AntiHero Magazine photojournalist Scott Martin spoke to John Salmon, vocalist for Nashville’s “Southern Hard Rock and Roll, Whiskey-Soaked Gravel Metal” band, Hogan’s Goat.
John Salmon: There’s 5 of us in the band and we are kind of all over the place. I am actually the only one from Nashville and the rest of the four guys just kind of came to Nashville same way as most people do just kind of trying to play music. I was working out of a studio, I was an audio engineer as well. I met our drummer Wayne, who his best friend also moved with him who is also our guitar player, and so we started jamming. We have had a couple different lineup changes when we were originally formed. We used to go under a different name. The band has been active for about 3 years. I don’t know if you know the story of Hogan’s Goat or not. It is basically old folklore, it is about an old disgusting goat with patchy fur and an eye out of socket, that kind of thing. We kind of wanted something to symbolize or against the grain kind of style. Our sound is kind of hard to Peg, it’s cool to us because you either think about it this way that you kind of box yourself in to where you don’t really fit into any certain crowd. Maybe you look at it as if you’re creating your own sound. That’s kind of the way we like to think about it.
ANTIHERO: That answer kind of helped me out in the sense that you answered two of my next questions all in one question one of them being can you describe the Hogan’s Goat sound and define the meaning of Hogan’s Goat.
John Salmon: We like to say that we are “Southern Hard Rock and Roll, Whiskey-Soaked Gravel Metal”.
ANTIHERO: As original of a band name as Hogan’s Goat is, I come to find out that there is one other band with the same name as Hogan’s Goat. Doesn’t that cause some confusion?
John Salmon: They are from West Virginia. I believe they put out an album about 20 years ago they are a country cover band, not to be confused with the southern hard rock and roll whiskey-soaked gravel metal that Nashville’s Hogan’s Goat are.
ANTIHERO: Can you describe the song writing process for your debut album?
John Salmon: It’s all done pretty much collectively while we were writing this album we tried to practice 2 to 3 times a week and so we began writing when we were doing some shows. yeah, it’s all done collectively, someone will come in with a riff. Wayne will start with the drum beat and we will just kind of go from there. as for the vocals and lyrics go on my end. I right after we have written the music because I like to be involved in the composition of the music. You know I will pick up a guitar as well or every now and then, or I will play bass as well or if I have to I will leave them play some keys as well. We will record some demos, which is good because it gives us plenty of practice in the studio so we can fine tune things before we are ready to lay everything down.
ANTIHERO: As I understand your debut album is being released on Tuesday July 18th is that correct?
John Salmon: Yes, it comes out tomorrow and we are very excited for the release and looking forward to what it brings us.
ANTIHERO: Can you describe the recording process during the recording of your debut album?
John Salmon: We started off with drums at Omni Sound Studios in Nashville we did that because we wanted a bigger room for the drums to have a bigger and deeper sound. the engineer that day was a guy named Kyle Ginser who I have known for about 8 years now. He happens to be a pretty amazing producer. He just tracked the drums, and we did everything else at Gold Cassette in Nashville. We did the over dubs for guitar, vocals and base there and auxiliary stuff like keyboards and everything there. It was recorded and mixed by Alex Gilson and Nathan Simpson. What’s actually quite interesting is we hired a guy named Aaron Stoner to mix it and he is now our bass player. That’s why on the album it just says self-produced. it just seems redundant to say Aaron Stoner of Hogan’s Goat. We got Tommy Dorsey at Masterphonics in Nashville to master it, in the past he has mastered so many too many artists for me to mention. We really had an awesome team for the recording of this album.
ANTIHERO: Describe how the rock and roll scene is in Nashville considering it’s predominantly a Country Music State?
