Diamond Rugs (Interview) – Live in Atlanta at The EARL – 10/30
A few months back, we were introduced to Diamond Rugs, and the song the debuted with, “Christmas In A Chinese Restaurant”. The lonesomely humorous piano-ballad tells the story you would expect, of a man kicked out of his home for telling his kids Santa isn’t real, and how he spends the holiday. Diamond Rugs (cool name, huh) is a product of members of The Black Lips, Deer Tick, Los Lobos, Six Finger Satellite, and Athens-own Dead Confederate. The single was followed earlier this year by their self-titled full length and the group is once again out on the road. You can catch them live at The EARL in Atlanta on Tuesday, October 30th, but until then, read up on the discussion Everett had with Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick).
Everett Verner (TBI): At what point did you guys realize this was more than just a side project?
Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick): As soon as John and I and Bryan got down and started working on bed tracks it was pretty apparent it was going to be more than we had expected, but really it was when everyone arrived and started contributing that we all realized it was taking on a life of its own.
With all of the other commitments of being in other bands, what kind of pace would you like to keep with releases and touring as Diamond Rugs?
I know I’d like to be as busy as possible with Rugs, and everyone else seems to feel the same way. Unfortunately, it gets difficult to coordinate the schedules of four bands. It’s not necessarily that we don’t all have good bits of time off, the hard part is finding spots when that time off lines up. We do want to get into the studio again soon, there’s a lot of new material written right now.
I read you recorded this whole album analog and that it was done very quickly. Was it done quickly out of a time crunch situation or was it just that easy to create and record together?
It was a bit of both. As far as analog goes, that’s the way I’ve always preferred to record, and everyone else in the band is the same. It probably would have been easier to dump it into the computer, it wouldn’t have sounded anywhere near as good. And we wouldn’t have had the fun of recording background vocals, hand claps, butt slaps, glockenspiel, and flute all to one track because that’s all we had left. I think someone has a picture of that somewhere…
As far as the time, it was done quickly because that’s all the time we had to get together. Steve Berlin had to leave early, but being the coolest man alive dropped by on his way through Nashville the next time to polish off what he missed. I also had to take off a bit early, but fortunately John’s a great bass player so he covered for me on “Blue Mountains” and “Hightail”. The next album’ll probably be a little more planned, with us all there for the entire time.
When I listen to the album I always imagine seeing you guys in a dark smoky bar where they sell Schlitz in a can and kick people out who ask for wine. What is the best kind of venue to see Diamond Rugs at?
My favorite venues for this band are either tiny or huge. Something would be lost in between.
The term “supergroup” gets thrown around quite a bit with these collaborations, so I am curious to know if you guys consider yourself a supergroup, or is Diamond Rugs a band?
We’re definitely a band. There was no idea of putting together a “supergroup”, that sort of thing is almost always lame and comes out flat. It’s a bunch of guys who like hanging out and making music, the fact that we’re in other bands is incidental. I’m convinced that St Pe’s a superhero on the side though.
What are some of your favorite albums of 2012 that none of you wrote?
Turbo Fruits’ new release, Butter, is pretty great. The Stanfields just put out a killer new album, Death and Taxes. Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange blew my mind pretty hard; it’s been on constant play since I got it. On the downside, there was no new Miley Cyrus album, and that’s got me pretty bummed out.
Can we expect a Christmas album anytime soon, or is “Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant” where that ends?
Well, we have to get another regular album done first, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. Maybe a general holiday album? There really aren’t enough songs written about Easter. Or Yom Kippur.
Final question: Have you guys ever apologized for partying?
For partying? No. For things done while partying? Maybe.