Ten Questions with The New Pornographers; Stephen Sheehan tonight; Maha Festival, Digital Leather, Lupines Saturday; Blind Pilot Sunday…

The Maha Music Festival is tomorrow at Aksarben Village.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the full weekend preview…

This is the eighth and final installment in a series of Ten Questions interviews with bands performing at the Maha Music Festival tomorrow at Aksarben Village. For the printed version of all interviews, pick up the August issue of The Reader.

New Pornographers are among the artist playing at this year’s Maha Music Festival.

The New Pornographers

They’ve been called an indie rock supergroup thanks to the richness of talent. The band’s 7-member roster includes three lead vocalists: Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Neko Case, whose solo career stands on its own, and the band’s founder, Carl (A.C.) Newman.

Since their debut in 1997 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the band has released seven studio albums starting with 2000’s Mass Romantic (Mint Records) before moving to indie powerhouse Matador Records for some of the most iconic releases of the 2000s, including 2003’s Electric Version and ’05’s Twin Cinema.

Their latest, Whiteout Conditions, released this past April by Concord Music Group, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Album charts.

1. What is your favorite album?

Carl Newman: Love, Forever Changes

2. What is your least favorite song?

I think it is still out there. I haven’t heard it yet. If I have to answer, probably something that is #1 at country radio right now.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I like all the people I have met. It is a good foot in the door for meeting people you admire. A great community.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being away from my family. Feeling like you need to please people, like your best isn’t good enough. That sort of thing.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I like red wine. I often champion it.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

D.C. has always been an amazing place for us. A lot of love for all of our projects.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I remember playing in a cafe in Chapel Hill in the ’90s. No one there, they were stacking the chairs on the tables as we played. I recall thinking, “Am I paying my dues right now?”

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, so far so good. I played in bands for about 10 years before that happened. Not a tough, hard-working 10 years but still… 10 years. In this era when no one buys music, that might change soon.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I would love to be a writer of some kind. Comedy, TV, film, novelist. Always had a lot of respect for the profession. I know, I am sort of a writer, in my way. So many things I would hate to be, it’s hard to choose.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Best place on earth. It rules, other places drool. Things like that.

The Maha Music Festival is Aug. 19 at Aksarben Village. The day-long concert runs from noon to midnight. Tickets are $55. For set times and more information, go to mahamusicfestival.com.

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Here’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Lots o’ shows, and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate.

It starts tonight at Reverb Lounge with Stephen Sheehan and his band performing songs from Sheehan’s past projects, notably Digital Sex, The World and his solo outings. Here’s the background on this special event. I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of old, familiar faces tonight. Opening is Sun-Less Trio, who is celebrating an EP release of their own. $10, 9 p.m.

And then along comes the 2017 Maha Music Festival at Aksarben Village. The set times:

12:10: The Hottman Sisters
12:50: Downtown Boys
1:45: High Up and Omaha Girls Rock
2:55: Torres
3:50: Priests
4:45: The New Pornographers
5:55: Built to Spill
7:05: Belle & Sebastian
8:15: Sleight Bells
9:30: The Faint
11:00: Run the Jewels

Tickets today are $55. I’m not sure what the walk-up price will be (or if it’s different).

Downtown Boys is currently trending on the hipster meter, thanks to their hot new Cost of Living LP (Sub Pop) produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, which is enjoying a massive 79 rating on Album of the Year composite reviews. Torres also is getting a lot of attention thanks to an upcoming release. Add Priests and, of course, Run the Jewels, and this one of the more progressive Maha line-ups in the festival’s history. They’ve made it hard for me to sneak out and grab a nap tomorrow.

So where’s the after party?

In year’s past, one or two of the Maha acts played a second show somewhere after the festival. I don’t see it happening this year. So for me, the after party is at fabulous O’Leaver’s, where Digital Leather will be burning up the stage along with Sucettes. $5, 9 p.m.

If that doesn’t float your boat, you can’t miss with Lupines, Sun-Less Trio and Bled Notes at Brothers Lounge Saturday night. $5, 9 p.m.

And here’s a sneaky one: Dwight Twilley is playing at Growler USA in West O Saturday night. $15 Adv/$19 DOS, 9 p.m. How is that one not sold out yet?

And yeah, I’m aware there are a couple other big concerts going on Saturday night. But neither Lady Gaga nor the guy from Hootie in the Blowfish are exactly in my wheelhouse, though I’d be interested to see how Jocelyn does opening for Hootie at Stir Cove.

Finally, Sunday night Portland’s Blind Pilot (ATO Records) plays a sold-out show at The Slowdown. They’ve been touring through Omaha for years, growing every step of the way. Gregory Alan Isakov opens. 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. If you see me at Sheehan, Maha or Digital Leather, say hi with a Rolling Rock. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Brother Ali (at The Waiting Room May 2)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:35 pm April 26, 2017

Brother Ali plays at The Waiting Room May 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been doing these Ten Questions surveys for a year. Few responses have been as well-thought-out as Brother Ali’s, and no one can beat his worst-gig story….

Ten Questions with Brother Ali

When it comes to performing, Brother Ali practically has a second home in Omaha. The Minneapolis native who is part of the world-famous Rhymesayers collective has been touring through Omaha for almost 15 years, bringing his unique brand of social justice-themed hip-hop to an always-eager fan base.

Ali’s new album, All the Beauty in this Whole Life (out May 5 on Rhymesayers) is said to capture “an American Muslim rapper digging deep on themes of compassion and virtue.” He wrote much of it during last year’s presidential campaign, before the election. I can only imagine how he feels 100 days into a Trump presidency.

