Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) :: The AD Interview

Nashville's Lambchop return to retail shelves next month with their eleventh full-length studio album OH (Ohio). Over the years the country-soul collective has employed as may as 16 sixteen members, rotating in and out of the fold, but for this go-round the lineup is slim (relatively speaking) with a core of eight musicians tapped for contribution. We caught up with Lambchop principal, Kurt Wagner, last week, to discuss the art of collaboration, the new LP, his 2007 tour-only solo album, and a dream he once had of having a drink with Dr. Martin Luther King. - AD

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Aquarium Drunkard: Lambchop has a new album coming out in early October - OH (Ohio) - do you call the record Ohio or 'oh?'

Kurt Wagner: I call it Ohio. The OH is just like the postal abbreviation and then the parenthetical pronunciation of it, so, yes, it's confusing. [laughs]

AD: So, why this as the album title? Did you realize Sufjan Stevens was never going to make it through all 50 states and you decided to jump in and help him?

KW: [laughs] No, no. The simple explanation is that it's the title of the first song on the record, but I just sort of liked the word and I liked the way it worked with the painting on the cover and I just sort of liked it. It doesn't really have an identity - you don't conjure up a lot of stuff when you see the word 'Ohio.' Although it's pretty prevalent, you know - it's a state. [laughs]

AD: Yeah, it's a state that when you think about it, and no offense to anyone who lives in Ohio, but when you think about it, me personally, I don't know what comes to mind.

KW: Not much. And I kind of like that, as a word and stuff like that. It's a little more undefined. I think that's kind of - there's something neat about that. It makes it possible to make a connection between that and this music and artwork, etc.

AD: How big was Lambchop this time around?

KW: Well, it's pretty similar to the band from Damaged. Basically Lambchop has been distilled down into a group of 7 or 8 people who can travel and perform live. And I wanted to see if we could make a record that could represent the sound that that small ensemble made, so we didn't dig into the alumni association file too much to make it. It's more representing the sound of these guys who have been the core of the group.

: Are you going on the road for this record?

KW: As a band, yeah, eventually in the United States, we'll be doing a lot of European stuff. I'm doing some solo performances to sort of pick up the slack of not having a band prior to the release. We'll do a lot in Europe in the fall and the United States, hopefully, in January.

AD: Speaking of solo shows, you released a self-title solo record last year..

KW: Well, I didn't really release it, I just sort of sold it at some solo shows here and in Europe. It was just sort of leading up to the recording of the record and I thought it'd be a new approach for me as a writer to try to perform these songs solo and see how that went. And that was the way of developing the songs before I brought them to the band, and we went ahead and made a recording to put out.

AD: The two records - Kurt and OH - share about five songs?

KW: Yeah, maybe even one more. That was a starting point and then I went on the tour and then I worked on almost all the songs except for a couple. And that was my chance to sort of start to develop them - just so it was a different approach to the way I go about writing. They changed as the performances went on. It was just an idea to go out there and play songs and work on them in the live context. I was kind of interested in seeing what would happen if I did that. I've never tried that before.

AD: So how did it work out?

KW: You'd have to tell me. [laughs] As a process, I was really happy with it and as results I was really happy with it. There was something a little different about how these songs have come together and how they sound, I think. It was a good process.

Continue Reading After The Jump.+ MP3s...

Only the good shit. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its patrons. Keep the servers humming and help us continue doing it by pledging your support.

To continue reading, become a member or log in.