Archive for 2014

Most Messed Up Commentary pt 2
Ken Bethea, Stage Right

(Also see Part 1)

Wasted

The first time I heard Rhett sing this song I thought it was about getting drunk and I didn’t find it all that interesting. When I realized it was actually about wasting your life away (whether that be holding a guitar or sitting in a cubicle), I did a 180. While it may seem obvious that spending 21 years “dancing on the edge of the big black void” has been a no-brainer of a career decision, it is not.

Through the years, I’ve made references to other songs I like with my guitar parts (Kiss’s “Great Expectations” on “Barrier Reef”, for instance). The melody on the guitar outro is my little nod to the vocal at the end of Pulp’s “Common People”. A song that I suspect, but can’t confirm, was the greatest song of the 90’s.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster> Matchless Chieftain
Guitar 2 – Landric Chief> Matchless Chieftain. I have the Chief tuned way down to C I think. It’s what I’m playing all those low notes on.

Guadalajara

Ride the wild waves!!! I love me some chances to play surf/Dead Kennedy’s style guitar. A couple of years ago we were using a Adam and the Ants song called “Los Rancheros” as walk on music. The intro to “Guadalajara” is that kind of sound. We were all really happy when we put that together. We just put it in the set last week and it’s great fun playing it live.

Intro Guitar – Gretsch Tennessee Rose> Fender Twin Reverb turned loud as possible with the Reverb on 10
Main Guitar – Gretsch Tennesee Rose> Matchless Chieftain

The Disconnect

This song reminds me of something we would have done around our Fight Songs era. Sort of a mix between “The Villain” and “ Indefinitely”. Clean solo. Cool vocals, especially at the end with Rhett and Murry doing that call and response stuff.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster> Matchless Chieftain
Guitar 2 and Solo – Landric Telecaster> Matchless Chieftain

The Ex of All You See

It took us a while to figure out what this song was about. It started as more of a sad country song but that really wasn’t working that well as a band. It didn’t feel fresh. Philip and Salim got us to try more of garage rock stomp and the song took off. It let me play those Who-style big chords which isn’t normal. I also like the way they let me choke my guitar off at the very end of the song in the mix.

Guitar 1 – Gretsch Sparklejet> 50’s Era Gibson Les Paul amp
Guitar 2 – Can’t remember bleh


Intervention and Most Messed Up

The two songs that the full band played with Tommy Stinson on. We played these songs several times each, back to back that night after drinks had been served. Pretty fun. They are both pretty much just straight blues songs, which we never do. That’s also fun but I can’t imagine being in a blues band and just doing this night after night. Seems like it would get fairly stale.

Ken – Gretsch Tennesee Rose> Matchless Chieftain
Tommy – G&L ASAT (Same guitar that’s on “Salome”> A Fender amp we set up in the bathroom.

Career Opportunities (pre-order bonus track)

I had been thinking that as much Clash as we reference within our own songs, we had never covered a Clash song at any time, even in the beginning when we did lots of covers. We were looking for covers for bonus tracks and I suggested “Career Opportunities” since it’s theme matched the rest of the record. We’ve just started adding it to the live set and it’s awesome fun to play.

We did a few other covers. “Jeepster” by T. Rex and a song about Cupid by a 60’s band I had never heard of, but Rhett’s uncle played in the original band and he also plays on our cover. It seems like we may have done one more but I can’t remember.

That was pretty much the session. We hope you sweet people are having fun with the album.

 

 

Most Messed Up

Longer Than You’ve Been Alive

Give It Time

Let’s Get Drunk & Get it On

This Is the Ballad

Wheels Off

Nashville

Wasted

Guadalajara

The Disconnect

The Ex of All You See

Intervention

Most Messed Up

 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Longer Than You’ve Been Alive

 
we’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive

propelled by some mysterious drive

and they still let me do it as weird as that seems

and I do it most nights and then again in my dreams

infinite hallways in giant hotels

dressing room looks ‘bout as good as it smells

 

bottles of whiskey bottles of beer

there’s a bottle of medicine somewhere ‘round here

we’ve been in nightclubs and we’ve been in bars

honky-tonks and theaters from Memphis to Mars

most of our shows were a triumph of rock

although some nights I might have been checkin’ the clock

 

