here) with Michael “Supe” Granda, one of the two original members of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils who is still performing with the Springfield-based band that topped the charts in the 1970s. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, including Granda and fellow original John Dillon, will be performing Saturday night, Aug. 21 at Ameristar in Kansas City.ad a fun and informative conversation this week (read about it by clicking
Granda is now living in Nashville, where he has been for 30 years. Still writing songs and doing occasional performing.
“I write a lot. I have a band called Supe and the Sandwiches. We don’t play a lot but we play often enough. We have a good time,” he said. “I write songs, record them, and I try to get other people to cover them. I let them go out on the 81 city tour and I just say ‘send a check to this address.’ My job today is to walk out to my mailbox and see if there’s a check in it,” he said. How’s that going? “It’s doing ok. I’ve made a living. Not a killing but a living. My mortgage is current, my phone is still turned on and I’ve got beer in the refrigerator,” Granda answered.
I remarked to him that one of my favorite spots in Nashville is a low-key place called the Listening Room Cafe. It’s a place where song writers who have penned well known hits for well known artists go to perform the songs they’ve written and tell behind-the-scene stories about the process of writing those hits. You go there understanding that you’re seeing/hearing writers perform, not performers perform. And I can confirm the place has a tasty Bloody Mary, or at least it did the night I was there six years ago. “I know the place. In fact I’ve performed there. You probably saw writers performing with nothing but a guitar,” Granda said, and I confirmed.
“One of the myths about Nashville: Not everybody is Keith Urban. Not everybody is wealthy like Garth Brooks. In Nashville there are a thousand of different levels of fluency. There are guys here who can’t sing a lick but are wonderful song writers. They can’t sing a lick but write beautiful lyrics,” he said. “Not only do musicians move here but technicians move here. So not only does the drummer get recognized and picked up for a road gig but a sound engineer can get recognized and hired for a gig. Everywhere you go in Nashville it sounds good. Everybody plays well and everything sounds great. When you come down here you either recognize the level of talent around you and raise your game or you turn around and head right back to the little pond with your tail between your legs. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times on each side.”
For the musicians and wannabe musicians, Nashville is not easy, Granda says. “Nashville isn’t for everyone. It’s a tough nut to crack. There are two rules: 1. Nashville pays for persistence. 2. You must be present to win.”
So how did Granda get the nickname “Supe?”
“I’ve been “Supe” for over 50 years. I couldn’t seem to shake it so I quit trying. It’s a long and boring story but I’ll just tell you the two highlights: a Superman suit and a bottle of tequila,” he told me.
So did the donning of a Superman suit follow a bottle of tequila? “I don’t remember but they tell me I had a good time,” he said.
In our 30 minute interview, Granda’s description of the band getting signed by a record label in the early 70’s was priceless. “We were just a bunch of stoned Ozark hillbillies who got a record contract,” he said.
Wikipedia, often a source worth questioning, lists this as a factoid about the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I read this section to Granda and asked for his feedback:
“In September 1978, the group flew to Hollywood to appear on The Midnight Special (a late night musical variety series on NBC). But when A&M’s Jerry Moss witnessed the inebriated band members race through their set on the show, he decided not to pick up the option on their record deal and the Ozarks found themselves without a home in 1979.”
Is this true?
“Yes and no. The record deal was falling apart anyway, falling apart organically,” Granda said.
And the part about the band members being inebriated? “Obviously false,” came the reply.
(Have a good time by emailing Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org)