Interview with Dave “Chico” Prince: Laid Back Picker, Night Train [classic article]

As first seen on: Source: 2015 The Cyber Scene TM http://www.TheCyberScene.com

Update: Night Train has recently been playing reunion concerts in IL, KY and WV!

Okay, the truth-in-reporting disclosure: for three years, I served as agent for Night Train, the Southern rock band of which Chico was the leader. After having seen the infamous Dancing Outlaw documentary, I scoured the Internet for updates. The closest I could come, web-wise, was a band that had done some backup work for Jesco White, Night Train. The band prided itself from being from the “hills of Mossy Jaw, Kentucky.” I checked out their web site (www.8thgradebride.com) and heard music clips, saw photos and drawings. Right away, I could see that there was something extremely interesting going on. The music was a blend of English power guitar and the Bluegrass influences of their home. Extra bonus points for Chico’s cute accent and deep, throaty voice.

I thought about sending an e-mail, but I wasn’t sure how many e-mails a rock band got or if anyone ever answered them. I wanted my e-mail answered and I’m known for getting what I want. I included a picture of me in a Halloween costume involving PVC and latex. E-mail me at tfleishman@toad.net for further info. So, without digressing too far afield, I heard back from Chico, and fairly quickly at that. I asked if he played near Baltimore ever, but the answer was he didn’t think Night Train would be appreciated out East. I knew of several places that would appreciate him, and aren’t people basically (or at least kinda) the same everywhere? He replied that if I were so smart, why didn’t I book them?

I took him up on that amazing offer and it felt like what rodeo riders must feel starting out the gate: passionately exciting and terrifying all rolled in one. I fervently hoped that I would do justice by his incredible talent. You can get Night Train CD’s on www.8thgradebride.com. Night Train is also in regular rotation at www.43thehawk.com and in near constant rotation at www.allsouthernrock.com. All Southern Rock plays instant requests for listeners, so if they aren’t playing Night Train when you tune in, feel free to make ’em. Night Train’s discography includes 8th Grade Bride, Eat More Possum, as well as Cold Beer and Fried Bologna. Chico has opened for bands as .38 Special, Thin Lizzy, the Kentucky Headhunters and the Georgia Satellites.

A couple of years ago, Night Train got themselves to the UK, taking over a proposed tour the Georgia Satellites passed on. Since then, Chico has been back there a couple more times, keeping up contacts and joining in as one of Rob McNurlin’s Beatnik Cowboys. The Beatnik Cowboys have a much softer sound than Night Train — it’s alt-country with a message. If you want to hear something really cool, download a couple live radio shows of the Beatnik Cowboys. You can get entire shows or individual songs for free. You’ll hear the intimate studio performances and Chico’s smart-ass commentary in the background. This is truly a rare treasure destined to be cherished years from now, evocative of radio shows from the 1930’s.

Http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=32167&from=landingReviews

Http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=30584&from=browsePopular

Chico is a couple of years older than I and a lady never tells her age. So, record companies: he’s still young, okay? While I’ve held my head in my hands during interviews as he tells audiences that he collects used auto parts for a living or that he runs a junkyard, that ain’t the case. He is a graduate of Morehead State University and during the day, teaches social studies at his local high school. Chico even ran for Constable of the 1st District – Lawrence County, Kentucky back in 2002 — but that was probably more tongue in cheek than real. Chico feels like he’s got to carry off this rank hillbilly image to stand out in a crowded field. It’s simply not true, but all the recognition and admiration over the years won’t convince him how special he is.

SO, GIVE ME A TIMELINE OF YOUR CAREER.
I have been in a working band since 1980. I started in high school. Instead of going on my senior trip I played my first paying bar gig. EDUCATION! I have played in only 4 or 5 bands throughout my musical career. Night train has been my life for about the last 10.

OKAY, SO NIGHT TRAIN IS ON HIATUS, CCR OR EAGLES “WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER”- STYLE. YET, AS IS OFTEN THE CASE WHEN BANDS BREAK UP, YOU ARE RISING UP THE CHARTS AND PEOPLE ARE SHOWING HYPER ATTENTION TO YOUR WORK. IS IT HARD TO MAKE AND STICK WITH A DECISION LIKE THAT?
Well rising up the Southern Rock on Computer charts isn’t quite like being on Casey’s top 40. It makes you zero money and little to no incentive to want to crank it all back up. I remember the Eagles were getting 100 bucks a ticket on one of those reunion tours. If people would pay 5 bucks a head to see us I would wet myself.

DO YOU MISS THE ATTENTION OF BEING ON STAGE 2-3 TIMES A WEEK?
Not yet. It was getting to the point that people didn’t ooh and ahh over us. They just wanted their money back!

WHAT NEW PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE IN THE WORKS?
I keep waiting on the divine inspiration to write a new CDs worth of material and answer all of the questions and give people a reason to live. It just hasn’t come yet.

IN WHAT DIRECTION ARE YOU LOOKING TO GO?
West, maybe to Japan. I think I would be big in Japan.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Food

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