Band: Trailer Park Cowboys
Members: Troy Alwine, drums; Junnie Fortney, vocals and guitar; Keith Zelinski, bass
Who we talked to: Fortney
How did you guys meet/ How long have you been performing together? It was about three years ago. The drummer, Troy Alwine, and I got together and I discussed with him ... my lust to maybe take '50s and '60s country hits (and) just kind of rock them up in a different way. I assimilate it a lot to what George Thorogood did with the blues. We kind of do that with these traditional old Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Sr.-type songs. We just started working from there. It just kind of grew (and) kind of got attention for just being different, which is something I think the whole music scene lacks.
How did you come up with the name? Actually, I'm a big fan of the television show called "Trailer Park Boys" ... from Nova Scotia, Canada. It's just ... a comedy about a trailer park. I just love the show. Actually, the first time I (saw) "Trailer Park Boys" on a menu, I was like, "I bet that's a band." Even as a little kid, I always had the cowboy infatuation. I just swapped it out: "Trailer Park Boys" to Trailer Park Cowboys. The name (is) the reason that a lot of people (come to shows).
Do you have regular places you play or do you try to hit many places? We play as many different places as we can. We play up at Johnny Joe's in Mechanicsburg a lot. We play at The Cove in York (County) a lot. We've been in Atlantic City. Next summer, we're planning to going to North Carolina and South Carolina. We're looking into gigging in Philadelphia right now.
Who are your influences? I was brought up around the country stuff. I actually got influenced in the '80s by Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers. He was a rock and roller from Philadelphia. (He was) a screaming guitar player (and) a great act on stage. I just got engulfed with him and stole a lot of licks from him and a lot of the antics. I've always been a big Stevie Ray Vaughan fan. I had a time in my life (when) I really got involved in the punk scene. The Sex Pistols grabbed my eye and then The Ramones. My music is mixed with (all those) genres.
It seems like you gravitate to artists who have good on-stage presence. It has to be exciting. I also like to interact with people. That's one of the things I liked about going to see Tommy. You could walk up to the front of the stage and he would talk to you and carry on with you. Some (bands) are more standoffish. I'm not like that at all. I like to talk to people, and I like to hear their opinions. I'm always willing to hear constructive criticism from somebody who might not be a musician because the bottom line (is that) we're playing for people.
Do you focus on updating older songs or writing originals? We have several originals already. Like I said, it's drawn from those bands that I talked about and the styles that I talked about. We just put some music down and then add the words and the melodies to it later. We add some of our own lyrics and stories to make them originals.
What's on your schedule? White Rose Thunder is something that we're looking forward to. That's a big thing coming up. What makes it so large is not just the chance to play in front of what we're hoping is a bigger than average crowd but also all the radio advertisements. Over the weekend, I had some people (who) stopped in and checked out my band and brought up the fact that they heard about it on the radio. We'll be at the (York Expo Center) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Friday).
And that evening, we're going to The Waterway in downtown York.
Also, (Friday) we're going to be filming a DVD that will be used for a promo pack. Venues are no longer into listening to just a demo CD; they want to see the band.
Then, the next day is going to be Roosterpalooza, which we've been involved in since its inception.
Sounds like a busy weekend. It's a busy month. We're out every weekend ... through the end of the year actually. We run right now up to December with hardly any time off. That's the goal. You know how they say: "Play to anybody (who) will listen until they can't stop listening." It is a lot of work. We've got full-time jobs. A given gig is pretty much a nine-hour shift.
My special thanks are to my wife, Tina, and my son, D.J. Without the two of them, there is just no way I would be able to do it. I'm very much a family person. It just makes it special, you know, when you can go to a show and you have (these) people to depend on.
If you go
Trailer Park Cowboys will perform at White Rose Thunder 11 a.m. Friday at the York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Ave., West Manchester Township. For details, visit www.whiterosethunder.com.
At 8 p.m. Friday, the band will take the stage at The Waterway Bar and Grill, 220 W. Philadelphia St., York. For details, visit www.waterwaybar.com.
The band will also perform at Roosterpalooza 3, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Elicker's Grove, 511 Roth's Church Road, Jackson Township. For details, visit roosterpalooza3.eventbrite.com.
Trailer Park Cowboys: www.reverbnation.com/trailerparkcowboys
Listen to the interview: flipsidepa.com
Read more meet-the-artist interviews: flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory