By Jason Sendaula
Photo by Lisa Schaffer
OV: What is the name in reference to? Why Hezekiah and what’s this I hear about a pet snail?
RC: Yeah, it was the name of my snail. We put our first songs on the Internet in 2005, when we were just fooling around with the stuff. When I first started writing stuff for the guitar, so I just kinda put it up there as my snail making music. It was kinda weird. So he ended up passing away and I took the name upon myself. And then we found out there was another Hezekiah that’s a rapper in the city so I kinda tagged the Jones onto the end of it, which is from an old poem called “Black Cross.” Joseph Newman wrote it in the 40s. That’s what I named the snail after.
OV: Actually, how did you end up with a pet snail?
RC: I have an aquarium, I like sea creatures, and they’re not hard to get, they’re actually quite beautiful when they’re out of their shells doing stuff. They’re really easy to take care of too, not much that you have to do for a snail.
OV: How did you go from writing the music that you were to the more folk-oriented sounds of Hezekiah Jones?
RC: It just kind of happened. I was writing these tunes, started recording at home but playing out, it was a totally different thing we were doing, a different kind of music. Eventually I started playing out as Hezekiah Jones to see what kind of reaction I would get to it from audiences and it worked. It was music closer to my heart. It was what I wanted to be putting out there.
OV: but you grew up wanting to write movie scores.
RC: Growing up that’s where my head space was. I was writing piano pieces. I always wanted to put music to visual. We’re working on some stuff like that right now. I’ve always had a deep love for horror and sci-fi movies, my dream was always to do horror and sci-fi soundtracks.
OV: Did you start out looking for a collective or is it something that just happened?
RC: That’s just something that kind of happened. To be honest I feel awkward on stage by myself so it started with me just asking people, ‘Hey come and join me.’ It grew over the years into this much bigger thing. A show I played recently, I went into it thinking, ‘Okay, it’s going to be me, a bass player and a violin and by the time we got on stage it was a violin player, a bass player, myself, a drummer a lap steel [guitar] player and another guy singing. It’s just that people were there that knew the tunes so they are just gonna come up and play. It just kind grew into that. Some shows are more rehearsed than others depending on where they are.
OV: Considering the large number of people that you have worked with you must be a really nice guy. In terms of the collaboration process have you ever run into any one who was more “me” and less willing to give?
RC: Those people are out there but I chose not to work with them for the most part. I love collaborating with people and I like what people can bring to the table. So I really like, especially in live performance, having the different line-ups, I mean, it’s the same tunes but depending on who’s there, the songs can sound totally different. I really like that, and I really like to get people there where I don’t have to tell them what to do, that I can just trust what they are doing and not have to give them too much input and just trust in their abilities and their discretion. I have been really lucky to have some really talented people join me on stage. I’ve been really lucky.
OV: What is that process like when you’re on tour?
RC: It is more structured because it’s hard to bring too many people on the road. I’ve never toured with more than a five piece. But there are places I go where I have a of friends, so depending on what city I’m in I’ll have different players join me on stage but for the most part it’s the same show when we’re on the road.
OV: What performances do you have coming up in Sept/Oct might you want us to highlight?
RC: We got a great Johnny Brenda’s show with Birdie Busch, my friend Andrew Gregory and Welcome Wagon. I am going to stay local until November and finish up what’s on my plate right now.