“We’re going to try and do it every year, just like bands are supposed to do” In conversation with The Cadillac Three

The Cadillac Three are a Southern country rock band consisting of Jaren Johnston on lead vocals and guitar, Kelby Ray (Bass and vocals) and Neil Mason (drums and vocals). Backstage at this year’s Download Festival we had the opportunity to sit down with frontman Jaren to discuss all things country and how TC3 fit in at a predominantly metal festival.

How’s your UK festival experience been so far?

It’s been good, man. It’s pretty cool getting to play Main Stage this year. It’s pretty wild. We have been coming here for about three and a half years and we have been given the opportunity to have a go on the big stage this year. Two years ago we played on the Second Stage and it was still awesome. You get to see a lot of faces out there. It was a lot of fun, man.

In terms of The Cadillac Three sound, it’s quite a departure from the typical Download sound. Do you see it as a challenge to win over this crowd?

We kind of do the same show whether we are in the States doing a country show or over here doing this.It’ss kinda neat because we were raised on Hank Williams Jr and Metallica, Lynyrd Skynrd, Pantera, Rage Against The Machine, so it’s all of these things that come together and in these moments it kinda works out good because those are big ass bands and hopefully that comes across out there.

One aspect of country music is that the songs always tell a story. Where do you take your lyrical inspiration from?

Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s the home of the sound. I think we put a lot of pride in our songwriting and that is where we kind of stick out a little bit in this situation. Granted a lot of these guys are writing great songs it’s just a different kind of songwriting. You can kinda hear a little bit more of a story in our situation.

Have you got any bands that you are going to see at Download or is it a flying visit?

Me and Steven Tyler are pretty good friends and I worked on his solo record and I got a text from him this morning saying like “I heard you guys are leaving because you have an early flight. NOT HAPPENING” So I am definitely hanging around, we are huge Clutch fans and Red Fang too.

How was the recording process for Legacy? Did you change your musical or lyrical approach at all compared to other albums?

We put Bury Me In My Boots out last August like right around almost the same week. We were like, “let’s go in and start another one straight away”. We recorded it on the bus in the States. Turned it in, the label didn’t know anything about it and they were like “Oh my god”, this is f’ing great and we decided to put it out in August again, and we are going to try and do it every year, just like bands are supposed to do. Like go play shows and put out records because kids want songs. Fans wait along time sometimes so its good to have a release schedule.

We worked a long time on the record and we think its pretty strong and for us to call it Legacy is pretty ballsy. We have a lot of life moments as inspiration, you know, Kelby just got married in Australia, I just had a child, so life moments are coming at us thick and fast. Our life is kinda changing but we are still playing 300 shows a year in Europe and all over the world.

Yeah absolutely, like Metallica used to churn out records every year or so in the 80’s and early 90’s and then stopped for a while…

Where did you think I got the idea from?! (laughs)

You also self produced Legacy‘ as well. Any idea behind that decision?

We are the best judges of what we do. We are the only three guys doing what we do, you know. We have a lap steel player, guitar player, a drummer, and that’s what we feel we need, we call it country metal! So I don’t think there is someone that we could bring in and add to that equation. We might find somebody  at some point that can help.

You mentioned you are very much ingrained in the touring lifestyle. So what one item from home is a necessity to have while on the road?

Our bus! We live on it and over here we have a separate bus to our equipment which is kind of amazing. Our bus at home is something else entirely. The one at home has a studio in the back. We have our own little rooms, but we toured for 10 to 12 years without that luxury in terrible little vans.

To finish off, what has been your best festival experience so far?

I would say probably the first time we played over here at Download, we played Second Stage. After that show we felt a real sense of accomplishment. Whiskey shots all around and we were were a long way from home.


You can stream the band’s new album Legacy now on all good streaming services, and buy for some places too. For more on the band visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like their Facebook page.



Updated: Aug 25, 2017

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“We’re going to try and do it every year, just like bands are supposed to do” In conversation with The Cadillac Three | The Digital Fix