by Clirt McGirt
Ah, 90s Country. When you hear a reference to that era of music, you will conjure up an array of thoughts or feelings depending on your age. The younger generation (born during or after the late 1990s) might think “classic country” or “that music my parents listened to.” If you are a seasoned adult, your familiarity with the decade might be one of nostalgia and of the good ol’ days, just getting down on the farm. One thing for certain is 90s Country music is one of those things that gets sweeter with time.
If you’ve been around Oxford, Mississippi, or Ole Miss for any significant amount of time over the last decade you have undoubtedly heard of Mustache: “The World’s Most Powerful 90s Country Party Band.” Dust off your best pair of boots Friday, April 22 at The Lyric Theatre on the Square in Oxford, and scoot your way into the weekend. Doors open at 9:30 pm, and the show starts at 10:30 pm.
This group of hard workin’ men have deep roots in Oxford, but have taken their high energy show all over the country over the past 11 years. I managed to catch up with drummer David Balls, bassist Silly Ray Cyrus, guitarists Clint Sack and Joe Stiffie, and front-man Alan Johnson, and they were glad to sit down with me and answer a few questions about their solid dedication to the art form that is 90s Country.
Glad to see you, guys again. What’s been happening in the world of Mustache lately?
Johnson, dressed in his unmistakable neon life jacket, replied, “Man, it’s been crazy. We’ve been gigging everywhere. We’ve played in Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis, and all over the south. We’ve been to Talladega and way down yonder on the Chattahoochee. We’ve even been up the east coast as far as Maryland and this summer we’ll be in Carolina barefoot on the beaches at Isle of Palms. When we get on the road, we ain’t going down ‘til the sun comes up.”
What got all of you into the genre? Why not play it safe with old bar faves like “‘Wagon Wheel” or some Hank, Jr?
Johnson replied, “Well, we decided that if you really want to scoot a boot on the dance floor, nothing comes close to the power of 90s country music. Some folks would argue with us. We just disagree, and that’s okay. ”
David Balls, donning his signature coonskin-cap and thick sideburns, chimed in. “No one else on earth is doing this genre quite like us. Whether we head north or drive south, we’re always looking for a party crowd. I still can’t believe people come from miles around.”
I nodded at Clint Sack, who was polishing his flamed boots. He said, “Baby, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. When David called me that summer with the idea, I was sitting outside on my redwood deck. I jumped at the chance, and I’m glad I did. I like it. I love it!”
Silly Ray Cyrus, who until now was twirling the party end of his long black mullet between his fingers, adds “When the sun goes down on my side of town, I’m on a roll and ready to rock. There’s not a better 90s Country band on the planet, third rock from the sun.”
Joe Stiffie, engrossed in an 8-finger guitar-tap exercise, looked up and said, “I do things with my hands that most men can’t.”
As our time was drawing short, I asked if anyone had any final words to share. Johnson replied, “I think I speak for the fellas when I say that it’s all about the passion we have for 90s country music. It speaks to us, and I’ll play it until I can’t play anymore. I cross my heart.”