DM: Plus‚ even biblical experience in a lot of ways-it's in a lot of Robert Hunter's writings. Folktales of that Western culture that's taken on‚ that we carry with our culture. Who wrote that book Skeleton Key? Stephen Silberman?
MM: Yeah‚ I think he co-wrote it.
DM: I don't even remember. But‚ we were talking to him once about it‚ and he was like‚ "I really like the Seapods' lyrics because you guys draw on tradition." There's that concept of storytelling‚ deeper emotional things‚ and there are literary things. He liked the writing. He felt the same way about Strangefolk‚ I think. There was something more literary going on lyrically‚ and obviously‚ Robert Hunter was a literary fellow.
MM: Sure‚ yeah.
DM: He still is I should say.
MM: Sure.
DM: Maybe it's time to bring the Seapods back to life.
MM: (laughter) I know‚ right?
DM: Or some version of it.
MM: (laughter) It's funny because I've kind of had that conversation before. Wilco being an example because I remember you guys being really into them.
DM: Yeah.
MM: When they were still doing kind of underground alt-country slash rock music.
DM Yeah. Definitely one of my favorites. You know‚ with Superman Curse‚ that was what we were trying to go for. We were swimming against the tide‚ trying to make that happen with the way we wanted to push. I guess in a way‚ The Byrds made that album Sweetheart of the Rodeo that killed their career‚ (laughter) we made The Superman Curse‚ which basically did the same to our career.
MM: (laughter) Right.
DM: It wasn't rock enough for the standard rock people and it wasn't jammy enough for the jam band people. It was like‚ "Eh‚ fuck it."
MM: (laughter) It's such a crap shoot‚ the idea of breaking through those barriers of what people perceive you as. A good example of that is The Slip. They kind of want to be as far removed from this thing they've been stuck in‚ and therefore there is so much hesitation in everything they're doing right now to market themselves. They want other people to start looking in‚ but at the same time it's all bullshit because if you're making good music‚ then you're making good music‚ and people from every scene will gravitate towards it. It's funny‚ the band members themselves will never say that‚ but their manager is like "We need to push away from anything associated with jam music. Let's get covered in all these other magazines. Let's hire a publicist that only works in this…"
DM: I know that very well. I know exactly the feeling. The feeling felt at that time was "What are we going to do? This album isn't a jam band album." I don't even know what I would compare it to. It's more like an early '70s Zappa kind of jam than a happy String-Cheese-y kind of thing.
MM: (laughter) The funny thing is‚ they're even a good example of a band that gets stuck in what they do. They go out and play live. It's hula hoops and rainbows‚ right? They put out an album two years ago (One Step Closer) and it's a pretty heavy album‚ real stripped down. They found the sweet spot in all of these songs‚ and they wrote with great writers. Robert Hunter wrote a little bit on it.
DM: (laughter) Is that why they seem to have kind of plateaued?
MM: I think so. That's the funny thing‚ I remember at the time their fan base was like‚ "this sucks‚" and I was like‚ "this is the album of the year!" (laughter)
DM: Robert Hunter? It doesn't get much better than that.
MM: I don't think a lot of people connected to it the way that I did. They're a band I saw quite a few times‚ never got into them as much as other people. But then I heard this album and I was like "God‚ I need to talk to these guys." Then I did a few interviews with them‚ and that album still stands as one of my favorites.