Sunday, April 15, 2012

Greg Cartwright Interview (Plays Motorco April 19)

Greg Cartwright Doing The Rock N Roll

Greg Cartwright (AKA Greg Oblivian) has been playing music for a long time.  And it's good music.  Like.  Really really really good music.  Greg has been releasing music since the 80s and played in several bands in the Memphis Rock n' Roll scene, eventually making it to a national scale while playing with the Oblivians, a garage rock band that released several records on a bunch of labels like Sympathy for the Record Industry, In the Red, and Crypt Records.  Some of these records are harder to find, but they are well worth the effort to get your hips shaking and your mind happy (See: effects of Rock n' Roll.)

Recently, Greg has been releasing Records on In The Red as The Reigning Sound and The Parting Gifts.  These records are great as well.  Greg goes into some of the reasons why he created other bands than the Oblivians in his interview, but it's all really fun to listen to.

He moved to Asheville fairly recently and played a show with Last Year's Men at the Local 506 before appearing on a split 7" with them on behalf of Scion's strangely cool garage rock emphasis.  Greg will be producing the next Last Year's Men LP, which is bound to be swell.

Greg will be playing a show at Motorco Music Hall this Thursday with Mac McCaughan and The Mountain Goats to promote advocacy against the North Carolina Constitution Amendment One.  The cost is $20 for general admission and $100 for VIP.  It's a great cause and going to be a great concert so do yourselves a favor and purchase a ticket HERE!

I got to talk with Greg about his role in music in the past and today and about the show and amendment one, which has been a blessing.  He puts the reasons for defeating amendment one very clearly and with the most common sense possible.  It's been great hearing his view.

Here Goes!  Greg Cartwright!

Jordan: How did you get into the music business?

Greg:   always loved music as a kid and that led to collecting records, that led to playing in bands and then the next thing you know... I'm in the music business.

Jordan:  Which artists have influenced your music?

Greg:  All of them. Even the bad ones. Maybe the bad ones the most. They're the ones that help me decide what I don't want to sound like.

Jordan:  Do you listen to mostly rock n' roll stuff or does your taste go all over?

Greg:  I like all kinds of music. I get obsessed with things and bop around from decade to decade, all genres. Mostly older stuff. My stock answer used to be "GOOD MUSIC". It's still true. I don't care who, what, when or where. Alls I want to know is "is it good"? I don't listen to much current music unless I'm in a club, seeing and hearing it. Being in a band though, this exposure is quite frequent. So that's a good dose of current musical ideas. Keeps me from getting stale but limits how much I will unconciously take a melody or riff and later think it's my own. As a songwriter that's something I'm always mindful of. Sometimes to the degree of phobia.

Jordan:  What has the move between places like Memphis and Asheville been like?

Greg:  Like night and day.

Jordan:  Which bands have you been in and how do their styles of music link up?

Picture of an Oblivians' Album
Greg:  Painkillers, 68 Comeback, Casey Scott and The Creeps, Alluring Strange, Compulsive Gamblers, Oblivians, Deadly Snakes, Detroit Cobras, Greg Oblivian and the Tip Tops, Reigning Sound, The Parting Gifts... I'm sure I'm leaving something out but that's all I can think of at the moment. As for linking them stylistically, I don't think you can. Link them that is. Even within each band there are wildly shifting styles and ideas from album to album. The common factor is personal compatability. Personal dynamic between the players. It was good for all those bands. That's what kept me hangin' around.

Jordan:  What was it like playing in the Oblivians and how have the members changed what they're doing since? 

Greg:  I don't think anyone's changed fundamentally. Matured probablly, but what I'm always struck by is how little people change, and how I kinda' love that. We just recorded a new Oblivians record. First one in 16 years or so. And I knew that I could count on them when it came to the dynamic that we share as a band. that's a good feeling.

Jordan:  Do you have a particular band or time-frame of music writing that you are proud of?

Greg:  I think all of it will stand, for different reasons. Some because it's idiotic but exciting and some because it's mature and well made. My opinion of it doesn't matter much though. It's like asking me if I'm a good parent, only my kids could tell you with any meaningful perspective.

Jordan:  Do you find that you focus more on producing or making music nowadays?

Greg:  Ha, ha! I'm a scatter brain so it gave me a giggle to think about me focusing on something. Seriously, if it were'nt for my wife I would live in a lean-to in a field with a pile of records... in the rain. I love recording music, whether it's mine or somebody else's though, I love helping to make it happen and helping someone get their music sounding like they want it to. I'm always writting but production work is a nice break from messing with my own music.

Jordan:  Do you have your own studio to record, mix and produce?

Greg:  No, I just go where the band is.

Jordan:  I didn't get my hands on the split 7" with Reigning Sound and Last Year's men, but I got your Abdication 12", how was it working with Scion?

Greg:  It was actually quite pleasant.

Jordan:  I heard you're producing the new Last Year's Men LP, how's that going?

Greg:  It hasn't started yet, but they're a great band.

Jordan:  What projects are you working on in terms of your own music?

Greg:  Another Reigning Sound LP, maybe a new Parting Gifts record too.

Jordan:  How did you end up becoming a part of the Motorco Show with Mountain Goats & Mac against Amendment One?

Greg:  Mac contacted me about participating. I'm glad he did.

Jordan:  What can you say about your views on Amendment One and what people can do?

Greg:  There is absolutely no reason to make this piece of legislation a state constitutional ammendment. I guess if you're afraid of the inevitable evolution of American society, it makes sense to attempt something so assinine. But it will not deter the love that people have for one another. It will only reinforce to a large part of the population of NC that their state does not respect them as individuals nor will it afford them the rights that others enjoy.   

Jordan:  Who will be playing with you on your set during your performance?

Greg:  Likely just me.

Jordan:  What songs will you be playing at the show?  Primarily one band or solo stuff or what?

Greg:  Not sure yet. I'm pretty off the cuff. Donate $100 to the cause and I'll play whatever you want!

Jordan:  Anything else you'd like to say to those who are reading?

Greg:  Be good to each other.

Please consider going to the concert or at least voting against Amendment One on May 8th.  You can learn more about Amendment One and how bad it is for all families in North Carolina HERE!

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