John Salmon: This is kind of interesting considering I think that the scenes are kind of divided in different areas of the city, a lot of the country stuff just takes place downtown there’s a little bit of it everywhere especially in Midtown. As for the rock and roll scene date there is a little bit of a heavy Rock scene but for the most part it is just indie rock kind of popish it away. there were definitely some grits and some soul to the city as well. there is not a huge Hard Rock / metal scene but there is some. As far as the Hard Rock seen it is not as huge as we would like it to be but we hope to change that.
ANTIHERO: I Imagine it probably did not hurt too much considering The Nashville Predators made it to the Stanley Cup this year, and pretty much put Nashville on the map?
John Salmon: I am actually glad you asked that…… Are you a hockey fan?
ANTIHERO: Being from San Jose, I am a huge San Jose Sharks fan, we played in the Stanley Cup last year against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as who you played this year and unfortunately, we had the same fate that you guys had this year.
John Salmon: With the Nashville Predators being in the Stanley Cup this year made the whole city electric, I just got goosebumps thinking about it. I mean it nothing I’ve ever seen before. Even seen Barry Melrose saying that he has not seen this kind of atmosphere in one city in my whole years of covering hockey. you know cuz we had concerts filling up Broadway and downtown there were people everywhere literally everywhere. And unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done but for us just making it to the second round of the playoffs was huge.
The thing that I find amazing is that the Predators were a number 8 seed and for them to make it to the Stanley Cup while being a number 8 seed is even more amazing because every round they started off on the road. I knew they were for real when they swept the number one seed Chicago Blackhawks in four games. after that I was on the Predators bandwagon thinking that nothing is going to stop this team until they’re hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Actually, I work with two guys that have moved from San Jose to Nashville. That was huge for Nashville considering we have not had any championship teams since the Tennessee Titans in 1999.
ANTIHERO: Enough with the sports questions…… Do you feel that it is important to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to writing songs?
John Salmon: Oh, definitely. I am trying to think of some examples we did on that album where we kind of did that I think rather than stepping out of our comfort zone it’s more like I open this or willingness to include other genres in our song writing process. whether that be jazz or even some Chicken Picking country type Rift stuff we are open to that there’s a part in the song hanging off the rails where we track number for where it kind of breaks down to…. I hate to say country but it is kind of a country Groove with a more soulful feel with the Organ. yeah, I think it’s the willingness and openness to include the different genres. because it all the honesty all the band members have different inspirations are extremely difference. I grew up listening to Guns N’ Roses and Soundgarden and that kind of stuff. Wayne and Dawn were real metal-heads. Thomas went to Vanderbilt to play a guitar so he is classically trained. Aaron our bass player is influenced by Stevie Wonder’s bass player. so yeah, we’re kind of all over the map as far as influences go. I even think that sometimes subconsciously we are including other genres in our writing process.
ANTIHERO: I would think that it would make it a lot easier considering it’s your first album and people don’t have any certain expectations on what they should be hearing.
John Salmon: You know, it’s interesting with the newer bands that it is more comfortable to step out of your comfort zone but at the same time I know that the quality of the music in which we want to do is neck-and-neck with pleasing an audience. You know like we, I mean I am very much about the music I want to be able to ride around and listen to it at myself you know as self-centered as it may sound I want to make stuff that I enjoy even if that means on our next album we do some crazy Progressive music or something we just have to wait and see we are still learning and teaching ourselves and gel. There is definitely room for growth in many different directions.
ANTIHERO: I guess after you put out a couple albums under your belt then you will be able to tell which direction you were going to go.
John Salmon: We are hoping to put out a five-song EP by the end of 2017 or early next year. we have already been writing for the EP for a couple months now. and I think our number one priority right now is to get out on the road and do some touring to promote the album.
ANTIHERO: Do you have any plans for your record release?
John Salmon: We have our record release show tomorrow after at the High Watt which is in Nashville it’s kind of surreal that it’s tomorrow you know I kind of feel like I am a chicken with my head cut off. Yes, we have some people at Pabst Blue Ribbon which are going to give out free beer to the first 50 people through the door. We wanted to do a Goat Petting Zoo in the parking lot but that got to be too expensive so I thought maybe I would bring a goat out on stage with me then which unfortunately did not work out either.
