Face the Music: Mellow Down Easy 

Mellow Down Easy formed in 1997 after Andrew Adkins moved from Ohio and posted several "musicians wanted" ads. With bassist David Hall and drummer Rodney Russell answered an ad posted at Piggly Wiggly, fate was sealed. The band rocked around town for three years until bassist Hall exited. Enter Daryl Dasher, longtime friend of Adkins, who at first only agreed to play on a few tracks on their album, The Splendid Ms. Maizie. The energy and the groove clicked and Dasher signed on full-time. Influenced by The Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin, MDE throw in freestyle improve jams with their groovin' soul blues pop-rock tunes.

Guitarist Adkins & drummer Russell talk about playing for the middle school critics, the dream of winning lottery tickets and their favorite Nashville club.

Describe your music, please.

Andrew: We have heard "groove rock," "neo-hippie/blues rock," "vintage groove."

Rodney: In our opinion it's all just rock 'n' roll mixed with blues and country, stuffed with as much rhythm as we can cram in there.

What's the first album you ever bought and where is it now?

Andrew: My first album was Destroyer by KISS. That's the album that made me want to be in a rock band. I met Paul Stanley a few years back and had him sign it. It now sits in a frame on the wall of our studio.

Rodney: I think the first one I actually bought myself was Run-DMC's Tougher Than Leather. I don't think it was as big as Raising Hell, but I loved those beats just the same. Right now, it's sitting with my other cassette tapes.

What song would you never want to hear again, and why?

Andrew: There are far too many to name, especially in today's music. Specifically in modern rock and modern country. I think most of what you hear these days on radio and TV is just horrid.

Rodney: Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman." I grew up poor—trust me, we don't brag about keeping our Christmas lights out all year.

What's the best gig you ever had?

Andrew: There's been a lot of great shows. Pretty much, as long as we are all feeling the music on the same level and the crowd is putting off a cool vibe, it's always good.

What's the worst gig you ever had?

Rodney: We had a string of bad gigs a while back when we hired a booking agent. Every show was either double-booked, cancelled, or we'd show up on the wrong night. It's what prompted us to start booking our own shows and fully manage ourselves.

Andrew: I think I was 14 or 15 years old or so. Daryl and I had a band in High School and somehow we scored this gig playing for the Middle School. Within the span of an hour we managed to rip the power cord out of our bass amp, [and we sent] some friends out while we played to find a replacement. Dropped a mic during the first number which gave feedback the whole length of the song. Our singer at the time tripped over my guitar cable, ripping the end off of it and pulling it from my guitar. There were kids covering their ears, babies crying! It was terrible!

What record do you wish you'd made?

Rodney: Pink Floyd's The Wall or Red Hot Chili Pepper's BloodSugarSexMagik, Snoop Dogg's Paying Tha Co$t To Be Tha Bo$$.

Andrew: I know it's cliche to say this, but, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's is, in my opinion, the single greatest collection of songs ever produced. Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys is another amazing record. Brian Wilson can create music like nobody else.

If you could be someone else for 24 hours, who would you be?

Andrew: I'm comfortable in the shoes I'm in.

Rodney: Someone with a winning lottery ticket. I'd mail it to MDE, and hilarity would ensue.

What's your opinion on the Nashville music scene?

Rodney: It's tough and very competitive, especially for non-country and non-gospel artists. Despite that, there's still quite a diverse mix of really good talent, and more folks seem to be taking notice.

Andrew: The Nashville music scene is without a doubt the most promising it ever has been. There's a lot of great and amazing artists. Some of the World's best musicians and songwriters are here. The sad thing is, the only faction of the Nashville community getting noticed is the modern, over-produced discount pop that they call "country".

Who are your favorite Nashville musicians/artists?

Andrew: My favorite locals would have to be Holly Williams, Bobby Bare Jr., Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Young Buck, the rapper, is doing wonders representing Nashville in the mainstream.

Who is someone you've worked with that you think is incredibly talented and everyone should know about, producer, musician or otherwise?

Rodney: One of the coolest bands we've ever worked with is The Loft.

Andrew: We played a couple of shows with The Loft and quickly became great friends with them. We still play with them when we can, hang out, party with them. They're super nice guys that jam unlike no other. Everybody needs to know about them!

What is your proudest moment in music?

Rodney: The day we finished our first record. I knew then that we had it within us to do anything.

When and where will you be seen/heard next?

Rodney: We'll be playing at Windows on the Cumberland this Friday night, July 2nd in Downtown Nashville.

Andrew: This is out favorite local spot. It's a very intimate and close setting. This is our first show of the summer, quite possibly our only. We figured if we were going to do one show the whole summer, it would have to be at Windows. It's all about vibes and feel to us and that place just has the right feel. Kixelsyd will be opening the show around 10:00 pm and we'll take the stage around 11:00. We hope to see everyone there!

—Marie Yarbrough

—Marie Yarbrough


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