Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with The Whiskey Biscuits

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with The Whiskey BiscuitsHaving fun is just something I like to do. From hanging out with friends at a bar after work to hitting the nightclubs on a Saturday night, getting into as much trouble as possible is just my calling. I like to visit the same few bars too. One of those bars is located just down the street from where I live actually. It is called The Spot and they feature some of Indy’s best drink specials, cornhole in the summer, and huge projector during football season. They even have a ton of beer pong tables setup on any given night. It is truly a great place to hang out. But they also have live music. The music is usually a cover band, but I love covers. It works. One night a couple years back I heard a band that I just had to learn more about. They were playing to a packed house on a typical Saturday night. When they were done I found the lead singer. Ever since we have stayed in touch on Facebook. Not long ago I figured it was time to introduce them to you. I was excited to sit with these guys. It is my pleasure to introduce you to a great local classical rock and blues band better known as The Whiskey Biscuits.

I have to know, where did the name come?

(Laughs) We used to play a small bar in Sheridan Indiana, almost every weekend (our old name at that time was Enough To Go ‘Round), honestly it’s where we started some six years ago.  Ryan Beyler and Tom Duke just played acoustic sets there before the band grew. Jack Daniels was the drink of choice for the two of us every evening. At 1:00 AM every morning due to the large following/crowds (not bragging…there’s just not much to do in Sheridan), the bar would serve made from scratch biscuits & gravy for $5 a plate.  One evening, both Ryan and Tom were trying to sober up before the drive and must have had four plates of those puppies….the owner walked out and said, “You guys are full of nothing but whiskey and biscuits”  Boom.

How long have you guys been performing?

Ryan and Tom have been playing and performing for about ten years, together for nine.  Amy has been playing since she was sixteen, so that would make it seven years for her. Same for Nick, Tyler and Don. Derek Felix is our drummer and he has been playing for probably fifteen years or so.  Collectively, the Biscuits have been banging around for about six years together with different parts coming and going and adding, etc.

Where did you all meet?

Well, that’s a long one… bear with me. Tom and Ryan met some sixteen years ago in high school through a close mutual friend, Greg Faris.  Amy is obviously Tom’s sister (now engaged to Ryan) and when she was ready to start performing in the bars, she joined up starting with just vocals, then moved to keyboards, now bass guitar.  Nick Mccallum, our vocalist, was one of Ryan’s fraternity brothers at Indiana University, Tyler Wolfcale our 4th vocalist was close with Amy in the ambassadors at Carmel High School and Don Feeney our keyboard player joined about two years ago while working with Ryan.  Derek Felix our drummer came along after meeting him through a very close friend of the bands, Jai Baker.

I have seen you guys perform like ten times at The Spot. Where else can I see you guys perform?

We had a lot of fun at The Spot, but unfortunately don’t play there anymore. We actually did a 180 after leaving there and have added four other musicians, turned everything into a full band and added probably twenty more songs.  I would call it kind of an overhaul; it was great for us.  Now we play more places that are more big-band friendly like Mickey’s Irish Pub in Carmel, the Rathskeller, 8 Seconds Saloon, the Music Mill, the Murat Theater, Rock Lobster, the Lake House Tavern, the Corner Wine Bar, and private events or parties. We’ve played quite a few places in town and love new venues.

You play a lot of covers. Do you have any originals in your set list?

Honestly we are pretty much a true cover band. We have a lot of songs in our back pockets that we individually have written, back in the August Again days, Ryan, our former bandmate Adam Brower, Amy is probably our best true song writer and has loads of stuff that we need to put to full band music. We all have written songs and have played them out during gigs from time to time.  Especially the song August Again written for my dad before he passed away.

Are you guys nice to Amy?

(Laughs) Are you kidding? Amy runs the band!

Where do you guys practice?

Ryan and Amy have a studio set up in their basement. They are kind enough to let all of us hooligans in.

What is the biggest crowd you have ever played for?

We’ve all played in different situations. The largest I’ve played for was well over 3,000.  We’ve had some really good gigs where there has been over 1,000 people. A typical night involves anywhere from 80 – 250 ppl (depending on the venue).

The smallest?

The bartender.  That’s happened only twice though. (Laughs)

What is your favorite cover to perform?

The last song of the night, for some reason, and there is no particular reason why, but we just really get into Hey Girl by OAR.  That’s not even a typical tune that fits our style of music, but for some weird reason it brings out all our inner demons and we just let it all go.   American Girl, Keep Your Hands to Yourself, Folsom Prison and Black Horse and a Cherry Tree are also very fun.

When I hear you guys, all I want to do is drink a beer. What are you guys drinking on stage?

Usually we are drinking Jack Daniels on the rocks…that’s pretty standard. Some do in fact drink beer and our pre-gig shot is Jagermeister. When Amy is not ripping out some Carrie Underwood she sticks with the wine.

What is your favorite beer?

During gigs it is Miller Lite or Coors Light. Neither is too heavy.

Do you have a favorite venue?

