Reviews

Album of the Year

Author: Pete D'Angelo
07/29/2004 | The L | www.thelmagazine.com | Feature
As the front man for Omaha-based rockers the Good Life and Cursive, Tim Kasher is a busy, busy man. His days are spent between both bands' rigorous touring and recording schedules, putting him out on the road for more than half of every year. We tracked Tim down a few days before the Good Life kicked off their latest tour, in support of the recently released Lovers Need Lawyers EP, and the soon to be available Album Of The Year (both released by Omaha's Saddle Creek Records). After shaking his head clear from "a night of abuse," Tim was able to opine about his endeavors, his fame, and his penchant for concept records. The Good Life is at Maxwell's on Wednesday, July 21 and the Knitting Factory on Thursday, July 22, and Cursive will be hitting the road at the end of summer, opening for the Cure as part of their Curiosa Festival.

The L: I saw you on MTV the other night. Weird.

Tim Kasher: God, I love MTV. My bartender was saying the same thing last night.

The L: Ok, let's start the interview. Be eloquent.

TK: I can always do debonair, not always eloquent.

The L: The Good Life is clearly no longer a "side project" for you, and the rest of the band members also appear to be moonlighting at times. Has it become harder to set time aside for both this band and Cursive as they continue to grow exponentially? How does this effect the other members of the band, and what else are they involved in?

TK: A lot of it has been a supply and demand reaction to the albums. They started doing well and I continued to write for it and we kept playing. Now that Cursive is doing well it's more of a situation where when I finish writing an album I just start on a new one. I don't think there's a song that wouldn't work for either band, especially the Good Life. But everyone has something else they're working on. Roger [Lewis drums] is in Neva Denova, Stephanie (Drootin bass] does Consafos, and Ryan (Fox keys, etc.] is in a new band called 1989 Chicago Cubs. It's hard to say if this is what the band will always be. I'll probably end up taking some time off from it after all this, and I've thought about the next record being just me solo, so I don't really know.

The L: There seems to be a relationship theme at work on Album of the Year, yet at the same time it seems like the least conceptual of the past few records you've put out.

TK: I think once the album is out with all the artwork, it will be a little clearer. The artwork is actually a calendar. It starts in April. There's sort of a prologue there. It may actually be the most conceptualized record I've put together. And I guess that some of it's true and some is very fictionalized. I colored some parts in my life isn't that romantic.

The L: You've developed a reputation for the kind of self referential lyrics that seem to be attributed to most of the big hitters on the Saddle Creek roster. Do these expectations become a distraction or a crutch at any point? Is it even a conscious decision?

TK: I'm still a fan of that kind of songwriting, and I think that the truly great writers don't think about it at all. They're just so colorful and poignant. I think a truly great writer can write from the perspective of an eight-year-old Saudi Arabian girl and have it be great. But that's just not me, I don't even think I want to write like that.

The L: But you have written a lot of songs with a female point of view in them. On Inmates, which I would say is probably the record's centerpiece, you have Jiha Lee (former Good Life member) come in and actually sing your lyrics for you for the first time. How did that come about?

TK: I didn't plan it at all. The idea came up and then Mike Mogis (producer) started really pushing for it. And it's a unique song because for those nine minutes it really never switches perspective. I considered calling it Inamates (The really long break-up song). It's that situation where someone comes over at 7pm and you have this conversation you don't want to have but know you need to, and you see the sun go down and it just keeps going.

The L: How does the Lovers Need Lawyers EP work in context with Album Of The Year? Would you consider it to be outtakes, a precursor, or an unrelated cycle to the final full-length that you came up with?

TK: I think parts of the EP could have been put together by Cursive or the Good Life. A song like Friction is kinda punk rock, but the Good Life did it. We had all these pop songs and they could have gone on a comp here or a single there. It's poppier and more upbeat than the full length, more rock'n'roll.

The L: I know you guys were doing the Plea For Peace Tour. Has there been any other political action going on with the recent tours?

TK: It wasn't intentional. But I was actually contacted by someone from Dischord about touring with us and doing voter registration. And I think that people out there are a lot more involved than me, so I was a little surprised, but I think it's a very good thing. I was thinking this summer I wanted to see what was going on in Nebraska, which is a very conservative state, and see how we could get some of these kids, even younger than us, to get out there. But I think it's possible that a lot of these younger kids are Republicans out here. I also realized my vacation was a lot shorter than I thought. It was only two weeks. That's not really enough time to get a rally started.

The L: So how psyched are you to be playing with the Cure? How did that happen?

TK: Real psyched. It kinda came out of nowhere. We really considered not doing it. Then we sobered up. I think every band has their list of bands they'd like to play with. And then you make your silly list of bands you dream of playing with. I don't even know if I would have ever put the Cure on the silly list even.

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