Archive for July, 2014

Greetings fellow Wreckers! Along with the copious press interviews, both the band and Rhett did a load of live performances throughout the first three legs of touring. The following are enough super sessions to keep you entertained all weekend. Get comfy, because here… we… GO!


Prior to the start of the first touring dates, Rhett stopped by People Magazine studios in New York to perform Longer Than You’ve Been Alive here.

That same day Rhett and Murry stopped by Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger’s office to sing an Olivia Newton John staple here.

Several days before MMU was released, Rhett made a stop at KXT in Dallas to spread the word and play a handful of new songs and old favorites. Catch it here.

Old 97’s made another stop at World Cafe to talk with the incomparable David Dye. The power went out, but that didn’t stop the guys from rawking out in front of the enthusiastic, albeit overheated, in-studio crowd. There may have even been a panty or two tossed on stage in appreciation? Listen here.

Rhett spoke with the equally incomparable Robin Young from NPR’s Here and Now. The link is here.


Both Rhett and Murry stopped by WYEP’s studio in Pittsburgh before their show at Mr. Small’s to share stories with Mike Sauter.
The small things like a breath before or after a song are what make an album sound live. “Our record begins with a sort of tired breath from Rhett, a weary one, but it ends with kind of a satisfied breath,” Hammond says.

The entire session can be streamed here.



The band stopped by Bing Lounge to perform in front of an appreciative audience for KINK radio in Portland. The interview is here; Guadalajara here; Wasted here; Let’s Get Drunk here; Longer Than You’ve Been Alive here.

In Seattle, the 97’s stopped by KEXP’s station to talk shop and play a handful of songs from MMU for Jim Beckman. Here

Christian Shaeffer from KDHX in St. Louis caught up with the 97’s and got some interesting perspective from the guys before the show at the Ready Room. Find out what Murry meant when he stated “The band is like Mexican food.” The interview and live performance is here.

Prior to their Milwaukee date, Rhett talked via phone with WMSE’s Chicken Shack here.

Brad Savage from The Corner in Charlottesvile, Va posted this interview and live performance of Wasted, Let’s Get Drunk and Nineteen here.

Heather Anders of The River in Asheville, NC spends roughly 15 minutes chatting with Rhett and listening to him play Longer and Let’s Get Drunk here.

RiYL offers up a fantastic interview discussing, among other things, Rhett’s 911 experience, writing book reviews (Leonard Cohen’s bio, in particular), and Ovation guitars over whiskey and cheese backstage at New York’s City Winery here. This conversation may be my favorite of the bunch. They cover so many varied subjects, and Rhett is so relaxed. Maybe it was the whiskey. (insert winkie face here)


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We all know how witty Rhett is, listen as he holds his own going toe-to-toe with comedians on the following podcasts.

Throwing Shade’s Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi manically toss questions at Rhett on a shortened video clip here on Funny or Die. The entire interview (beginning at 40:40 in) is streaming here. They dish about hair highlights, flowbees, Mick Jagger’s throat, Axl Rose’s backstage behavior before Rhett sings a song from MMU.

Rhett spars with Adam Carolla on his podcast here (beginning 1:08:00 in). They talk middle-school sports, a crazy hotel incident with an unnamed celebrity and Snow Patrol. Does Rhett love them or despise them? You’ll have to listen to find out.


Other Extraneous Random Reviews/Photos:

Rhett’s AMA on Reddit here
Review of the gig at One-Eyed Jacks: here
Review of the show at Fitzgerald’s in Houston here
Review and photos from the Ready Room in St. Louis are here and here where this happened:

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Let’s not forget David Daley’s fabulous Salon article that got the ball rolling. It’s definitely worth another read here.  Mr. Miller doesn’t have to make everyone happy all the time, but he certainly has made his fan base ecstatic with this outstanding collection of songs.

And just for grins, here’s a terrific blast-from-the-past article I stumbled on with the Washington Post’s Shayla Thiel from way back in September of 1997. She speaks with all four band members. Ken even answers “a few key questions”. Enjoy!


New dates are posted on the site. Go pick a date or three, and don’t be left out of the fun of this tour!!

Our favorite foursome just finished the third leg of their tour in support of the superb Most Messed Up in Santa Fe before a much needed break. They have been getting rave reviews from fans and publications alike. I was lucky enough to catch them back-to-back on the second leg, and I can tell you first-hand, this tour is something special!! They all are revitalized, reinvigorated and ready to rock your faces off with the energy, swagger and bravado of their 20-something selves. This tour is not to be missed!

As you might imagine, they’ve been doing tons of press and appearances over the past three months. I shall effort to condense the copious copy and live interviews down to a somewhat manageable level. It’s tough because there is a lot of love flowing for these magnificent Texans, the most recent of which is Rolling Stone Magazine’s 45 Best Albums of 2014 So Far list. MMU logged an impressive #17 slot, topping The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen at #41. But, of course we all know this one is made of greatness.



Get ready. Here comes an onslaught of great Q & As with our fantastic frontman:

Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch speaks to Rhett about longevity, the fans immediate embrace of these songs and Ken’s explanation of the adult themes to his kids.

”’I’ll just have to explain it to my kid. I’ll say, you know, sometimes grownups come through a hard time and you’ve got to come up with ways to express it and words to talk about it. It’s complicated being a grownup.’ I thought that was perfect. It is complicated being a grownup. That’s what this record is all about.”

You can read the entire article here, or if you prefer, listen to the phone interview here.


