Atlanta Rhythm Section
Michelle LaRose talks with Andy Anderson & Dean Daughtry for Road To Jacksonville
Photographs by Michelle LaRose
Atlanta Rhythm Section is best known for hits such as Spooky, So Into You and Imaginary Lover. Some may want to categorize them as, “Where Are They Now”, which would, thirty-six years after their debut, be considered premature. Atlanta Rhythm Section continues touring the U.S. to the delight of both their younger and older fans. Having only one original member remaining [Dean Daughtry], The Boys From Doraville forge ahead with no intentions of retiring any time soon.
We were able to catch up with founder Dean Daughtry and lead vocalist Andy Anderson to find out what the future holds for ARS and what the fishing’s like in Alabama.
Andy: Barry has health problems. He just got to the point where he couldn’t play any more so he decided to go ahead and get off the road and let us continue. That’s what we wanted to hear.
RTJ: Who is the new guy in the band?
Dean: That’s Alan Acardi. He played with Billy Joe Royal, still plays with him occasionally. He used to play with Andy too. Andy knows him really well.
RTJ: Are you guys happy with Alan?
Dean: Yeah! Very happy. He sings good and plays good.
RTJ: If Dean Daughtry leaves the band, will Atlanta Rhythm Section continue?
Andy: Well I would have to get with all the owners because Dean and Barry and Buddy still own the name and we would have to sit down and discuss that and see if they wanted us to continue. I can’t say yes or no to that.
RTJ: Are you working on any new material?
Dean: No. Not right now. I’ve written some stuff with Buddy Buie and J.R. Cobb. I don’t know if Buddy has any interest to record or not. We’d have to do it with him because he is one of the owners, he’s produced all these years. So I can’t say, “Let’s do it without him.”
RTJ: Is there any probability of doing a live album?
Andy: Well we’re getting ready to do a new live DVD, July 8th at the Ocean Center in Florida with Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet. It’s going to be an individual DVD of each of the three acts and we have a compilation DVD that’s going to be coming out too, so we’re excited about that.
RTJ: How long will that be in production? When might we see the DVD?
Andy: We’re hoping within about three months. Maybe not that far along. Two or three months.
RTJ: Tell us a little bit about your first DVD ‘Live at Stabler Arena’.
Dean: I didn’t even know we were recording one!
Dean: I like it ok I thought it sounded good. I didn’t even know it. Nobody told me!
Andy: We try to keep him in the dark!
Dean: Nobody told me. but I like it! I think it sounds real good. They did a real good job with the limited equipment they had. I think it sounds good.
RTJ: Going back to your last album ‘Eufaula’… What is Eufaula?
Dean: Eufaula is a little fishing town that’s almost becoming a city now. It’s still a town in south Alabama, there’s a giant lake there. It’s like the fishing Capitol of the world. We used to go there and write and fish, fish and write, fish, fish, fish…
Andy: …and write…
Dean: … and write and fish, fish, fish and write!
RTJ: What kind of fish were you getting?
Dean: Well, all kinds. They have all kinds but mostly bass though. To be honest, I never did catch one down there.
Dean: J.R. Cobb was the only one that ever caught anything that I ever saw. J.R. always caught the biggest fish; he always caught the most fish. He was just one of those kind of people that was just lucky that way. Actually he’s a skilled fisherman, that’s why.
RTJ: One of the Eufaula liner notes states, “This music is dedicated to Bob Alou.” Who was Bob Alou?
Dean: Bob Alou. He was a promotion man that worked real hard on that. He was working as an independent, working for Lowrey Music and for the record company. He was great! Man, he was a Go-Getter. He died; he had an aneurysm and died.
RTJ: Do you stay in touch with any of the ARS alumni?
Andy: Yeah, we try to. We talk to Barry sometimes. We talk to J.R. and Roy Yeager, that crazy man used to be our drummer, we talk to him a little bit every now and then but not like we used to.
RTJ: What is your favorite part of touring?
Andy: Just being on stage performing. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what I like to do.
RTJ: Do you think you will tour outside of the U.S.?
Dean: We’re working on that. We talked with Mr. Green about it and he’s got some contacts, he’s looking into it. It would be real nice. I don’t know why there would be any problem with us doing a German tour or even a Japanese tour.
RTJ: Atlanta Rhythm Section will be looking at a forty-year anniversary in a few years. What do you attribute ARS’s longevity to?
Andy: [Whistles] Just solid music. Solid music that even kids today go, “Now that’s the way music is supposed to sound.” When they’re saying that, it’s pretty impressive.
RTJ: We’d like to thank you for talking with Road To Jacksonville today.
Andy: Thanks for having us.
Dean: Thank you.