CVIndependent

Sun06242018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Charlie Overbey has been writing songs for years that hit listeners with raw emotion—and he’s doing so again, with the release of new album early next year.

Area music-lovers will get two chances to see Overbey perform in the coming weeks: He’s performing Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight and others as part of the “Coachella Valley Independent Presents” series at The Hood Bar and Pizza this Saturday, Nov. 25; and he will perform with his band The Broken Arrows at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Dec. 14.

After a recent battle with pneumonia, Overbey enthusiastically discussed his upcoming new album, Broken Arrow, during a phone interview.

“I made this great new record with Ted Hutt. Ted has done tons of different things (with bands) from the Gaslight Anthem to Dropkick Murphys, and he was a founding member of Flogging Molly,” Overbey said. “He actually won a Grammy for Old Crow Medicine Show, and he recently did the Brian Fallon record. He’s a pretty hands-on guy, and he produced this new record that is due to come out in February or March.

“It’s called Broken Arrow, and it’s a very deep record and goes to places I normally wouldn’t go. I think in this day and age that you have to dig a little bit and give people music that says something and means something, and bring some harsh reality.”

Working with Ted Hutt was a positive experience, Overbey said.

“Ted is genius, really, because he lets you figure out what’s best and what’s not best without telling you somehow,” Overbey said. “I went in to make one record and ended up making a completely different record—not because Ted told me, ‘You have to make this record!’ Ted told me, ‘You have to make this record,’ without telling me that. That’s part of the magic of Ted. I have never really worked with anyone like Ted where I felt free to explore and open up. He took me out of my comfort zone and got me to put songs on this record that I wouldn’t normally be comfortable singing or playing. There are some really deep songs that I had written during times of my life that were private moments. He told me, ‘Those are the best songs, Charlie. Those are the songs that everyone can relate to.’ Anyone can write a song about drinking, partying and fucking. … But at times, you want to hear something with some depth to it. Ted brought me to a place of being OK with releasing a record of songs that say something and mean something and will have some longevity.”

Overbey has a trove of older songs that have not yet made it onto any recordings. Broken Arrow will include a few of those older songs.

“I had been doing ‘Kentucky Whiskey,’ and we ended up changing the title to ‘Trouble Likes Me Best,’ because there are so many whiskey songs,” Overbey said. “I did that song for many years but never actually recorded it. David Allan Coe told me when I was on tour with him, ‘I should have written that song!’ which to me says, ‘That’s a great fucking song!’

“There’s also another song called ‘Shame’ that I’ve been doing for years that has never made on a record. I demoed it and made a crappy video for it, but that one made it on the record. There’s another one called ‘Last Deep Breath’ that I had written 10 years ago that is a really deep one, and it’s the last song on the record. It’s such a heavy tune to me that I wasn’t comfortable ever recording it or even doing it live. Ted convinced me that’s the record I needed to make, so we made it. But there are still elements of the record that are fun and party music, and the band is a bunch of party-type dudes.”

There are some great guest appearances on Broken Arrow as well.

“I used the Mastersons, the husband-and-wife duo who are members of Steve Earle’s band, the Dukes,” Overbey said. “There’s a song called ‘47’ that I wrote about Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers and his battle with cancer. When Eddie was going through that, they had to come down here (to Los Angeles) from Seattle to have his treatments and stayed at our house—him and his whole family and animals. I wrote a song while that was happening about that situation, and once Eddie was free and clear of the cancer, I called Eddie to sing on it, and it ended up being called the ‘Ballad of Eddie Spaghetti.’ It’s heavy, but it’s upbeat. I also had Miranda Lee Richards; Ted Russell Kamp, who plays with Shooter Jennings; Paul Cartwright, who plays with Father John Misty; and a few other people.”

Overbey is also the frontman for Custom Made Scare, a cowpunk band that was signed to SideOneDummy Records in the late 1990s. Overbey said fans should not expect a full-fledged reunion anytime soon.

“Custom Made Scare was an amazing time, and it had its time,” he said. “We were young, full of angst, piss and vinegar—and it was cowpunk at its best. To do it again is always fun, and we do it every three or four years as long as we’re still young enough to do it. We have talked about making another record, but I’m really comfortable and feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing at this point in my life. Climbing in a van to drive around to play punk rock again—it doesn’t really sound inviting. I like doing it every once in awhile, but sleeping on people’s floors and eating 7-Eleven hot dogs and drinking shitty beer doesn’t do anything for me these days.”

Overbey said he’s thrilled to be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s—and mentioned a new business of his that’s taking off.

“This is our first headline show at Pappy’s, which I’m really excited about, because the fucking barbecue ribs there are outstanding,” he said.

