It truly is a small world. Several years ago I attended a show and was fortunate to meet the guys in Texas Hippie Coalition. I kept my eyes and ears on them since then. There were a few lineup changes in THC and that was where Craw first came to my attention. He subsequently left THC and fell off of my radar. Enter my friend Alan Scott. Alan is a local jewelry/leather craftsman who has made pieces for many varied artists and celebrities. He told me a bout a band called Die Hard Til Death. I became friends with the bassist Kurt Arft who in turn told about his friend Craw who was now playing with All Hail The Yeti. Kurt helped us to get in touch and I was able to do this interview. I put together some questions and emailed them to Craw. He sent back his answers and yet I felt I needed something more so we got to talk on the phone one evening. Craw rang me up and I went outside and sat on the tailgate of my pickup under the stars and got to know Craw a little bit. We had a lot of similar musical tastes in some Outlaw Country and talked about how much we both enjoyed the “soul” in some of the artists in the past. I asked him about touring and what their plans were. All Hail The Yeti will be playing a few shows until the holidays and then after maybe some touring. I also asked about how the name came to be He said that Connor came up with it…that’ll wait for another interview. Now, let’s get to know Craw:
Tell me about where you come from and where you grew up? What was the music like?
Craw: I grew up in South Louisiana in a small town surrounded by bayous, crawfish ponds, duck blinds, and deer stands. Where most folks come from struggle and are proud of their last name, culture, and the things they have worked hard for…mainly offshore workers, farmers, plant workers, and fisherman. As hard as they work they can party even harder and ‘pass a good time’ HAHA C’mon… Louisiana is full of great music: Zydeco, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock/Metal, we cover all the bases down home and I am fortunate to grow up around all of it.
Music is such a part of my life on multiple levels it is part of my DNA I think. What is it about music that infected your soul?
Craw: The way music has infected my soul? Brother I don’t know one person that doesn’t use music as a way to deal with the stress of this strange world we live in every day… Music is an amazing gift given to us; it can be your shoulder to cry on during the worst of times, or it can lift your spirits and bring everyone together during the best of times. Can I get an Amen!!
What was it that drove you to pick up an instrument and learn to play?
Craw: Well I’ve always had an instrument in my hand, both of my parents were musicians. My father was a helluva singer and guitar picker and my mother has the voice of an angel and is a very poetic songwriter…it’s in the blood. On my mother’s side, “Thibodeaux”, we have the fiddle players and on my father’s side, ‘’NeQuent”, is the accordion players. A lot of my family members can play an instrument or sing…
A lot of artists do not start out playing the instruments they end up playing. Was guitar your first choice?
Craw: Guitar was my first choice absolutely. Even though my folks were separated early in my life both of them had a guitar layin around the house… In school I played saxophone and dabbled in other instruments, but I always had a love for guitar.
Were you able to take any formal lessons or did you dig in to your inner spirit and learn by ear?
Craw: Never had formal lessons as a kid, but we lived n a trailer house out in the woods. My step father and mother would invite friends and family to the house for cookouts, crawfish boils, and bbq’s. They always had a couple of acoustics jammin some blues/southern rock tune, a country song everyone could sing along to, or playin along with the radio. I was very lucky to have these people show me lil chords, parts of songs, and tricks. Later I would listen to the radio and figure out the tuning before the second verse. I would try to play along; I didn’t realize then, but I was playing by ear and learning to pick up pretty quick.
I love all music but I can readily identify with the music of the late 60’s and 70’s. Is there any “era” of music that appeals to you more than others?
Craw: It’s hard to say a specific era? I love music that dates back from 1930’s to the present…but my favorite “genre” is hands down Outlaw Country. I can listen to Waylon and Willie all day long.
Who are some of the artists that inspire you to this day?
Craw: Good question how much time ya got… Let’s kick back a few cold ones and I’ll try to fire em all off to ya before one of us passes out! It will be you.
Ha ha, I’m gonna hold you to that one brother. You are probably right in your assumption on that. When was that you started playing in your first band?
Craw: When I was in High School, I convinced a of couple friends to play cover tunes and write songs. I always wanted to have a band of brothers just playin music. I was into sports, dirt bikes, hunting and fishing; all that changed once I got into a band. All I wanted to do with any free time was practice and play shows, I was obsessed!
Were you in many bands? I’ll bet there were some mixed experiences and many lessons learned from them.
Craw: I can count them on both hands… Man what didn’t I learn from these bands and experiences? Haha, and I will always have great memories of all the musicians I met and will continue to share the stage with. It has been a blessing to meet life-long friends through music.
What can you tell me about the origins of All Hail The yeti?
Craw: Connor started this band with a love for Sludge and Doom Metal bands from Southern Louisiana and influences from his favorite bands growing up, not just metal but all genres. He has found brothers who share the same passion and drive for this kind of music, and we love what we create… All of us share stories of bands we grew up on and the energy is still there like it was the first time we discovered them!! I will get goose bumps just talking about a concert back in the day or a part in a song, crazy isn’t it?
I hear ya brother and now the feeling exactly. I have heard the term “Whiskey Metal” used to describe All Hail The Yeti. What’s that all about?
Craw: Come watch a live show… best way to explain it brother…
I love the “sound” of All Hail The Yeti how did you guys develop that sound? Does it all start with a jam session and songs all pulled from that? Or does each member bring pieces in and go from there?
Craw: It’s one helluva Gumbo bruh… Ingredients of our influences mixed with jam sessions and bits n pieces from each member thrown together in one pot. I love watching the magic happen when creating a song.
I am always on the lookout for new artists to check out how about you? Anything new caught your ear lately?
Craw: I really stick with my old favorites, y’know? The guys in the band are always showing me new artists they are up to date on; all kinds of new shit like Ghost, a band from Sweden called Graveyard, Haarp, to name a few..
Some people are surprised at what they find in my music collection. Is there anything surprising to others in yours?
Craw: Not really I’m stuck in my ways man. I love listening to old records and I still have a CD player in my truck so it’s the same damn outlaw country mix, blues mix, or the same damn rock metal mix HAHA. Lawd, someone “pimp my ride” so I can be up to date.
If you were offered a chance to give a lecture to people trying to break into the music industry, what would that include?
Craw: I’m still learning and watching this business change every day so I couldn’t lecture anyone. If someone was passionate and was honestly asking for my advice, I would tell them my journey, from start to present, and hopefully they can take from it and apply it to their dreams…and they all have my respect for getting out there and trying.
The floor is yours brother, close this out with whatever you want to say to the readers.
Craw: Well I appreciate all the questions and those who are taking the time to read this interview. As some people try to be the “Biggest, Baddest, King, Queen” etc… Haha? I’m happy to just be “alive and kickin” and living my dream. It’s not the automobile ya drive, or how fat the wallet is, or who ya know to me. It’s what’s inside and where your heart is. My heart is where it needs to be: in music, and it has led me to meet amazing friends and extended family that I will always hold close to me. Find your happy place and have fun with your life while ya can. See you on the road, I love you all…Craw
What a great interview, thanks Craw. I plan on staying in touch with this for a LONG LONG time. Check out the video for “The Art Of Mourning” by All Hail The Yeti: