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By Sarah L. Myers
New York, NY, USA
Scott H. Biram
THIRSTY: You went through some pretty heavy stuff over the past couple of years. Is the record kind of an account of what went on?
Scott H. Biram: Well, it’s not really a new record. It’s about a year old. I’m already recording the new one when I come home from this trip. Well, when I was recording that I actually stretched out the recording of it for like two years, any time I had in between tours I was recording. And I was also, I quit drinking whiskey a year ago and it was, I was really riding out this crazy whiskey fucking trip for awhile and it was making me crazy, and it was going to ruin my career, too. And so there was that. And I was getting off some meds, some anti-anxiety shit so that made me weird. And I was also kind of going through practically a divorce with my live-in girlfriend at the time so there was a lot of shit going on and it was kind of depressing but when I recorded that record, I went into it, I didn’t know what I was going to record. I had a bunch of songs. I didn’t have any particular order and it all just fell into place like it did, and ended up like it did and it worked out, the songs I recorded. It’s also just another, I mean you gotta write songs and you gotta record them so you can fulfill your contract with the record label and all that shit, you know? But at the same time you know, you just gotta… I like recording stuff and I like getting recordings out there and making a testament of the time I was living in and look back on it. I look back at my old records now, and I say, “oh, I remember how I was feeling then, or I remember when I was doing back then”. I was a different person or whatever, you know. So, I don’t know. I need to write some more uplifting shit next time.
THIRSTY: And it works that way for people who listen to the records, too. I can go back to a song and remember why I loved it and what it meant to me at a certain time.
Scott H. Biram: Yeah, me and my friend in the van, we were just listening to classic rock and eighties metal and Steely Dan and Eddie Money, and that kind of stuff, and Huey Lewis and stuff, and people might think that’s cheesy and everything, but for me it’s sentimental and it brings back memories and stuff like that and my friend Justin and I, we both just have a good time listening to music in the van. That’s one of the most great things about being on tour and having this job is that me and my friend get to laugh a lot in the car, and joking and laughing.
Something's Wrong/Lost Forever (2009)
THIRSTY: Speaking of eighties metal, I think “Shot in the Dark” by Ozzy is one of the greatest from that genre. Do you have a favorite?
Scott H. Biram: Nah, not a track necessarily, but I sure do like Iron Maiden’s first record. Shit, I can’t ever get sick of “Appetite for Destruction” either. I think that record belongs definitely in the top ten best rock records of all time, you know what I mean? I don’t even listen to it all that much but I think that it deserves that because I really think every song on that record is a fucking hit.
THIRSTY: Tell me about your song with Black Diamond Heavies on the new record, “I Feel So Good”.
Scott H. Biram: We always used to, when we’d tour together, they’d leave their stuff onstage and I’d play and at the end of the night we’d jam on some blues standards and stuff like that. We’d play like “I Got My Brand on You” by Muddy Waters, I don’t know, I think this guy was crying in Florida one time cause his mom had died and we played “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” at one point. So anyway, so when they came they always stayed at my house during SXSW and I had the studio set up in my house so I was like, ok let’s just record a few songs! So we recorded two or three songs and “I Feel So Good” came out and John laid down some electric piano on “Hard Time”, think is the name of the song, but I said, ‘Hey!’ He was trying to play it this one way, I said, ‘Hey! Do it like this, man! This is what I was thinking!’ I should have done it myself cause I knew what I wanted anyway, and I could play it already. So it was kind of silly. But that was my first attempt in the studio to record a full band in my own studio and it came out alright.
THIRSTY: “Sinkin Down” is my favorite song on the record. What’s the story behind it?
Scott H. Biram: I recorded that song the day after I wrote it. That’s the problem with recording a song the day after you wrote it, or the day that you wrote it, is that a lot of the time new lyrics come up, or better lyrics, a couple weeks later. And you’re like, ‘oh, shit I wish I had done that,’ but you spend so much time recording it in the first place you don’t want to go back. I was on my porch and I was just trying to do something in D minor, which is a key I hadn’t fucked around with much and I wanted to see what happened. I kind of stole it from my own song, “Long Fingernails”, it’s almost the same fucking progression, which I probably stole that from something else anyway!
Scott H. Biram
THIRSTY: There’s a song on the new record that reminds me a lot of “18 Wheeler Fever”, too.
Scott H. Biram: “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue”.
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That was just, it’s nothing really like “18 Wheeler Fever” except that it’s just a straight-up country song, inspired by Merle Haggard. That’s my country sound or roots, just usually based around Merle Haggard. Not that I’m stealing Merle Haggard songs. I just think that’s a really good - that’s my favorite country music, is Merle Haggard. I also like Gary Stewart a lot, too. I don’t know if a lot of people know who that is, but he has this weird voice.
THIRSTY: And what about “Judgment Day”?
Scott H. Biram: I remember when I wrote it. I had it for about a year or so before I recorded it. Always got a put a rock song, a good rock guitar somewhere on the record. That was the one. All that random AM radio stuff at the beginning, I like doing that. I’ve done that before on other records where I just randomly record AM radio and then pick out the best stuff from it and take that little chunk out. I don’t know, “Judgment Day” is just about being pissed off about organized religion and the stupidity and ignorance that comes with organized religion.
THIRSTY: It’s definitely that song on the record that speaks to the greatest amount of people. I mean, you can listen to that and think of anything. Religion or the recession, or anything.
Scott H. Biram: I kind of go two ways, too, because I’m like, “shame on you” but I’m also like, “we’re all going down!” or something like that, I don’t fucking know! I mean, I write these songs, and these songs come out, and I put them - I have heart behind them all but they don’t, they aren’t necessarily concrete representative of how I really feel or anything like that. You know, songs are songs, and songs are imagery and songs are rhymes or whatever. I’m just trying to make some songs that people like to shake their ass to.
THIRSTY: What’s your plan after the tour’s over, and how has the tour been going?
Scott H. Biram: It came about a year ago, I’ve probably been on twelve tours since then so, you know, lots of time. This tour is going great, we’re having a great time, two days after I left my sweet. 12-year-old dog Ruby Lue died at my mom’s house and that was really rough because I wasn’t home when it happened and I couldn’t say goodbye. And then my uncle died a week after that so I was kind of going through the beginning of this tour with a really heavy heart. I’m kind of getting over it now and having a good time, playing good songs. This is the third week in a row on this tour but we just did fifteen dates in a row without a day off. This is the last night of that. I finally get a day off tomorrow. On our day off at the beginning, we went, we got a cabin on a lake on the Missouri River in South Dakota and in a few days we have another day off and we’re gonna be in West Virginia or something. So I’m sure we’ll find a cabin in some weird, hillbilly place and that movie “Wrong Turn” will all come true and we’ll have crazy inbred people chasing us through the woods. Or maybe we’ll be chasing crazy inbred people through the woods ourselves.