Thunderfoot Interview

Thunderfoot/Southern Rock Allstars

Michelle LaRose talks to Scott Mabrey for Road To Jacksonville
Photographs by Michelle LaRose

Thunderfoot is the brainchild of Jackson ‘Thunderfoot’ Spires, ergo the name. Spires became a southern rock legend as the drummer for Blackfoot. Tragically Jackson passed away shortly before the completion of Thunderfoot’s first album. The album is aptly titled Legends Never Die.

Making sure the legend of Jackson Spires never dies, Thunderfoot mourns the loss of their dear friend and continue forward with Jackson’s project gaining fans on a daily basis with their bold guitar driven southern rock.

We were able to sit down and chat with guitarist Scott Mabrey about Thunderfoot and Southern Rock Allstars.

ThunderfootRTJ: Southern Rock Allstars and Thunderfoot are kind of the same band. Can you clarify this for us?

Scott: Well there are some of the same members. We have ‘Cosmo’ Bridges sitting in for Jay Johnson while he’s out with Blackfoot right now. He came over and sat in for Jay. Charles Hart on bass guitar is also in Thunderfoot as is myself. On occasion we have A.J. Vallee, the drummer for Thunderfoot sitting in with the Southern Rock Allstars.

RTJ: How are the Southern Rock Allstars different from Thunderfoot musically?

Scott: The Southern Rock Allstars originated, eight or ten years ago as the Dixie Allstars. Basically it was former members of Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet and The Rossington Band. It was a side project of Jackson Spires our late drummer. Him and myself and one of the original bass players from Blackfoot got together in North Carolina and recorded what is now the Legends Never Die CD. Musically it’s not really southern rock… well, I’d classify it as southern rock but it has a lot of Detroit attitude in it.

RTJ: You started out as the Southern Rock Allstars engineer and ended up as their guitarist. How did that come to be?

Scott: Once again, I knew some of the guys in Southern Rock Allstars for several years I was in a band called Tank N Steel and we did shows with them, opening for them at a lot of biker events. I was also an engineer for fifteen years for festivals. They knew of me as an engineer and a fellow guitar player in another band. A job opened and they offered it to me and I had to take it. Life on the road!

RTJ: You mentioned the Legends Never Die album. Was that ever released?

Scott: It’s getting ready to be released in the next month or two months. I would think more than likely before Christmas, probably around December.

RTJ: You had to finish the album without Jackson. How much of it was left to be finished?

Scott: We tracked eleven tracks. Jack(son) brought in a couple songs, we all brought in a couple songs we had written on our own then we collaborated on the rest of the album. We had just finished the eleventh track of drums and bass when Jackson and me were going home for a couple of days. That’s when he suffered the brain aneurysm. So I took the next year and finished the album.

RTJ: So we’ll be able to get the album on the website when it comes out?

Scott: Oh yes. It will be for sale on the website. There’s already some… on one of our myspace accounts we have four songs that are playable off the album on there right now.

RTJ: You and Charles [Hart] have recently been endorsed by Dean Guitars. What does being endorsed by Dean entail?

Scott: We get to play those great guitars that Dean produces! We have several endorsements. We are proud that Dean has endorsed us. I’ve been playing a Dean guitar for quite awhile now and I’ve been pursuing an endorsement with them. Now I guess we’re finally good enough!

[Both laughing]

RTJ: You engineered Bo Bice’s Recipe For Flavor?

ThunderfootScott: No that is not correct. Actually I know Bo Bice from back in Muscle Shoals… He actually played in Tank N Steel for a brief time, the other band that I had.

RTJ: You were listed as the engineer on that album!

Scott: Really?

RTJ: Yeah! It said Scott ‘Tank’ Mabrey. I’ll send you the link I found.

Scott: Oh! Well. O.k.

RTJ: Maybe you did it and don’t remember!

[Both laughing]

Scott: I remember doing the project but I think it was only five songs, kind of an EP. It was real good material. It was his original stuff that he wrote. We went in the studio and I just helped him produce it and I engineered it. I believe he got an audition with Island Records after that. I don’t think they picked him up. Unfortunate for them huh?

RTJ: No doubt! Tell us about your studio?

Scott: I have a studio which kind of came to be because of the Thunderfoot project. I went to Charlotte North Carolina with Jackson. After his passing, we were in the studio and it was costing, as they do, lots of money. I thought, well shoot I can just buy a studio because I ran a studio in Muscle Shoals for a singer/songwriter for many years, about ten years. I have quite the knowledge for it built up over the years of engineering. So I just bought a studio and trucked it in and set it up in a house in Charlotte North Carolina and there we go.

RTJ: Trouble’s Comin’ – Live! is Southern Rock Allstars third album?

Scott: I believe so.

RTJ: Why aren’t the other two albums available on the website?

Scott: Crazy Again and Danger Road.

RTJ: Yes.

Scott: You know… that’s a good question! [Laughing] It kind of goes back into the old management team situation. When we parted ways with them it was kind of a parting gift I guess. They were really responsible for that. They talked about re-releasing some of them but I guess that depends on supply and demand.

RTJ: Trouble’s Comin’ –Live! is also a DVD. Can you tell us about the DVD?

Scott: The DVD… It was just part of the whole brainchild of the double live album. It’s the same material off the double live only with video. It was shot over four or five years on the road. So it’s all different locations. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s just cool stuff. A lot of memories.

RTJ: Do you think you’ll do a DVD with Thunderfoot?

Scott: Oh I’m sure! We’re already starting to collect video footage. I think it’s important for every band to do that. Just to document all the fun times all of the fun times that you have.

RTJ: We’d like to say thank you for speaking with Road To Jacksonville today Scott.

Scott: My pleasure!

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