Jeff at Whopperjaw talks to Rhett about this newfound success 20 years in, the ups and downs of the music industry, and his words of wisdom to kids at his alma mater.

“A stupid career choice is way better than making a career choice that hurts your soul in the long run. The bottom has fallen out of art and music. I don’t want to lose art and music. I don’t want to live in that world.”

The link to the full article is here.


James Sullivan of The Boston Globe finds out how failing to keep up drink-for-drink with Tommy Stinson led to Stinson playing on several tracks on MMU. Sullivan ends the article with this happy truth:

If they’ve settled down in their private lives, they still know how to raise the roof onstage.
“We all feel pretty confident in our ability to rock,” Miller says. “I don’t think we feel stupid yet, shaking our asses and making loud noise.”

You can read other great quotes here.


Stephen M. Deusner  from CMT Edge and Rhett discuss the humanization of rock stars via social media and similarities between past characters and those featured on MMU.

An interesting observation you can read about here and ponder for yourself.


In the extensive cover story in the Illinois Entertainer, Rhett speaks about coming to terms with the Alt-Country label…
“For a long time, I think I was annoyed by the reductive nature of the label ‘alt-country’ and I wanted to announce to the world ‘Hey-I can do a lot of stuff, I can explore a lot of different avenues!'”

the liberating feeling of letting go of the need for doing the right thing and being perfect all the time, freeing him to write honestly…
“(Wasted) is sort of the thesis statement on the record … life is too short to be sitting around worrying about doing the right thing all the time.”

and his unexpected epiphany…
“I realized that the things I regret the most … are the things that I have not done. The things I was too scared to do.”

You’re going to want to take the time to read the entire article in which Rhett delves deeper into his mindset while penning MMU, talks a bit about his concern about his kids’ reaction to the album, and his upcoming solo effort. The link to the magazine is here.


With Andy Downing of ColumbusAlive, Rhett reflects on his 20 year career and his competitive nature concerning all-things Scrabble.

“Part of this record was allowing myself the luxury to reflect on the two decades I’ve spent in this band and the two-and-a-half decades I’ve spent as a professional musician,” he said. “People can smell when something is false, and so the best songs I’ve written are the ones that are the most honest and the most true to who I really am. Sometimes I’ll blow it up for the sake of a good story or for the sake of drama, but generally I’m that guy in those songs, and I’m just trying to tell something true to the world.”

You can read more here.


To Jeff Niesel of Cleveland Scene, Rhett confesses:
“Sometimes, you can do yourself a disservice by grasping toward universality. I love the idea of songs being applicable to everyone who listens to them. That said, sometimes, the most universal sentiments are the most personable and the most honest. In ‘Longer Than You’ve Been Alive,’ I talk about my job. It’s a really weird job. I don’t know of a lot of people who have been lead singers in rock bands for two decades. It’s a strange perspective I get to have. I love it. It’s weird. It’s also not what people think it is most of the time.”

Regarding the 97’s current onslaught of media buzz 20 years into their career, Rhett had this to say:

“I don’t know that I feel like anyone has taken us for granted. We’ve always had big appreciative audiences. It is a little weird 20 years in to have this newfound success, I guess. You know what they say: Better late than never. I’ll take it. I’ve seen both sides — pre-collapse and post-collapse — of the music business.”

There are other interesting tidbits in the full article here.


Rhett tackles a number of random, music-related questions on Yahooo, including which concert inspired him to be a musician, his pre-show ritual, and his go-to karaoke song. You can read his other fun answers here. Some of them may surprise you.



Murry also got to weigh in on his reflections of Most Messed Up.

With The Advocate’s John Wirt, Murry shares what he finds special about the songs on MMU penned by who he calls the “best songwriter in Texas”:

What’s special about this record is that it’s autobiography about what was going on with Rhett. He was writing about tough times during middle life. And the songs are clever and funny. They’re Rhett at his best. Most Messed Up is the most cohesive batch of songs to ever appear on an Old 97’s album. The previous albums flow into each other, but this one is a singular snapshot of someone’s life.”

Check out his other impressions here.



Murry had this reply when Jennifer Levin from stated (with MMU being louder, harder, and curse-laden) suddenly the Old 97’s aren’t so sweet.

“MMU is about behaving badly in the middle of your life. We’re singing about our problems; we’re singing about pain that’s going on right now … We write about real stuff, some rough stuff that has gone on. I’m proud of that.”

Also, Murry sums up life’s pathos with the most succinct quote of all:

Men can get in a bad way by a girl.

Here, Here. You can read more here.


In a fun interview with Popmatters Jennifer Kelly, Murry starts off with a harrowing, wintry tale in a van, with the band and a whiskey bottle.

He goes on to talk about the “unrequited love of his life”, how the band were amazingly present during recording…

“…I think there was no way this record was not going to be loose and honest and thus very fresh and very present. That’s the first word that jumps out to me when I heard the record … the sheer presence of it. I haven’t really heard this band be this present in a while.”

and how Longer Than You’ve Been Alive teleports him back in time to the lean years huddled in that van on an icy night and speaks to the indelible bond between four musical brothers.

“When I hear that song, I’m in that van with that whiskey bottle freezing to death with these three guys. I feel the bridges between us when I hear that song. I feel the things that bind us together when I hear that song.”

Catch the rest of the conversation here. Jennifer’s right. As the title of the article states, there is no reason this band couldn’t last forever.