Interview with Healing Sixes

Can you tell us a little about how Healing Sixes began?

Doug Henthorn: Well, the band started about ten years ago and we were ten years younger at the time [laughs]. We’re from Indianapolis, IN and Eric and I basically put the band together. We started out with Wade Parish on drums and Chaz Winzenread on bass. Wade got himself into a motorcycle accident and then one thing led to another and Jason Bonham [the son of the late John Bonham] played drums with us for four years. Then, Chaz moved to Florida and Jeff Stone joined us on bass. And Wade, who was in a wheelchair, fully recovered and came back to the band eventually. The band is feeling better than ever right now.

How was it working with Jason Bonham? He must be a powerhouse.

Doug: He’s a monster. He’s a great drummer and a great friend.

Eric Saylors: Even though he’s not in the band now, he really helped us get to that next level, as far as writing and playing live.

Doug: And he brought lots of high fashion to the band as well [laughs].

Sweet. You guys also recently worked with guitarist Joe Bonamassa, right?

Doug: Yeah, and Joe’s great as well. Joe was gracious enough to play guitar on one tune off of our new CD. He had me sing a song on a CD of his a couple years ago — maybe three years ago. He did a remake of the old Led Zeppelin tune “Tea for One.” I contacted him to see if he’d be interested in playing some guitar on this new album of ours. He was really cool and told us he would love to. He really kinda burned it up.

Eric: Yeah, he really did. It was really cool.

Cool. Where did he track it?

Doug: As unromantic as it may sound, the reality of it was, we laid the beds down to the tune in Indianapolis at our studio and Joe just tracked his guitar solo down out in Malibu and sent the whole thing back to us.

Did you give him any guidance?

Doug: I just let him have it. I said, “Do it.”

Eric: Yeah, and what we got back was Joe Bonamassa. He just flat-out wails.

Awesome. Your latest album is titled ‘Blue Jay.’ Did you record the whole thing in Indianapolis?

Doug: Yeah, at a studio in Indianapolis. We’re really happy with the way it turned out. We put it together completely under the gun. Everything on it is very raw and off-the-cuff, which was hard for me to deal with because we’ve always had time to needle every album we’ve done in the past to death. This CD was really a great experience for all of us because we really did spontaneous stuff. We’re excited about it.

What was the writing process like for ‘Blue Jay’?

Doug: In a matter of about two months, the writing, recording and everything else was done. There was no going back and doing it again. The mistakes are there. There’s no auto-tune or any such thing at all on this record. It is what it is: very organic.

Are you guys touring in support of ‘Blue Jay’?

Doug: Yeah, we’ve been out for a month and a half. We’re on our last leg right now. This is why we look as bad as we do. Thank God we’re going to be on video [laughs]! It’s been mostly regional shows in Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, Kentucky and lots of other places. We’re finishing up the whole campaign here in New York. It’s always exciting to come to New York. We’ve played here many times before with Jason Bonham and without him. We probably have more fun here then we should have!

Speaking of shows, you’ve done shows with some classic rockers like Blue Öyster Cult, Eddie Money, Ted Nugent, Bret Michaels and Todd Rundgren. What were they like?

Doug: Honestly, they all start to bleed together.

Eric: We did a show with Eddie Money earlier in the year and then he came through and was playing at the Indy 500 track and asked us to open the show.

Doug: And he’s a really cool dude. We hung out with him for a bit. He’s was very complimentary. He said, “You guys are good” and I said, “Thank you, Eddie Money. Thank you very much, Eddie Money.” [laughs]

We’ve done lots of shows with lots of people and they’ve all been really cool. We really haven’t had any bad experiences.

Eric: It’s all been very positive.

Where is your new song “Grass and Gasoline” coming from?

Doug: Well, it’s really a song about sex. It’s a sex tune and how much sex has to do with your sense of smell. Two of my favorite things to smell on the planet are grass and gasoline. I’ll just leave it at that [laughs].

Nice. If you guys were to pick one song off the new album to showcase your sound, which song would it be?

Eric: For me, it would be “Move On.”

Doug: For me, I think it would be “That’s Alright.” I love “Move On” too. This album has so much diversity. We’re kind of building on the last CD, in that we’re doing what we want to do and not chasing our tail about what we think would help us succeed. It was very empowering. The further we get in this band, the more I realize, if we worry about whether people are going to like our music, the less successful we become. So, we’ll continue to do what we like. If it doesn’t continue, so be it.

Absolutely. Thanks very much for hanging out with us.

Doug: Thank you.

Eric: Thanks.

Pick up Healing Sixes’ new album, Blue Jay.