Some of the Talent

While we wait patiently (or not so patiently in my case) for the first single to be ready for release, I thought I’d give a little insight into some of the amazing musicians that have worked on this project so far. I’d like to start with the drummer, the amazing Kurt Custer. Kurt has recorded and toured with many named acts but the two that first come to mind are Steve Earle and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  I particularly like his work on Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road

I found an interview he did several years ago on a Lynyrd Skynrd fan site and it probably tells his story better than I can.


#10359 – August 29, 2004 Kurt Custer Interview By John Molet

Q:First, when and how did you first start playing the drums?

A:I started playing drums at the age of 4. My brother got a drum set for Christmas, but he really didn’t play a lot. I would drag them out of the garage, set them up and play. I would play to Beatles records and other bands like Focus (great drummer), The Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, the Stones and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.

Q:We’ve read you were playing other instruments, can you explain to us which ones and how you started playing them?

A:My family was and is very musical. We had an upright piano I learned on and my brother played guitar. My other brother played accordion and trumpet, so music was all around me. Getting a feel for the drums led me to investigate other instruments so I could write music as well as perform it. I didn’t want to get “lost in the shuffle” so to speak. I wanted to separate myself from the other drummers and having knowledge of these other instruments gave me an advantage.

Q:Who were your main influences when you started playing music?

A:My main influence was of course, The Beatles. Best band ever! I’m somewhat of a Beatle maniac. I know a lot about them. Other influences were Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Free, Queen, and The Who. All these drummers influenced me greatly! Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Roger Taylor, John Bonham and Ringo-(people don’t realize how good he was.)

Q:Are there bands that you’re dreaming about being their drummer?

A:Yes, there are certain acts that I would like to work with. XTC is an act I would love to record with. Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are fantastic writers and performers. I would love to play on anything of Elton John’s. He’s great! I would love to record with Skynyrd again. Maybe in the future? I would also like to record with John Mellencamp. I’ve been a big fan for years! I like his latest “Cuttin’ Heads.” Some great stuff! I did work a bit with Larry Crane (his former guitarist) when I was in Little America.

Q:Which bands did you work for?

A:I worked with a lot of acts both recording and performing. I was in a band called Little America. We had two records with Geffen. First was self-titled with a hit called “Walk On Fire.” It did really well for us. Then was “Fairgrounds” in 1989. “Where Were You” was the hit from that. In 1988, I met Steve Earle who saw me lay down a drum track in one take! I did “Copperhead Road” in 1988. This definitely brought me the most recognition as a drummer. I’m very proud of the work I did on it. Great time being in the south, meeting a great girl and playing on a great artists’ album. Wow! Was that fun! I’ve worked with Steve Earle on “I Feel Alright” in 1995. Also, I’ve produced several independent acts like Steve Meyer And The Renegades and a band from L.A. called Fat Shadow. Production is so rewarding as it gives me the space to arrange and improve other peoples’ songs. I have a recording studio at my house and that’s where I recorded “Peaceful Lunatic.”

Q:How did you meet the Lynyrd Skynyrd band and how have you been involved in the band?

A:I met up with Skynyrd through Ed King. He called me one day and said he liked my playing on Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road.” It took me a year to join because Artimus Pyle was freaking out about not being able to play in time anymore. That was tough, to come in and replace someone who basically saved their lives after the plane crash. But, I got through it and became their sole drummer for 4 years. Very rewarding. I learned a lot! I basically started to arrange the songs from the first rehearsal. I did write with them as well. Remember “I’ve Seen Enough”? Also, I worked with veteran producer (and friend) Tom Dowd (Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, etc.). Arrangement is a strength of mine. Ever since I was little. Music like the Beach Boys also helped my cause because the music was arranged so beautifully! Great vocals!

Q:Were you a huge fan of southern rock music at that time?

A:At the time I was hired, I did like some Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet and some 38 Special. I was a BIG fan of the Allman Brothers. Still am. Ronnie and Gregg Allman are two of my favorite singers. Man, what a feel! I did know Skynyrd was coming back at that time, but hadn’t heard anything concrete from the band.

Q:Is life with the Lynyrd Skynyrd band tough? What are your best memories with them?

