John Exall is the bassist for Texas Hippie Coalition, best described as Red Dirt Metal. Along with the band, John has had quite the year. THC was on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival line and will be touring with Fozzy and Shaman’s Harvest later this month. I had a great opportunity to speak with John about his experience at Mayhem Fest, his love for wrestling, the band’s latest album and more.
Alex Obert: What are your overall thoughts on your experience at Mayhem Fest this past summer?
John Exall: I loved it, man. The whole band set off the crowd and the crowds were unbelievable. It was freakin’ awesome. We’re a working band for the working man, we loved every bit of it. And who couldn’t like going out there and seeing all the bands that were there, every band was on top of their game. I love all of them. Every band was great, they all killed it. Whether it’s a small crowd or a big crowd, we love every minute of it. The whole band feeds off the crowd.
Alex Obert: What is your preshow ritual to get you hyped up?
John Exall: Shoot, man. Say a prayer. I’ll pray and then hit the stage.
Alex Obert: What goes through your head while on stage?
John Exall: Just goin’ out there and kickin’ ass as a band. I get to do something that I love and that’s really awesome. I get out there and feed off the crowd and their energy. Whether it’s a big crowd or a small crowd, we don’t care. We’ll still go out there and kick ass and have a blast with everybody.
Alex Obert: After shows, can you be seen at the bar?
John Exall: Man, I used to drink a long time ago, but I backed off on all that. Now we’re just concentrating on music right now. Music’s my vice. After shows, we just hang out in the tour bus and go to the next town. I’m a family man, got three kids and an old lady, so I just cruise along, brother.
Alex Obert: Did you connect with other bands on Mayhem Fest?
John Exall: Yeah, we got to hang out with Mushroomhead and we got to meet Ice-T. Meeting him was a dream come true, been a big fan of Body Count forever. Everybody had such great camaraderie when we were out on that festival, it was really awesome. I consider everybody I meet a friend. We’ve been very fortunate to meet everybody all across the board. Very humbling.
Alex Obert: What did you think of the reemergence of Body Count?
John Exall: Loved it. We were both side stage every day and it was awesome because they just killed it.
Alex Obert: Would you be open to returning to Mayhem again in the future?
John Exall: Shoot yeah, man! We would go again because we’d love to do Mayhem again.
Alex Obert: In addition, Texas Hippie Coalition recently released a new album entitled Ride On. What was it like working in the studio with Skidd Mills?
John Exall: That was incredible. He brought the best out of all of us. He really put his stamp on all our music. He was awesome to work with, great guy. He’s got a different ear than we’ve got. We get stuck in a certain way and he opened up a lot of different avenues for us that we were never even about to go down. I hope we get to work with him again.
Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on the track, Monster in Me?
John Exall: Love it! We hope that everybody loves it as much as we do. We tried to put our heart and soul into this music, it really felt good.
Alex Obert: THC’s guitarist, Cord Pool, is a recent and interesting addition to the band. What’s it like having a relatively younger guy in the band? Do you feel like a mentor to him?
John Exall: Man, he came in already kicking ass. He’s shown us a few things. That boy, he’s a damn guitar genius. (laughs) He really kills it, man. He’s always happy and rips that guitar up. Love that dude.
Alex Obert: Who are some bands that you’ve toured with in the past?
John Exall: We’ve toured with Saliva. We’ve toured with Black Label Society. We’ve done a couple shows here and there with Korn. We’ve done shows with Eve to Adam, went on tour with them a couple years ago. We went on a Danzig run. We’ve been very fortunate. We’re about to go on a run with Fozzy, which is gonna be awesome.
Alex Obert: What was your reaction when you found out that you’re touring with Fozzy?
John Exall: That was killer, man. I’m a big wrestling fan, so to see Chris Jericho is gonna be awesome. I’ve been following him for a while and I knew he started up Fozzy, they’ve just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. Now look at ’em, they’re smokin’. I love the band. They just kill it. The new album is awesome. Everybody go out there and get Do You Wanna Start A War. I cannot wait to get on the road with them. Fozzy and Shaman’s Harvest are gonna be killin’ it. Everybody come out and see it.
Alex Obert: You mentioned being a big wrestling fan. How were you introduced to it?
John Exall: I’ve been watching it since I was a kid. I’d be sitting at my grandmother’s and I’d watch it till midnight. I was glued to the TV. I was big into WCW and WWF, now WWE. We’ve got the WWE Network at home now and my kids and I will spend hours watching it on the couch. It’s awesome to see all the new matches in all the old matches, I love it. And it’s kind of gone full circle with my kids watching now, it’s really cool to see the next generation really into wrestling like I was.
Alex Obert: Who are some of your favorite wrestlers?
John Exall: Dean Malenko. Eddie Guerrero. Shawn Michaels. Diesel. Scott Hall. I’m a big fan of Triple H. I can go on and on and on.
Alex Obert: Which THC song do you feel would make the best entrance theme?
John Exall: We’ve thought about that a lot. I think you can work with almost any of ’em.
Alex Obert: I understand that you’re friends with Gunner from Impact Wrestling.
John Exall: Yeah, man. He’s a great guy. He wears Wornstar Clothing and I wear it as well. The clothing is made by Sylvia Jensen, she’s got the best clothes going out there. My friend, Joey Nuggs, hooked our numbers up and we have been talking ever since. He’s a really great guy. Cannot wait to meet the dude.
Alex Obert: Do you watch Impact Wrestling?
John Exall: Oh, yeah. Every time. Our whole week is planned out. (laughs) If I’m not there, then I’ve got everything jacked into my phone. You spend a lot of time on the tour bus just sitting there, so I just wear my phone and iPad out watching wrestling. I have a little thing where you can connect to the TV on the road and just watch everything, including the Network. We’ll sit there for hours.
Alex Obert: After the tour with Fozzy, who do you hope to go on the road with?
John Exall: We’re open to goin’ on the road with anybody. We love all genres of music. We would love to go on with anybody, we don’t care who it is.
Alex Obert: For readers who are going to be attending the big upcoming tour, what do you have to say to them?
John Exall: Get ready. This tour’s gonna be off the hook. Fozzy’s gonna tear it up, we’re gonna tear it up, Shaman’s Harvest is gonna tear it up. Get ready, it all breaks down in Flint, Michigan at the Machine Shop.
Alex Obert: Sounds like it’s going to be a great time! I’d love to thank you so much for a great interview.
John Exall: Hey brother, thank you!