Reviews

Album of the Year

09/01/2004 | New Reform | www.newreformmagazine.com/ | Feature
Tim Kasher is carrying the songwriter torch. His witticism and observational skills are without modern rival in many ways. The essential key: unashamed revealing of human depravity. I would personally like to warn any potential girlfriends of this guy: PLEASE LISTEN TO EVERYTHING THIS MAN HAS WRITTEN. He is not all scared to publicly shame you if you hurt him. Additionally, I would also like to personally warn all other songwriters: Please listen to everything this man has written. He is more cleaver than you. Beyond that, he is an integral part of the Saddle Creek Label and an exemplar of fine music and quite charming as well. I hope you all enjoy knowing this guy better, as we did, especially now that he shaved the beard off his face and looks like Antonio Banderas.
New Reform- So my friend and I were thinking how great it would be if we mad this obscure compilation with the bans that we like playing songs of other bands the we like, but kind of like cross genres. Like we would have Pedro the Lion do an Agent Orange song or like 7 seconds doing a parasite song.... so we were thinking The Good Life could do a screeching weasel song. Would this work for you?
TK- I don't know Screeching Weasel very well. We were talking earlier today about how for Christmas on year I got the Metallica "And justice for all," got that, have that, you know I still have that book. So yeah we were thinking about doing an "And Justice for All" tribute.
NR- Your prospective: I know you're a straight shooter. Is Conor overrated?
TK- I don't care what he is. I think its awesome that somebody, whether I'm friends with him or not... I think its incredible that someone is making such a great impact on an independent level. That's what I think, so even if he is overrated, I don't care. Its a great message to give kids who are deciding between Walgreen's and the pharmacy.
NR- At what point did you realize you needed your own projects?
TK- That was just purely out of friendship (Commander Venus). He asked me as a joke cause I was already writing songs for years. So he said, "I'm playing in a band. come play," and I was like "okay," and he was like "really?" and I was like. "yeah why not." And that's how that started. He always hated the fact that I didn't really like the band that much.
NR- So, you're a bit older than him, did you take him under your scene wing and show him the ways?
TK- Not just me, everybody did. I did, his older brother did.
NR- Do you ever feel lke the rest of the people in the good life are playing for "the Tim Kasher Band?"
TK- I think people see it two ways; people really respect it as a band, and they recognize the difference between the albums and how the last album was very band oriented , especially that EP, that really sounds to me like that group of guys, those are just straight up written in the basement and they kind of came out sounding that way. the thing is I'm going to continue using the name after work with them, and so... However people see it, I'd like it if people saw it as a band right now, and then if that's not the band later.....
NR- You say the name is something you would use later, so is there a possibility of you guys parting soon?
TK- We are just leaving it very open, but I'm working on some different projects right now that don't include different instruments and so that's just kind of where we've left it.
NR- Why would someone think that every Good Life album gets more and more unlistenable.... are there any reasons you feel some people like your less , or is that even the feeling your getting?
TK- Well, for one, that could be true, in the sense that it seems like the most diehard fans are "novena" fans, and it kind of trickles down from there. But if that wee the case I would hope that somehow I would be able t reinvent myself or reincarnate the song writing that I was doing at one point.
NR- What album are you most pleased with?
TK- Amm.... I know I'm a straight shooter but I don't even know if I want to answer that because I like them for different reasons.
NR- can you give us a brief synapses of the personal comings and goings that surrounded the writing of album of the year? To the untrained ear it might sound something like this: you met a girl, fell in love, moved in together. you crowded her; she got sick of you and left. She found a gentleman a bit more cultured than you, which her mother approves of...all to your dismay?
TK- Kind of. The way I would tell the story would be: typical two people meet each other and kind of assume that they have fallen in love with each other because they're at an age where they kind of want to hang on to something more tangible for a longer period of time. The guy is male in the same sense that he has all these unattractive male faults, and weather or not he really did do anything disobedient you can never quite tell. But he is shady enough that she finds enough strength to leave him and go out on her own....(At this point the door guy made us move, and the rest of the response was lost...sorry)
NR- You seem to be discussing relationships quite heavily in your songs, is this all just one girl or a few?
TK- There's a lot. Even though its one linear story....there's a lot of diffrent short stories in it that I compile what I consider to be the one story of one guy and one girl.
NR- How many times have you been in love in the last 5 years?
TK- Amm.... Like different versions of love. A handful of times.
NR- We want to document these girls, we want to see them.
TK- They'd get pretty pissed, there already pissed enough.
NR- the line in front of this building to see the good life is primarily made up of a small army of 15 year olds boasting black bangs. Thoughts, joys, objections?
