Charles Watkin Starr was a Major League Baseball infielder. He played parts of three seasons in the majors, mostly as a second baseman, for the St. Louis Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Doves and Philadelphia Phillies.
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My short bio: Charlie Starr and the members of Southern Rock quintet Blackberry Smoke are no strangers to hard work. Playing up to 250 dates each year, the guys are on the road more often than not, and they’ve seen tangible results of their labor. The band has toured with and befriended idols such as The Marshall Tucker Band, ZZ Top (with Billy Gibbons jamming with the band on a Florida stop), Lynyrd Skynyrd and George Jones. The band was even asked to play for Jones on his 80th birthday, not long after the country legend turned in a guest appearance on the band’s sophomore album. They’ve toured Europe thrice over, and had their songs featured in video games and films as well.
The new album HOLDING ALL THE ROSES hits stores this week, and Charlie will be here from 2-3pm EST to talk about anything and everything Blackberry Smoke.
THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR QUESTIONS! SEE YOU ON THE ROAD!
Get your copy of Holding All the Roses at http://www.blackberrysmoke.com
I love your tone and wondered what your rig consisted of? Amp, pedals, etc.
Thanks. Germino and Marshall amps. There are a lot of great pedals these days. Wampler, Greer, Fulltone, Analogman
BBS worked long grinding years for your current level of success. IMO BBS is far better than some bands (names withheld) that have reached the highest level of success (by industry standards) i.e.; giant venues, platinum records. Why? Complexity of the music industry? Trade-offs BBS are not willing to compromise on?
If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn't have to cut my own grass.
Big fan, Charlie. You wanna jam with some acoustics on a porch sometime?
edit: Pre-ordered the new album last week. I can't wait till tomorrow.
Do you ever miss the days when you played at the local bars? What is the one place you have always wanted to play, but haven't made it yet?
The Omni in Atlanta. But they tore it down.
What was the reason for leaving Southern Ground? It seemed like a pretty good label in terms of giving you creative freedom.
Also, who is your favorite band that has opened for you?
Love your music! Look forward to you guys coming back through NC again!
Southern Ground went out of business. It's tough these days. We enjoy the same freedom with Rounder. No one has ever tried to change us.
Hello Charlie! Greatings from Rebelianci ( Rebels)Southern Rock Group from Poland! We meet You and Your band in Berlin! Do You remember? We was talking before Your concert;)
I have a question when You and Blackberry Smoke coming to Europe and maybe to Poland?!;) we waiting all the time - maybe we can play some support before Blackberry Smoke ... King regards from only one southern rock band in Poland :)!
Hi!! I remember you. We'll be back soon!
Charlie...I love the band! I hope to be seeing you guys again in April at the Norva in Norfolk, VA.
My question is this: Many folks I know are big proponents of quality sound on new releases. I have always wondered if artists are aware of the whole "loudness wars" complaints with over compression and lack of dynamic range on new releases? Could you give us some insight into how much input the band has in these areas before a new release comes out?
Keep spreadin' the Smoke!!!
That is a great question. We are very aware of that. A lot of new releases are heavily compressed to sound better on electronic devices and earbuds. We don't cotton to that. It'll give you a headache.
I've never heard of you or the band before. What should I listen to first?
Start with any one you'd like. I love em' all.
Why no Canadian tour dates?!?!
Such a hassle to get into Canada. We have played there 3 times though.
could you ever imagine that your music would make it over the big ocean to germany? are you coming back this year for a new tour?
We are! Ich leibe Deutschland.
When are you coming to the uk? I need to know you are coming back! Got the new album today I was so excited and impressed I screamed at the postman! Thank you
Thanks! We'll be back sooner than later.
Most of your material is written by you (or you and the band). Do you find a melody first then lyrics or visa versa? What is the process?
It varies. A lot of them are born from a guitar riff first. I generally have a melody before lyrics. But not always...
If you could pick any guitarist, dead or alive, to give one lesson who would it be and why?
Merle Travis. He was the best finger picker ever.
What are your favorite up and coming southern rock bands?
And congratulations on the new Album!!!
Hey Harold. I love the Higher Choir...
Love it when you guys come through and play the Fillmore in Maryland. Any favorite bands?
