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Articles Home » Interviews » Doc Holliday - 2001 Interview with Bruce Brookshire
Doc Holliday - 2001 Interview with Bruce Brookshire

INTERVIEW: Doc Holliday (Dec 2001) Bruce Brookshire talks about the good ol' boys from Georgia!

In The Spotlight - Doc Holliday
Interview with Bruce Brookshire
Written by: Gdazegod (December, 2001)

From the heart of confederate territory comes a band who've been around since before many readers of this site were born. Doc Holliday have been together in some shape or form since 1971. The catalyst behind the band has been lead singer and guitarist Bruce Brookshire. He's been there right from the start, back in the days when they were called Roundhouse. A typical southern sound, with that trademark duelling guitarwork last seen with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and The Outlaws.

From Macon County, Georgia, the region is filled with some of the legendary names of pop and rock music. Toss in the likes of Otis Redding, Chet Atkins, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Allman Brothers, the venerable James Brown, Little Richard, REM, and of course those 'rock lobsters' The B-52s. An impressive lineup huh? Well Doc Holliday stand proudly alongside their peers in a southern roll-call that is a testament to the musical mecca of Macon.

Doc Holliday's heyday were in the seventies and eighties, and to a lesser extent, the nineties, where the band moved into a semi retired status. Talking with Bruce Brookshire, I put it to him that though Doc Holliday are currently active, it's not as if they've been inactive either..

'Not too inactive' Bruce states. 'We've put out five albums since the A&M days. The new one is number eight'.

Yes, lets touch on that one.. 'A Better Road'. What can you tell us about this one? 'With it, we had these tracks that had been lost for about twenty years and we finally got to put them out on CD. We did five new ones to go along with it. It just seemed like time to do another record I think. Probably overdue'.

A Better Road (2001, Record Heaven, Halcyon Music)

Can we go back a way firstly. Your early years were spent in Germany. Your dad was part of the US Air Force I understand? 'Thats right. My father worked for the Air Force as a civilian. Actually I spent most of my growing up years there. From age 5 to about 13. It was the 60's. The Beatles'.

What were your earliest recollections of music from that brief time in Europe? 'Lot's of British groups and some German ones as well. I was a very musically precocious lad. My first gig was on Armed Forces TV at age 10' proclaims Bruce proudly. As I write these questions, I've just heard on the newswire that George Harrison has passed away. Did the Beatles have any impact on a young Bruce Brookshire growing up? 'I still am a Beatles fanatic. I think everyone from my generation that is a musician has to owe it all to the Beatles'.

One of your earliest appearances was with the band Roundhouse. What were the origins of this outfit? 'I was in a zillion bands before Roundhouse. We did our first real concerts with Roundhouse, opening for The Beach Boys, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, and many others'. To clarify, Roundhouse eventually migrated into the early beginnings of Doc? 'Yeah, we were Roundhouse when we got signed to A&M. They didn't like that name and asked us to come up with another one. We went on local radio and had a call in show and the fans voted on the name they liked best. It was Doc Holliday. Good choice I think'.

What influence and inspiration did the likes of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd (two of the bigger names in the southern rock movement) provide you? 'We come from Macon, Georgia where the Allman brothers lived and recorded. Macon is a music town. We were very influenced by them. Later Skynyrd, of course. But Skynyrd and Roundhouse were coming up at almost the same time. We were only a couple of years behind them along with the Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws. It just took us longer to get signed.'

Doc Holliday - back then.. early 80's
John Samuelson - bass; Herman Nixon - drums; Eddie Stone - keyboards;
Bruce Brookshire - vocals, guitars; Ric Skelton - guitars

Producer Tom Allom was involved with the debut album from 1980, and he had an affinity with southern and blues based bands, like Stranger and Pat Travers back then. Was he an important part of the mix? 'Tom Allom was so important to us' agrees Bruce. 'He taught us how to be a world class band. We wouldn't be where we are today without him'. I asked Bruce in what way then? 'He was responsible for our being a band with lasting influence rather than a super-commercial 'flash-in-the-pan' southern outfit. He taught us that the music is what's important, the feel, not the sales. Not in the longevity game anyway. He is lovely man. We are still great friends.'

If I move onto the third album 'Modern Medicine' which was a different approach for the band, with more hi-tech keyboards and an AOR-ish theme. Would you agree that this album was a bit of a departure from the other two? 'Modern Medicine was an attempt to blend techno and Southern rock that failed. ZZ Top did it brilliantly later. We were a self destructing time bomb then. Drugs and alcohol and rock-star living really did us in.'

You've gigged all throughout the US during the eighties. What would be some of the memorable gigs for Doc? 'Madison Square Garden, opening for Black Sabbath. Ronnie Dio is a great guy. He got us there. He was very supportive'. I suppose that era was a strong one for southern bands. Molly was going strong. So were the Outlaws, Blackfoot. Was it good being part of the scene back then? 'There were a lot of large stadium shows opening for Loverboy and April Wine. We were great friends with April Wine. They tolerated our lunacy.'

