Header Ads

The Bellamy Brothers Interview by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

The Bellamy Brothers Interview by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
The Bellamy Brothers: still ‘circling the globe’ after 40+ years

New book and TV show debut in April

Howard and David, The Bellamy Brothers, have one of the longest careers in country and pop music history.  Since writing the 1974 hit song ‘Spiders and Snakes’ for Jim Stafford and recording their first Number One single, ‘Let Your Love Flow,’ in 1976, the brothers have never stopped recording, performing and touring.

Now their new autobiography, titled ‘Let Your Love Flow: Life and Times of the Bellamy Brothers,’ will be published in April, and  ‘Honky Tonk Ranch, a TV show about their hectic lives, is set to air in the USA on the Cowboy Channel.

I caught up with Howard and David while they were on a brief break between international tour dates, and we sat down in Nashville to talk about their new projects.

Preshias Harris: More country acts are now touring overseas, but you have been booking dates in Europe and Asia for many years.  What do you think it is about your music that makes you so popular with overseas audiences?

Howard Bellamy: You know that’s a question we always ask ourselves. You wonder what anybody hears in your particular songs and your music.  It makes you curious. What do they like about it? You’re glad they do.  But I think it may be that they do recognize us when they hear us. ‘Well, that’s the Bellamy Brothers.’ They recognize us. They know who it is. And I think the sibling blend has a lot to do with it. And  hopefully the song choice that we’ve made, that we’ve recorded some decent songs through the years.  You don’t really know what they like, but I think that has a lot to do with it. 

PH: Do you have any special memories about performing for German audiences?

[Together]: Oh, many!  Many, many!

David Bellamy: We played in Germany so many times.

HB: I married one [a German woman]!

DB: We’ve played everything from beer halls to giant concert festivals. We’ve done literally everything in Germany over the years and continue to do a lot there. We were there again last year.

PH: You’ve had 21 albums released in Germany. Is that correct?

DB: We cut four albums exclusively for Germany, in Germany.  We did them in Munich, working with a producer named Ralph Siegel, a really famous producer there with lots of hits on many different acts, and we cut four albums with him, just for the German-speaking audience.

PH: Looking at your tour schedule, it seems you have been touring non-stop for decades.  How do you manage keep up that kind of schedule that many artists just can’t handle?

HB: I saw an interview on TV recently with a younger act, a rock act, I don’t remember who it was, and the interviewer said, ‘How are you feeling toward the end of your tour?’ and the kid said, ‘Oh, I’m dead. I’ve been on the road for a year and a half solid.’  And I just, without thinking, I busted out laughing! A year and a half he’s been on the road?! It’s just a joke. I mean, we haven’t stopped since ’76. 

DB: It’s normal to us. We’ve tried to figure it out a couple of times and it’s never a perfect science, but every year and a half, we pretty much circle the globe.

PH: Maybe the sibling connection helps.

HB: Yes, and we’ve got a good touring group that’s out with us when we’re in a foreign country. And it is kinda like family. We’ve been touring with [International tour manager] Judy Seale since… I don’t remember, it’s been so long. And the crew we go around with, it’s always nice to have that feeling that you’re not out there in Singapore, stranded by yourself.

PH: Your new TV show, ‘Honky Tonk Ranch,’ debuts in April on the Cowboy Channel. What can you tell us about the new show?

DB: I think it’ll be fun for the viewers. Fun and entertaining.  That’s what it’s about for us. It’s not meant to be dramatic. There’s some drama involved, but it’s not the type of reality show where the family fights and all those things. It’s really a fun show. I think people will see more of the lifestyle that we live and I think they’ll be surprised at that because we live really ‘down home’ lives.  We’re basically Florida rednecks.

PH: And you’re ranchers, too.

DB: I think they’ll be surprised at how ‘country’ we really are, but they’ll have a lot of fun.

PH: Your new book, “Let Your Love Flow,” also comes out in April. What can readers expect to read in that book?

HB: When we grew up, we thought our family was a normal family and we thought we were kinda normal until we got out in the world!  [laughs]  We realized we were different to most people.  The way we were raised was different. We grew up on a cattle ranch and an orange grove and we had an outhouse [toilet] until I was sixteen. We were country.

DB: I always tell everybody, where our swimming pool is now, that’s where the outhouse was!

PH: I understand! My grandmother had an outhouse until I was fourteen. I’m originally from Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. My cousins are the Everly Brothers. I love sibling harmonies. That’s probably why I love you guys ever since the moment I heard you.

HB: Oh, the Everly Brothers! They are like our idols.

DB: We toured a lot with Don [Everly] in Europe especially. We didn’t know Phil as well, but we toured with Don. The Everlys are the best.

PH: Howard, is it really true you worked for the FBI – for one day when you left high school?

HB: Well, what happened on that deal, I get that question a lot, and I was just out of high school, I’d just graduated, and our high school principal had recommended me, as the FBI used to come out and recruit likely candidates for agents. I was offered a scholarship by the FBI, but I didn’t know about it because the principal didn’t tell me.  I was home by myself one day and two guys came knocking at the door and they showed their badges and said ‘We’d like to talk to you, we’ve talked to your principal,’ and they wanted to know if I’d be interested.  So we sat down and talked. Then my mother came in and she was as surprised as I was. So, basically, I agreed to do it. I was actually fingerprinted! They took me and fingerprinted me at the City Hall and I was planning on going to be an FBI agent. Well the [FBI] school was going to start in a few months, and I was offered a job buying cattle for this old guy in Florida, and we were raised with cattle. He offered me a brand new car every year and an expense account, and for someone who was, like, nineteen years old, it was like, ‘holy crap!’ And it was something I knew a lot about. I had two things laid out and I had to make a decision, so I decided to go buy cattle! So I’ve always claimed I was an FBI agent for a day!

PH: I understand cattle. I was in the FFA [Future Farmers of America] in high school. But I only had to take care of four cattle!

HB: We were in the FFA. Actually I was in the FFA Quartet, one of the first groups I ever sang in.

PH: Okay, settle an argument.  On the label for the single, the title reads: “If I said you HAVE a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me,” … but on the album, it reads: “If I said you HAD a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me.” My husband who is British says it should be ‘Have.’ Which one is correct?

DB: ‘Have.’ Most people say ‘Had’ when they say the title.  But it’s really ‘Have.’ If it was ‘Had,’ it would be past tense, which means you don’t have one now!

HB: The Brits are usually right about their language! The British are some of the greatest music collectors, and I love them, because we can go to play in England or around the UK, anywhere, and they will know everything. They’ll know the history of the steel player in your band and they just really get into it. 

Find more about the Bellamy Brothers’ new TV show, ‘Honky Tonk Ranch,’ at www.thecowboychannel.com/shows/ and look for their autobiography, ‘Let Your Love Flow: Life and Times of the Bellamy Brothers,’ at their website and online booksellers.  Tour updates and more info at their website https://bellamybrothers.com

# # #

No comments