Drive Invasion is Starlight Six Drive-In’s annual Labor Day weekend festival. It is a full day (10AM-4AM) of bands, classic cult/sci-fi/horror flicks, a car show, t-shirts, and a bunch of vendors. It is one of Atlanta’s biggest and longest running fests. One of the performers is Ghost Riders Car Club and we were lucky to talk with their guitar player, Spike Fullerton. Read on to learn the craziest thing a fan has done at one of their shows and what show was so great he hitchhiked 100 miles to get to see it!
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
My first proper rock ‘n’ roll show was Queen and Thin Lizzy. I was 15. I was a suburban teen and there was next to no music scene in the bedroom community I lived in, so a big rock show was kind of the only way an underage kid could go see rock music. It definitely sold me on the idea of playing guitar and confirmed the proportional relationship of becoming an accomplished musician, and the likelihood of a nerdlinger like me having a meaningful relationship with a member of my own species.
What is the best gig that you ever played?
Probably the first Elvis show we did in Kingsized. We were still a fairly new act at the time, and although we had done well, there was definitely some concern that not that many folks would come to a tribute show. I remember getting to the Star Bar with my girlfriend and there was a really long line to see something I was involved in. Very strong medicine. The stage was overloaded – we probably had a dozen players and the club was way over capacity. The audience was completely invested in the show from the git-go as a result and when the trumpet guy we’d hired for the night started popping those high notes in Battle Hymn crescendo finale of American Trilogy – you could feel the hair stand up on the back of 300 necks. Just knee buckling – people were emotionally drained, weeping, screaming, you name it – all this energy jammed, and I mean jammed in this tiny little space. The first time you are a central part of something like that instead of a spectator – wow. Indescribable, really. As much religious service as rock show.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
Los Lobos at the 688 in 1984. I hitchhiked over 100 miles from Auburn, AL to go. I had a little radio show at the college and Slash records had sent me to see some of the acts on their label – X, The Blasters, and so on. Those dudes looked positively dangerous, but so soulful and man could they rock it! To this day, I just love and admire that their music is informed by a ton of styles I am into, but still come across as being most inspired by experience, and principally the experience of being loved.
Gig you would most like to play?
Given how much time I’ve been fortunate enough to stay involved, I think I could, not ironically, say “the next one” at this point. Most of the peers I started with are long gone from public performance. But I suppose, if pressed, I really, really wish the piano-guitar-bass trio I was in for a minute could do something in a period theater, like the Fox or the late lamented Agora Ballroom. The immediate post-war music I admire so – country, swing, bebop, rock, soul, blues, etc – this was their natural habitat. Tens of thousands of Americans went to these glorious rooms nightly to see the full spectrum of American music. I’m not really a revivalist – but the idea is like performing Sophocles at the Acropolis or Shakespeare at The Globe. Complete the musical ideas by supplying the visual cues along with the audio.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
One that I would be too scared to take my guitar out of the case around if we’re talking of all time. I certainly have heroes, many still playing, that I’d love to share a stage with, but if I can be a bit selfish – and since it’s my dream, I’m going to be – I love playing with the folks I work with or share the scene with here now. Most I’ve known and respected for years, and since the dream gig is to finally play your absolute best, that’s who I’d like to share it with. God knows they had to suffer through all the other not-so-dreamy-ones, so they kinda have it coming.
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you? Or at your show?
Wow – tough one. I’ve been at this a while – mid-show band fistfights, you name it. I remember playing on the street once, by Atkins Park in the late 80s – some homeless guys stopped on their way from a food bank on Ponce to a shelter on Highland. After watching us play for a good while, they gave us their food. It was surreal and humbling.
Ghost Riders Car Club will be performing on the Mainstage at 12:30pm on September 1st during Drive Invasion 2013 at the Starlight Six Drive-In. Get your tickets to Drive Invasion 2013 here: