From Car Master to Los Angeles Roots Rocker
Interview by Ryan Vaillancourt | Los Angeles Downtown News
15 Apr 2013
Darryl Holter is known around Downtown primarily as the double-breasted suit-wearing executive who manages the Shammas Group’s small empire of Figueroa Street auto dealerships.
So it might come as a surprise that under the white collar veneer, Holter’s a guitar pickin’ working man’s working man with a penchant for progressive politics. He even wrote a song called “Looking for Health Care Reform” for a musicians union fundraiser.
Darryl Holter has spent increasing time in recent years with his six string. Last month, he released his third album, Crooked Hearts, a roots rock exploration of relationships gone awry. On the record he is backed by a lineup of top notch musicians, including Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin and fiddle wizard Gabe Witcher of the Punch Brothers.
Darryl Holter has a residency at Seven Grand, downtown. He spoke with Los Angeles Downtown News about his business and his music.
Los Angeles Downtown News: You’re known as the de facto president of Auto Row. How and when did you get into music?
Darryl Holter: My father taught me when I was a kid. I grew up in Minnesota and I started playing around the state at hospitals and talent contests and even television shows. I primarily did country western music when I was really young. Then I was very interested in the folk music revival in part because Bob Dylan came from Minnesota, so there was a direct connection. I went through literally doing every Bob Dylan song that ever existed. Then I was involved as a student in the civil rights and the anti-war movements, so I used a lot of my music there. I found that music was a really interesting way to connect with people. Over the years I’d written a lot of songs and I decided about five years ago that I might like to record them. I thought if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.
Q: Starting with Dave Alvin, Crooked Hearts has some heavy hitter musicians. How’d they end up on your record?
A: When I decided to record, I said to [co-producer Ben Wendel], “Look, I want to do this right.” We went and got the best guys we could. I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid but usually it’s been by myself. In doing the records I was able to play with really great people. It has allowed me to see my own creations in a totally new way.
Q: Do you expect your colleagues and friends in the Downtown business world to show up at your Seven Grand gigs?
A: A lot of them want to although the shows are kind of late for a lot of them, you know, ten o’clock on a Monday or Wed night. But I don’t make it mandatory. I do this for fun.
Seven Grand is at 515 W. Seventh St. Darryl Holter’s Crooked Hearts and show schedule are available at darrylholter.com
– Ryan Vaillancourt – Los Angeles Downtown News
See Darryl Holter Live Wed May 8th, 2013 At The Seven Grand, Downtown LA
Darryl Holter at 10pm With: All Spots To Black at 11pm
The Seven Grand:
515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014