EXCLUSIVE: CC Adcock Talks “Evil”, Rock, & True Blood
The True Blood season finale includes the song “Evil (Is Going On)” performed by CC Adcock and Jace Everett. CC is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana (no, we’re not kidding) known for his swamp rock sound and decade-long wait between albums. He appeared on True Blood in season 1, when his band played at Arlene and Rene’s engagement party, and he has songs on both the first and second season soundtracks.
CC will be featured in a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of “Evil” airing right before the True Blood finale on September 12. Recently we had the opportunity to interview him about recording the song, his experience with True Blood, and more. Not only is he a talented musician, he has a wicked sense of humor! Read on for our chat with him, and listen to the entire song free, courtesy of Atlantic Records.
Listen to CC Adcock and Jace Everett perform “Evil (Is Going On)” now!
True-Blood.net: Your version of the Howlin’ Wolf song “Evil” which appears on Volume 2 of the True Blood soundtrack, will be featured in the season 3 finale. What prompted you to record the song together? Did you have True Blood in mind, or was it simply a song you wanted to collaborate on with Jace Everett?
CC Adock: Jace [Everett] & I first met at the show’s premiere and we became friends from there. I made him buy my drinks all night, since he had landed the big time, lucrative theme song for the show! It was that very night that we first said we should definitely do some music together. Besides having similar styles and influences and both growing up near each other in Texas & Louisiana – we figured if we did something together we’d be a shoe in for getting it on the show.
Then, this season, Gary Calamar – the show’s music man – said that they were looking for an iconic cover to be redone by some of the show’s musical contributors, with that “True Blood sound”. Gary, Jace and I put our old records on and heads together and came up with “Evil”. We all knew right away it was THE perfect iconic song for the show. Now, Gary claims that the ghost of Willlie Dixon came ’round his house and tapped him on the shoulder and whispered one word …”EVIL”. He swears it! But Gary’s also known for staying up real late, bottle after bottle, chasing these assignments down (we all take our work very seriously). Anyway, we knew in an instant that this would be the perfect one for us to hook horns on. So we jumped on it and here you go.
T-B.net: Hmmm…it sounds like this all came together easily, but we know it was more complicated than two guys messing around. What is the collaboration process like for you?
CCA: Collaboration is like hitting a ball back and forth. You just lob it out there and hope you can start to catch a groove when it comes back to you. Everyone is hip to Howlin’ Wolf and this masterpiece song. As HBO wanted something already known and catchy, it was Jace & I’s job, along with the other producer, Mike Napolitano, to try and create a track that was new and unusual, but that stayed in the spirit of the song without just being a lame TV cover version – ‘cuz True Blood ain’t regular, lame TV.
We were absolutely shittin’ ourselves about having to mess with Wolf’s original version – ’cause you just can’t make it any better, spookier or hipper than it already was. But the show wanted a version that it could call its own. The pressure was really on Jace, since he had to sing the vocal, and every dude who has ever tried to sing the Blues or even rock n’ roll, owes a huge debt to Howlin’ Wolf’s voice. Wolf really invented it all. In the end, Jace found his own way of shoutin’ the tune – partially aided by an old resonator guitar that was plugged into this trashy old amp and was mistakenly picking up Jace’s voice when he was doing his vocal take. We caught it “bleeding” (sonically!) into the track and it was sounding bad-azz! So we got Jace to just pick up the guitar and sing into it! It looked like he was trying to eat that guitar! But that gave us a cool take on the vocal with a hefty nod to the sound and spirit of Wolf’s original.
I just tried to make a low-down-in-da-street, kinda modern, swampy track behind it. I used some ’80s moog guitar synths and we got a tuba to give it that Louisiana parade thang. We went around and got some great musician friends of mine in New Orleans to lay different parts and instruments down on it. I was always imagining some young kid who’s probably only ever listened to rap & hip-hop hearing it and digging on it and maybe not realizing that his grand-pappy or maybe even his great grand-pappy got down to this very same song way back in the day. That original beat and the lyrical contents of “Evil” is really the blueprint for every tuff-azz’d thing to have come since.
T-B.net: So this was a combination of planning and taking advantage of the moment. Is that the norm for you? How do your physical surroundings influence the songs you write?
CCA: It just comes when it comes, how it comes. All you can do is just try and keep your antennas up & out and let it come on in when you start picking up a frequency.
T-B.net: What is the fastest time you’ve gone from writing a song from scratch to having it recorded and finished in the studio?
CCA: I usually take ages to finish a song. In fact, ones that I recorded a decade ago, I’m still tweaking and futzing with every time I play ‘em live today. I’m always threatening to go back in and finally “get it right”. Getting a song down to tape is just the start of a song’s life for me. Wasn’t the case with “Evil” ‘cuz the song was already perfectly written and recorded by Dixon, Wolf & The Chess Brothers back in the day, in its original form. All we had to do was just deconstruct it. It didn’t take us long at all to mess it up pretty damn good. This was also a “paying gig” – so we had a little extra motivation to get it done quickly so that we could turn it in and get our hands on some of that “Blood” money. I don’t normally see that quick of a return on most my musical ventures!
T-B.net: So how has being connected with True Blood impacted your career? Has it opened doors for you or do you feel pigeonholed? Do you notice a different type of fan at concerts now?
CCA: It’s been great! But to tell the truth, the swamp, redneck vampire thing really ain’t a stretch for me, so I haven’t noticed a “different” set showing up at my gigs down here in Louisiana. The show has had some great musicians and songs featured in it, and I think, like other shows that Alan Ball and [music supervisor] Gary Calamar have worked on together, it’s known a bit for its music. So it’s all good company for me.
It was cool that the first season’s soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy last year and we put together a night of music in Hollywood to celebrate called “Out 4 Blood”. A bunch of acts that have had their music featured in the show got together and played and it was a blast to get to hang & jam with other “Blood” bands – and to see all the freaks out in the audience diggin’ on the show and sounds. Hope we can do that again this year when we get our next nomination (and we gonna take it home this time)!
T-B.net: Out 4 Blood was a pretty cool experience. How do you unwind after a show?
CCA: If the gig is in or near LA, I like to drive up to Gary Calamar’s house in the hills with a bunch of folks from the show and skinny dip in his guitar-shaped swimming pool and help myself and my crew to anything he’s got stocked at his poolside wet bar. He’s got some great records up at that house too and we just blast ‘em all night long. He usually doesn’t mind – unless his wife decides to come out and party with us and stays gone too long. If we’re not near Gary’s – any pool/swimmin’ hole, wet bar/ice chest, record collection/car radio/jambox, wife will do, really.
T-B.net: No swimmin’ hole left behind! Finally, 50 years from now, what song would you wish is the one people remember you for?
CCA: I don’t think I’ve written that one yet. Just lots of pretty feathers in a still yet-to-be-acquired/non existent cap. I’ll probably always just be that dude who did that song with that dude who did “Bad Things“. Yeah-u-rite!
Want more CC Adcock? He appears on both True Blood soundtracks, Volume 1 and Volume 2, or just peruse his artist catalog on iTunes. Be sure to tune in before the True Blood season finale on September 12 to watch the making of his duet with Jace Everett for “Evil (Is Going On)”.