I right?
Teddy Davenport: When I was kid my parents took my sister and I to watch the Kristi B Band regularly. Back in those days they let kids stay in the bar until close. I would put my cowboy hat and boots on and watch everyone dance, and have such a good time. I learned how to ask a girl to dance right after I learned to walk, and experiencing these live shows at such a young age was really special for me. I got my first guitar when I was 14, an electric Cort.  My cousin Brent taught me all my favorite punk rock songs, and I was instantly mesmerized by the feeling this guitar gave me. I got an acoustic guitar the following year. after I first heard Bob Dylan, but everything changed for me when I heard music from Tom Petty, The Beatles, and The Doors.

MI: You also have a more recent story about the power of music in your life?
TD: I decided to make music my main focus when I was living in California in 2011. I didn’t give it much effort prior to this because I was too busy partying, and getting caught up in the criminal justice system. I was 26, and drinking everyday. I didn’t have a college education, a job or money; but I did have an extensive criminal record. I moved back to Madison in 2012 and tried to start a band, but got my third OWI in October of that year. I finally looked at everything drinking and hard drugs had brought to my life—countless rehabs, military school in Kansas, jails, prison, probation, broken relationships, so much guilt and shame. I finally put myself in a sober living home for a year, then started writing songs, and looking for places to perform. I played at Java Cat coffee shop in Monona one weekend, and they said I could come back whenever I wanted, so I started coming every Saturday, and use that as my first platform to figure out how to do this. Music literally saved my life. I was a full blown alcoholic junkie with no will to live, and now writing and performing has given my life a new purpose. For that I’m very grateful.

MI: Since then, you’ve recorded several EP’s, but your first full length album is coming out in December?
TD: Yes! I started recording this CD, “The Deepest Blue,” last year in Oconomowoc with Matt Spransy, who did my first two projects. I’ll end up with 11 songs on this album, ranging from folk, blues, country, rock, and soul. I also got married in June of last year, and the first year was pretty tough for us. A good portion of the songs come from that.  There are songs that show my spiritual side as well. My best friend, Brian Crusan, passed away in May of this year from an overdose. It was truly a devastating loss.  Brian was my biggest fan. He came to almost every show, took pictures, shot video, promoted my website and social media. He was such a good friend to me, life will never be the same. I’m dedicating this album to him.

MI: This album has also been supported by your friends and fans through a successful Kickstarter campaign. How does it feel to know people believe in you and your music?
TD: I have to admit, when I first started hearing about artists doing campaigns for their albums, it seemed weird to me. I’d saved up money and paid for everything upfront in the past, but I’ve also backed some of my friend’s campaigns, and now that I’ve done one myself, I realize how helpful it can be. It was also a stressful process. I wasn’t sure if I would reach my goal. But once I did, the pre-sales through Kickstarter allowed me to cover the cost of recording which is a huge relief. Supporting the campaign made this album possible. so I really appreciate everyone that pledged.

MI: What is next for you, Teddy?
TD: I’m happy with any success I get from sharing my new music, and doing this interview makes me feel good about it. I’ll enjoy performing these songs forever. I also feel like I’m making progress when my peers let me know I’m doing a good job. When Corey Hart, Josh Harty, or Erik Kjelland says that I have a nice song, that feels really good. When someone tells me that my music helps them, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. But, I would like to see myself successfully paying all my bills with my music as soon as possible, haha! Seriously though, I want to take my career to the next level. I currently handle all the business stuff myself and would like some kind of management or agent. I would like to work on a tour this coming year in support of the album. I’m looking into booking myself and the band for festivals and other shows. I would love to see my music placed in a movie or something like that, and I also wouldn’t mind co-writing with someone else singing the songs.

MI: We’ve learned so much about you, but is there something funny that may surprise people?
TD: There is a video somewhere of me doing the Thriller dance at my sister’s dance recital. I stepped up, learned all the choreography, dressed up like a zombie, and danced on stage in front of a couple hundred people.

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Teddy Davenport & the Cushions Online:

Teddy Davenport & the Cushions
CD: The Deepest Blue Record Label: Self Released