Friday, April 11, 2008

NQL Interviews Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket

Chicago is no stranger to My Morning Jacket’s ability to "leave everything on the stage" during the nine plus years of traveling up Interstate 65 from the biggest city in Kentucky. As the Kentucky Derby and one the most anticipated albums of the summer are on the horizon, Louisville’s most famous drummer took some time to talk about Vishnu, limestone cuisine, Montel Jordan and the theft of Blossom’s Air Jordans.

NothingQuiteLike: I’ve seen you at the gym recently. So, now is the time to come clean, how much ya bench?

Patrick Hallahan: Right now I’m benching about 5 benches, 4 kittens, and a bean. On the elliptical machine, I’m running about 20,000 leagues. It’s all about getting stamina up for future touring.

NQL: It was just announced that you will be playing once again in the heralded "midnight slot" at Bonnaroo this year. Can you give us any hints as to how you plan to top your extremely awesome performance of two years ago?

PH: Hiring Vishnu to hover over the entire audience has proven to be a little out of our budget, so we’re going back to the drawing boards for the next bright idea. Other than that, we offer two years of rest, insight, and growth…who knows what the hell that will yield.

NQL: Does the band prepare itself differently for a festival appearance like Bonnaroo versus, let’s say, your upcoming 22-minute sold out performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York? If so, how?

PH: Every event is different in feel and meaning, and is treated as such. We love figuring out the spirit of the place and adapting our set list and/or stage to the occasion. There are few things better in life than getting that mixture perfect…

NQL: I believe the upcoming album, Evil Urges, is the first album that has all five members of My Morning Jacket returning from the previous album. What, if any, affect did this have in preparing and recording the new album?

PH: Stability. Comfort. Trust. All the things you need when creating an anchor for your next stretch.

NQL: Music critics often praise the band for the ability to constantly evolve its sound from album to album. Do you think that explains the bands viability and continued growth over the past few years. Additionally, what if anything, did you draw inspiration from in making Evil Urges.

PH: Each album is a measurement of where we are in our lives, and therefore it will always be different.

NQL: It seems like it has been an eternity, at least in My Morning Jacket touring years, since your performance at Lollapalooza last summer. Other than record/finalize Evil Urges, how have you occupied your time?

PH: I gave up street fighting, so I’ve been kinda restless. Lots of family time, cooking, exercising, listening to music, playing with two kittens my wife and I adopted from the humane society, missing playing live, and missing my boys. MY FRIENDS!

NQL: I can’t remember the band ever taking such an extended break in touring. And by doing so, the band made a conscious decision to forego having a show in Louisville for an indefinite period. As one proud Louisvillian to another, what would you say to those fans that are frustrated over not having a local show in over 15 months?

PH: WE LOVE LOUISVILLE. There was NEVER a "conscious decision to forego having a show in Louisville." We took time off, an album had to be made….end of story.

NQL: Since this music site is based out of Chicago, I seldom get the opportunity to talk about how proud I am of our hometown. When you are out touring, and someone asks you about Louisville, or to describe our city, what do you tell them?

PH: I usually say "it’s a city that doesn’t know if it’s northern or southern, rural or urban, and therefore has it’s own identity." People from Louisville are proud citizens, and those who visit pick up on that immediately.

NQL: My Morning Jacket has always seemed to have the support of the Chicago music fan. Is there a specific show that you remember in Chicago and why?

PH: We’ve played Chicago so many times it’s not even funny, and each one is amazing in it’s own way. There are certain cities that BRING IT every time, and Chi-town is among the best. Plus, Louisville and Chicago have had a special bond for the last 20 years. Our music scenes have lived harmoniously. Ps: Thanks Touch and Go/Quarterstick.

NQL: Waterworld was a critical and commercial failure--one of the worst of all time. However, with age and further consideration, the film presents a particularly cogent view of our possibly dystopic near-future. If you had to, could you grow gills? That first liquid breath would be tough, but after that I bet it would be gravy.

PH: I’m pretty adaptable, Matt. I would desperately try to grow gills, but if that wasn’t going so smoothly, I’d call my old friend, Ed Harris, and see about getting that oxidized red liquid they used in The Abyss for deep sea diving.

NQL: Morgan Freeman is president. Tea Leoni is the most trusted face in cable broadcast news. Two meteors--the smaller one cleaved off the larger one in a failed attempt to avert cataclysm--are hurtling toward earth and you've just been selected to live out the two-year nuclear winter in an elaborate series of caves in the limestone beneath Missouri--but you can only take with you that which you can carry. What do you pack?

PH: I over pack for anything I do, so I’d try to fit in: my wife (unless she could come too, then we’d split the payload), my kitchen aid (for making delicious limestone cuisine….see ya, teeth), my toothbrush (only one, though, since I’ll be eating limestone), dentures with reinforced chompers, Super Polygrip® to hold those badboys to my gums, Kombucha tea, my camera, pictures of my family and friends, and probably a few bottles of vodka…being trapped in a cave system for 2 years would really suck.

NQL: You are back in the old conversion van on tour, and you’re sitting in shotgun. You get to choose an album for each member (including yourself) that you feel either encompasses that person or their musical tastes, what would be played. Feel free to elaborate.

PH: Bo: Boyz II Men "Phillihighharmony"
Carl: Third Base "Pop Goes The Weasel"
Two-Tone Tommy: Montel Jordan "This Is How We Do It"
Jim: Rick Astley…entire catalogue…with matching dance moves
Patrick: Public Enemy "Apocalypse ’91"

NQL: It’s no secret among that you and Jim have been friends since you were little kids. Could you tell the fans something they might be surprised to know about him or your guys’ childhood? Additionally, did you ever have that "aha" moment growing up where you knew that you two would become rock stars? If so, when?

PH: Let’s see…we were kids that grew up right down the street from eachother. We enjoyed video games, playing outside, listening to music, spending the night at friends’ houses, making bike ramps, lighting fireworks, hoopin’ it up, being awkward, building forts, causing what we thought was "trouble," having Little Debbie® eating contests, lighting fires, and smelling like outside. Completely different than any other childhood.

I think my first "aha" moment was when….oh wait, that hasn’t happened.

One regret: we lived right around the corner from Scott Carney and didn’t even know it. How the hell did that happen??? Oh well, we’re making up for lost time now. We have a date with secret the bike track near Bradford Grove in one hour.

NQL: I know you are now a married man. However, assuming that wasn’t the case back in 1992, where you more of a Six guy or did you like your girls in Air Jordan like Blossom?

PH: I need substance, not vacancy. Blossom…but I’d steal her Air Jordans while she was sleeping, and burn that hat. Maybe then, just then, I could jump over a campfire without burning my ass.

--Matt Farra

1 comment:

destrukshawn said...

this was a great interview and read

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