Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Interview : Jim Fairchild (Or, "Sorry I'm late.")

This interview was supposed to be posted on Friday, and look, here it is, Sunday already. Time flies.

I am going to write a brief introduction for this week's guest, Jim Fairchild. Jim is the mastermind behind the band All Smiles. Before that he performed with a number of other groups including the late, great Grandaddy and (if I'm not mistaken)the currently great Earlimart.

I've only met the guy once, but he has always been really polite and kind and nice and he is damn handsome. So watch out (Sorry for the lame intro but it is midnight in Albuquerque and time for bed a Tecate and then bed). Read the rad interview after the jump.

Hot Mess Magic: As many folks probably know, you used to be in a band called Grandaddy. Which was a big deal to me and a lot of other people and probably an even bigger deal to you guys, the guys in the band. When that chapter of your music ended, what made you want to get up and start your own thing? Do you ever feel like you're doing things over?

Jim Fairchild :
Thanks for letting us be a big deal in your life. We were a very good band. Then we weren't. The lines between starting my own thing and Grandaddy ending are very blurry. I had always made up songs, always felt the smolder and had taken it seriously. But I had never taken the time to turn a very insecure voice in to one I was comfortable with. Grandaddy's illness and subsequent death let me know that it was time to really prove to myself that I could finish something without help or the calm comfort of others.

And I am doing it over.

H.M.M. : You recently relocated to Chicago, right? Do you have any tips on how to deal with the cold? What is the one food item you would recommend everyone should try Chicago-style?

J. F. : The way I deal with the cold is to go to the West Coast; between family stuff, recording, and Santa's holidays, I've spent about three weeks in Chicago since the beginning of December. Elsewise, I variously:

stay inside, wear too many clothes on Michelin man bike rides, and make sure that my library card has enough non-overdue space for books and movies.

But I guess the answer to this question lies in the fact that we sold our house and are moving back to Portland in three weeks.

The food in this town can be crazy good. Chicago exclusive hits would be Hot Doug's on California. They are the encased meat emporium, but their veggie dogs are insane as well. Very careful applications of home made condiments to accompany the constantly shifting and invariably intriguing selection of what I think are also home made sausages. Find them here:

Also Lula on Kedzie is one of my favorite restaurants in America. Or anywhere. A seasonal menu that changes constantly. Thoughtful and you can eat cheap or spendy and keep it clean either way. They are an egalitarian establishment.

H.M.M. : I heard you recorded 10 readings of a warning on an old 8 track machine. When and where did you figure out how to record yourself? Are there any disadvantages to doing that sort of thing yourself?

J. F. :
Yeah, it was recorded on a 1/2" 8 track machine, sometimes in Portland and other times in Los Angeles. I have been recording stuff on my own for years and definitely tried to pay attention while I was helping Jason on those first couple of Grandaddy records. Also Aaron Espinoza taught me a lotta shit.

I sometimes think recording alone is a pox on my existence, and sometimes find myself the happiest person in the world when I'm doing it.

H.M.M. : In your opinion, what is the most important part of the recording process?

J. F. :
Discipline. And the knowledge that your plan is about to change.

H.M.M. : For awhile it seemed like you had two "All Smiles" bands, one group of guys playing with you in Modesto and one group of guys in Chicago. Did they get jealous of each other? What are the important ingredients, or the elements that make a band "tight"? Who do you think is the tightest band you've ever seen live?

J. F. :
I'm certain there was no jealousy. Everybody that has played in All Smiles I think I'm very friendly with. The band recording this new All Smiles album is pretty dope: Joe Plummer, Solon Bixler and Nik Freitas. Good delegation and inspiration are the most important components to people playing together. My favorite live band was probably Vio-Lence some time around 1989.

H.M.M. :If you were in the New York Philharmonic, or let's say the Chicago Philharmonic (if they have one), what instrument would you want to play and why?
J.F.. :Bassoon. I think otters would like me playing it next to their coastal Oregon coves.

LINK : All Smiles Myspace
LINK : Dangerbird Records

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