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BYT interview: The Long Winters | the long winters library & archive

BYT interview: The Long Winters

Brightest Young Things
Publication date: 
April 2, 2007

BYT interview: The Long Winters

Our illustrious BYT captain Svetlana, who may or may not have a monster crush on singer/songwriter John Roderick of The Long Winters, asks the important questions. They'll be swinging by the Rock and Roll Hotel tomorrow night along with The Broken West and Stars of Track and Field.

BYT: Last time you were in DC, Travis Morrison of Dismemberment plan showed up to see you. Anyone special you are (sort of secretly) hoping will stop by at the Rock and Roll Hotel show in April?

JR: I'd love to see Travis again, of course, but I'd really dig it if H.R. from Bad Brains came. Not that I expect he would, but I'm a big fan.
BYT: The Long Winters are known for their audience participation at shows. DC kids are famous for their complete apathy and NON involvement at shows. Any secret strategies to bring out the best in them?

JR: Well, a lot of kids think they can get away with just standing at shows like potted plants, but we come to dance and laugh and party. I'm not worried. I've faced down whole rooms full of stone-faced hipsters with asymetrical haircuts and we always end up burning the place down. Just gotta tickle them under the ribs.

BYT: I read somewhere this is your 85th tour. Do you live on the tour bus?

JR: We tour so much so I can make my astronomical child support payments to all my ex-wives.

BYT: You're quite the nomad - that walk from Amsterdam to Istanbul is stuff of indie rock lore by now. How and why does one even decide to do something like that? (we do hope the answer involves at least SOME substance abuse in Amsterdam)

JR:Well, my "drugs in Amsterdam" years were a big influence on me, but walking to Istanbul was more of a crazy-person thing to do. I'm still trying to figure that one out, actually.

BYT: So we're on the 3rd album now, and each has been better received than the previous one by the critics (and even the first one has been received extremely well). How did you succeed in achieving a strictly upward trajectory? No sophomore slumps? No junior crisis?

JR: It's interesting, because half the interviewers I talk to ask me why my band isn't bigger, and the other half ask what it's like to be famous. I like being critically admired, and our fans are hep, but it sometimes feels like we're from a different world entirely. We're not really fashionable, our music isn't trendy, and I'm massively more hilarious than most indie rockers can comfortably handle. What can you do?

BYT: Are you ever surprised by all the critical and public goodwill surrounding the band?

JR: Um, well, I LOVE it when people say nice things about us. But it hasn't been all wine and roses. Some critics insist on not understanding how we're the future of rock. Bastards.

BYT: A few things people have said about you: "One of the best living songwriters in America", "Bob Dylan in a hoodie", "Best lyricists out there". Has your father forgiven you yet for not becoming a lawyer like him?<

JR: No. Firstly, my dad doesn't read Magnet or Paste, so if I show him a glowing magazine article there's a part of him that thinks I'm making it up somehow. Secondly, his irrefutable logic would have it that I should be a lawyer AND a musician.

BYT: Is there one song you wish you had written? (and by one we mean anywhere from 1 to 1000 that you choose to list).

JR: Jimminy Christmas! What a question! I'll say this: I wish I had thought up the banjo part on Neil Young's Old Man.

BYT: Whenever someone mentions "Long winters" people always say "OOOOOOOH, the Cinnamon" song" or "Blue Diamonds". My favorite is "Shapes" which I feel is such a perfect pop song. What's your favorite?

JR: I love Shapes too, but my favorites tend to be the wordy ones like Hindsight and Sound of Coming Down. I think Commander Thinks Aloud is probably one of my best.

BYT: What is up next for the Long winters (touring aside)?

JR: Gotta make that next record, baby! I should start writing songs in May.

BYT: Thank you. And we look forward to seeing you in April!

The Long WintersTue Apr 03 @ The Rock and Roll Hotelwith The Broken West & Stars of Track and Field
Doors 830pm
Show 930pm