I caught up with Brother Ali and asked him to take the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Brother Ali: There are hundreds of albums I could mention, but I listen to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane almost every day. No matter what space or state my heart is in, no matter who I’m with, that album improves everything. It heals when things are bad and illuminates when things are beautiful.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Okay this isn’t a bad song by any means, but “Royals” by Lorde is still stuck in my head from 3 years ago and I never sought it out. I watched the video once and popular culture kinda took it from there. Didn’t feel like I had a choice in the matter.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Traveling and pursuing dreams alongside other people gives you a real window into each other’s hearts. I feel like I really know the people I’ve toured with in an intimate way. Hours and months of conversation, and witnessing each other is really beautiful.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Hours and months stuck with other people!!!

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I love a really specific scent called Oud. It comes from a tree in southeast Asia, it’s very rare and expensive, but it smells like heaven to burn in a room or wearing the oil on my body. I’m legally blind, so smell has incredible impact on my state.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Okay, this is gonna sound like I’m pandering because I’m talking about your town, but I’ve always had a dear relationship with Omaha. It was the first city outside of my home in Minneapolis to overwhelm me with love on stage. I’ve worked with the same independent promoter for almost 15 years. There are people in the crowd I’ve grown up with.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I was asked to do a benefit concert out of state for a friend of mine and the promoter was a homie who’d never thrown a big show before. Instead of a hotel, she figured I could “crash” at one of their friend’s houses. The friend we were raising money for didn’t show up. She wasn’t in the business of promoting concerts, so the fans didn’t get the message, and the show was almost empty. I found out afterward that she’d made the decision to print expensive commemorative posters for the show — a LOT of them, and as a result we hadn’t raised one dollar for the friend we were benefiting. Everyone was too drunk to drive me back to the crash pad and this small town didn’t have cabs or Uber. I ended up spending the night outside the locked airport waiting for them to open the next morning so I could catch my flight home.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I’ve been supporting a family of 4 (including a wife in private grad school) since 2002. I’ve been focused on music since I was 7 years old, and had honestly pursued it since grade school. I’m fortunate enough to have a small, but respectable following across the country and around the world. I put an album out every few years and spend the next year touring and selling merch. I usually spend the next year doing colleges, festivals and spot dates while making the next album. I’m also able to pursue my cultural and spiritual interests traveling the world on my time off.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’ve always been a teacher and preacher. If music wasn’t so prevalent, I’d do those full time.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I know Malcolm X lived there. My favorite story is one of my own. In 2009 we played a show where there was one fan who was clearly waiting to be the last one to talk to me. I have a habit of standing in the crowd for hours talking to everyone. He kept drinking while waiting and got hammered by the time we got to speak. Even though he stumbled through it, I was happy to see him. He’d been to every show in Omaha for several years. When we were done talking he left, about 5 minutes later we hear a loud crash outside. We run out to find our drunken fan had gotten in his car, tried to drive home and smashed into the trailer attached to my tour van. Wrinkled it up like a soda can. A cop came and I couldn’t believe it, but they let him drive home. When I came back to town a year later, I told the story from stage and asked if he was there that night. It got quiet in the room and someone yelled “he’s in jail!”. Not sure whether or not it’s true, but it was hilarious. I hope the guy is well.

Brother Ali plays with Sa-Roc, Last Word and Sol Messiah Tuesday, May 2, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15 Adv./$18 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Local Natives (Saturday @ Slowdown SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm April 6, 2017

Local Natives plays The Slowdown April 8. The show is SOLD OUT.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When California band Local Natives played a sold out show at The Waiting Room in 2010, the buzz in the crowd that evening was that we were seeing the next Arcade Fire. In the end, they turned out to be something entirely different. The band would return to an even bigger Omaha stage when they played the 2014 edition of the Maha Music Festival. And now they’re playing a sold out Slowdown this Saturday, April 8. That’s an impressive trajectory, though seven years into their career, Arcade Fire was playing stadiums.

Still, Local Natives has nothing to complain about. Their latest album, Sunlit Youth (2016, Loma Vista), anchored by singles like the infectious “Past Lives,” carries their indie-rock sound forward in the same rhythmic, dance-inspired direction as their 2010 debut.

We caught up with the band and gave them the Ten Questions treatment. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kelcey Ayer provided the answers:

What is your favorite album?

Local Natives’s  Kelcey Ayer: One of my all-time favorite albums (can’t pick just one, that’s crazy) is Portishead’s Third.  I had always loved more somber, melancholy music, but I never had connected to a record that was so fully immersed in that sentiment before.  It was unapologetically and intensely sad.  And the tones of the instruments seemed laboriously fucked with in a way that sounded the perfect amount of “off.”  I felt like it gave me permission to be the kind of artist I wanted to be, like it was ok to go so deep into a feeling.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I worked at a pizza chain called California Pizza Kitchen in southern California, and they only played top 40, which is not totally terrible, unless you’re forced to listen to it for many many hours a week.  Whenever I’m out and about and a song comes on from that time, it always brings me back to the mid 2000s and I start immediately trying to remember an order, throw up a little in my mouth, and then realize I’m being weird in a grocery store and stop it.  There is tie for the most egregious offender of those days, and it’s between Blondie’s cover of “The Tide Is High” and KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree.”  I don’t think any song is inherently bad, it takes a lot of effort to make anything, but circumstantially for me, I really, really hate those songs.  I just hate them so much.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Creating something that you couldn’t create yourself, whether it’s making a song or playing that song live in a room, having people to rely on to bring a vision to reality is my favorite part of being in a band.  Second-place is touring around the world, which if you’re lucky you get to do, and fortunately we are.  I’m very grateful for that.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Having to compromise on a vision you believe in for the greater good.  We’re always coming up with ideas for songs, or music videos, or ways to promote the band, and nine times out of 10 they get shot down by the group, which makes it hard to stay motivated.  But that’s the way it goes in a group of creative people.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I love beer.  The US has been a great place for beer over the last 10 years, so to be a beer fan is very exciting right now.  There are breweries, brew-pubs, bottle shops; all sorts of beer outlets popping up everywhere right now, so it’s pretty easy to find a good beer anywhere you go these days.  I was at a bar in the middle of nowhere Kansas and they still had Lagunitas IPA on tap, it was great!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Los Angeles is home and will always be our favorite place to play.  We’ve spent the most time there and played almost every club when we were coming up, and it will always be the first city to have embraced us.  Austin is a close second, SXSW was a big help for us.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Those files are sealed because we wanna play there again and have a better show.  All I’ll say is it was somewhere in England.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

