There’s got to be a morning after…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 8:22 am November 9, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

On this day of shock and awe, my only comment on this election is: We’ve got to pick ourselves up and move on. It is what it is, and you can’t change it, but you can make it better.

The worst possible outcome of yesterday’s election was definitely on my mind last week when I interviewed singer/songwriter and New Yorker Jeffrey Lewis, who plays at Reverb next Tuesday night. Last week, Lewis posted a video in support of Hillary Clinton, which you can view here,  which prompted this back-and-forth about last night’s worst possible outcome…

Me: I just watched your Low Budget Public Service Announcement 2016. This interview is going to come out after the election. What do you think about waking up November 9th to a President Donald Trump?

Jeffrey Lewis: Well, it’s definitely an unpleasant thought. In some ways not just politically but because he’s like a New York City real estate guy, he’s like already the enemy to me aside from his view on politics. It’s kind of ironic that he was already one of the people that makes me feel awful regardless of his political stances.

I feel like throughout our lives we go through these period where there’s some candidates in power that we would prefer not be in power and vice versa. What can you do? You can’t always have it your way. I wouldn’t commit suicide, but to me it’s a frightening thought. It’s also kind of scary to think that there are a lot of people in America — a lot of Trump supporters — who feel that way about Clinton. They just recoil in horror. The people in the right wing recoil in horror at the thought of Clinton being elected and the left wing recoils in horror at the thought of Trump being elected. No matter what happens there’s going to be a lot of upset people.

Me: Yeah. It’s what I try to think about, which is as much as I hate Trump, the Trump people hate Obama and Clinton in a way that I can’t understand. It’s weird.

Right, and up until this moment I didn’t know if you were a Trump supporter or an anti-Trump or what. Actually it’s always very interesting touring across America because of course we plan in blue states we play in red states we play all over the place and some places that are extremely left wing to middle ground to right wing, you really sort of get… You take the pulse of the country in a certain way as a touring band.

A lot of times in the past we’ve been on touring during presidential election campaigns. I think October and November are often good months to be on tour in the states, and I’ve done a number of tours that happen to be prior to presidential elections. It is really interesting to kind of see the different parts of the country at these very heated times.

Me: Did you think maybe I was a Trump guy because I’m in Nebraska?

Well you know as a journalist it’s, you could have just be getting answers from me and not necessarily showing me your cards. I think that happens sometimes where people are just sort of asking me questions without necessarily revealing anything about their own take on it.

Of course I imagine as a band we’re probably playing in clubs where the majority of people are probably maybe more artistic types or they’re more of a liberal college student type atmosphere in some places so that we’re seeing a somewhat biased perspective on America. I feel as though there’s been so much opposition to Clinton from the left wing. I feel like I encounter that in my life more because there’s not as many right wing people in my life as there are left wing people, and I feel like the discussions and debates that I have generally tend to be with people that are further left than me rather than further right than me. That’s kind of been a factor.

Making this Hillary Clinton video, my immediate thought was of all of the friends of mine on the left that we’re going to be upset with me because I just don’t have as many friends on the right.

Me: I saw at the very beginning (of the video) you kind of throw a bone to them, too. Saying you like Bernie.

Right. It certainly doesn’t stop the endless, the harangue of internet trolls that immediately pile on the assault any time you set your foot into the ring politically you’re just inviting a whole lot of internet trouble. It’s hard to emotionally distance yourself and not want to get into debates with all these people or not let it make you upset or sad. You have to just… I try not to get too caught up in reading all the nasty comments that come up any time you sort of make a statement about anything.

Me: Yeah. That explains the last statement in your video which is this is not a time for those negative comments.

That doesn’t stop them, though.

Trump is as much a product of the left as the right. Anyway, I’ll post the rest of my interview with Jeffrey tomorrow. Get some sleep.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Head of Femur; Trump (in the column); Serial Hawk tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:00 pm October 5, 2015
Head of Femur at O'Leaver's, Oct. 4, 2015.

Head of Femur at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 4, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Do they still make bands like Head of Femur?

I don’t think so. Son, Ambulance was sort of created in the same image; so was the first iteration of Eagle*Seagull. Beyond those examples there are few bands as big and sprawling and creatively ambitious as Head of Femur either back in the day or right now, seven years after the band escaped into an extended hiatus.

Last night we got the full Head of Femur experience. The band packed itself onto the “stage” space of O’Leaver’s, all eight of them lined up in two rows with the horns and strings in the back, the guitars and keys and vocals up front, led by the inimitable Matt Focht. They sounded as good — maybe even better — than I remember them back in the early 2000s.

They played a lot of their “hits” from the those fantastic early albums, songs you’d immediately recognize if you were a fan. Those dense, high-flying numbers with intricate arrangements, rhythms and lyrics, proggy and fun, celebratory in their execution. The kind of songs that makes you want to cheer after every number. There was an Eno cover in there, as well as a cover of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel’s “Make Me Smile” that made me smile.

Musically, the comparatives don’t give Head of Femur the justice its due. I typed out on my iPhone during the set: “XTC meets early Joe Jackson meets Imperial Bedroom-era Elvis Costello,” which doesn’t take into account the band’s classic baroque-rock qualities. For that, a guy who’s been following them forever compared them to Mott the Hoople, whereas I’d lean more toward Procol Harum or Left Banke whereas modern fans might point toward Belle and Sebastian. None of that’s right, of course.

Let’s just say they are immensely entertaining. Focht’s voice remains as gorgeous as ever. The band was on point. The vets surrounded themselves with some new blood that represent some of the best talent in the region, but you’d expect nothing less from this band. It was special.

As Andrew Stellman highlighted in this Hear Nebraska story last week, we’ll be getting more of Femur. Focht said the new album will be coming out late this year. But is it possible to keep all that talent together for a support tour? Doubtful. But if you’re kicking yourself for missing last night’s show or last Friday night’s Lincoln Calling gig, put the boot away. Focht said the band will reunite again Dec. 23 at The Waiting Room. Make your plans now.

Also keep your eyes and ears peeled for Head of Femur’s Live at O’Leaver’s session. Sound engineer extraordinaire Ian Aeillo says the recording of last night’s show sounds awesome.

Speaking of awesome (and new records) Dan McCarthy and James Maakestad played a humdinger of an opening set last night before Femur. McCarthy mentioned on stage that he’s wrapped a new album as well. Can not wait…

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The October issue of The Reader is on news stands now. Pick it up, as it’s the very special Music Issue. More about that later. In this month’s Over the Edge column, my take on Trump and why you’re going to miss him when he’s gone (and believe me, he’ll be gone… eventually). Check it out in print or read it online right here.

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It’s a night of doom metal at O’Leaver’s tonight with Seattle sludge/doom trio Serial Hawk. Opening is Super Moon and Processions. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.