A:Life was tough in the band. In some ways, it was like a soap opera. Always something wrong, or always something bigger going on outside the band. Sometimes, I think those elements brought us down, but we did work great under pressure. I have so many fond memories of hanging out with Gary at his home, playing with his children, hanging out with Craig Reed and Leon (whom I miss dearly!). We roomed together during the making of “1991.” We tore Memphis apart – Lee and I. There are too many to mention. Being onstage was the best feeling in the world, and playing to the European audience! You guys rock! Very attentive and personal. I like that.

Q:Were you involved in the arrangements of the albums “1991” and “The Last Rebel”?

A:Yes, I did along with Ed King, did most of the arranging of “1991” and “The Last Rebel.” I basically took what they were writing and put it in a format that was conducive to their sound. Their way of doing music, as only Skynyrd could do. There was some adjusting, though. But, I just seemed to adapt to the guys quickly. We got along really well.

Q:What were your relations with the other members in the Lynyrd Skynyrd band?

A:As I mentioned, we got along really well. I was closest with Gary, Dale, and Ed. I rode the “party bus” with Billy, Leon, and Randall. We were always cuttin’ up. We made home movies, watched comedy shows, and watched our own shows on video. We played cards a lot and talked about old times too. Sometimes we would even record ideas as we were truckin’ down the road. That was fun! We also got into trouble. But I won’t mention the logistics of those times. That will stay in my head. (laughs)

Q:What do you think of the albums released by the current lineup?

A:I’ve heard some stuff from their latest albums. Some stuff I like, but I think they can do better. It’s a question of inspiration. I don’t think they nailed it, but at least they’re out there doing it. We always did really well in concert rather than album sales. I would like to see them grow musically a bit.

Q:Why did you leave the Lynyrd Skynyrd band?

A:I left Skynyrd in March of 94′. My partner Andy Logan and I had a self-titled album we recorded (Custer & Logan). We had an offer from Capitol records for a record deal, so we showcased and things were looking real good. I left to devote more time to my solo project as it was getting difficult to do both. We had the deal, but at the last minute, one of the Vice Presidents backed out. Man, was that tough! But you forge ahead, you know. Hindsight is 20/20 yes!

Q:Can you tell us about your collaboration with Steve Earle?

A:Steve Earle gave me my first BIG break. After “Copperhead Road,” I did a lot of work and I have him to thank for it. Steve basically lets me go into the studio. He knows that I’ve got an ear for stuff and rhythm parts. I worked extensively with Kelly Looney, the bass player, on rhythm charts. The drum/bass arrangements are basically mine, with Steve’s input. He was great to work with in the studio because I would watch him through the glass as he sang. For me, this was inspiring because I would play to match him. A lot of drummers don’t know to play with the vocal. That’s where the passion is anyway. He liked my drumming since day one and I do enjoy playing with him. He’s a troubadour, that’s for sure.

Q:What is Custer’s career these days?

A:My career these days takes me all over. I’m currently producing the lead singer from Little America, Mike Magrisi. We’re doing a record together and I’m producing it. It sounds wonderful, and will be out sometime in the fall of 2002. Also, I’m doing some occasional studio work with some up and coming acts. I’m also starting work on my next album. I’ve just laid some tracks last week and I’m very excited about them. I’m going to Nashville in May to work with my partner, Andy Logan, to lay some tracks for another record. Also, I’ll probably meet up with Ed King and we’ll do something together on these tracks.(hopefully)

Q:If you had the opportunity, which southern rock band would you like to work (or rework) with?

A:I would definitely love to work with Skynyrd again. If I had the chance, I would. Maybe in the future. We’ll see. Q:Last questions. Is your solo album southern music? Can you tell us a few words about it? Do you plan to tour? A:I’m very excited about my new record, “Peaceful Lunatic.” My music is a compilation of southern California pop folk and blues. I definitely have a tinge of southern rock in there, but my music is not. Songs like “County Fair” and “Old Man Snead” have a country rock feel, but my I have to say I sound like XTC, Jellyfish and Skynyrd all rolled into one. Harmonies like the Byrds and songs that take you to a place you can relate to. My CD is available at an online record store called CD BABY. The address is: There, you will find my biography, along with some sound bites to hear some tracks. It’s really quite brilliant, this website. Great opportunity to meet up with friends and fans around the world and get your music heard. So, tell all your friends to buy it. They won’t be disappointed.



Such a Tease

Things are moving forward. Sorry to be such a “tease” but I’m finding the process of Mixing and Mastering is more time consuming than I remember. In the meantime, all the numerous other things that need doing are moving forward. My “fer-reals” website is under construction and I’ve started the search for TX based musicians to be able to do local performances here in Dallas.