This is our only job, yes.  I remember back in 2009 arguing with Taylor in Santa Barbara about upping our per-diems from $5 a day to $10, but he’s a financial stickler and was right to deny me.  We just didn’t have the money.  I would buy Subway foot-long subs and eat one half for lunch and the other for dinner.  We barely scraped by.  So when we did a publishing deal at the end of 2009 and got our first bit of money, I bought a Chipotle burrito and ate the whole thing!  Since then it’s been a thrilling roller coaster ride of getting fat and skinny now that I can afford to.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d love to act in something, or make a movie.  I’ve always been really into film and love getting taken away from reality and into a new world.  I feel like I’m a dreamer, and watching movies is like being in a dream while you’re awake.  When it’s really hitting you hard it feels like a drug.  As far as a profession I’d hate, I guess anywhere I’d have to be quiet.  I’m a loud guy.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I never heard of Omaha until I fell in love with my first favorite band: 311.  Super random for sure, but your first music loves always are, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them.  I felt like I was in the twilight zone the other day when Dark Days was pitted against a new 311 single for a radio station voting contest in Kansas City.  My brain almost broke to read Local Natives and 311 in the same sentence.  I wholeheartedly believe in voting, but in that case, I chose not to.

Local Natives plays with Little Scream Saturday, April 8, at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This show is SOLD OUT. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Dinosaur Jr. (at The Waiting Room March 18); Jabid, Big Slur tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:41 am March 16, 2017

Dinosaur Jr., form left, J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. The band plays The Waiting Room Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What is the soundtrack to your youth? For some very hip folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, that soundtrack would have to include Dinosaur Jr. The band has been at it in one form or another since 1984, releasing their debut — a mish-mash of punk, heavy-metal and C&W — under the name Dinosaur in 1985.

Back then it was J Mascis on guitar, Lou Barlow on bass and Murph on drums. Just like the rest us, that line-up would go through some changes over the years, but would circle back to its original line-up in 2006 and pretty much stay that way right up to the band’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016, Jagjaguwar). In between, the band released seminal albums like 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me, 1991’s Green Mind, 1993’s Where You Been and 2007’s Beyond, keeping that soundtrack going for the next generation (and the generation after that).

We caught up with Dinosaur Jr. drummer Murph and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Murph: Jimi Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love

2. What is your least favorite song?

Wham’s, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Performing live on stage is the best thing about being in a band.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Constant compromise, hardest thing about being in a band.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Coffee

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

New York

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Worst  gig was in Pawtucket RI, sketchy vibe, and horrible sound.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I haven’t always been able to support myself through my music and it has taken a long time. I’ve supplemented my income with drum lessons and odd jobs.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Profession I’d like to try is teacher or therapist, and worst profession would be being a cop.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Omaha Nebraska, “where’s the Beef”!  My mother always used to order Omaha steaks at Christmas time.

Dinosaur Jr. plays with Easy Action Saturday, March 18 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $22 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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Get your pre-St. Patrick’s Day partying in before us idiots take over.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Jabid (Javid’s project), False Brother and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at experimental art/noise space Project Project, 1818 Vinton St., Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman’s project) opens for Amulets along with Teetah and Erinome. Let’s face it, I’ve never heard any of these acts, but Dan says it’ll be good. $6, 7 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with NE-HI (tomorrow night at Reverb Lounge)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm March 1, 2017

NE-HI plays at Reverb Lounge March 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Jangle-buzz garage rock band NE-HI is the product the Chicago house show scene, emerging from a Logan Square DIY space called Animal Kingdom in 2013. The four-piece, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Mikey Wells, slowly crawled onto bigger stages on the strength of its live shows and the band’s self-titled 2014 debut.

The next thing you know, NE-HI was touring with Black Lips, Car Seat Headrest and Chicago bros Twin Peaks, including a swing through Omaha last June for a set that reminded me of Stone Roses circa 1990. Most of the tracks on the band’s follow-up, Offers (2017, Grand Jury), were recorded live in studio to capture their trademark house-show energy.

We caught up with frontman Mickey Wells and gave him the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mickey Wells: My favorite album right now is the first Ramones album. I hadn’t listened to it in a long time and i forgot how cool and funny the lyrics are.

2. What is your least favorite song?

My least favorite song of all time is “The Long and Winding Road” by the Beatles. It’s both long and winding and is sentimental crap.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I really enjoy playing the shows and going to different towns and meeting new people and making friends. It’s a cool way to see the country.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Smelling bad on tour.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Either coffee or the weed honey I put in my coffee. The lines are blurred!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

I like Atlanta a lot. Good food, nice people and it’s usually a fun crowd.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

In NYC our first time we played there we drove a super long time and then played in a coat closet and the sound person kept telling us to turn down the whole time. That was a bummer.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Kind of half and half. We make some money playing music but we also all have jobs at home when we’re not touring.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Maybe some sort of writer or painter. But a successful one haha.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I’ve heard about the legend of infamous Omaha omega swamp monster. It supposedly roams the night in search of touring musicians and rats to eat!

