It was Soundman Extraordinaire Scott Shrewbury‘s Half Century Throwdown at Dixie Tavern. His choice of music for the occasion was Pistol Town, but they were not the only talent in the house. Some of the best musicians Atlanta has to offer came to celebrate Scott going over the hill!  “I felt honored to be in the mist of such talent!”

Pistol Town is an original power pop punk band based in Atlanta that tours the US and Canada! I became a fan listening to the originals off their CD “Days Away,” but seeing them live is a whole other experience! They are “Pure Energy” and with 3 vocalists, it adds a wide range of diversity to the set list. They cover everything from Johnny Cash to George Michael, Weezer to Sublime, but with their own Pistol Town style.

“Ben’s Passion comes through Loud and Clear!”

Ben Foust~
When did you know you wanted to perform?
I was a very shy kid growing up. However, as I grew older, I really started realizing that my love of music was surpassing just reading the lyrics in the cassettes and memorizing all of the words. I got a guitar when I was 16 and that was it…I was hooked!
Where do you find your inspiration for lyrics? What is your writing process?
I find inspiration in everything. Every song I have ever written has come from a “real” person or situation I’ve encountered in life. As far as the songwriting process goes, I usually write alone. I write lyrics down as soon as they come to me. I have them written on anything and everything around me. As far as music goes, I start writing music anytime I pick up a stringed instrument. Rarely do I write the music and lyrics at the same time. Looking from the outside in, my songwriting would probably look like “controlled chaos” within my head.

Who would you want to share the stage with Dead or Alive?
There are too many people that I would love to share the stage with for me to pick just one person/band. However, if I had to pick one dead and one alive musician, it would be Stevie Ray Vaughan and Edwin McCain.

Tell us about PJ.
PJ has been with me since the inception of Pistol Town in 2004. I consider him my little brother. We have been through a lot together. The one thing that has stayed consistent through the 8 years we’ve been playing together is our friendship. If he ever needed me for anything, I would be there in an instant…and he would do the same for me. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we are still brothers!
Your experience…bands played with?
Due to the fact that I can’t stand egos and “name-dropping,” I choose not to focus on what I’ve done or who I’ve played with. I’m proud of all that I have accomplished in the past 18 years of being out on the road playing. I’m also very appreciative of all the bands that I have had the pleasure to play with, whether it be small shows or festivals. I have lots of awesome memories with many musicians from around the world.
Future of Pistol Town?
I’m never sure about the future of anything. However, I can say that Pistol Town will do what it has always done: make people happy/feel good, progress forward with originals, and put on the best shows possible!!! Obviously, there will always be changes (line-up, songs, guitars, amps, etc.), but the things I just mentioned will always be a big part of PT.

“With Pj you can’t help but to Stop Look and Listen!”

PJ McDonnall~

What was the first music you purchased?
That I can remember? Probably the Michael Jackson “Bad” record.

Advice for new players?
Find a friend, or group of friends you can play with. You can learn all the scales and technique you want, but you really don’t learn to play music until you have to play songs with other people. At least that is my experience.

Your experience, training, background?
I’ve had several teachers that did a lot for me. Back when I lived in Virginia, a teacher I had by the name of Stephen Gregory had a huge impact on my playing and my love for Motown.When I first moved to Atlanta though, Russell Rogers at the Atlanta Institute of Music had a huge effect on the way I approached the bass. I’ve played in variety of musical situations before finding my home with Pistol Town. One of the coolest gigs I was able to play was with The Coasters for New Years Eve in Huntsville, Al about 10 years ago. I also played bass in an orchestra pit for a musical theater in Wytheville, Virginia for about a year after graduating college. I actually liked that gig a lot !!

Describe Ben.
Ben is one of the hardest working, honest, faithful, and understanding guys I’ve ever met. Besides being one hell of a front man, guitar player and songwriter, he’s been a big brother to me. For many years, he endured me at my worst while I was dealing with some personal demons, and I am very grateful for the understanding he has taught me.When he isn’t on the road with us, he is an elementary school teacher for gifted children, a loving husband, and as of this week, father. Always level headed, always keeping us humble, and quick to call us out on our BS. We’ve gone through almost any situation I can imagine on the road together, and he’s most definitely one of my best friends in the world.

“Joe is Skill Driven Power!”

Joe Drew~

What music is on your playlist right now?
Oh goodness…my iPod is so congested with so much different music. From stuff I’m studying, to pieces my students have inspired me to listen to, to songs I have to learn for gigs/sessions. Probably top 5 I’d say right now in recently played would be Snarky Puppy, The Black Keys, Nerve, Lettuce, The Who.

If ya could share the stage with anyone who and why?
Haha! That’s such a killer question. I’m really trying not to over think this one…I keep coming back to Michael Jackson or Stevie Ray Vaughan. Not your standard choices for a “rock” drummer I know…but living in Austin, I gained such an appreciation for SRV and he was a clear example of a tortured man who literally played to save his life.  And as for Michael…love or hate him. What he did for the world and for music won’t be done again…period.

Your background.
My musical quest began in 1988 with two fly swatters, some pots/pans and Eddie and The Cruisers. Everything and every moment of my life was somehow tied into an element of music or rhythm. It just helped me get through the day or finish my homework/chores efficiently. After a LONG detour, once I began playing again and playing “for keeps.” I went straight into the heavy metal scene in Texas. After a long stint in that scene I started to yearn for more groove/feel oriented music rather than just a full on assault…that brought me to guys like Eddie Garza and James Moran. One of the more gifted players I’ve been able to jam with. They really helped me see through my own words the true power a SONG can have. Which was a turning point for me and song writing.

Tell us about Tommy.
Oh my sweet Thomas Stansbury…contrary to his “cruise control” style demeanor…there is an incredibly driven young man with an incredible gift. I’ve definitely enjoyed each time sharing the stage with that dude.

“Tommy is the Total Package!”

 Tommy Stansbury~

Who are your musical idols?
 New Found Glory, Lit, and Butch Walker are the three main ones. It’s just music that makes me happy!
Highlight of your career to date?
 Well, I really don’t consider this a career. I just play my guitar and somehow get paid to do so. But I guess the highlight of being in Pistol Town is that I am in a band with the three greatest mo-fo’s on the planet (Chester, Joe, and Ben). We have great chemistry on stage and in the van…and sometimes in bed. It is very difficult to be on tour with people that you are not too fond of. And the four of us have made some pretty awesome memories together.That being said, I am only 22. Who knows what the future holds?

Your Background:
 I got my first guitar when I was 7. I still play it to this day. My older brother showed me a few chords and I just went from there. I have never really taken any guitar lessons. I’d probably be a better guitar player if I had. I probably should start sometime soon…This is really the first “touring” band that I have ever been in. It’s a lot of fun!

Describe Joe
 Hmmm…Joe is a very interesting character. He and I have about the same amount of randomness. Joe has some crazy obsession with phone chargers. He just likes to collect them. There are about fifteen different phone chargers in the van. Sometimes when we are playing, Joe gets so into it, he will just start screaming at the top of his lungs in the middle of a song. Haha. I just turn around and scream with him. Everything is so loud, no one can hear us. The crowd just sees me and Joe with our mouths open and our eyes looking all crazy. It’s awesome having Joe in the band. He keeps a very positive attitude toward everything.

Here is a behind the scene look at life on the road with Pistol Town!!

Birthday Boy Scott Shrewbury had this so say about Pistol Town:

“They’re totally high-energy, the whole time they’re playing. Not only are they great players with fantastic tone, they just look so damn cool on stage… so much so that I kind of want to slap them.”

Photos by Bob Lee