Without question, Murfreesboro’s Those Darlins have got to be one of the hardest working bands in existence right now. Looking at their past and future itineraries, they’re either on the road, coming off the road, or getting ready to go back out on the road. And it’s starting to pay off for them, if you haven’t yet noticed. The Darlins’ good time rock n’ twang seems to be resonating with a music-loving public whose tolerance for introspective naval-gazing may be on the wane. They’re bringing the party – the question is, can you handle it? We recently caught up with Jessi Darlin on a brief break between tours.
WOTT: What’s been happening with Those Darlins? How was your 2009, and what does 2010 hold?
JD: Lately we have been touring, as always, and also just getting our plans for the rest of the year in order. We’ve been trying to write songs for the next album during our off time, and get the new songs we have done into the set so they will be road worn by the time we get to record. We are also planning on recording a 7″ and releasing it in the next couple of months.
2009 was great! We released our first album (in US and Australia), played about 140 shows and spent over half the year on the road. We got to meet and play with some amazing people.
2010: who knows! We are planning on continuing the traveling until August, when we are gonna stop to record our next album. We are trying to work out some overseas jaunts… Possibly Australia and/or Japan. Our album is being released in Japan this year as well.
WOTT: It seems like you’ve been on the road constantly for the past couple of years. What have been some of the crazy experiences that you’ve had, both good and bad?
JD: I think the whole business of it all is crazy good and crazy bad. haha.
Of course the good things are pretty obvious. The more you play the more people see you and hopefully the more people like you and the more good shit comes of it. Not to mention you just get better as a band. One of my favorite things about touring so much is just getting to know all kinds of people. There is some kind of bond that you get from being road buddies with people that you don’t get from other kinds of relationships… friendships come a lot quicker and deeper than in every day life, I guess ’cause you are a team that’s fighting for something together. Or something like that.
Weird things- I don’t know really. It’s all weird. I would say the ability to be able to stay in one place with one set of people for an extended period of time is shattered. When I am home I feel pretty purposeless. Like, what do i do now?? But I guess that’s a good thing or else I wouldn’t want to stay out on the road all the time! One other weird thing- I hate music now. hahaha. Not really, but I do have far less patience for live music. It’s got to be really good.
WOTT: What’s playing in the van / iPod / cassette / CD / 8-track / record player these days?
JD: Just got a record from this Chicago band I love called The Velcro Lewis Group. I don’t know how to describe them because I’m bad at describing music. They look like they stepped out of the bayou in the 70’s. And the sound like that plus a whole lotta soul.
Strange boys from Austin are great. I’ve been jammin to their new (but unreleased) album.
Magic Kids from Memphis… been at the top of my list for a while although they only have a 7″ right now.
I never update my iPod because my computer stays at home, so our music in the van is usually a set of 20 bands/albums in rotation… We’ve been listening to a lot of Big Star (that new box set that came out), various mix tapes with who knows what on it, No Bunny, Albert Ayler, The 5 Royales, Linton Kwesi Johnson, A bunch of This American Life, Black Rio 2 Compilation… etc. etc. A mix of everything. Also just decided I want to pull out my copy of Willie and the Poorboys by CCR and put it in. “Effigy” rules.
WOTT: Do you prefer opening shows or headlining?
JD: Hm… I like them both. It just depends on how im feeling. Opening is great if you have someone great to open for. There is a lot less pressure on you, and usually easier. But you don’t get the same treatment… Your set length is timed and you get a lot less hospitality. But hey, if you are opening for someone who is your hero, who cares? It rules!
Headlining is awesome because you pretty much run the show, you get fed and boozed (not always, but usually), you can play as long as you feel like. The things that suck are you have to be to sound check first and leave the show last, you have to take the hit if nobody shows up, and you gotta give the people what they payed for!! You gotta at least know how to pretend to know what you are doing, haha. It’s a lot more stress. But sometimes a lot more fun!
WOTT: If you could open for anybody, ever – living or dead – who would it be, and why?
JD: That’s a hard one. Probably the Velvet Underground. Not necessarily because I think it would be the best combo. Just because I would want to see them live and that way I wouldn’t have to pay to get in. Might even get to hang out with them. Although, who knows how that would go? Might suck to hang out with a bunch of arty NY hipsters. I guess i’ll never know.
Interview conducted by Ryan Ervin