When I first introduced Young Hines to you all, I touched on his motley career which includes stints with several bands and more concerts that you can imagine. His latest work is being produced by Readymade Music, Brendan Benson’s label, and has allowed Young to work closely with one of his favorite artists. After receiving an email with Benson performing a cover of his own song, Hines quickly traveled down to Nashville for the opportunity to work alongside one of his main influences. Jealous of his good fortune, and hoping to learn some insider tips on how to woo your musical idols, I decided to ask Young some questions and learn more about his life and music-making process. Take the time to read below, and you won’t be disappointed, his assorted tales and words of wisdom will surely have Hollywood calling soon. If you haven’t heard Young Hines play, here’s a beautiful video of him performing on a San Diego trolley.
PRM: Unless I’m mistaken, you’ve completed three 18 track records. With only “Give Me My Change” out right now, what are your plans for the rest of your songs?
YH: I doubt most of those songs will be used going forward. All of those really were demos for the record I hoped someone would one day produce.
PRM: How would you describe your writing process? Is it more of a spontaneous ordeal, or do you have the gift of being able to sit down and write a song?
YH: I can sit down anytime and come up with something. Usually melodies. My favorites that I have written came really out of nowhere and were written down before I had a chance to get lazy about it.
PRM: After writing a song about you or an experience that you’ve had, and stepping back for a day or two, have you ever come back wondering “who wrote this?”
YH: I really wish that would happen. I forever see my flaws. Sometimes tidying a song is like cutting a yard blind folded, and then taking off the blind fold and being forced to look at it …you’re gonna miss some spots.
PRM: When doing your writing, do you often write the lyrics and fit the music around them or vice versa?
YH: The best ones have the lyrics first but it comes both ways. It takes something to get me thinking about words more than music initially. For example on the last flight I just took two days ago from Spokane to Minneapolis, I sat next to a young couple named Mary and Joseph that met on Catholic Match.com!!! That’s good stuff!
PRM: You’ve said that “Lapalco” was a big source of inspiration for you in getting your career going, is there another album that influenced you heavily? Maybe one that got you into music in general?
YH: There were a few records that I was listening to in about 2003 that just made me feel great about contemporary music: Brendan Benson’s Lapalco, Joseph Arthur’s Redemptions Son, and Jeff Hanson’s album Son. The thing about these records is that they are great but not genius if that makes sense. Sgt Pepper and Pet sounds are genius. But these records were new.
PRM: When you played in a Beatles’ Tribute Band, you say you played 120 shows in a year. Based on this, and other touring, do you have a favorite venue or city to play in?
YH: Tons of banquet halls, theaters, outdoor fests, and house parties that all run together after 15 years. The only venue on Earth I really want to play is The Fox Theater in Atlanta Georgia. That would be a dream gig. I first fell asleep during a John Denver concert there when I was a kid. Of the places I’ve played I would have to say The Moby Dick club in Madrid Spain opening for Brendan was the coolest so far.
PRM: When you were doing maintenance work in Nashville, you started making lists of three goals each day. Did something in particular inspire this? And do you still make these lists despite your success?
YH: When I was 5 or 6 Eastern Airlines shut down and my mother was forced to find other employment with 7 kids to feed. She got a job with a company called Herbalife. They sold vitamins and gave self-help seminars all over the world. I used to go with her to these seminars and would sometimes end up as part of the show. My mother has an unstoppable positive personality. She claims to have super powers. I was not allowed to say the word “bored” while living under her roof! One day the head of Herbalife shot himself in the head and I think that was unpopular with their stockholders so that gig was up for the family and my mom moved back into the airline business. So how did that experience help me down the line? There was one little nugget of truth in all those seminars I heard and it came back to me when I needed it most. It was the secret to creating a real change in your life. It was the key to making a decision, which means to cut off any alternative. They used to say write down three things that would change your life for the better. Then under each of those three things write three things that will help you get closer to checking it off the list. Keep making the list of three until the next motion after setting down the pen is taking action. Things will change.
My initial list of three was: (1) Write songs that I like and record them (2) Get a job playing cover music. (3) shall remain secret : )