Almost two years ago, sometime White Stripe Jack White's voice gave out while the Raconteurs were touring behind Consolers of the Lonely, so he recruited openers the Kills' vocalist Alison Mosshart to help him out onstage. Her nicotine snarl was a perfect match for the Raconteurs' no-quarter blues-rock; soon enough White, Mosshart, Raconteurs bassist "Little Jack" Lawrence and White's pal Dean Fertitta (Queens of the Stone Age) reconvened in White's Third Man Studio in Nashville, dubbing themselves the Dead Weather somewhere along the way.
The album that resulted, the visceral Horehound, was one of last year's best, but the Dead Weather didn't stop there — follow-up Sea of Cowards will be released May 11. Chatter caught up with Lawrence the day after the Dead Weather opened its current tour at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore Auditorium last week.
Chatter: I don't think anyone expected another Dead Weather record quite so soon. Did you?
Little Jack Lawrence: We didn't either. I think we're just really inspired by each other and want to keep writing music. Most of the new record we started on the last tour for Horehound. Whenever we could get a couple of days after coming back from tour, we'd go into the studio and start recording. The album's maybe a little more aggressive than the last one because of that reason, I think.
C: The last one was pretty aggressive. What's different about this one?
LJL: It's hard to say. We wrote it the same way — we're all writing together. We go into the studio room and everyone throws out ideas.
C: How mapped out is a typical session for you guys?
LJL: It's not really mapped out. We might have been kicking around something during sound check, maybe Dean's playing something. So we'll bring that back to the studio and we all kind of build from it: "Well, I have this other part that might fit in there." And then the whole time Alison's just writing in her book, coming up with lyrics.
C: Do you know where she gets the ideas for her lyrics? A lot of them are pretty harsh.
LJL: I don't know. She's always writing, so it must be inspiration from every day, or what she hears or how she sees something. Maybe from a film or a book.
C: Between everyone's other bands, why do you think this came together so seamlessly?
LJL: It's hard to say. Maybe it's experience. We've all been playing for ten years plus, and on the road, so you kind of weed through all the bullshit by that time.
C: With all his musical projects, running the studio and his record label, and his family, does Jack actually have any time to sleep?
LJL (laughs): Yeah, he gets a little bit. I think he comes on tour to sleep sometimes.
On the heels of iFest, Sig's Lagoon and groovy local DJ crew Psychedelic Sex Panther have put together their own mini-festival this Saturday at the Continental Club (3700 Main). Appropriately called "Mayday Mayhem on Main," the alliterative event brings together several generations of Texas psychedelic and garage rockers for one long evening of swirling lights and guitar fuzz. Headlining is singer-songwriter George Kinney's Golden Dawn, whose 1968 LP Power Plant remains a cornerstone of the International Artists/Texas Psych sound. Bluesy Link Wray rumblers Shapes Have Fangs pop over from Austin to join several of Houston's top Nuggets-influenced crews, including Spain Colored Orange, Something Fierce, Roky Moon & BOLT and Anarchitex. Doors open at 5 p.m.; tickets are available at www.sigslagoon.com.
1. Andy Bradley and Roger Wood, House of Hits: The Story of Gold Star/SugarHill Recording Studios (book)
2. Ned Sublette, The Year Before the Flood (book)
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, I Learned the Hard Way
4. Flaming Lips, Dark Side of the Moon (LP)
5. Devo, "Fresh" (12")
6. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "Money"/ Budos Band, "Day Tripper" (7")
7. Various Artists, Super Blues Vol.3: Texas Greats (CD)
8. Mike Stinson, Jukebox In Your Heart
9. Kris Kristofferson, Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends: Publishing Demos 1968-72
10. Various Artists, More Dirty Laundry: The Soul
of Black Country
Blues on the Move
KPFT (90.1 FM), Sundays 8-11 a.m.
www.kpft.org Selections from the April 18 playlist
1. Mean Gene Kelton, "Too White to Play the Blues"
2. Tony Joe White, "Polk Salad Annie"
3. Cookie & the Cupcakes, "Matilda"
4. Texas Johnny Brown, "Blues Defender"
5. Mark May, "If You Love Me Like You Say"
6. Susan Tedeschi, "Can't Sleep At Night"
7. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "We Shall Not Be Moved"
8. Bonnie Raitt, "Cry Like a Rainstorm"
9. Bob Malone, "I Know He's Your Husband"
10. Tab Benoit, "Loves Lips"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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