'Mining Music's Culture For Our Pleasure'
American Minor's debut album comes as a complete surprise, sounding like a missive from an alternate, more perfect universe where Television opened for Bad Company and the Gun Club toured with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
Produced by Christopher Thorn & Brad Smith (founding members of Blind Melon) and mixed by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck, Foo Fighters, The Vines), American Minorís eleven songs display a natural confidence and ease that spring from a lifetime of shared experiences growing up in Huntingon, West Virginia.
At a time when too much technology and too many stylists have paralyzed rock & roll with a synthetic sheen, American Minor breaks through the plastic with eleven timeless songs that capture an American sound thatís equal parts Skynyrd and the Pixies.
Chatting recently with bassist Bruno, I first wondered how five working-class boys from rural West Virginia make it to where they are now?! "Seems like dumb luck. We did some touring, and the music stuck with people ... be they other musicians or music fans or just random drunks! These people all knew other people they passed the material onto and eventually one thing lead to another until the music industry found us. The first time we ever encountered "A&R" people was in Georgetown, KY at the Festival of the Horse. Of the course of the next year or so, we kept writing and playing out as much as we could afford to, eventually got a deal, and made a record."
What's one of the most important things that you learnt along the way? "If you can't go on without playing music ... only then try it as a career, otherwise do it as a hobby."
Your music is inspired through classic rock material, but are there any new and fresh bands out there that you also dig? "There are plenty. The Shins, Ryan Adams, The Zutons, Ray Lamontange, The Dears, The 22-20s, My Morning Jacket, etc."
With regard the band and your new album, where did the bands' name originate? "It's just something I said into a 4 track after we recorded our first song together. I like how when spoken Minor could either refer to coal mining, which is a big industry in West Virginia, or it could have a music connotation. We were also fans of Minor Threat. Really, there's no meaning beyond that. Band names are silly!"
Which song on the new album are you most proud of ... and why? "Iím most proud of the new album as a whole because I'm proud of every song on it. Does that count as an answer?"
Yes! So, now tell me more about your first band paycheck and what you used it on! "Fixing the van!"
Why did it take you 18 months locked in a farmhouse outside Champaign, Illinois to get this album together ... what were the creative stumbling blocks? "We had to learn to be a good band and find who we were. That takes a little time. We actually wrote half the album in the three weeks before we started recording."
Are you one of the infamous 'DQ sign guys' ... and if so, what was the rudest statement that your long magnetic pole allowed you to reach up and place?! "I'm actually not. But last time I rolled into town it said "What happens at the DQ stays at the DQ." Fiftieth birthday announcements are frequently posted as well and haunting the women in town."
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "It would be 'Whip It' by Devo so I could wear one of those red hats!"
If there were just 3 words that described American Minor, what would they be? "Rock and roll!"
Finally, if you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other musicians to aid you in the project (using no one from your band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the song be?! "Bono on vocals, John Cougar Mellancamp on guitar, Phil Collins on drums ... I'd play the bass and we'd redo "We are the World." That might answer your cheesy 80's cover question as well!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
Back To Archives