What inspired you to perform acoustic versions of your previous songs?
“James and I had casually discussed the idea of doing some acoustic performances in Hawaii, where we often spend time hanging out. Then we thought about recording, and this morphed into the concept of Acoustic KO. Both Raw Power and Kill City were landmark albums for me. I can’t overstate the importance of these recordings for informing much of my own work – Just about anything I do, or have done in music since first hearing them, has been inspired, at least in part, by these recordings. My own inspiration for doing acoustic versions of four of those songs now flows naturally from that intense personal history…along with my friendship and respect for James as a songwriter, guitarist and producer.”
How did you pick which tracks to perform acoustically?
“The electric versions on the records are definitive – you couldn’t improve on them doing them the same way, but reimagined as all-acoustic numbers opened up the songs to a new dimension. The songs chosen were those that were most likely to transcend the original, acoustically. Some of the tunes obviously are not gonna work that way – you wouldn’t try it with Search And Destroy or Death Trip for example. James, of course, had the final call on the track selection.”
Are there any plans to do any follow up acoustic renditions?
“Nothing definite – this is it for now.”
Are there any plans for any other collaborative releases between you two?
“No definite plans, but since we seem to work well together, anything’s possible.”
Have you had any reactions of the EP from the other members of Radio Birdman?
“No, I haven’t heard from any of the guys about it so far. Actually, we’ve had to keep it under wraps so they wouldn’t have heard any of it yet, except maybe Penetration that was premiered a couple of weeks ago. I am pretty sure the response will be positive once they hear it.”
Are there any plans to perform the acoustic versions in concert?
“We’ve talked about it, but nothing is on the table right now. It is possible, if we find the right places and times. My feeling is, why not?”
Radio Birdman will be touring with Died Pretty later this year, what can fans expect from your show?
“The song list will be drawn from all the studio recordings. We play ‘em pretty much true to form, although most of our songs have sections where we improvise solos. You could call it a “greatest hits” set – if we had any hits, which we don’t! In any case, we will play at full power and it will be loud. Hopefully some Died Pretty fans will discover us, and vs versa.”
Radio Birdman have been touring quite consistently for the past few years, are there plans to continue doing shows after this up coming tour?
“Nothing booked past this tour. We’ll be evaluating offers.”
On top of the Acoustic KO release, and touring with Radio Birdman, you also released another solo album last year and will be touring Europe in support of the album, is it hard to juggle the various musician projects?
“Yes, I’m touring to support the Mean Old Twister album, as well as preparing to record more material. You are right, the music projects keep me busy. But if it was just the music, it wouldn’t be very difficult. When you add in the need to earn money to pay the rent and take care of family commitments, it doesn’t leave time for much else. It can be challenging to find time to, well, rest, for example.”
Where did the name ‘Mean old twister’ come from?
“Comes from an old Lightning Hopkins tune, called “Backwater Blues”. Lightnin’ sings about a “mean old twister” (tornado) threatening his shack down south. Going with that theme, the booklet in the CD features photos my wife Anne shot of a twister that narrowly missed us in our little trailer Montana a few years ago.”
You’ve been working on a Radio Birdman book, how has that been going?
“I had to shelve that project for now, being too busy to write. I’ve got several chapters done. Maybe pick it up again later.”
What do you have planned after the upcoming Radio Birdman tour?
“Recording the next solo album in Montana, and then visiting some relatives and friends in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Eventually I will have to get back to work. And there are some coffee trees on a small farm in Hawaii that will need attention!”
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