Interview::Patterson Hood from the Drive By Truckers

Last week on the eve of the Colorado stint of The Dirt Underneath tour, Patterson Hood was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. He talked a bit about the new record, the current tour, and things coming into focus for the future. Us DBT fans are really excited about the new songs we’ve heard during the tour. We know the next record is going to be a great one. Without further ado, here is the interview-

So how has the Dirt Underneath tour been from your perspective? Did it meet your expectations? Were the crowds well behaved?
Patterson Hood: Above and beyond my best case scenario and by far my favorite tour ever. We’ve been working up new songs as we go and have 11 going now, averaging 7-8 new songs a night. The crowds have been incredible. They have been overall well behaved. I mean, we haven’t become librarians or anything. We’re just trying something different and asked for some help by the folks out there. It’s still a pertty raucous show most nights and plenty of hell raising. We just want to have the quieter experimental moments work too. I’m extrememly happy.
Are all the songs written for the new record?
PH: We have plenty, but I wouldn’t say we’re through. Cooley has 6-7 so far for consideration. I’m sitting on maybe 15 that I consider serious contenders. My first choice would be to now write an entirely new album from scratch between now and end of summer, but we’ll see. It’s a fun position to be in.
Any theme this time?
PH: No one theme, but lots of recurring images and thoughts. Likewise, Cooley and I are very much same page again, maybe even more so than ever this time. A lot of cohesion between what he’s writing and what I’m writing.
Do you write on the road?
PH: It’s really hard but it can be done. Last summer when we were doing that shed tour all summer, and I was going fucking crazy and out of my mind but also trying not to totally abuse myself or go off the deep end, I wrote a bunch of songs, some of which make up the foundations of what I’m writing now. I have ideas all the time and try to write as many down as possible, but I do a better job of completing my thoughts at home in my little office with toys and guitars all aorund and a piano in the next room.
Does this year feel like a vacation compared to last year with all the touring?
PH: Absolutely. I’ve been busy as hell this year. I’ve done a ton of writing and a ton of recording and production stuff and side projects, but I’ve also spent a lot of time with my family and reallly recharged and refocused.
What is the low-down on Murdering Oscar? Any ideas on when it will be released?
PH: I’d still love to see it out this year but we’ll have to see. I just put 2 new songs up on myspace for folks to hear. I’m thrilled with it, but just having to be careful to not interfere with DBT, as that has to be my priority. Maybe someday I can just make records and put them out and not have to ask anybody’s permission but everything is a work in progress. One thing, my music is not in style in any way, so therefore I don’t have to worry about an expiration date. It will be just as out of time with the rest of the world next year as the year after that. I think we all revel in being our own thing with our own agendas and timelines.
You have mentioned Big Star’s Third as a favorite record? What are a couple of other all time favs?
PH: All three Big Star albums for that matter are absolutely essential. The second one (Radio City) has always been my all time fave, but the new vinyl reissue of 3rd (with supposedly proper sequence) is a revelation. Whether it really is the “correct” sequence is one of those “Rock Mysteries” that will never be conclusively known, but the one on the reissue is one of the coolest sequences I’ve ever heard (and I’m fanatical about sequencing of albums). Other all times: Todd Rundgren – Something /Anything, the new Sly Stone reissues are incredible. I’m listening to “There’s a Riot Going On” right now. Just wait till the next album…
Are you excited to play Willie’s picnic?
PH: Fuck yeah!!!!! Can’t wait.
Music from The Dirt Underneath Georgia Theather 27/28 April 2007
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