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kristin hersh
online Q&A session number one

questions posted to the Throwing Music message board
and answered by Kristin in late September, 2000

click here for the second Kristin TM board Q&A from September, 2001
email bsearles [at] gmail [dot] com with any feedback

from ejw...

Looking back at your extensive catalog do you ever wish you didn't release a certain song or two because of either A: it was too personal or B: because it wasn't your best work. Also, I love the instrumental In a Doghouse or is it Like a Dog? Why did you wait soo long?

Also, have you ever visited our place pages?

K responds...

Hey, hi...Yes, I've done plenty of sucky work, but I won't say which songs I think don't work.  I used to throw away songs I thought were only about me, but I bet the record I'm recording now has more offensively personal songs on it than any other release (poor Billy!), so I guess "too personal" doesn't really enter into it anymore.   I haven't seen anybody's Place pages, believe it or not, mainly because I suck (see par.1). See ya,K.

from Stina...


I just want to say that I'm wetting my pants waiting for Sunny Border Blue. Plus I'm listening to Hunkpapa for the first time these days, and I love it! No Parachutes is such a thrill. Though I'm not a fan of the drum-machine on Sky Motel, you've yet to make a crap-record, and I have total respect.

What about the Lisa Germano-query I came up with during the NME-chat - will you guys work together?

thank you :)

K responds...

I'd rather stick needles in my eyes...
Just kidding, I really like Lisa, but I don't even work with my own band anymore. You never know.

Most of the rhythm tracks on Sky Motel were Dave Narcizo loops, live Carlo Nuccio or me playing percussion. Feel better?  I'm playing drums on "Sunny Border Blue". It's way fun.

Bye, K.

from Melios...

OK, in my music classes , our professor makes us clap to songs, and he calls this the "back beat" . Why can't I clap to your songs? I try, it's hard, have you ever tried clapping to your songs? I think it's cool. Do you think perhaps I am spastic and just can't clap right?I know this is stupid, but it was bugging me a bit, trying and failing you know. '

K responds...

Playing guitar makes it hard for me to clap.

That said, none of my songs ever seemed anthemic enough to inspire clapping. Nice of you to try.

Take care, K.

from mhall...

Is 'Your Dirty Answer' going to be the first single?

Are you planning to make any videos for the songs on Sunny Border Blue?

K responds...

Singles? Videos? Ha ha ha ha ha!
It's too early to tell, really, but lately I just don't seem the type.
It's a different music business that I'm a part of...one between you and me and that's it.
Thanks for asking, K.

from ficus...

Hi! :)

1. If you could sing with anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be and what song/s would you sing?

2. After all of these years, do you still think it's kinda creepy that you have fans (people whom you've never met) who think the world of you? Have you ever felt that way about any of your favorite artists?

3. Warning: this is a LONG one!!!
I understand that (with the exception of Sky Motel) you do not sit down with a pen and paper and write new songs. Based on what Billy has said on this board, you hear the new songs in your head, then you record them and there they are.

I would love to hear you talk more about this process in detail, if you don't mind. I don't expect you to answer all (or any, if you don't want to) of these questions, but these are things that I'm curious about:

When you hear these new songs, do you hear the music and the words all at once? Or do you just hear the music and then you fill in the lyrics later?

Billy has said in previous posts that it's like you're listening to a radio, or hearing a voice from a room next door. This may sound like a retarded question to ask, but is it your own voice that you are hearing?

Do you tweak the songs much after you've recorded them for the first time?

Have you ever heard a new song in your head and then recorded it and decided that it was crap? How often does that happen, if ever?

If you don't feel like going into the detail, I'll understand, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to ask!

Thanks for sharing your music with us, it means more to me (and others) than you'll ever know!

K responds...

1. Right now I really want to sing with Vic Chesnutt, 'cause I miss him and we were supposed to record some stuff together and didn't. (he's alive)
2. I'm lucky to have anybody think the world of me, don't you think? How creepy could that be?
3. The songs on my new record all came the old fashioned, less comfortable way, but I'm not as scared of music as I used to be, so that's okay. In fact, I like it this way.

Hearing the songs is not like hearing a radio anymore, it's like feeling a person walk into the room even though you can't see them.  Music is the big deal, so I guess it comes first and then I begin to catch lyrics and no, not in my own voice. It's always many voices.  I don't like to change songs in any way other than production treatments. They've had their moment, said their piece and I don't like to fuck with that.  Yes, some are crap.
Happy days,K.

from sserecros...

