Rodney Pyeatt
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Rodney Pyeatt

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Americana Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"20 Questions: Cody Canada"

When asked to describe the guitar style of Rodney Pyeatt in a few words, Cody Canada simply responds "Fast as F@*K!" -

"Interview with Rodney Pyeatt"

Woody's Tavern

TMM: Rodney, you’ve had quite a career as guitarists. Your playing in one of the hottest bands in Texas right now (Mike McClure Band), you’ve played lead guitar for Rick Trevino and even for Selena. How did it all begin for you in the world of music?

RP: Well, as a guitarist and a kid, you find your love for music early. What really did it for me was not how music made me feel but how it made my family cohesive. When I was about ten or eleven, I had had a guitar for a couple of years, not a real one, it was a Sears Roebuck. My mom finally taught me the basic chords you know, A chord, D chord and so on. I always tell this story, she made me play in the one chord (people who know theory will understand that) and I’d have to play the whole song in that one chord until the next week when she taught me the next chord (the four chord). That really kept me wanting to learn more and she taught me my first few chords and then I just went from there. It was just a natural progression. I probably played two or three years before I really had a formal lesson. By the time I was twelve I was actually playing songs; I had small repertoire of folk and country. Of course you had to have some Barry Manilow, you know you get the big book with the chord picture over the word (laughs). That’s the way to go, you either have rhythm or you don’t. That’s really how it started for me.

TMM: When you talk rhythm, do think that's something that you are born with or have to work on?

RP: Have you ever danced with someone that just can’t follow?

TMM: Oh, yeah…I’m that guy.

RP: (Laughing) You know what I mean; my upbringing is sort of from a dancehall. I really come from a dance background. When I hear twin fiddles, I want to dance with somebody. I usually step on my wife’s toes but sometimes when you dance with someone else; you just can’t deny that they don’t have natural rhythm. I feel as far as guitar playing is concerned, you possess the talent whether its learned or not. That’s the tragedy of it, some people just don’t have the drive. I can’t claim to be a disciplined person but my desire to play was what got me to where I am today. I have a hard time practicing; it’s boring. Who wants to practice? But sometimes you just have to, like working on this stuff for Sunday (Rodney played guitar for Rick Trevino at the Grammy’s this year), I haven’t played gut string guitar in a couple of years…I’ll have to relearn how. I don’t know if that answers your question but I do believe someone has to have some natural talent to be any good at playing the guitar.

TMM: Whatever it takes to be a good guitarist, you definitely have it. Not to repeat the same question but do you think if someone that has the same drive that you have, put in the same amount of practice that you have could be as good as you?

RP: Well, I’ve also had a lot of breaks too. I’ll say that a small percentage of people just don’t have the talent to be a great guitarist but I also believe those that are (great) have a certain percentage of God given talent along with what they have developed through years of playing. You definitely have to have a desire to play to be any good; I don’t play as much as I use to but I try to play some everyday. It’s hard when you’re on the road all of the time but I try and make time. I try and play outside of just the stage. We all have a lot going on in our lives, kids, wife…family stuff and that’s important. There is also a lot of work besides music that has to be done but with me desire will win out over duty every time.

TMM: So your mother was instrumental in your life teaching you how to play guitar?

RP: Yeah and she made me sing too. I really didn’t like singing but my whole family sang and she told me it would help my guitar playing. I sang by default but my mom was really smart; she tricked me into singing but it really paid off.

TMM: When was your first big break after learning how to play the guitar?

RP: When I was thirteen or fourteen I won the Brazoria County Fair Talent Competition, which at that time was one of the largest County Fairs in the state of Texas. By the next year I was playing for Selena but that was really what pulled me into it. That was probably my freshman year of high school, by my junior year I was married to the keyboard player and by the time my second child came I was out of the music business for a while. Of course, at that time, there wasn’t as big of a movement of independent artists like there is now. It’s always been the same but name of the game is drawing a crowd, whether you do covers or originals. I guess my first real break was playing with the Rick Trevino band. I was playing for Selena at the beginning of her career and it seemed like it was always on the verge of breaking through but just didn’t quite make it. I remember one time we were playing at the Country Club in Lake Jackson and after the first set they paid us and told us to take a hike because we were all kids. I was the oldest one at 15 which would make Selena 10 or something.

