Interview with Thomas Johnson of the Futurebirds

() - Live @ SXSW 2011

Don’t Call It An Interview

For this thing here, the name of the web site is broken up into simple one-word prompts with the hopes of provoking some open-ended, improvisational story-telling and perhaps a tale or two from a regrettably seedy night in the Big Easy. A pretty amateurish way to conduct an interview if you ask me, but the Futurebirds Thomas Johnson was nice enough to partake. Also, for some reason a couple lines from my favorite Birds’ jam “Dirty D” just seemed to seep into the mix of the interview text, not quite sure how that happened, just seemed right at the time. Without further adieu, continue below where Thomas tells LMB NOLA about his time in New Orleans sleeping on random driveways, life as a roadie and the Birds’ recent shows in the Big Easy.

Futurebirds @ American Songwriter

Full text of the interview

NOLA – The town’s been so horribly good and bad to me. I can’t remember having as much love for a place that works me so hard. My most memorable experience there, although not my favorite by far, was making a last minute trek to New Orleans at the request of a band I was working for. They offered to pay my way out there to bring them a bass amp (Please be responsible when your hauling…). 2 SVT’s in road cases, these weigh over 100 pounds a piece and were a tight fit in my buddies Honda 4 door (Such a fine killin’ machine). We arrived in town around 4 a.m.

The plan was to stay with my then new friend [now Futurebirds bass player] B Miles who had a place in the Quarter. If I knew him then like I do now, I probably would’ve found another place to stay for the night, he was sleeping sound at 4. We ended up rendezvouz’ing with another new friend, [Futurebirds guitarist] Carter King, at F & M’s for drinks and trouble ’til they kicked us out to close the bar at 6:30 a.m. We drove around for a couple hours before conceding that we were going to have to sleep in the car (Go to sleep… Go to sleep…). This was horrible (I’m so mad I can barely speak). We parked in what I thought I remembered was my friend’s house, turns out it wasn’t. So we slept in the driveway (Please take care, the driveways around here tend to slouch) of some random folks’ house, go figure.

We ended up not even using the Voodoo Experience passes we got for the trip the next day, in favor of kicking it back to the Quarter and eating a fantastic burger/baked potato/Large Beer (Monsoon?) combo at Port of Call. One of me and Brannen’s top dining experiences for sure, a great trip-saver before a long drive….

Live – Playing in New Orleans is awesome and a gigantic hassle at the same time. Like any big city, parking is impossible, tickets are aplenty, and loading in is a workout. The first time in NOLA we played a set at Circle Bar (no A.C.) in what seemed like 100 degree heat. It had to be close. Since then we’ve been holding it down at One-Eyed Jack’s, played there twice last year. It’s a really cool place with a great feaux-theatre vibe. Interesting bill the second time we played, that’s about all I can say about it, strange as hell. Recently we played a show at Hi-Ho Lounge, not in a great area, but cool vibe as well. No reverb in the PA was really harshin’ my mellows though, weak sauce. Spencer Simrill filmed the show and some footage of us for a video he made –

Music – The wild nature of New Orleans is inspiring, music just seeps out from the surrounding and sprawling swampland.

Blog/dot_com – Al Gore, duh? — The sites that have been particularly good to us — Aquarium Drunkard, Harmon Drive, Hearya, Daytrotter, Rollo&Grady (we love that crazy motherfucker), My Old Kentucky Blog, many many more…

Here’s that “Dirty D” –

Futurebirds – “Dirty D” – SXSW 2010 from DUKE STREET on Vimeo.

The Futurebirds have performed in New Orleans thrice in the last year. Once in July on a random bill, again in August in support of fellow Athens band Dead Confederate at One Eyed Jack’s and last month closing out Foburg Fest at Hi-Ho Lounge. Ever since, the critically-acclaimed Athens, GA band have been quickly gaining momentum. Since leaving New Orleans, the Birds have played a string of shows at SXSW, covered Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks, released a new EP Via Flamina, announced their appearance as part of the Bonnaroo Buzz Tour alongside Grace Potter (and a set at the Roo in June), and capped if off with an opening spot for Widespread Panic in mid-April at Oak Mountain in Pelham, AL. Luckily the Hi-Ho Bird Show was captured for posterity and is available for all to hear and download at Archive.org. Don’t miss ’em next time they come around. For upcoming tour dates, go here.

Finally, here’s an interview I did back in August with Thomas Johnson and Carter King for JamBase. Real salt of the earth those guys.

April 25, 2011 |  by  |  News
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

 
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