Artist: Bad Books Video: 'Baby Shoes' Highlight: The Kevin Devine/Manchester…
- Posted on Mar 1st 2013 5:00PM by Cameron Matthews
Gino DePinto, AOL
Together, they are Bad Books -- a total unification of both gents' prolific careers.
The band is in town to promote their recently released sophomore album II, so we caught up with the guys during their sound check to find out how things were going on tour. This rock 'n' roll odd couple not only has awesome stage chemistry, they've also got some war stories to share. Check out our exclusive interview below.
Let's talk about II. Even though Bad Books is a side project for both of you, it sounds like you're putting everything you have into it. You both are exploring really cool pop structures.
Devine: I feel like some of the chord progressions -- it's those dark Beatles things that keep happening -- we kind of dressed it up more, like Pavement sometimes.
Hull: That's what we were aiming for, is taking those type of chord structure and then going for something early-to-mid '90s.
What do you guys like about each other? What drew you together to create this unholy union of tough guy literary figures?
Hull: Our friendship is deep and it's got like a ton of layers: Goofy, stupid, bullshit stuff that we do, making each other laugh. But also some of the heaviest and deepest kind of conversations, and the guy that we both kind of call each other for advice on a pretty regular basis and talk through stuff. It's just a blessing to know him, really.
Devine: Andy is somebody who I've learned a lot from about, I feel like he's an honest dude and I feel like there's a level of fearlessness with him that I've benefited from being around. We can both be very up in our heads, but he's good at acting even if that's happening. It's really powerful to be around somebody who's able to be that directed. Also, being around people who care about self-improvement is a really nice thing. I did enough self-destructive things in my own life and was around enough self-destructive people that I'm not super interested in hanging out with people like that anymore.
Gino DePinto, AOL
Hull: Ya I've played the Bowery a shitload of times with Manchester over the years. The day I proposed to my now wife, I saw Band of Horses play here. It was pretty cool to see that.
Devine: My first show here was with my old band Miracle of 86, opening for Rival Schools. To me that was like we played at Madison Square Garden or something. I also got really drunk in 2004 here. I was at a Shins show in a blackout, and I chased Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley up the stairs. I woke up out of the blackout in a cab on my way back to Brooklyn with a friend and I had apparently gotten in a political argument with the bartender and got physically thrown out of the bar. So that's a memory. Self-improvement ... self-destruction ... self-improvement.
You have an interesting track called "Forest Whitaker." Will the stoic actor be making a surprise appearance this evening?
Hull: No ... you know, he's got his eye on a bunch of different things.
What drew you to the Last King of Scotland?
Hull: I don't know. Somebody asked me yesterday and I said, "Because it rhymed" and I went through the lyric and it doesn't rhyme.
Devine: It does not rhyme.
Hull: I have no idea why I said that.
Devine: Not even remotely.
Hull: We're trying to get him on the radar.
What if he came out and introduced a song: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Bad Books."
Hull: I'd freak the fuck out.
Gino DePinto, AOL
Hull: I don't think you can aim to be part of a mainstream. You have to create your own stream and you can't really worry about the music industry to be honest. It's not going to help me at all. Neither of us are on a label. We're not tied down to anything -- just making records and hoping people like it. You can't control it. Just try and work with good people that work hard.
And you guys are making money doing this still?
Hull: Yeah, I mean I'd probably do a Bad Books tour for free but I wouldn't do anything else for free.
Devine: Too much time and ...
Hull: It's hard work.
How many days out of the year do you have to tour in order to make ends meet?
Hull: A lot. Manchester's different than a lot of other bands because we save money, so every time we make money we put away a bunch of it and save it. We pay out very little, we all live pretty modest lives. I have a very small salary, just for the longevity of the band. But a normal year of touring would be like 250 dates. I did that for six years, from 2006 to just the end of 2011.
Did you burn out?
Hull: Completely. By the end of it we were still putting on great shows, but I wasn't happy and I lost the point.
Devine: My career doesn't feel too different. In fact, I'm doing better today than I was doing when the music industry was healthy.
Gino DePinto, AOL
Devine: And until that gets fucked up or co-opted somehow, maybe that's the answer, that audience/artist relationship.
You guys don't feel like you're in that machine?
Hull: No. It's good, but it's a lot of work though. I'd rather it though.
Devine: It's more gratifying.
It feels like it's yours.
Hull: I'd rather know what's going on and how much merch we're making a night. I want to know all of it. It's a business.
I love how bands can't be totally stupid these days.
Devine: You have to be on point. You have to be a smart person or you won't make any money. I think there's also a question of how much is enough. Like you can make a really nice living as a musician and not be a celebrity, or not be like a multi-millionaire. It's a question of expectations as well.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
You don't call Forest Whitaker on the phone?
Hull: We do. We try.
Devine: We can't! We've been telling you the whole time. It sucks that you just rub it in our faces now.