American Wrestlers Pin the Future on Less Offset Fenders
Numerology > Vibeology. So, what better way to get to know a band than probing numerical associations? Today we Count Off with Gary McClure, mastermind of American Wrestlers, who has expanded his bedroom pop in a major way on new album Goodbye Terrible Youth, due November 4 on Fat Possum. Check out the St. Louis-by-way-of-Scotland songwriter's energetic new work, as well as his thoughts on vintage Ice Cube, offset Fenders and learning to appreciate Bob Dylan.
1: Describe your band in one sentence.
Christopher Cross and Billy Corgan make music that's too good for teenage boys to shop to.
2: What do your parents think about your music?
I don't think they ever listened to it. I heard them listen to a lot of great stuff when I was a kid. My mum liked Janis Ian, who has some of the most sublime and sad melodies you'll ever hear. My dad has everything [related to] Bob Dylan. The sound of his droning voice making every song sound the same would rise from the kitchen every Sunday afternoon to give me a headache full of depression. I can't remember when it all clicked and revealed its majesty. This song vs. literature debate is hilarious. Yeah, I love Philip Larkin, but one day when I was reading it aloud, my voice got a little melodic for a moment and it lost some of its artistic value. It's never been the same since.
3: What are three things you can’t do without on tour?
Patience, imagination and a complete lack of an economic sensibility.
4: Who do you play music 4?
Nobody. It's the kiss of death when bands make music they think people will like. Even worse when they consider music critics. I've not read a review of any of my records in years. They're just glorified adverts, really. Makes no difference to me if you give my album 3, 7 or 9 out of 10. The name and sleeve still appear in the magazine and slip into the subconscious like a billboard. If anything, I've found that a lot of the stuff I record has an edge of spite to it. It's usually that edge that's colored with a little mass appeal. The "Born in the U.S.A."-feeling part is my little disgust with what's currently hip. A rejection to help me find my own shaded spot on the beach, far away from the Bart Simpson towels, open letters of superior morality and ever-growing mountain of offset guitars
7: Do you believe in luck?
I did before the 21st century happened.
10: What was your favorite album when you were 10?
Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. From my older brother Brian's record collection. It's still my favorite rap album. I find a lot of modern hip-hop hard to get involved with. So much of it gets ruined with douchebag R&B singing. I love the first Danny Brown (yet to hear the second) and the new Noname record. Beautiful.
20: If I gave you a $20 bill right now, what would you spend it on?
It would get folded up and lost in my pocket for a bit, then eventually help to pay a bill. I don't go anywhere or buy anything. I never wanted any stuff. I literally only own a couple of pairs of jeans, a laptop, my guitar and some books. An easy life to save from a fire.
80: What will you listen to when you’re 80?
If the current trend keeps up, we'll likely all still be being bombarded by offset Fenders through chorus pedals. Not that there's anything wrong with those in the hands of a good artist; it's just, there's a limit, you know? Ninety-six percent of it is useless garbage
666: Who or what would you go to hell for?