An open letter to Red Hunter from Nick Hennies of the Weird Weeds:
How are you? I know we haven't known each other long but already your music has worked its way up into that category of things I like to call "best things ever". When I first heard your music I found your voice a little cloying but please don't take offense to that remark, good sir. You're in good company, as I said the same thing about Antony & the Johnsons, Xiu Xiu, and Scott Walker, three artists whom I hold in the absolute highest regard possible. While you differ musically from the above-mentioned, you certainly are alike in spirit and essence… I'm talking about purity, here. Be it The Murder Mystery, Peter & the Wolf, The Rocking Chairs, Old Crow, or you all by your lonesome, your chord progressions are lovely and your words speak volumes about the world we live in. I'm glad to see that Mr. Rose has taken to your music the same way I have and look forward to reading the following interview. Viva Red!
My mom got me into piano before I can even remember, before I could read or anything. I have these eerie memories of her playing Beethoven sonatas when I was two years old or something and it felt like all the laws of physics just fell apart and I was floating through outer space with all these different shapes around me. Sort of like Tetris in 3D.
It’s slow. My friend Marie says the most important ingredient in a quesadilla is patience.
I’ve included a picture of Dana rowing the canoe at our island show which pretty much explains how rad she is.
Here’s how we met: One night at a show I started making up a song about a naked guy who’s following this girl floating above him on a raft made of chicken bones and she’s seducing him with a black bottle. Dana came up after the show and said it was the weirdest thing she ever saw. She invited me to one of her shows where she busted out Tom Waits songs & drank beer and I figured we should probably start a project.
Well I definitely don’t think you can pull off stuff like a graveyard show or an island show in just any old city [see pictures.] It takes a certain kind of town where the people have a need for adventure. It took me about a year after moving here in 2004 to find the kids that aren’t really part of the whole mainstream television, film, music, and other forms of mass-influence thing. Maybe Texans still live in their own republic. Austin should declare itself another planet.
A song starts when something is so overwhelming that some kind of physical help is needed to return to a normal state of mind. Trying to examine the idiotic causes of violent conflicts like the ones in the Sudan or the one in Iraq (both of which I consider “ours” because I find the division of people into nations totally archaic and juvenile) can lead to those kinds of feelings, and transforming them into lyrics is the way I’ve been best able to face it all.
Always. It’s like the Tao says, “Have in your hold the great image and the empire will come to you.”
Thanks, man. I have pretty bad insomnia and when I was living in my car in LA I used to find myself driving around the empty residential streets in Burbank late at night listening to AM radio eating Del Taco. One night at like 4 in the morning---which is the best time to hallucinate and write songs and stuff---they were doing a piece about the huge temporary cities that FEMA was prepared to build in the event of a terrorist attack on LA. The cities would basically appear overnight in the deserts east of Los Angeles and would be able to shelter a mere 5% of the city’s population with “a million tents and trailers.” So that’s where it starts.
As for the division of people into nations, I’ve been pretty influenced by Thoreau, especially Civil Disobedience. His complaints sound as if they were written today about the current administration. That leads me to wonder why nothing seems to have changed. I have been working on some plans for specific action but I’m not ready to talk about that just yet.
I’m the guy who travels around the country selling bottles of Uncle Hiram’s Magic Cure All Elixir. I stomp and shout.
I have too much of it. I’m just gonna put it out there that I need a good massage. If you’re talking about tension in music, like momentum and controlled dissonance, I’m only beginning to understand it. There’s this explosion that can be created musically by its release and it’s a lot like lovin'.
That island can be seen from the jetty by my apartment in Austin. I was sitting there one day thinking it would be cool to row everyone out there for a show. I couldn’t believe so many adventurers were down to go out there with us. That’s one of the many thinks I like about Austin. People are down.
They’re pretty much always crazy. Last night, for example, I played at a beach party in San Diego. There was whiskey involved. At one point I remember laying on the sand with the neck of my guitar in my mouth spanking it and saying very NC-17 things to it. Then I was wrestling with my brother and he threw a ton of sand in my eyes and I was blind for at least half an hour during which time the cops came and I had to be led off by strangers---totally blind---and I was like, “Did somebody at least get my guitar?”
I think that the mellow nature of the place has helped me take it easy and make better recordings.
Peter & the Wolf US Tour in the fall. We’re going everywhere. We’re recording a new record in Los Angeles at Moonshine Studios and I’m also planning to start a crazy high energy band as soon as I find the right travelers to join me.
Yeah. We should trade five records. Keep it up, Brad.
for more information, check out this blog post on the foxy d blog.
-- Brad Rose (8 July, 2005)