Friday, March 14, 2008

Five Questions: Jesse Elliott from These United State

In a recent interview for UR Chicago Magazine, These United States ringleader, Jesse Elliott, was kind enough to take a few minutes in the midst of the band's 33 shows in a span of 38 days to answer a few questions. Here are a few that didn't make it into the published article (due out April 1st).

middleCoast: You mentioned that you spent some time growing up in Elgin, IL, and that you lived in Chicago. What are your thoughts of Chicago and what are you looking forward to about playing The Hideout (April 3rd)?

Jesse Elliott: My family moved around a lot when I was little, all over the Midwest, but finally settled in this old beautiful river town called Elgin. Northern Illinois, banks of the Fox River, used to be the world’s greatest watch manufacturer. Pocket watches on the river. Gorgeous, old brick and rails. Took those rails down into Chicago pretty often starting in 8th grade, told my mom I was headed just 20 minutes down track to this burb called Bartlett where some friends lived – but just stayed on the extra 30 into the big bad city. Really my benchmark fr big bad cities, Chicago is, to this day. What a place. Wrote a song called Brick and Wind about it once – someday that’ll resurface, I imagine, and then all my thoughts on the subject will become transparent. Fond fond fond. Wintertime, always. Winter is always the last time and place I was in Chicago, it seems. And the Hideout is always the shelter from the storm.

mC: Your sound can be described as Americana. Being on the road (in your case, touring) is pure Americana as well. Describe some of the encounters you get to have thanks to driving through small towns instead of just flying from urban airport to urban airport.

JE: We’re in Shreveport, Louisiana right this moment, with our new friends The Peekers. Place we’re staying, there’s a cat named Meatpie, a dog named Feelings, another cat named Susan B. Anthony. They used to have a cat named Dirtbike, too, but they speak about it in hushed tones. Who knows. I think that pretty much sums everything up.

mC: There exists the argument that technology is isolating people, yet your Myspace page and blog really display a connectivity between the band and your fans. How do you view the current relationship between technology and music?

JE: I’m a technophile, personally. Probably 'cause I know relatively little about it, so it all seems like a strange infinite dream. Connections to people is perhaps the thing I live most for. Hard to argue that the possibility for connection hasn’t increased, even if we haven’t all figured out the most responsible and loving ways to embrace it yet. We will, tho, we will!

mC: Your line, "We'll burn this bridge when we're over it" has been running through my head for days. It's far more interesting (and uplifting, personally) than the idea of crossing said bridge when we come to it - yes, yes, of course we'll cross it, but we're also going to leave it behind us in ashes. What is your take on people interpreting your lyrics? Do you care that they may get it wrong? Or are you just pleased that they're getting something?

JE: I love interpretation and re-interpretation! I love people taking the proverbial ball and running with it! Go all the way! It's in yr Hands now, right where it should be! That’s [the] idea behind this whole tour.

A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden is out now on United Interests.

"Burn This Bridge" mp3


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