TK- ...well it was sort of a natural occurrance fr Cursive, being you know that rowdy type of music. And its like, well you know, I kind of respect it in a sense. I mean when I was 14 I was into this kind of like rowdy music that was left to the dial or whatever then that's kind of cool, I can respct these kids. But now that it's the Good Life as well (laughs) that might have something to do with it. So now that this Good Life it might have to do with the whole Bright Eyes thing, and who knows, maybe the Bright Eyes fan finds the two Kasher things and favors The Good Life. But I mean who really knows? I know that Saddle Creek as a while is just getting a younger and younger fan base, and you know if that's good or bad or right or wrong. Hopefully it's just people that you know.... I would just hope, as somebody who wants a career writer, I just hope it's not a fair weather scenester kind of a thing, and that it's more of an appreciation of people who are seeking out what they consider to be like a finer quality music. But you know its a lot of scenester stuff.
NR- Where do you see yourself at 40?
TK- I'd just like to continue writing. I don't need to have a tacht; I just want to continue writing.
NR- Do you think its necessary for a small band to move to a big city?
TK- No, I would say if you're a small band you should stay in a small ton where the rent's low so you can work 60-80 hours a week and get your money together so you can go out on a tour and play the big cities, and make your residence in a small town that'd be the best thing.
NR- Hou you asked Goldenvoice why you cant come back to Cochella like Conor? Personally I think it's insane to have a band like that play 2 years in a row.
TK- Amm, I think that this is such a huge year for Bright Eyes that they're probably just like... and they're big Bright Eyes fans.... They actually wanted good life to come. But it was just one of those things that didn't really work out and we were doing these shows. I think it worked out for us better to do Glasshouse and Troubour instead of playing at 1:00 in the afternoon in Coachella.
NR- have you made more money off of Good Life or Cursive?
TK-(laughs) should't the answer be obvious to you?
NR- Is Cursive done?
TK- No. We are taking a long break.
NR- I feel like your heart is so much more into The Good Life.
TK- It is. I love who I play with in the good life, but cursive is.... you know I practically blush when I think about them. I mean Matt and I grew up together, so as much as I love the people in the good life, working with the people in Cursive is like working with my family.
NR- What are the Cursive flans for future rock?
TK- We were talking about rocking again in June, and now I'm going to spend the summer in New York so we pushed it back to maybe September, And the most important thing that Matt and I agreed on was that if 2007 rolls around and we didn't release a new album the we should really reconsider what we are doing.
NR- Why New York?
TK- Well I'm actually a very financially conservative person, so I'm just swapping an apartment with somebody and paying really cheap rent.
NR- Years back all the punk rock kids wanted to move to Berkley, and then Gainesville, and now its Omaha. Is Omaha all hype? Is Omaha bleeding with aspiring hipsters?
TK- Well you know it's like the younger generation that are getting...but you know what; is it all hype or is it just hat I'm getting older? and well I mean, its all the newly 21 year old crowd of all the scenester kids and stuff; they seem so scene. And I don't know how to... there are a lot of grit people I've met at the time I've spend in Omaha, but I don't really know how much I fit in.
NR- Is Omaha the scene Mecca? Are people coming over there? Full on relocating?
TK- Yeah. they do. I don't know how many do, but I've actually met some pretty cool people that have moved to Omaha that have been unabashed and were just like, "hey, I just moved here to play music." So it's like, "all right."
NR- I saw a show where you apologized to the fans for your performance, does that happen often?
TK- Sometimes, yeah. If I apologize for my performance I was probably apologizing for being crass or rude, that's the problem sometimes.
NR- You get grouchy up there?
TK- I don't really get mean,but I get really crass. It could get really ugly and kind of like, see who I could turn away and who will stay, that kind of attitude, its not a very healthy attitude, it's just de constructive.
NR- What was the purpose of starting a side project from Cursive?
TK- It's the way I started writing when I was 14 and eventually I started writing for bands that eventually I got into hard rock and then I got into cursive. and I continued writing songs like the good life but always said "well, eventually..." But somewhere in the middle there I felt kind of stagnate with Cursive, I didn't feel like they were working enough. You know we were only going around twice a year. So I was like, you know I'm just going to start the good life now.
NR- when you are penning a song are you thinking of how it might relate with other people, or is it a solely personal thing?
TK- Well that's the real point of it, that's just kind of the real simple ideas you'll learn n creative writing creative fiction classes. You write personally and that becomes universal because chances are.... and that's what "album of the year" is, it's like, "wow this is weird, I keep going through these year long relationships that kind of fizzle out." and that seems to be representative of my age group.
NR- yeah, many of your songs hit home, like w many people have told you "Oh that song made it on my CD for my ex-girlfriend," or, "Brother, that record totally saved my life?"
