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The Tone Pirates

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen

Published August 2011

Recently I attended an event where the entertainment was provided by a  band called The Tone Pirates. I had heard the name before, but had no idea what kind of band they were, nor did I know who the members were.  To my surprise, when I arrived at the event I saw a few old friends—Dan Carroll, Norris McCarty and Paul Schroeder—all whom I have known for some time. I have heard McCarty and Schroeder play before and knew they had a band but had no idea they were part of the The Tone Pirates. I had also known Carroll back in the restaurant business, but again had no idea he could play or sing. So there I was, in awe, looking at my friends all on stage together making some mean music.

After listening to them for a while I realized there isn’t much they couldn’t play. They lit up the stage with a little bit of Texas Country, Southern Rock, Outlaw Country, Blues, Seger, Clapton, ZZ, Hag, Cash, Pat Green, Elvis and their own original songs.
Like many good things, The Tone Pirates came about by seemingly coincidental circumstances. When a friend asked Dan to play a birthday party in 2009, he threw together what was intended as a one-time ensemble.

The Tone Pirates cover a mix of music including country, southern rock and blues, and they play their own original songs as well. From left are fiddle player Harvey Wanier, guitarist and vocalist Dan Carroll, lead guitarist Jimmy Butler, bass guitarist Norris McCarty, and drummer and banjo picker Paul Schroeder.

Their first meeting was less than an hour before their first collective note. When ask during a break how long “the band” had been together, the response was “about an hour.” The first public show was three weeks later and they’ve never looked backed.

The band is led by lead vocalist and guitarist Dan Carroll. Norris McCarty, who had his first lesson at six is on bass.  The talented Paul Schroeder can play guitar and banjo, but is found keeping the beat for The Tone Pirates on the drums. Harvey Wanier, one of the best fiddlers once shared the stage with Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and many other country legends. Five time Austin Music Award Winner, Jimmy Butler is on guitar and has dazzled audiences since his early teens. The newest addition to the band is Kevin Brown on sax/percussion. Brown has toured the globe with some of the finest and can play any genre, including jazz, funk and R&B.  Each member of this band plays an important role in their process.

One of my favorite songs they performed that night was an original titled, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore,” written by Carroll and Butler. Here are a few lyrics from that song.

Spinning my wheels, calling it my best,
but now I know what I didn’t know then,
and I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.
Changed my life, got it right, finally saw the light.
I’m glad I don’t live there anymore . . .
Take a look back at the things I’ve done . . .
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some fun . . .
but I’ve paid a high price, I’ve paid it twice . . .
and I’m glad I don’t live there anymore!

            —Copyright 2010 Butler/Carroll

This song reminds me of my life, where I’ve been and where I am now and, just like the lyrics say, I’m so glad I don’t live there anymore.

Like most artists, they create what they know, what they’ve lived and what they’ve experienced. Artists tell their stories either by drawing, writing or singing about the journey of their life. They want to express, or tell the story about what life has taught them; where they’ve been and where they are now. The same is true for the band The Tone Pirates. They take the stories of their life to the stage in the form of music. They aren’t afraid to be exactly who God created them to be by using the talents God has given them. They are redeemed and have a purpose. They want to play music to make people want to do the right thing, to follow their dreams, to live. They play to have fun, to make others smile and to share their story with you.

The Tone Pirates are currently in the recording studio. Their album is expected to be released this fall. You can find The Tone Pirates on facebook and their website www.thetonepirates.com.
I look forward to the next time I see my friends on stage again. And I can’t wait to hear a few more of their original songs and wonder what story they will tell next.

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