Saturday, August 28, 2010
So Leigh and everybody, I'm going to write a blog and tell you what I'm thinking, I'm thinking that I really hope the intense drum n' bass fish fry kicking it live under my bedroom window in Hackney will chill out later, but have doubts. In rock and roll, you don't have weekends, that's kind of the draw, isn't it? Constant party? Because it is, you have to control yourself and be responsible or you go the way of the Sids and the others. Fuck you! It's rock and roll to KIND of take care of yourself, how do you think I'm supposed to KEEP rocking you if I don't use expensive skin cream and be vegan and insist on antiseptically clean all-white linens? Pssh, don't be an amateur. Rookie mistake, taking all the drugs and all the drink, everything all the time. You gotta meter it out. Insider secret.
Not that we do, of course. For instance, I'm honestly super tired after this intense (and fucking awesome) week in the studio, but our friends Thee Spivs are playing a show tonight, and while it would be wise to take a shower, finish up this stir fry, tie on my robe (unlike last night, sorrrrrrrry Johnnnnnyyyyy!) and have a bit of a night in, rest up a bit for the next batch of studio days, uh... I'm gonna go see Thee Spivs. And drink beer. Wait. Should I not? Should I stay in and catch up on some sleep so I can be ready to rise and report on Monday? Should = yes. Will = no.
Yo DJ pump this party,
Friday, August 13, 2010
I remember, when I moved to New York at age 19 or so, someone there told me I could consider myself a New Yorker after I'd lived there seven years. I thought, okay, that means something, to be a New Yorker means something to these people and they have a defining statute on it. I'd never call myself a New Yorker, as it were, because I only lived and worked there for a year. When I moved to Los Angeles, so few people were ACTUAL Angelenos that it didn't matter if I was "from" there or not. But that is Los Angeles for you. Authenticity is what you make of it. It is all creation, for better or worse. In London, it was quite clear by our accents alone that we were not British, but to be a Londoner, to me (and feel free to correct me, Brits, because I know you will), meant abiding by a set of social rules and regulations, and if you managed to do that, they could manage to live with you, therefore making you a sort of Londoner by proxy.
I've stayed lots of places for an extended period of time. Berlin would be one of those cities, though I wouldn't necessarily say I lived there. What defines "living" somewhere? I don't know, in my world, three months is enough to, a year later, when the city is mentioned in conversation, to be like, "Ah yeah, I lived there for a bit." Maybe three months is too short for you, maybe you want to say a year? Because, face it, if you're not New York, you don't really have the right to demand more than that for an "Ah yeah, I lived there for a bit" qualification, and you know it. Chicago, I've spent a lot of time there, but I can't say I've LIVED there because I've never had to brave one full brutal winter or one full brutal summer in a row. And that's my qualification for Chicago. You see how nebulous this is?
I currently live in Nashville, and have paid rent there for 2 years this month. So yeah, you could say "Ah yeah, I lived in Nashville for a bit", partly because I still DO live in Nashville. And I really like certain aspects of it. And I LOVE my friends there. LOVE. The weather is gross and they do NOT have an Ikea, but people have manners there and people like to drink beer, so how bad can it be? One thing that bothers me about it, though, is how everyone's hackles go up when a band like us are mentioned to be FROM Nashville. You should see how they get! Read their weekly rag, the Nashville Scene, or their equally boring blog. They got mad at me and stopped talking to me PRESUMABLY because I told the music editor that he was a spoiled fucking brat, but also because they really started to chafe when other publications started saying the Ettes were FROM Nashville. People like soundbites, you know, they don't want to know the whole history of your band, they want to write up relevant details, quickly, snappily, make it peppy, make it snappy. How can you blame them? I have a short attention span too, I don't want to know your life story, I just want to know if I MIGHT want to go see your band.
