WB: Where are you from?
WB: Was your family musical?
Ollie: My grandfather on my mother's side played violin and mandolin. My Uncle Ralph played the upright bass with the Dorsey Brother's Orchestra. My Great Grandma DiSantos played violin.
WB: What were your biggest musical influences?
Ollie: Growing up in Chicago I was exposed to a lot of Blues and R & B, and was moved by the music of Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, and John Lee Hooker. I have an older brother who was into country music. I heard my first Hank Williams and Johnny Horton via him in the late 50's, but I could never get enough of Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Wild Man Fisher or Captain Beefheart.
WB: What instruments do you play?
Ollie: Guitar, mandolin and fiddle.
WB: What is your favorite music and why?
Ollie: Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing, and lO's and 30's jazz. Bluegrass because it's the foundation of country music; Western Swing because it's fiddle-oriented. Fiddle is my favorite instrument to play; lO's and 30's jazz because it was such a wild time in America and it was a time when a lot of great American music was being invented and played for the sole purpose of entertainment. It was truly a great American creation, something we can call our own.
WB: What is your least favorite music and why?
Ollie: Music that sounds too electronically processed and has very little human element to it's essence; music that has a lack of substance.
WB: What is your instrument of choice and why?
Ollie: Fiddle, because I think it lends itself to so many different kinds of music and is an instrument of great expression. There is something about dragging the bow across the strings that says something to everyone.
WB: How and where did you get started in music?
Ollie: My parents bought me a ukulele when I was young; when I got a little older they bought me a guitar to grow into. I learned some Elvis moves from 'Jail House Rock' and the rest is history. This all took place in Chicago. WB: What was your first gig? I'd have to say my first real gig came in the mid-70's in Santa Fe, New Mexico playing in a house band 5 nights a week by the race track. It was a good place to learn the ropes of playing in a band situation and how to get along in a bar without getting shot.
WB: What was your last gig?
Ollie: The Western Beat Gram Parson's Notebook, 'The Last Whippoorwill'. I was honored to be a part of it. I love playing with Vacation Bible School, the house band for the Western Beat show.
WB: Who are some artists and musicians that you've played with?
Ollie: I played for 6 years in a band called the Last Mile Ramblers out of New Mexico. I've had the privilege of playing in Nashville with the great Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, two old friends from a lot of years back. George Ducas hired me in 95' when I first hit town. Great guy. Great gig. I did a season at the Ryman in 97' doing a show called 'Lost Highway', the story of St. Hank Williams. Went back out on the road later that year with Gary Allan. Another great guy, kind of like family.
WB: What has been your biggest musical thrill?
Ollie: Playing with Hank III opening a show for the greatest country singer that has ever lived, George Jones. I stood in the wings and watched George do what he r has been doing for 50 years. It was like hearing this voice that came from the other side.
WB: What is your dream band?
Ollie: My dream band? Could the question maybe be a little more loaded? John Doe, Count Basie, Buddy Emmons and Moms Mabley. Playing with people I know and like whose music demands respect.
WB: Where would you like to be in 5 years?
Ollie: In Chupadero, New Mexico watching the sunset, giving thanks to .God for making the world a better place to be in. I think that will take 5 years.
WB: What's the hardest thing about what you do?
Ollie: Shouting out changes to bass players when I'm trying to sing a song.
WB: When did you come to Nashville?
Ollie: June of 95'.
WB: Talk about some of your accomplishments since you've been in Nashville.
Ollie: I've had the extreme pleasure of playing with world-class musicians from all over. It has been a great learning experience. I've had some really good exposure on record, radio and television. Landing a deal with 'Good Bit Music', that is owned by Jim Lauderdale, has by far been my biggest accomplishment since coming to Nashville. Jim is responsible for a lot of the success I've had in this town. Jim has always believed in me as a person and a musician. He has impeccable taste. What can I say? But I'd have to say the people I've met and the friends I've made are what this journey has been all about for me.