“If aliens were to land on Earth (assuming that they’re not stupid enough to land here now) and instructed you to take them to a rock and roll show, whatever you do, find where Warner Hodges is playing. There is no finer example of what rock and roll is, should be, has been, and will continue to be. ” - Raul Malo - The Mavericks
It’s an undisputed, stone cold fact that Warner E. Hodges is one of the most instantly recognisable guitarists playing today.
The story starts in Wurzberg, Germany, where Warner was an army brat. His mother and father both had a passion for country music and the young Warner was soon to join their band, playing drums.
In 1970, his older brother gave him the debut albums by Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. His father heard that there was an up and coming band featuring a hot shot guitarist coming to town, and bought tickets for himself and Warner. The band were Deep Purple, the guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. The young Warner switched from drums to guitar.
Two discoveries would prove to be the main lasting influences on Warner’s developing style. First he discovered and fell in love with AC/DC, secondly the Sex Pistols hit America, their influence not being limited to the high energy style of Steve Jones, but also their DIY punk ethic.
Warner played with a succession of local Nashville punk bands and then he and two school friends - Perry Baggs and Jeff Johnson - met a singer who had moved to Nashville looking for musicians who were prepared to join him in fusing the styles of Hank Williams with the Ramones. The singer was Jason Ringenberg, and so Jason & The Scorchers were born.
Signing with Praxis Management, the Scorchers recorded two EPs and six full albums, and played a major role in creating what we now call Alt Country or Americana.
Their reputation as live performers eventually led to the Americana Music Association awarding them the “Lifetime Achievement Award For Life Performance in 2008.
In 2007, Warner joined Dan Baird and Mauro Magellan (both ex Georgia Satellites) in a new band, Dan Baird & Homemade Sin.
The band recorded five studio albums, the biggest selling of the five being Rollercoaster which was produced by Warner.
From 2010 onwards, Warner also began a parallel solo career and has so far recorded four solo albums, with the latest - Right Back Where I Started - featuring a backing band made up of members of Cheap Trick, The Mavericks and Steve Earle & The Dukes.
The idea was always to find a core of permanent musicians, and with Warner spending more and more time in Europe it made sense that he would settle on a line up of musicians from that side of the pond.
Ben Marsden on guitar, Jason Knight on bass and John Powney on drums may all be new names to most people, but that is set to change and with them behind him, Warner now has a band capable of running Black Sabbath into Merle Haggard and back out into AC/DC. Their debut album ‘Just Feels Right’ was released in May 2020 - word is that it’s the most Jason & The Scorchers sounding record of Warner’s solo career.
The Warner E. Hodges Band will be touring anywhere and everywhere that as Warner puts it, has the electricity to stage the show and the money to pay the band.
As anyone who has seen the band will attest, it’s a fun night out. Each musician is a master craftsman in their own right and Warner is still a showman that few can match.