Author: Dan Pastorius
11/01/2004 | Rockpile | Album Review
Joe Knapp is a nice guy. That's probably why he and his old roommate , Conor Oberst, got along so well. They partied together, started their own respective bands and ended up playing on each other's records. Today, while Oberst frons the ultra-popular Bright Eyes, Knapp has released Key, his sophomore effort, under the appellation Son, Ambulance. In delivering an upbeat, confident sound full of alluring melodies, beautiful lyricism and pop-driven sensibilities, Knapp's outfit proves the musical opposite of his friend's, leaning more towards Elvis Costello's rhythms than Gram Parsons-style pastorality. Painfully diplomatic, Joe didn't have a single bad thing to say about anyone or anything during out interview. We did get him to admit that Conor stole his sweater, and that he's too broke to get a new one.

What made you decide to start Son, Ambulance, and how has it changed since its inception?

I felt ubiquitous. It was the most natural thing in the world of teenage patters, patterns stemming from my dreams and life. Then one day I find I'm composing for a living. Then it became more serious, I guess, as more people got involved.

Did you have any goals in mind while writing?

I did everything in my power to write the most rockin' motherfucker. I found the most badass drummer, Corey Broman, and the world's most lubricated knob turner, A.J. Mogis, to expound upon the ceaseless rhymes and maddening melodies that come from my internal void. We attempted to capture a big bang on the recording.

Any interesting stories regarding the environment Key was recorded under?

Key was recorded over a span of nearly three years and multiple sessions, so it's hard to recount. At one point we decided we needed a bona fide shredder to do a few solos, so we found David Bowie's illegitimate child at the Laundromat in Lincoln. And now he is going on tour with us.

Did living with Conor inspire each of you to forge ahead with your music?

Living with Conor inspired me to stay in school, because we were broke ass. I still am.

What do you love most about playing live shows and what do you like the least?

Women, women, women. Just kidding! I love feeling nervous and the thrill of being on stage. Uptight crowds are boring to me, because I'm not a scenester.


CD / MP3