Monday, July 14, 2014

Old Man Markley Interview: "My Favorite Crowd Ever Was a Group of Kindergarteners.".

There are plenty of noodly jamgrass bands making their way through LFK these days but not always enough punk-bluegrass bands. That's about to change on Tuesday as California's seven-member Old Man Markley arrives for an early-week barnburner at the Bottleneck. We chatted with fiddler Katie Weed about prairie chickens, peanut-filled PBR, and Split Lip Rayfield.  Check out Old Man Markley's website, give them a "like" on Facebook, and catch them live and in person in LFK!  Opening up the show is the buzzy new LFK singer-songwriter Nicholas St. James. We'll be previewing his Replay EP release show with The Sluts and Westerners next week.  Check out his website and listen to his tunes here.

Enjoy the interview with Katie!

Chip:  I guess the obvious first question is about the band name.  I definitely didn't expect a seven-piece. I thought this was going to be a one-man band where some angry old dude sings about the damn kids on his lawn and such.  What's the origin story of the name? 

Katie: The band is named in honor of our washboard player, Ryan Markley.  Due to his bad back and predilection for soups, his nickname is Old Man Markley. 

Richard:  There's definitely a fair amount of bands mixing punk and bluegrass over the years. You folks are likely familiar with Kansas punk/bluegrass legends Split Rayfield?  Tell us why you think the unholy hybrid of these two genres works so well together.  And tell us a tale or two about rowdy shows you've played over the years, because I know from experience this kind of music can lead to some wild crowds.

Katie: We are definitely familiar with Split Lip. We met them a couple of years ago, at a country festival in California. They were cool, and let us play a game of catch in the field in front of the stage while they were loading in. (We usually bring mitts on tour.)

I really think that punk and bluegrass are different but complementary, like peanut butter and jelly. Always a winning combination. Can you believe some people eat peanut butter and mayonnaise together? I think that'd be more like bluegrass and rap, which we've forayed into a little as well. It's not as weird as you'd think. (Maybe that should be our tagline?)

 As far as rowdy shows, we have played our share. You should see the kids at some elementary schools get down! My favorite crowd ever was a group of kindergarteners in Washington, who in exchange for our show to them sang us a song of their own. 

 Also rowdy? The bikers in Winchester. Man. We had to cut four songs short due to fights breaking out in the crowd at a show there a few months ago. 

Chip: I like pretty much every band with a female fiddler, so I look forward to partying with you.  Do you like PBR?

Katie: Someone recently told me that putting a salted peanut in a can of PBR changes the taste entirely. And my boyfriend told me a friend of his used to always order it with a wedge of lime.  So if there's a way to change the taste of it, then maybe. Really, I love IPAs--strong, hoppy, bitter beers. Who are some of your favorite female fiddle players? 

Chip: In LFK, my favorite has got to be Rachel "Stankboot" Killian 

Richard:  I love the amusement park artwork on the cover of the new 7" "Stupid Today."  Tell us about that release and also what's your all-time favorite Old Man Markley tune to play live that we should especially watch out for during the set?

Katie: The "Stupid Today"  7" came together pretty quickly and smoothly! And Chris Shary did a wonderful job with the artwork, in addition to being a wonderful guy. His whole family rules, actually. We got to meet his wife Lori and their son at a show last month.  

 While the release itself was smooth, the release tour saw a number of problems with our generator and some troublesome weather. Fitting with the theme of Chris's great artwork on the cover, it was kind of like going to an amusement park on a rainy day when someone jerked off on the funnel cakes. Can I say that here?  [Chip laughs for five minutes]. Truthfully, we had a lot of great shows though, and I think the songs sound great, too. 

My favorite song to play live is "Blood on My Hands," which we released on a previous 7". There is a part in it when our drummer Jeff always yells, and it makes me smile every time.  

Album artwork via Fat Wreck.

Chip:  I learned from your FB page that a couple of you are vegans.  Sadly, I myself ate a chicken-fried steak for breakfast and I'm sure I'll do it again tomorrow.  Will you spend most of the evening trying to convert me or will you mostly be playing songs?

 Katie: I learned from page two of Kansas Fun Facts and Trivia  that "Kansas has the largest population of prairie chickens (wild grouse) in North America." In Kansas, do you typically have prairie chicken fried steak? I assumed prairie chickens were vegan, but I just looked it up and it turns out they eat insects! Who knew!

Chip:  There's actually quite a controversy over the fate of the prairie chicken in Kansas right now. If you can set aside an hour or two before or after the show, we'll discuss.

Richard:  Leave our readers with a blurb to convince them they absolutely must make it out to the Bottleneck on a Tuesday night to witness the sound and fury of Old Man Markley.

Katie: Punk bluegrass is the new Orange is the New Black. Come check it out! It's not as weird as you'd think. Let's all hang out and talk about music and beer and have some good old fashioned fun! I'll bring extra peanuts. 


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