I’m only human though I’m super at times

I’ve jumped off of risers I should not have climbed

rock jumps won’t kill you ‘til one of them does

well they’ll say he died doing what he loves

we got our share of lovin’ in our past

although we were all lookin’ for someone who’d last

 

well it must be hard to get partnered with me

some narcissism some O.C.D.

but love that comes easy’s a fake or a fluke

love is a marathon sometimes you puke

speaking of which there has been alcohol

oceans and oceans but that isn’t all

mountains of weed a handful of pills

none of the hard stuff that shit kills

we’ve been doing it longer than you’ve been alive

twenty good years of about twenty-five

 

rock and roll’s been very very good to me

the open road’s the only place I wanna be

rock and roll’s been very very good to me

the open road’s the only place I wanna be

 

I’m not crazy about songs that get self-referential

and most of this stuff should be kept confidential

but who even gives half a fuck anymore

well you should know the truth it’s both a blast and a bore

rock stars were once such mythical creatures

up there with presidents playmates and preachers

 

now you just do it cause it’s what you do

they throw underwear instead of money at you

now I’ve made a living out of shakin’ my ass

and if you offered me an office I’d have to pass

but our jobs are all jobs and sometimes they suck

I love what I do and I’ve had pretty good luck

 

the fans are all clappin’ screamin’ and squealin’

and I wont lie to you that’s a pretty sweet feeling

and I might butt heads with the guys in my band

but I never once went to work for the man

but the men and the women like you him and her

we’re sharin’ this night that’ll soon be a blur

we’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive

get on the bus and tell the driver to drive

 

rock and roll’s been very very good to me

the open road’s the only place I wanna be

rock and roll’s been very very good to me

the open road’s the only place I wanna be

rock and roll’s been very very good to me

the open road’s the only place I wanna be

I said the open road’s the only place I wanna be

yeah

 
 
 
 
 
 

Give It Time

 
when I saw you for the first time

I thought I might be sick

that combination of joy and compulsion

and you were the reason for it

and in the blink of an eyelid

you were in my ride

I was wasted thought you’d laugh when I kissed you

though I guess it makes sense that you cried

 

give it time give it time give it time

it will break you

 

from our house I heard voices so far away

there’s no difference between ropes and roses

when you’ve got nothin’ good to say

and in the blink of an eyelid

you become someone else

I try to find you but you are on a island

and I guess I have to tell myself

give it time give it time give it time

it will break you

 

when I saw you for the last time

I sweat right through my shirt

I’m no professional heartbreak’s just a pastime

but that don’t mean it don’t hurt

 

give it time give it time give it time

it will break you

give it time give it time give it time

it will break you

give it time give it time give it time

it will break you

it will break you

it will break you
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Let’s Get Drunk & Get it On

 
your eyes are the color of the earth

as seen from outer space

you’ve got a gorgeous face though it’s a little odd

you tell me that you like the songs that tell the story of

real love kind that’s flawed

 

let’s drink whiskey and do it all night long

let’s get drunk and get it on

 

take you to a cheap hotel out on the interstate

well you look so great to me

this is the perfect place for a rendezvous

it’s got a rotten view but the ice is free

 

let’s drink whiskey and do it all night long

let’s get drunk and get it on

 

lay out a blanket beneath the water tower

watch the meteor shower heaven on display

we got right here right now lucky us

it’s wondrous what a perfect day

 

drink champagne and make love all night long

let’s get drunk and get it on

let’s drink whiskey and do it all night long

let’s get drunk and get it on

let’s get drunk and get it on

let’s get drunk and get it on
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

This Is the Ballad

 
this is the ballad of drinking rye whiskey

and sleeping till 2 on a warm afternoon

telling your journal how badly you miss me

and you can’t believe I’ll be coming so soon

this is the ballad of anticipation

waiting and waiting and waiting and then

finally getting the one you’ve been wanting

and guess what it’s time to start waiting again

 

this is the ballad we all must sing

while we wait to find out what tomorrow will bring

 

this is the ballad of long conversations

heavy with silence and shuddering breaths

you’re self destructing your voice is all shaken

my reservations are all I have left

this is the ballad of trying to grow flowers

so life will seem like it has meaning and stuff

finding out all of those beautiful flowers

will never be anywhere close to enough

 

this is the ballad we all must sing

while we wait to find out what tomorrow will bring

 

this is the ballad of drinking rye whiskey

distilled in a barn that burned down around it

find myself saying what I should be thinking

your figure is flawless I’m so glad I found it

 

this is the ballad we all must sing

while we wait to find out what tomorrow will bring

while we wait to find out what tomorrow will bring

I can’t wait to find out what tomorrow will bring
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Wheels Off

