Cigar Store Indians is an American Rockabilly/Roots-rock band that plays all original, dirt under the finger nails, dance-all-night honky-tonk music. The guys will be playing a hometown show this Saturday, August 31st at Smith’s Olde Bar!
We asked singer-songwriter of the band, Ben Friedman, questions about the band’s history, their killer name and their plans for the remainder of the year! Check out what he had to say below!
How did the band form and when?
Cigar Store Indians started in the early 1990’s when lack of money, no rehearsal space, and “We’ll get tight at the gig” musicians finally sent me home to Georgia from a 2-year NYC stint. A friend of mine in the record business said to me one night “you need to go back home and put a band together with friends, not virtuoso’s”. I took her advice and…well…I ran an ad in the musician section of the Creative Loafing newspaper. Something like “looking for lost hwy rockabilly guitar player”. That’s how Jim Lavender and I met some 23 years ago.
How did you come up with your name, Cigar Store Indians?
The name of the band “Cigar Store Indians” was actually mentioned to me by a friend named Rin Vinson (Urban Shakedancers’ drummer) who thought the name fit the retro sound I was goin’ for. We all liked it and for some reason it kind of works.
You were on a hiatus for a while, how does it feel to be back playing live shows?
I’ve been away from playing live for a while and it feels very nice to be back on stage. Just as a side note though, it was nice to be away. It meant quite a bit to be with the family these past several years.
How has the use of social media affected the band’s presence in the music industry?
As far as social media goes, without “FB” I’m not sure any of our friends would have known we were making noise again and it would have been nearly impossible for us to have stayed in touch with them. Bottom line is though, and this is no revelation, your songs and show create the talk. All the other stuff is just barnacles at the pier.
If you could play a show with any musician / band, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’m not sure I’d like to play a show with any of my heroes. It’s fun to say that you opened for this guy, or that band, but you really don’t get a chance to talk much at the show because you don’t want to bug them…Just off the top of my grape I’d like to have Leonard Cohen, Johnny Rotten, and Steve Earle over for chips and salsa.
What artists / bands have you been listening to lately?
New music I’m listening to? Lets see…Ty Segall is a cool kid, Kendra Morris is a must, I played some old Bachman Turner Overdrive the other day and it still sounded great.
If you were to buy music today, what would you buy: A CD, a record, or an MP3?
When I purchase music these days its always MP3s. That’s not to say I don’t love LPs, it’s just easy as hell to buy music as a download. It is pretty dangerous to walk around with the greatest music store ever in your pocket. You can get .99 cents to death.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013?
My plan for the rest of the year is to try and record a few new songs and to play out a little. Would be nice to see some of the faces again from the towns we use to play.
Check out Cigar Store Indians rocking out at Smith’s Olde Bar on Saturday, August 31st!