Dom Martin photo by Allison Morgan
Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series
Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road for music. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Dom Martin.
Americana Highways: How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?
Dom Martin: I have a huge cup (it’s the biggest cup I could find in this whole land lol) of coffee and some variation of oat milk. 3 or 4 of those while I start playing guitar quickly before my brain realises we are awake. My brain accepts that the day will be guitar related if I do it just right. Cow milk always freaked me to hell out.. nothing against anyone who drinks that stuff but yeah, creepy stuff man. I mean it’s baby calf growth food! My body doesn’t react well to dairy products in general so I try to stay clear.
AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road for music?)
DM: Oh good one. Colorado Springs for sure. What a shit hole of a place we stayed in! It was absolutely disgusting and I’ve lived in a crack den for 3 years and that seemed 5 star compared to this place. I got a gun straight away and whatever moved I just emptied the clip (only joking). Nobody even bothered to call the cops which was lucky. Come to think of it a lot of places we stayed while touring across mid-west America were awful and damned expensive too. It was a bit of a shock really as we expected better. Live and learn. Goodness, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about that place.
A better one perhaps yes, was in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Oh yes. Ok, so after we did the show we all went to a local bar literally around the corner from a lovely little house that the boss had arranged for us to stay in that night. I had a zero beer and called it a night. I left them all to it. I walked back to this house and it’s night time probably around midnight, maybe 1am. I hear crickets and it’s still hot as hell outside so I get my vape and my phone and I’m sitting on the porch at the front of the house. I had one earphone in my left ear with Rory Gallagher playing. Some Roy Buchanan and Ray LaMotagne too. Smoking away to my hearts content, from my right ear I can hear big V8s and trains roll by into the night. Honestly one of the best and most peaceful times in my whole life. Spent a good 2 hours out there in pure solitude and bliss. I’d go back and live there in a heartbeat.
AH: If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?
DM: For a whole tour.. I mean that’s a tall order man! I don’t know. Off the top of my head in this very moment it would probably be the Rory Gallagher Beat Club sessions cd. There is an intelligence that I feel that Rory had when he was coming up with the songs and how they are structured on this cd. “In Your Town” is a feckin gold mine on slide guitar in #D. Legendary intelligence and understanding of it at such a young age. “Used To Be,” the arrangement of it is so smart and it sounds huge for a trio band as does “Laundromat.” He and the band which was Wilgar Campbell on drums and Gerry McAvoy on bass really had something special that day when they recorded that show.
AH: What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?
DM: I don’t really take any personal items on tour to be honest. A can of DeoxIT is always welcome though!
AH: What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road for music, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?
DM: I only really eat out of necessity. If I didn’t have to eat I wouldn’t. I don’t like it much but I love peanut butter! Absolutely love the stuff, can’t get enough of it. No idea why, it just does it for me and it’s road food. Comes in a big tub. Travel friendly.
Restaurants, I’m happy if they have chicken and salad. I was vegan for a long time but it’s impossible to maintain that diet whilst on the road giggling every night. You just run out of energy and suffer muscle wastage with the lack of protein.
Eating on tour is never easy as you just have to eat whatever you can stomach and at times you can be given some weird and wonderful foods that are just pure mental illness but you eat it anyway because you don’t wanna be rude….. or do like I do sometimes…. scrape it on to Ben’s (my right hand man, bass guy) plate and say thanks very much, it was lovely.. I’m full, I don’t want any more thank you….lol….plus he eats like a horse anyhow!
AH: If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?
DM: To go back to the porch in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That’s the very one.
AH: What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?
DM: Honestly I can’t think of anything I’ve been told on the road that has stuck with me. My memory is not great so I’ve forgotten more than I’ve done sadly.. I’ve asked a lot of people for advice on what not to do and that always came back with an awful awkward look. Eric Gales once told me nothing on tour and I got a wave one time from Jo Bo across the casino. Met Gerry McAvoy a few times and asked him about Rory’s Vox amp settings. Nobody that knew him seems to know anything about Rory at all so I got nothing back really.
I met Sugar Ray Rayford in Omaha Nebraska recently. He told me just be yourself. I already had that one sussed out but the thought was there and it’s positive so I’ll go with that one. The best advice is mostly the advice I’ve given to myself.
Wait for the book my friend! My mentors Fenton and Audrey Parsons have been a never ending source of useful life knowledge and advice. I owe them.
My Dad is always in the back of my mind and when he’s not haunting my sleep, he’s always a positive thought to go back to. He was a master of philosophy though completely unschooled. Naturally smart, a high IQ kinda thing. He was a troubled soul but had some wisdom around him none the less. Not really sure if this all answers the question…. (laughs)
Find more information and tour dates for Dom Martin here: https://www.dommart.in
See other Key to the Highway interviews here: https://americanahighways.org/category/interviews/key-to-the-highway-series/ (click here for: Vince Herman Jimmy Smith Ben Nichols Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Nicki Bluhm Jim White Danny Barnes Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Sadler Vaden )
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