Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TriJangle interview, part 2 - John Austin

This is the second of three drive-by interviews with the main participants of the upcoming "Songwriters in the Round" show that will be held on Saturday, November 14. Three outstanding musicians and songsmiths will come together for an evening of good music at the Westridge Auditorium Theater in Elgin, Illinois.

Pierce Pettis, Pat Terry and John Austin are the featured artists. In case you missed it, the interview with Pat Terry can be found here.

John Austin was the second to respond to the questions, so he goes next.

Q: What guitar are you playing the most these days?
I play a Taylor 514-C that Doug White presented to me as a gift back in the mid 1990s, after the Takamine Santa Fe that I'd bought from Bill Mallonee was broken into pieces when it was run over by an airplane. (I bought the guitar from Bill after my beloved 1970 Guild D-25 was stolen.) I was drawn to the Taylor 514-C because it had a darker tone than the other Taylors that were out at the time. It's aging nicely!

Q: What are you actively listening to? What music is inspiring you?
I would echo Pat Terry's list. Honestly, I'm not listening to much music right now -- except for some old 78s from the early 20th Century that I sometimes play on my late grandmother's Victrola (which is almost the antithesis of an iPod). Some are from the 1910s and feature really cool Hawaiian guitar parts. Unfortunately there is still something wrong with one of the Victrola springs and half way through a song I have to get up from the sofa and start cranking the thing again.

But, in general, I'm inspired by artists who have a body of work; I've never really been inspired by new artists. The more dead they are, the better! Willy Deville, who died earlier this year, was a great, under appreciated singer/songwriter. Warren Zevon died a while ago, but I like the two records he did before he was diagnosed with cancer: "Life'll Kill Ya" and "My Ride's Here" (much of which he wrote with the also now dead Hunter S. Thompson). I like the Ray Davies song "Working Man's Cafe", and "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. As far as the current state of the music industry goes...I find the songs and attitude of Charlie Peacock inspiring. (And he's very much alive!)

Q: In a sentence or two, what did you take away from working with Mark Heard?
Capturing good music is a lot like collecting butterflies or bottling bees. And the secret to not sinking under is in having a good sense of humor -- you've got to hold onto that for as long as you can.

For more info about John, please visit his website, OfficialJohnAustin.com.

My connection to John Austin...

In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was involved with Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. I don't remember the sequence of events, but a new church plant was being started in Chicago. Services were to be held in a nightclub. John was asked to play and I was asked to play with John. We opened the first service with David Bowie's "A Space Oddity." Major Tom and all that. I'm assuming that Doug had his hand in this somehow or another.

Ticket information can be found at TriJangle.com.


Doug said...

Nope...I was the one trying to kill Major Tom. What a dumb song to start a church with. My hands were out of that one...ha.

Kerry Cox said...

Well, Doug, I hope you're happy...you did kill Major Tom...his corpse has been drifting in space for almost 40 years now...