 
I been a party to a number of things

of which I’m not proud but I’ll sing

every day for pay I’m travelin’

I got a story ’bout a girl I dig

big heart but she ain’t that big

she’s a doll that’s all I’m unravelin’

I try to make her the happiest

all I ever made before was a mess

we drank all the way to the bank

and then we drank again

 

that’s when it got wheels off

started up and we ain’t gonna stop

I said I like you like it or not

that’s when it got wheels off

 

I took her back and I carried her in

we kissed once and we did it again

she’s a bright beam of light no sleep for me

we went drinking at the Roosevelt

we took something and we started to melt

this is love and it’s blowin’ up exponentially

 

that’s when it got wheels off

started up and we ain’t gonna stop

she made me feel like a god

that’s when it got wheels off

 

got a story about a girl I dig

big heart but she ain’t that big

now she’s mine most of the time

that’s good enough for me

 

that’s when it got wheels off

started up and we ain’t gonna stop

I said I like you like it or not

that’s when it got wheels off

that’s when it got wheels off

we started up and we ain’t gonna stop

pour me some Jameson give me some rocks

that’s when it got wheels off

that’s when it got wheels off
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Nashville

 
well I married Caroline back in May of ’99

it was fucked up at the time but I figured we’d keep tryin’

her brother and her dad they were spitting mad

when I packed up what I had and took off runnin’ it was bad

it was mean I didn’t care and it’s gotten me nowhere

so I’m trying to be a better man

 

I turned left turns into right I turned sunshine into night

I got my ass kicked every fight no I couldn’t get it right

I built castles out of sand I didn’t understand

why everything I planned ran like whiskey off my hand

and my hands were never clean things I wished I’d never seen

I’d do anything to wake up from this motherfuckin’ dream

 

who’d I got to blow to get in this fuckin’ show

it’s dark in there I know and I got nowhere else to go

but I need a place to hide so I’ll put away my pride

and come inside ’cause I’m tired of running

 

and there’s a universe that’s floating out in space

and I look up there and I can’t find my face

and I’m seein’ my reflection backstage

writin’ down the same old words on the same old page

 

who’d I got to blow to get in this fuckin’ show

it’s dark in there I know and I got nowhere else to go

but I need a place to hide so I’ll put away my pride

and come inside ’cause I’m tired of running

who’d I got to blow to get in this fuckin’ show

it’s dark in there I know and I got nowhere else to go

but I need a place to hide so I’ll put away my pride

and come inside ’cause I’m tired of running

come inside ’cause I’m tired of running

come inside ’cause I’m tired of running
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Wasted

 
I’m gonna play my guitar ’til my fingers fall off

sing till my voice is gone

they might think I’ve wasted my life they’re wrong

I’m not down with the uptight world

never gonna be no square

I’ll circle round the edge of the big black void

but I don’t wanna live down there

 

I’m better off being wasted

than working my whole life through

tonight I wanna get wasted with you

 

really it’s a pity that you’re so hung up

missin’ all the mystery

you might wanna make a little time with me

but you gotta get rid of that goddamn phone

drop it down a wishin’ well

dance on the edge of the big black void

throw rocks at the gates of hell

 

We’re better off being wasted

than working our whole life through

tonight I wanna get wasted with you

 

I’m gonna play my guitar ‘til my fingers fall off

sing till my voice is gone

they might think I’ve wasted my life they’re wrong

 

I’m not down with the uptight world

never gonna be no square

I’ll circle round the edge of the big black void

but I don’t wanna live down there

 

I’m better off being wasted

than working my whole life through

tonight I wanna get wasted with you

tonight I wanna get wasted with you
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Guadalajara

 
she said hey can I get a little help my bikini is stuck in the back

she had sun-brown skin and a lot of white teeth and I watched her mouth go slack

I didn’t mean to say yes I never even did I just started when I got to her

I was there on a work trip she was a holiday girl

 

I woke up in the middle of the night in a pile on the foot of the bed

she was fast asleep breathin’ slow arms up over her head

she was the champion of the world right then I was a runner up

I was there on some bullshit work trip

look at my good luck look at my good luck

 

she woke up at the crack of noon with a faraway look in her eye

lying in a great big patch of sun looking like she was gonna cry

I don’t need this kind of pressure I’m a cynical man

I got a lot of livin’ left to do I’m just here for a work trip babe

not to fall in love with you I don’t wanna fall in love with you

 