TMM: How did you get the gig playing with Selena?

RP: Her brother was in my history class. He approached me one day to play in their band with them. When I showed up for my first practice I didn’t know what to expect in regards to what kind of music they were doing. It turned out they weren’t really playing that much Tejano music but the Eagles and ‘50s music and stuff. They did a lot of country and R&B, harmony stuff. Her dad played in the band at first. We played some pretty big crowds but I was playing with her before she got really big. The sad thing is after she was murdered, people say killed but I say murdered, she had already recorded her English stuff and you could see the direction she was starting go with her music. She would have been huge if she hadn’t been stopped short. A lot of Anglo people just didn’t get the bulk of her work or the talent that she had; and she could always dance like that. She was a huge talent.

TMM: Why did you decide to stop playing guitar for Selena?

RP: They moved to Corpus Christi and I was already playing with 3 or 4 professional bands at the time. I actually played for Selena off and on and while I was playing in those other bands. I had married one of the band members and we were doing our own music as well so I just got out of it for a while. I was a music director at our church but I wasn’t playing professionally anymore. I also played at the old folk’s home on Sundays but that was about it. After I got divorced, I hurt my hand working iron so I didn’t play for a year.

TMM: Did you play guitar in a professional sense between Selena and Rick Trevino?

RP: Well, I was in a couple of bands but there was a long time that I just didn’t play. I did a little of studio work as a musician too. Nobody in my life ever came up to me and said Congratulations (except when I got married and had my children) until I was hired by Rick Trevino. I went from a bar band playing cover songs and no originals to playing for a guy that had a number one song on the charts and one of the biggest bands in the country.

TMM: How did it start with Rick Trevino?

RP: Well, I had played in bands before that had opened for him. I was playing in this club that Rick played some times and they called him. Rick had called this club owner if he knew of any good guitar players that were available. I auditioned and got it. It was a big break for me. I got to play for some really big crowds and had a lot of fun doing it. Playing for Rick was the best thing that happened to me career-wise.

TMM: A lot of the artists we cover on this website have never played before crowds as big as you have. What’s that’s like?

RP: There may be a lot of glamour to that obviously even as a sideman but honestly those gigs are difficult; it’s hard to hear while you’re playing. When you play in a place like the Astrodome, what you play, you hear it again two bars later; it’s difficult to keep time and place. You may see the musician up on the stage smiling but he may in fact be miserable. Those gigs often are very adverse but my playing level improved quite a bit though because I really had to know my parts because some nights I couldn’t hear because the crowd was that loud. It was a big deal for me. When I play smaller venues now, like tonight at Woody’s, I really appreciate the fact that I can hear what I’m playing. Woody’s is a great place to play too. It’s what I call a “dead” room meaning that it has carpet and a lot of soft surfaces that soak up some of the outside crowd sound. Some rooms we play have all hard surfaces and the sound just bounces around. It really makes a difference in the way we sound to the audience.

TMM: How long did you play for Rick Trevino?

RP: Rick had a certain number of records on contract and with each record he had hits so he was moving right along when I came into the picture at the third album. Rick left Sony Records and got back to his roots. Once he did it the established way he decided he wanted to do it his way. I’m not sure if Rick was happy with where his music was going back then but I can tell you that what he doing now musically is making him happy. I think he wanted more artistic control. When I first started playing guitar for Rick, we did about 100 shows or better for the first three years but in the fifth and sixth years it really slowed down once he quit the label. It was really then that I started getting my breaks as a writer and producer and eventually playing in Mike’s band. I recently produced a guy named Rex Hobart and just had a lot of fun doing it. I love producing; you have to go the direction you can go. It’s kinda like Hank III, he plays country but right now his passion is rock n roll. I didn’t bail on Rick but I had played for him about six years and he just wasn’t playing enough for me to live on so I had to take work where I could get it. I’m not a band member of his now but I’m still in touch with him and do special projects like the Grammy thing coming up. The Mike McClure Band is really where my passion is. I’m also still proud of my record Texas Beer Joint Tour. It represents what I’m about but it’s not just about me as a guitar player but about how versed I am as well. The lyrics are always going to be more important than the guitar. A guitar player is a support player in the band. A guy once told me the job of a guitar player is making a song sound better than if he wasn’t there. That’s not arrogant; it’s just the description of a guitar player. If you can’t do that, you’re not doing your job. It’s all about the song not the solo. There’s no need to play an Eddie Van Halen solo on “Wind Beneath My Wings” you know. There’s a time and place for everything and songs are like that too. The song is the crux, backbone and heart of all of it. Guitar solos are dictated by what the songs about.

