Hank Hart heads up a fan page on Facebook for The Outlaws. He kindly offered us a recent interview he conducted with former Outlaws member Chuck Glass. Bear in mind that this interview was conducted a while back...
Nashville-based Chuck Glass has been playing, writing and singing the blues since he was a kid. In addition to a great career as the consummate sideman to artists such as The Outlaws, Felix Cavaliere, Gary Morris and many more, Chuck has a catalog of four self-produced CDs.
Chuck was born in 1956 in North Carolina and raised on the east coast of Florida. He started playing music around 10 years old with his brothers Ric and Jim on his trusty Farfisa organ and a $35 Lafayette bass guitar.
Chuck, thank you for taking the time to do this. Let’s see if I can get my timelines correct and you can fill in some specifics. In 1982 The Outlaws released their final album for Arista, Los Hombres Malo which featured Rick Cua on bass. In 1983, that is when you became a member, and how did that happen?
I had been playing a lot in S. Fla and on a trip to Orlando to record at Full Sail I saw an ad The Outlaws had for a bass player. I talked to Henry Paul by phone and set up an audition time. I did some woodshedding before hand on a few tunes and then drove over to Tampa and jammed with them in a mobile home the band had out in the woods. We did some singing together too. It rocked. It was fun.
They had other cats come play but being a singer helped me alot since that was a big part of their sound. They offered me the gig and I tooked it.
From 1983 the band did not release another album until 1986, during that three year period was there much tour dates that you were part of?
As I recall shortly after getting the job we practiced hard for about 2 weeks with Steve Grisham as the other new member. We got the show tight and then hit the road pretty hard with that same personnel line up for the entire time up to the rehearsing and recording of Soldiers of Fortune. It wasn't a death defying tour schedule during those years but we stayed busy.
In 86’ Henry returned to be a part of Soldiers of Fortune as well as new lead guitarist Steve “Grits” Grisham.” I will ask you one of the same questions I asked of him, that is, with Hughie and Henry now back together, was there great hopes that the band could now return to its creative peak that was found on their first three albums, but fully knowing that the “southern rock” sound was dying in the public, did it make it a great challenge?
To clarify, Henry P. and Grisham were on board from when I joined up with Dave Dix and Hughie in '83. Any musician worth a crap in my book should always have great hopes or they should be doing something else. I don't remember any extreme pressure amongst us other than just five guys who wanted to write & record the best album we could and let the dice roll. It's always a challenge in the music biz on any level. Thats the attraction and the motivation. As far as the S. Rock thang fading,Yea it had on the radio and therefore on album sales by then but you couldn't say that when you saw the welcome we got at an Outlaws' show.
You had a hand in writing “One Last Ride” that actually became a video. In that video was a very young Chris Anderson, how much did you get to play with Chris who is now a present member of the band?
I played in the band with Chris from the entire time he replaced "Grits" shortly after the album's release to the time I left the Outlaws in '87 or so. Super nice cat and a great player. We did some blues trio gigs around Sarasota back then on our off time. He plays some smokin' guitar on a couple of my solo CD's: "Centered Off Center " and my new CD: "Chuckthoven's Fifth"
Another song on that album you helped write, “Cold Harbor” has remained one of Henry’s favorites, and he keeps hinting he’d love to bring that into the show as part of an acoustic set. Does that give you some satisfaction knowing that the song has stood the test of time and is being considered to being brought back into the show?
Hell yea. That'll always be a cool song to me. Being a North Carolina boy I'm a big Civil War buff like Hank and it paints a vivid picture. The studio production of it came out fantastic but like a lot of great songs you could sit down and get it across just fine with a dobro on a front porch. I'll always be very proud of that tune and happily honored that Henry asked me to help out on it.
One more question about that album and time then we will focus on you and the present. You also had the pleasure of playing with David Dix who is a tremendous drummer, who was a long time friend of Hughie’s. You must have heard some greats stories about their growing up together, anything you’d like to share with us?
Well let me see. Nothing I could share with a PG rating. leave it at that.
Apart from the Outlaws I’m excited to ask you a few questions about somebody else you played with, Felix Cavaliere! The Rascals were from my neck of the woods, one of my favorites while growing up, and Dino Danelli was and still is one of my favorite drummers who influenced my playing. Please tell us how and when you met Felix and your playing days with him.
His steady bass player is a friend of mine here in Nashville who called me to sub on a show in NY. I flew up and didn't even meet him until the lights went down right before his show. As we were walking up the stage stairs he shook my hand and said thanks for filling in and "just keep it in the pocket". Very cool cat! Still sings and plays his rear off. You aint lived until ya played all those hits with Felix.
