If you’re a frequent follower of the Anniston music scene, then there’s a strong chance you’ve seen musician Jody Wood playing around town. The guitarist does double duty as a member of the blues string band the Rattlesnake Rattlers as well as the frontman for his own four-piece Jody Wood Band.
“I’ve been playing the guitar now for, I guess, 24 years or something like that,” Woods said. “I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager. I’m 42 now.” He’s been performing regularly for the last 10 years — at least 80 shows a year.
The Navy veteran and former beach bum (“I was obsessed with surfing for a long time when I lived in California”) plays at Rack and Roll Billiards in Anniston at least once a month with his band: drummer Josh Jackson, bass guitarist Trevor Stewart and lead guitar player Ian Nelson (who also play with him in the Rattlesnake Rattlers).
There is not one but two outdoor music festivals in the county on Saturday — Knox Outdoors in Anniston and Jamfest in Jacksonville — and the Rattlesnake Rattlers are playing at both of them.
What was your first music memory?
My dad played guitar and sang in a band around the Anniston area when I was a kid, and they traveled a good bit. He started teaching me at a very young age, and then we stopped, and got back into it when I was about 14. I always loved music and when I was a teenager. I was into heavy metal bands and punk rock and stuff like that.
How does playing for the Rattlers differ from your playing for yourself?
The Rattlers — it’s a good bit different from what I do on my own. Although I used to have a band in California that was somewhat similar to the Rattlers, in the sense that we had the same instruments. We had a banjo and a fiddle and a mandolin, guitars, upright bass — but we did mostly my own music.
In the Rattlers, we’re writing original music but we do a lot of old stuff, like the 1920s and ’30s and ’40s.
My solo stuff and what we play in the Jody Wood Band are songs that I’ve been writing; some of them go back 20 years. My original music is heavily influenced by old honky-tonk country and Americana music, but also heavily influenced by the intensity and the rawness of punk rock. I always joke with my band and say, “I want it to sound like a punk band playing country music.”
What inspires you as a songwriter?
All kinds of different stuff. A lot of personal experience, mostly. A lot of times based on a mistake that I’ve made in the past (laughs). There’s been a couple of relationships gone bad over the years, and I definitely have written a couple of songs about that. Learning about myself and as I’ve gotten older, being able to look back on things from a whole different perspective.
Would you say that writing is cathartic?
Oh absolutely. In fact, today I was sitting here at home and I made a list of 17 different songs that I’ve written over the last few years that I don’t even really perform in public. Some of them are so cathartic for me that I literally could not perform them in public due to the emotion attached.
One particular song I wrote a couple of years ago, I think I’ve played it in public twice and I started to break down in the middle of it both times.
And there’s a couple of songs that I’ve written over the years about my dad. My father is huge influence on me musically, but I lost him at a very young age. I’ve written songs that are heavily influenced by him, and about that situations that are tough for me to even get through sometimes.