Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brett Dennen Interview

Well this is the exception that proves the rule. I don't do interviews but since his new album is good enough for my wife to start playing in our kitchen at weekends (high praise indeed coming from her)... Excuse the clunky questions, the reply came as a word document, formatted as musical notation.

LM: How aware are you of music blogs and how do you feel about them giving away your songs for free?

A music what? Blog? What's that? You give my songs away for free? You can do that? I don't know how I feel about it. Who's doing this? Is that legal?

LM: What kind of musical education (if any) did you have? Was there music being made in your home? Did you have lessons at school? What instruments can you play?

I had a teacher one time who tried to learn me music real good. But I was too busy planning how I was going to create an image for myself. So I quit music schooling. I heard that you don't have to be good to be on the radio. So I learnt myself. My folks don't play no music. Dey just hear it.

LM: You've got some big names on the album, did you write with them in mind and how did you meet the rest of your band?

I didn't write with these musicians in mind. They came to me through the producer, Kevin McCormick. They are all folks that he knows. The Ozomatli guys I know from the Dave Matthews cruise. I met Randy, who drums with me onstage, in college at Santa Cruise. As for the rest of the band. Well, lets just say I used a service. I don't think there is any shame in it. I think it is hard to meet people today when everyone is so busy. I wanted to take the time to make sure it was a good match. These service things have compatibility questionnaires that you fill out. And deep questions I must add. Like, what do envision as a perfect back up singer?

LM: Your press biog, as all press biogs are wont to do, drops some pretty heavyweight names and all seemingly without using more than one paragraph. Who, would you say were your formative influences and whose career path seems the most attractive to you at this moment?

BD: I didn't write that bio. I wouldn't compare myself to them. All the career paths that are attractive end up in someone dying in the end. I'm not sure that's what I want to do.

LM: Your music feels organic, I wondered if you own a computer, and if you do, do you use it to write music?

BD: Well, it's not certified organic. You gotta have like a rabbi come and bless your pesticides for that. I do own a computer, but don't hack into it. That's where I keep all my lyrics and ideas for songs.

LM: Are you going to be touring the new album in the UK and around Europe?

BD: Yeah probably. We will for sure be playing in the UK. Europe too. I also wanna try and play in England. Maybe even New England.

LM: What were the last records/CDs/mp3s that you actually bought, like spent money on rather than just were given?

BD: Today I bought the latest Johnny Cash American Recording, the new Madeline Peyroux and Antony and the Johnsons.

LM: and finally, for my own personal curiosity, how many guitars do you own? I like your small mahogany guitar, does it have a history?

BD: Four, but I don't actually own them. I more like, have an unattached open relationship with them. They aren't even really guitars, they are more like women. Older wealthier women who are way out of my league. Not like elder, but like older than me. Like in their late thirties.

LM: Thanks for taking the time to answer these, maybe after the next record you'll be able to just dictate answers and have someone type them in.

BD: Yea, I'm open to that.

Listen: Brett Dennen: Ain't no reason
Listen: Brett Dennen - She's Mine (possibly the most upbeat thing I've ever posted here apart from Dolly singing If)


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