- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (AP) - David Hood said he spent so much time in western Europe this autumn that “I was starting to talk funny.”

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bassist arrived home a week ago after 11 weeks on the road in Europe with The Waterboys. The British band embarked on a world tour a year ago this month, and covered four continents and more than a dozen countries. Hood said he calculates the band played 112 shows.

“Overall, it was a very positive experience,” said Hood, 72. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things. When you stay here in Muscle Shoals in a recording studio, you forget how big the world is and how much is going on. We live in an insulated little world here.”

The band’s last week was in England, where the members were based in London and traveled to nearby gigs.

“My hotel was in the center of London, and you can drive in any direction for two hours and still be in London,” he said. “You’re not on interstates; you’re on streets and highways. It’s huge.”

Hood said he was concerned about whether he had the physical stamina for a yearlong tour that took in shows in Japan, Australia, Europe and North America. Though the band took breaks throughout the tour, it still was a demanding schedule.

“There were some days I left here on a cane because of my back,” he said. “But if you try hard enough, you can do something. Once I’m committed, I’m going to do it.”

Hood has done only one other lengthy tour. That was with Traffic in 1973, along with other members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. After a career as a stay-at-home studio player, he said the trek with The Waterboys was musically refreshing.

“It was always a different artist and song every day in the studio. You would hear it that day, record it that day and maybe never play that song again,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to get with a really good band and see what it’s like to play that long with them. I’ve never played with any band as long as I’ve played with The Waterboys.

“We really got to know what each other could do. We would roll with the punches,” he said. “We were having a lot of fun.”

This iteration of The Waterboys has a distinctly Anglo-Irish-American flavor. Founding member Mike Scott, originally from Scotland, lives in Dublin, as does fiddle player Steve Wickham. Drummer Ralph Salmins is from London. Keyboardist Paul Brown is from Memphis via Nashville, and guitarist Zac Ernst is from Austin, Texas.

Hood said all the band members want to visit Muscle Shoals and see the legendary recording studios. They expressed interest in recording here, as well, he said.

The Waterboys formed in the early 1980s and have a loyal following in Europe. Hood said most of their shows there were sold out, and the fans knew the words to the songs and sang them during the shows.

“People knew who I was, and I would get a great response when Mike introduced the band during the shows,” Hood said. “I think a lot of people knew me because of the Drive-By Truckers.”

Hood’s son, Patterson Hood, is a founding member of the Drive-By Truckers, along with Mike Cooley from Tuscumbia.

“At one show in England, the whole front row was wearing Drive-By Truckers T-shirts,” he said.

“There are Waterboys fans who have seen more than 200 shows. Some of them followed the band everywhere during this tour,” he said.

Hood will be recording with the band for its next album sometime next year. He was introduced to them more than a year ago when he was asked to join recording sessions for the current album, “Modern Blues,” in Nashville.

Will he embark on another world tour with The Waterboys?

“I don’t think I’ll do the months on end tour again,” he said. “But I would play more live shows like festivals.”

Though he got to see much of western Europe, especially the British Isles, Hood said he missed home and his wife, Judy.

“If it wasn’t for FaceTime, I could not have done it,” he said of the Internet live chat app. “Judy got to come to some of the places we played, and that was great, but on our days off, I wanted to be at home. Living out of a suitcase for long periods is not easy for me. I’m one who likes to have clean socks and a down day where I never get out of my slippers.”


Information from: TimesDaily, https://www.timesdaily.com/

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