Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 8, 2002

Chooglin' along, and having a blast

An interview with Richard Young of The Kentucky HeadHunters

By Ryan Gueningsman

The Kentucky HeadHunters hit the big-time with its song "Dumas Walker" back in the early '90s.

Far beyond "Dumas Walker," the HeadHunters' music reached back to the late '60s.

"Back in '68, the drummer (Fred Young) and I ­ we're brothers ­ the two of us, with our cousins Anthony Kenney on bass, and Greg Martin, started playing together," Young said.

That was the band's beginnings as described by the red-brimmed glasses wearing lead guitarist of the HeadHunters, Richard Young.

For the next 15 years, the four guys would play in a rock and roll band and play in the southern parts of the United States.

They soon became known as a band that came on the stage and kicked a** with their music.

"In 1985 we met the Phelps boys (Ricky Lee, no longer with the group, and current lead singer Doug Phelps) and that was just a great chemistry, and a great explosion," Young said.

The band worked a few more years and decided to try Nashville. They were told in New York they could have a record deal as a rock band. It was the same situation in Los Angeles. That's not exactly what they were looking for.

Upon moving to Nashville, they were signed to Mercury Records which quickly put out an album of HeadHunter standards called "Pickin' On Nashville."

"We went up to Nashville and it was just way over the top, you know," Young said of the band's new, fresh sound.

The Kentucky HeadHunters had a string of hits off of several albums in the early '90s. Of course there's "Dumas Walker," "Oh, Lonesome Me," "It's Chitlin' Time," and "Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine," to begin with.

"It was unlike any music they'd (Mercury Records) heard before," Young said.

"For the next 15 years, we've just been chooglin' along as the HeadHunters, and having a blast," Young said.

The guys put out their latest album, "Songs From the Grass String Ranch," two years ago and are proud of their latest release.

"Our latest album is a good album, it's done really good," Young said. "It had some videos we did with it that just weren't about country music.

"We did the bluesy thing with the tune 'Too Much To Lose,' and the song 'Louisiana Coco' has an awesome video behind it.

"There is a club out in New York, that's actually where they got the idea for the movie 'Coyote Ugly' from, and we got to do the shoot there. That was a real big thing," Young said.

"It was a lot of pretty girls and a lot of good beer ­ you can't go wrong there!" Young said.

The HeadHunters are planning on giving their fans a new album this winter.

"By January or February we're probably going to do a new album. I think everybody would like to hear one this fall, but it looks like the way we're touring right now, it could be a situation where we might have to wait.

"We need to get in the practice house and write some new songs, too," Young said.

The HeadHunters are known as a band that never disappoints its fans, and that's something it thrives upon.

"We won't let people down. We're going to make some kind of music. People talk to us and tell us what they like about the band, and we take it from there. We try to build on that because the bottom line is, if the fans don't enjoy what you do, they're not going to come see you play.

"Take today (Saturday at Winstock) for an example. People were out here at one in the afternoon in the muggy rain and the mud and everything, and it was still a great crowd, and everybody was yellin' and we were having such a good time," he said.

"We've all had a great time, God Bless all of you, and we'll see you the next time!" Young said.

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