Friday, October 01, 2010
Oh My God: The Exclusive Interview with There Stands the Glass
The current tour of Chicago-based band Oh My God brings them to Kansas City's Crosstown Station on Friday, October 8. There Stands the Glass conducted an email interview with keyboardist Ig.
There Stands the Glass: I mean this as a compliment- I can't get a handle on Oh My God. Your stylistic range is enormous. How do you describe your music?
Ig: It's like a mix tape (or in modern parlance, a playlist or dare I say "party shuffle") born of the immensely different musical backgrounds of Billy and me.
He was rocking out to Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Boston and Black Sabbath, while I was diving into Minutemen, Husker Du, Wire, Television and Kraftwerk. We did meet at Rush and AC/DC, though.
In any case, we never decided to be a particular kind of band, oh my god just evolved from the songwriting clashes he and I had. Piano ballads like "February 14" have had to co-exist with garage stompers like "The Uptown Lumber"; we are unable to zero in on one sound, style, genre, etc. That's been vexing for our record labels and would-be labels, and yet we persist.
TSTG: Several of your songs sound for all the world like hits. Are you frustrated that your music isn't heard alongside Lady Gaga, Maroon 5 and Katy Perry on radio and music television?
Ig: We wish more people heard us and knew us, yes. We agree: how is it possible that "February 14 isn't a standard by now? And our most recent album overflows with hooks, but there's always that oh my god-ness that makes it just a bit too risky for the pure-pop powers-that-be, perhaps. Also, we're not all that pretty. What the hell do I know? I just work here, as they say.
TSTG: Your videos for "Bring Yourself" and "My Own Adventure" are astoundingly brilliant. What percentage of your promotional budget is invested in them?
Ig: Sheesh, I don't know. Thank you, though. "Bring Yourself" was cheap, 'cause Dan (Bigelow)'s a fan and worked hundreds of hours basically at minimum wage--only for us would he do such a thing! He is the man.
"My Own Adventure" cost more, but still was a "friends and family" rate by all those MTV guys we know, who happen to be oh my god fans and friends of Tila Tequila. So they called in lots of favors and got an amazing crew together to do the video on a whirlwind NYC day.
I plan on spending the rest of the promotional budget on cookie-dough ice cream for me and only me.
TSTG: You're playing at Crosstown Station in Kansas City on October 8. Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Dave Douglas, James McMurtry and Eric Johnson also perform in town that night. If Oh My God wasn't working, which show would you choose to attend?
Ig: Los Lobos. They are such dauntingly great musicians, I bet it would be highly inspiring.
TSTG: Will this be your first visit to Kansas City? What should fans expect of your show?
Ig: Heck, no...it's probably our 15th visit to The City of Jiggling Souls (I just coined that nickname for KC right now).
We've played The Hurricane, Davey's Uptown, The Record Bar, The Brick and a few other places the last eight years or so. We always love the energy and people of KC (though some fucker stole Billy's wallet out of his jacket pocket one night during our set).
The People of the City of Jiggling Souls should expect enthusiasm, heart, laughter, tears, theater and spittle. Really, though, we have a history of memorable nights in KC. I'm deeply fond of many or our recordings, but our live show is where the excitement lies. Ask anyone (who matters).
TSTG: I propose that you cover the Usher hit "OMG". Does that make me a genius or an idiot?
Ig: We used to play a show-intro file we created with a mash-up of various "oh my god"-mentioning songs (Tribe Called Quest and Pavement were part of it...I can't remember who else). If we were still doing that, we'd likely add that one...as for your suggestion, it makes you a fine specimen of human being.
Buddy Morrow died September 27.
I recently rediscovered Mandrill. (Check that awkward intro!)
Demencha uploaded the unlikely new collaboration by Les Izmore and this guy.
I remain pleased with my ongoing documentation of Kansas City's jazz scene at Plastic Sax.
Kansas City Click: Field Music perform Friday at The Record Bar.
Hearts of Darkness play on the patio of the Riot Room on Saturday.
Guitarist Nick Charles picks Saturday at Mike Kelly's Westsider and Sunday at Amore Chocolate Pizza in Leawood. (Tip via loyal There Stands the Glass reader Phil.)