I know I've asked about this before but i is still curious....

why golf tees with throwing muses on them?????

also....were you freezing in your summer frock at bumbershoot...i bloody was!


K responds...

Golf tees are very inexpensive and we were very poor. We thought it was funny. Now golf is cool and golf tees aren't funny anymore. Go figure.

I was SO cold at Bumbershoot. I thought I was dancing for the longest time before I realized I was just shaking.  What a fun day, though, huh?

from Doug H...

Kristin, do you enjoy any music that is totally removed from the world of rock: classical, jazz, Indian sitar music, etc.?


K responds...

I like Robert Johnson and Billie Holiday alot. Also Peggy Lee.  One of our dearest friends has an excellent country band, Slim Cessna's Auto Club. They're really great and his incredible singing can only be called "country".  My husband has engaged in a ten year uphill battle to get me to appreciate Frank Sinatra. He actually plays the stuff in our car so that I HAVE to listen. The man just sounds evil to me.  I can't think of anything else right now. That's kind of awful, isn't it?
Take care, K.

from marek...

1) For a long time I thought the Real Ramona might have had anything to do with the Ramones. Till I read somewhere it refered to Native American mythology or something (I was a little bit disappointed). What's the story behind that again?
2) Did you ever meet Kurt Cobain? What did you talk about?

Your music makes me happy & keeps me company, thanks a thousand times for that!

K responds...

We named Hunkpapa,"Hunkpapa", because we thought it was funny, like "Winnebago". We were trying to poke fun at our whiteness, but I guess that concept was pretty much lost on most people.
Suffice it to say, we got tired of saying that we weren't on a Native American soapbox because we had no right to be, not that we were AGAINST Indians or anything, etc.,etc...
So "The Real Ramona" was a title taken from a postcard David Narcizo and I found in L.A. in the hopes that it meant absolutely nothing and we wouldn't have to talk at all. As luck would have it, though, Ramona was none other than an Indian woman. Sorry.

I never met Kurt Cobain, though a writer told me that after watching the "Your Ghost" video, Kurt said it was "the song of the year", which was nice of him.
Love, K.

from Diamond Jim...

First off, uhm hi!! it's great that you come by here! you're the best!

anyway, what i wanted to say:

You know those days where everything is going wrong? maybe you're not ready to jump off a bridge or anything, but you just wish that the day was over and you were in your bed, where everything would magicly slip away into a dream?

I had another one of those yesterday, and i felt a lot better after driving down the street at night, faster than i should have, and blasting the echo single as loud as the car's system could make it.

A thousand thank yous for doing what you do. It wasn't the first time i felt better from listening to your work.

...and a question really quick: What's your favorite color of cheese?

K responds...

Thanks for blasting "Echo". Sorry you had a bad day.
I hate cheese in all its colors. It's like oily, salty gum you have to swallow.
Love, K.

from Petrolboy...

Lets imagine that the Sky Motel was a place, and people could actually get to it somehow, and actually leave when they wanted without falling out of the clouds and breaking limbs.

Well, what gimmicky hotel type freebie thing that is kristin related would you have in your hotel to keep the guests coming back and why. I dunno summat like soaps in the shape of yer head that are musical. (Oh and what would the decor be like?)

If K answers, Billy O and Musictoday get scribbling! :)


K responds...

Say, what now?
Hotel soaps in the shape of my head, yes.
Billy says, "Pillowcases that inspire dreams featuring KH lyrics", but that seems awfully frightening, depending on the song.  What about complimentary beer? That'd bring ME back.
Plus, there is a real Sky Motel, we've been there twice now. The people are awfully nice there, but the whole place smells like cow shit. It's VERY romantic.
Love to you, K.

from sukanku...

1.What do you do for leisure?

2.Have you ever been surprised by a fan? Like, "My God, this guy's/girl's a fan of MY music?"

3.At the San Fran show at Slims this August you mentioned some themes in your songwriting, sex, death... but you didn't mention drinking. Are you a drinker? Can you drink BillyO under the table?

BTW-I wanna give you mad props for being wicked cool, respectible and hard working, loving, caring, and writing your great music. I'm in agreement with the comments below. On a real shitty day, I know there's still Kristin Hersh and her guitar and I love her tunes and those tunes really "make sense" per se. Shitty day gone.

