Interview with 4 Runner
By CSO European
Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.
How do you feel at the moment?
Answer: Well, the weather outside is sunny and it's very chilly
today. Tonight is predicted to be about 10 degree farenheit. The
Christmas season and New Years have just passed and we're all coming
down from that happy high. 2004 looks very bright and promising
What did the year bring you so far?
Answer: Much time with my wonderful family. I have two children,
Savannah, 11 and Sam,
and my amazing wife of nearly 13 years, Donna. This time of the year
allows the kids to be out of school and for my wife and I to take off
work. We spend all our days and nights just hanging out as a family.
What is your opinion about the Fan Fair in Nashville/TN?
Answer: I love the whole feeling of Fan Fair. For the longest
time, it was the only style of music where the stars could personally
thank their fans...throw parties...play in charity golf tournaments and
baseball games...put on concerts...shake hands...pat backs...kiss
babies. Fan Fair breaks down the wall that is traditionally between a
celebrity and their fans.
Record sales are declining in general. It is only Country Music that
doesn't experience as dramatic declines as Pop- and Rock Music do. What
to you think is the reason for that?
Answer: I believe other genres of music don't have as much of a
cornerstone sound as country music. These days, what is pop music? What
is rock and roll? Industrial rock? R and B
days could be hip-hop...rap or whatever. Country music, on the other
hand, doesn't stray too far from it's base...from it's roots. I believe
that at least partially explains why country continues on a steady track
in sales. Country fans are very loyal!
At the moment there is a real country music boom in Germany. The Dixie
Chicks and E. Lou Harris had three concerts in Germany. When can we
count on a concert with yourself in Germany?
Answer: 4Runner would love to have concerts in Germany. We would
simply need an invitation to do so.
If concerts organizers would like to book you for Germany / Europe, who
would they need to contact?
Answer: Contact our manager, Vicky Hilliard on our our web-site, www.4runnerfans.com.
Country music has many faces. Besides Pop, Rock, Cajun and Bluegrass
there are many other elements in it. What is country music for you?
Answer: Country music is REAL. It is SINCERE. From the HEART. It
doesn't beat around the bush, lyrically...it gets RIGHT TO THE POINT.
Country music has lyrics you can hear and understand and are not buried
in the music tracks. It tells stories of EVERY DAY PEOPLE...the SIMPLE
MAN. Musically, it can wear many hats.
Surely a lot of your fans would like to know what your plans for 2004
are and when we can expect a new CD from you?
Answer: 4Runner's plans for 2004 are to continue pulling singles
off our last CD project, GETAWAY CAR. Get out and play as many concerts
as we can. Participate in Fan Fair 2004. And perhaps by the middle of
the summer, go back into the recording studio again. Who knows, maybe
we'll do a German tour!
How did you get to Country Music and when?
Answer: Well, this is Craig Morris writing to you. I grew up in
the northeast corner of the state of Arkansas in the USA. Where I grew
up, you pretty much only heard country and western...gospel...and
bluegrass music being played. Singing and playing these styles was as
natural as a fish is to water. My entire family, with no exceptions
sang. Meaning all my aunts and uncles...all my cousins...my mom and dad,
brother and sister...even grandma and grandpa sang. Many also played the
piano, as I did. Family reunions were a hoot...we had quite a choir. My
love of music moved into my writing songs at the age of 16 which
eventually brought me to Nashville with my father to pitch my songs to
publishing companies on Music Row. I began making trips to Nashville
with him while I was a teenager. I've been fortunate in my career with
my piano playing and singing, but the reason I came to Nashville was to
write songs. My biggest joy is still writing songs.
What does Country Music mean to you?
Answer: It is my love and my career. How many people get to do
what they truly love to do? I feel that God has smiled upon me and
blessed me far more than I deserve. That's what County Music means to
How do you see the modern Acceptance in Country Music?
Answer: A new country fan is born every minute. Songs that were
popular 20 years ago are brand new songs to the new country fan. I
believe there will always be a fan base for country music.
In what area would you say we could do some changes in the Country
Answer: Don't ignore the older fans...don't ignore the older
artists. Country music in not confined to a young demographic. I worked
on a country music variety show called "Nashville Now" on the
Nashville Network for almost 6 years. On this show, I was able to sing
with all the living country greats and the newcomers too...at that time
the newcomers were Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Garth Brooks...etc.
show had tremendous ratings, as did the network. At some point they put
control of the Network in the hands of what I'll call UN-country bean
counters. Their only goal was making money for their company and they
had no love of, or understanding of the COUNTRY FAN. Ultimately, they
drove the show, and the network into the ground in an effort to draw a
younger audience. They reached out for the younger fan at the expense of
their older, loyal fans. I'm not saying that country music doesn't need
to reach out to a younger demographic, but not at the expense of the
longtime, extremely devoted fan.
