It might seem that few acts in today's image-obsessed, pop-fueled world of country music have truly "paid their dues."
Not so with Cross Canadian Ragweed. But then again, are they even a country band?
For 13 years the boys of CCR (yes, they know who Creedence was) have been traveling the country non-stop, playing their own style of music that lives somewhere on the border between country and good old rock 'n' roll. Their newest studio effort, "Mission California," drops Oct. 2. Before that they'll visit the Black River Coliseum this weekend in Poplar Bluff, Mo. CCR frontman Cody Canada recently phoned in for an interview with SE Live's Matt Sanders.
MATT SANDERS: I know you guys come out of Oklahoma and this thing called the "Red Dirt" music scene. Can you describe that scene and how you guys came out of that?
CODY CANADA: We started following a band called The Great Divide. It was the first band that we really knew that wrote their own music, sang their own music and just did their own thing, so it was really easy to follow that scene, you know?
And the Oklahoma Red Dirt scene is so many different types of music, you can pretty much do what you want to do ...
It's really easy to find your own mix.
MS: Is writing and playing your own music a really important part of your identity?
CC: If you want to have your own identifiable sound ... you gotta create your own stuff.
MS: What is your sound? You mix country and rock, so do you try to avoid labels like "country" or "rock"?
CC: Yeah. The most common thing is 'You guys aren't really that country.'
Well, I always tell everybody we're a country influenced rock band. To explain exactly what we are, we just say we're Ragweed and that's it.
MS: Where does your sound come from?
CC: There's a bunch of stuff. Neil Young was a big influence. Of course, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan I think influenced everybody. Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard ... The Who, Van Halen ... then came Steve Earle, and that changes everybody.
MS: Do you ever wonder why people seem to make such a separation between country and rock?
CC: I don't understand why it has to be different. You know, in my opinion the country music of today isn't like the country music of yesterday, neither is rock 'n' roll, but it is still based upon the same thing.
It's just such a competition nowadays. You watched the MTV awards the other day, it's like, aren't we all just here to play music? Everybody's trying to do better than the other person.
MS: Like Kanye and 50 Cent?
CC: My favorite quote of that was, somebody asked Dave Grohl what he thought about Britney Spears blowing her opening performance and his exact words were 'Who gives a ---- (expletive deleted)? Go buy a Zeppelin record!'
That's the way it ought to be. That's the way the mentality of music should be. If you go back to the roots of it, you'll find what you are.