NE-HI plays with Nathan Ma & the Rosettes and Wrong Pets Thursday, March 2, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $10; showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Mike Doughty (at The Waiting Room Feb. 15)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:48 pm February 14, 2017

Mike Doughty plays The Waiting Room Feb. 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mike Doughty’s music is deceptively simple but is, in fact, a sophisticated take on modern pop that reaches beyond simple rock and folk genre designations to something smarter, broader and ultimately, genuine.

A brief history: Doughty was the frontman to ’90s alternative band Soul Coughing, a bratty NYC four-piece that combined post-grunge, funk and indie into infectious rock centered around Doughty’s deep, brassy voice and whip-smart lyrics. Contemporaries included acts like Cake, Morphine, Eels and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. After releasing three successful albums on Warners, the band split up in 2000.

Doughty struck out on his own. The story goes that he sold more than 20,000 copies of his self-released EP Skittish out of the trunk of his car. It was none other than Dave Matthews that rediscovered Doughty in 2004 and rereleased his early solo EPs on his own ATO Records. Fourteen years and as many albums later, Doughty released the sublime The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns last year via PledgeMusic.

While his music recalls acts like Mountain Goats, Matt Pond PA, Rogue Wave and Spoon, Doughty’s style is more varied, inventive but no less catchy. We caught up with Doughty and asked him to answer our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mike Doughty: What a question! I think the album that changed my life that I’ve been listening to most often of late has been Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go.” I mean, to hell with that song.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Surprises — when the other musicians on stage do something fascinating and new during the show.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

When you go back to the hotel and there’s no Law and Order of any variety on any channel.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Cheese.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Omaha!

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I had a terrible show in Amherst, Ohio, in a yoga studio. I don’t know why I was playing a yoga studio. But there were drunks that couldn’t stop babbling in the middle of this very intimate quiet show, and the yoga queen who ran the joint was a total control hippie.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes. I started being able to not have a job in about 1994.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d like to write long-form fiction one day. I worked in a McDonald’s when I was 16 and it was incredibly dehumanizing.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I don’t know if I have stories. My best memory is walking from a hotel room to the tour bus on a cold, clear night, and seeing the Woodmen building looming majestically in the distance.

Mike Doughty performs with Wheatus Wednesday, Feb. 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $17. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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One update on yesterday’s item regarding the move of Milk Run from its Leavenworth location. I mentioned that last weekend’s shows were the venue’s last. Apparently that’s not the case. Lucas Wright of Black Heart Booking pointed out that he still has a show booked at Milk Run this Thursday featuring an acoustic set from Off With Their Heads plus Rackatees, Dummy Head Torpedo and Jeff Miller. I’d hate for people not to go to this show because they read yesterday’s item.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Dereck Higgins Experience, Wagon Blasters, Big Al Band; Ten Questions with Dawes; Bandcamp results…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:42 pm February 6, 2017

Dereck Higgins Experience at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 4, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins, one of Omaha’s most prolific musicians, unveiled yet another new project Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. This new four-piece combo, called The Dereck Higgins Experience (or DHX, as he referred to it from stage), continued in a similar jazz fusion direction heard on Higgins’ recent solo album, Flyover Country. In fact, the combo created a live version of  at least one song from the movie soundtrack.

On bass and synths and acting the role of Emcee, Higgins was joined by James Cuato Ballarin on synths/wind instruments, Aaron Gum on synths, and stellar guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips. All but Gum also are in progressive jazz band Chemicals, a more experimental, free-form combo than DHX, whose set felt split between smoother fusion numbers a la Spyro Gyra, and funky, digital-fueled jazz concepts. Less intricate and less challenging than Chemicals, DHX’s music likely is more accessible to a larger audience.

I’m told this offshoot of Chemicals isn’t a replacement for that band, who according to Higgins has a scheduled gig at the Harney Street Tavern Friday night, while DHX will play the following evening at The Down Under.

Next up was Wagon Blasters who were in particularly fine form, maybe because it was Guitarist William Thornton’s birthday. Gary Dean Davis yelled through a rowdy set of trademark tractor-punk rock songs, doing his darndest to break through O’Leaver’s floor and onto the birthday/karaoke party going on in the basement.

As a lark, I tried streaming Wagon Blasters’ set via Facebook Live through the faux window sills off stage left. You can still view a recording of the performance in Facebook (or below). Scroll to the 23:38 mark in the video to see Gary’s epic punk-rock stage fall!

Finally, Big Al Band closed out the night with his flying V and Holly Pop on the drum kit. Favorite moment of the set — the final song wherein Al swapped out the V for a bass for a go at song called “Jolly Roger.” Nice.

As mentioned, O’Leaver’s now has a basement party room. I snuck (sneaked?) down there Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised at the set-up, which includes a full bar and karaoke stage, all of which is available for rental at a bargain price. Let’s see, sand volleyball, live music, tiki bar, two outdoor beer gardens and now a karaoke party room? What more can O’Leaver’s squeeze into their entertainment complex?

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As you see below, I’m continuing the Ten Questions series both here and in The Reader. I recently got some push back from a publicist, asking if I would be able to do an actual interview with the band he represents rather than the survey. Fact is, I simply don’t have time to interview and write band features for every interesting act coming through town (and considering the pay for these features ($0.00), can’t afford it.). The Ten Questions format allows me to hype a touring indie band’s upcoming show in a way that’s not too time taxing. Let me know what you think of these surveys…

 

Dawes, photo by Matt Jacoby.

