LOM recently conducted a wide-ranging interview with Kevin Russell of the Gourds. The Austin roots-rockers - for lack of a better term - released their 9th studio album, Haymaker! (Yep Roc), today, and play a Cactus Music in-store January 9 and later that night at the Continental Club.
The Gourds will be featured in the January 8 - i.e. tomorrow's - print edition of the Press, but Russell is much too verbose and erudite to be confined to a 1,0000-word feature story. Below is some of the most interesting lagniappe from our interview.
Lonesome Onry and Mean: After so many years, what's the biggest strain in keeping the band going? What keeps your interest held?
Kevin Russell: The biggest strain is just making simple decisions about all things related to touring, recording, marketing, etc. There's five men with their own ideas and opinions involved in this. Just naming a record can take months of suggestions and haggling for a majority vote. It's like a smaller, less-educated, meaner supreme court that drinks a lot and does not follow parliamentary procedure.
Kevin Russell as his solo "Shinyribs" persona/ Photo: Barbara Misto
Kevin Russell (cont'd): My interest is held by the still unrealized potential of this group. I feel like we still have not made the quintessential recording that we have been capable of for years. I think there is a great fucking record in us. We keep making good records, but not the great one.
Of course, there is a lot of luck involved. Maybe we have made it and we just don't know that we have. Maybe when we are long gone some fucking music writer will come along and deem a particular recording "great" and all of his or her lame-ass music writer contemporaries will agree. And thus it will be decreed. Ha!
LOM: After the Heavy Ornamentals CD release show at Warehouse Live, you said you felt like the band was starting to win some battles and might actually finally win the war. The gist was that you guys felt like you were getting somewhere career-wise that you hadn't before. Does that feeling still exist?
KR: We have struggled mightily this past year with all sorts of internal issues. We certainly feel that we should be further along than we are right now after 15 years of hard work. But probably every band would tell you the same thing. We are capitalists who must be ever increasing our business, right? Right?
Well, we have been slowly growing this, but we have also taken on more people in the process. So, the pie is getting bigger but the portions are getting smaller. This coming year will tell a lot.
What's in a name...
LOM: What are you guys looking forward to this year? Do you have goals as a band or just take it as it comes?
KR: We want to make a certain amount of money, more than last year. Simple business shit, of course. Not that we talk about it much. I want to make the shows better and better. We need to redefine our show a bit this year and improve on what we have done. I also want to begin a collaborative process to the end result of the next recording.
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We have always been three songwriters bringing songs to a band. I think now is the time we should be a band creating songs together. Strange, but we have never done this. And for a band that is so much a sum of its parts, it seems natural.
RO: How much of '09 will you tour?
KR: We'll tour all of '09 and find time somewhere in early '10 to make the next best record, I am sure. We just keep going. - William Michael Smith
[To be continued; stand by for Part 2 tomorrow, in which Russell expounds on Jack White of White Stripes and Beaumont boys making "art shit."]