Cliff Price opens the show
Photos by Shirley Orey
Sunday, February 17, 2002
Rose Murray interviewing for the Ray Price Fan Club
Cliff Price has been a Cherokee Cowboy from a very early age. In fact, his parents sent out announcements when he was about a year old describing him as "The Cherokee Cowbaby." (You can see the cute picture in the Fan Club Photograph Album on this website.) Now he fronts the band for his father, Ray Price, and opens the show with his own great singing. Cliff was kind enough to allow me to interview him for the Ray Price Fan Club between shows at Laughlin, Nevada, on February 17, 2002.
Fan Club: Cliff, on the Fan Club website, we have a photo of you when you were quite young. You were playing an instrument that looked like a small guitar to me. Were you musically inclined and talented from an early age?
Cliff: That was a ukelele. I learned to play it school. And a flute too. I guess I started messing around with a guitar when I was about sixteen.
Fan Club: So music must run in the family then.
Cliff: Oh, maybe. (Chuckles) That was pretty much it. I think I took guitar lessons for a year. But I've still got room for improvement.
Fan Club: When you took those lessons, were you thinking of a musical career? Or were you just having fun?
Cliff: Ah, just…wanting to impress girls, I guess. (Laughs)
Fan Club: (Laughing too) That's a good reason.
Cliff: But you became a singer and you play guitar in the band. Were you influenced in wanting to be singer by the fact that your father was the famous Ray Price?
Cliff: I didn't really think about it when I was growing up. But I guess somewhere along in there I wanted to be a singer. From the time I started touring with my father and the band, I did everything else. I ran the sound for ten or fifteen years and ran the lights, sold all the merchandise-I did all that-and I guess singing was the last thing I did.
Fan Club: When did you start touring with the band?
Cliff: Right after high school. It was fun. Especially when I was younger because it's more fun when you're younger, I guess.
Fan Club: You meet a lot of girls that way too.
Cliff: Well, not as many as you think. (Thinking it over) I guess…that would depend on who you ask. (Laughing)
Fan Club: Are you a composer or songwriter?
Cliff: Well, I'm trying to write songs. I've got a recorder at the house.
Fan Club: Have you written any that you think are really good?
Cliff: I've got two. I have another one, but it's older and it's an older type music. I wrote it about ten years ago.
Fan Club: Are these country songs? C: Country songs.
Fan Club: And have you asked any famous people to play or sing them?
Cliff: No, no, no…I'm gonna sing them myself. And see what happens…If I had a big offer, though, you never can tell….
Fan Club: How about your father? Maybe he'll sing one of your songs? He's made the careers of a lot of songwriters that way.
Cliff: (Thinking it over) Well, I haven't been writing that style…
Fan Club: Oh, it's more the current kind of country?
Cliff: I guess. In fact, it's anything you want to do with it. Some do more than others.
Fan Club: The songs you've chosen to sing on the program-I really like those.
Cliff: Yeah, they're good songs. I try to pick songs that people have heard and like. They're good songs.
Fan Club: And one of them is one that your father recorded?
Cliff: Yeah. "Shoes."
Fan Club: Yes, that was the one you said last night was a new song for you but not for him.
Cliff: Yeah, we got a couple of those. And I'm trying to work on another one with him right now.
Fan Club: You want to mention the titles of some of the songs you sing in the show?
Cliff: Well, the first one's "Big City" that Merle Haggard recorded, and the second one's "Cowboy Rides Away." That's George Strait…Well, the third one tonight was "Shoes"…I've also been doing "Heart over Mind," another one of my father's…And then, Bob Wills' "Right or Wrong"…George Strait cut it, but everybody's cut the thing.
Fan Club: Did Bob Wills write that one?
Cliff: I think he did.
Fan Club: What other roles do you play in the musical, managerial or business side of the band nowadays?
Cliff: A little bit of everything…as I said, I work on the sound…get the sound right…
Fan Club: Are you a specialist in that?
Cliff: Oh, I've done it so long. I mean I'm not aced to run it all the time…Yeah, I do it before the show and sometimes I'll sneak out here and listen to it, see how it's doing.
Fan Club: What do you like best about the music business?
Cliff: (Laughs) Free food!
Fan Club: You mean the free meals? (Laughing too) No one's mentioned that one yet.
Cliff: Yeah, we get a lot of food served us. You really don't have to try to keep your money.
Fan Club: So they feed you pretty well wherever you go on tour?
Cliff: Yeah, they've got a little cafeteria up here…an employee cafeteria…
Fan Club: What do you like least about the music business?
Cliff: The least? I hate going out for just one night.
Fan Club: You mean like going out all the way to Montana for one night and then coming back?
Cliff: Yeah, just one night. One nights are harder to do than twenty.
Fan Club: So it's not hard on you when you go from place to place like with the current tour you're on?
Cliff: Yeah, it gets easier after the first night.
Fan Club: I would think you would be so tired from the night before that you would really be exhausted.
Cliff: No, like this place, we don't have to get up if we don't want to and come down here and fix all this stuff…it's already done…yeah, we had an easy day…
Fan Club: On tour, do you have a favorite city, venue, or area of the country that you like most to visit?
Cliff: I wish we would go back to Branson, but I don't think that's going to happen.
Fan Club: Go back to Branson? Tell me about Branson. I've seen pictures of you on the web at Branson fronting the band. Around 1985 or 86. Is that right? You were doing the same thing there as you're doing now?
Cliff: Yeah, we had a two-hour show up there.
Fan Club: And how long was that, when you were in Branson?
Cliff: About six months. That's the season.
Fan Club: Oh, I see. You liked that because you could stay in one place for a while?
Cliff: Yeah, sometimes it can get boring, but you can get the sound and everything right. Never moving.
Fan Club: Oh, right. Any other places?
Cliff: Yeah. I hope we get to visit Europe one of these days. I'd like to go there again. But I wouldn't want to stay.
Fan Club: Do you have any amusing stories about incidents or events on tour that you'd like to share? (Laughing) So far no one has wanted to share any.
Cliff: (Chuckles as if recalling some) The funniest ones are bad…
Fan Club: Not printable?
Cliff: (Still laughing) Ah, the funniest…Well, let's skip that…(Laughing) No comment.
Fan Club: What's the worst weather or road conditions you've run into on tour?
Cliff: The coldest place I've ever been was Mahnomen, Minnesota. We often play an Indian casino there. It started to blow up there and that was cold.
Fan Club: Icy roads and all?
Cliff: Yeah, it was so cold that you had to stop the bus about every two or three hours and knock off the ice.
Fan Club: Do you have a sideline career or business that you'd like to mention?
Cliff: I had a construction business. Building homes. I kind of messed around off and one. I quit about five years ago.
Fan Club: Are you married or single? Any children or other family members who figure prominently in your life?
Cliff: I'm single. I got divorced about six or seven years ago. No kids.
Fan Club: Any favorite sport, hobby, recreation, or objects you like to collect?
Cliff: Well, I like to watch football. Hobbies? Music, skiing, both snow skiing and water skiing… Can't afford to go snow skiing right now…and gotta wait for the summer for the other. …(with wry humor) Don't have a whole lot of fun, do I? Well I guess music's my main hobby right now. Trying to write songs.
Fan Club: Now, are there any other things you want to mention. About things that I haven't asked?
Cliff: Ah, let's …keep it simple this time.
Fan Club: Okay.
Cliff: (Laughing) Everybody reads these, including the musicians…