Archive for August, 2011

As we East Coasters wait around to see what nasty turn Hurricane Irene will take, here are some fun tidbits from the final leg of the 97’s summer tour.

They started in San Francisco at the Outside Lands festival where Rachel Swan had this to say:

“Baby-faced singer Rhett Miller — who is now forty, but for the most part still retains his pink-cheeked, puerile features — paused toward the end of his Saturday afternoon set with alt-country group Old 97’s. “Hey, I just saw one of those gate-crashing flashmobs tear down the fence over there,” he said, pointing over the heads of several hundred people who had gathered at Sutro stage. He snickered. “Sorry, Outside Lands staff, the revolution still lives in San Francisco!” Miller and three bandmates dedicated their next song, an energetic rock number called “Every Night Is Friday Night,” to “those cheapskate motherfuckers.” It was an appropriate highlight for one of the best, and most sparsely attended performances at Outside Lands… Flashmob aside, the group’s set was willfully understated, with a few folksy love ballads (including “Question”), and one Merle Haggard cover. If anything, it showed that the 97’s remain both powerful and vastly underappreciated.”

So true on both counts. Here’s the sing-a-long favorite, Barrier Reef from that sunny afternoon.




Heading South, the guys hit Harlow’s where one lucky fan, Tami Hackbarth, posted via Twitter, her dream setlist which included the one song she’d been waiting years to hear live. That night Rhett made her musical wish come true by singing Eyes For You.


Before their last show of the summer in Los Angeles, Rhett rose at an unGodly early hour for normal human beings, let alone a Rockstar, to appear on Fox’s Good Day LA. As you can see, he charmed the socks off the hosts, especially the ladies.

Can you say smitten?

Speaking of special guest, as promised in the above interview, the lucky crowd at the Wiltern that evening were indeed treated to not one, but two beautifully harmonized songs by Rhett and Sam Phillips. We’re still waiting for a video of Fireflies surface on the interwebs (anyone… anyone…), however one generous soul posted their version of Sam’s Broken Circle for all of us envious fans to live through vicariously.


Absolutely gorgeous!


But wait, there’s more!!

One last link before I go outside and enjoy the sunshine, this time from an interview back in July. In between back-to-back shows at the Bell House and a stop at the Rolling Stone offices, Rhett visited the studios of WFUV in Manhattan to chat with Claudia Marshall. In between songs, they discussed how Elmore Leonard’s dialog style inspired the lyrics to No Simple Machine, how he has allowed himself to occasionally pen a grammatically incorrect song and how they as a band have embraced the mentor status in which they find themselves these days, while still maintaining their love of garage rock. The two also spoke at length about he and Murry’s humble beginnings before the 97’s formed and how through trial, error and frustration, the band finally “decided to do something that had no chance at succeeding.” A decision for which we can all be grateful.



That’s all for now. Enjoy what’s left of the summer, and keep checking back for new Fall tour dates.

As we wait for the reviews, interviews and photos from the 97’s current mini West Coast tour to roll in, I thought I’d share a Q & A the Ventura County Star’s, Bill Locey did with our long-legged bass player who inhabits Stage Left.

In it, Murry touches on the making of Volume 2, a European tour and the possibility of recording his own new material. He also hints at Old 97’s cooking up their own music festival, complete with a Rancheros Brothers reunion, for their hometown of Dallas.

Holy Crap! An Old 97’s festival? Sign me up!!!

Earlier this month, Murry stopped by KAOS radio in Austin to play a handful of songs including Born to Be in Battle, Valentine and Lost at Sea.




Nice job, Murry!

If you’re lucky enough to live on the West Coast, you’ve got three more chances to catch our favorite foursome bust a move or two on stage beginning tonight at the Soho in Santa Barbara. While you’re at it, you might as well call in sick and keep heading south to House of Blues in San Diego and The Wiltern in LA for the last two shows of the summer featuring the magical, musical donkey jawbone of David Wax Museum and the ever-smiling Josh Ritter as openers. And if that wasn’t enough to lure you, according to Rhett’s twitter feed, there’s a distinct possibility of a Rhett Miller/Sam Phillips duet happening at the Wiltern.

Wow. What a way to wrap up the tour. The rest of us will be sitting around in green-eyed envy, waiting for the videos (as well as a jump photo or two) to be posted.

Enjoy it, Westies. We’ll look forward to hearing your accounts in the forums.



photographic handiwork by long-time wrecker, Denise Zimmerman

Back in July when the guys were playing a two-night stint at Brooklyn’s Bell House, legendary music chronicle, The Rolling Stone asked Rhett and Murry to stop by their offices for a quick interview and mini concert.

They played three songs including a cover from the early Beatles, I’ll Cry Instead. In the interview, Rhett discusses the novel quandary of having too much material for one album, how his solo tour with Steve Earle inspired his continued song-a-day writing streak and a recently penned, curse-fueled number bound to delight wreckers far and wide. Maybe one day he’ll throw it on the setlist just for grins.


Also of note:

The Atlantic Monthly is featuring excerpts from Rhett’s journal written during the days and weeks after the World Trade Center attacks of September 11 as part of next month’s 10 year commemorative issue. For those who are unaware, Rhett and Erica lived only a few blocks from the towers and literally ran for their lives when the first building fell. It promises to be compelling reading.

In addition, Mr. M has given the publication two unreleased tracks recorded with Jon Brion, Lovebird and She Loves the Sunset, which will be posted on their site. Something to look forward to indeed.

Link to 9/11 article: 


Link to unreleased tracks: