First and foremost, where were you when the Cubs won the World Series?
Clay: I was in Wrigleyville and a policeman took my bottle away.
You guys have been touring like crazy. How has it all been so far?
C: Yeah it’s all we do right now. It’s been good, some people seem to like our band now. Used to play a lot of empty-ish shows on the road. And now it’s rather crazy, touring all the time. And also very boring, just looking out the window, driving six hours a day. It goes from pole to pole.
How do you keep the energy up each night? Do most of the shows seem routine?
C: Well usually you’re so lethargic from being in a car all day that you just got to let it all out on stage that night. That’s how you keep balance. It feels nice to sweat heavily and scream at people after sitting on your ass all day. And beer is a reliable energy source. And food. You usually can’t get anything good to eat until you pull into the town you play.
It doesn’t feel routine yet. Also I feel like a lot of people are just hearing about us, even though we’ve been doing this for years, and their excitement is infectious. I pretend I’m hearing us for the first time too. also we’ve changed the set for almost every new tour, and sometimes change it from night to night, so it don’t get old.
What’s in your pockets as of this very moment?
C: Wallet, keys, gloves, smokes, and a walk on the wild side by Nelson Algren in my coat. I’m in a restaurant and there’s this man playing a guitar and singing Fleetwood Mac wearing sunglasses inside when it’s dark and raining outside.
Also he’s using a loop pedal for his acoustic and taking incredibly long solos. You didn’t ask, but I’m telling you, I wish you could be here. This guy is incredible. I think we might take him on tour for sixty days and then take two days off and do another sixty days.
Do you go out and explore on your days off or sit in and relax?
C: On days off I go for long walks. Other than the bathroom that’s the only time I’m alone for entire tours. Solitude is like vegetables, you need some to stay healthy.
You’re ending this current tour with a couple of back-to-back Chicago shows. How do your hometown shows compare to the rest of the world?
C: Hometown shows are funny because I feel like we try our best but the audience would love our worst just as much. I have to change how I spit at hometown shows because a lot of our friends are on the stage and crouching behind amplifiers and standing in the shadows watching and I’m not used to aiming. It’s just a party, really. It certainly is afterwards, anyway. And it’s funny how many people say that they’re proud of us. People my age saying that. ‘Tis strange.
The music scene in Chicago is truly alive right now. What other hometown bands/artists would you recommend seeing live?
C: You should see Ne-hi, best live band around. Also Dehd. And Deeper. And Parent. And Whitney. And Wilco, if you got the funds.
What’s the best, funniest, and/or worst thing to happen on stage during one of your shows?
C: Once I got electrocuted horribly. I’d like to tour with this guy in the restaurant that I told you about. I wanna see if those shades ever come off. Either him or Blaze Foley. Or Hasil Adkins.
Finally, who has the highest ollie in your band?
C: Colin probably does. Him or me. But the other three guys get pretty damn high off the ground in their own way.