INTERVIEW: Aaron Tippin "In Overdrive"

Aaron Tippin’s latest project is dedicated to the hard working folk that make up the long hours on the road, sleeping in truck stops and mastering all kinds of weather. This has been something Aaron has had his heart set on doing for a long time. Bringing fans old time favorites like, “East Bound and Down,” “Six Days on the Road,” “Drivin’ My Life Away” and many others.

Bev: Aaron, thank you so much for this time to visit with you about this amazing new CD you have put together. I know you have wanted to do it for awhile, tell me what it is that makes this so special to you.

Aaron: I was a truck driver, so I feel like it gives me the right to do it. When I did drive I would sing along and dream of someday recording them and singing these for a living, so I guess it is a little selfish on my part. I think the men that really convinced me were Jerry Reed and Carl P Mayfield. They would always razz me and I told Jerry I wanted to do his song, “East Bound and Down” and he got fired up and started to help me with the production of it. He really wanted to come to the studio and help us out, but his health failed him at the end. He did however send his grandson Jerry Roe to play drums and his guitar player Bobby Lovett who had played with him forever, so it made this very special to me.

Bev: Is that your favorite on the album?

Aaron: Without a doubt, that is my very favorite song. Jerry was so excited and above that, he told me little secret things he did and I was able to use them on here, so it makes it even more special to me to have a part of him on the record.

Bev: How did you arrive at the songs you did? There are so many good truckin’ songs out there.

Aaron: Some are simply Aaron Tippin favorites. I started asking around to people in town, with people I know in the trucking business and meeting the fans along the way. You start hearing the same songs enough and you know which ones will be on the album

Bev: Let’s talk about the “Drill Here, Drill Now” song. It gained a lot of attention earlier, has there been any one thing that stands out to you about this?

Aaron: The reason I put it on this album was the simple fact truck drivers inspired me to write the song because they suffered the most with the gas and oil problems. Imagine them filling up a semi truck; they have two tanks holding a150 gallons each, and that is a lot of gas and they suffered so much. Seeing this has been a big inspiration aspect of the project.

Bev: I understand you co-produced this CD, do you enjoy the aspect of controlling the production as much as being on the other side of mic?

Aaron: I enjoy both, honestly. I love to put a great vocal down, but nowadays I can take the tracks home studio and work with them there. I am working with my wife, Thea, on her new Big Band Jazz album, and hearing what we can do is going to be really cool. I really do love having the opportunity to co-produce. I have great respect for players and always invite one to be in the mix, my creativity is in song selection, arranging to an extent and being sure to get a great vocal.

Bev: I know you are not one to sit behind a desk and just let everyone else get their hands dirty and work up a sweat, is that part of your desire to make this record?

Aaron: My trucking goes back to the whole farming thing growing up. I learned to drive on a tractor and a hay truck. I was not tall enough to load hay, so I had to learn to drive very young. My kids are driving now, at ages eight and eleven and both learned to drive about age six. On a farm you learn quickly you have to work hard and do it right. It instills work ethics in you and pride in your work. I wish every kid could be raised in the country. Working hard do it right, get it done. So in answer to your question, yes, hard work period was inspiration and the trucking industry is one of the hardest working careers out there.

Bev: Any videos in the works for these songs? Anything you can hint at on what they might be about?

Aaron: So far nothing definite. We have some ideas on promotion but we just want to see where the whole thing goes. I would love to see one made.

Bev: No “Smokey in the Bandit” scene remakes or Greasy Spoon Parking Lot Tours?

Aaron: That is a great idea, I like that. Might have to work on that. (laughing). I have some contest in the works where the winner gets to meet the truck drivers of NASCAR . We are always brain storming to make it fun.

Bev: You have two new originals on here, what was the inspiration behind this songs?

Aaron: One was written twenty two years ago, ”Drivin Fool” and there just was not a place for it until now. I thought it was a great song and I have always had it in the back of my mind just waiting for the right project to put it on. There is a second one I also co-wrote,”The Ballad Of Danger Dave and Double Trouble.”

Bev: As the father to boys, what message does a project like this send to them or what message do you try and show them through what you do?

Aaron: I really try to instill integrity into the boys. I have said this a million times to them. “Finish what you start. You have to go to the very end” and also “do what you have to do and then what you want to do.” Everything you do impacts someone along the way, so think about it before you do.

Bev: I have seen you perform with your wife, Thea, and the boys a couple times, do you see the boys choosing to follow in your footsteps at all?

Aaron: My wife encourages them to be in the music business, she truly is the talented one in our family music wise. I don’t push them any direction really. I bring them on stage for fun. If they want to, I won’t say no, but I am not pushing them. Both boys sing and play instruments.

Bev: Do you take into consideration who a project will impact when you set out to put a project together?

Aaron: I do not aim at a certain crowd usually. This one is an exception, but usually I do what I think feels right. My biggest critics are the people who buy the CD and listen to it and if they dig it, then I know it is good.

Bev: Aaron, always a pleasure to see you and I appreciate you taking a few moments of your time to speak with me. Is there anything you want to say about this CD or project I did not ask?

Aaron: I think you covered it. I am having fun with the CD and look forward to getting out there and doing some live shows.

Bev: Again, thank you very much and I look forward to next time. I wish you much success with this great collection of songs.

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