LA folk-rock band Dawes epitomizes a style of music I grew up listening to — tequila sunrise ’70s soft rock. You know what I’m talking about — those laid-back groovy bands they used to play on the FM (and AM) stations and still do if you have a classic rock channel in your town (and who doesn’t?).

But somewhere/somehow over the past few years it’s become accepted for snotty, tone-deaf hipsters and hipster wannabes to denigrate (via Facebook) music infused with a peaceful, easy feeling. And that’s a shame, because the new folk rock that they often laud — from the likes of Wilco, Ben Kweller, Jenny Lewis and even our very own Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band — owe much of their sound to those FM giants.

Certainly Dawes does. That classic ’70s El-Lay studio sound is evident on their latest album, We’re All Gonna Die (2016, HUB Records), which, at times, reminds me of One of These Nights-era Eagles (there, I said it). On songs like the title track, the slow burnin’ “Roll with the Punches,” the wah-wah funk of “When the Tequila Runs Out,” heck, just about every track, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith unapologetically puts a modern spin on AOR gold, sounding like the second coming of Don Henley or Glenn Frey, complete with warm-cushion vocal harmonies. And that’s about as cool as it gets.

We caught up with Taylor Goldsmith and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Taylor Goldsmith: Always changing but I often go back to Warren Zevon self-titled.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Even though she’s one of my heroes and maybe the greatest songwriter that ever lived, there’s a song called “Not To Blame” by Joni Mitchell that I really hate.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The shows. The songs get to change shape every night and we get to pull out old ones we haven’t played in years sometimes.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being gone from home so much of the year. While I love touring, it’s hard to keep a semblance of a normal life in order by being gone over half the year sometimes.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Coffee. I always want more coffee. About to make some.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

We love playing at home for our friends and family and also love playing places like Nashville or NYC for the amazing venues and sold out shows, but there is also something special about coming into cities we’ve never been to or rarely play and having those more intimate experiences. It’s fun to still be building audiences in cities. It feels like we’re going into the past and future of the band from night to night depending where we are.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

An LA show in 2012. I had really lost my voice. I got a steroid shot and it made it a lot worse. By the time we got onstage I could barely whisper. But we couldn’t cancel because everyone was there already and I didn’t want to let the band down. It was rough.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yeah, music pays the bills. We quit our jobs and moved out of our homes the day before our first tour for North Hills. It meant we couldn’t afford places for a while, but we’ve never had jobs since.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

It’d be fun to be a novelist. I really idolize those guys. My brain just doesn’t work that way though. I’d hate to do just about anything that meant I couldn’t go outside during the day.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Well our good buddy Conor Oberst lives there so any stories we know are somehow indirectly connected to him and the community he’s introduced us to. After spending some serious time there (more time than we typically can in a city during tour) we’ve really fallen in love with Omaha and have been looking forward to this show for a while.

An Evening with Dawes is Tuesday, February 7, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $23 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *
Bandcamp says it sold nearly a million dollars worth of music on Friday: “With several hours remaining, we estimate that fans will have bought just over $1,000,000 worth of music today, which is 550% more than a normal Friday (already our biggest sales day of the week). All of our share of that (12%) goes directly to the ACLU. The other 88% (less transaction fees) goes directly to the labels and artists…

A lot of those labels and artists also donated their share to ACLU or other charities. If you bought something, good for you. We’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of efforts over the next four years as the current administration continues to do all it can to dismantle the nation’s arts, take away women’s rights and bar immigrants from our borders. Do what you can; it makes a difference.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with American Wrestlers (at Slowdown Thursday); Jim James tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:32 pm November 30, 2016
American Wrestler plays Friday night at The Slowdown.

American Wrestlers plays at The Slowdown Thursday, Dec. 1.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

American Wrestlers is the brainchild of St. Louis-by-way-of Scotland songwriter Gary McClure, who broke through the surface with a homemade low-fi debut that wowed critics and fans. On his follow-up, the just released Goodbye Terrible Youth (2016, Fat Possum), McClure left the bedroom and entered the studio with three of his mates for a collection of crisp indie rock songs destined to be the soundtrack to this generations’ next-summer shenanigans.

“I’m always surprised by how each record brings me closer to writing simpler, heavier, catchier songs like those bands who gave me my musical epiphany: Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and that first Foo Fighters record,” McClure said. “I first learned how to write by copying them and got lost for a decade in intricacy and experimentation. Now, it feels like I’m heading back.”

I asked McClure to take the Ten Questions challenge. Here’s his responses:

1. What is your favorite album?

Gary McClure: The Red House Painters record with the rollercoaster on the cover. Mark Kozelek has written better songs than those that are present here, but the unquantifiable essences and circumstances that combined for this album still somehow manage to always break my heart

2. What is your least favorite song?

That’s such an insanely huge question that I have no idea where to begin. I can really do without listening to 99% of popular music

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Writing, recording and playing live are the only good bits. Everything else you can think of related to being in a band is a pathetic waste of empty time.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Pretty much everything else

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Caffeine is the greatest for sure.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Chicago has always been good to me. My old band Working for a Nuclear Free City had the best show of their USA Tour there. Bridgette and I met there. I bought my favorite guitar there. It looks beautiful from afar and it’s and wonderful place to walk day or night. Good people, good food.

