Texas metal four-piece Texas Hippie Coalition recently announced their fourth Carved Records album, Dark Side of Black, which is slated for an April 22 release.
The album embraces the band’s Southern roots while exploring a murky, groovier feel—never straying too far from THC’s tried-and-true brand of rugged outlaw rock.
Dark Side of Black was recorded at Boot Hill Studio in Corinth, Texas, and Valve Studios in Dallas with producer Sterling Winfield (Pantera, Hellyeah, Damageplan) at the helm.
In celebration of the album's release, we present the exclusive premiere "Come Get It," the band's new single, which you can check out below. Also in honor of the new album, Texas Hippie Coalition will hit the road in the U.S. on a headlining tour with support from Sons of Texas. The Dark Side of Black tour, which kicks off April 29 in Shreveport, Louisiana, will hit 26 cities before ending May 29 at River City Rockfest. We recently sat down with Texas Hippie Coalition vocalist Big Dad Ritch to discuss the album, the tour and a whole lot more. You can read our discussion below. Be sure to check out all the Dark Side of Black tour dates (and ticket info) right here.
I've read that “Rise,” a track from the new album, is meant to be a call to arms for the U.S. With all that’s going on in the nation, what problems do you feel Dark Side of Black addresses?
The point we're trying to get across is that flags were made to fly. This nation, our nation, the one that belongs to us, needs to chill on the political correctness. It causes people to choose sides. For this nation to stay strong, we must all be on the same side. Our enemies are beyond our borders, not within them. Togetherness and a sense of national oneness is the only way to keep our flag flying high and mighty!
When writing the lyrics for the album, what other topics do you touch upon, whether personal or otherwise? What personal experiences helped shape the concept for this album?
I tend to generally write about personal experiences, or as close to the truth as possible, while still keeping it interesting. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you, "He's an honest SOB, yet he will tell you a lie." The truth of the matter is that a good heart hurts, but a black heart bleeds. On a few of these songs I touch on liars and haters. People living only to darken your sky or blacken your light. Eventually, no matter how small the flea is, it will begin to irritate and need a swatting. Some of these songs are our pest control, and we are killing, lying, hating, stinking rodents. We are bringing their darkness to the light and we are blacking them out.
What's the significance of the album's title?
There are a lot of people who will work hard at blacking out your light, as opposed to working on making their own light bright. I feel I represent a mighty powerful bright light, but I also feel that when push comes to shove, the darkness I have hidden behind my light is ready to blacken all that holds color. When this happens, I cannot control my dark side. You see, there is always someone who has a darker side and I am the Dark Side of Black…
How was writing for this album musically different in comparison to your last album, Ride On? I read that Timmy [Braun] had some difficulties early on.
We just wanted to move forward with more power, with more attitude and with a stronger sound. We needed to stay THC, just with bigger guns and larger rounds of ammo. As for Timmy "the HITMAN" Braun, he is a monster. Timmy was very ill the first week of pre-production, and I mean sickly. Then when it came time to do drum tracks, he had been bitten by an animal and his hand was the size of a honeydew melon. But he never quit hittin’. He never quit beatin’. The dark side was in Timmy, and it really shows on this album.
How did Sterling Winfield help shape the album?
Sterling kept us on point. For the first time since signing with Carved Records, I was able to hand pick my producer, and I picked Mr. Winfield. We really wanted to get back to our roots, to go back to where we came from. So after making albums out in L.A., Detroit, and Nashville, we went back to making an album in Texas by Texans. And who better to give us that nasty Texas power groove sonically than a purebred Texan, the aforementioned Winfield? Let's just say, it was so much fun that I am sure this is a process we will revisit in the future of THC.
When your tour wraps up, where do you guys plan on playing next? What are some key cities that you want to visit this year?
We never quit touring. We put more miles on tires than any motorcycle club in the nation. The next city we look forward to hittin’ is your town, and we're takin’ it over… quote me on that!
I understand you guys took part in Mayhem Fest some time ago. What are your thoughts on American metal festivals as compared to what European countries have to offer? Do you feel we should have another fest tour since it seems there will be no Mayhem Fest or Ozzfest?
I love the festivals. I, personally, am a lover of music, and I love being surrounded by a sea of people. The masses, a congregation, a gathering of lovers of music. If you've never been, you'll never know. Even just reading this is going to get you a little bit excited. See y’all at Rockville, Caroolina Rebellion, Rock on the Range, Rocklahoma and River City Rockfest. Come on!
Where did the name Texas Hippie Coalition come from?
Texas comes from our home state. It’s where we're from and we're damn proud of it. Hippie is an homage to my parents who raised me on music. Coalition is for the fans, who are our extended family. This is not just about a four-piece, no-name band from the great state of Texas. This is about the thousands upon thousands that have championed the cause, a true force to be reckoned with. Your band may have more fans than mine, but my fans can kick your fans’ asses... I'm just... serious...