I ain’t spoken for I never have been I’m speakin’ for myself just fine

I thought I should get a little credit thought I did the right thing this time

I let her go I watched her walk I made a memory of her

I don’t work no good no more thinkin’ ‘bout the holiday girl

thinkin’ ‘bout the holiday girl

 

she said hey can I get a little help my bikini is stuck in the back
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

The Disconnect

 
orange ones pick you up blue ones get you down

oh the glass is golden brown my my

these stairs will break your fall there’s diamonds in the steel

they’re the only thing that’s real bye bye

 

I am now connected to the disconnect

where the real world holds no sway

I’ve been gone as long as I can recollect

and the real world isn’t that real anyway

 

my friends call me up so they can call me out

say you’re always headed south why why

truth is life is short truth’s in short supply

there’s barely time to cry bye bye

 

I am now connected to the disconnect

where the real world holds no sway

I’ve been gone as long as I can recollect

and the real world isn’t that real anyway

no the real world isn’t that real anyway

 

find your way back home or stay here on your own

and spend your life alone

 

green ones turn you off white ones turn you on

almost all night long so high

come down pay the price it’s steeper everyday

are you gone enough to say bye bye

are you strong enough to say bye bye

 

I am now connected to the disconnect

where the real world holds no sway

I’ve been gone as long as I can recollect

and the real world isn’t that real anyway

no the real world isn’t that real anyway

oh the real world isn’t that real any

I am now connected to the disconnect

I am now connected to the disconnect

I am now connected to the disconnect

I am now connected to the disconnect
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

The Ex of All You See

 
on my right hand it’s plain to see

the work I’ve done, the miles on me

but on my left, a white ring’s where

a gold one used to be

 

and oh yeah, she’ll say goodbye

as you are now, so once was I

as I am now, you’ll surely be

the ex of all you see

 

Now I have known a Runaround Sue

her hand was warm and mine to lose

she took my day my night my dawn

then Runaround Sue was gone

 

and oh yeah she’ll say goodbye

as you are now, so once was I

as I am now, you’ll surely be

the ex of all you see

 

in my voice you’ve surely heard

for all I’ve said, I have no words

the happy man, his robe and crown

the things that once were ‘round

 

but a tough old bird you just can’t kill

a smilin’ man I’ll be but still

a small white circle tells on me

for those with eyes to see

 

and oh yeah, she’ll say goodbye

as you are now, so once was I

as I am now, you’ll surely be

the ex of all you see

 

oh yeah, she’ll say goodbye

as you are now, so once was I

as I am now you’ll surely be

the ex of all you see 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Intervention

 
my friend Richard’s in a bad bad way

waking up beaten up every day

drinking malt liquor smokin’ menthols

diggin’ a hole climbin’ the walls

yeah we gotta figure out how to get his attention

intervention

 

my friend Richard’s on a bad bad trip

can’t smile too good through a busted up lip

don’t smile too much no more no how

got to get his shit together got to do it right now

all his friends are feeling the tension

intervention

 

we’re only here ’cause we care about you

and we want you to get well

you’re acting like a asshole and we’re sick of it if you can’t tell

twenty-seven days on a dry vacation

intervention

 

yeah my friend Richard doesn’t want to go

he says fuck y’all hell no

he’s mystified why we’re so lame

but if he wakes up dead will he feel the same

somebody kick him in the sack just to stop his bitching

intervention

 

we’re only here ’cause we care about you

and we want you to get well

you’re acting like a asshole and we’re sick of it if you can’t tell

twenty-seven days on a dry vacation

intervention

we’re only here ’cause we care about you

and we want you to get well

you’re acting like a asshole and we’re sick of it if you can’t tell

twenty-seven days on a dry vacation

intervention intervention intervention
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Most Messed Up

 
stop squeezin’ my shoes quit killin’ my buzz

why you wreckin’ my mood what are you the fuzz

I’m so far gone I can’t never get found

I am the most messed up motherfucker in this town

I know it’s not fair I had a head start

there’s only so many words you can rhyme with heart

well I used ‘em all up yeah I wrote ‘em all down

I am the most messed up motherfucker in this town

 

yeah I need a little need a little need a little need a little sympathy

yeah I need a little need a little need a little need a little sympathy

 

