Big Daddy knew the name Big Blue Dump Truck was the right one for his Enid, Oklahoma-based blues quartet as soon as he heard it.
“We were sitting around at this bar, me and my old drummer from the band Backhand,” Big Daddy says in a phone conversation from Oklahoma in late June. “We were tossing back band names. Then a friend of ours named Monster sat down at the bar and said, `Big Blue Dump Truck’—that would be a great name for your band.”
That’s how the popular quartet got its name, a name which is becoming more and more well known around Oklahoma this summer as the band hopes soon to break into the casino circuit.
“Clubs around here really don’t pay squat, so we’ve tried to get something going to play in the casinos,” Daddy said. “I was in some other bands that played heavy metal or hard rock, and that wouldn’t work in casinos. And the last thing anybody needs in Oklahoma is another Red Dirt band.”
So Big Blue Dump Truck, whose other members include Martin Henry (bass), Billy Beck (guitar), and Nick Eubanks (drums), focuses instead on blues and blues-rock.
Among the songs they feature are “Tighten Up,” the classic Archie Bell & The Drells R&B dance hit from 1968; Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing;” several Allman Brothers Band favorites; and Steppenwolf’s “Don’t Step On The Grass Sam,” using the arrangement of the Southern rock jam band Gov’t Mule.
The band doesn’t do a lot of country covers, but the ones they do have attitude, such as Hank Jr.’s “Family Tradition” and Charlie Daniels’ 1980 hit, “Long Haired Country Boy.”
Big Daddy is the front man, and he loves to add a great deal of excitement and showmanship to the band’s gigs.
“I think that’s a big part of it,” says Daddy, who moved to Enid six years ago from Denver. “I ain’t no Luther Vandross, but I’m a good singer and I can hold a key. I think I put on a good show. I work the crowd. I love to play shows, and I think we all agree. I’ve had a lot of comments lately from fans who say, `You look like you’re having a blast up there.’ We all enjoy it.”
One event they all enjoyed was a Battle of the Bands at Willie Matthews’ wonderful Rooster’s Honky Tonk Bar and Chicken Shack in Hennessey, Oklahoma last fall. Big Blue Dump Truck won the competition, a huge career highlight for the band.
“We did an original tune, so it wasn’t all covers,” Big Daddy recalls. “A guy in one of the other bands came up to me and said, `What are you gonna do with your money? You got this in the bag.’ We were the only band that did everything on the checklist. We also introduced all the band members, and in the middle of Jimi Hendrix’s `Red House,’ we switched drummers in the middle.”
Daddy used to play drums himself, until an accident when a car hit his motorcycle and “shattered my heel,” he says, and that was the heel he used to play bass drum pedal. He occasionally sits in on drums still, though Daddy works mainly as the front man, working the crowd and performing lead vocals.
And when he sat in on “Red House” that night last September 11 at Rooster’s in the middle of the tune, it was a magic moment in a Big Blue Dump Truck triumph at the hotly contested Battle of the Bands.
By Phil Sweetland