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Short chat with Freddie Long

March 26, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

FREDERICK, Md. -- Things started to unravel shortly after the Freddie Long Band opened for Jo Dee Messina at The Maryland Theatre in 2007, says frontman Freddie Long.

First the band's drummer moved back to his hometown. Then the bassist left. All the while, the guys were supposed to be heading to the studio to record an new record and they still had gigs on the books.

What's a band to do? Keep it moving, Long said.

Saturday, the Freddie Long Band is performing at Mack's Rock Bar. The venue -- formerly known as Fusion -- is adjacent to Terrace Lanes Bowling Center. Long, 25, of Ijamsville, Md., says the boys have got an answer for fans wondering what they've been up to since the album-less stretch that followed the band's 2007 debut, "Strangers and Friends."

Not only did the guys hit their stride with new drummer Mike Ball and bassist Edmund Allan Brown, they've also added a fifth member, saxophone player Scott Benford.

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"There was a lot of ups and downs, and regrouping," Long said. "Now that we've done the album, we're starting to play quite a bit. We're excited. I'm excited to get different music out, and I hope people dig it."

They've finished up and are ready to release their sophomore album, tentatively named "Shotgun with the Devil," which is the first track on the album.

"Lyrically, the song explores themes of fear and tough times and the anxiety that comes with the state of things, the world and on a personal level, just things that I've gone through," Long said in a recent interview with The Herald-Mail. "I've had this feeling of being out of control. It goes, 'Fear is riding shotgun with the devil.' I guess it's somewhat self-explanatory."

Long chatted with The Herald-Mail from Florida. He was driving back from Cocoa Beach to meet up with FLB's manager, Bruce Torres. Long said it wasn't exactly a vacation. He had just done some solo gigs in Nashville and had a few shows to do, alone, in Florida. And no, this doesn't mean the guys are on the verge of a break up, Long said.

In fact, his bandmate and co-founder, guitarist Christopher Bell-Boudreaux, has been involved in a side project, an Internet band called Project-43, for a while.

"The band's still rockin' hard," Long said.




Q&A with Freddie Long



Tell me about "Stranger." You guys got an honorable mention in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest for it this year.

Yeah, that was pretty recently. "Stranger" was the last track on "Stranger and Friends," kind of a last-minute addition to the album. We put it on as a bonus track. It was something I had worked on on the side. We finished all the tracks for "Strangers and Friends," and I played this song for some of the other guys in the band and some of my friends, and they were like, we should include it somewhere on the album. So we threw it on as a bonus track.

Had you ever had anything in that contest?

No, and you know, I haven't really entered. The last contest I entered, I might have been 16. The whole contest thing feels a little weird for me. The whole concept of judging music never sat well with me. I feel like it should just be expressed and people like whatever they like and that's good.

A lot of artists say something similar, this idea of judging art.

Yeah, I mean, what makes good art? You can go around and around about that.

That said, when you write songs, how important is it for you, for it to be personal? I've interviewed some people who said they write songs because they want them to be popular.

I usually don't shoot for that. I think personal connection -- that human element -- is what music is all about. And it's hard for me as a performer to sell a song when I'm performing it -- I mean sell it by getting people engaged in it -- if I don't have that personal connection to it, whether it's something I wrote, or something somebody else wrote that I'm performing.

I think the whole personal, human nature element of music is very important. That's not to say that people who write songs with the intent of being commercially viable don't connect with people, but for me that's just how I look at it.

Freddie Long band



Genre -- Rock

Hometown -- Frederick, Md.

Upcoming show -- 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Mack's Rock Bar, 10 W. College Terrace, Frederick. Call 301-695-7200.

Web -- www.freddielong.com; www.myspace.com/freddielong

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