Prediction is a big, big business these days, and even those of us who aren’t explicitly in the prediction business probably do all we can to make sense of the future. For example:
Through the years, Jamie Hoover has not only produced a string of fantastic records with his band, The Spongetones, he has also produced, engineered, played with, and hung with damned near everybody, or so it seems from reading a comprehensive credit list. Yet somehow he remains one of those incredibly talented people who never quite reap the acclaim they deserve (to say nothing of the financial rewards).
He never stops hustling, though. Earlier this year he released Paparazzi, a collaboration with fellow Power Pop luminary Bill Lloyd and Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, and a new Spongetones record is in the works. There’s also Jamie Hoo-ever, a new solo project featuring covers of tunes by The Traveling Wilburys, Klaatu, Bobby Fuller, Todd Rundgren, Let’s Active, The Everly Brothers, and of course, The Beatles. He’s recently toured with Lloyd, Don Dixon, and Robert Crenshaw. Then there’s the Van Deleckis side project with Bryan Shumate, and in all his spare time he still manages to produce a bit.
The Pit is honored, therefore, that Hoover somehow made time to field 22 questions for us. Continue reading 22 Questions With Jamie Hoover
I’ve known Jim Booth since August of 1975, when I walked into my freshman English class at Ledford High School and ran headlong into a teacher one of my friends had advised me to avoid (that’s the problem with being 14 – you don’t yet know that your friends are idiots). Booth was different – aggressively different – from any teacher I had ever had, seen, heard about, or even imagined. He was in his early 20s at the time, greatly admired the masters of the British canon, and also played in a rock band (and a darned good band, too, it turned out). And we read stuff that I actually liked – Sherlock Holmes, for instance. I had never enjoyed an English class before. This was all pretty edgy stuff for Ledford.
I’ve gotten to know Jim pretty well through the years (at one point we were even roommates), and was ecstatic to learn recently that these two novels he’s been sitting on for years, Morte d’Eden and The New Southern Gentleman, had been accepted, finally, for publication. I asked Jim if he could find the time to answer 22 questions from the Pit, and he graciously complied.
1: Morte d’Eden has been “finished” since the early ’80s, but during that period it has also undergone some major revision. Can you talk about the process of taking what was originally a book of tightly-related short stories and evolving it into a more coherent novel?
JB: Like most writers, I didn’t know I could write novels until I got started. Most of us who begin writing fiction think we might have enough for a short story, but almost none of us go out of the gate thinking we have a novel coming out. Continue reading 22 Questions with Jim Booth
I think it was fall of 1989. My friends John and Cindy Cavanaugh called to say that “Paul’s band” was playing in Winston-Salem that night, and that they were driving up from Charlotte, and did I want to meet them for the show. Sure, what the heck. I’d been hearing about John’s old buddy Paul for a long time, and when you’re a single guy in my home town on a weeknight, pretty much any excuse to get out of the house is a good one.
That was my first encounter with YNOT?!, and it was one of those “omigod” moments that music fans have all too few of in their lives. This band just fucking raged. They had the sound, they had the songs, they had the look, but mainly they had this singer who just radiated presence – clearly, this guy was born to front a rock band.
Later that night I met Paul Lewis for the first time. Continue reading 22 Questions with Paul Lewis
Some of the best things in life we trip over completely by accident. A few years back a friend of mine invited me to come see his band play a warm-up gig at The Snake Pit in Denver. The headliner was Plexi, a band he was really big on, so it was one of those two bird/one stone deals.
Plexi no-showed, so the third band on the card became the headliner by default. That was my introduction to Fiction 8, a band I’d never heard of, and I became an instant fan. Not only was the music really compelling, the front guy (Mike Smith), his lovely wife (Kelly), and the keyboard wizard (Steve Hart) turned out to be darned nice people.
Since then I’ve followed F8’s growth, and Mike has taught me a little about industrial music, which I didn’t know very well (still don’t, to be honest, but I’m learning).
Recently the band released their third CD, Chaotica, and in my estimation it’s the best yet. To mark the occasion, Mike agreed to field a few questions from the Lullaby Pit. Continue reading 22 Questions with Mike Smith of Fiction 8
In my not-so-humble estimation, Don Dixon is one of the four or five best producers alive. He’s twiddled the knobs for Kim Carnes, The Connells, Marshall Crenshaw, Pat DiNizio, Emmet Swimming, Guadalcanal Diary, The Pinetops, James McMurtry, The Windbreakers, Moxy Früvous, Marti Jones, Let’s Active, The Spongetones, Chris Stamey and Matthew Sweet, to name a few. He co-produced Tommy Keene’s Songs From the Film. He produced four Smithereens records, including their amazing debut, Especially for You. And he co-produced, along with Mitch Easter, R.E.M.’s Murmur, which many critics (myself included) rate as one of the best albums in history.
As the All-Music Guide notes, “Dixon also enjoyed a cult following as a solo performer.” Sigh.
It’s sad that he’s never enjoyed a lot of commercial success as a performer in his own right, despite the fact that most of his own work is substantially better than almost anything he has produced for other artists. Continue reading 22 Questions with Don Dixon
Jeff Foster’s first band, The Right Profile, remains one of the three best bands I ever saw that never “made it.” They managed a remarkable balance of verve and melancholy, moving easily between house-shakers like “Shacktown Road” and hauntingly beautiful ballads like “Underneath the Window.” I once saw them take the stage in front of a packed, jacked house, only to open with a quiet, a capella hymn of sorts. Of course, once they had everybody calmed down, they proceeded to kick our teeth in, exhibiting the versatility and control that made their live shows the best thing going after dark.
This was back in the mid-1980s. TRP signed with Arista, but the band walked away from the deal before releasing a note, and Jeff merged back into the fabric of the North Carolina scene. His next band, The Carneys, enjoyed some success (even opening for Bob Dylan), but never came close to the big time.
Now, over a decade later, Jeff has a new band and his new CD, Above Ground and Vertical, placed second in The Lullaby Pit’s Best CDs of 1999. Continue reading 22 Questions with Jeffrey Dean Foster
L.A. pop diva Wendie Colter recently took a few moments out from the busy task of promoting her new CD, Payday, to play 22 Questions with The Lullaby Pit. Payday was #4 on the Pit’s Best CDs of 1999, and despite a complete lack of help from the corporate music complex, it’s getting spin on stations across the country.
1: What’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make as you’ve moved from fronting Box the Walls to recording and touring as a solo artist?
WC: Remembering that I am a solo artist and I don’t have to worry about other people’s musical opinions! At the risk of sounding Diva-esque, my point is that too often as a band leader I would allow my own intuition in musical decisions to be put to a majority vote, which is always risky to the creative vision of a song or an album. Continue reading 22 Questions with Wendie Colter