“This has been the calm before the storm. I have Lone Hawk Hats going on, too, and I’ve been making hats for the past couple of years. That is fucking exploding, and it’s so out of control that I can’t make them fast enough. I can’t begin to tell you how many cool people I’ve met just by doing that. The hat line seems to really be propelling the music more than anything ever has. I think in 2018, and I don’t want to jinx anything, but it’s going to be a pretty busy year for me as far as roadhouses and touring. I’m pretty excited to get back out and see every bitchin’ roadhouse in America again.”

Charlie Overbey will perform with Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight and others as part of the “Coachella Valley Independent Presents” series at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit facebook.com/HoodBarAndPizza. He will also perform at 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Charlie Overbey has had a lot of musical irons in the figurative fire.

He was the frontman of the cowpunk band Custom Made Scare before he set out on his own with The Valentine Killers. He’s since reinvented himself with his new band the Broken Arrows—which he’ll be bringing to Pappy and Harriet’s on Valentine’s Day, when the band will open for The Supersuckers.

During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, he discussed the recent EP by Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows, The California Kid.

“The theme of the record reflected a strange time in my life,” Overbey said. “I was going through a lot of heavy shit. My father had just passed away; I had just gotten sober, and I was into my first year of that. I was going through a divorce and all kinds of other craziness. I wanted to make a heavy and depressing kind of record, and I went in to start doing it. The first day we started tracking, I figured that I just didn’t feel right about it and turned it around to make an album that was upbeat and still personal.

“I went into it putting everything out there, and some of the songs are pretty deep and personal, and some are about my youth. I try to write from a place of reality and stuff that’s going to make people think and feel rather than a place of, ‘Hey, let’s party!’”

The California Kid has a deep honky-tonk and ’70s country feel. It’s quite different from what Overbey has done in the past with Custom Made Scare and the Valentine Killers. The songs have pedal-steel guitar and a California country sound. Back in December, Overbey played The Hood Bar and Pizza, opening for Wayne “The Train” Hancock; he fit right in.

“It’s absolutely different. I would say it’s a very heavy, rootsy kind of record for me,” Overbey said. “My influences are vast, from rock to punk to singer-songwriter kind of stuff. I like it all; a good song is a good song.

“With this record, I went deep back into things I grew up hearing. As I get older, I find myself realizing that the Johnny Cash and stuff my old man listened to had a lot of influence on me. The stuff in the ’70s like the Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne and all kinds of good stuff like that, had massive influence on me that I never realized I was there. I always wrote these kinds of songs and kept them on the backburner and decided when I was old enough, I would maybe put some of these songs out. When I did The California Kid, I thought that maybe I was old enough now to make a record that’s not punk rock and not big guitar rock and still have some guitars and incorporate some pedal steel melodies. I just wanted to make a good EP—and it came out that way.”

Looking back at the fast-and-crazy cowpunk material he once wrote, Overbey doesn’t feel this is a massive departure.

“Custom Made Scare was basically cowpunk,” he said. “A lot of people said it was a mix between Hank Williams and cranked-up Ted Nugent, which was a bit weird but kind of does fit that. Not that I’m a huge Ted Nugent fan, but the guy wrote some great songs. … I think it’s all timing of what’s going on in your life and what you’re doing. As a writer, you grow and evolve, and you’re constantly changing and reinventing yourself.”

There are some fantastic guest appearances on The California Kid. Zander Schloss, of The Circle Jerks and the semi-local Sean and Zander, makes an appearance, as does Steve Soto of the Adolescents, and pedal-steel guitarist Jordan Shapiro. The late Lemmy Kilmister’s son, Paul Kilmister, produced some of the tracks, and Grammy-winning producer Ted Hutt did much of the mixing.

A new album is currently in the works, and Overbey said he will have Hutt produce the record with a different approach.

“I think it’s probably going to be a little more raw,” Overbey said. “We’re going to track this new record live and go for a real live vibe. It’s going to be a bit more guitar-heavy and not so slick. The California Kid was done with basic live tracks and overdubs. When you do it that way, it turns out to be more slick and produced-sounding than a live rock band. … When the band plays live, it’s great. If you listen to the EP, and you see the band live, the vibe is a lot different. The EP sounds more like a slick kind of ’70s album to where if you see (the songs performed) live, it’s a far different animal. … The thing I’m most excited about is giving a lot of the creative process up to Ted, and going with what Ted really thinks is best for the record.”

Overbey is no stranger to playing with The Supersuckers. In fact, he’s one of frontman Eddie Spaghetti’s closest friends in the industry.

“We’re really excited about these dates,” he said. “The new Supersuckers record is awesome, and they’ve come back to doing another country record. I love the Supersuckers country stuff as much as I love their rock stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Supersuckers do the country and rock thing, and I think it’s a perfect mix.”

Last year, Eddie Spaghetti was diagnosed with Stage 3 oropharynx cancer, but has gone into remission after surgery and radiation treatments.

