15th Street Dinah

"The world is a showplace, we all know that for a fact."

Five Questions with Adam Pate

If you’ve been “out” to see live music in Tuscaloosa, chances are you’ve probably seen Adam Pate.  Whether you’ve been carded at Egan’s, or seen him playing bass for Baak Gwai— Pate is tough to miss.  He also happens to be one of the nicest guys in the world of Tuscaloosa music.  Tonight, his band joins fellow Tuscaloosa fixtures Blaine Duncan and the Lookers for a split-bill show at Little Willies.

Pate was kind enough to help us with our second edition of “Five Questions With:”.

Slappin da Bass

1. Baak Gwai has been a fixture in the Tuscaloosa music scene for as long as I can remember. What keeps it interesting for you guys?

Touring. Until the past year we didn’t go out on the road for longer than a week at a time. Last year we spent about two and half months on the road. New places, new listeners, new friends and lots of new music. A good bit of the new stuff we are working on came from or is lyrically about that tour.

2. Being someone who’s been “around” for a lot of it, what do you think it’s going to take to see real, sustainable cultural growth in this city? Is it even possible over the long haul?

Being a college town we have cycles of new people coming and going. New bands start from all these new people coming into town then tend to breakup/leave town when school, the main reason they came here, is over. I don’t think places like Athens have the ” I can’t wait to get out of here” syndrome that plagues this town. If we lose that mindset and realize we have to make it cool for ourselves we may see some cultural growth.

3. A lot of people probably know your face from being the doorman at Egan’s. How has that job, and the multitude of bands you see, helped your band?

I actually just started working there a few months ago, just before our hiatus. Egans has always treated us great, there really isn’t a more fun place to play.

4. Are there any plans for a new LP from Baak Gwai on the horizon?

We are recording the demos now. We will go into the studio in the next few months and are hoping to have it out early next year. I’m excited about this one.

5. Finally, as with any college town, people will come to see you that’ve seen you a dozen times. Maybe even more. Knowing that, how do you guys approach a show in terms of keeping it interesting for repeat viewers?

We try to mix up our sets here more than anywhere else. We have a pretty large songlist and can change it up pretty good. We also play as both 3 and 4 piece here, our guitar/keyboardist lives in Baton Rouge and can’t drive over every time. Friday we will be a 4 piece so you will get extra guitar, vocal harmonies, and keyboards.

Baak Gwai plays with Blaine Duncan and the Lookers tonight at Little Willies.


Filed under: Five Questions, Show Preview

Five Questions with Toby Hartleroad

Toby Hartleroad is the lead singer and principle songwriter for Columbus, MS indie rock group The Motions, who are playing Saturday night at The Depot.  Hartleroad’s band has, by all accounts, taken it’s act to the next level this year– a year that included the release of their phenomenal debut album, a tour that took them to Austin’s world-famous Continental Club and the introduction of a slew of new songs that are bringing their buzz to a fevered pitch.

All this, and he’s also starting his first semester of college.  Age is certainly the elephant in the room when talking about The Motions, but while some bars won’t book them– the ones that will are finding out what everyone else already has.  This band is no novelty act– it’s for real.

Hartleroad was kind enough to take some time to help us start our new feature, “Five Questions With:”.

Toby Hartleroad, otherwise known as Tobias Heartthrob

Toby Hartleroad, otherwise known as Tobias Heartthrob

1.  Artists can take on any subject, but you chose music.  What was it about music that drew you with such fervor?

I was exposed to music at a really early age. I can remember listening to the Doors, Pink Floyd and Blind Melon when I was around 3 or 4. It just always seemed so beautiful to me. It was so natural.

2.  You guys started your band and have cultivated your band while keeping a homebase in Columbus, MS.  Now, I think you’d be the first to agree that Columbus isn’t exactly a “hotspot” for artists.  What has that experience been like?

It’s been interesting. I think a big lesson we’ve learned is just to make the best of your situation. I mean we were lucky enough to have some cool places to play around the area as well as some really great musicians that were raised around here. Our record was recorded by a guy from West Point, MS. If we weren’t playing around here, we never would’ve heard of this guy.

3.  You’re a clever lyricist, especially for your age.  I listen to your record and I keep coming back to lines like “emotion sickness and it’s bringing me down”.  There are lots of layers and textures in your words that make the songs consistently interesting.  Talk about the writing process and where some of that comes from.

Haha. I never get to talk about lyrics. Some of our songs are nearly 2 years old at this point. I wrote a lot of them as I was battling that stereotypical teenage depression thing. So a lot of them are really sad. The newer ones are quite a bit more upbeat. I think the new ones definitely show a sense of maturity. I mean, I used to write only about myself. Now I’m able to write about other people and things. It’s a different approach. But I’m happy with it.

4.  A lot of people may not know this, but you are related to your drummer and your bassist.  The band started out as just you, Max (drums) and Miles (bass).  Tell us a bit about what it’s like making your art with family.

The family thing is really great. We have more chemistry than anyone I’ve seen. We know exactly what each other is doing. We share a very similar vision with what we want our music to sound like. So it keeps the arguments to a minimum. I mean, I don’t want to say we never argue, because we do, it’s just not very regular and usually not about petty things.

5.  One of the things we are always going to do at the end of this is give the artist a chance to recommend an album or band that may not be at the “top of the foodchain”, so to speak.  What is something you are listening to now that you’d recommend to our readers?

Ummmm. I think everyone should hear a record by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. My personal favorite at the moment is “The Boatman’s Call.” So if you haven’t listened to it, go do yourself a favor and pick it up.

The Motions will play Saturday night at The Depot.

Filed under: Five Questions, Show Preview

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About Us

15th Street Dinah is a blog primarily about music coming to and coming from the Tuscaloosa, AL area. From time to time, we might veer off course...but for the most part, that's our thing.

We're named in honor of the great Dinah Washington, Tuscaloosa native and "Queen of the Blues".