And it's not the media's fault, you see. I'M the one who tells them we live in Nashville (true) and then they make the correlation that we're FROM Nashville (untrue). And then native Nashvillians take offense, scoffing "They're not FROM here!" So let me just take this opportunity to clarify, for everyone, Nashvillians and non-Nashvillians alike: we are NOT from Nashville. We do not CARE to be from Nashville. We've got so much non-Nashville livin' under our belts it would make your single-city-livin' head spin. And that ain't braggin' either. "It ain't bragging if it's true." - Mohammad Ali (back when he was Cassius Clay) If it gets under your skin that people start talkin' and sayin' we're from Nashville, I do apologize, I know how it bothers you, and it is VERY difficult to control when you're talking to people who are just getting to know your band. Do you know how Poni and I have had to mash up "we LIVE in Nashville, but we're from all over" in interviews? It's annoying. I WISH every single person knew I'm from the swamplands of central Florida, Poni is from Queens, Jem was born in Philadelphia but raised in New Jersey, and Johnny's from some strange mystical farmland outside of Detroit; that we all met in Los Angeles, Jem and Johnny used to be in a band together, and they would play a lot with the band Poni and I had, the Ettes. That Johnny moved to New York when we hit the road and started touring, and Jem stayed and joined our band. And that now we're all somehow back together again, somehow living in Nashville. But that takes a long time, doesn't it?
So if a fan or friend or journalist reads that we live in Nashville Believe me, I am not trying to be from your town, nor did we move there to "make it". Because we don't need to "make it" and this isn't the '50s and we aren't pop country balls of clay, being molded by impresarios and cunning management schemes. We're a band, and we live in Nashville right now. For that I'm not sorry, but I do feel for you if it chaps your ass that some people think we're "from" your town. Try and take it easy though. We all know the truth.
We're playing with Felix DA Housecat tonight. Welcome to Barcelona.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I'll leave you with something I read from stalking some of our teenage fans in Michigan: "Strangers stab you in the front, friends stab you in the back, lovers stab you in the heart, but friends just poke you playfully with straws."
See you on the continent!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Ettes + Reigning Sound = Parting Gifts
Supergroup Alert! Coco and Greg plus members of the Ettes, Raconteurs and Black Keys.
By Fred Mills
October will bring the release of Strychnine Dandelion, the debut waxing from The Parting Gifts - who, in case you haven't heard, is a kind of garage rock supergroup fronted by Coco Hames of Nashville's Ettes and Greg Cartwright of Asheville's Reigning Sound. (Hey, Nashville ‘n' Asheville - alliteration!) Also playing on the record are Patrick Keeler (Greenhornes, Raconteurs), Dan Auerbach (Black Keys ) and Ettes members Jem Cohen and Poni Silver. The ever-prescient tastemakers at In The Red (Reigning Sound's label) will be doing the release honors.
The full-length began life as a 45 that Hames and Cartwright decided to cut - Cartwright produced the Ettes' last album, Look At Life Again Soon - but as the Nashville recording sessions commenced, they realized that the songs were beginning to flow. Explains Cartwright, "I got up there to record, and it was going to be just me and Coco and Jem. Then we started enlisting some people to do certain things - Patrick Keeler from the came in to do some drums for us, their drummer Poni played drums on a track, I played drums on one. It was a pretty organic thing where we brought in a song, worked on it, then cut it. And it was kinda nice that different people were playing different instruments on all these songs because it gave them different feels.
"I was just so impressed with how easily things went that I was inspired to write more material for the project. We [had] enough for an album and some stuff left over to use for a single... Coco's got a really fantastic voice. She can do things with her voice I can't do, so having a collaboration like we're doing now is cool because I can write things that I can't sing."
You can listen to "Keep Walking" from the album here:
The Parting Gifts will also be playing selected dates live - they'll perform at this year's Gonerfest (Sept. 22-26) in Memphis, for starters. Meanwhile, both the Ettes and Reigning Sound have new albums in the works. Stay tuned.
Monday, August 2, 2010
The Minneapolis-based retailer Target just gave over $150,000 to buy ads supporting state Rep. Tom Emmer, a far-right Republican candidate for governor. This makes Target one of the very first companies to take advantage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowing unlimited corporate cash in elections.
Target must think customers won't care. They're wrong: We do care, and we need to let them know that we want Target -- and all corporations -- out of our elections. Can you join me in sending a message to Target's CEO at the link below?