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Photo credit: Cheyenne Ellis

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

We don’t have a consistent tour vehicle. The system we’ve used for a long time is to rent backline from each promoter or venue, and rent a van at the beginning of each tour.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

We don’t exactly eat healthy, but we do eat well. It’s one of the luxuries of our simple touring model – renting small vans everywhere we go and only traveling with the band (no crew) – it’s not hard to sit at the bar or get a table for 3. I use Yelp to find the best coffee and food everywhere we go… star rating, number of reviews, and photos of the food – photos don’t lie.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

I probably break 1 or 2 strings a show, and consistently play 60-100 shows a year. Thankfully Ernie Ball backs me, so it doesn’t cost me anything to replace them. It would cost me thousands otherwise. Thanks Ernie Ball. You the best.

Where do you rehearse?

We don’t ever rehearse. I think we rehearsed once as a band in the past 20 years. We just independently learn our parts and road test them. Often the first time we ever play a song live is in front of a crowd.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

I think the first song I ever wrote was at 19 or so called “Fate Apache” which was a song about displaced veterans. The actual song was “Faded Patches” but my band mates misunderstood my mumblings.

Drag him down and spit on him
Classified as a waste of skin
I for one do not understand
The hero of a war banished from his homeland

Describe your first gig.

My first gig was at a house party by an apartment complex pool in Huntington Beach, CA. There were probably 100 underage kids in attendance. Keg stands and beer bongs baby!!


What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

I mostly worked in restaurants, waiting tables. But my last job I had was a 3-6 month stint of substitute teaching. I was terrible at managing the chaos of the middle schoolers and would only do physical Education at the end. I blocked many a shit of unassuming 6th graders.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

Honestly I wouldn’t change much. My path and ethos has always been fairly constant. Try to make people feel, think…hit people in the heart. One thing is as an artist/creative is there are highs and lows. Both emotionally and creatively. Take advantage of the highs and ride out the lows. Know that a song and a better day is always around the corner.

The White Buffalo is Jake Smith – singer, songwriter, guitarist, teller of stories, Emmy nominee; an artist whose voice – a timber-shakin’ baritone of gravitas and gravel – seems directly linked to a greater truth; an artist who will not be swayed by fashion or curtailed by genre.

On April 17th 2020, The White Buffalo released a new studio album, On The Widow’s Walk – a loosely linked collection of dark thrills produced by Shooter Jennings, who also provides piano and keys.

Connect with The White Buffalo online and on the road.

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