16 April 2007

Interview: BOBBY CONN

As far as contrasts between posts go, this has to be one of the more dramatic which means things are ticking over nicely. If Ziggy Stardust and Iggy Pop had a love child, it would be Bobby Conn. His music has had a consistent and unique voice since his self titled LP arrived in 1997. His anti-aesthetic aesthetic, frantic stage performance, and good humour rank him among my favourites.

What is the first album you ever bought? And what music was playing around the Conn household when you were a child?
The first album I purchased was "Panorama" by The Cars; that would have been in 1980 or so. Not the best Cars record, for sure. My parents listened to lots of classical music, opera, and show tunes. My older brother was deeply, tragically into Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Rush, Yes and similar druid based music. I rebelled against these influences when I was a teenager, but now I'm absolutely charmed by combining everything into one nasty mess.

Has becoming a parent affected your music?
Not really, but it has improved my focus. I have less time to wallow in bullshit.

"I don't think I will make any more concept albums..."

And now that you've completed "King for a Day", how would you say it stands out from your previous albums?
I don't think it stands out so much as finishes an era in my songwriting. The last 4 full-length records are all of a piece, really. And I don't think I will make any more "concept albums" in the classic sense after this one. "King For A Day" is the darkest and most resigned Bobby Conn record; it's his final hour. But from the ashes rises a new hope…

Robert Conn!

What's that smell?
It's the sound and smell of my ego sizzling in the oven. I'd better turn it down before the house catches on fire…

Is shrimping the future of audience participation?
I really hope not. My feet are so ticklish that it really prevents any pretense of eroticism. But I love that people at my shows feel free to express themselves so dramatically. I think my audiences are often much more interesting than I am!

"The guitar has speed and agility, but the piano has depth and unlimited firepower."

Who are you most proud of offending?
Earnest indie rockers. Tastemakers. Trendsetters. Irish Setters.

If a guitar and a piano were entered into a gladiatorial arena, which would win?
The guitar has speed and agility, but the piano has depth and unlimited firepower. It really depends on the gladiator. The nice thing about piano players is that the really shitty ones don't usually feel obliged to start a band, and of course the opposite is true of guitar players. Naturally, I'm mainly a guitarist myself.

"...the people I'm thinking of are either dead or Muppets."

With whom would you most like to perform a duet?
I'd like to see your suggestions, actually. I honestly can't imagine a combination that would work except on a purely fantastic level. I mean the people I'm thinking of are either dead or Muppets.

Who are your favorite non-musical artists?

Joseph Beuys. Andy Kaufman. Shelley Duvall. Klaus Kinski. Bob Fosse.

You're in restaurant and you notice that the maitre d is refusing service to a gentleman with a cat's head, what would you do?
I'd pull a banana out of my pocket and distract the maitre d. The cat and I would leave and join our friends out in the woods where we could come down in peace. I hate exclusive places.

What are your plans for the upcoming weekend?
I'll be playing gigs with Candy Hank in Germany; Karlsruhe on Friday night(20 April 2007) at place called Zschernitz, and Saturday night(21 April) in Munster at Gleis 22. Thanks for asking!

Thanks, Bobby. You're a star.

Bobby Conn MySpace
Thrill Jockey Bobby Conn page
Bobby Conn UK Fansite
Southern.com 'biography'
BBC review w/ shrimping
Magnet Magazine Interview


Never Get Ahead

King for a Day

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