6 Questions with The Box Tops: Live concert at Dosey Doe in The Woodlands June 16
THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Memphis is well known for its roots in country music, but did you know it was also the most prominent form of Southern soul music in the 1960's and 70's?
It's where The Box Tops got its start, churning out hits such as The Letter, Cry Like a Baby, Soul Deep, Neon Rainbow, Choo Choo Train, and Turn on a Dream.
Some of the original band members are back together and touring. Woodlands Online chatted with guitarist/vocalist Gary Talley about their upcoming show Saturday June 16 at Dosey Doe – Big Barn.
WOL: How did the band form?
Talley: When I joined the group, it was still the DeVilles. Alex Chilton was in the band, and John Evans, the keyboard player, recommended me when the DeVilles player moved away. We had to change the name after we recorded The Letter because of a trademark. It just seems to me one day we were the DeVilles and the next we were the Box Tops.
(Editor's note: The group changed its name for the first record release because there were two other bands called The Devilles in other areas of the U.S.)
WOL: Is there any meaning behind the name?
Talley: None whatsoever. We don't really have a good story about that at all.
WOL: That's ok, it's lasted a while! Does it surprise you that you're still together and touring?
Talley: It doesn't surprise me; it is kind of remarkable though that we're back. We took about 25 years off actually. We broke up in 1970 and didn't get back together until 1996. And then we played until about 2010 with Alex Chilton, and then he passed away. We didn't play again for another six years. We've now been back at it for a couple of years.
WOL: When you guys got back together, did you record new music?
Talley: We haven't recorded any new music since. We did an album in 1997 called Box Tops Tear Off. It was released in Europe but not in the States. So now, some of what we do live is a couple of songs from that record, and of course our hits from the 60s. The show is all about Memphis music, so other than our hits, our songs have some kind of connection to Memphis.
WOL: How did you become interested in music in the first place?
Talley: My mother played piano and my dad played guitar. They played and sang all the time. It was kind of a natural thing. I learned how to play guitar from my dad. Every Sunday after church people would come over to our house and play music. It was just a regular part of our growing up.
WOL: What's your favorite thing about performing?
Talley: It's when you look out there and see people smiling, they're dancing, and you know you're bringing back really good memories for people. It's kind of therapeutic.
Get your tickets to The Box Tops, including a three-course dinner, at Dosey Doe Tickets.