Tom Wopat — aka Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard
Talks about His Upcoming Christmas Album!
Tom Wopat and John Schneider have gotten a resurgence in popularity lately. You likely know them by their characters Luke and Bo Duke from the iconic The Dukes of Hazzard series. They have made their way back into the public spotlight with a series of Autotrader.com television commercials reprising their roles as the Duke Boys, riding around, causing a ruckus with the toughest Dodge Charger ever built, the General Lee.
But these commercials are just the tip of the iceberg of what these two actors have been doing. Tom and John, who are both talented vocalists, are in the process of recording a full-length Christmas album together for the first time, which is a Christmas in July announcement for hardcore Dukes fans such as myself.
There’s even a Kickstarter campaign set up for the Christmas album, so you can be involved in supporting its creation and getting some fun incentives along the way. You can get more details here.
But this Christmas album won’t be their first time behind a studio microphone.
John Schneider had a string of country music hits in the ’80’s, including the Elvis re-make “It’s Now or Never” (#4 on the country charts and #14 on the pop charts, according to Billboard) and two #1 hits with “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” and “Country Girls.”
On The Dukes of Hazzard, Schneider and Wopat sang several duets on the TV series, even some with co-star Catherine Bach, aka Daisy Duke. And here’s a fun fact: the trio performed a remake of the show’s theme song “Good Ole Boys” in a music video as a tribute to their friend, country music legend Waylon Jennings.
Tom Wopat also enjoyed some country chart-toppers with hits that include “Put Me Out Of My Misery ” and “Hey, Little Sister.” He was even the host of Prime Time Country, which was on the cable television channel The Nashville Network. Tom now resides in New York and enjoys a successful career in Broadway.
I spoke with Tom who — and now I can personally vouch for this — is one of the nicest people to interview in the entertainment world. Luke Duke is the same off-screen and on!
Thanks for speaking with me. It is more than a privilege to have this interview with you.
Ah, you will get over it. [laughs]
What made you and John Schneider decide to record a Christmas album?
I talked John into it. We have been talking about doing a record together for years now. It is one thing I have been thinking about doing for a long time myself, as far as a Christmas album, and then the topic came up in conversation one time, and I thought it would be a lot of fun and we started on it almost nine months ago. And then the Autotrader.com campaign came up, and all of a sudden it made a whole lot of sense. Those commercials back in the General Lee were a lot of fun. We had a big time doing them.
And fans can get involved with your kickstarter.com program and help fund the album?
Well, they can go to kickstarter.com or they can go to Tomwopat.com and it has directions on how to get involved. I just talked to a fan who is going to donate $10,000 dollars to the cause and will get a private concert, so we are kind of well on our way. We are going to feature a concert for fans also, one in New York and one in Louisiana at John’s place, and both of them are going to be an awful lot of fun.
Are the Christmas songs traditional as well as modern?
Yes. There will be some standards and then there will be some newer ones, and it goes all the way from jazz to country, and there are some big band charts in the mix as well. It is pretty swinging, a lot of it, and John sings his butt off.
What other projects are you involved in currently?
I just finished a movie, an independent film called Fair Haven, a movie I shot up in Rochester, NY that is really a sweet little script. It was a whole lot of fun to do it. It was the biggest part I have had in a movie in years, and it was really rewarding. The kid who played my son was really terrific. It will probably be done around the turn of the year, around the first. Then I have been doing some shows. I did a concert in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry last Thursday with a children’s choir and an orchestra, and it was a blast. I worked with the guys from Riders in the Sky, which was a lot of fun. Then the day after that I flew back to New York and worked a jazz club here in town called the Iridium Friday, and two shows Saturday. Then I got up Sunday morning and flew up to New Hampshire to the NASCAR race up there. Auto Trader was hosting me, and I was one of the so-called celebrities at the race, and it was a blast. And now I am back in the studio mixing.
Speaking of racing and Autotrader.com, I have to go back to The Dukes of Hazzard. Can you still hood slide like you used to?
Oh sure, I got the hood slide. You know, cars these days, they don’t want you to slide across the hood. They are too expensive. [laughs] But yeah I can still do the hood slide and slide into the window — the whole nine yards. I drive a Bronco, so it’s not really practical on that. [laughs]
Are you planning on doing any Dukes of Hazzard-themed events at Cooter’s in Nashville or anything this year?
You know, it has been discussed. Don’t know really if it is happening or not, so it would be presumptuous of me to talk about it. I know that the guy down in Louisiana, Scott Gennis, is talking about doing another Dukes of Hazzard festival next year, so I am sure there will be more to come.