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"I think what we can do really well is adapt to the show, and we're pretty good at reading what's appropriate for that particular show," Otto says. "The songs are good, and it's all in the delivery. I've been in a lot of bands and have been on a lot of tours, and Greg just writes damn good songs. I say this all the time: Nobody goes to Flathead to watch me play bass. They wanna watch Greg play guitar and they want to hear Greg and Vince sing, and they wanna hear those songs."
"Last December was kind of a cool thing because we had some more diverse gigs, like [Western swing legends] Asleep at the Wheel, which was more sedate with dancing and two-stepping and stuff, and all we did was turn it down a little bit and slow it down a little bit and the rest was exactly the same," says Swanholm. "Then we played the Rogue with a spaghetti Western band, then the Handlebar J, a country bar, then we played the Rialto (in Tucson) with Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers — and that was great — and then we went and played The Sail Inn with the hippies and we're playing in between a Grateful Dead cover band and a Phish cover band. They were great to us over there too.
"It was something else, man," Swanholm laughs. "Like 'Wow, this shit keeps working.' Funny how that works."
Reflecting on 18 years together, during which time Swanholm and Ramirez have remained true to their original bare-bones vision, it's hard for them to believe that the first rehearsal in a furniture store when the band had no bass player, no mic stand, and no career aspirations would lead to one of the most influential roots rock bands the Valley has ever produced.
"I didn't even think we were gonna play at the furniture store anymore," Swanholm laughs.