[Note: Part 1 of this interview is here.]
Lonesome Onry and Mean: You guys have been on several labels, have probably heard all the too-good-to-be-true come-ons, been to the meetings with label radio gurus and all. How do you look at the label system and the way things are done in the business today?
Kevin Russell: The Gourds still operate from the position that radio should be free-form directed by DJs who are well-versed in the history of the music they play, and the label should be run by people who love music, not money creeps. These are now unrealistic and unpopular opinions.
RO: What are your favorite bands right now, your favorite 2008 records that you felt took things in a good new direction, etc.?
KR: Black Keys, Archibalds, Hayes Carll, Music Tapes. I think Music Tapes' For Clouds and Tornadoes is great art and great music. I am such a hick-ass Beaumont kid that I can never be cool enough to make such kinds of cool-kid art shit. But, I love that shit. I just cannot act like I am so serious like some of these northern clime dudes.
I mean, that goofball in White Stripes. People take him seriously because he has some Fonzie filter or something. He is great, obviously. I don't have that cool thing. I am just a dumbass from Beaumont, you know? But in my heart of hearts I am really passionate about my songs and my writing.
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I am a deep lover with poems in my ears. Poetry is the true art for me, but nobody reads poetry anymore. We are in a visual world. I think that is the difference in what The Gourds do. We are still thinking about words and ideas. We are not visually interesting. No image, no marketing plan.
RO: You've formed this Shinyribs side project and been playing gigs outside the Gourds. What's that all about?
KR: I'm always writing new songs. I had to start another band just to deal with the volume of material I have oozing out. - William Michael Smith
[To be continued. In Part 3, Russell puts on his producer hat.]