Chad Price has had a pretty impressive career so far. As front man for the pop-punk band All, he helped inspire a slew of teens to write three minute punk songs. He then took time to stand in the spotlight as singer for the equally influential alt country band Drag the River.
Price has just added another line to his growing resume: Solo singer/songwriter.
He took time recently to speak about going it alone, the future of Drag the River and why John Denver is responsible for punk rockers picking up acoustic guitars.
So why did it take so long for you to finally put out a solo record? How long have you been thinking about putting one out?
I never really thought about doing a solo record until the drag breakup, hiatus, whatever you want to call it. After that happened I suddenly had a lot of free time. I started playing shows by myself and writing new songs so I didn’t have to play Drag songs. Even after I had been playing solo and had all these new songs I still didn’t think about putting out a record until Virgil (Dickerson) from Suburban Home started courting me. I guess you could say, so from the time he talked to me about it to the time it came out wasn't long at all.
Is it more intimidating knowing that it is just you this time around and not a full band effort?
I guess the intimidating thing is playing live. After years of always having at least three other people onstage with me ,now if something goes wrong there's no one else to blame. But the freedom that comes with playing alone is well worth it and I am someone with an extreme case of stage fright.
So why are so many punk rockers drawn to very personal, acoustic records?
I guess the punkers are drawn to it, at least the ones I know, because that's what they grew up on. I mean, John Denver was always on the radio, Kris Kristofferson, other folks like that. For the young punks, I don’t know that they do like it. Another thing ,I guess, is that both styles are just very honest.
Do you ever miss plugging in and playing really loud, fast punk music?
I do not miss playing loud, fast music. I'm now doing what I've always wanted to do, but just took a long time to do it. Running around, singing or screaming as hard as I can is too much work for an old man… at least this old man.
Have you been able to play a lot of the songs off the new solo record live yet?
I've been playing a lot of solo shows around Colorado and Wyoming and I play only songs from my record. Drag just did a leg of the Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan and I got to play at least one each night, but I've been too busy lately to get out and start touring… but that is coming soon.
Are there any songs in particular that you are really proud of on Smile Sweet Face?
I'm proud of everything on the record. It came out almost exactly as I had planned. People might disagree but I think these are the strongest songs I've written so far.
So just how long have you been working on these songs?
I started writing these songs probably about two years ago and wrote the final one the day before I started recording… like "Going Away" is the oldest and "With Bleeding Wrists" just barely got written. I'm glad it did though.
So, I have to ask this one; do you see Drag the River recording again anytime soon?
I'm sure Drag will record again but not anytime soon. Me and Jon (Snodgrass) still have songs that were written for Drag but never got recorded. I imagine we'll try to do more collaborating on the new one but I'm in no hurry.
What else are you working on?
All I'm doing right now is some Drag touring and working on a solo tour.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Keep an eye out for the solo extravaganza… tour, that is.