I’ll prove it all night to the porcelain god

and the dark-eyed girl with the name I forgot

but when I wake up there ain’t nobody around

I am the most messed up motherfucker in this town

 

yeah I need a little need a little need a little need a little sympathy

yeah I need a little need a little need a little need a little sympathy

yeah I need a little need a little need a little need a little sympathy

 

I am the most messed up I am the most messed up

I am the most messed up motherfucker in this town

 

 

WHERE TO BUY

iTunes >

Amazon CD >

Amazon LP >

Amazon MP3 >

 

REVIEWS

Rolling Stone

Paste

A.V. Club

Yahoo

American Songwriter

The Washington Post

Exclaim.ca

The Brookhaven Courier

San Antonio Current

The Kansas City Star

 

INTERVIEWS

Texas Monthly

The Dallas Morning News

Most Messed Up AMA

Here and Now

 

TWEETS

The new @Old97s record makes me want to drink excessively, have lots of sex and play loud rock and roll… even more than normal. -@hayescarll

This new @Old97s album is hammered. And gettin’ handsy. #SmartLyricsAboutDumbDrunks -@ThumpAndGrowl

The @Old97s “Most Messed Up” is a brilliantly boozy, masterful mess of rock. It’s like a greatest hits album of all-new music. -@cj_keith

New @Old97s is surf, garage, jangle, booze, sex, longing & regret–all on one very rockin’ record. I know I’m gonna wear out the LP. -@MsSemicolon

 

WIN!

Win an autographed limited edition vinyl version of Most Messed Up. Details >

 

The most excellent thing about the internet is that every lead guitar player can write a review of his own album and people can actually be duped into reading it. Here is my song-by-song, narcissistic, self-absorbed stab at reviewing Most Messed Up, complete with a guitar and amp played.

Most Messed Up Commentary pt 1

– Ken Bethea, Stage Right

 

Longer Than You’ve Been Alive

The thesis statement of our album, this is simply my favorite song Rhett has written in years. I’m not going to spend that much time on it as I may write a whole blog just on this one song at some point. I will say this:

“And I might butt heads with the guys in my band
But I never once went to work for the man”

Makes me snicker every time.

Gretsch Tennessee Rose > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

Give It Time

My goal with this song was to get a buzz-saw guitar sound. So I played my guitar part more or less exactly the same with different amps and guitars. I went into this album with the goal of doing that a bit more than I have on the other Salim-era albums, but wound up only doing it here.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

Guitar 2 – Tobacco Telecaster > Fender Princeton

Let’s Get Drunk and Get It On

When we were first working on this song in May, we were playing fairly straight shuffle-country. Salim suggested we switch it up a bit like something off of London Calling. I was channeling Jimmy Jazz and the song really began to gel.

On the verse after the first chorus, Rhett sings about a cheap motel on the interstate. I step on a pedal on that verse called The Wiggler which makes my guitar sound like a Baldwin Fun Machine Keyboard. I love the idea of the couple in the song drinking at the bar and listening to lounge music.
The opening lyric “Your eyes are the color of the Earth as seen from outer space” was a possible album title. A little unwieldy and pretentious, but still a great way to start a song.

Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

This Is The Ballad

“This is the ballad of try’n to grow flowers
so life will seem like it has meaning and stuff.
Finding out all of those beautiful flowers
will never be anywhere close to enough.”

For you songwriters sitting at home, that’s how it’s done in the big leagues. 22 syllables followed by 22 syllables. Done in 6/8, “duple” time. And sad without sounding sad. Well played, Miller.

This was the last song to be included from the pre-production sessions, but from the moment the band played it, it was a no-brainer. Love it.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp
Guitar 2 – Tobacco Telecaster > Fender Princeton

Wheels Off

In the 80’s, students could get an emergency loan at the University of Texas for $100. You had 1 month to pay them back $101. In the Spring of 1985 I spent $75 of my loan money on a 1960’s Harmony Rocket at a Pawn Shop on Guadalupe. For years it was my only guitar, but by the time the 97’s started, its wiring was messed up and it found its way to my attic. A year ago I got the wiring fixed and for the first time every, the old Harmony gets a starring role in one of our songs 🙂

Hook ’em.

Harmony Rocket > Not sure on the amp. Probably my Matchless.

