Adventures of a University Finalist

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hooray! My First Junior Reporter Assignment!


The Foxymorons

The Foxymorons - Hesitation Eyes
The Foxymorons - If I Had a Dartgun
The Foxymorons - The Duke of Gloucester

The Luxury Liners

The Luxury Liners - Restless
The Luxury Liners - It's You
The Luxury Liners - Think She's Coming Around

Dave Dewese, member of two of the bright sparks in the Nashville music scene, The Foxymorons and The Luxury Liners, has sent me the replies to my questions. Yes, I've actually done an interview! I'd like to thank Dave for his lovely and patient demeanour and also his musical partner in crime, Jerry, for reminding him about it. None of our exchange was changed by yours truly. Not even my longwinded questions. Or the typos. Sorry 'bout that.

ME: Did you know that Gloucester is actually pronounced phonetically as GLOSS-TER rather than GLOW-CHES-TER? Or is that all part of the song's charm? It gives it a delightful taste of naiviety that goes superbly with the song's simple drum machine clicks and tambourines. Also is that a xylophone in the song's chorus? I love it whatever it is.

DAVID: I found out the proper pronunciation a year or so later. Actually, I think Jerry's the person who told me after he visited Boston. I saw a street sign in Duncanville, Texas and I decided to write a song all about it. I think the instruments used on the song are all from my sister's Yamaha keyboard or some little hand chimes I "borrowed" from our church choir.

Both in your work for the Foxymorons and The Luxury Liners, you've developed a strange affinity with performing covers tackling Cher's Believe (which I've previously featured on Adventures... hope you don't mind about that), Xtina (though you forgot the chorus as you well know), Sonic Youth and the incomparable Dando. This will more than likely sound trite but which song was the most fun to restructure to suit your sound? My personal favourite is your cover of Centro-matic's 'If I Had a Dartgun'. I've never had a chance to sample the original but I can't think how you could have not done it justice.

Ah, thanks for featuring the Liner's Cher song. I think I do covers because I used to love collecting covers, acoustic songs, and bootlegs. I'm really excited about being in bands now and being able to put stuff out that someone might actually enjoy.

Right now I think my favorite cover interpretation is The Foxymorons version of Sonic Youth's "100%". Not sure why but I just really enjoy that one. We did a Will Johnson cover last year for Misra Records but I'm not sure what they are going to do with it.

Sorry about this but have to ask about your influences. The Lemonheads are an obvious influence on your work (to which you paid a debt with your straight cover of 'Hannah and Gabi') with 'Harvard Hands' sounding like a newly discovered outtake from the 'It's A Shame About Ray' that was undeservedly bumped in favour of 'Frank Mills'. Other people when talking about you tend to mention the Velvets and Big Star seeing you as direct descendents of those bands simpler efforts such as 'Some Kinda Love' and 'I'm in Love with a Girl'.
Sometimes when bands manage to tap into AM Radio power pop so easily that it becomes extremely hard to discover what music drives them. People tend to devolve into throwing would-be influence at the muntil something sticks. Do you even feel that you're influenced by the music that you listen to or do you rather simply enjoy it. By that I mean with bands such as De Novo Dahl, your fellow Nashville Poppers, do you merely respect songs like 'Memphis' or do you feel the urge to use those thumping toms and sparkling organ lines in a song on the next album?

Yeah, I'm pretty open about the fact that Evan Dando is my number one influence. I'm a late bloomer musically so that was the band that made the light go off for me..."Wow, I can do this!" The Lemonheads were the band I used as a blueprint when I was getting into writing and recording.

Actually, an acoustic cover song (Frying Pan) is how I discovered The Lemonheads so that reinforces my feelings about cover songs and acoustic songs.

The Lemonheads lead me to Gram Parsons and I also finally got into the Beatles around that time so that just about sums up my core style influences. It's all crammed into about a two year span. 1993-1995. I'm an early 90's grunge-era kid. Lemonheads, Gram Parsons, Sebadoh, Jayhawks, Nirvana, Beatles, Wilco, and Pavement are my foundation bands.

I'm really not inspired by Big Star even though I own their albums and appreciate them. I like the spooky version of Big Star more than the Power Pop version. I never listen to a new Luxury Liner or Foxymoron song and think, "Oh, that sounds like the bridge of a Big Star song." For whatever reason they are the band that defines the 70's power pop genre so I'm happy to be associated with Power Pop as a whole.

Living in Nashville the supposed heart of country music in America, do you ever feel that your music is influenced by country themes. I mean, Dando covered an old country death ballad 'Knoxville Girl' on ''Car Button Cloth' and sometimes the chiming guitars of the Liners do sound like early Wilco. Do you ever feel the urge to cover Dolly Parton or was the choice of Cher a direct aversion away from the queen of country to the dame of pop. Also, do you ever watch Altman's 'Nashville' for kicks?

I moved here in 1997 to start The Luxury Liners and we wanted to be "Texas Pop." Shortly after moving here we really got psycho about the Beatles though and the country twang left us. Then we got distortion pedals and the mersey beat even left. I'm pretty proud of that though. Constantly evolving an hopefully growing.

The Liners used to cover a lot of the Byrds "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" album so we've always done country stuff. We even did Gram Parson's "Luxury Liner" at several shows in 2004.

You know what, I haven't seen that movie. Shame on me.

What initially made you decide to continue your presence in both bands? I mean from your output with both I would never have said that you ever considered one as a sideproject. Due to the fact that The Foxymorons are only yourself and Jerry rather than the power trio setup of The Liners do you tend a little more toward lo-fi experimentation rather than simple song structures? From what I've heard of both bands, I felt that that was the case with The
Foxys the Olivia Tremor Control/Lennon to the Liners' Apples in Stereo/McCartney. If that makes any sense which I hope it does. I much prefer the Foxys to the Plastic Ono Band.

That's a great comparison and I'm really thankful I can be a part of two bands with those distinct influences. The Foxymorons were my first band but we didn't really do anything so it never felt like a "real" band. So I didn't really sweat it when I moved to Nashville to start The Luxury Liners. Once the Foxymorons start having long distance success it just sorta crept up on me. One day I just realized I was in two bands so I didn't really have to decide which one to pick. It was too late.

Your policy with release of mp3s is outstanding with the main page upon entering the Liners' site being filled with mp3s. I take it that you see mp3s as a positive medium for getting your music out to the public rather than infringing on your rights as an artist. On the same point, what do you think about the work of the music blogging community (be as horrible as you like I can take it)?

I love the mp3 bloggers. I wish we could get mentioned on more! I'm ALL FOR sharing *some* music on the web. We don't post our entire albums for free but we try to give away as much free stuff as possible. I'm constantly buying albums from bands that I've downloaded a song or two from and fell in love with.

Any set idea when the overdubs on the new Luxury Liners CD will be done? I need my fix of 'Fallen Star'!

Working on them again this month. Hope to have 'em done in a couple weeks. Then we'll hand them off to the mixing guy. He's already mixed six songs so we just need to turn in six more.

Do you really like doing interviews with amateurs?

I love interviews. Great job.

Buy - The Foxymorons - Hesitation Eyes
Visit - The Foxymorons
Visit - The Luxury Liners