Are you familiar with the term, “six degrees of separation”? It’s ironic, this past summer Felix was part of the Hippie Fest tour. One of the guitarists that helped support that tour was Godfrey Townsend of NYC whose interview I posted here a few weeks back. I have had the honor of meeting Godfrey through a mutual fan of The Outlaws, another drummer also. Thanks to that other drummer, Scott Twomey, I had the honor of sitting in on drums with Godfrey. The Rascals, and Felix himself, proved to be not just a regional star, but a tremendous national act. What do you think it is that makes groups who may have a sound that is closely identified in a geographical area become well liked nationally?
Who knows? I wish I did. I've heard you could probably make some extra dough predicting that kinda stuff in the music biz.
Some may not be aware of it, but you have released four CDs and just released another. Can you tell us something about it, who plays with you and your website address, and where one can purchase your music? Also, please give us a feel the sound/style type of music one will hear on the new CD.
Thanks for asking. I've been putting out solo CD's since about '98. Writing and recording them here with a host of very talented players from Nashville like Jimmy Hall and Chris Anderson, etc. My 5th one just got finished. I have all five for sale & downloads at cdbaby.com. The new CD is Chuck Glass music. All rhythm tracks are first takes. No click tracks. No auto tuned vocals. Lotsa B3 and Fender bass thru USA tube amps! Asking my opinion on my music is like asking my mom if she's proud of me. Check it out for yourself. I love my CD's. They are the truest musical expressions I've ever made. I sold some today and haven't had any sent back. Yet. Haha.
Any chance you’ll be up here in the Northeast doing any dates?
Not at this time. I stick around the area. My project is solely self produced and financed. Without label support or tour backing it's a steep hill taking a band on the road for even a small profit. Not that I have a huge desire to travel these days. Now if Sting calls and needs an opener....
Living in Nashville, with so many other great talents around, can that be intimidating sometimes to try and make new music that you think will be marketable?
I don't think in those terms much anymore. I had a writers gig on music row a few years back and tried to write marketable tunes. To me the modern market can be quite a fickle and mobile destination . I just do what I do. The talent here is why I moved here. It inspires me. I write all the time. I appreciate being able to. Life is good daddio!
Another question I like asking to anybody that I’ve been fortunate enough to interview is, who turned you onto music and making you say to yourself, “that’s what I want to do”, any specific group, musician, and who has had an impact on your style of playing?
It all starts and ends back up with The Beatles.
When did you leave The Outlaws and why?
I guess it was around '87. I woke up one morning, walked down to Hughie's hotel room and told him I was leaving. No big rush to go. I stayed on quite a while 'til they got somebody but I was just done. The traveling can be tough but even tougher once you start to not enjoy it anymore. It was a blast and then it wasn't but I wouldn't trade those days for anything. The page just turned.
I’m sure you are well aware of the 2005 reunion, and the completion of a new CD entitled, “Once An Outlaw,”do you feel that way yourself, that you will always be an “Outlaw”? Do you still keep in touch with some of your old band mates?
I speak to Henry every now & then. When H. T. passed I spoke with Dix and some of the old crew. I couldn't make it to the funeral but I heard they played the " One last Ride" video at the end. I guess anybody who's played with them has a lasting connection of sorts but to me Hughie was Mr Outlaw CEO and we were his associates.
In 2008 Henry decided to keep the band going, he took on much controversy in making that decision, but this band with himself, Monte, Chris and Randy Threet, Jon Coleman and Billy Crain have continued to carry on the legacy of The Outlaws in an exemplary way. Have you had a chance to see them or hear any of the reviews?
No I haven't, but I have no doubt they give the music the justice it rightly deserves and play it proudly.
One final question, is there one memory you’d like to share with us about your time with Hughie Thomasson and/or your days as an Outlaw?
There is, but I dont want people to take this in any negative way at all because it's just plain 'ol rock & roll. It was my very first Outlaw show and bearing in mind Hughie being the veteran he was, had never been on stage with me in front of an audience. We're all lined up at the stairs to the stage ready with our guitars strapped on as the house lights go black and that killer intro music rumbles thru the massive PA when Hughie turns to me and barks out...." Glass! You fuck up....You're fired!... Have a good show"...... then we went up there and kicked into Hurry Sundown. Now that folks is pure rock and roll spoken by a man who was born to do it. " RIP my brother", cg..
Chuck, again, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Please keep me updated on any news
on your music.