Sitting Down With Bryon White
Bryon White, co-frontman of the Damn Quails, hosted a house concert Sunday the 18th at his former talent manager, Drew Watson’s house in Oklahoma City. Watson’s house was the perfect setting for the informal concert, completely decorated and adorned with retro furnishings and music memorabilia. Bryon offered a night of intimate music, along with a meal and beverages for a donation. Local musicians Andy Adams and Adam Rittenberry, most commonly known as “Biggie”, played with him in the living room surrounded by a handful of people. It was a stripped down evening of music, laughter and fun, and I enjoyed getting to be a part of it. It also gave me a chance to talk more to Bryon about some of his many projects.
Bryon is one of those quirky eccentric characters, which I think only adds to his charm really. He can be found pulling out handfuls of confetti from deep in the recesses of his pockets at any given time and throwing it celebratory into the air at a random moment. Bryon has a vivacious laugh that is all his own, which is also so genuine I’m not sure he could fake it if he tried. He’s quick witted and a master of words. Bryon tends to stay very animated during performances; making wild hand gestures and movements, making crazy evil eyes and faces.
Although Bryon is a front man, I don’t think he always likes being the center of attention, which is why many time before and after The Damn Quail shows he can be found hunkered into dark corners socializing and not always front and center in the limelight. I also think that this particular kind of quality in a singer/songwriter shows authenticity. You can tell that these musicians are doing it all simply because they love music and making it, not to find fame or power or glory. Which is a quality much like Bryon’s musical mentor and hero, Tom Skinner. I don’t think Bryon realizes just how much he has in common with Skinner in that way.
“You know it’s not staged or an act when I take footage for our Snapchap account of Bryon always playing songs while we’re on the road. He is literally always playing music, from the time he gets up to the time he goes to sleep, he’s constantly playing. That man has a constant flow of creativity. I really think that he’s going to be just as legendary as Tom Skinner someday. Which is one reason I am really excited to be a part of this band,” said fellow Quail Dillon Sampson.
Bryon stays immersed in all of the Quail happenings, but he also has many other projects on the side, starting with the Damn Quails blog which you can find at damnquailtales.blogspot.com. If you have followed the blog, you know that Bryon isn’t just a talented songwriter, he’s also a very skilled writer in general. He is an eloquent wordsmith. He seemingly finds the perfect words to describe things with ease, which as a writer is a quality I greatly admire in him. Bryon has an idea for putting some of the blog entries together in a book, which he has already started writing parts of.
“I’m going to publish several different blog posts; stories from the old days, rolling through Texas for years, all the debauchery and craziness and insanity I’ve seen and been a part of and gotten to experience. I think it will make a great book both for fans of the band and for people who are just looking for a crazy book about real things because we definitely experience a lot of real things. I really like the idea. Which, the idea of a real book anymore is kinda tough unless you are Stephen king or something, some giant brilliant bestselling author. I think it will be fun just to have it to sell at the merch table or something,” Bryon said.
Bryon also participates every first Monday of the month in a show called Unhappy Hour with Charlie Stout at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marco Texas. “I’m really honored to get to go down and do it once a month. Not to mention it’s kind of like therapy for me and Charlie. We get to do what we want, we don’t have to play the hits, we can play whatever we want to play,” said Bryon.
Speaking of his pal Charlie Stout, Bryon has plans of recording an EP with him as well. “I want to do a record, or at least an EP, of my own stuff with Charlie Stout. I think the way he did his new record, Dust and Wind, which you can find at Bandcamp.com, is an incredible take on making records. He took an 8 track recorder out to an abandoned church in New Mexico, set up some mics and recorded his songs. He left the background noise in, really a brilliant idea, a stroke of genius on a part of a man who may be possibly an undercover Canadian. I’m not too sure, but I’m pretty sure, he wears a lot of denim,” laughs Bryon.
It’s a running joke between them, which you can see play out regularly if you follow either of them on Instagram or Twitter.
“So I’m thinking of getting Charlie to come to Oklahoma and go out to Sacred Heart Mission and setting up some mics and doing my record out there, a solo EP. I have all of these songs. I have an excess of material, and some may or may not end up as Quail songs, and some of them are just going to be mine I think. Something I can do on the side.”
Bryon is also thinking of rereleasing his former solo catalog of material which includes four records. His very first full length release, called Temperance and Control, contains 12 songs. He also has two EP albums and a Live at Stage Center album from 2007. His old talent manager Drew Watson still has a complete discography of Bryon’s earlier solo works, which as of yet are not in any digital form.
“The idea is to take all of those and rerelease them along with a bonus disc of a collection of songs from those four albums, redone now, recorded in Shawnee. I’d redo them as I would do them now or maybe even rewrite them. I’m just playing with the idea right now but I think it will be cool. We would make them into digital and physical copies as well, like I used to do them. Like I would burn discs and use sharpies, and you know, sticker labels and CDRs. Everybody’s so up on digital stuff these days, which the digital thing is great and whatever, but I don’t know, there’s something about the artist themselves hand burning and labeling and putting stuff in a package to you that will be appealing to a lot of people I think. Just having physical stuff and getting things in the mail is kind of a treat of sorts now so I think people are going to really like it,” said Bryon.
Bryon gets to do some random fun things with fellow musicians as well,
“I did some Preaching with Rio Tripiano. I went out to Stephenville to Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato’s studio, they call it the compound down there, and I recorded an insane preacher rant. Rio wanted it on one of his songs, and I did a couple of takes of just talking and spouting some of the bibilical things that I remember from the bible. Then I kinda just sat down with a sharpie and a cigarette and kinda figured out this long crazy preacher rant. I did it with such fervent gusto that I threw my voice out which I’m still in the process of healing up. That was a lot of fun,” said Bryon.
I got the pleasure of hearing the song and Bryon’s part in it, and he definitely made it sound like an authentic zealous preacher rant.
Bryon is a pretty busy guy, always involved in something or another.
“I’m just trying to stay out and about in the scene and be a presence. There’s a lot to be said about being a presence. Being around a lot of bands, they go out and they play and then they hide during the week, and I don’t wanna be that guy, I want to be the guy that’s running around and listening to music and seeing cool stuff and doing cool things,” stated Bryon.
I think he is succeeding in doing just that. You’ll want to keep your eyes on Bryon White. I’m pretty sure he’s only scratched the surface of the things he’s going to accomplish in the music scene.