The Return of Come Hell or High WaterApr 13th, 2012 | By Avalon Kenny | Category: Feature, Sounds
Come Hell or High Water have been on hiatus for almost a year, and are now finally reemerging. This is something I’m very excited about, and I was even more excited when Keith and I pulled up to interview the band. The five-piece is comprised of Suzanne Stafford (vocals and guitar), Matty Sheets (slide guitar), Harrison Barrow (keys), Rob Sinnott (bass), and Shane Doggett (drums). Talking to them was fun, and photographing them was even funner (more fun?). We met up with them at Beef Burger, where we proceeded to take pictures of Rob, Harry, and Matty on the merry-go-round outside, and full band shots inside. Later, we were treated with delicious donuts from Donut World as well as a preview of their song “Doo Doo” – the video of which you can find at the bottom of this post. Come Hell or High Water are playing April 28th at The Flatiron with The Piedmontsmen and Jack Carter and The Armory – be sure to check that out!
How long have you guys been playing together? Can you give a background of your band?
Suzanne Stafford: Matty and I have been playing since 2005. Shane D [joined us in] maybe like, 2006 and a half. And the background is I was in a band called Scarlet Harlot that broke up and I was very squashed about it. I went on this trip on my bicycle and I came back and I saw Matty at this place and he’s like, “you wanna be in a band?”
Matty Sheets: Well, Harvey told me you were coming back from your bike trip, and you wanted to start a band and I’d only seen you play like once or twice. I was like, “hell yeah,” and I wanted to play slide guitar. So I asked if [Suzanne] wanted me to play slide guitar in [her] band and [she] said yes.
SS: And there it was. And we were talking to Mike D [Filthybird, The Piedmontsmen] one day and we were sitting on my back porch and we were trying to think of band names and he said, “How about Come Hell or High Water?” So, he named our band and we started playing out just as me and Matty. Shane D came and played with us. Then we saw Gael at some show and he said, “I wanna play bass with you.” And then six months later, he said it again so we got together with him. We played with him for a long time, and I guess the band was very upright bass influenced kind of music. I don’t know what you call it. It had a ‘twangy-twang’ to it.
MS: That’s a technical term, twangy-twang.
SS: Then we got a pedal steel player and then we got Harry, and he was like, “I think I could play with you guys,” and it was a wonderful night. He came and he was all nervous at his piano. And Gael didn’t want to play so much; he was having girl problems…and chicken problems. And he didn’t wanna practice, so he was like, “find yourself another bass player.” Rob was playing within two hours of him quitting. Harry asked Rob, and Rob joined, and it’s been perfect ever since. And we’d never recorded before, and I’m glad we hadn’t, because now it’s how it’s supposed to sound.
Suzanne – what is it like being in a band with a lot of males?
SS: Fun. They’re all very funny. They all have very defining personality traits…I think? [She said ‘question mark’] They’re fun as hell to be around and they make me feel wonderful. And I love playing music with them. That’s my favorite thing to do. That’s something I’d like to be remembered for. They all play music very well. And I love penises.
[Matty said, “you know she’s writing this down, right?” And throughout the rest of the interview, whenever there would be pauses, Harry would say “I love penises.”]
Who is the best person to girl talk with?
SS: Matty. I talk to Harry too. I called him the other day when I was PMSing, and I said, “cheer me up!” and he stopped band practice to cheer me up. But Matty knows my secrets.
How has your lineup changed over the course of your band?
SS: We used to have a pedal steel player who had a van named Shitbird.
How long has it been since you last played together?
SS: May 15, 2011. And we opened for Jason Isbell from the Drive-By Truckers. We never practiced again, until this year, because I went off and secretly had a baby on a small island in the Caribbean. Matty got it back together because I would’ve taken forever to say, let’s go do this. But we practiced January 6, 2012, and we’re getting it going again. We’re recording now.
Harrison Barrow: it’s good that it’s waited because the situation is perfect now and it sounds fantastic. There’s room for personal and musical growth. We’re retouching old songs.
Are you releasing a full length album or an EP?
SS: We just released our EP.
MS: it’s on our Reverb Nation page. But right now, we’re recording a full length album at On Pop Of The World studios. We’re using [Randy Seals’] 8 track analog tape machine. We’ve worked on rhythm tracks so far, and we’re very happy with it. Harry bled on the piano the second song.
HB: I had some Jerry Lee Lewis things going on. It’s Matty’s piano, and it’s a beautiful, old 1930s full upright. It’s a perty thing, that’s all I’m saying.
Do you have new stuff or are you just playing older songs? Or a combination of both?
SS: We haven’t done the setlist for the show yet. There’s going to be a couple of older. We’re going to play songs we haven’t played a whole lot. I don’t even remember what we’d played. It’s been so long. That’s a lie.
HB: There’ll be some older stuff.
MS: All inclusive set, from all ages of the band.
Rob Sinnott: Come Hell or High Water’s greatest hits.
Shane Doggett: An evening with Come Hell or High Water.
What was the best show you’ve ever played?
HB: There has been an exorbitant amount of awesome shows with Come Hell or High Water.
MS: That last show last year was a big crowd. There were people all up in the front. I thought that was pretty cool.
HB: There were at least two at the old Blind Tiger that stick out to me. One of them was Rob’s first show with us. There was one on Suzanne’s birthday where [she] took a shot of whiskey on stage and then we played a song, it was awesome.
MS: There was one at The Garage in Winston.
HB: The performance and leading up to the performance was great…
MS: We wrote “Mouth” that night.
SS: I used to cuddle one of my band mates, who’s not in the band anymore, and we played this show and it was awesome. This girl had given me a shot onstage and I felt great. Then I got off and went and smoked a cigarette and asked this band mate what he had done this weekend and he was like ‘I got married’ and so my heart got crushed.
MS: We were in a pact with this band mate so he wouldn’t tell her until Monday.
HB: That was the night I learned you never ever fuck with Suzanne. Which you could make a good case is in the music too.
SS: I’m a very nice person but I’m emotional and it helps me write songs. I get it naturally, I’m a woman. He told me he got married and I was drunk and I was sad and mad. And I went and drunkenly got in my car and Matty was driving…Matty had to drive. I got down in the passenger seat and I kicked the windshield. So we came home, and my friend Julie told me something funny and I went and laughed in the middle of Glenwood Avenue.
HB: It was a very scary laugh.
SS: Then I came back and sat on the porch and a bunch of people were there and they left. Harry washed the dishes. And I called and left nasty voice messages on his voicemail. We sat there at 5 in the morning with Barry Staples and wrote “Mouth.”
What do you like about Greensboro?
MS: There’s a bunch of talent in Greensboro. I say this all the time. Someone else take this.
SS: There’s lots of bands to play with and it’s close and it’s right here and you don’t have to go anywhere to do it. You can go home and get drunk after. It’s where we live, it’s where we’re from.
HB: there’s a lot of cross-pollination and we play musical musicians. It’s special and neat and everyone plays their parts. For Come Hell, people want to play this new show coming up with us and we appreciate it and there’s a lot of respect.
MS: There’s a nice community of musicians.
HB: it’s a supportive environment.
Suzanne and Matty perform “Doo Doo”