David in Amherst,MA

K responds...

Howdy, howdy, howdy...
No, but seriosly, I don't. I have three kids, two dogs and a more than full time job (is this starting to sound whiny? Just wait...).  I don't even spend half the year living at my house. And when I do live there, I'm in the studio from noon 'til midnight.Blah, blah, blah... Maybe walk the dog? Is that leisure? I like doing it.   I'm really sorry I'm so boring. I probably AM this boring, too. I bet if I had no kids or anything, I'd just sit and stare. Very zen.

I'm surprised by ALL fans. I can't imagine listening to this stuff on purpose. It's terribly nice of you.
I can absolutely drink Billyo under the table. Anytime, anywhere.
Thanks for the shitty day comment. That makes me feel good. I really do love this music, I just can't believe anyone else does.
Love, K.

from lisa...

here are my silly questions:

1. what was it like to reform your band (that from what i understand you didnt want to break up in the first place) for gut pageant and the lupos show and then have the crowd absolutly go freakin nuts when you came on stage??

2. anymore muses stuff in the works for the future other than the possible gut pageant 2??

3. i love your duet with stipe for your ghost, who else would you like to duet with??

4. and on the same note is there anyone you would like to tour with that you havent?

can't wait for the brattle show :-)

K responds...

The Muses shows were a dream come true. I am very much indebted to the people who made it possible. There are no Muses plans other than the next Gut Pageant, however, as we still don't have a sugardaddy.  Vic Chesnutt and I are planning something, but I don't know when we'll ever get to it...  I like touring with my friends and I do so regularly. I'm a very lucky girl.
Love, K.

from pushpull...

Most days I arm myself to leave the house by listening to a little
TM/KH. All I have to do is play disc 1 on my changer.

You seemed to express a preference for producing yourself when you
were on NME chat last year. Is there anybody else you'd like
to produce?

Do you think you'll make any more genre albums like MM&TG? Which

Any chance of seeing you in a Farrelly Bros. movie?


Mike S.

K responds...

I enjoy producing; music is an interesting language to learn. So far, though, I haven't been able to accept any production work, so I haven't really let my mind wander in that direction.  I don't do too many genres other than the ones you've heard me do. I could take lessons.  The Farrelly brothers have not come calling yet.
Love, K.

from megajim...

First, it's a little late, but thank you for having Bob Mould play at the Gut Pageant. Beyond his being a musical hero of mine, the moment was special to me in that I had just moved out of Chicago and had missed a show of his . . . this sounds kind of fanboy-ish, I suppose, but when you really connect with someone's music each performance is a centering moment and a balm, it's additive, and I had seen every one of his appearances in that city since before the Sugar days. So thank you and Billy (and whomever else was responsible) for that special addition to an amazing day.

Next, I want to tell you that your new stuff is fantastic. Practically every song that's been included in WIP2 has had this strong, complex tapestry of rhythms which reminds me more of the Muses than your past solo recordings. Of course, it is also a synergy of both (not trying to sound like a record review here!). This brings me (finally) to a question:

I missed the Kristin Hersh & Friends shows you did for Sky Motel. Do you have any intention of putting together another touring band, or, at this point, is it simply more economically feasible to tour as a solo family unit? I'm looking forward to your next wave of performances, but I regret never being able to see you play the Sky Motel stuff with a full band, or, well, even a partial band, and I'm thinking that these newer songs are so rhythmically saturated and internally diverse that you're probably creating them with a band in your head.
Okay, bonus question: When you have been hearing these new songs and working them out, have you been hearing some sort of band as well (or at least something besides yourself, like a specifically non-guitar layer)? Okay, thank you, and I truly think you're a great person.


K responds...

Yeah, you're right, I can't afford to take a band out right now. Though it was fun last year, I lost $30,000 in one summer.  I've tried hard to make the vocals and guitar the focus on "Sunny Border Blue", but it's not "Hips and Makers" by any means. I was after this kind of drunk 70's band sound. That, together with the more Muses-like songwriting definitely makes for a louder record, but hopefully one that I can tour alone and still pull off.

No, I didn't use any other musicians, for better or for worse. (Steve Rizzo, my engineer, played drums on a cover I did; he's drunker and more 70's than me. But I played the drums on my songs)

Again, these are the instruments I'm used to; no bagpipes or harps.


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