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Celebrity and other Interviews
One of the attractions I had to writing was the possibility that I might interview people that I admired. This was another of those full circle moments, much like being able to interview Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Originally meant to be published in the LEO Weekly but scheduling issues caused it to come in late. Nevertheless, here is the interview I did with Slash.
This weekend, October 3rd and 4th, Louisville’s Champions Park will be transformed into the headquarters of rock for the second year in a row. Don’t be deceived, the Louder than Life festival boasts more than just performances. It is an immersive and high-end experience. Aside from music, the festival promises first class dining and drinking experiences featuring some of our local food truck and bourbon favorites.
Former Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist, Slash is performing on Sunday October 4th with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I recently tracked Slash down to find out about his new music and his work as an animal activist.
Super Quill-ian: How does the festival experience feel in comparison to some of your other dates in clubs or casinos?
Slash: Different types of venues, they’re all very independent feeling of each other. Doing a festival date is very different than playing in a theater or even an arena because it’s an outdoor environment and also because of the large amount of people spread out over such a large expanse of space.
Quill: How did the collaboration between you, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators come together?
S: I met Myles when I was making my first solo record. He sang a couple songs on the album. I met Brent when I was looking for drummer and he introduced me to Todd Kearns. They were such a great rhythm section; I thought they needed to have their own name, so we came up with the Conspirators
Quill: Tell me about the new album, World on Fire? What themes do you explore in the new music?
S: It explores a lot of different themes. It goes from songs about love and relationships to poaching to politics.
Quill: There is an accompanying DVD. Tell me a bit about that and why you chose to release a hard copy version instead of an all-digital format?
S: I just like having a physical copy of anything recorded, whether it’s live or a studio recording. We did a tour of small clubs back in September of last year and recorded one of the shows, the Roxy show, so we decided it would be cool to memorialize us playing in a small, sweaty venue like that.
Quill: You are using proceeds from some of your new music to donate to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). How did you become involved with this organization?
S: I’ve been an animal enthusiast all my life and as soon as I got into a position where I could be somewhat of an activist, I met different organizations and IFAW is one of the ones that I’ve been supporting for a long time. Because we had this one song specifically about poaching, I thought it would be great if we got on board with IFAW and tried to do a music video to sort of raise awareness to our fans about what’s happening in the ivory trade.
“I’ve been reading a lot of Roland Barthes. I’m influenced by qu
His work heavily explores, through the language of portraiture, issues involving the body and “family-making.” Warth speaks with authority beyond his youth. His work is tied closely to his own experiences as a gay man in the Bible Belt where family values are on the lips of every preacher and politician. Warth examines these issues all the while intending to subvert the ideas of family and sexuality. “I see myself as a rule breaker, an academic and an activist. I strive to create meaningful sociopolitical commentary through my work and I believe one of art’s greatest strengths is the ability to create a dialogue.”
Growing up in Southern Indiana but based in Louisville, Warth became interested in photography through the influence of his father, also a photographer, and a high school media arts class. When he graduated, it seemed natural to continue at the university level, exploring his interests in both photography and ideas of the queer body in the language of the family.
His most recent body of work, “boy and his SIR: BDSM and the Queer Family,” explores these issues by placing couples or groups, often in BDSM attire, in situations akin to those of the hetero-normative idea of family. Vividly and sometimes quietly questioning what it means to be a family and how that family appears for someone exploring a varied sexuality. “I’m taking this language of family portraiture and photographing queer couples and groups. I wanted to present this alternate mode of family-making and that is reified through the photograph itself.”
Warth has participated in a few shows locally — his most recent solo effort at Gallery K & Coffeehouse on Story Avenue. “My work is more and more self-referential and talking about photography as a medium itself, challenging the way we think about that. I, of course, identify with [photographer Robert] Mapplethorpe to a degree. He paved the way in showing beautiful images of very sexual things which is something I do but in a very different way.”
Racecar driver Mario Andretti said, “Desire is the key to motivation but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” Scott Scarboro, veteran local artist, finds these words helpful in keeping focused. His only lament about being an artist in Louisville is the lack of gallery spaces and web presences that patrons can readily access. “The patrons are out there; they just don’t know where to go.”
A prolific creator, Scarboro produces multimedia and kinetic artworks. “My last solo exhibition at the Green Building [Gallery] could have passed as a 4-person show. Getting older only amplifies the need to get ‘er all done.”