ANTIHERO: What is your opinion of online streaming such as Pandora and Spotify?
John Salmon: You know what’s funny is, I was just talking to somebody about this issue, it’s kind of like a double-edged sword you know the accessibility is there for everybody but that also includes the over-saturation of artists themselves. If you were born in the 80s or the 90s you probably just made the cut of selling some albums before the streaming thing kind of came into place it makes it a little more difficult to be a musician for sure, because you’re not making any money on the album itself. You know where the money for the next album going to come from as well. That comes with touring, and Merchandising, but with merchandise you got to have the money up front as well he got to have the capital to do those things we were lucky that we did an Indiegogo and we raised about $6,500 so that helps tremendously. But you know we’ve also had to come out of pocket by ourselves I honestly don’t know how much. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter our goal is to get on the road and we can start getting some guarantees that will fuel the fire for the next album. then maybe the guarantees will grow. Unfortunately, money is not coming in from every which direction now as an artist, because the streaming is taken away from album sales as I said you know streaming is convenient for the consumer I can’t say I’m a fan of it as a musician but I can’t say I hate it either kind of in the middle on that one.
I think that album sales have come down about 50% in the last 10 years due to online music streaming. you got the purists that spend money to support the artist not only because they want to but also because they want to have a hard copy of the CD with the lyrics and so on.
the consumer may not be spending money on the actual CD but they’re more likely to buy tickets to concerts and t-shirts and merchandise from the Bands. so, the band basically makes money in the end one way or another.
ANTIHERO: I was totally going to comment on what you said about the radio. I totally agree with you with the accessibility for Spotify for newer bands is amazing and now you know you have a servicing platform such as CD Baby and I can’t even think about it I lost my train of thought. at the end of the day also if you are listening to the radio more than likely the radio is overrun by major labels. then you hear something on the radio you like and you decide to go listen to Spotify to see if you like the rest of the album. there is different Avenues to promote yourself and get the consumer to listen to Spotify. just like I said it’s a double-edged sword, we could just debate about it all day you know.
ANTIHERO: What subjects Inspire your lyrical song writing?
John Salmon: A little bit of everything. I am trying to think of a few examples from the album, anything from substance abuse which is a personal issue with me in the past. I am currently eight months sober right now. not to mention that three of us in the band have lost family members in the span of a year-and-a-half so we wanted to make some music that they would be proud of. there is a track on the album called “John Doe”, which is kind of a political song which is about the militarization of the police that kind of thing. it’s a broad-spectrum for sure. there is an undertone of love, or not being worthy of love. if that makes sense or not being deserving of Special Love and Stuff.
ANTIHERO: In your opinion any genre, greatest song ever written?
John Salmon: I know what Wayne would say he would say Hotel California. in my opinion that’s an interesting question. my mind immediately goes to Guns and Roses, but I can’t think of a favorite I love them all. greatest song ever written possibly even Elton John, I absolutely love “Your Song” by Elton John.
ANTIHERO: Your opinion, the greatest frontman/singer?
John Salmon: Chris Cornell R.I.P., by far my favorite vocalist of all time.
ANTIHERO: Five albums that you absolutely cannot live without?
- Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction
- Michael Jackson – Thriller
- Ghost – Meliora
- Audioslave – debut album
- Hogan’s Goat – Hogan’s Goat
ANTIHERO: After the release of your debut album, what are your plans for the remainder of 2017 going into 2018?
John Salmon: We plan on tutoring after the album comes out and we plan on releasing a five-song EP by the end of 2017. Then back to World Domination (Touring).
Make sure that you follow Hogan’s Goat on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hogansgoatmusic/
Instagram – #hogansgoatband
Twitter – @HogansGoatMusic
ANTIHERO: One thing I have to say is a big thank you to Tom George, never actually met the guy but I really admire the way he really goes to bat for his band’s.