Tag Archives: Britt Walford

Ep. #134: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is the long-held moniker of the esteemed and uncompromising songwriter, singer, actor, producer, and musician Will Oldham who hails from Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past twenty years, he has been remarkably prolific and displayed an astonishing dedication to the quality of his craft, which is ostensibly folk, rock, or country music of the highest level. He has been something of a shape-shifter, working under different names like Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Palace Contribution, Bonny Billy, and his own given name, Will Oldham. He has also collaborated with different backing bands and hundreds of other artists and worked with many record labels outside of his core partnership with Drag City. Oldham also has a fluid relationship with his own work, often re-interpreting, re-recording, and, in a sense, re-releasing his own songs in different forms. In 2011, he put out a record called Wolfroy Goes to Town and his new album, Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, which is out now via Drag City, recalls songs from those Wolfroy sessions. Here, Will and I discuss The Family Circus footprints, talking to people in Slint, how Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues may represent an alternate reality than Wolfroy Goes to Town but the records actually aren’t really all that connected, the DC comics parallel universes, the Justice League of America and the Justice Association of America, different versions of the Flash aren’t really related to one another, I don’t understand the DC universe, people might be misremembering Wolfroy Goes to Town, how people remake movies years apart and can have vastly different audiences,Yasujirō Ozu, Douglas Sirk, definitive versions of things, creative fulfillment versus expectations met, Yusuf Islam reinterpreting his older songs for newer material, Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” Pixies and Rolling Stones, when the Ramones would cover songs on their albums, factors that impact a recording, how Will prepped Emmett Kelly and Paul Oldham ahead of working on Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, white elephants and gorillas, “Fuck Birds in the Bushes” bumper stickers, taking stock of one’s own work via their own work, R. Kelly and David Allan Coe, Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, The Man Who Would Be King by John Huston and its influence on the song “So Far and Here We Are,” confidence and confusion, why we need to issue challenges from time to time, most awkward radio interview ever, how and why to promote music, the pros and cons of self-awareness, human RAM, Robin Williams, early teens triggers, going to acting day camp as a kid, Louisville punk bands like Malignant Growth and Languid and Flaccid, seeing Hüsker Dü and going to Maurice and Slint band practices, taking pictures, making a living acting and not needing college, the weirdness around agents and auditions compared to Louisville’s creative, unmediated music community, touring with Samhain and Squirrel Bait and seeing Dinosaur, then seeing Sonic Youth and the Necros, Lydia Lunch, Jim Thirlwell Foetus, CBGBs, bullshit intolerance, Old Joy, Pioneer, indirect parental support for kids in bands in Louisville, Matewan, encountering Steve Albini, the Slint doc Breadcrumb Trail and Britt Walford’s awesome parents, what the hell is up with Silver Jews leader David Berman, Berman’s stressful, strained relationship with his conservative lobbyist father, an extensive forthcoming article about Richard Berman in Mother Jones, calling David Berman, perhaps we’ll hear or read something new from Berman some time soon, how Berman brought Will to Drag City, sending demos to Interscope Records, Harpo and Chico Marx, an Italian woman and two Dutch guys aren’t into the Frogs’ It’s Only Right and Natural, laughing a lot with Slint, working with people like Dawn McCarthy, David Ferguson, Matt Sweeney, playing a show at a state prison and getting closer and closer to meeting Don Everly, twin Mexican wives, maybe performing “Omaha” before Don, Bill Withers didn’t maybe care so much, Manual Cinema in Chicago, complicated websites, the songs “We Are Unhappy” and “New Black Rich (Tusks),” and then it’s time to be clear.

Related links: royalstablemusic.com dragcity.com vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #112: Britt Walford of Slint and Watter

Britt Walford is a world-renowned drummer who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. In the 1980s he played in notable bands like Squirrel Bait, Maurice, and, for a spell, in the Breeders. Walford is best-known though as a founding member of Slint who initially had a short lifespan but whose second LP, 1991’s “Spiderland,” is easily one of the greatest, most enigmatic American rock albums of the 20th century. “Spiderland” was recently reissued in a super deluxe, limited edition box set, prompting Slint to do a small run of American and Canadian shows. At around the same time, a new band featuring Walford and multi-instrumentalists Zak Riles and Tyler Trotter surfaced with a new album of their own. The band is Watter and their latest record is a sprawling, ambient, post-rock thing called This World, which is out now via Temporary Residence. Here, Britt and I discuss what the people of Louisville do with the birds, where the band Watter comes from, the bands Grails and Strike City, what goes on in Louisville and how more bands have been playing there lately, Watter and Krautrock and clicking together, Britt plays the drums while Tyler and Zak do other things, Britt came later, recording then songwriting, how Watter works live, Cluster, Tangerine Dream, and Can, how Britt was last in a band 20 years ago and it was called Evergreen, how he ends up joining established bands a lot, what he’s been doing outside of making music since Slint and Evergreen ended, how the end of Slint may have impacted Britt’s interest in starting new music projects, raising children and pursuing an undergrad degree, what college means, piano lessons and drums, parents do understand, Rock Against Racism in Louisville, starting something versus jumping in, the Misfits and Samhain and Kentucky and Will Oldham, 3,138 and what the numbers mean, shitting in a cup, familial influences, Watter is fun, younger people, Lance Bangs getting Slint to talk for the doc Breadcrumb Trail, Britt’s role in the “Spiderland” reissue, Slint bassist Todd Brashear managed the project, why Todd doesn’t play Slint shows and what that’s like, getting used to playing Slint songs, selling all of the box sets, how it came together, Slint archives, what Breadcrumb Trail taught Britt about Slint, Todd thought the band was nutty, working in Slint compared to working with other people, what mastering engineer Bob Weston did to make “Spiderland” sound better, mastering machines, the future of Slint, the future of Watter, the song “This World” and then it’s good night, captain.

Related links: temporaryresidence.com slintmusic.com vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #99: Brian McMahan of Slint

Brian McMahan is a singer and guitarist from Louisville, Kentucky who has played with Squirrel Bait, Palace Brothers, the For Carnation, and perhaps most notably in Slint. This past April, Touch and Go Records reissued Slint’s second album, the masterful 1991 release, “Spiderland.” The new limited edition is a massive box set and includes: a lovely photo book with a foreword by Will Oldham; a compelling documentary by Lance Bangs called Breadcrumb Trail; a remastered edition of the record overseen by Bob Weston; and bonus material. Some people who ordered it received a light blue replica t-shirt. While Slint broke up before “Spiderland” was released, their legend grew as the album developed a life of its own. The band has reconvened to play select live shows in recent years and are touring a little bit, as we speak. Here, Brian and I discuss touring and Cleveland, how a band can get free admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, how often band members hang out outside of working together in Slint, who lives in Louisville and Slint’s long-term familial bond, playing old songs and peeling back time, what Slint tells us about the Louisville of 25 years ago, the impact the band has had on music made by others, Brian’s unique approach to narrative songwriting and vocalizing as a singer and the album format, Hank Williams and simplicity, the “Spiderland” box and where the ideas for it came from and whom it’s meant to satisfy, Bob Weston’s nuanced remaster, Brian’s take on revealing so much about the band to Lance Bangs for his film Breadcrumb Trail, whether the film actually captures the personalities in the band, the significance of Slint, the open-ended existence of the band in its current form, not creating new things and dealing with one’s own legacy, what Brian does outside of Slint, 3138, 1217, the song “don, aman” and then things took their natural course.

Related links: slintmusic.com vishkhanna.com


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