I’ve likely cursed it now and our next Chicago show will be some humiliating disaster. I was a Bears fan when I was a kid after watching the late night football with my dad. They really need to get that dark-ages, regressive, small handed prick’s name off that tower.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I don’t remember. It would have been with my old band The Nukes, and it was probably bad because we were high.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

It’s currently half and half. I work whatever minimal mental effort jobs I can get in between tours. Tell me where to stack the boxes, give me the money and leave me the fuck alone so I can keep thinking about art and death.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d hate to be the guy handing out sixes and sevens in music publications. I couldn’t imagine a more useless waste of time

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Being an ignorant prick, all I know about Nebraska is from that Bruce Dern flick. Made it look more depressing than Missouri, though i find that hard to believe. Seriously though, Omaha looks like a cool city responsible for great and interesting art and music. Very much looking forward to checking it out.

American Wrestlers play with Varsity and Eric in Outerspace Thursday, Dec. 1, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St.. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 Adv./$10 DOS. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

* * *

One of the biggest indie shows of the year takes place tonight at The Slowdown. It’s Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk fame. Somehow this one just sort of sneaked up on all of us. James is on the road supporting his just released album, Eternally Even (2016, Capitol/ATO). Based on this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review of a show a couple days ago, don’t expect to hear any MMJ songs tonight; instead, you’ll get a very hot take on the new album, with some in-your-face political overtones. Accordion-heavy Louisville shoe-gaze trio Twin Limb opens. 8 p.m. $32.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Sad13 (Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz), at Milk Run Nov. 25…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:39 pm November 22, 2016
Sad13 a.k.a. Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz plays Milk Run Friday night, Nov. 25.

Sad13 a.k.a. Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz plays Milk Run Friday night, Nov. 25.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sad13 is Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz out on her own doing the solo thing; and when I say “solo” I’m talking solo-solo: Dupuis wrote, sang, played guitar, recorded and produced her recently released solo debut, Slugger (2016, Carpark), all by her lonesome.

I don’t know who Lindy West is other than being a good writer. She had this to say about Dupuis’ new record:

It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears — even music written by former little girls — is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?

Indeed. Lindy references Tacocat, Waxahatchee, Mitski and Bully in the comparisons. I’ll add early Liz Phair and Eleanor Friedberger to the list. And, of course, Speedy Ortiz, who Dupuis doesn’t stray too far from musically.

I asked Dupuis to take my 10 Questions Survey. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Sadie Dupuis: I am very skeptical of musicians who can definitively name *one favorite album* but Helado Negro’s Private Energy and Solange’s A Seat At the Table are probably my favorite albums released this season.

2. What is your least favorite song? 



R. Kelly “Ignition (Remix)” because I fucking despise R. Kelly but the beat is good and I always accidentally wind up dancing to that before I realize what it is.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band? 



All the free water bottles and hummus backstage.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

How it’s changed my perceptions on hummus.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Yerba mate!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Omaha! And Mexico City.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)? 



On our first tour Speedy Ortiz played in Missoula and 0 people showed up aside from the promoter. So we just had a noise jam by ourselves in a VFW.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills? 



Music’s the day job and covers my basic living expenses but I’m not really raking it in and have to spend almost all of the year on tour or recording music in order to make it at that level. And I definitely take on lots of odd gigs here and there. I quit my day job in 2013; I was 25 years old. And I’ve been playing in bands since I was 13 or 14, which is around the same time I got my first job.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 



I taught at UMass Amherst prior to touring full time. Would do it again! Worst job for me would be anything that supported the prison industrial complex.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska? 



I’ve been quite a few times. Y’all have some really great bloody marys.

Sad13 plays with Vagabon and Mannequin Pussy Friday, Nov. 25, at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Tickets are $10. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to facebook.com/milkrunomaha.

Lazy-i

(More than) Ten Questions with Jeffrey Lewis (at Reverb on Tuesday w/David Nance)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:43 pm November 14, 2016
Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts play Reverb Lounge Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts play Reverb Lounge Tuesday, Nov. 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

(Note: Pt. 1 of this interview actually appeared last Wednesday as a comment to the disasterous 2016 Presidential election. Take a look).

I first discovered Manhattan folk/punk singer/songwriter Jeffrey Lewis’ music back in 2013 when Lewis opened for Quasi at Slowdown Jr. I knew virtually nothing about him then, and a half-hour later, upon completing his set, I became a fan.

At the time, Lewis was out supporting the vinyl re-release of his Rough Trade debut LP, The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane, a set that captures his earliest urban folk storytelling in all its glory. A few years after that came out, Lewis caught a broader audience’s attention with 12 Crass Songs (2007, Rough Trade), wherein our hero covered 12 songs by ’70s English punk band Crass.

Lewis’ latest, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade), collects 11 clever, tuneful story songs, this time backed by his band Los Bolts. His style has been described as anti-folk, maybe because any of these songs could be reimagined by a hyper-kinetic straight-four hardcore band. In fact, Lewis’ style has more in common with the latter-day Lou Reed (album opener “Scowling Crackhead Ian” would sound right at home alongside anything on Reed’s New York album). while “Avenue A, Shanghai, Hollywood” sung by Mim Pahl and indie band life lesson “Support Tours” would make Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle smile. Other songwriters that come to mind include Wall of Voodoo’s Stan Ridgway and fellow story-teller Mark Kozelek, though Lewis’ music is never as dour.

For me, Lewis and his music epitomize the same raw, matter-of-fact narrative style and humor of some of my favorite underground comic book writers/artists, like R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes and Harvey Pekar. Not surprising, Lewis augments his music career with his own comic book series, Fuff, a copy of which you’ll likely have a chance to examine (and buy) when Lewis and Los Bolts play Reverb Lounge Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Usually I give touring musicians the Ten Questions treatment, but I couldn’t pass up an offer to do a phoner a couple weeks ago with Lewis from his Manhattan home.

