Trailer Park Rangers

Introduce yourself and the rest of your bandmates and tell me how and when everything got started.

I’m David T. Carter and I play guitar and sing lead vocals. Chip Trombley drums, Joe Kyle, Jr. plays bass, Oliver Meissner plays violin, Steven Bazeley plays keyboards, and Rick Miller plays guitar. That’s essentially the lineup, but I can’t take everybody with me when I tour. On the road I have to rely on only three members, me, Chip and Oliver. I started playing solo in San Francisco in 1991. I had come over from Australia and made a stop in Los Angeles for a few months. I formed a three-piece bluegrass-type outfit that grew into a larger band, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Everybody who’s entered the band over the years has made significant contributions to the formula. They’re all very good readers, and they are all trained studio musicians. I’m the least trained. I look for guys more trained than me, and my job is to try to get them to do something artful. We’re all proficient in playing different genres of music. We may have placed ourselves into the "Americana" category, but we take on so many different styles. We’re not a jazz band, but jazz is a very important aspect to the band. You can hear it in the chord progressions. Our drummer Chip wasn’t proficient playing country music. It was an alien sound to him and he wasn’t accustomed to the "straight ahead oompah" style that most country drummers play. I wanted to develop something unique, something that was individually mine. It worked out well because with my "Chet Atkins finger style" playing, Chip and I have created a rhythm section between one and another that other players coming in can add to in their own unique way. Oliver, our fiddle player, has a classical and gypsy background. He’s a true hybrid. I also had to bring him into the country world, which wasn’t a style of music that he was proficient in.

In the text of this interview, I’m including links to the band’s website (, their press kit, your personal MySpace page, and your record company’s website . Music fans who visit those websites can hear song samples of your music. Since my website is text-only, describe the musical direction of your current record "Everybody’s A Winner" and your debut "Lullabies of All the Mess."

I consider myself a stylist. I do different stylings, mixing country with jazz, country with folk, and country with gypsy. It’s like there’s a pair of cowboy boots everywhere I go, but it might be the only "country" thing you can detect. Everything else is a derivative of other styles. Everything I do stylistically can be traced to American roots music.

Expand on two comments from your website that possibly describe you as a songwriter: "Road Music For The Mind" and "The imagery and symbols I use reflect the eyes that I have seen through."

My music is very reflective; it has a big emotional aspect and it has a big intellectual aspect. It’s very lyrical, it’s very story-driven, and it’s very theme-driven. Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Pink Floyd, and other conceptual artists always put music to stories as well as themes. I’m very big on that and my personal MySpace page is good for checking out examples of that. I also write songs to make people dance and to make them happy. A friend once said that music like that used to be considered "road music." I added "for the mind." A bartender spun it around and said it’s "mind music for the road." It interplays backwards and forwards doesn’t it? The second comment about the eyes I’ve seen through is reflective of my life. As a young boy in Australia I was brought up bottom of the barrel, as low down on the economic ladder as you could possibly be. My parents and four kids jumped on a ship and sailed across to England, living there and in other parts of Europe for a few years. I basically had seen the whole of the world before I was fourteen. Then I came to America, but I always considered Australia to be the place I called home. All my life, I’ve transported myself into places where I didn’t know anybody.

Tell me where we can buy your band’s CDs and check out other promotional material?

FlightSafe Records has a music store for anybody who writes us and asks where to purchase our CDs. City Hall Records, our distributor, places our stuff in cities wherever we’re touring. You can also buy them at iTunes. We have a promotional video at our website that shows us performing live at a few different places. There’s also a link to Neil Young’s website. He has a "Living With War" song page where an old battle song I wrote called "Soldier One" is posted. At our website, you can view a couple of imagery type of videos that I put together from public domain video that go with our songs. I have material to put out three records, and we’re recording one now that has more of a pop-loungy jazz styling with female singers. There are mp3 samples at our website.

You’re in Brooklyn, New York, on an off-day between tour dates. How’s Brooklyn treating you and what are your tour plans for the rest of 2007?

Brooklyn’s treating me fine. I’ve been here before and I love New York. It’s a beautiful town; I really enjoy the history and the grittiness. It’s a nice change for me. I’m situated in Northern California, and it can be a bit too squeaky-clean in some parts. The way we’re looking at this tour is that it’s an audition for a lot of people. We’re setting it up for the next time. The reception we’ve received on the East Coast has been very good. I think New York will be a very good circuit for us, and we’re eagerly looking forward to coming back every chance we can. We’ll be touring regionally in California throughout the Summer of 2007. Music fans in North Carolina can see and hear the Trailer Park Rangers when we play the Flat Rock Music Festival in late September 2007. Hopefully, we’ll book a few more shows around that festival. We’re expecting to be quite busy the rest of 2007, hopefully more national rather than regional. As far as the new material, release dates are tentative but we’ll definitely make some of it available for download for our existing fans. All the up-to-date information on the band is posted at our website.

Please share your thoughts on the senseless onstage murder of Dimebag Darrell.

I’m not familiar with Dimebag Darrell, but obviously I’m saddened by his story. So many beautiful people over the years who have done so many great things for humanity have been slain before our eyes. I wish there was an answer to that but I don’t think there is one. When you put your head out above everybody else and you’re in the spotlight, this is par for the course. It’s like a casualty of war. When you’re close to the battle lines and exposed, the percentages of something bad happening go up. My heart goes out to Dimebag, his family, and a lot of people who have lost their lives on that level. It’s strange because they’ve done nothing wrong. History sometimes punishes people who go out and try to do something good. It’s an ugly nuance of humanity. There is a responsibility of being a spokesperson, whether you’re a rock star, a politician, or a movie star. You have to be aware of that, and the effect, good or bad, that you have on people’s lives.

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