The Wood Bros., Stonerider, BrotherHawk, Jonathan Wilson, Jason Isbell, Delta Saints, Rich Robinson, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Hard Working Americans....
Chattanoogan here, You guys ROCKED The house for us on New Years at Track 29!
My question is: Do you like playing smaller venues like Track 29 better as compared to the larger venues? What has been the bands favorite place to play so far?
Too hard to pick a favorite. I love the Ryman. Madison Square Garden wasn't too shabby.
Do you ever plan on playing another gig in your hometown?
I'm not sure where we would play...
Hi, Charlie!! We watched BBS in Berlin last year. It was amazing!!
We loved the new album. It's playing 24 hours here!!
I have 2 questions:
1 - When are you coming to Brazil?
2 - What happen in the chrous of "No way back to Eden". It's a 3/4 time signature??
We would love to come to Brazil!! The chorus is 4/4. It's just weird.
Do you plan to release songbooks (maybe bundled with CDs or Vinyls)? I'd like to buy this.
How old were you when blackberrysmoke started?
24 or 25.
Hey charlie, are you still using your Bad Bob? sending a hug to y'all and Loving the new record!
See you soon. Mr and Mrs Crosby
Hey!!!!Big hugs back to y'all. I sure am.
Is there any chances you guys come to Brazil?
Yep. A good chance.
A few years back, y'all played a song at Rhythm & Brews that I have not seen on a set list or anywhere since. It was called "We Got Company". What happened to that song?
It's still laying around...Maybe it'll be released someday.
Yes! Great to get back to it.
If you weren't a musician, what profession do you think you would have ventured into?
Paint and body. I did that for years. Still have my tools and spray guns.
Too High and Fire in the Hole seem like they may be about when times were not so good while Rock and Roll again sounds like the love of your life. Yes?
Hey Charlie! Big fan. I saw BBS play in London last year and you were incredible (the best live band I've seen to date).
I have to ask; how does it feel when an entire room full of strangers sing the words of your own songs back to you?
Please come back to England soon!
That is without a doubt the best feeling in the world.
Saw you guys play at the Troubadour Friday and Saturday. Killer shows!! What was up with Billy Gibbons on Friday? You guys weren't expecting him to come up were you?
Nope!! That was a surprise!! He was in rare form.
If the bus was going over a cliff, whose hand would you hold? Or would you just cling to one of your guitars?
Can you play "Lesson in a Bottle" in St.Louis next week? Please?
Hey Charlie! When will you guys play more rural venues in Pa. like Penn's Peak again? Seeing you guys the last few years in Philly has been cool, but seriously, all of the fans have to drive into the city!
Not suren but I love Penn's Peak.
Wish I had a question. Just keep on rocking guys! My cousin turned me on to ya'll and I've been itching to see ya'll in Texas. Any upcoming shows around Austin? Oh look a question!!
Not sure but thank you anyway!
Hey Charlie, thanks so much for creating and working so hard on BBS. I was wondering, what's your favorite way to unwind on the road after a long day?
Thanks for the answer :) keep on rockin.
Just sitting down is enough sometimes.
My dad loves you guys and so do I. It makes for a great family outing for us when we go see you. Fourth trip coming this spring!
I work in country radio and I would love to play you guys over the turds that are packaged and sent to us. Unfortunately the record companies dictate a lot of what we play, as well as major media companies like iHeart (A Thousand Horses and Cadillac Three are very obvious rip-offs of you guys yet get pushed down our throats).
Do you want to be played on the radio? Or are you guys happy to just be making a living doing this, being on the road, selling records?
Thank you for saving rock n' roll!
We're just happy making music and having the freedom to make the music that we want to make, ya know...Radio could play us if they chose to. I don't get it.
Hey Charlie, why only one stop for the west coast on this tour? There's a ton of us up in Northern California wanting to see you!
We'll be back.
Love your guys music. Can you give us an insight/interesting story behind one of your favourite songs?
One of my songs or someone else's?
Hi! Which song is your favorite that you've made? Mine is Pretty little lie. And will you ever come to Sweden and perform?
/Sandra, 17y old from Sweden
I'm proud of them all. We will be back to Sweden this year.
Tupelo would love to have you! Saw you guys in Birmingham in November, and 3 times before that. Will there be any later HAtR tour dates down south this year?! We love y'all!
