Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Interview Books of Bokonon's Nate Paradis Prior to Friday's Replay Show / March Mustard Madness Begins

Readers, you probably wouldn't have guessed this, but we have a bit of a nerdy streak, and we can spot a band that takes their name from a Kurt Vonnegut novel from a mile away. So we decided to chat with Book of Bokonon's lead guitarist Nate Paradis and see what the band is all about. The Larryville six-piece has an early matinee gig at the Replay tomorrow (6:00-9:00), opening up for Radio Romantica. Enjoy the review, which covers Vonnegut, hippie chicks, dolphins, and contains (to Chip's endless delight) a reference to Furr's Cafeteria!

Richard: So we’re geeky enough to know that Books of Bokonon is a Kurt Vonnegut reference, but tell us more. Is Vonnegut a direct influence in terms of lyrics?

Nate: Actually, he is not... at least yet. You will find some Poe in one song and a lot of references to works of art such as Kryptos, Los Caprichos and lamassus. Tim and James were the Vonnegut fans and started tossing in a variety of references to the list of band names for consideration. Most of the other good ones were already taken but Books of Bokonon really pulled off a Cinderella-style upset to make it to the final 10 and achieve ultimate victory. Cat's Cradle is considered required reading for band members, mostly to avoid the embarrassment of having one of our fans know the book better than we do.

Chip: Is your show tomorrow likely to be attended by a bunch of horny hippie chicks who read Vonnegut every summer on their way to Bonnaroo? Or is this one of those matinee shows that will mostly be comprised of old geezers?

Nate: Very much the latter. Unfortunately, 83% of the band (myself excluded) could be considered geezers and, just as they like to eat dinner at Furr's by 3 pm, they also like to catch their rock and roll music acts early and return home before the 10 o'clock news.

Chip: Well, I'm going to hold out some hope that a few hippie chicks will read this interview and drop by with their hula hoops.

Richard: Can you describe your sound using the kind of pompous music writing that Pitchfork or Daytrotter likes to employ? And what rating would Pitchfork be likely to give you on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0?

Nate: I'll try: "A metamorphic rock formation created from sediments and rocks scraped off the top of a downward-moving tectonic plate in a subduction zone." Sadly, it seems these Pitchfork people only rated the amazing Deerhoof Vs. Evil a 6.7 so our ceiling might be somewhere around 5. That's orogeny for ya.

Chip: I'll look up orogeny later.

Richard: The song “Dolphin Trainer” is pretty fucking adorable. Who writes the lyrics for the band and how did that song come about? We’re guessing that the band’s professed interest in “cetological research” is not just a joke?

Nate: Thanks -- adorableness and creepiness were the goals as far as I can tell. Those lyrics (like most) were over 90% Tim, although I know that James is very proud of changing "Bought Free Willy on DVD" to "Bought Free Willy 3 on DVD". Tim might have chosen aquatic mammal training as a career (he does wear a shirt a lot) if he had to do it over again, but I think he studied some bullshit like genetics instead.

Richard: So you’re the newbie in the band, having joined forces as lead guitarist just last year. What have been the best gigs so far? You guys tend to play some spots such as Slow Ride in North Larryville, so we’re wondering if you’ve seen any knife fights?

Nate: James and I are neighbors so I just kept rooting around until I found the spare key. Persistence, kiddos. Anyway, Slow Ride is the least frightening biker bar I've been to and I've been to two -- step it up NoLaw! Nary a villain in sight. Otherwise, we held a house show for the traveling Ned Evett (mirrored-glass fingerboard, fretless guitar champion) a few months back and while we were a bit out-classed (he's a master - we are journeymen at best), the more intimate setting fit us pretty well. This Replay show should be our finest hour though.

Richard: What are the goals for the band in 2012, assuming the end of the world doesn’t interfere?

Nate: Heading back to Black Lodge in a few weeks to record the second half of a forthcoming LP, "What Are You Prepared to Do?". We're all looking forward to more shows with other locals this year -- hopefully shows that our aged fanbase can make it to and at venues like Replay that bring in their own music-loving clientele as well. If the end of the world does occur, we hope to go down with instruments in hand and a song on our lips -- hopefully our song about world destruction, "Extinction". See you then!

Visit Books of Bokonon's Facebook page and rock out to "Dolphin Trainer" here

And visit their official site here

And dig this flier with two cute turtles (and a little BoB logo at bottom):


It's March, and the only thing potentially more exciting than March Madness is March Mustard Madness at Free State. Yes, the mustards have arrived, and they are a major topic on local twitter today. We assume you're all down there as we speak. Below is a mouth-watering mustard photo we snagged off the Free State Twitter feed.

Chip: "I sure hope there's a bottle of French's calling my name."

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