Bruce recalls one memorable event. 'On the April Wine/Loverboy tour, outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, one early morning, our tour bus caught fire while we were sleeping. It totally burned to the ground. We had traffic backed up for miles! We were on the Six O'Clock News and the front page of the newspapers! We escaped just in the nick of time but we lost all our clothes and personal belongings as well as the bus. Apparently the engine caught fire. Some of us got off the bus with only jeans on, one guy was naked, wrapped in a blanket, with a girl! I'll bet she won't forget that ride.'

That was rather cool then that the three A&M albums got a re-release in 1999. Did that give the band a long overdue shot in the arm, in terms of your material now being available in CD format? 'When A&M London decided to reissue that stuff on CD, it really didn't affect us that much, but it sure was great to finally have good copies. It's certainly a good blurb in the press kit!' Bruce readily admits.

1stRides AgainModern Medicine

Onto the present, and years after your successful period.. Everyone's moved on obviously, but the spirit of Doc Holliday is still evident, and the band is still a going concern? 'I don't think our successful period were the early days. We've done more tours and festivals and shows like The Marquee in London since that time. Yes, the band still goes on. It is an important band in the scheme of Southern rock and we take that seriously. It is also a vehicle for ministry'. Is it a case of 'if people want to hear our music, and see us play, then we'll be there'. 'People always want to hear good music. If we produce good music, that's what it's all about. We have great fun performing live, but we're not road dogs anymore, so if someone wants to see us live, they better go while they have the chance'.

Lets touch briefly on the fan base for Doc Holliday. Very strong in the southern states still (Texas through to the Carolinas)? Tell us also about the significance of the Doc Fan Jams? 'Our fan base in the U.S. is scattered to say the least. There are 250 million people here, and 249 million of them like rap and other forms of music that don't use live musicians. It's complicated. I do think however, that live rock and roll is on the upswing and even Southern rock is too. I see evidence of younger people appreciating the forms that are at the base of the music they enjoy'.

Also for our European friends, I notice that Doc Holliday will be making an appearance next year at the Sweden Rock Festival. You'd be looking forward to that? 'I hope we will be able to tour in the summer and do some festivals and club dates as well. It depends on the logistics, really'.

Now that you've got a few years to reflect on, what would have been some of your personal highlights? 'Well my personal highlight is when I came to realize that there was a Jesus-shaped hole inside me, in 1990. My Mom passed away, and her gentle Christian soul leapt into my whole being. I can't really explain how it happened, actually I can, but it would take a bit of time, suffice to say, it did'.

So, apart from 'Doc' Bruce, you're involved now producing and writing for your Christian Music Ministry. Tell us a bit about that? 'We focus pretty strongly on our music ministry. My CD is called 'The Damascus Road', and it's a soft-rock acoustic kind of thing. Our shows with that are very special, people's lives are touched in ways you would not believe. It's NOT ME doing it, believe me, it's the Holy Spirit. The acoustic thing is very open and relaxed and cool. I think we are slipping into a more rock style slowly with that and we will probably be adding that to the mix on our next Christian CD'.

What about Christian artists in the local area? 'There are so many great Christian bands out there, Third Day from Atlanta. A good friend, Larry Howard, who was in the Southern rock band Grinderswitch, is putting together a band called Southern Rock Of Ages that is a bunch of Southern rockers that have become practicing Christians. The Doc Holliday rhythm section (Daniel Bud Ford on bass and Danny 'Cadillac' Lastinger on drums), Dru Lombar (Grinderswitch), Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie, Hank Williams Jr), Bonnie Bramlett, myself, possibly Bobby Whitlock, and others. I hope we get to do a record with that soon. We've already done a couple of shows that way and it was just fantastic!'

Doc Holliday - present.. 2001
Daniel Bud Ford - bass; Bruce Brookshire - vocals, guitars; Danny 'Cadillac' Lastinger - drums
John Turner Samuelson - lead guitar; Eddie Stone - hammond b3 organ

Do you take an active interest in the CCM movement, whether it be what's going on in Nashville or locally?
'I am not very CCM' confesses Bruce. 'I'm not that commercial. I don't know if I ever will be. I think I've just given up that quest. I know it touches a lot of people, but I like to hear the word 'ministry' involved when I'm playing that type of music. Any music for that matter'.

Has there been any artists of late that you've been working with, or some that you'd recommend to readers of this site? 'No, but please go out and support your local bands. They work hard to perform for you, and they care about what they do. Follow them around, buy their CD's. You'll get your money's worth and more. You might be seeing the next 'big' group in some small club! It'll make you, and them, happy'.

So, finally, back to Doc and their 'quasi-retired' state, what other activities are planned in the near future? 'We will begin another Doc Holliday record pretty soon. I have a Praise & Worship CD that I'm currently working on, and we will release a 'Best Of' Doc Holliday CD in the not too distant future. So there's lot's coming up'.

Well Bruce, I'm sure our readers will be able to take some thing away from your answers. Thank you for your time, and best wishes from the GLORY-DAZE team to you and your family for the upcoming festive season. Definitely a year of rememberance and reflection I'd say... Regards. 'Thank you so much for having me on! God Bless You All - from Bruce.'

If you wanna know where to get your musical medicine, head on over to see the Doc at:

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