Scarboro mines his childhood and personal mythology for subject matter — a practice that resonates with admirers of outsider folk art and assemblage. His work calls in to question innocence and exploration, both ideas closely associated with youth. “I am drawn to images of iconic characters from my childhood as subject matter. Much like the ‘Dynamite’ magazine collages that used to grace my bedroom walls.”
Scarboro manipulates not only the materials of his youth, but teases at the commercialization and commodification of childhood through his glitch video work. Using snippets of 1970s television programming, commercials and cartoons, he creates “short hypnotic daydreams.”
Like most artists, his process changes with new elements. Recently adding his mother’s sewing machine to his repertoire, Scarboro incorporates yet another layer of his youth into his creations. “My mother and I had many conversations at the sewing machine. That’s where I learned about the birds and the bees. It’s a natural and rich part of my life.” Sewing non-traditional materials into his work, Scarboro says almost anything can be utilized, “Taco Bell wrappers, plastic caution tape, foils, cardboard, copper, wire, movie film, chicken feed sacks, et cetera. If a needle can go through it, it is fair game.”
When not working on his own mixed media projects or encouraging his artist children, Scarboro can be found planning Good Folk Fest. This year’s Good Folk Fest will be held at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland on Nov. 20-22. “I’m excited about having it at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. I want all the artists to be successful, all the musicians to have a good time and be well received, and I want everyone who walks into the door to experience something inspiring and meaningful.”
New Albany brewer Roger Baylor explains why he’s taking a break from his businesses to run for mayor
New Albany brewer Roger Baylor explains why he’s taking a break from his businesses to run for mayor
by Erica Rucker
The New Albany electoral process is in full flower, and this year the modest river town elects a mayor. Local brewer-turned-independent mayoral candidate Roger A. Baylor is seeking to challenge the traditional two-party race and offer the city something he feels it desperately needs: proper management.
It’s clear in speaking with Baylor that much of the hype surrounding him is due to the fact that he is outspoken about his city. He believes a more transparent and better managed city government would serve the people of New Albany and support the city’s growth in a sustainable way. He levels criticism at the current New Albany administration with focused and researched responses — no mud-slinging to be found.
In the race, Baylor is up against incumbent Mayor Jeff Gahan and David White, both Democrats, and Republican Kevin Zurschmiede.
“The criticism I think is valid is that we’re spending an inordinate amount of money that we’re in a sense borrowing from the future in the form of a TIF (Tax Increment Financing),” he says. “The TIF mechanism is the sort of thing that could seem very strong right now but could become very shaky pretty quick.”
Baylor is sensitive to the shifts in New Albany, both in the city center and throughout the town of nearly 37,000. After all, he’s been on the forefront as the owner of Bank Street Brewhouse — the venue he opened to accommodate a downtown clientele. His other business, The New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria and Public House, serves regulars in the east end of town. (Baylor took a leave of absence from the businesses in March to focus his efforts on running for mayor.)
Baylor sees a need for new civic voices.
“My judgment is that the traditional entities are not really offering a coherent response or a plan for this,” he says. “I think there is room in the election for mayor to have a principled independent voice. The longer I’m in this and the longer I think about it, the more the case can be made for someone outside of the traditional party structure to step forward and try to articulate some things that might not have been said previously.”
Baylor senses that some of the decisions of the current administration are putting New Albany’s growth at risk, and he’d like to see New Albany work in a way that creates sustainability for residents and businesses alike. This would include a measured growth that spends city funds on projects that have the connective tissue to support long-term growth, create jobs and provide greater quality of life to larger sections of the populace. As such, he cites the current East Main Street Renovation Project as evidence of a missed planning opportunity.
“The Main Street Project is a good example, because we had some state money that was given to us for the upkeep of Highway 111,” he says. “We used $2 million (or so) of that money to beautify a very small section of the street. You could take that same $2 million and convert large cordons of the downtown street network for multiple uses, according to Complete Streets or Livable City. If we spend something, it really needs to serve multiple purposes.”
By not considering these big projects more carefully, Baylor says, New Albany loses valuable resources — including revenue and educated young people who move away looking for work.
“You need to look at every big capital project in a planning sense and a future sense. These projects are undertaken without being linked in any coherent way. It’s not coordinated. It doesn’t seem to be according to any plan, and what plan we have is diverted from frequently out of expedience.”
