Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Spooky Halloween Interview With The Delta Saints: "There'll be booze, pretty girls, high fives, tomfoolery, loud music, and a mess of fun."

Most of this blog's readers spend each Halloween at the Replay (or maybe Frank's) and are blissfully and drunkenly unaware that other bars also celebrate the holiday.

At the Bottleneck, for instance, Nashville's The Delta Saints have headlined a Halloween-party for the past two years with their "bourbon-fueled bayou rock." And they are ready to do it again this week, with LFK's own Middle Twin (AKA, the artist formerly known as Brain Food).

Visit the Delta Saints' website here and give them a "like" on Facebook here . Crank up some tunes from their recent album Death Letter Jubilee  via Bandcamp.  Then commit to the fun at the FB event page, which offers a clear explanation of what you need to do for the Halloween show: "Dress up. Fill your body with cheap liquor. And get ready to dance your costumed buns off...".

Check out Middle Twin on FB over here.

We had a nice chat with the Delta Saints' bass player David Supica (a Kansas native!) about the band's take on the roots scene, the power of dobros, hippie festivals, and what to expect on Halloween at the Bottleneck. Enjoy.

Chip:  First off, let me say I’m glad you boys lean more toward the gritty, bluesy side of the current wave of rootsy-Americana bands because, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of all the Mumfords and Avetts and Lumineers.  But can you tell our readers what separates your sound from other bluesy/rootsy acts like, say, Black Keys or North Mississippi All Stars?  And then can you please define your sound for us using the classic “we sound like _________ meets ________” technique (and ideally filling in those blanks with unexpected or obscure choices).

David:   They don't normally let me do the talking, but I'm a Kansas native so they made an exception on this one. First off, we're stoked on the re-emergence of Americana/bluegrass. But we also know that growing a beard and having our singer stomp on a kick drum is a slippery slope, so we try and draw the line between "us" and "them" as much as possible (thank you for noticing). We pull influences from a lot of different places so it's always a bit hard to do the traditional pitch. The best I can come up with is this: Joe Cocker and Derek Trucks had a love child that hired the Black Keys... and they like to get funky. I'm sure if you asked the other guys, you'd get five very different answers.

Richard:  I love the repeated line “Don’t dip your feet in the devil’s creek” from the new album Death Letter Jubilee. It seems like solid advice!  Tell us a little bit about the album as a whole, and do you have a particular favorite line/lyrics from the album. 

David:  While the writing process is a very collaborative process, Ben Ringel (singer) writes all of the lyrics. That allows me to step back, play bass, and actually be a fan of his writing. And my favorite writing that he's done is our acoustic ballad "Out to Sea." It's a bit of an outlier from our usual volume-cranked songs about booze and women, but "Out to Sea" offers some of what I consider Ben's best writing. That line in The Devil's Creek is actually about a hangover we all shared in Germany. It's a nice reminder of some solid advice.

Chip: The dobro at first seems a bit unusual to encounter amidst your bad-ass blues squall.  Tell us about the use of that instrument in your sound  Also, I promise not to get drunk and yell for Skynyrd’s “Freebird” but I can’t promise I won’t yell for their song about the dobro player Curtis Loew!  In fact, I almost certainly WILL get drunk and yell for it.  Will you be prepared for that to happen?

David: We're used to people hollering at shows. In fact, in East Tennessee it's not uncommon for someone to toss an entire pitcher of beer onto us mid-set. We definitely prefer drunk and rowdy to quiet and bored, so yell "Freebird" all you want! As for the dobro, that's all Ben Ringel. The dobro is a salute to the delta blues and offers a badass timbre that layers on to the funky blues rhythm section and can stand out where an acoustic would get lost in the mix.

Richard:  Arkansas is my old stomping grounds and I see that you’ve played the Wakarusa Festival on Mulberry Mountain a few times.  Can you tell us a few funny festival tales?  As you surely know, Wakarusa Fest began here in Lawrence, before The Man hassled the poor hippies so much that they all packed their shit and headed for the hills.

Chip:  Bonus points if those tales involve sexy hippie chicks, skinnydipping with hippie chicks, drugs, or some combination of the three.

David:  Yes, I actually attended the first few Wakarusas at Clinton lake until that big controversial thing happened. Damn the man!  The first one we got to play was last year. Needless to say, it was a fantastic debaucherous time. I'm not allowed to disclose our funniest festival stories, but they will be compiled on our "Too Hot for YouTube" compilation to be released at a later date. We did lose a member in M√ľnich, Germany 2 years ago at Oktoberfest (which would later be the inspiration for the "Devils Creek"). It's about a 45 minute story when told right, so I encourage you to track one of us down at the Bottleneck and ask. Preferably after beer 5 so you get the good details.

Chip:  So your show at the Bottleneck is on Halloween night (holy shit!) which means the crowd is going to expect hijinks of some sort.  Will you all be in costume?  And can you leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them that they absolutely MUST attend this show instead of any of the other Halloween shows going on that night?

David:  Yes of course! This is our 3rd annual Halloween show in Lawrence so folks there can attest that it's always a wild night. And it's something we look forward to every year. If you spot one of our posters around town, you'll get a clue as to our costumes.

Richard: One final thing.  Your bio calls your sound “Bourbon Fueled Bayou Rock.”  What’s your bourbon of choice? (in case some of our nice readers want to send up a Halloween shot for you, hint hint).

David:  Halloween shots are always welcome. We stick with the basics. Jim Beam is the finest shooting, sipping, or mixing whiskey anyone could ask for. As long as it's not Jack, we're happy.

Death Letter Jubilee cover art

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