When we heard that Dennis Quaid and Gary Busey were collaborating on a scripted country music podcast — Uncle Drank: The Totally Hammered Podcast — we had to know more.
So we talked to Quaid. And here’s what he told us about what country music means to him, and what he hopes this new podcast will mean to listeners.
CMT.com: Did you grow up listening to country music in Texas? If so, what were some of the stand-out artists or songs you remember remembering?
Quaid: I grew up in Houston listening to all sorts of country music from Elvis and the Beatles, to Gene Autry — who I’m related to — to people like Hank. But I really love the outlaws like Willie, Waylon and people like Merle, and the Bakersfield sound always moves the needle for me. I always loved Johnny Cash songs like “A Boy Named Sue,” “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line.” These were story songs. That’s why it’s really cool to be part of a new narrative around the outlaws like this Uncle Drank thing — he’s an outlaw, too.
You’ve played in a band, and you’ve even written a Christian song for your mom. Is that it for you, or is this podcast another way to keep music in your life and in your future?
Christian music is a big part of my life. And so is faith. My song “On My Way to Heaven” was written for my mother. That’s a very big song that I’m going to be doing something with later in the year, and I can’t wait for the world to hear it. My podcast The Dennissance deals a lot with faith, redemption and spirituality. I’m hoping to do a whole other faith-based podcast with our partners very soon. Stay tuned on that. This will be a whole new side of me that many of my fans may not be aware of.
Other than your rapport with Gary, what else can listeners expect to get out of Uncle Drank?
Uncle Drank is truly an offshoot of Gary’s personality. We have known one another for a long time and both arrived in Hollywood around the same time. When we pitched it to him, he said that no acting would be required. Many people don’t know this, but Gary was a musician first. He played with Leon Russell as his drummer, he was friends with Waylon Jennings and people like T Bone Burnett, plus he wrote music for Robert Altman’s iconic Nashville. I think Uncle Drank is all id and raw emotion. He does what he wants and sometimes pays a big price for his impulses. The writing is amazing. Really one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen done around country music. The music is a big part of it and was created by my partner — Audio Up CEO Jared Gutstadt — who’s known for penning songs for people like Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Bob Dylan, Lil Wayne and Steven Tyler, so it’s a nice one-two punch of songs and story. It’s serious and funny. The first single is already out and making waves on TikTok. I posted my first dance alongside the song which was a fun way to get the word out.
It’s easy to poke fun at some of the recurring themes in country music, but how will you make comedy out of the genre without sounding like you’re laughing at it?
Uncle Drank is intended to be funny, and I hope it gets a lot of laughs. I don’t ever take country music lightly. It’s one of the most important things in my life. It’s just one of those amazing worlds that combines elements of sincerity, humor, pathos and redemption. Uncle Drank comes off as a comedy, but truly could be the story of anybody who ever set out to have a dream and allowed their choices and bad behavior to get in the way of accomplishing it all. Like (characters) Homer Simpson or Kenny Powers. We think there’s something very redemptive about him. People can laugh at him, but at the end of the day, Uncle Drank has some very redeeming qualities and we wanted to make sure that we really stepped into the country music world with love and respect.
The eight-part comedy music special will premiere later this year, with Busey starring as the free-spirited Uncle Drank and Quaid as Blendy, a blender that is Uncle Drank’s best friend. The podcast will feature an original soundtrack from Warner Records, with the banjo-heavy country rap song “Hickstart My Heart” featuring Trinidad James as the show’s theme song.