Nothin’ but the Truth
Truth and Salvage Co. makes the kind of music that pairs well with a beer and a bonfire. It’s funky and catchy, but well constructed, evoking images of lone desert highway or smokey bars. The six-member band—four of whom share the role of lead singer—was formed in Los Angeles, but their style harkens to their roots of living in the south and midwest. I caught up with singer and drummer Bill “Smitty” Smith as the band—which also includes organ player Adam Grace, singer/rhythm guitarist Tim Jones, singer/lead guitarist Scott Kinnebrew and singer/pianist Walker Young—was headed to a show in Louisville, Ky.
You’ve been playing all over the country. How has your tour been going?
It’s been going well. Nothing out of the ordinary. We’re used to this. We tour a lot. We were off the road in November, and we were in the studio until April. And then since April, we’ve been on the road since then, through all of May and June. So it’s going good. We moved from California to Tennessee. We’re based out of Nashville these days, so we’ll go out for a few days and tour, and then come back. It’s a lot easier than being out two to three months at a time.
Are you from California? How’d you all meet?
None of us are from there. All of us are from the Midwest and the South—like New Orleans and Indiana. We met in California. We came together because there were two bands, Scrappy Hamilton and the Tim Jones Band. I was drumming for both bands and writing for both bands, and we started to get together [and] just made one megaband.
What’s the story behind your band’s name?
We used to be called the Denim Family Band, but management said you should think about changing the name. A friend of ours at dinner once said to us, “You’ve sacrificed everything. You’ve been playing your dream for the past six years. You’ve salvaged a lot to make music.” So it kind of came from that, and we added company to the end.
So when’s the new album coming out?
That’s a good question. You never know in this business. We have a bit more to record, but you can say it’s slated for January 2013.
I read that one of your songs was used in a GAP Jeans ad. How’d that happen?
Yeah, it’s called “Them Jeans.” It was actually when the iPad came out, and they used it on their iPad app. They shipped us out to the desert and shot a music video.
Did that impact your listener base at all?
Not really. Most of our listeners come from touring. We were on the road with the Black Crowes and that helped us out a lot. Our first album was produced with [Black Crowes frontman] Chris Robinson and that helped us out better than anything. The bands we play with on the road and just the fact that we’ve opened up for everyone from the Avett Brothers to the Steve Miller Band to Lynyrd Skynyrd is really what helps get us out there.
How is it playing alongside big bands like that?
It’s surreal and very humbling. When you’ve been doing it for so long, you take every experience and moment and just hold onto it, so there’s a lot of living in the moment. This band consists of a lot of guys who have gone through a lot, a lot of ups and downs, and we haven’t given up. So when we do get to play with our heroes, you just gotta soak it all in.
What’s the songwriting process like for your band?
Everybody in the band writes songs. There are four lead singers in the band. So the process goes of individual songwriters bringing it to the group, and the rest will help it from there. Some songs develop from rehearsal and jamming. Most of our songs are just our life experiences. We are living it and we really do experience what it’s like to enjoy life but also hard times. We don’t get paid to write songs. It’s just our outlet.
How many times have you been to Reno?
We did the River Festival before, and we’ve opened for the Black Crowes in Reno. We also opened for the Avett Brothers in Reno. And we’ve done some private parties. … We’re going back to California after Rollin’ to record some more for our record as well. We have tour dates scattered all through July and August. But we’re excited to be back in Reno to rock out with you.