Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Five Questions with Dan from Spider Bags

I have to admit to a prejudice: I really never thought a couple of guys from New Jersey could play bluesy drunken fuzz rock the way Spider Bags do. The first time I heard them I figured they had to be from around here, or at least from some place where there's a good local road house specializing in bourbon and the blues. My only experience with New Jersey has been driving through as fast as I could in order to get to New York. Maybe New Jersey is cooler than I think, because this band, which now calls Chapel Hill home, play with the kind of road-weary experience that comes from a life full of heartbreak -- but no regrets. And they're starting to get namechecked among two other local bands that have perfected that particular genre, The Moaners and The Loners.

Dan McGee (vocals/guitar) and Gregg Levy (bass) are the New Jerseyites. Rock Forbes (drummer, formerly with trash rockers The Bad Checks) is the North Carolinian. Dan graciously answered five questions for me here. You can check them out this Thursday at the Local Band/Local Beer show at Tir na Nog.

1. How have you and Gregg changed creatively since moving to N.C.?

I've gotten better.  Every minute I spend in the south I get stronger and smarter.  I don't think I'll be writing any 'new grass' records though if that's what you're asking.

2. Who is the most underrated guitar player in the world and why?

Steve Cropper is one of my favorites.  He worked at Stax records in Memphis, TN.  He was a record producer and song writer, co-wrote (Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay with Otis Redding, and played guitar in Booker T. and the M.G.'s.  His guitar playing was all about tone and melody, really simple but really hard to do and kind of different from the way people play today.  He had control of not only the notes he was playing but also the way they sound.  He never played fast and he never played a lot of notes but his stuff is really subtle and a lot of fun to listen to.  I could listen his solo on Booker T.'s 'Hip Hug Her' a million times and probably have.  Look it up.  I don't think people mention his name a lot when they talk about great guitar players, but shit, anything you need to know about playing electric guitar you could find on one of his records.

3. What's your favorite hangover cure?

Kentucky bourbon on ice served in a coffee mug.  Drink two of those while watching the Bad News Bears.  If that can't solve whatever problem you're having you might not be human.

4. What's the story behind that photo of you and Gregg jumping into the pool? (See the photo and Indy article here.)

The owl photo just kind of happened.  We had to do something for an article in the Indy Weekly and I thought it would be a cool image or at least an interesting image and definitely better than the two of standing in front of a brick wall.  Luckily the photographer Jeremy Lange is a totally awesome dude and  great photographer and he was able to pull it off.  The Indy Weekly named it one of the best staff photos of 2009 which is funny as hell and says a lot about what a talented guy Jeremy is.

5. Was The Godfather II really as good as the original?

Yes without a doubt every bit as good. Completely amazing.  How is it possible that third one is such a giant piece of shit?

(Photo above taken at the Double Barrel Benefit, Feb. 6, 2010)

1 comment:

Billy Sugarfix said...

Nice post! Great band! Great photo! But when you think of New Jersey, think PIPE!