I had tried to set up an interview with someone in Lucero ahead of their show in April at the Paradise, but it didn't get done. I sent over some questions anyway and woke up yesterday to find some answers by Ben Nichols in my inbox. Awesome. Some regular rock n' roll stuff in here, but I was happy to hear more background on their songs about sailors and soldiers.
Note: I sent in questions before I knew about Lucero's appearance on MTV's $5 Cover. We'll have to pretend I asked "$5 Cover, what's it like being on MTV?" Leave your best Ben Nichols impersonation answer in the comments.
For a rock band from the South, Lucero has grown pretty rapidly in the Northeast (Boston, NYC, DC, etc). Aside from touring all the time, hard work, and rocking, is there anything else you think might be behind it?
I think in general Lucero songs are pretty simple and straightforward. So it's stuff most folks can relate to. Maybe that's part of the connection. Nothing too mysterious in the lyrics... heartbreak, loneliness, booze. Stuff most folks encounter.
Are you experiencing that type of success in other areas of the country? And how was Europe?
We've been lucky. Over the years a lot of towns have really come around. It's real nice being able to play to great crowds on both coasts and lots of places in between. Europe still is gonna take some work. But we've had some real good shows in Spain and the U.K.
I was a tour manager for several years and while I hated the time in the van, it's the time I look back most fondly on. What's your favorite part about being on tour? Least favorite?
Favorite part is getting to see friends we've made all over the country. Folks we might hardly ever see otherwise. And also meeting lots of great bands. We just did a tour with Black Joe Lewis and all those guys are great and now we'll stay in touch with them and that's kinda bad ass. Stuff like that. Least favorite is the waiting around.
We used to look forward to particular cities for days in advance because of a particular restaurant or type of food we could get (ribs in Memphis, Little Rock, NOLA, etc)
We look forward to certain bars with the nice bartenders.
Got a favorite place to play?
Lots of â€˜em actually. Florida, Colorado, All the West Coast. And Boston is always fun. Actually there's too many to name. Chicago, Austin, Richmond, on and on.
Lucero seems to tour non-stop. Any plans to slow that down a bit?
Maybe one day. Not any time soon.
You guys are working on some recording right now. Is there a new album in the works? Any change to how you've recorded albums in the past?
New album should be out in October of 2009. On this new one we had a lot of help from producer Ted Hutt. He did the last Gaslight Anthem record. He really pushed me songwriting wise. It was cool having somebody that involved in the whole process.
Memphis is landlocked, where do all the sailing songs come from? Also the army songs?
The ocean and ships are romantic. Maybe especially so because there aren't either anywhere near Memphis. The army songs are mainly inspired by my grandfather who served in an infantry unit in Europe in WWII. But since then I've met a lot of guys in the service and some of them have worked their way into songs as well. Like â€œLast Night in Town.â€
How have you used the internet to get the message out about Lucero in ways you maybe couldn't have done a couple years ago?
Sure. Although I'm not on a computer very often myself. Apparently a lot of other folks are.
Is there a part of the music business (besides lame Q+As) that you hate? Love?
Reading music magazines always depresses me. Reviews of any record are hard to read sometimes. It's such a personal thing (music) but at the same time it's out there for any half wit to comment on. I pretty much ignore that side of it. The good and the bad. We're not exactly known as a hip band and that's just fine with me. Couldn't really change what we do if we wanted to anyways.
Any questions for me?
Hell. I think that about covers it.
PS: Lucero Announces Completion of New Album on Universal