Not only is he critical of the Main Street Project but also the old thinking about the trickle-down effect of how the city spends its funds.
“When it comes to money, we have seen quite a lot of top-down thinking,” says Baylor. “To me — I’m not opposed to spending money — but I think the way we do it, we end up spending money in ways that certainly gratify the whole two-party system, but I’m not sure it does as much good as it might for the broader population. We need to look at these capital projects and ask how they connect.”
Currently running a grassroots campaign, Baylor is operating with a small crew of six and a limited budget. Plus, he still has another hurdle to overcome: He needs to get the signatures of 300 registered voters in order to get on the official ballot in the fall.
But Baylor is confident he’ll have the signatures and wants his supporters to understand that the primary season is for the traditional party-affiliated candidates.
“The way it works in Indiana is that the primary is entirely for the political parties to winnow their candidates,” he says. “I don’t really have any place in that. It doesn’t mean I can’t campaign.”
November 12, 2014
The ‘Bob Dylan breadcrumb trail’: Catching up with Old Crow Medicine Show
BY ERICA RUCKER
Old Crow Medicine Show
Friday, Nov. 14
625 S. Fourth St.
$29.50+; 8 p.m.
Old Crow Medicine Show has survived as a band for more than 15 years. From busking on street corners in Nashville to playing major stages like the Grand Ole Opry, their career has gone through its share of metamorphoses. Ahead of their Friday, Nov. 14 show at the Louisville Palace, founder Ketch Secor graciously shared some of his thoughts on politics, the band and the connectivity of humanity to music.
“I’ve been watching the debate between Mitch McConnell and Ms. [Alison] Grimes. I don’t think Kentucky is on a new plan or path,” he told LEO prior to Election Day. “I think it’s going to take a lot longer for Kentucky. I play in Kentucky and I know Kentucky pretty well. It’s like voting against your old grandpa because he’s a bigot. ‘Oh, God bless old Grandpa,’” he teases, cheekily. True to Secor’s analysis, “old Grandpa” held onto his Senate seat.
When asked about the band’s street musician past, he talked about the excitement they found playing the corners. “We came to Nashville on a bus from Bowling Green,” he said. “We made 300 bucks. I’d never been in a place where I could make that kind of bread on a corner. The curb was a place that always felt familiar. The instruments lend themselves to outdoor performance, and the canon of song lends itself well to the hucksterism of busking — the way that you call in your audience and convince everyone that they have a ticket to your show and need to pay for it.”
Secor lamented the demise of the lucrative street music scene since their days on the corner. “I don’t think Nashville is the same town for buskers,” he said. “I don’t actually encourage people to busk in downtown Nashville anymore. The zenith has come and gone. The real tell-tale sign — for me — was when George Gruhn left Broadway with his vintage banjos, fiddles and guitars, and moved to the suburbs. There’s a lot of hands open on Broadway and not a lot of dollar bills to go around.”
In their journey to bluegrass, the band followed what Secor calls “the Bob Dylan breadcrumb trail.”
“Every Bob Dylan album is like a signpost to the next Dylan album,” he said. “From that, I was listening to Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, The Carter Family and a great Kentuckian, Bradley Kincaid. For as hip as Louisville is, I hope that it’s going to get so hip that it rediscovers Bradley Kincaid.”
At times sounding more like an anthropology professor than a musician in one of America’s leading bluegrass/country bands, Secor tends to consider the subtext when speaking about the lineage of his chosen music.
“It’s good-timey music most of all,” he said. “There’s a surface message to jump up and clog or get a buzz on and put your arm around the gal you came with — or the gal you didn’t. That’s the broadest appeal. As someone who’s interested in ethnomusicology, there is a deeper connection that you may not be aware of. At that concert, by putting your arm around that girl you came with or didn’t come with, and with a little libation in you, you’re performing the same act that your great-great-great-grandfather performed. You’re connected to an earlier version of yourself and to all of humanity. Going to see a fiddle played is something that’s been happening in our country for about 400 years but in our species for 40,000.”
Much like the connection to our history through music, Kentuckians have a deep relationship with the military and the state’s two bases. The track “Dearly Departed Friend” on the band’s latest release, “Remedy,” talks about the difficulties soldiers have transitioning back into the culture at home after so many tours of duty. Secor feels an obligation to our military personnel and expresses respect for their service.
