Interview with: The Wild Feathers

Photo by Miriam Santos

Photo by Miriam Santos

Though we didn’t get to have everyone we wanted write in our interview book, we were able to get in touch with a couple of bands playing Bonnaroo for post-festival conversation on the ways of the world, life on the road, and the like.. Shortly after getting back from Tennessee, we were able to catch up with Ben Dumas, fellow Maconite and drummer of Nashville’s The Wild Feathers Well done on your first Bonnaroo, guys! Did everyone manage to escape without a massive sunburn or hangover?

Ben Dumas: I’m pretty sure a couple of the guys did not escape Bonnaroo at all. They’re still wandering around the pastures. Other than that, nothing too serious in terms of hangovers and sunburns.

The Super Jam was one of our favorite sets of the weekend. If The Wild Feathers got to curate their own “super jam” from this year’s Bonnaroo lineup, who would be in it?

Wow, our very own Super Jam. We would have to have Sir Paul and Tom Petty, of course. Since I’m a drummer, I’d want a huge percussion section with Glenn Kotche of Wilco and Bryan Devendorf of The National (my favorites!). Let David Cross tell some jokes in between songs and Kendrick Lamar hype the crowd, and buckle up, folks!

Earlier this year, at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon (our hometown), I overheard that someone in the band actually grew up here. Care to give any insight into this?

I grew up in Macon, so the prodigal son returned? In all honesty, I was very honored to play the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was great to play for my friends and family there. The last time I attended a concert for the Cherry Blossom Festival, it was to see Little Richard. I was in the front row with a really hot girl and they invited us to dance on stage.

First Paul Simon, now Willie Nelson… Congrats! What do you think will be the biggest difference about being on the road with Willie over Paul?

Hey, don’t forget Bob Dylan (shameless name drop)! I think the biggest difference will be that we did not end up getting high with Paul Simon. Just kidding. We really cannot compare them. They are both iconic American music fixtures, and we could not be more grateful and honored to have the opportunity to share the stage with them. I’m getting all jittery inside just thinking about it.

Your self-titled debut comes out on Warner Brothers on August 6th. I’ve been curious, but what prompts a band to opt for a self-titled album over something else… Is it a matter of branding?

For some bands it can be indecisiveness that prompts a band to stick with the self-titled. In our case, we wanted it to be very definitive and introductory. This is us, this is our record.

Going back to Bonnaroo, what’s one thing you’d like to see changed or added should the band return to the farm next year?

Don’t change a thing with Bonnaroo. But add us to a bigger stage! How about a headlining spot? And I’d also like to see more of my friends’ music projects added to the lineup.

What prompted the move from Austin to Nashville?

Basically, Taylor and Preston got tired of making the trip from Austin to Nashville all the time, and more of us lived in Nashville. So they packed up and headed to Nashville. But who knows, maybe we’ll all move to Austin someday.

I’ve really only spent time socializing and boozing in East Nashville, but I’d be okay if that changed. Where do you recommend I (and anyone reading this) get some food and a strong drink there?

East Nashville has some fantastic places to eat and drink. If you want tacos, you gotta hit Mas Tacos. If you want the best meal you can get in Nashville, go to Margot, it’s amazing. And their sister restaurant, Marché, has the best brunch in town. Make sure to swing by 308 and Holland House for some good hangs and delicious, creative cocktails. When you’re ready to tie one on at a good old fashion bar, 3 Crow is the best. Damn, I miss Nashville.

Have you ever thought over covering Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band”? I feel like it would either come of as one hell of a set closer or could quickly cross a certain line of rock n’ roll douchiness that most bands prefer to avoid?

Great question! Yes, it could easily be on-stage suicide to cover that song. However, I’m confident that we could slay it and make it believable. I never said I wasn’t cocky.

I was really surprised that no one at Bonnaroo recognized the late Richie Havens, considering his somewhat iconic connection to a certain American music festival. Has anyone in the band followed his work closely?

We are definitely aware of him, but none of us are really into him. That is a good point you bring up. You would have thought somebody would’ve tipped the hat to him and his awesome Woodstock performances.

Lastly, what’s the best joke you have heard recently?

I promise I’m not copping out on this, but this should provide a glimpse into our lives. We spend so much time around each other in a van, cut off from the outside world, that the only jokes we hear are our own inside jokes. So if I said something like “Mark, where’s my bag!” or “Montana, baby!” it would crack any of us up, but would be meaningless jibber-jabber to anyone else. I know, it’s ridiculous, but that’s how it is when you’re in a band.