Do you have an actual CD on the market?
Answer: Yes, our current CD is titled, "GETAWAY CAR"
and can be purchased on our web-site www.4Runnerfans.com.
Which Point criterion were the Songs voted?
Answer: I think you're asking "what is the criterion for the
songs we choose?" Usually, we all know when we've found a song that
we MUST record. Occasionally, one of us will feel so strongly about a
song that we'll lobby the others pretty heavy to record it. Basically,
we look for unique, fresh lyrics and a melody that is perfectly married
to that lyric.
Do you write your songs on your on?
Answer: We've recorded a few of my songs. On the first 4runner
project, we cut "HOME ALONE" and it was a single in the fall
of 1995. On the 2nd project, One For The Ages, 4runner recorded,
"EVERY DREAM". And finally, on our current project, I have
"GOD, FAMILY AND COUNTRY", "LOVE SURVIVORS" and
"TIDAL WAVE". On each of these songs, I co-wrote them with
talented friends of mine.
What comes to your mind about Nashville/TN and the music industry?
Answer: I think I covered that in the "what would you change
about country music and the "what does country music mean to
Which Song was most considerable to you in the history of the
Country-Music? And why?
Answer: In the past 20 years, for me it was Garth Brooks' ballad,
Would you say there is a worldwide difference by the Country-Fans? And
Answer: I find that country fans in some parts of the world are
big traditionalists. They know more about country music than most fans
here, and they appreciate the older style of country music.( I mean that
they study the album cover, know the musicians, producers, harmony
singers, songwriters etc. They know more about the music and everything
that surrounds it.) Many radio stations in America turn their noses up
to more traditional forms of country music.
How would you rate the country music in your hometown?
Answer: Well, since I live in the Nashville, Tennessee area, I'd
have to rate country music here pretty dog-gone high!
How much do you believe that the influence of a song means in the public
Answer: I have two ways of thinking on that question...One, a
song can simply reflect a current reality in our society, or second, it
can inspire and motivate a society...move a society to a way of
thinking, or direct public thinking a particular direction. (I sound
like a professor...sorry!)
How would you describe the Style of the Music you play?
Answer: Harmony centered, R & B influenced, soulful music of
Why did you just pick up this kind and not another one?
Answer: My heart is in this style of music more than any other.
That is not to say that I don't love and appreciate other styles of
How important do you feel the Contact is with the Fans? And why?
Answer: If I was a re-chargeable battery, the fans would be my
A very long incessant Trend is the fuse of Country- and Pop-Music. Where
do you see the advantage and the disadvantage?
Answer: To a point, I don't mind the co-mingling of musical
styles. It brings in fans from other styles of music to the country
music consciousness. When the country industry and country radio is
dominated by an ear-candy, sweet pop sound, then, in my opinion, they've
removed the heart from the genre. It will dilute the country music
industry to stray too far from its roots.
Do you have any musical model? And if yes, why those once?
Answer: My mom and dad started bringing Charlie Rich records home
when I was just a young boy. Before he was the "Silver Fox". I
have always been a Charlie Rich fan. My parents also had an 8-track tape
of Johnny Cash that we played over and over again when I was little.
Johnny Cash IS country music. Or was...I had the good fortune to work
with both of these great men on Nashville Now. I shook their hands,
looked into their eyes and thanked them for the wonderful influence they
had on me and the amazing music they made. Additionally, Billy Joel,
Little David Wilkins, Barry Manilow, and Ronnie Milsap have influenced
How much influence does your musical development have in your private
Answer: I'm in an unusual place in life. There is no separation
between my personal life and my professional life. My hobby is my work,
my work is my hobby.
How old where you when you discovered your love for Country music?
Answer: As far back as I can remember, I have listened to and
loved country music. I'd say I was tapping my little toes to the beat of
country music when I was in diapers.
When was your first time to stand on stage?
Answer: It was in 2nd grade. We had an evening program for our
parents and family and in an apron and chef's hat I sang the song,
"Hot, Crossed Buns".
Is there something you would like to tell your European Fans?
Answer: Get to know 4Runner!! Invite us over...we'd love to meet
you and play our music for you!
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de