BT: Monte, thanks for your time today. We're really enjoying the new album - if you will, talk about the evolution of its material and your recording process for the album.
MM: "River" is an old song that I recorded on my very first CD, but that one's evolved into a much meaner song - that's very indicative of our sound these days. The other songs are basically a collection of songs that I've written over the last few years. I haven't done a studio record in a few years, so I've got more than enough to lay down on a new CD. I think the actual recording took about five days. We approached it like we were doing a show and we discussed that with the engineers and the producer. The way we work off of each other live is the way we did it in the studio. It's minimally produced as far as overdubs are concerned.
BT: If you will, talk about today's musical climate in the age of iTunes, Internet and satellite radio. Some artists say accessibility is great and others say it's hard to separate yourself from the clutter.
MM: There's certainly no use in fighting it anymore - this is what's going on now and it's not going to go back. I used to get peeved when people would videotape me, but now people - especially in Europe - find me on Youtube and come out to the shows. So I've kind of changed my attitude - it's free advertising and free publicity. For an artist like me that's not all over radio and MTV, it's a very useful tool. Case in point - Daryl Hall saw me do "Sara Smile" on Youtube and invited me to his house and we recorded some stuff. You never know who's going to see it.
BT: You lived in Birmingham before moving to Texas at age 12. If you will, talk about coming of age in a state with a rich musical heritage.
MM: In growing up around ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson, I've learned a lot from people that have been influenced by other people and on it goes. I was turned on to Hendrix through Stevie Ray and that's what turned me on to "Little Wing."
BT: How do older songs stay fresh to you when you've literally played them a thousand times by now?
MM: That's easy - I just keep changing it (laughs). The songs on the new CD are a few years old, so I've had the chance to go out on the road and play them over and over again and stumble upon ideas. I can't play a song the same way twice anymore because I'm always exploring things live. I can't imagine having to play a song note-for-note every night - that would drive me insane.
Dylan Sneed opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.workplay.com or by calling 380-4082.