The city of Nashville should thank its lucky stars that Chuck Mead came to town. For if it wasn’t for he and his band BR5-49’s residency at Robert’s Western Wear in the 90’s, Lower Broadway would likely not have become the honky-tonk capital of the known universe. The band got so hot that David Letterman featured them in a Nashville segment on his show, and BR5-49 ultimately found their way to singles on the country charts and Grammy nominations.
The band’s demise led to Mead’s solo career and his current gig as Musical Arranger and Musical Director for the hit Broadway musical Million Dollar Quarter. Fortunately, Mead still makes it home for the occasional solo show and is often featured as a guest vocalist with album-recreators the Long Players.
It is an honor to have Chuck take the time out of his busy schedule for us. And I would like to say, if anybody deserves a star on the Music City Walk of Fame for contributing to the Nashville music scene, it is Mr. Chuck Mead.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I am from Lawrence, Kansas–the Home of Basketball. I moved to Nashville in 1993 and have always lived on the Eastside. I came to Nashville, like millions of others, to be a hillbilly singer and songwriter.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first record I bought was a 45rpm copy of “Let It Be” b/w “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” by The Beatles. I bought it at a place in Overland Park, Kansas called The French Market which was a free-standing department store that later became a K-Mart. Nothing but vinyl and reel to reel tapes back then. The latest one is an album (vinyl) Link Wray’s White Lightning-Lost Cadence Sessions ’58, and I got it at The Vinyl Bunker here in Nashville.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
My first big concert I saw was Chicago. They played at Allen Fieldhouse (Home of the Kansas Jayhawks.) My Mom took me. She asked, “What’s that funny smell?” I said, “That’s pot Mom.” And she’s like, “How do you know?” “Uhhhh….” Latest concert was Earth, Wind & Fire and Chic at Bridgestone Arena.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame? (List is below.)
Carl Smith. A giant in this town. The biggest Grand Ole Opry star after Hank Williams died. Tons of hits. But he never got arrested, so…
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I still hit Bongo East if I’m near my house. If I’m driving, I’ll go to Sip. Pizza is Five Points Pizza all the way.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Tie between all the Hank Williams MGM singles recorded at The Castle and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Why after midnight the only place is The Hermitage Cafe.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Todd Snider, Roger Cook, Elizabeth Cook
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
5-Spot, Ryman Auditorium, Robert’s Western Wear
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Don’t you think we have enough? But what the hell, everybody’s welcome.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
I have to make a record, producing a record for another artist, keep writing, and working on any TV, film and stage play music.