Don’t get down on yourself for not be the best all the time. Just be the best you can be and over time your skill and focus will grow into something you can be proud of! Learning takes time!
Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Dangerous Hippies, a new, modern alternative pop/rock duo formed by Hinder frontman Marshal Dutton and drummer Cody Hanson.
If a listener assumes they will be hearing a Hinder copy, they are in for quite a surprise. When asked why they decided to start a new project, Cody Hanson said, “We were tired of being put in a box. Every artist continues to grow over time, and we can’t wait to show our fans the diversity of our songwriting.” They have been writing for this project since 2011 when they were approached to write an “alternative” song for a commercial. During the process they found themselves writing uninhibited music with no rules, and having the time of their lives. “It’s been difficult to release new music with such a strenuous touring schedule” says Hanson, “but, now we’re motivated and the timing seems perfect.” From two guys that have the experience of selling over 5 million albums, 10 million singles and multiple world tours, we can only imagine that we’re in for one hell of a musical ride.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
You’re welcome! Thanks for having me. I grew up outside of a small, west Texas farming town named Tulia. Although Tulia was our alma mater, the family farm was about 10 miles west in a sea of flat plains! My father was a farmer, rancher, mechanic, wood wood worker, you name it! I spent many hours in the fields growing up. My mother was a school teacher and a singer. She had a long and productive career with her a cappella group, His Image Singers. She was an inspiration to me as a singer. I quickly became obsessed with music from an early age and it stuck with me!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My mother’s side of the family was full of singers and guitar players. I discovered I had the music bug early on and began playing guitar and piano. After high school, I decided to attend The University of North Texas to study music. I actually ended up switching my major after two years of music to engineering. However, after graduation (instead of looking for an engineering job) I decided to put a band together called Faktion. We quickly became popular in the Dallas area and attracted the attention of some record labels. We signed with Road Runner Records in 2004 and were off to the races! I kept thinking along the way that at some point I was going to have to give up this music dream and get the “real job,” but fortunately, here I am still making a living all these years later!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Well there have been so many interesting things along the way, but the first thing that came to mind was the very first time I sang for Hinder. We played a huge amphitheater show with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Talk about being nervous! After our show I was standing side stage watching Skynyrd and during a solo break Johnny Van Zant walked up to me and said, “I caught your show earlier and man you sounded great! I’ve gotta get me some pipes like yours!” Being an insecure vocalist at the time, I’m sure he was being overly gracious, but none the less it made me feel great! Thanks Johnny! There’s no way my teenage self would ever believe that if I could go back in time and tell him!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One time in Corpus Christi, TX I was playing a show with Faktion. We had to load on stage in a hurry, so I opted out of a quick monitor check to save time thinking, “How bad could it be? I’ve performed in many tough hearing situations.” Two songs into the set I looked over across the stage and everyone in my band was staring at me, and had stopped playing. As soon as I stopped playing, the entire place fell silent and my singer goes, “We’re playing Control dude, what song are YOU playing?” HAHAHA! My hearing situation was SOOO bad that not only did I not realize I was on the wrong song, but also that everyone else had stopped playing all together! The lesson there: Always make sure you can at least hear good enough to tell what song is being played…or not being played. 😉
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Dangerous Hippies of course! This is a project that Cody and I have had in the works for quite awhile, so it’s exciting to see it coming to action. We’ve always dreamed of having a project that isn’t scripted by a particular sound, one that can explore different styles. Dangerous Hippies is that vehicle. We also produce music for other people, so there’s always an exciting studio project around the corner. I’m personally working on a collection of guitar instrumental tracks that I will release at some point, and that is very exciting for me!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
While the film and television industry isn’t my area of expertise, I agree that diversity is a must. First off, diversity represents the actuality of our society, not just in the states, but globally. Second, diversity breeds creativity and progresses the art forms. And lastly: Because why the fuck not!? The benefits to our culture will grow exponentially with love and acceptance. 😉
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Slow down! You can’t play guitar as fast as Yngwie or Petrucci right out of the gate. You need to develop technique properly, else you’ll have to spend even more time in the future unlearning the bad habits you will develop! I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent correcting bad form!
2. Sing more! I know you consider yourself a guitarist now, but one day you will be a vocalist as well and you will wish you had worked on it more earlier in your career! I sang growing up a lot, but never took it that seriously. And any producer/musician knows that not only will it be necessary at some point, but that it’s a wonderful skill to have!
3. Play with as many people as possible. Getting used to playing with new people keeps you on your toes and helps alleviate the anxiety that can come with performing. 4. Practice more in an organized fashion! I’d give almost anything if I could instill my current practice habits into my 13 year old self!
5. Don’t get down on yourself for not be the best all the time. Just be the best you can be and over time you skill and focus will grow into something you can be proud of! Learning takes time!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Diversify the types of music that you are capable of writing and playing, and learn how to produce and record your own music.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Take climate change seriously! There will be no people and no life left to live if we destroy our beautiful world. Also, be kind and understanding to each other. We can achieve so much when we work together, but we can undo progress even quicker when we allow ourselves to be divided.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
It’s hard to name just one! I was blessed with a wonderful family and community that encouraged me every step of the way, starting with my own mother and father! I was somehow fortunate to meet others along the way who have helped me as well. I couldn’t be where I am today without it. I’ve tried to pass that along to all the other musicians I’ve met over the years.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Carpe diem baby! Get busy being happy and living because the clock is ticking! I’ve always loved the opening stanza of Herrick’s poem to the virgins:
Gather ye rose buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Andy Timmons! He has been my favorite player for years now. He’s such a cool cat and one of the sickest players! I’ve been inspired by many guitarists along the way, but that guy got into my soul! Thanks for all the years of inspiration Andy! 😉
How can our readers follow you online?
All the Hinder socials are Hindermusic, i.e. hindermusic.com, etc. Same for Dangerous Hippies socials, dangeroushippies.com. I’m Marshal Dutton on FB and Marshal_Dutton on Instagram. See ya!