Are you still touring your latest album, Manhattan, which came out a year ago?

Jeffrey Lewis, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade)

Jeffrey Lewis, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade)

Jeffrey Lewis: Part of the reason for that is because I do everything myself. I’m the one who has to book all the gigs. Right now I’m sort of deeply embroiled in mailing out all of the posters for the different shows. I just mailed a bunch of posters out to Olympia, Washington, today and I’ve got to mail out posters to Denver tomorrow. The constant checklist of things that need to be done kind of means that I can’t really do these tours back to back because it’s just too much work to do all at once by myself. I kind of need things to be spaced out just because there’s only so many hours in a day.

Do you get any help at all from the label? I ask because I don’t know what a label provides anymore. I guess they put out your record. In the old days, a label could help with tour support, they could help you book the tour, they could help you with promotion. It seems like labels don’t have the resources for anymore.

It certainly seems to be the case. I don’t know. I feel like in some ways I entered the music business at the right time, although some people might think it was the exact wrong time. My first album on Rough Trade came out in 2001. My entire experience touring and dealing with record labels has been in the internet age. I’ve been on Rough Trade 15 years and I’ve been touring and doing all this stuff and making my living at this for that whole time period, I never existed in the music industry during a time when there was a thought that it could be a different way.

I never existed in the music industry during the time when independent bands and alternative music was riding a certain financial wave through the late ’80s and through the ’90s; there was so much more money in it in terms of album sales, in terms of what you would expect even a small-level independent album to sell and the amount of support that was available, tour support and promotion and everything else.

I feel like a lot of artists went through a real crashing of expectations or a real readjustment of what they were expecting to do or what they were expecting to make. I never had that. For me from the get-go it was like, if I was going to do anything I basically learned pretty quickly that I was going to have to do it for myself and figure out ways to make it work.

Of course I do credit Rough Trade tremendously with really helping me out by being interested in me in the first place and continuing to be interested in me all these years later. I can’t imagine there’s very many artists on the label that could possibly make less money for the label than me. They put out the Strokes, they put out Belle and Sebastian, they put out some pretty major players in the Indie music realm.

It’s almost crazy to me that they’re still interested in putting out a Jeffrey Lewis album every couple of years. To me that’s just really cool. I’m happy about that element of the relationship. I’m happy to be associated with them and I’m glad that they’re so far still happy to be associated with me.

Tell me about your backing band, Los Bolts. Who’s in it?

It’s definitely been a challenge to keep one band together for a long period of time. Since I have been doing this about 15 years, I’ve probably had maybe six different drummers and maybe four different bass players or something like that.

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts on this tour is the same band that I’ve been with for about a year now, which is Brent Cole on drums. He was in the Moldy Peaches and Dufus, which are two New York bands that I did a lot of touring with over the years. I’ve known Brent for a long time and I’ve toured with him before though not as a member of my own band.

On bass is Mem Pahl, and she’s very young. She just turned 22. It’s kind of an interesting contrast where Brent and I are both 40 and we’ve been doing this essentially since the late ‘90s, although only doing it professionally since 2001 or so. Mem is really just like of a younger generation and brings the music that she wants to play in the car, and the perspective that she has on the music scene is really interesting and it’s made a really cool dynamic.

We’ve done a lot of touring together in this particular trio format of the past year. Mem was actually playing bass with me for almost a year prior to that, too. I’m sort of almost going into two years with Mem on bass. She was only 20 when she started with me.

It’s kind of interesting to have these different dynamics over the years and how the different combinations of people that I’m with kind of create different chemistries. It’s like any relationship, when you start dating somebody and over time it just gets deeper and the layers of experience kind of make it richer. It’s sad if some musician ends up not being able to continue touring because maybe somebody got married or had a kid or they move away from New York City. There’s a million reasons why somebody wouldn’t be able to stay in my band forever. Every time that chemistry breaks up and I have to sort of start trying to develop a new relationship it’s a bit sad to have to start from scratch.

My favorite song on the record is “Have a Baby.” I assume it’s about people who lose interest in things that they love after they have a family. Is that kind of what you were going for and were you experiencing that with your friends when you wrote that song?

Yeah. I like that a song a lot. It was really a fun song to put together because I feel like it’s structurally different than other stuff that I’ve done. The sentiment of it in some ways cancels itself out because it can be seen from two different perspectives I guess depending on which side of the argument somebody is looking at it from. I didn’t really realize that when I wrote it I guess.

I feel like if you were the person who was having a baby you could look at that song as a sort of unpleasant sarcastic comment on how maybe now that you’re having a baby you’re not going to be able to do anything interesting anymore. The other side of it which was sort of more of the side that I started writing the song with in mind, I was just thinking of all of the frivolous things that life is filled with, all of the details that we pay attention to, that occupy our time. Some event can come along that makes them seem very petty — things that you sort of put aside when something more important arrives. Proliferation of details that seem important when you’re engaged in it, but some life changing event can happen that can make them actually look sort of insane, in their detailed specificity, or the necessity that they seem to have when you’re absorbed in them.

I did realize while making the song that it kind of, it had to be two different perspectives that it could be seen by, each of which is kind of unpleasant for, it could kind of sort of be insulting for both sides of the equation I guess.

Well when I first heard it I thought of your original intention until I read a review of the record where the reviewer said the opposite. I hadn’t thought about it and I said ‘Oh, that must be what he was going for.’ Obviously that wasn’t what you were going for.

