Howard Bellamy Interview: Blake Shelton Tour & Advice For Newbies

Howard Bellamy Interview

As one of the most successful duos in music history, the Bellamy Brothers are still touring and going strong after 40+ years on the road. Today, in this exclusive Howard Bellamy interview, he talks with us about the brothers’ upcoming tour with Blake Shelton, their successful show on The Cowboy Channel that lets you take a peak into what life is like on their ranch and advice that they would give to anyone just entering the music business.

Howard Bellamy Interview

Howard Bellamy Interview: Blake Shelton Tour & Advice For Newbies

EPR: Tell me about your upcoming tour with Blake Shelton.

Howard Bellamy: It starts this February. We did it last year actually, same tour, and it went quite well. So Blake decided that he wanted to do the same tour over again. So, it’s our second year together. This year we are going to the west coast and touring there. Last year we were mainly East Coast and Midwest. We are looking forward to it. It was a whole lot of fun and a very successful tour. Blake’s been a long time friend and he got these old dudes, he kind of liked our music growing up, so he decided to take us on tour with him. It was a good stroke for us and he enjoys it as well.

EPR: Between your music and his as well, that’s a lot of good music. How long do you guys play? Or how long does each show last?

Howard Bellamy: We kind of come back and forth during the shows. It’s laid out so that we make an appearance for a few songs, we go away, and then we come back and do a few more and then, at the end of the show, we all get together in a circle and do an acoustic thing, a sing-along, with the audience. We do some of the bigger hits and we do a little contest to see who can get the most people singing. It gets to be fun. And you know, Blake is Blake. He always exaggerates things [laughs]…so it’s laid out pretty well and, so far, it’s probably the same show that we will be doing this year.

Howard Bellamy Interview

EPR: You guys have been touring since like the 70s. How do you keep from getting burned out?

Howard Bellamy: Well, that’s a really good question that I don’t have an answer for because I have burned out [laughs]. As you get older, at our age, of course we pace ourselves a whole lot different than we ever did. I mean, we don’t do the crazy things that we used to do. You just learn to pace yourself. We still do like 150 shows a year, which is a lot for a younger act. Somehow we have been able to maintain and at times I wonder what we are trying to prove. But we are still doing it. So it’s just what we have done all these years and it gets to be in gets to be in your system. I guess we are adrenaline junkies or something. You just get used to doing it and you don’t know any different. You just keep doing the same old thing.

EPR: I was talking to Doug Gray from the Marshall Tucker Band one time and he said that he wouldn’t know anything else to do. Is that kind of the way that you feel?

Howard Bellamy: Well, we wouldn’t know anything else to do and we are not good for anything else! So, it gets to be what you do. It’s like a habit you can’t kick. As long as the people come and enjoy the show…you get used to having fun with the crowds and the fact that you’ve made somebody feel better that day, coming to the show and leaving feeling good. It’s a great feeling to do that.

See What Their Life Is Like On Honky Tonk Ranch

EPR: On the days that you are off, when you actually have downtime, what do you do to relax and unwind? What kind of hobbies do you have?

Howard Bellamy: We live on our old family ranch in Florida. We kick around on the ranch and enjoy, really, just doing nothing, just whatever comes to mind…You’re on a schedule so much, if you can have a few days where there is just no schedule, you can sleep in and have no plans, just kind of [do] spontaneous stuff, that seems to be my favorite things to do. That’s how I come off of it best.

Howard Bellamy Interview

EPR: Someone could easily see a little bit of what life is like on your ranch because you guys have a show on the “Cowboy Channel.” Tell me about “Honky Tonk Ranch.”

Howard Bellamy: We just started our 3rd season filming. So we will be, quite a few weeks in the winter, filming that show. And it’s doing quite well. This season we have some bigger things happening and it’s been streaming into like 67 countries. So, it’s got to be quite successful and it’s going to be expanding this year. Yeah, we’ve got that going on, too.

Howard Bellamy On Touring 72 Countries

EPR: You do have a lot going on! And you guys have toured pretty much everywhere, lots of countries that other acts won’t go to. Is there any place that you want to tour that you haven’t had the opportunity to yet?

Howard Bellamy: Well, we have been to 72 countries and toured. There are a few places left – we haven’t been to Argentina or Brazil – [places] I would like to go. I like ranches a lot and we recorded with Brazilian artists and had hit records down there but never toured there. And we haven’t toured China, which I don’t really know if I want to go there or not. I can’t make up my mind. There are few left that [I] am curious about. 72 countries, that’s a lot of countries, and we have certainly seen a big part of the world, and played to lots of crowds. It makes you realize that music truly is a common language. You don’t have to speak the same language for people to have fun. And whether they can speak your language or not, they know the words, they know the melodies, and sing-along with you. That’s a really great thing that we have been fortunate enough to witness throughout the years, going to new places and breaking new ground.

EPR: You guys had a book come out last year [“Let Your Love Flow: The Life and Times of The Bellamy Brothers“] that shares a little about your time in the music industry. What is something that you talk about in your book that people might not expect?

Howard Bellamy: If you read the book, you are going to learn the real truth. You never really know what people think of you, they have their own opinions. But we laid it out pretty much the way it happened in the book. There’s a lot of truth in there, a lot of things went down that people never had any idea went down. There’s a lot of corruption in this business and we’ve survived. And the wild, crazy days of the 60s and 70s that we were fortunate enough to live through. Hopefully, at this point, we have a little more common sense than we used to have. It’s a story of survival, really. We had a lot up against us. It starts in Florida as kids coming up on the ranch, a little bit about what went down there, how rural it really was, and how far in the country we really lived. To go from that to having [now] toured 72 countries, it’s pretty amazing that can happen to someone. But as they say, “Only in America,” right?

Howard Bellamy Interview

Advice For Music Industry Newbies

EPR: Since you have been in the music industry so long and have seen so many things and know so much about it, what is one piece of advice that you would give someone just starting out in the industry today?

Howard Bellamy: You know, advice is the hardest thing to give. I think different people have different careers and they take different paths. It’s never really the same. We used to say, “Go to law school first, because the record labels will take you for a ride.” Historically, especially in the old days – I think now they still do it. But we used to always say to go to law school first and then become an entertainer because you are going to need it. If you are going to get a lawyer, they are going to take you for a ride, so somebody’s going to take you for a ride. [laughs]

EPR: Either way you’re in trouble, right? [laughs]

Howard Bellamy: But, you know, if it’s your passion, you’re head set that’s what you are going to do, stick with it. I’ve seen people who are very talented who never made it, more talented than some who did make it. So, it’s not total justice in that way it comes down either. It’s like life itself, some people get a good break and some people who deserve it never get the break.

EPR: And my last question for you: what is your song that people request the most, that people never get tired of hearing?

Howard Bellamy: It’s between 2 or 3 songs. I think the song most requested, and of course depending on what area you are in, is “Let Your Love Flow,” “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body” and “Redneck Girl.” It’s between those songs and if you are in rural Texas, you’re going to have to play “Redneck Girl” to even get out of there. And, oddly enough, in a lot of parts of the world, that song, it’s the same way. It’s one of the more mindless songs that we ever wrote…

EPR: But it’s fun…

Howard Bellamy: It is fun. I think that’s it. People want to have fun. And that’s what you forget. I remember being younger in a band. You always took everything so technical. It comes down to having fun with the people, that’s what you realize later one.

Catch The Bellamy Brothers live locally at the Liberty Showcase Theater on this Friday night and check out the rest of their tour dates here.

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