Nada Mucho Interview – Soledad Brothers
Q & A With Johnny Walker
By Matt Ashworth
NadaMucho.com: It’s been over a year since we talked to you guys. What the hell’s been goin’ on?
Johnny Walker: We did two Peel Sessions. Oliver and I recorded two records with a band called Pearlene (Dim Mak and Sympathy), all of us recorded with David Viner (Dim Mak). We also released a Soledad Live record on Dim Mak. In addition to that we played over 200 shows. Pretty hard work actually.
NM: Sounds like it. Tell us about the live record and how you got hooked up with Dim Mak.
JW: Steve wanted to put a record out. He has a lot of enthusiasm. Why not?
NM: Last time you played Seattle “White Stripes Mania” was just hitting full stride. Recent coverage in SPIN and other major media says the Von Bondies are next. When’s it gonna be The Soledad Brothers’ turn?
JW: They can have the hype. It usually leads to disappointment, for the fans or the band. Either way someone is let down. Besides, hype doesn’t have staying power. I think conviction is much more powerful. Hype fades for the next flavor of the month. It’s much better to find fans who believe in you and you can believe in. We turned down $50,000 from Hummer because we don’t represent military contractors. That’s our conviction speaking louder than any magazine feature. Our friends and fans will hear it and believe it. This is what’s important and lasting.
NM: You got any new tunes worked up for a forthcoming album? Any surprises cooked up for the live show?
JW: They’re all new tunes. We play some of them live. Still the same old high energy show, no changes there. Maybe a few slow songs for the lovers in the crowd.
NM: What’s the new album, which is due out in August last we heard, got in store for unsuspecting fans?
JW: Analogue synthesizers and 1950s oscillators. Vocals in three different octaves. I’ve been studying with an opera singer I stay with in Cincinnati. It’s improved my range a lot. I’m still a poor opera singer.
NM: Is Ben’s last name really Swank?
JW: No. It’s Dover.
NM: Is he totally swanky?
JW: Stanky, Cranky, Wanky.
NM: Does he read Swank by any chance?
JW: Ben reads new age novels about the Illuminati. And the Bible.
NM: We started a label and have about 10 of 15 songs together for a compilation, which will be our second or third release. What would we have to do to get a Soledad Brothers song on it?
JW: Ben’s last name isn’t Dover for nothing.
NM: Who are you playing with in Seattle?
JW: I dunno. The support in Seattle is usually pretty good though.
NM: How long you gonna be in town? Could we blatantly exercise our Starfucker muscles by buying you and beer or drugs while in town? Wanna meet my sister?
JW: Sorry, my girlfriend will be with me. So yes to the first question, maybe to the second. Are you usually so liberal with your sister?
NM: No, I was just kidding about that. My sister is very liberal, though, and I’m pretty liberal about introducing her to people – cause she’s the bee’s knees. Speaking on nice knees, I met my girlfriend at your last Seattle show. We bonded over dirty garage rock and booze. Isn’t that romantic?
JW: Aww, that’s cute. Actually, stories like that keep me on the road. I like to hear that our songs bring people together. Bonding over rock and booze. When I was growing up, some hillbilly kids lived across the street from me. They used to make out next to a burning barrel of trash all the time. It’s kinda the same thing. Except we are a burning barrel of trash and our fans are hillbilly kids.
NM: OK, anything else before we let you get back to sitting around being one of the best bands on the entire planet?
JW: We never sit or rest. That’s when you lose your edge. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Read between the lines and you can’t be blamed for being fooled. Read the news daily. Be informed and have informed opinions. Don’t be a victim.
Learn more about the Soledad Brothers on their Wikipedia page.