Yeah, and of course it’s always a mistake for the artist to say, ‘Well it’s supposed to be taken like this.’ A lot of times people hear something and if they like it then it’s really not a good thing for me to explain ‘Oh no, you’re wrong, you like it but you’re not thinking of it the right way.’ Whatever way people want to think of it is their own business and I think me putting my two cents in to say that you’re supposed to think of it one way or the other is really only to the detriment of the art. It should just be out there for people to make of it what they will.

Speaking of art, I love your artwork. First of all why don’t you sell your artwork online anywhere and how important is making your comics in your life?

The comics are an important component of my financial existence, but are very tied in with the music. Most of the freelance art jobs that I get are through people knowing me through music. The Mountain Goats comic book press kit thing that I drew a few years back or the artwork that I’ve done for the band the Cribs or other projects like that where somebody knew me through music or a band that I toured with or played gigs with.

Fuff No. 2 by Jeffrey Lewis.

Fuff No. 2 by Jeffrey Lewis.

These ended up being really good freelance art jobs for me but I wouldn’t have gotten them if it wasn’t for the fact that they knew me first through music and then when they needed an artist or they needed a comic book artist or an illustrator. I just happened to be there or I was somebody that they had already met. It’s not like I’m going around to magazines and dropping off a portfolio.

In addition to that, a lot of people who buy my comic books are buying them through my website, which is kind of like my music. People might come to my website because they’ve heard an album and then they’re like ‘Oh, these comic books are here also, maybe I’ll buy some of those.’ Then I have the comic books at the merchandise table at my concerts. I perform, there’s like illustrated songs that I perform at the gigs, too. The comics and the music are sort of very much tied together in a way that isn’t really two different careers, they sort of rely on each other and I can’t really totally separate them out as two different careers even though they’re sort of two very different disciplines.

As far as selling original art, I don’t know. I don’t know how much to price it. I’ve never thought of my art as something to sell. I just draw stuff so that I can turn it into comic books really. I’ve just never really entered that realm of like somebody who sells original art. It’s just kind of alien to me.

That’s another like just sort of hassle in trying to do all the stuff myself. Right now I’m trying to calculate well how many comics do I need for this tour, how many boxes should I mail to the west coast. How many can I fit in my car actually, how many CDs, how many records. How much room is the drum case going to take up so how many t-shirts can we take with us. You don’t want to run out of merchandise when you’re out on the road because it’s a major part of the financing of a tour. But it is hard to know how much to take.

I think you need to hire an intern.

I did actually, I did hire an intern a couple of years ago. I had a couple of people that would come over like once a week and I was paying them an hourly wage to help me do the website stuff. The people that order stuff from my website, we sort of had one day where we’d all work together packing up orders and bring them to the Post Office and dealing with that. I don’t know, somehow everybody just always ended up being too busy.

I was sort of up to paying people 15 bucks an hour which seems like a pretty good rate to just sit around with me and listen to records and pack comic books into envelopes. Even at that rate, it was like I had all these different people that just kept not being available and I kept ending up doing it myself. Now as of the past six months I’ve pretty much just been back to doing it all myself.

I do think I do need more help in general. But everybody does. If you were Donald Trump somebody would do your laundry for you and scrub your floor. For the rest of us there’s work to be done and someone’s got to do it and that’s us.

You could literally draw things when you’re not driving (on tour) and sell them at shows.

Well I mean it’s also I guess for me it’s a problem because I’m not, what’s his name David Shrigley, and I’m not Daniel Johnston in the sense that the art that I make is very time consuming. I feel like for something to actually be a Jeffrey Lewis drawing it might take me like a day to do. I could of course do some kind of quick doodle but then I would kind of feel bad charging money for that and somebody, you know, I don’t know, that’s part of the problem with me selling the original art is I’m like it’s just too valuable to me. I put too much time into it to think of like, well I can’t just sell this for 20 bucks.

It took me two days to do. That means I’ve got to charge 500 bucks for it. But then it’s like well who the hell’s going to pay 500 bucks for it. So it just stays here in my closet.

Those sketches you did for your box sets are just fantastic.

That was a very fun insane project that was a huge amount of work. Those are basically are like how fast can I crank out 500 drawings without thinking about it at all. I don’t know if I would do that again but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Are you working on new material now? Are we going to hear any new stuff on this when you play in Omaha?

Yeah, I’m always trying to work out some new stuff. I actually just played a show in New York City last night that was 100% all new songs. I was just reading all the lyrics off of lyric sheets for the entire night. I feel like I usually have to write a lot of songs before I end up with any that I feel strong enough to really hold on to. Part of that process is trying out some new material after just letting it having a chance to take shape over the course of different performances and just sort of feeling what it feels like to play stuff in front of people. That’s part of the writing process for me.

I’ll definitely be trying some new stuff. I’m one of those people that feels like just because I wrote a song doesn’t mean that it’s really worth people hearing. Right now I have a pile of maybe about 25 new songs but of those there’s maybe might be four or five that I actually consider contenders that I might start doing something with.

I do want to ask you one last question which is, which I ask everybody as part of that is what stories have you heard about Omaha, Nebraska.

What stories have I heard about it? In some ways in song writing circles it’s kind of legendary for being the home of Simon Joyner. Simon Joyner was an important influence on me in the ‘90s when I was just starting to get into Indie music and songs and songwriting. Of course Bright Eyes is a pretty major figure in the alternative music and Indie songwriting. For like an Indie songwriter or an Indie rock band that concentrates on songwriting, I think Omaha has a sort of legend or a sort of a atmosphere to it.

It’s also an interesting part of the country for me to play. I don’t get to play there that often. I mean considering how many times I’ve played Chicago or San Francisco or something I’ve probably played Omaha only like maybe three times or something like that. It’s kind of cool to have a chance to get back there.

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts play with David Nance Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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