With a successful solo career under his belt and stints in various bands to follow the singer finally appears settled fronting his latest – and some might say greatest – project Homemade Sin.
In the latest of our exclusive interviews we catch up with Baird and fellow sinner Warner E Hodges.
rushonrock: You’re hitting the UK after a stint in Norway – is that a favourite country to tour?
Dan Baird: Scandinavia, like the UK, has always been good to us. We play Denmark and Norway and we’re trying to get back into Sweden and Finland. In all these places the fans are so passionate about their music. The beer is expensive so when they do have a night out in Norway they make sure it’s a good one – they buy a lot of alcohol and tend to drink every drop.
rushonrock: If live music is your forte is this a good time to be in a rock and roll band?
DB: If you’re any good then people will come out and watch you. So bands who can do the business live are doing alright right now. There might have been more money to be made 20 years ago but it turned out you owed most of that to the record companies. Now you have to be able to pay your way if you want to tour in the first place – if you can do that then you can make a good living on the road.
rushonrock: Is it more fun playing music now that at the peak of the Georgia Satellites’ commercial success?
DB: I enjoy playing in a rock and roll band now more than I did when the Georgia Satellites were at their commercial peak. But that’s more a function of age than anything to do with time. As you get older you realise you have to know what the hell you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I don’t think you can just say let’s get a band together and make some money – that’s a bit Beavis and Butthead and it’s an idea which belongs in the past. Everything I do these days I look at differently to the way I did 25 years ago. Back then every day was about the show but it was also about the party afterwards and the girls and the beer. I enjoy it a lot more now that it’s all about the show! That might sound a little weird but the only reason I’m doing what I’m doing now is to play live music.
Warner E Hodges: I was never in the Satellites but I’m the same as Dan! We feel like we get paid for the 22 hours a day we spend on the road and we do the show for free. That’s the bit we love.
rushonrock: Does it feel good to be back on British soil?
DB: It’s always good to be back in the UK. It’s one of those places where, as the Satellites, we always tried to nail our live shows. Right now we’re doing much better in the UK and Europe because the fans over here seem to have much better memories.
rushonrock: Twenty years ago did you ever imagine there’d still be a demand for your music two decades down the line?
DB: Even back in the day I always felt I could come back to the UK and Europe years down the line and people would still appreciate my music. That’s been proved right and it’s a great feeling to see people come out and watch Homemade Sin in 2010. I know they want to hear the old stuff but they let us play some new songs too and that’s a great relationship to have with your fans.
rushonrock: So you’ll never become a so-called heritage act – relying exclusively on your back catalogue?
DB: I would never go down the road of playing nothing but old material. I hope people appreciate the new songs I write and the passion I still have for music. Relying on the back catalogue is not something I will ever do and I left the Satellites because we were heading down that road.
WH: As a musician making new music is what’s most interesting. The fans want to hear the music they’ve come out to listen to but I’d like to think they recognise the fact that we’re trying to extend ourselves some more. Playing the same old stuff night after night, week after week, year after year doesn’t do anyone any good.
rushonrock: What can fans expect from this week’s Homemade Sin shows?
DB: The shows will be roughly as follows: 40% Homemade Sin, 25% Satellites, 10% solo material and the rest whatever takes our fancy on the night. It’s the best of all worlds and it will rock.
rushonrock: Is there a new Homemade Sin record on the pipeline?
DB: We’re writing the new Homemade Sin record right now and it won’t be significantly different to what’s gone before. There’s still going to be a lot of fun stuff on there even if it might be seen as a little more serious. There’s a lot of solid songwriting on there and a lot of gritty stuff on there – it comes from all of the guys in the band and it is, above all, a band.
rushonrock: And Homemade Sin is a band rather than a Dan Baird solo project?
DB: There’s never been any doubt that Homemade Sin is a band rather than a vehicle for Dan Baird. It’s not even close to a solo project. No way. These are my guys. They all bring something to the table and we are a band. If I hit the wrong note Warner won’t just let it pass – he’ll tell me. There are no ‘yes men’ in Homemade Sin because this band is too important to all of us for us to let that happen.
WH: I’m still the new guy even though I’ve been here four years now. But I have always felt part of something very close and very special. As an outsider looking in I always liked Dan’s work with the Satellites and the two solo albums are fabulous records. Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired is one of my all-time top three rock and roll records. Playing with these guys when everything is going right reveals a true chemistry. This band can do all kinds of stuff and go in all kinds of different directions at the same time. It’s a pleasure being part of it.