Shit Shootin’ With Spider Bags


Photo by Jeremy Lange

You’d be hard pressed to find a more balls out rock n’ roll band on tour right now.  No kidding.  Spider Bags electrify on stage and damn the aging process one ripping chord at a time.  Frontman Dan McGee kindly entertained a few questions from the Donkey.  Turns out we have a mutual disdain for khakis and sitcoms. He also claims to have never had a hangover.  Read on, folks.

Donkey Jaw: Spider Bags is called everything from debaucherous to raucous rock n’ roll partiers, yet you guys aren’t twenty somethings any more.  Do the hangovers hit harder these days?
Dan McGee: I only get stronger as I get older.  I’ve never had a hangover in my life.

What’s a typical day on the road like for Spider Bags?
A lot of driving, fart jokes, and books on tape, and romance.  A lot of romance.

There have been marriages and other life changes within the band. How does, for lack of a better phrase, “growing up” impact touring and recording?
I was thirty by the time I started performing and touring with bands.  That’s pretty late in life to end up being a rock and roll musician.  At the time I figured I’d keep it going for a couple years and then something else would pop up.  I’m thirty-seven now and I’m married and have a daughter and music is still a big part of my life.  I guess it always will be.  Touring is harder for sure.  I definitely can’t get out there as much as I’d like to right now, but that’s ok because it allows me to concentrate on other things.  We’re doing a lot more recording and I can spend more time with those recordings than I could when we were on the road all time.

I had this fear when I was younger that getting married, having a family, settling down basically, is the end of your life.  You buy some pleated khaki pants get fat and watch sitcoms every night. That’s bullshit.  Getting older, having more responsibilities, it’s all part of being a good person I think, it informs my art, it doesn’t distract from it.  If I didn’t meet my wife it’s very possible I would have ended up being that weird dude you avoid eye contact with in the bar.  I’m a lucky guy.

What’s the latest with Jersey Levy? Will he be touring with you guys this go round?
Gregg is up in Jersey and it’s just too hard for him to be an active member of the band.  We all miss him.  No telling what the future holds though.

Spider Bags embraces a classic, scruffy rock n’ roll sound.  How do you lay down and package that kind of authenticity?
I’m not sure how to answer that question.  When you create something you hope that it comes from an authentic part of your nature, that’s all you can do I guess.

Reese McHenry of Dirty Little Heaters said you (Dan) are “the master of the perfect song.” What are your thoughts on that kind of praise?
Ha! That’s funny. Reese is a sweetheart.

What are two or three songs by any artist that you think are the most perfectly written songs ever?
Madam George by Van Morrison.  Rock with me Forever by the Golden Boys. The Mr. Rogers theme song, seriously. It’s a great song.

During your day set at this year’s Hopscotch, there was a grandma with a cane rocking out hard to you guys in front of Raleigh Times. Do your fans typically run the gamut?
I remember that lady. She was awesome. I do see a lot of different people at our shows.  We play rock and roll music, it’s pretty easy to connect to if you’re open to it.

You are on Odessa with Shit Horse. Danny Magic is the man. Any chance of sharing the stage with those guys at some point?
Danny Magic is a wild man.  Those guys are all friends of ours.  It’s funny, I don’t think we ever played a show together.  When those guys first started they would run power from their van and just set up and play on the street all over town.  You’d turn a corner and see them doing their thing in a parking lot for twenty people.  It was great.

Shake My Head just came out last year, but can we expect anything new in 2013, one offs, side projects, or other musings?
I’m finishing up a record for Reese McHenry right now.  It’s the Spider Bags (Rock Forbes, Steve Oliva, myself) backing her up.  It’s gonna be a good one I think, biker music.  We’re all pretty excited about it.  That girl can sing. I got a bunch of songs for the next Spider Bags record. It’s gonna be a little different I think, more psychedelic. Not really sure where or when we’ll record it, guess I’m waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.


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