Kenny Olson - Twisted Brown Trucker Band

They say the devil makes work for idle hands to do, but the horned one will find himself sorry out of luck if he goes snooping around Kid Rock and his faithful posse. Before the end of the year, the Kid (aka Bob J. Ritchie) will oversee the production of a full-length effort by his cohorts, the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, a solo album by his trusty turntablist DJ Kracker (or Uncle Kracker as he has become) and two disc's worth of material from the vault, freshened up by his colleagues. Two of his most worthy henchmen are guitarists Kenny Olson and Jason Krause. Olson, the bluesy southern boy, has been playing with theKid's rock 'n' roll circus for just over four years and Krause, who signed on about two years ago, is responsible for most of the heaviest metal shards scattered throughout the insidiously successful Devil Without a Cause. The action never stops in the Kid's camp, but both axemen took a little time out between Kracker sessions and rehearsals to talk shop. Kenny, tell me about your first guitar.

Kenny Olson: I started playing when I was about nine. The very first one I had was some cheap Les Paul copy that never played right. Shortly after deciding electric guitar is what I was gonna do, I sold my bike and went out and bought a Fender Mustang -- candy apple red with a white racing stripe on it. It was like a '67 or '68. Cool guitar. I wish I still had it. I've been playing old guitars ever since then. Which guitar gods did you worship?

Olson: I had really cool parents and sister, aunt, cousins, a lot of people in my family, so the albums were there for me to listen to. There were Hendrix records around my house when I was a kid, when "Foxy Lady" was a hit on the radio. I'd run around the house -- you know little kids. You don't want to wear clothes or anything. So, I'd have these little frequent boners and I'd chase my sister's friends around, and I'd be singing "Foxy Lady" while I was running around the house naked. They didn't know quite what to think. But that could have been some of the early Hendrix influence. There's just so many players. Every kid in Detroit grew up driving around in a muscle car listening to Pink Floyd. A lot of those old classic players were a big influence on me, and I went through my stage as a rebel teen into heavier stuff like Motorhead. When I was a kid I got that Ohio Players' Fire album because I really liked the girl on the cover and I started liking that whole funky end of everything. That was a big influence on me too. Before you signed on with Kid Rock you were more of a rock guy and session dude. Was it a challenge going from a rock format to a hip-hop thing?

Olson: In some of the bands I was in I was like the main person and I wrote a lot. In some of 'em I even did the crooning up front and played guitar. That's what I was used to. When it came to playing with Bob [Kid], at first it was like you'd have stuff like the clicks, and it was weird for me to learn to play to the machine. It took me a little while to adjust. That was one of the more challenging things about the gig. That and the clean breaks, the tightness of the arrangements, the samples flying here and there. For a guy like me who doesn't have the longest attention span in the world, it was really hard to remember when the next cue was coming up. I used to fuck things up bad doing that. But the band's developed so cool, and finally in the last two years nailed down the final line up. It's been great having Jason start playing with us because it frees me up to go more into making little masturbating noises here and there and we both go for a real bottom-endy tone too, especially with no bass player. Jason, what were you doing before you signed on with the Kid Rock camp?

Jason Krause: I was doing death metal. Both me and my brother Scott were in a band together: Aftermath. We'd been playing together since we were little kids. It was as death metal as you could possibly get. There was none of that grinding Pantera stuff. It was like one big solo, and there were like 15 parts in one song. I look back to it now and its like, 'Damn! I played that?' I couldn't do that right now if I had to. It'd take me a week to get the stamina back to be able to play that. What guitar gods did you admire?

Krause: Most definitely the metal guys like Kerry King from Slayer and actually Larry LaLonde who plays for Primus now. He was in one of my favorite death metal bands back in the day called Possessed. He won't admit to it, but I've got the album with his name on it in my living room. I don't try to dig him about it. I respect the fact that he doesn't want to talk about it for whatever reasons. My brother's way into jazz. He went to school for drums and got me into jazz. I like bands like Tribal Tech and Al Dimeola is one of my favorites. Steve Vai of course. My brother is a huge Zappa fan. Whatever he listens to just soaks into my brain so we like a lot of the same things. And I've known Kid for years. He's been around and my little brother was actually a fan. I'd be like 'What are you listening to that shit for? Damn! Rapper bull crap.' Was it hard to make the transition from death metal to a rap rock?

Krause: Totally. With a lot of metalheads the whole big thing is not to sell out and when he asked me to join the band I was like, 'It's not my gig but I respect your talent and everything you do so I'll come and check it out.' I came to the band practice and was still kind of skeptical. So we talked about it and he told me what he needed, and I was like, 'Oh, you want me for what I do.' And so I stuck to it for a while and I'm down. It was a good decision.

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