Nashville

We were in Nashville a couple of years ago and Rhett disappeared for the day to write this song with some old man. I really don’t know anything else about it, but in a way, that old guy became Rhett’s muse for the album. He came back laughing and swearing and sang this song over and over in the van. It was obviously going to be a wicked, Pogues-ey, barn burner for the band.

There’s a big solo, which I pretty much spend the last 5 or 6 seconds of it just trying to get out of it without getting bucked off. Fun.

Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

I’ll do the second half the album next week. See you then……………

Curious as to why the decision to go to the “no holds barred” approach to songwriting is coming about now. Does it have anything to do with aging and wondering how long you’ll continue to do this at such a speed? With wanting to “get it out of your system” or “do it to say you did it” so to speak? -Chase

MURRY: The songs are autobiographical and honest, and so they get the head-on treatment both in the writing and the playing. We tend to sound like this every night anyway, so it’s nothing new to our ears, at least.

What’s your favorite song to play from this record? -Daniel

KEN: “Guadalajara.” Surf guitar. I hope it moves into the set list. We have’t played it live yet.

MURRY: So far it’s been between Intervention and Nashville… once we get going, I can’t wait to get into “Guadalajara” and “Most Messed Up” and a heavy live version of “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive.”

What’s the best part about making a record, and on the flip side, what the most messed up thing about making a record? – Sarah Chastain Siener

MURRY: The best is making a song better than it was, and hearing a new song back for the first time ever, and that first moment when you realize what the “sound” of the record is going to be. And I have to say… the period between finishing an album, but before it comes out, is probably my favorite period—it’s just so full of hope and potential, like the days leading up to Christmas.

KEN: Getting together with everyone in one place is fun. We had a great time in both El Paso and Woodstock when we were working on Too Far. Every night after the session we watched this 8-hour Beatles documentary.

Worst part of making records by far for me is that most of my real work takes place on the back end, after they are done. I usually feel out of place when I’m actually recording with the guys.

Did you guys let Ken sing lead again?? – Ari Kirsch

MURRY: Not this time. Ken has some real nuggets though, that hopefully we’ll all hear over time. On this one, since it was Rhett singing about Rhett, we all wanted him to have a longer arc to get it all out. That’s why I show up only once this time around.

How many f-bombs are dropped on the album? -@zuanne

MURRY: Like, a billion?

Are you going to release any “clean” or “bleeped” versions of songs with naughty words so they can get radio play? If not, why not? -Kenster999

MURRY: There is a clean version that the radio stations got. The words don’t bleep, they just drop out. I haven’t heard one of those yet—will be weird to hear it like that.

Who decides where y’all go on tour? -Sandi Jo Kennedy

MURRY: We have a booking agent that knows where we like to go and where we don’t as much, which makes him a genius. And yes, we tell him what works and what doesn’t, but he has great ideas, too, and we usually try just about every one at least once.

Does touring get easier or harder as the years go by? How do you pass the time while touring now as opposed to in the past? Does social media / technology make traveling more tolerable? -Julie Strehle

MURRY: I LOVE TOURING. I miss my family and all that, but I love it. Computer time is my favorite way of passing the many hours of waiting. Lots of music listening. The other guys like video and board games.

KEN: I still like touring. It’s especially better when we are in a bus, which is about half of the tours. We watch movies together (typical boy stuff, Lebowski, Office Space, Idiocracy, Dazed and Confused, Jackass and yes we have synched up Dark Side with the Wizard of Oz), play board games (Power Grid is the all time favorite—Google it), and just eating breakfast are all things I like doing with the guys. My Facebook posts go from about one a week to daily on tour just because of boredom. We used to play tons of XBOX and Playstation. For years we had either a Madden or FIFA tournament pretty much every night. But that was when Noah, our old merch guy (East Side Pies in Austin—Google it) worked for us. Now it’s this and that. We had a huge stint about two years ago with Marvel vs. Capcom.

What’s your favorite town to perform in?

KEN: The Big Apple. I grew up on a dead-end oil road in a forest in East Texas. The idea of just visting New York City, much less playing a big sold-out show there, was pretty far fetched. It still gives me a feeling of accomplishment every time we play there.

Will there be any songs that you haven’t played in a while that you will be playing on the new tour? -Wil Watkins

MURRY: Can’t say, but there usually is. Don’t know which ones yet… they all get some time eventually.

KEN: There aren’t too many songs that don’t get touched on every tour at least a time or two. I have a few songs I’d like to get back into playing. “Going, Going, Gone,” “Marquita/Bright Spark” “The Easy Way,” “Bird in a Cage” and “Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue” are all fun songs for me to play on guitar.