Oh yea. We'll keep going all year.
Hi Charlie! Can't wait to see you guys again in Springfield, IL. I noticed you are not using the same opening band this year. Why not?
That changes every year.
What inspired you to start playing guitar and writing? Any tips/words of wisdom haha for someone just starting?
My Dad plays guitar and sings. Hearing him made me want to do it. Don't get frustrated. Keep trying. Learn to play the blues. Everything comes from the blues.
I first saw you guys in 2006...and im a lifer. Anyway...Marshalls at that time, then Orange, then the boutique custom and now back to Marshall...whats under the hood??? Has the new album (which is amazing!) changed your sound?
No change. I just like to keep tinkering, ya know. It's Germino and Marshall right now. An Echopark amp coming soon.
You say you are bummed the songs were on YouTube. Does that mean you prefer fans not to video the shows and share with other fans that are unable to attend?
No I love that. I just wish laptops didn't have such crappy lil speakers. I want people's first listen to a new album to be on a great stereo.
How long have you been growing your chops?
What do you guys do for fun in between sound checks and going on stage?
Record stores, bowling, movies, baseball games...
Did you watch the Grammys and if so, whats your opinion of award shows in general?
I didn't. Those can be hard to watch, huh...
Hey Charlie. I got a chance to interview you guys in Dallas last year and have been seeing every show I can every since. Thanks for giving me a shot. The tour bus kicks.
If BBS were to be nominated for a Grammy category (real or fictional), which would you like? You guys are so incredibly diverse.
Brandon could win for handsomest...
I downloaded the rest of the Holding All The Roses album from iTunes this morning and have given it a couple of listens today. I'm liking what I hear so far 😃
Anyway, my question? What's your favourite track and why?
PS: not this album, but my 3 year old daughter knows all the words to your last album, especially loving six ways to Sunday 😊
I don't really have a favorite...They're all pretty different.
Charlie Starr!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome. I saw you guys in Buchanon County, VA a couple of years ago. That was the first and only night I ever called in sick to work but I just had to see you guys that night! Amazing show! I've since moved to Louisville and can't wait to catch you guys up here.
My question is, have you ever been tempted to "change the formula?" I hope not, I love your style of southern rock because it's so much better/different from anything super mainstream/poppy.
Also, if you could pick one person in the world to have a drink with and listen to his/her stories, who would it be and why?
Thanks, Charlie! Holding All the Roses is a great album and BBS is amazing!
I'd never try to write a song that fit what is trendy. I write what feels right to me and we play em and record em the way we think they should sound. Always.
I'd wanna talk to Benjamin Franklin.
Thank you for your music and awesome gig in Berlin (3.11.2014), I'm glad that I know your band because (what a shame!) in Poland it isn't very popular. Hope see you soon at next Europe tour (maybe in Poland someday? :))
What is the story behind the name of the band? PS - you guys rock!
Chris Robinson came up with it.
As much as you guys work through the year. Do you ever get tired of playing any of your songs?
Also, love your tone and note selection!
Thank you! I really don't tire of any of em.
I just interviewed Suzanne from another amazing rawkin Atlanta band called 68-75 she said she know you very well and my question to her was, does Blackberry Smoke ever come back home and play shows with other local bands or even take some of the local bands on tour with them?
I'm from Sarnia, Ontario Canada and have a radio show on the Playfair Music Audio Stream called Rock It Up Sarnia and I would do anything to have a chance to interview a member of the Smoke.. I'm also the program director their and just filled our rotation with Your music.. Keep on keepin on Brother!!
Yea! Suze! We play Atlanta with local bands every year.
Hey Charlie, Loving the new album can you tell us where the "inspiration" for Lay It All On Me came from?
Small town life where everybody knows everybody and their business.
I love it.
Hey charlie! What's the best kind of bananas foster? ;)
Nick, do you like Metallica?
If we could see your IPod (or in my case Walkman, lol), what would we see on your playlist??
A whole bunch of good music.... :)
What is in your cd player or mp3 list right now? Do you enjoy Bryant Carter Band music? Seen a few shows of yours where they opened for you.
I don't recall Bryant Carter Band. I really like Rich Robinson's latest album and the Wood Bros. And Jonathan Wilson...