Five Guys and A Lady: Grace Potter Interviews My Morning Jacket (Relix Revisited)
Photo by Michael Weintrob
Tommy, the way that you play bass, it almost seems like you were birthed out of an R&B place and then you just totally grew from that. For each of you guys: Where did your story start and how did you change based on this music?
Two-Tone Tommy: Well, that’s the kind of answer that Patrick and I were talking about that the other day. How your body and your whole persona change depending on what song you’re playing. So I imagine a different character every time. Like were playing “Thank You Too”—not that there’s necessarily gonna be a specific person like [fabled Motown bassist James] Jamerson—but I kind of become that R&B dude or whatever. I have a different character. I’m gonna be Charlie now. And next I’ll be Francis.
Bo, when I see you playing keys, you’re cueing things, triggering samples and you’re doing other stuff. When you’re in the studio, are you birthing ideas or are you just figuring out what needs to be done?
Bo: Well, most of the samples I do is stuff we did vocally on the record. Especially the big wall of reverb vocals—I sample a lot of those. And then drum machines and stuff like that. So none of those are real ideas that come from me per se.
Patrick: But you execute them.
Bo: I execute them.
Patrick: And well, by the way.
That brings me to Joe Chiccarelli. We both used Joe on our albums and he’s a co-producer of Evil Urges.
Patrick: We used him.
We used him. He used you. He used you, my babies.
Patrick: He used you, too.
How did you guys feel about what he brought to the table?
Jim: He was a thorough policeman. He’s got ears of gold which you cannot deny. He’s good at getting out the mop and broom and sweeping up the messes and stuff like that. He’s intense—he’s an intense person. He’s good for music and he’s a fucking badass.
Patrick: He’s a gangster.
He’s a gangster of sonic landscapes.
Patrick: He really is.
Jim: He is—it gets intense, but I think it’s good to get intense cause it means he cares and that means he wants it to get as good as it can be which isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun but it’s what you need.
Patrick: But you wouldn’t want somebody that’s just complacent and like “Whatever….”
See, I want someone like that. I know exactly what I want it to sound like.
Patrick: I mean it’s not comfortable, but it produces good things with people when you’re dealing with the element of I don’t know, this drive from both sides, and he just brought it. It was awesome.
He was really excited about it when I talked to him. He was saying the sense of the record was very different—it was more from the soul but had this gospel influence to it. Were you guys ever kind of thinking about going in that direction?
Jim: We did—it’s pure gospel—through and through.
Yeah, obviously. I mean the backing choir of robots.
Patrick: We have the vestments.
Jim: It’s mutated.
Jim: I mean it’s like rock and roll. Rock and roll started out as Chuck Berry, but now rock and roll is a lot of things.
It’s Yellowcard. It’s fucking My Chemical Romance.
Bo: Yeah. So when people think of gospel, some people think of the church, fast gospel beats, huge choirs and the organ/jazz kind of thing. But then there’s this other kind of gospel, which is like a lot of the stuff that you listen to like soul singers singing about God, Sam Cooke and stuff like that. So I think that when we use the term gospel in describing our record, it’s more the latter.
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