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M&C Interview: David Koechner/T-Bones, The Naked Trucker and 'Live At The Troubadour'

By April MacIntyre Mar 20, 2007, 20:21 GMT

M&C Interview: David Koechner/T-Bones, The Naked Trucker and 'Live At The Troubadour'

I asked David Koechner what inspired his character of Gerald "T-bones" Tibbons. "He\'s a truth teller, we crafted these characters with a lot of truth, and Gerald purely lives for every moment."

I was asked to describe the essence of The Naked Trucker & T-Bones Show in one sentence or less, and what came to mind was fizzy blend of Jerry Jeff Walker, Vaughn Meader - with a side of Hunter S. Thompson.  It would be a mistake to dismiss this show as pedestrian redneck fare.  You must bring a fondness for Absinthe, Americana and the absurd to understand where these two talented live performance artists "go" in their musical, mystical meandering.  It ain't no Blue Collar.

A Tale of Two Mid-Western Daves.

David Koechner began as an ensemble member of Chicago's Second City northwest; where he studied and went on to spend a season on "Saturday Night Live."  Koechner then came to Los Angeles where he landed guest appearances on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Reno 911!" He has since been a bright spot and scene stealer in so many films, including "Thank You for Smoking," "Daltry Calhoun," "Anchorman," "The Dukes of Hazard," and "Talladega Nights"

Dave (Gruber) Allen started doing sketch comedy in Des Moines, Iowa, with the group "Don't Quit Your Day Job." The group moved to Los Angeles and became known as "The Higgins Boys and Gruber." From there, Allen went on to make guest appearances on shows such as "Frasier," "NewsRadio," "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Gilmore Girls."  He is known for his role as Jeff Rosso in cult favorite, "Freaks and Geeks."

The Chocolate and Peanut Butter Experiment Works.

Through unseen cosmic forces, the two Daves met over 10 years ago, each of them separately working on their own distinct characters that would later bond, Koechner fashioning Gerald "T-Bones" Tibbons from a Mid-western muse drifter named "Four Way George", and Gruber Allen already performing in his troupe, "The Naked Trucker Show." 

In tasty peas and carrots fashion, the two had chemistry on-stage together and have been honing their act at key Los Angeles clubs and guest spots on various shows for years.

I asked David Koechner what inspired his character of Gerald "T-bones" Tibbons.  "He's a truth teller, we crafted these characters with a lot of truth, and Gerald purely lives for every moment."

"I met David (Gruber Allen) at Saturday Night Live in the 95-96 season - he was a guest writer. Then the following summer we did a movie called "Dill Scallion" that was a road show, so we spent three weeks on a tour bus together."

The two ensemble troupers along with their "Dickaround Gang" backup musicians kept at their creation, playing clubs in Los Angeles like Largo, and the Troubadour, where they recorded their DVD and CD of their performance and music "Live at the Troubadour."

Releasing March 20th, The Naked Trucker and T-Bones ‘Live at the Troubadour’ CD captures the complete live stage show of the duo of Dave and David Koechner as T-Bones and Trucker.  The pair has toured with Jack Black's Tenacious D.

The characters have made their entry to mass audiences via their Comedy Central series "The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show."  The album consists of charming toe-tappers that run the gamut of musical styles, from rap to Appalachian stomp.  My favorite cut, "My Daddy is an Astronaut," is an ode to bastardom.  T-Bones belts out his heart for his missing Paw: "Where were you on graduation day?  I wasn't there either..."  "..Was he Buzz Aldrin? Maybe."

"Ballad of the Naked Trucker" is a classic upbeat drinking kind of a song, celebrating the cross-country trucker that dwells deep in us all.

Dave Koechner in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Dave Koechner in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

"Gin N'Juice" is the wigger rap ditty that masterfully rhymes "Tanqueray" and "J", gleefully shouting "Yankee Doodle went to London just to buy an eight-ball..."

"My American Dream" is a picking masterpiece that has a bluesy tempo, and laments the disappearance of their dreams, weed, wine and mind, "Now he don't got nothing left to save.."

"Where's My Beer" continues this lost theme broached in American Dream, and brings it home in a rousing chorus of "where's my weed, wine, mind etc...and of course, T-Bones shares "it's GONE."  "Now we ain't got nothing left to say..."

"Hobo Holiday" is a song of the trucker's code, a Honky Tonk sing along with a catchy chorus of "Two dollars and hand job" that is bound to become a best-seller download-able ring-tone.

There's so much more, and the DVD has the live show performances that fill the time between songs, the stories are fleshed out.  The CD features the music.

Side Trips, Detours and the Open Road.

Being so musically gifted, I had to ask the man "T-Bones" what he would recommend to his fans to load their iPods up with.  "Credence Clearwater Revival, Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, The Carter Family catalog, The Johnny Cash catalog,  Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Molly Hatchet, Willie and Waylon, George Jones, Doc Watson, The Replacements, Link Wray, that's a good start," he laughed.

"T-Bones" speaks his mind, and I asked him what kind of a woman appealed to his unearthly senses. "I like that Gina Gershon, Pamela Anderson, Nicolette Sheridan, and about 20 porn stars you may or may not know," Bones laughed.

Koechner in Out Cold

Koechner in Out Cold
Koechner is a very busy man these days.  He has back-to-back roles in films; the most recent one currently in production is "Semi-Pro" as the Commish, playing once again with long-time collaborator and friend Will Ferrell.  His chemistry with Ferrell is undeniable,  he had the scene stealing line displaying his expert comic timing against Sacha Baron Cohen in "Talladega Nights" when Herschell (Koechner) retorts to Cohen's impressive list of French "gifts" to civilization: "We gave you the Missionary position…[beat]…You're welcome." 

Koechner is also gearing up for "The Comebacks," set for an August release.   In it, Koechner plays the lead as the worst coach ever in sports who gets one last chance with a crew of college football players, he describes it as a football comedy that skewers and spoofs the genre.

On a personal level, his four children range in age from 10 months to seven years.  I asked him, since seven is considered to be "the age of reason," Did he bounce any "T-Bones" schtick off the kid?  Koechner laughed: "Yeah, the age of reason, my act is always an opportunity to have a conversation with my seven years old"

Touring will have to wait. "Both our schedules are filled up with commitments," according to Koechner.

Koechner has a T-Bones film in development with screenwriter and producer Norman Hiscock ("Kids in the Hall," "King of the Hill"), with Paramount Vantage and Gary Sanchez Productions, Will Ferrell and Andy McKay's production company.   When Variety and THR reported the formation of their new production company at Paramount Vantage, speculation was rampant regarding the dubious name of their company, with website Defamer musing that a "dirty Sanchez" styled joke will be unleashed at any given moment.  It sounds like the perfect hatchery for the David Koechner and David Gruber Allen film to gestate.

The Naked Trucker and T-Bones ‘Live at the Troubadour’ is now available at Amazon. Visit the music database for more information and a complete track listing.

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