“I know that folks who come to our shows have come home from Afghanistan and Iraq and that they are at our concerts because they heard our music while they were in those places and it made them feel closer to Kentucky,” he said. “It’s one of the parts of our gigs that I’m most proud of and most interested in exploring. Because I think they are the hardest-working people in America and that country music is supposed to be this distillation of the hardest-working people in America’s hopes and fears and loves. I think there is a particular responsibility that someone who plays on the Grand Ole Opry has to somebody who serves on a troop ship — whether headed away or headed home, or living on an Air Force base [and] bringing up three kids while their partner is away. We just try to bring comfort and distraction and to commiserate and ally ourselves with the men and women who serve our country because it feels right to do it. It sets a good example for others.”
Nearly 50 years after recording his first songs, Art Adams is finally reaping the rewards of his passion for rockabilly music. At one point, after leaving behind the music business to work and raise a family, he never imagined that there would be an underground market seeking out his recordings and clamoring for his return to the stage. I got a chance to talk to Adams about his career. I only asked him two questions, and he filled in all of the blanks with a wonderful tale of life coming full circle.
“I started when I was 15 or 16,” Adams says. “I had a country band. My brother played upright bass. I loved Hank Williams, so I called the band the Kentucky Drifters. I was born in Carrollton, Kentucky, on the hill in Locust. My brother played upright bass and my brother-in-law played lead guitar. I played rhythm and sang.”
When asked about his discovery of rockabilly, Adams speech picked up pace, much like that of his music.
“I never did go for the whining and crying so I started doing up-tempo stuff, and bless his heart, I started taking some of Hank’s stuff and started upping the tempo,” he says. “I said to my brother and brother-in-law that I wanted to add a drummer and another guitar player. I went to see Little Jimmy Dickens, and he had two lead guitar players standing side by side. My brothers wanted to do more country, so they decided to do something different. So I added a drummer, Benny Abbott (aka Kentucky Curly). So I still had a drummer and added an upright bass and started doing up-tempo stuff.”
Like many musicians who were the counterparts of Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, Adams is often asked if these artists were influences on his music. He is quick to dismiss the notion that he somehow came after. He is an original, and his induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame is proof.
“Listen, I started doing this stuff before I’d ever heard of Elvis,” he says. “People ask me questions like, ‘Did Elvis inspire you?’ I liked so many of the country guys. In my humble opinion, rockabilly goes way back. Hank did some rockabilly, as did Tommy Collins. When Elvis recorded, ‘That’s All Right’ and Bill Monroe’s ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ I liked what he had done. I liked Elvis until Tom Parker took him to Hollywood.”
While he didn’t follow Elvis musically, he did make the trip to Sun Studio in Memphis, like so many young hopefuls did.
“I went to Memphis and tried to get a recording contract,” Adams recalls. “I talked to Jack Clement because Sam Phillips wasn’t there. He told me to come back because I didn’t have the song that we had recorded.”
Adams never went back. In fact, just a few years later, he quit the music business altogether. Having married and had children, priorities changed. It wasn’t until nearly 40 years later that a contact from Germany and Holland brought him back to music.
“I never thought when I recorded those songs … I never realized they would become so popular in underground rockabilly in Europe and Canada and now here as well. In my opinion, after listening to them for many years, they are unique as far as rockabilly is concerned.”
I relate to Adams the story of my father-in-law, who passed away in 2009, and the discovery of Adams’ song on an underground music site. We talk about the importance that this music has to the people who find it and give it new life on the Internet and in music-trading circles.
Adams speaks in a lovely drawl, the kind that pronounces “humble” with a silent H. Since returning to the stage in 2002 at a Las Vegas party for his friend, the author Larry Goshen, his music has taken him places beyond his imagination.
“I’ve been all over the world,” Adams says.
“It’s humbling to me. I’ve been to England alone eight times. Here I am just a country kid from the hills of Kentucky.”
Now in his 80s, Adams shows no signs of slowing down or quitting the music business again.
“I’m doing a show May of next year in Opryland Hotel for the Muddy Roots [festival]. We did a show in Tennessee for them before. But the show is at Opryland Hotel and it might be as close as I get to the Grand Ole Opry; as a kid, I used to get up in the hayloft, sing and pretend I was in the Opry.”
And Adams is still creating new music. “We’re contemplating going down to Memphis and recording a song at Sun,” he says.
Copyright: Quill and Ink Freelance 2018