8 Seconds Saloon was a very cool experience simply to sit backstage and see all of the artists from Willie Nelson to Molly Hatchet to Montgomery Gentry to… David Banner? All of these acts have signed the wall… not to mention all of the country artists in between… you really are sharing the stage with some great talent that has come through there.  Mickey’s Irish Pub always takes great care of their bands and that’s a treat to play there.  The Murat & the Rathskeller are unbelievable experiences as well.

To play cover songs like you guys do, are there any legal implications or any process you have to go through to be able to perform those live?

I really hope not. No, not playing them, there’s no problem with that.  It would only play a role if we recorded them live and sold them for a profit.  Even making a demo with covers is not a problem as long as you aren’t selling them.

Who are some of your influences?

We have a wide variety of styles and likes in the band. Definitely anything from country to blues to jazz to hard rock.  Specifically…our boy, Johnny Cash (you can tell Tom is doing this interview), Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Eagles, Tom Petty, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Eric Clapton, Scottie Ballentine, Waylon Jennings, Dave Matthews Band, The Killers, Maroon 5.  I could rattle off probably 100 more. We love all kinds of music and are impartial to any one genre. I think that is what makes our band so diverse in the song selection we play.  That is the number one compliment we get; vast variety along with our energy.

How do you decide what songs to perform on any given night?

Completely depends on the venue and what we are the most comfortable with before we play. It will most likely change with the crowd, but we try to stick with the set list as much as possible. As any performer knows, there are certain times you have to tweak the list as you go to accommodate the atmosphere in the venue.

Where can I get some Whiskey Biscuits merchandise?

Just email us at and we can get you probably anything you would like. We have t-shirts and they on sale for $10 each.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

That would definitely have to be an individual question for all of the band. For me it was probably Paul McCartney as far as the most memorable. Obviously getting to see one of The Beatles is special, The Eagles were amazing; another legendary band.  Tom Petty puts on one hell of a show as well.

Describe your genre in one word.

Broad or vast pretty much sums it up.

Who is the greatest guitarist of all time in your opinion?

There are a lot of hidden pickers in Nashville that are probably some of the best I’ve ever heard (young and old) I’m from the school of (and I think I can speak for Ryan who is our lead player) that most of the best ever are ones we don’t know of or that are not mainstream…for the sake of familiarity and to stay out of the Clapton/Hendrix debate, I’ll just say Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Do you guys ever play outside of Indianapolis?

Sure, private parties, gigs and weddings; absolutely

Do you have jobs outside of music?

Yes, every one of us does.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

Oh, once I hit my head on the top of the stage, then fell back into the drum set.  That was a long time ago. Let’s move on.

So social media is starting to make a big impact for artists. What are your thoughts on social media?

I think it’s great. I think it’s a great way for artists to get their names out there, to network outside of gigs and to increase awareness all the way around. We sure take advantage of social media.

Are you on Twitter?

No, we will be soon.

Surely you have a Facebook page, right?

Absolutely; that is our main form of communication between us and the fans.

You guys performing in Battle of Birdy’s this year?


Any tattoos in the band?

Oh yeah, there are a few.

Who has the most?

Ready for this one? Surprise surprise, Miss Amy Duke has the most!

How did you react to the passing of the King of Pop last year?

Good talent, sadly taken. He had a rough life and was clearly troubled; I hope all of his past allegations were not true.

Tell me a little bit more about King Media.

King Media is a company owned by Al Stone The Rock. Started the radio station 93.1 The Buzzard back when it was classic rock…also known to be one of the first pure classic rock stations in the country. Al has acted as a mentor and almost a parent to all of us…he has been in the gig’n business for over forty-five years, he was Tom and Amy’s dad’s best friend and long time band mate.  They played in many bands from the 50’s through today. When Tom and Amy’s dad passed away he took us under his wing and recorded many albums/demos for us at little or no charge, he loaned us our first equipment when we had no money to buy our own, and still helps us tremendously with odds and ins.  Without Al and King Media, we would probably not be playing like we are….not even close.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would you go?

Ryan and Amy would probably go somewhere in the Caribbean (I have a feeling anyway)…I would move to Tahiti…or maybe Nashville.  Derek Felix  has a passion for the Ukraine.  Don Feeney would move to Ireland, Nick Mccallum would probably follow Don, but I think he still has a passion for Bloomington and Tyler would probably move to France to continually train for that bike race they have over there.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Hopefully still doing what we love; making great music. If we could make good money at this, it would be a no-brainer.  We’d be full time.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

We would love to say that no matter what that the Biscuits had a passion for what they did. They did it for the love of music and they did it for the people that came to listen. And we gave it all the energy we had every time we did it. We want them to say, “We went to see the Whiskey Biscuits and we forgot about life for a while…we danced, sang and enjoyed their music, we left refreshed with a smile on our face. They took us to a different place for a small time.”

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

The Whiskey Biscuits will be coming to an end on December 26th of this year.  Enjoy us in the small time we are still here.  We love all of you for all of the support over the years…and as always, peace, love and Whiskey Biscuits.