It’s been far too long since my last band interview, and today I resume that. Don’t you fret that I have forgotten about this delightful series I’ve been doing here on CAPSLoveTwo, because today’s interview reveals plenty of juicy information. Just about one month later from the first interview segment of this band, comes the second part for all you music-loving folk out there in reader land.
Today’s interview follows Austin’s own, Uncle Lucius, who recently ended a tour of the country, including a D.C. show that I reviewed here. Lately, they’ve been playing more close to home (they’re down in Dallas at the Kessler Theater tonight). So without further ado, today we have pianist Jon Grossman (whom I’ve blogged about before) to share a special part of Uncle Lucius with us…
What is your favorite original Uncle Lucius song?
Night to night it varies, I’m always surprised by what catches my ear. Consistently, I love [Keep The Wolves Away]; such a heartfelt, poignant story.
Who are your influences?
This is the van consensus: Winston Churchill, Ewan McGregor and Clint Black. Carl Sagan. Saber-toothed tigers. Morning Dew. Children who overcome cancer. A well knit sweater. Topper Harley. Bozo the clown. Harry Caray. Mary Chapin Carpenter. Captain Ron. Nancy Pelosi. The man at Chili’s responsible for having the hostesses wear them. Charlie Chaplin.
I’ll speak personally- the holy trinity: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Bob Marley. Ray Charles and many others besides. Townes Van Zandt and John Prine.
What are the differences (if any) in the sound of everyone’s song-writing? Or, how would you describe the sound/style to your music writing?
Everybody’s got a different process, different tempos at which they like to work. Quite distinct strengths we all have: Mike’s a superior riff writer, seemingly endless ideas. Hal has a riff knack too, more off the cuff elaborations. Both of them write onstage all the time. It’s tricky to keep up with at times, but very fun. Kevin’s brought prepared licks in. Both he and Hal bring completed or nearly completed tunes in too, which Mike has done previously. His tune on the new album was very collaborative; he’s not at all averse to a friendly suggestion, has a way to keep his ego in check that I strive to emulate.
Josh has his hands in every pot at times, his ideas are never limited to mere rhythm! He had lyrical suggestions, worked out licks with each of us and generally oversaw the proceedings. He wears the conductor’s hat out of all of us. He’s really responsible for the flow and the transitions throughout the tunes. He’s a glue guy- really fills in the grey areas well.
Did you go to school to study your musical instrument/sing (if so, where?) or are you self-taught?
Lots of lessons formal and informal, sure. I think Josh has the most extensive background, a lot of marching band all the way through college. I’ve successfully ignored nearly all the musical education I’ve been blessed to receive.
(Except for Mike- congrats on the recent marriage!) Your adoring fans want to know: which of you are single?
Every single one of us.
How many shirts does Josh own that are sleeveless? How many shirts does he have with sleeves?
I can only say that I would find sleeves everywhere in the apartment, under the couch, in the bathroom. Some days in Texas are just a sleeve too far…
For Jon/Josh: Do you ever feel competitive/intimidated by each other’s fro?
I feel intimidated by my own ‘fro sometimes. It needs a cuttin’.
I’ve seen you play the accordion, keyboard, and guitar. I understand you also play the ukulele. Which instrument are you most comfortable at playing? Do you think the ukulele could fit its way into any future Uncle Lucius music?
I hope so! I really love a little homey upright piano, something where you feel the notes in your knees. I’m getting quite fond of my nylon string acoustic guitar too, also very pleasing to the ear. There’s no feeling like learning a new instrument, the idiosyncrasies bring out different parts of your personality. I’m overdue for a new one actually, thinking about dusting off the ol baritone horn from my middle school band days.
For Mike and Hal: Why did you finally decide to get your long hair cut a few years back?
Mike pleads the fifth, and Hal doesn’t quite remember, but we can safely say the answer lies between religious purposes and that it’s Goddamn hot in Texas.
Where in the USA have you never been to, that you’d like to play a gig?
930 Club! Red Rocks, the Braun family jam in Idaho, Bonnaroo. You probably mean traveling- I’ve not played anywhere abroad really, Canada is close but Mexico is right down the street! Anywhere and everywhere in Europe, Israel- eventually an all kibbutz tour! So many amazing places. Our recent pass through Appalachia was amazing. That’s a region I’m long overdue to scour.