TK- It can actually get a little bit scary and weird. And I've ran into some really weird people who need me to help them, and we end up having to escort them out and stuff like that, and that's really uncomfortable and I don't like being in that situation, and what I often sat to them is like"A: You've read all these lyrics and you think I'm the one to help you? I'm just exposing all the problems you have; I'm not giving you any solutions. And B: It's like on one hand your saying you've helped me so much with you music, now you got to help me so much in person." It's like, "No, that's as far as this relationship goes."
NR- Do you often get pretty young ladies coming and trying to kiss your face?
TK- I'm a pretty intimidating person.
NR- Well, not so much. You look like a softy since you shaved your beard.
TK- I know. I didn't ever know it, but I hear more and more about not being approachable, and that's fine, I don't really care because I don't have to deal with those people I don't know. So I don't have to kiss anybody.
NR- Is there any way to not write about heartache?
TK- You know there's plenty of ways to not write about heart break, but I love to write about it and I love that people turn to me for it. And so I don't really mind. I already feel like a broken record about it, and the point that I feel like a broken record about it... like I don't want to keep writing about it when I feel like I have nothing else to say. But I still feel like I have plenty to say.
NR- Does writing make you feel better about your past and present experiences, or does it just remind you of a sad time and bring you down?
TK- When I write I'm so hard on myself, what I write about that is actually pretty brutal most of the time, and often times I'm really just astonished and I'm enraged with myself and so mean to myself. So it can be a pretty unpleasant experience. But in doing stuff like that, I'm trying to become a better person. Like all right, if that's the way you are, if that's the way your going to treat people and treat yourself, then how about I write about it and how about you deal with it yourself, and deal with it on your albums, and maybe have to deal with it right now. It's all a learning process, at least I'm hoping its a learning process.
NR- Is there one aspect within writing, touring, or recording that you just love; the screaming kids? hearing the finished product when it sounds golden?
TK- For me it's the completion of any writing project.
NR- Like right there on your couch?
TK- Yeah, and just that night being like wow. And that's what keeps me doing it all the time. Touring I don't get much out f it. In recording, I used to get a lot out of it but that all kind of wore off, cause I've been through it a few times.
NR- Do you consider yourself to be a clever writer?
TK- I think I try a hell of a lot harder than most lyricists. Is that fair enough?
NR- What line out there from another band just gets you?
TK- One of my favorite lines from all time is an old Simon and Garfunkel song, it is, "Cathy, Cathy I'm lost I said though I knew she was sleeping I'm empty and aching and don't know why. I'm counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike we've all come to look for America." I think that is one of the best lines in the twentieth century pop music.
NR- I ove that you gave me the century. Do you think that Blake Scwarzenback is a fabulous songwriter?
TK- I think he wrote really great pop punk stuff back when he was doing that. I'm guilty f not really following jets to Brazil.
NR- You need to check that out, you guys speak the same language. What would you say was the best line you ever penned?
TK- (laughs) I'm not gunn'...I dont think I'm gunna answer that.
NR- I asked Blake and he answered me.
TK- What did he say, I'm curious?
NR- "The shower rod, can it take my weight."
TK- Fortunately, I don't think about my lyrics enough. I don't think I could pop one out.
NR- Alright, is there any part of a song where you're just like, "this part of the song kicks ass!"
TK- (laughs) Ummm I'm sure I could think of some Cursive songs where we all just really rock out, you know?
NR- What's the part?
TK- (laughs, pauses) I don't know, that's just a really weird question. I know I should know it though.
NR- If I offered you a chance to go back yo Jr. High would you take it?

TK- uh yeah, yup.
NR- Would you get more involved in sports?
TK- Nope I would just do the same shit.
NR- I would get involved with sports. What level of importance is Saddle Creek in your life?
TK- Well, I will say really important. they are enabling me to feel comfortable as a writer and that is hugely important... that I feel like I have really close friends that arn't going to abandon me, is a pretty big deal as a writer. I still don't feel... I can't feel financially comfortable cause I need to write this stuff but I can feel comfortable that everything, anything... It's going to be released if I choose, that's pretty awesome.
NR- At the end of the day what is really important to you?
TK- Well, I don't really know if I'm answering it right but I would say contentment is really big for me. So the nights I could lay down on a pillow or wake up in the morning and just kind of be like "all right."
NR- Are you content?
TK- Not very often.
NR- Would you consider if someone had written a song, and it was a really good song, and they said, "Dude my voice sounds like ass I need you to sing this song." Would you sing it?
TK- yeah, if it was someone I respected.
NR- Oh so it couldn't be some Joe Blow from nowhere USA?
TK- If I can respect that person
NR- Yeah? you'd rock it?
TK- yeah, sure man, I mean, I think that seems like the right way to answer it. I don't know if I would go out and Market it.
NR- Serious? Cause I have a really rad song I wrote...
TK- (laughs).
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