Victoria native tours the world with Micky and the Motorcars

By by melissa
Jan. 16, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

Victoria native, Dustin Schaefer, center, with Micky and the Motorcars.

Victoria native, Dustin Schaefer, center, with Micky and the Motorcars.

Victoria native Dustin Schaefer has been busy this year touring internationally with one of Red Dirt Country's biggest names.

The lead guitarist of Micky and the Motorcars started with humble beginnings - a Fender Strat knockoff and a metal band with gigs at the Catholic War Veterans Hall.

Since joining Micky and the Motorcars in July 2011, Schaefer has been making his mark. Fresh off the Steamboat MusicFest in Colorado, he caught up with Get Out to talk about a new album, his crush on Eddie Van Halen and joining the band that changed his life.

Where'd you learn to play guitar and develop your style?

My first real electric guitar I got for my 12th birthday - a cheapo Strat copy. As soon as I got it, I was hooked. I basically just played it as much as I could. I was in junior high, and whatever other kids were doing, I was sitting in my room for two hours a day practicing because that's what I loved to do.

When I was in San Marcos going to school, a good friend of mine from Victoria had a country band. He needed a guitar player, so I jumped on board with him.

Who are your influences?

Definitely Brent Mason, Brad Paisley and Albert Lee. My No. 1 guitar hero is Eddie Van Halen. He's kind of the reason that I got into guitar, and he's what I always aspired to be. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. I have a lot of influences coming from all spectrums from the music world.

How did you get teamed up with Micky and the Motorcars?

On Facebook, a friend of mine sent me a message that The Motorcars were looking for a new guitar player. I contacted The Motorcar's management, sent a couple of videos of me playing, and they set me up with an audition.

I've literally traveled the world. Seen the U.S. from east to west. It's been a lot of fun. The people I travel with are like brothers to me.

Last January, we toured Germany for three weeks. I've never been out of the country besides Canada. That was a life-changing experience for me to be able to go to Europe to tour and see the culture, to be in a completely different type of atmosphere. It really makes you appreciate the way that we live life over here, but also the fact that people live so differently.

I couldn't ask for anything else. I always played music as a hobby and thought that's all it was going to amount to.

That's why I went to college. I thought I would get the Monday through Friday, from 9 to 5. Then this opportunity fell into my lap. Now that I'm doing it, I can't picture myself doing anything else.What's your involvement in the songwriting process?

The band released a record right when I started. We are just now starting to work on some new material for the next record. Micky and I have been getting together. I'm helping him with some of the arrangements. Micky is primarily the songwriter and lyric writer, but the band contributes to how the music will sound.

I come up with the hook, the drummer comes up with grooves. We all have input.

When I came on with the band, the fans expect to hear what's on the record. As a guitar player coming into that situation, my goal is to do the record as much justice as possible. Over time, the more you play with a band, you gel and develop your style. Little things change here and there with the live show, but the goal is to give the fans what they expect, and that's what they hear on the record.

Every time a new member comes along, the sound is going to change. I've been around the band long enough that I know all the tunes, and I know their style. I don't want to come in and completely change the sound.

The guitar player before me had a different style than I do, hopefully, I will change the sound (for the new record) in a good way.

My approach to guitar playing in this band is to try to see the vision of the song, the message that Micky is trying to portray with the music and develop that idea with the sound as opposed to crazy Eddie Van Halen guitar solos.

What was growing up in Victoria like for you?

I started playing guitar when I was about 12. I've always been exposed to music; it runs in my family. I've always had music around me. It was almost like I didn't have a choice.

I was in a few bands here and there when I was 14 and 16. We played the CWV Hall and stuff like that; it was just for fun. I wasn't like a goth kid. We just played really hard music.

The band will have a new drummer for the Schroeder Hall show?

Shane [Vannerson]'s been with the band for nine years. It was just time for him. He's wanting to get off the road and figure out some stuff with himself.

There's no bad blood there, and we wish him the best of luck. We have a new drummer coming in, and we'll pick up where we left off.

Is the band constantly touring?

We do anywhere from 150 to 200 shows a year. It's not "non-stop," we'll go on three or four week runs, then we'll do weekend stuff where we have days off during the week, then we'll go back to the tours.

We try to hit all of our markets at least twice a year. We tour a lot and play every weekend.

the band has a new video out?

It's for a song off our last record, "A Thousand Tears." We were on tour with the Mike McClure Band and we had the fans shoot it.

All of our shows that we were on that run during that song, we asked the fans to shoot some video of us, of your friend standing next to you, whatever you felt like, send it to us and we'll crop it together and put together a music video for the fans, created by the fans.



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