Saturday, May 03, 2008

Interview with Steve Popson from Polvo

In honor of Polvo's upcoming set of reunion dates (particularly the Cat's Cradle homecoming on May 10), here's an e-mail interview I did with bass player Steve Popson (pictured right in the photo above), and a .mp3 for you. I actually really prefer the 7-inch version of "Vibracobra," but as of yet haven't been able to figure out how to record vinyl records to my new computer (was pretty easy with my old laptop). Enjoy!

1. Give us an update on what you have all been doing since Polvo broke up.

2. Is this reunion permanent? You're scheduled to appear at both Cat's Cradle and The Black Cat. Will a full tour happen, and will you record again? If so, what does it mean for your other bands (Black Taj and The BQs)?
we really have no set agenda or plans. a full (3-4 week tour) could not happen at this point due to our job and family commitments but we are trying to schedule shows across the country. as to recording, again -- that will be further discussed if we get to a point where we have enough new material to even warrant hitting the studio again and then at that point, there would the usual questions surrounding a recording session (where, when, etc etc)

as to our other bands, i have not asked Brian & Ash about the BQs, but i know brian has some material he has recorded that he works on periodically. as to black taj, our second record is scheduled to come out in May, but we have no set shows at this point.

3. How did you end up on the ATP line-up? Did you automatically say yes, or did it take some convincing? Is the Cradle show going to be a sort of trial run for what you do at ATP?

The ATP show is curated by "explosions in the sky" and they were gracious enough to ask us to join the lineup. we didn't automatically say 'yes', b/c the main factor that has prevented us from seriously considering playing again live was whether or not we thought we'd have enough preparation/practice time to be able to pull off a live show. in the past, we had to unfortunately decline other shows we were interested in playing, however, our various personal lives seemed to be lining up to allow for the proper time to get enough practices in for next month's show and so we said 'yes'.

as to the Cradle being a 'warm up' ... whew - NO WAY. i think we'll all be more nervous for that show than any others. We did want to play before ATP and after considering a few ideas, we decided that a show here would be the way to go. If anything, due to set time constraints, we'll probably have longer to play at the cradle then the ATP festival, so its not really a trial run.

4.. Why isn't Eddie part of the reunion? How did you decide to have Brian Quast join the line-up? Since you toured with Brian Walsby, I would have assumed that he would be a more obvious choice.

this is more of a 'reformation' of polvo and obviously not a reunion of the original lineup. it is the next chapter in polvo. after eddie amicably quit the band following 'exploded drawing', we asked Brian Walsby to join. this time around Brian Quast was the drummer we felt best fit what we wanted to try and do musically.

5.. I understand you live in different parts of the country. How are you practicing? Have you found playing the old material difficult, or were you able to get back together as if you'd never been apart?

the three of us that live in NC try to get together at least once a week to work on material. we have played as a full band about once a month since last Nov. Dave will come down for a weekend and we have extended practice sessions during that time.
as to picking up the material, i, personally, can say that there were some definite lapses of memory in regards to specific parts of songs -- however, w/out fail as we would bash through a song for the first time, it seemed to be that one of us would have a decent grasp of each part of the song. so, if i may have blanked on a particular bridge part, once i heard dave or ash play their part, it would help jog the memory and eventually all of us have recalled the songs or we may have changed certain parts, eliminating the need to recall exactly what was done before (see next question).

6. Have you been tempted to re-work some of the old material and update it, or will you perform it more or less as people remember (keeping in mind the band's penchant for improvisation)?

For all of the songs that we have choosen to work on, we are 'revisiting' them and approaching them from a new perspective. For some songs, that means no or little (probably unnoticeable to most) tweaks, however, for others, they have been altered somewhat. It could be a tempo change, changing the number of times we may play a chorus or reworking it to meet the songwriters current desire for each song -- so there are some changes and they are updated.

7. How did you guys all meet and decide to form a band? Didn't it have something to do with football?

I don't know about the football part of that, but we do enjoy football & other sporting events. I've known Dave since 4th grade. He met Ash while they were both freshmen at UNC. We all met Brian through the musical community.

8. The "Can I Ride" records were re-released years ago on local indie Jesus Christ Records. Do you plan to release them on CD again at some point?

Haven't discussed that. Merge is rereleasing "celebrate" on 12" vinyl, though.

9. You are all personally known to have widely varying musical tastes -- from Indian music to classic rock. How do those influences work together in the music you create -- both when you were in Polvo and now in your current projects?

This is a question that is hard to answer. For me, i have been given the pleasure of plaiying music w/ Dave & Ash for many years and they are both exceptional guitar players, each with their own style, voice and songwriting approach. Although i have general ideas about whom they listen to, its hard to try and define what is an influence....

i believe they each pick up the guitar and play with a style that is expressive to themselves and try to write the most engaging songs within their framework or approach.

10. What's the biggest misconception people have about Polvo?

well, if i knew what conceptions were really out there, i could tell you which ones were misconceptions.

seriously, its always hard to know just what people hear &/or read and then believe.

11. If you could listen to only one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

OK, well, i'm going to answer this.

in theory, this question is next to impossible to answer b/c its simply impossible to try and imagine a world with access to only one album.

however, without creating a list and going through it and debating back & forth, i'll answer:
Vince Guaraldi trio -- A Charlie Brown Christmas

i could expand on this b/c the question is laced w/ what ifs (like is this what i hear in the car, elevator, etc) or is this more a stranded on a desert island type situation ....

so alot of it has to do w/ if there was truly one album playing over and over and over and over, at some point, what record or music could withstand the "i'm going to go crazy if i hear that one more time argument"
anyway, its an answer at least

"Vibracobra," (version from Cor-Crane Secret) by Polvo

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