I’ve uploaded a new longer sample of my first single What Would I Have to Do and I’m including a link to my new Facebook “Artist page.” Please like it and share it far and wide.

Thanks, Wes Graham

Wes Graham Facebook

Riding the Whirlwind

Life has sent me a continual string of surprises, mostly great ones, thank God. I’ve been commuting from Dallas to LA for the recording sessions and getting VERY familiar with the big blue bus in the sky (Southwest Airlines). The commuting is making the recording take a while but we’re moving right along with the first two songs, What Would I Have to Do, a bluesy, R&B, (and real fun to play) “Heart break” song and Sand Castles, a soulful ballad. Our plan is to release these as singles. At the current pace we will look to be finishing them by mid-summer. I’m so excited by how well the tracks are coming along and it’s driving me nuts to stick with our plan to not put any “samples” out until they are ready for release. I’m so happy with them (The rough mixes and scratch tracks) that I want to play them from a giant loudspeaker mounted on the roof of my house, but I’ll resist.

Change of Venue, Change of Fate

This project has really taken on a life of its own. The original studio tracking day was actually canceled but for the best of reasons. I was in CA. helping my Step-Daughter with a project. While on the trip I took the opportunity to visit an old friend. His name is Magic and he also happens to be the man who was the Producer/Engineer for us when I was recording at A&M Records with Nightwatch.

I had no expectations or intentions for the visit other than personal friendship, but as we talked and I played a little for him (out of excitement for the session scheduled for the next week), it became abundantly clear that Magic was supposed to be a part of this and when he made it clear he was interested it was like in the Godfather: It was an offer I couldn’t refuse (or at least would have been a fool to refuse).

So now the first tracking date has been moved back until the end of this month when I will start a series of trips, commuting to LA to record. To be back behind a microphone with Magic running the session is good fortune beyond my wildest hopes.

So, I guess my music venture will now be split between Dallas and LA. My current intention (stipulating that things have been changing and improving on an almost hourly basis) is to develop a live show capability in both Dallas and LA. The logistics are daunting but at least at this time it feels like the right way to go.

More will be revealed

Wes Graham


Say Goodbye to Hollywood (and hello to a brave new world)

This was an emotional day; a crossing of the Rubicon as far as this project goes. Look at the photograph. This is the picture of a brash, egotistical, self-centered (a bit of an asshole), but joyous young man. I know him well; he is the sound track that’s been banging away inside my skull since this started. He is me but I am not him and for now, at least as far as this project is concerned, I have to let him go.

If this “resurrection” is to happen I have to be authentic to myself as I am now. I no longer have his voice, but I have my voice and this voice may not be as strong as his but it has actually lived through all the joy, pain, triumphs, tragedies, miracles and mental breakdowns that that young man only wrote about.

He was obsessed with fame and that probably was his downfall. For me, the “Fame Train” has long since left the station. All that matters now is self-expression and my almost desperate need to take the music in my mind and put it into the world for better or for worse.

I truly hope what comes out will be enjoyable and maybe even meaningful to the many (or few) people who hear it, but that could just be the ghost of old vanity talking (and with me crazy is never off the table).

Wes Graham 3-9-17

(T-minus 25 days and counting to the first day of recording)

Something New


I don’t know if I am just lucky, the recipient of some kind of Divine miracle or I accidently sold my soul to the Devil and forgot about it. For most of the last quarter of a century I’ve been, for the most part, unable to play piano well because of Arthritis pain and unable to sing with any power because of asthma.

Right around the first of February this year (2017), that changed. The first thing I noticed was that my hands no longer hurt and I thought I’d try and play again. On Feb. 6th I had my stepdaughter’s little spinet piano that had been stored for years tuned up and gave it a try. To my shock and surprise IT WORKED! Then I started to sing and really open up, NO COUGHING!

In the past 26 days amazing changes have occurred and the pace of the improvements is still accelerating. I am actually booked into a great local studio here in Dallas to record 2 or 3 songs and there is a real chance that I may end up recording more after that. To say I am surprised and amazed is a vast understatement and I keep expecting to wake up and find that this is just some fever dream. If, by chance I am not hallucinating this, I should have something new to post soon.

More will be revealed,

Wes Graham 03/04/2017