What’s the biggest crap hole you ever played, and why? -@Hotrodrjr

MURRY: There was a show we did early on in Boston where we were like number four on a five-band punk rock bill. We played in the middle of the night, and I had the flu real bad. THAT was a total shithole, but we’ve played a few dozen shitholes, mostly early on.

KEN: Hmmmmmmmmmm… We’ve played our fair share. One of the worst gigs I remember was us and Slobberbone in about 1999 in Albany, New York at some place that was upstairs a narrow hallway. We were on Elektra at the time and there were some reps in the club putting up balloons, streamers and posters in order to get the local radio station to play our song (probably “Murder”). The show was a complete stiffer. Ten people showed, at best. I remember looking at a security guard who had been hired to keep the screaming throngs off of the stage was sitting in a chair in front of me with his hands over his ears and staring at the floor. To top it all off some local waitresses got on the bus that night. One of them was blown away that we had toured with Third Eye Blind and kept going on and on about how cool that must have been. Just a looooong night.

I’d like the backstory to Rhett’s once missing, now gold tooth. -Wende from KS

MURRY: He busted his teeth out on the fork of a four-wheeler during his teenage years. It was pretty gnarly, as the kids say…

How did Holy Cross get left off of TFTC? It’s the most underrated 97′s song. -Nicolai Dunger

MURRY: It’s a great song all right. Not sure why—it might have just been outnumbered by all the other good songs, but I don’t remember…

Does anyone have a dog, and if so, what kind? -Sandy Melhorn

MURRY: I have a wired-haired dachsund named Buck. He’s brown and very cute.
KEN: We have three cats and a few fish.

You guys remember Studio D? Saw lots of bands there. -Skip McCraw

MURRY: Frank Campagna! I just talked about Studio D in a recent interview. I saw my first real hardcore show there August 6, 1982. I had just turned 18. Dead Kennedys, MDC, Stickmen with Rayguns, Butthole Surfers as a three-piece, and the Hugh Beaumont Experience. DK’s went on about 2:30 in the morning, and I didn’t get back to my parents’ house until almost 6am, because I had to drive over an hour to get back home. I was in a serious bunch of trouble for that, but it was one of those life-changing nights that was so worth it.

The upcoming show at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas is going to be the official release part for Most Messed Up!

GET TICKETS >

The new album will be available for sale at the show — 10 days before the public release date!
There will also be new, never-before-seen merch. Shirts! Buttons! Stickers! Koozies! Edible underwear!*

The fantastic lineup includes:

Black Joe Lewis

The Mighty Slobberbone

Madison King

Join us for a night you won’t remember.

*This is probably a lie.

If you want to take advantage of the cool pre-order deals that include t-shirts and/or posters in the bundle, get your order in by Tuesday! After that you can still pre-order a CD or LP but no more bundle opportunities.

97s_MMU_blogimage

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BUNDLES >

All pre-orders include:
– Instant free download of the unreleased track “Career Opportunities”
– Early digital MP3 download of the album on Friday, April 25

The Most Messed Up t-shirt is a limited edition unisex shirt that will ONLY be available via these bundles.

The poster is the first in a series of three from the upcoming tour, a limited edition lithograph revealed here for the first time:

MMU Tour Alien Poster

Old 97’s MMU AMA

March 30, 2014

AMA = Ask Me Anything

Curious about the inspiration behind the new album? Want to know which song is Ken’s favorite? How many sticks Philip broke during recording? What’s Murry doing RIGHT NOW?

Then post your questions in the comments section below, and in a few days I’ll post the answers to the best ones from the guys themselves.

Last things first, there’s a great blog post over at newyorker.com where Rhett answers questions about Most Messed Up, and it includes a stream of “Nashville,” what’s sure to be a fan-favorite off the upcoming album.

READ THE INTERVIEW AND LISTEN TO “NASHVILLE” >

We’ve also added a ton of June dates to the Shows page, so check ’em out and make your plans now.

Please note that the Denver and Santa Fe show dates have changed. Any tickets already purchased will be honored for the new dates.

CHECK OUT THE NEW TOUR DATES >

UPDATE

Lest we forget, the guys also appeared on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast today, along with The National. Rhett answered some questions about being a frontman and the band played some stripped down songs.

COMEDY BANG BANG PODCAST >

Cheers!