You guys reach sort of each end of the spectrum when it comes to different types of music. You have these like‚ massively evil songs like "Follow Me Down to the Riverside" and…
Jeff [Austin] songs. I try not to write the evil songs‚ so Jeff can get into -- he is‚ what is the word? Oh‚ man. What is the expression I'm trying to think of? But basically‚ he can put himself into characters or vibes or whatever and‚ it's cathartic. The way he performs‚ like‚ that song in particular is a catharsis happening for him.
He kind of becomes possessed.
Yeah‚ like a possession‚ but it's very‚ in a weird way‚ as dark as that particular song can get‚ it's very healthy for him to be able to do that.
And it's healthy for the audience‚ I think‚ to experience that. It's therapeutic for me to watch and listen to -- it feels good afterwards. Like I've been through therapy.
Yeah‚ and boy‚ he is -- I'm not sure what it is exactly that Jeff does‚ but I know he's the best at it. There's something about that guy -- I've never met anybody like him‚ and boy‚ he was meant for the stage.
Okay‚ but then you flip it around and you've got songs like "Rag Mama" and "Blue Collar Blues‚" which kind of hug the other end of the spectrum‚ which is like the nice straightforward…
Well‚ there's nothing wrong with being -- we do cover the whole thing‚ and "Blue Collar Blues‚" that song‚ that's a country hit‚ man‚ waiting to happen. I'm not sure I can pull off the country hit‚ but that song is a country hit. And all the way to those real dark murder ballads‚ well‚ not ballads‚ but murder-thrash-grass experience.
Thrash-grass‚ I like that.
But‚ there's always been murder ballads in bluegrass. There's as many murder songs as there are little cabin homes on the hill.
So‚ those opposite ends of the spectrum‚ within the songwriting of the band‚ did that happen immediately or did it kind of evolve into that? Did they sneak and trickle in? Or was it always like‚ "we've got these songs" and "we've got THESE songs"?
It snuck in. It snuck in‚ because we started to go‚ you know we were doing the bluegrass‚ I think‚ trying to be a bluegrass band. Playing very structured‚ very tight -- just very tight‚ you know‚ bluegrass can be really restrictively sort of metronomic‚ and we were doing that. And then all of a sudden… I think‚ I think it's almost like it sneaks up on you‚ because you go‚ "man‚ this isn't really speaking to me‚ what the hell? I liked bluegrass. I loved bluegrass‚ but now I'm starting to not… and why??" And it was because bluegrass as it is‚ or what people think of when you say that word -- that's not… it was never for me. I never listened to it growing up and nobody in Yonder did. We grew up listening to other things. And then somewhere along the line you become convinced that... but‚ well‚ now we've got these instruments‚ so we have to play it like this. And then all of a sudden we went‚ "Wait a second. Why? Oh wait‚ no we don't. We don't have to do that‚ it's just that everybody else did." And I don't mean to be -- that's a bit dismissive‚ and certainly there were people not doing that‚ and those were the people we were really listening to and inspired by. But even Newgrass Revival was one step closer to bluegrass than I think Yonder has been able to be‚ because they did that work. Because they were the ones getting their lives threatened and their instrument cables cut‚ and we were able to do what we do without having those fears.
But yeah‚ it sneaks up on you because if you're going to survive this gig‚ as a musician or god forbid calling yourself an "artist‚" you better be able to be true to yourself and honor those cravings that'll be screaming at you in your mind. You know‚ "Please don't do it that way anymore. Try something new. Do something different." And for me‚ that's always been it -- for all of us‚ for everyone in Yonder. It became the type of deal where we had these other influences that we had were going to manifest. They just had to or we just wouldn't be able to do it anymore. And it's not a conscious thought. It's very much like‚ somebody shows up to a soundcheck and plays something like a Metallica tune‚ you go‚ "oh wow" and everybody knows that Metallica tune‚ so we start to jam along to it. You know‚ it doesn't mean we end up playing or covering the Metallica song‚ it means that somewhere in there‚ was this little heavy bit‚ this part‚ something we were all doing stumbled into each other and we realized "Holy crap‚ that's heavy! Let's do that!" And not having to just do it very stiff and tight and all. And so‚ and once we realized that‚ we can really take it to an excess‚ and maybe sometimes too far‚ but maybe not. Maybe that's part of the thing.
I think that's part of the thing‚ because it makes you guys who you are.
Yeah‚ in part‚ I mean‚ I think we've… [laughs] we've grown up in a very privileged‚ musically speaking‚ we're very privileged because we were sort of… people took to us right away‚ and so we were always getting at least $20 for a gig -- enough to put gas in the car. But‚ we were supported. There was always people there‚ supporting us for all the things that we did and wanted to try to do. And that‚ to be able to go and make money playing music‚ AND be creative and experiment. You know‚ experimentation‚ that's sounds scary. It can be a very lonely life if you start making mistakes on the bluegrass bass. People know. You can't stop. [laughs] But we were very fortunate to have people supporting us‚ coming to the shows‚ liking it‚ or even just telling us they liked it‚ or that they appreciated it‚ even if they didn't like it. You know‚ "Keep trying‚ guys. I sort of see what you're trying to do; maybe you'll get there someday." Pat on the back. Well‚ that's enough.
Yeah‚ you have to ultimately‚ I think‚ for our band -- and when I speak about music‚ I can only comprehend anymore‚ bands that are improvisational bands. Bands where there's improvisational elements within the show‚ because‚ for the rest of it‚ I just would rather sit at home with my own stereo system‚ which is way better sounding for me‚ in my seat‚ in my house‚ than any concert. Or with my TV in High Def‚ which is showing me Lady Gaga in way higher definition than my eyes would be able to perceive from the nosebleed seats‚ and I've even had Lasek Surgery. You know what I mean? You can customize an experience for yourself‚ I think that's- if you're into music like I'm into music‚ and you want to see it and listen to it and hear it and the whole thing. I can make my experience way better at home than going out. So‚ if I'm going to go out‚ I'm thinking about going to see music where there's going to be adventure. You know‚ where there is that possibility that you are going to fuck up so bad‚ you gotta stop and start again! And that is the best! Not when you actually stop and start again‚ I mean‚ that can be embarrassing for all parties‚ but for that kind of edge of your pants thing -- that's music‚ that's what I think music needs more of. And that's what I speak about when I talk about‚ like‚ I'll just say music‚ or the scene or whatever -- bands doing that. I kind of forget where I was going‚ but I did have a really cool point.
Somehow Lady Gaga came in.
Yeah‚ I was going to ask -- have you seen Lady Gaga?
No‚ but Jeff just goes on and on and on about her. I mean‚ I think he's seen her and there must be something to it. I don't know‚ but‚ I mean‚ I don't trust everything he says. I don't recommend anyone trust everything anybody says‚ but he's very insistent about this and I'm starting to think there might be something to it.