TMM: Just before you hooked up with Mike didn’t you have a band yourself and tour with your CD the Texas Beer Joint Tour?

RP: Yeah we did. During that time Jason Boland was cutting a record down at Awesome Works Studios with my co-producer, Steve Palousek. Steve’s a great guy, he’s played steel guitar with Ray Price and many others. He plays real traditional country and shuffles. I met Jason through my son in law, Jeremy Watkins when Jason was working on a project there and that’s when I met Mike; he was producing that project. Mike ending up calling me asking me if I would be interested in playing guitar for him and I didn’t even hesitate, which was kind of weird, because I was right in the middle of the Texas Beer Joint Tour but I was 38 years old, which isn’t old by any means but who in their right mind starts a rock n roll career at 38? The only way you could do that is if you get lucky. Mike McClure described what he wanted to do and I figured I would drive up to Ada Oklahoma and if I hated it I would just go back to what I was doing with the Texas Beer Joint Tour. I’ve had a few other offers since joining this band but honestly I’m right where I want to be. I’ve worked hard to get where we are now; we’ve all sacrificed for this. It’s funny though, there’s still a lot of pissed off Great Divide fans at some of our shows. We did the Larry Joe Taylor deal last year and there was a huge crowd, you know, but I saw quite a few people line up and leave when we started playing. What kept us going was all the people that did stay and really dug what we were doing. We don’t care if 60 people got mad and left, Mike felt it was time for him to go on. I don’t have any dog in the fight but our band is four guys that are devoted to what they are doing and willing to make the sacrifice it takes.

TMM: Tell us a little about the Mike McClure Band

RP: I haven’t seen a band as diverse as ours since the Eagles. We have songs that we can release to country radio as well as rock radio. I know that’s a bold statement but that’s what I’ve really always wanted to be a part of. With Texas Beer Joint Tour it was predominately country with Steel guitars and fiddles. We have fans that come see us because they think that Mike is going to play old Great Divide songs. We have fans that come see us because they know that we’re going to play “Wild Child” last. That’s the way we do it…we actually have a following. We do some signature riffs but most of the time we’re just going by the seat of our pants. We are a raw streak of talent on the scene. You really haven’t seen anything with this band either. I think Mike is really at home with our style of music and the band has three writers in it as well. It’s all really starting to come together for us. Mike’s passion is songwriting and he’s good at it. Our new CD, Everything Upside Down, will blow you away (check it out here); it’s like 19 songs and it just kicks ass. If you’re looking for us to sound like The Great Divide your going to be disappointed. We’re just not that band. If we tried to be, Mike would be playing lead guitar and I would be playing rhythm but I’m a lead player and even though Mike is a good lead guitarist, he likes playing rhythm. You will, however, see him play lead a little here and there throughout some of our songs. We don’t really even think when we’re up there playing as a band together. It’s as close as you can get to avant-guard musicians as your going to get. We can all improvise. We’ll never play the same gig twice. That’s the beauty of it, we play how we feel. I love being able to be who I am in this band. Mike really makes the whole process of how we all interconnect as a band so much easier. As a musician you are only going to come into a few bands that you could play with for the rest of your life; this band is that for me. It’s really cool because right now I’m at a point where I can play what I want to play, write what I want to write and get to produce too.

TMM: You have had a hell of a career.

RP: I’ve had more fame than riches (laughs). Honestly with me and God, there has to be some faith in your dreams. My life’s love is to be a part of a room where a bands playing and there’s crowd enjoying the music. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the crowd or on the stage; I’d rather be on the stage, but that’s a dream come true for me. It’s a dream come true to play for people who show up to hear you play. Whether they want to hear Mike McClure sing or me play guitar.


Mike McClure- Everything Upsidedown
Stoney LaRue- The Red Dirt Album
Bo Phillips- The Live Album
Rodney Pyeatt- Runaway Train (2007)
Rodney Pyeatt- Texas Beer Joint Tour (2002)



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