“I think cancer is always a pretty grim situation. He is in great spirits and in good shape, and all of his surgeries went well,” Overbey said of Eddie Spaghetti. “I think he’s going to come out of this thing on top of it. It’s a tough thing when you have a friend who gets sick, and your hopes are always high, but I think the odds of Eddie staying on top of making rock records for a long time are very high in his favor.”

Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows will perform with The Supersuckers at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

On what promises to be a night of acoustic mayhem, Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti and former Custom Made Scare frontman Charlie Overbey will play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Thursday, Dec. 5

The Supersuckers formed in 1988 and have appeared on many indie-band “best of” lists. The band’s combination of rock and country has led many to list them in the “cowpunk” subgenre. The Supersuckers have toured with bands such as Pearl Jam, Motorhead, Reverend Horton Heat and many others.

Eddie Spaghetti, the frontman of the Supersuckers, is also a solo artist. He’s touring behind his latest album, The Value of Nothing. For Spaghetti, this is his first solo album to offer originals instead of covers.

“(The album) was kind of more my views on things, I guess,” Spaghetti said. “… I just worked hard at making up some good songs, and didn’t think about what should be a solo song or a Supersuckers song. I think there are a couple of songs that could have been Supersuckers songs pretty easily, but that’s not always the case.”

Spaghetti said he has one goal. whether he is performing with the Supersuckers or at a solo show.

“I just want people to hear the songs and come out to the show. The music has kind of become the advertisement for the live show,” he said. “It’s the one thing left that you can’t download, and you can’t experience a live show any other way besides going out to see it. It’s the one thing we, as artists, have left that’s still enjoyable.”

The Supersuckers were involved in the campaign to free the West Memphis Three, three teenagers who were apparently wrongfully convicted of the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark. The case received national attention after the documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills aired in 1996 on HBO. The band auctioned off items to support the legal defense, and Spaghetti produced a compilation album to raise awareness.

They were released on Aug. 19, 2011, after reaching a deal with prosecutors, following 18 years in prison.

“I was elated. I was in Germany when I heard, and I just couldn’t believe it,” Spaghetti said. “It was such a phenomenal experience; to think you had anything to do with it at all is super-gratifying. To see them getting out of prison was great.”

When asked what attendees can expect from his set, he replied that his show will be entirely acoustic.

“You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll become a part of it,” he said. “I think what differentiates an Eddie show (from) a Supersuckers show is how the audience gets to participate in an Eddie Spaghetti show. They’ll shout out a song they think I might know; if I even kind of know it, I’ll give it a shot. It’s a good chance for me to flex my entertainer muscle and not try to be some boring singer-songwriter guy up there.”

For Charlie Overbey—who has opened shows for both the Supersuckers and Eddie Spaghetti before—the art of songwriting runs deep. You can hear Springsteen, Cash, Haggard and other influences at play in his from-the-heart songs.

He released an album in 2011 with his former band the Valentine Killers, and he just finished recording another album.

“I come from the school of ‘a good song is a good song,’” he said. “If it makes you feel something, it’s good. As long as it’s coming from the soul, and it’s real, people are going to feel that. If it makes you feel sad and remember something you don’t want to necessarily remember … it’s good to remember that kind of stuff—to remember the good times.”

In recent years, Overbey has gone through the breakup of the Valentine Killers, a divorce, the death of his father and the death of several friends via suicide. It’s no surprise, then, that he wrote some dark stuff—but he said he didn’t want that to taint his new album.

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to make this dark, depressing record right now,’” he said. “I rehashed the whole thing and busted out a bunch of tunes and wrote some new stuff that’s upbeat, and it’s positive.”

In an interesting twist, Overbey recently performed a live Neil Diamond tribute show after friends—who know about his love of early Neil Diamond songs—suggested he do so. He’s also hosted a jam session at the Slidebar in Fullerton that featured regular guests such as Steve Soto of Adolescents, Zander Schloss of Sean and Zander, and Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters.

“Usually, I pretty much stuck to playing my own material. I did know some cover tunes, but I’m not the greatest guitar-player in the world. (I’m) kind of like Bob Dylan: not the greatest songwriter in the world, but wrote some great songs,” he said. If someone wanted to play something simple, I could pretty much do that. Most of the guys who came in and played it were great musicians and would follow what I would do and play anything.”

Overbey said he enjoys performing with Spaghetti.

“Eddie is a standup, solid dude. We have a good time together and have a lot of laughs,” Overbey said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a writer and an artist. He’s just an all-around strong talent. I always feel blessed to share a stage with Eddie.”

Eddie Spaghetti performs with Charlie Overbey, as well as The Hellions, at 10 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or find the event’s page on Facebook. Below: Charlie Overbey.

Published in Previews