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Texas Hippie Coalition

WATERLOO --- Texas Hippie Coalition looks more like a gang of motorcycle outlaws or ZZ Top lookalikes than hippies. And their sound is definitely not anything close to jam band.

"Man, we are a professional band for dang sure," said frontman Big Dad Ritch, when asked about the band's Courier interview time of precisely 4:20 p.m. "We've played festivals in Europe, Brazil ... We just came off a Rockfest in Wisconsin."

Of all the bands that claim to mix genres, THC is truly genre-defying. In their latest album, which came out this week, the band's sound has evolved from hard rock and metal to a deeper, more down-home country type of Southern rock, but still very much metal.

"We're happy for the world to get their ears on it, for sure," Ritch said.

Texas Hippie Coalition plays Spicoli's in Waterloo on Friday with Primer 55.

< What can fans expect from "Peacemaker," your third album?

"This band, we really branded ourselves really good here. The first album was trying to figure out who we were, the second album was trying to solidify that identity. This one, we might go a little deeper into the heart, where some of the songs might take you to a deep, dark place --- just a little deeper into the cave."

< How do you mean, "deeper?"

"I think some of the darkness that is inside a man, that sometimes you don't just want everybody to know you have it in you ... . I let everybody know, this man here, it's definitely gonna be like cornering a wild boar in the woods; you're gonna get some teeth."

< You describe yourself as "red dirt metal." What is red dirt metal?

"Well, you know, back in Texas and Oklahoma, where I'm proud to be from, there's a style of music called 'red dirt country.' We did a festival with Cross Canadian Ragweed, Johnny Cooper, and all these bands dubbed us 'red dirt metal' and brought us into the group of red dirt outlaws. We hang out with them, party with them; it was a nickname given to us. Those guys are proud to be red dirt country, and we're definitely happy to be wearing that label."

< What was the inspiration for this album?

"There's one song called 'Paw Paw Hill.' Back off in the woods where I used to run, my grandparents, aunts and uncles and everybody would say, 'Hey don't go in those woods, Sasquatch will get you,' so we didn't go. It wasn't until you get older in life you realize Grandpa's got an old still, he don't want you messing with his moonshine, and uncle's got a shed he cooks in, and he ain't cooking food; they're growing crops, and they ain't growing corn. The true reason was they didn't want us to find out where their stash was. ... This other song is '8 Seconds,' from the perspective of a bull, what would I have in my mind. ... It's too strong a song; it's got that attitude of something with horns, and I think it's a good song."

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