An interview with Tom Dixon
by Mike Huberty
Sometimes silly, sometimes sexy, always sassy and never sober, TWANG DRAGONS are a Roadhouse Rockabilly band based in Milwaukee that has been touring, recording, and performing for a decade now. Led since the beginning by the team of guitarist/ songwriter, Tom Dixon, and vocalist, Lisa Hannon, they picked up a new rhythm section in 2010 in the form of bassist Kevin Farnsworth, and drummer, Don Keller. After several years of playing out, they released a full album with this lineup, their fourth release called “3 Chords and a Lie”. They’ll be bringing their songs from their new record to The Frequency in Madison on Friday November 21st with Sunspot and Sex Ester. We talked with Tom Dixon about the band and the new recording to preview the show.
Maximum Ink: So, why’d you pick up the guitar in the first place?
Tom Dixon: For me it was, what else…girls. For Kevin the bass player and Don the drummer, I think it was family. Lisa was lucky enough to be able to carry a tune so she didn’t bother with any other instrument.
MI: What was the music that you guys bonded on when it came to the Twang Dragons?
TD: For the rhythm section, we bonded with our own music…getting them up to speed on the material. All 3 chords! Originally for the Twang Dragons it was the usual…Johnny Cash, Prince and the Donny & Marie.
MI: What’s the first track that you’d love people to twang their ears to?
TD: The new album…probably “I Drink (Because I Love You)” Sadly, it’s non-fiction. My girlfriend, who was originally a bit of a teetotaler, told me she drinks because she loves me, and I told her I love her because I drink. The music bed of this song isn’t the perfect first taste of us, because we’re usually more uptempo with rowdy guitars and whatnot, but the tone of the song is absolutely us. We don’t pretend to be anything other than a fun band who wants the audience to have as much fun as we do onstage.
MI: What’s the story with the album name, ”Three Chords and a Lie”?
TD: It’s a sardonic jab at that overused “3 Chords and the Truth” cliche. I mean, that was an incredibly awesome line by whatever old blues guy first came up with it, but I think it’s been done to death. So we just twisted it a little to fit our attitude.
MI: What’s your favorite subject to write about?
TD: I hate to say it, since it’s also so cliché to outlaw country stuff, but drinking is a common subject in our songs. But come on, we’re always playing festivals and bars where people are drinking…so what are ya gonna do? The other theme we like to dip into is inseminating livestock; maybe because that’s Kevin’s day job.
MI: What’s been your favorite live experience so far?
TD: Our first and last tours in England. The first time, playing a tiny pub and watching people fight to get a peek and figure out what this strange noise was…and the last time when we played a big seaside festival. Nevermind that my guitar wouldn’t stay in tune. So what? I just told them I write the songs that way. Anybody can play in tune.
MI: If people are coming to The Frequency on the 21st, what can they expect?
TD: Sweat, snarky comments, loud spanky guitars and a few mistakes here or there. If you want perfect, go see Steely Dan. Or one of their many tribute bands. Also, if you don’t want Lisa coming your way with her cordless mic, do NOT make eye contact with her. You might see another band play one or two of the covers we do, and maybe someone with similar high energy on stage, but there’s no one out there that does exactly what we do. Good or bad… It’s still fun and we’ll keep plugging away until it ain’t.
The show on November 21st starts at 8pm, Sexy Ester will open the night, Twang Dragons at 9, and Sunspot (who will be releasing a new EP that night) goes on at 10.(3732) Page Views Twang Dragons Online:
CD: 3 Chords and a Lie Record Label: Self Released
• Download 3 Chords and a Lie on Amazon