LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III is featured on NPR Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross featured story Oct.19, 2001 featured story Oct.14, 2001
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III is featured on
NPR Fresh Air w/ Terry Gross
featured story Oct.19, 2001
featured story Oct.14, 2001
"Here Come The Choppers" was recorded in four days and though I was walled off from my four fellow musicians in a sound proof booth during its making, my singing and playing on the record was, with the exception of a few repairs and some added vocal harmonies, done " live." Its not much to brag about really. Lightnin Hopkins is rumored to have done 2 albums in a single afternoon. Plus his story has the appealing aspect of adultery about it. Apparently the blues legend made a record for one label, for which he was undoubtedly paid a pittance .He then went across town (some say across the street) and blithely recorded and was remunerated for the very same record by an unsuspecting second label. Im sure he deserved every penny he got. Anyway, back to me and "Here Come The Choppers." The plan formulated by my producer Lee Townsend was to familiarize the other players with the songs ahead of time by giving them my voice and guitar demos. Bill Frisell, natural leader that he is, wrote out some terrific charts. The band and I rehearsed for a day and then, in Nike-like fashion, we just did it. We had no other logistical choice really since Frisell, Keltner, Leisz and Piltch are working all the time and very much in demand. Id played with Bill and Greg a few summers ago on some shows in Germany and David and Greg backed me up on a session I did earlier this year. Jim Keltner and I hadnt seen each other since 1975 when he drummed on my album "Unrequited." That record was recently re-released on Columbia Legacy and includes killer Keltner on a bonus band version of "Rufus Is A Tit Man." By the way, Jim plays on Rufus fine album "Poses." People need to know this stuff.
Most of the material for "Here Come The Choppers" was written over the last 4 or 5 years with the exception of "My Biggest Fan" which I wrote circa 1993. That songs extremely large protagonist had walked into the dressing room of The Continental Club in Melbourne, Australia and immediately won me over by happily announcing "Im your biggest fan!" "Hank & Fred" was written in Montgomery, AL, where I was stationed in the spring of 2003 working (which is to say mostly waiting) as an actor on Tim Burtons movie "Big Fish." In fact, "Gods Country" was also written while waiting around to cinematically sparkle down south. That location was Lexington, KY, the movie the upcoming Cameron Crowe flick "Elizabethtown." The YMCA figures in both songs. Its mentioned in the first line of "Hank & Fred." In the case of "Gods Country" I had gone to the Lexington "Y" for a morning swim and in hopes of a freebie flashed my long expired membership card from the East Hampton, NY affiliate. Upon seeing it the lady at the desk sweetly drawled "Well honey, youre a long way from home." I found myself replying, "Yes, and now Im down here in Gods country." Songs can happen that way.
For a while I considered calling this record "Location, Location, Location." In addition to the aforementioned places, Westerly, RI, figures in the ditty "Nanny". Theres a New York song ("No Sure Way") and one that is set in my new home town of Los Angeles. That tune became the albums title track and was also written in the spring of 2003 as we (the country, not me and the band) prepared to go to war with Iraq.Stop overs in the familiar and familial territories of fear and regret are made in "Had To Be Her," "Half Fist," "Make Your Mother Mad," and "When You Leave." More than anything else "To be on T.V." is about displacement. The albums last song is "Things" which I wrote for my daughter Lucy. I thought it might be good to end this musical travelogue somewhere Id like to spend much more of my remaining time-a place called hope.
LW3 December 2004
HERE COME THE CHOPPERS
Produced by Lee Townsend (John Abercrombie, Charlie Hunter, John Scofeld)
Loudon Wainwright III (vocals, acoustic guitar)
Bill Frisell (electric guitar)
Greg Leisz (lap steel, pedal steel, mandolin, electric guitar)
David Piltch (acoustic and electric bass)
Jim Keltner (drums, percussion)