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The Tortured Souls

A Conversation with Laura Veirs (continued)

LV: Also my bandmates are people that I'd love to talk about. Steve Moore, he plays keyboards, and is working on his own record with Tucker.

PM: I want to talk about all the Tortured Souls, for sure.

LV: And Karl Blau does tons of music, song-based and otherwise, some of it is instrumentally based.

PM: Are Steve and Karl both cutting their own records?

LV: Karl's new record is coming out on K Records out of Olympia. But he also has his own sort of subscription program record label where he either produces or makes his own songs into a record each month, and then sends it out to subscribers.

PM: Wow. How do you get there?

LV: Kelpmonthly.com. You should check it out. It's amazing. And it's hard for him, because he's touring with me a lot, and also trying to do his own thing. It's hard to keep that production going. But it's happening, and there's like 18 or 20 issues out now.

PM: I love the backyard photo in the liner notes of Year of Meteors. There's so much camaraderie going on in that shot.

LV: Yeah. I'm happy about that picture, because it really does capture us.

PM: Whose yard is that, and what was going on that day? Do you remember?

LV: That's Tucker's yard, and that's right outside the studio door where we made the record.

PM: Wow.

LV: And we had just done a rehearsal, and this guy Michael Wilson had come out to take some pictures of us. He's a really sweet guy from Cincinnati who is totally laid back. He's like the Bill Frisell of photography--very understated, and self-deprecating, but amazing. He's great. And he took this picture, it was one of the first pictures we took in that session.

PM: There's just a beautiful feeling there. [Famous for all those beautiful black & white Lyle Lovett CD booklets, among many other things, it seems there's hardly an issue of Puremusic that doesn't have a cool Michael Wilson photo in it; check out his site.]

Well, we began to delve into the Tortured Souls, but I'd like to get just a little bit more on what kind of guys they are. You know, how their personalities line up, and who's this way or that.

LV: Okay. Steve is hilarious. And I told him today that if he doesn't make me laugh for five seconds each day on the rest of this tour he's fired.

PM: [laughs]

LV: He makes me laugh so long. It's funny. And he's just got such a great team-oriented spirit. They're sitting right here, so this is kind of embarrassing for me. But he can't help it, it's a fact. [more about Mr. Moore at sebmo.com]

Karl is really fun to be around. He's really creative and does all kinds of art projects. Like he's crocheting a wristband right now. And that's sort of exemplary of what he's like. He'll always have his "Kelp office" with him, that's what we call it. It's just a box of a bunch of crafts-scissors and prints that he did, and like silkscreens, and like all these sewing kits and stuff. And he's just Mr. Craft. So he's really into always doing something creative.

And then Tucker is really great. It was our first tour that we did with him the last time we went out. He's not here right now. We're out with Rachel Blumberg, the drummer for the Decemberists. She's amazing, and I could talk about her in a minute, too. But first we'll talk about Tucker. He went on this last tour with us, which was a six-week stint. Ten of the dates were in the States, and then the rest of it was in Europe. And he hasn't really toured very much. I think he went with Eyvind to Italy once and went with Wayne Horvitz to Europe. But he really has been in a studio, basically sitting on his butt for years.

PM: You'd think he'd be fat or sedentary.

LV: Yeah, I mean, he did lose weight on this tour, because we were walking around all these towns late at night, and going through Brussels' streets and running up and down stairs, and loading gear and playing. And so he did get a little more fit. I think he was excited about that.

PM: [laughs]

LV: But he really got a more wide-eyed view of touring and playing live music and getting out into the world. And I think he had a great time because he has been sort of locked away in that basement for a long while. I mean, he loves to make records, and that's his primary thing, for sure, but it was just so fun to have him around. We had a great time.

PM: Wow. So who's the drummer on this tour from the Decemberists?

LV: Her name is Rachel Blumberg. And she played in the Decemberists for years, and now she tours with Matt Ward [aka M. Ward] and also her own band, Norfolk & Western, with her partner Adam Selzer, who does a lot of production work. They're both from Portland. She's a great drummer, and she's got a great personality, really laid back and fun. This is our fourth gig with her ever. When we met up to practice, she had already listened to all the songs from record, and knew all the parts perfectly. And she sings beautifully, and she plays keyboards, so she's one of those great musicians that are hard to find, who are both versatile and good at music, but also really fun to be around.

PM: It's so nice when people show up prepared.

LV: Very prepared, more so than any musicians I've ever seen. That was such a relaxing thing for me, because it's tough to switch your lineup. I haven't done that, actually, ever.

PM: Right. You've had your guys.

LV: Well, I played with Danny, and then we stopped playing together. And then I was playing with Steve Moore. But it's always been sort of adding people rather than taking someone away. And Tucker couldn't come on this one because of production stuff, so we're adding someone. And it was kind of nerve-wracking for me, but Rachel just fits right in.   continue

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