Acclaimed Kansas blues roots rock trio Moreland & Arbuckle are about to embark on their first Australian Tour! Washed in hard-hitting Southern soul, Moreland & Arbuckle electrify raw Delta and Mississippi Hill country blues with an unrelenting punk-rock energy. Their raucous performances have become legendary, leading to packed venues across the US and Europe. Live, the intensity and wild abandon just pours out of this uncompromising three-piece
Tomatrax caught up with Dustin Arbuckle, the band’s lead singer, to ask a few questions.
You’ve just released album number 6, is it hard to keep coming up with new material?
I think the challenge isn’t so much to keep coming up with new material, but to keep writing better material. I think that we all truly believe that each record we’ve released has been our best overall effort yet, so we have to keep pushing ourselves to make sure that continues to be the case.
Where did the name Promised land or bust come from?
It’s a line in ‘Take Me With You’. We felt like it represented our feelings about our music and our career as a whole. After well over a decade of working together, we are still trying hard to get to a higher level, both musically and professionally. We don’t intend to give it up anytime soon.
You’ve talked about the album as your debut on Alligator Records, do you see the album as a “new beginning”?
It’s definitely a great new chapter in our career. Alligator is an outstanding label. They work very hard to support and promote their artists and they do an exceptional job. That’s significant, because not every artist can say that for their label. It’s been a pleasure to work with them.
You’re about to do your first tour of Australia, what can fans expect from your show?
A lot of energy. We love what we do and try to have a lot of fun doing it. That usually comes through pretty strongly in our live shows. We hope that if we’re having a good time, then so will the crowd.
What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Take me with you’?
The theme of the tune is wandering or being on a journey that is of a more metaphysical nature. It led pretty naturally to the video of me wandering aimlessly around in the desert landscape. Of course, I can wander aimlessly most any time, but usually it’s just at the grocery store or around my own house, wondering where I’ve left my keys or something.
Why the name Moreland & Arbuckle?
Well, Aaron’s last name was actually Smith, and mine is Johnson, but Smith & Johnson just seemed too run of the mill, so we wrote a bunch of other names down on little bits of paper, drew two out of a hat, and there you have it. Kendall’s middle name is actually Ampersand, which ended up being a happy coincidence when he joined the band. 😉
Honestly we started as an acoustic duo and just used our names, which seemed normal. We could never come up with a band name that we loved for our electric project, so when we started to build up and audience and tour, we just stuck with Moreland & Arbuckle for everything.
When writing what comes first, the words or the music?
It’s not always the same. The majority of the time it’s the music, but there are definitely exceptions. Aaron will usually come up with a riff, we’ll start putting it together and then I’ll find a melody that works and start writing lyrics. Something like “Mount Comfort” was the complete opposite, though. I had already come up with a melody and lyrics first, then Aaron and Kendall listened to me sing it and we built the song from there.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Oh, hell yes! I jam ‘Mean & Evil’ at the gym. It’s like my ‘Eye of the Tiger’.
Ha – just kidding. We really don’t listen to our own stuff very often. In the process of making a record we end up listening to the songs so much that by the time the album is finished, we get kind of sick of hearing them. Playing the songs is still fun, but just sitting and listening to yourself becomes tiresome for a lot of reasons. That said, sometimes it’s really productive to listen to a live recording for the sake of self-criticism or to keep from forgetting a cool moment upon which you can build. It can also be fun to go back and listen to our older records to see how they might sound different to us now.
What music do you listen to?
We all like a lot of different music. A handful of favorites in the band van over the years have been Mississippi Fred McDowell, Little Walter, The Black Crowes, Queens of the Stone Age, Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, RL Burnside, Otis Redding, Ralph Stanley, Howlin’ Wolf, Soundgarden, The Allman Bros, Jerry Garcia, Muddy Waters, Thin Lizzy, Radiohead, and I’m just gonna stop before the list gets too long.
As far as recently, we’ve been digging Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats a lot.
What do you have planned after your tour?
After we get home from Australia, we’ll take it fairly slow for the next two or three months, then things will probably start to get crazy when we hit festival season in the States. Here’s hoping it’s not too long til we can come back to Oz! 🙂
MORELAND & ARBUCKLE AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Saturday 18th February
Holler Roots Music Festival
Caravan Music Club
95-97 Drummond St Oakleigh VIC
Ph: 03 9568 1432
Sunday 19th February
314 Sydney Rd Brunswick VIC
Ph: 03 9380 8818
Monday 20th February
29 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC
Ph: 03 9536 1168
Dinner & show tickets also available
Wednesday 22nd February
Stag & Hunter
187 Maitland Rd, Mayfield NSW
Ph: 02 4968 1205
Thursday 23rd February
Black Bear Lodge
322 Brunswick St Fortitude Valley QLD
Friday 24th February
165 Duringan St Currumbin QLD
Ph: 07 5534 7999
Saturday 25th February
7 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW
Ph: 02 9251 2797
Dinner & show tickets also available
Sunday 26th February
The Brass Monkey
115A Cronulla St, Cronulla NSW
Ph: 02 9544 3844
Tickets to all shows available at
Check out Moreland & Arbuckle’s website to find out more!