Right place, right time: Dropkick Dave Walters goes from Humble beginnings to music stardom

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31 January, 2019 By Johnston Farrow

From line cook to the Grand Ole Opry – it’s the story musicians everywhere dream of and one that Dropkick Dave Walters lived.

 

Success is often attributed to a variety of factors. In the case of Walters, hard work and being in the right place at the right time landed him a full-time gig as the bass player for famed Porter, TX country soul singer Sundance Head.

 

Walters considers himself a late bloomer. He picked up the bass around age 24 when a couple of his friends wanted to form a band. They became the swamp-blues driven Dropkick Chihuahuas, a group that lasted a dozen years, gigging all around the region. He also spent time playing in the Houston rockabilly band, the Flamin’ Hellcats.

 

“Live music was always a huge part of my life,” Walters said. “All my friends played in bands. I don’t know why I decided to pick up the bass, but I took it really seriously when I did it because that’s how I am.”

 

After years of playing the bar scene, Walters took a break from music and found his way to Humble restaurant, the Runway Bar and Grill, where he signed on as its line-cook. Fortunately for him, he happened to be working a shift when the fast-rising Head came into the Runway for a gig. Walters discovered through the restaurant manager the band needed a bass player and after that night, Walters hung up the apron for good, joining Head’s live group.

 

“I was in the kitchen and came out, we met and talked,” Walters recalled. “He said something quite prophetic that night – he said, ‘What if this was meant to be?’ That was eight years ago, and we’ve been together ever since.”

 

Shortly thereafter, Head, who had previously made the semi-finals of the television music reality show, American Idol, tried out for another series, The Voice. He was selected by country star and show mentor, Blake Shelton, eventually winning the competition. 

 

It immediately catapulted the band to some of the largest stages in the country. They joined Shelton on a six-week arena tour, on which thousands of fans would show up early to see them play, performances ending with standing ovations, something quite rare for opening bands.

 

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“Our home bar was a place in Tomball called Sportin’ Woody’s and we played there monthly,” Walters said. “Next thing you know, you’re on a bus and the first gig is a 20,000-seat arena in Bakersfield, California. You’re nervous, but you play what you always played, only you get applause back, and think, ‘Hey, I could get used to this.’”

 

Walters has since crisscrossed North America, playing as many as 220 shows in a year, recording with some of country music’s most well-known producers, and performing at the most storied live venues, including the country music mecca, The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville a handful of times. The band, including drummer Joe Busa, is about to embark on a new tour in March in support of the just-released album, Stained Glass and Neon, out on the country legend Dean Dillon’s Wildcatter Records. 

 

He is also quick to point out the band is supported by caring wives back home. Walters’ wife, Jayme, helps take care of their farm in Hockley when he’s off chasing his country music career. Walters also calls Sundance’s wife, Misty Head, “the driving force behind [their] success.”

Photo Credit: Misty Head

 

“Playing with Sundance is like checking things off your bucket list that you never knew were on your bucket list,” Walters said. “We’ve got to some of the most incredible things.”

 

Fans can catch the band on February 15 at the Old Post Office in Caldwell, Texas and at the 100.3 The Bull BBQ Shack party on February 23 in Houston. Those looking for tickets to the latter show must win them at select locations leading up to the show. [LINK: https://thebull.radio.com/bull-bbq-shack-ticket-stops]

Written by

Johnston Farrow

Johnston Farrow is also a columnist for Houston's CultureMap and has been a journalist for over 15 years, covering everything from news, entertainment, sports and more.


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