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Festival Beat

Published: 2006/10/22
by Randy Ray

Highlights from the Vegoose Press Conference

Jack White of the Raconteurs

Q: Raconteurs have already played a number of festivals before. What do you suppose is going to be different about Vegas?

Jack White: You know, I’m not sure. I’m not a good person to ask about the festival environment because I’ve never actually been to one. I’ve only played at them. And I don’t know exactly what’s going to be the thing. The only thing I can say is every show so far has been different from the last and that we hope to keep it that way. That’s what’s keeping us motivated to keep pushing harder and harder at what we’ve started doing. .

I guess that’s a good thing about festivals. You can always maybe come to see one specific thing, but end up accidentally seeing three other bands you like and are exposed to it. I think that’s probably the one good thing about festivals, is the exposure you have to bands you might not normally see or hear, even in a time that we live in now where there’s so much exposure through every kind of medium Internet, television, radio, and whatever else you can make up on your cell phone. It’s still good to see bands actually playing live to actually make you want to experience them more.

Q: Are you hoping just to expose your music then to the Vegas audience through Vegoose?

Jack White: Very much so, yes. I mean, that’s the whole point of playing in the festival. You know, that’s what I think festivals are good for, is exposure. And exposure I don’t really think electricity and daylight really mix very well, but as far as getting in front of people who wouldn’t normally see you, you can’t beat that. You can’t beat a festival.

Jenny Lewis

Q: You’re in the studio now. Are you going to be playing any of your new songs at Vegoose?

Jenny Lewis: We’re actually playing about five new songs. They haven’t become Rilo Kiley songs yet. I think one of them we actually recorded as Rilo Kiley song. I don’t know if it’ll make it on the record. It’s called Acid Tone. But, yes, we’ve been touring for a year. And so, it’s kind of inevitable that the new songs start making their way into the set.

Q: Are you from Vegas?

Jenny Lewis: I was born in Las Vegas, yes.

Q: How old were you when you left there?

Jenny Lewis: About three years old.

Q: So, this is sort of a homecoming for you?

Jenny Lewis: It is in a way, yes, particularly with our new costumes that we’re wearing on stage, that I feel that I’m bringing back the spirit of my parents’ lounge act that they had in Vegas in the 70s where my mother, as the story goes, apparently went into labor with me on stage at the Sands Hotel.

Damien Marley

Q: I actually made it out to Bonnaroo and I saw your set and it was amazing. Just kind of curious what’s the appeal for you of playing those festivals with thousands and thousands of people?

Damien Marley: Well, I mean well, first of all, you’re reaching out to people that you wouldn’t usually reach. So, it’s you’re broadening your horizons in that sense. And then a festival always have a certain kind of energy. People don’t come out to festivals to stand. They come to get involved. So, you always kind of feel that festive vibe come across on a show.

It’s political because politics is a thing that affects normal everyday people. I think the political issues are very broad and a lot of people can relate to them. So, I think it will go over well.

Chan Marshall of Cat Power

Q: What do you think that your band brings to the table when you guys play? Obviously there’s a lot more sound going on. But what is so great about your band?

Chan Marshall: What do we bring to the table? Fried chicken, a side of ribs, peach cobbler, and some sweet rolls with butter.

Q: At Vegoose, there will be a number of concert goers who have no prior knowledge of your music and how great it is. Do you enjoy performing for such audiences or would you rather have more people that know the material?

Chan Marshall: No, I’d prefer the non-members because it’s like a much more honest exchange. Not honest. Not the right word. It’s like it’s more a realistic because you like it or you don’t. It’s like it’s just fine. It’s like real life. I like it like that.

Q: Are you planning on playing any new material during your set of Vegoose?

Chan Marshall: Of course. Yes. Yes. Yes. There’s this song actually with Jack White that I’ve been trying to it’s like a spin off on Ray Charles and “It’s True That We Love One Another.” But I still haven’t gotten confirmation about it, but I’d love it if we could do a little duet. But I’ve been doing that solo for about eight months now.

Q: So, you’ll be playing in Memphis with the Memphis Rhythm band. How did you hook up with those players?

Chan Marshall: Well, I did it sarcastically. I was in London for a sound check for a show about last April. And my record label friend in the U.K. in London before sound check had brought me to lunch with a couple friends of mine. And he said, “Chan, what’s up with your new record? What band are you going to get?” And I was so sick and tired of friends and fans and record labels, I was insinuating that I was going to have a band because I had already been recording solo songs in Barcelona with this guy Jordi Corchs C-O-R-C-H-S, Jordi J-O-R-D-I.

And I was pissed off. So, I just said to him he was like, “Just give me a dream situation.” And in my mind I thought Otis Redding’s band, but I just thought instinctively my friend Judah from the Blues Explosion. Judah Bower had told me that Al Green’s band was working. So, I just looked at him and said, “Al Green’s band,” and started to eat my lunch with my friends at sound check.

So, he pulls out his computer, whips out a little thing in that. When the check came I had to go get my coat. When I’m coming back from the bathroom he’s got his computer out. He’s closing computer and he said, “You’re booked next month with Teenie Hodges.

Rick Farman Vegoose promoter

Q: I noticed that there are some artists that played at Bonnaroo that are playing again at Vegoose. And I was just wondering what kind of I realize you guys put on both of these festivals. Vegoose has a Halloween theme. But what else makes them different? How are they different from each other?

Rick Farman: Well, obviously this is a city event and an environment where people come and stay at a hotel and get to sort of experience a city right along with experiencing a music festival. So, I think that’s one of the biggest differences between the two.

Also, just the site and Sam Boyd Stadium site is really beautiful. I don’t know if a lot of people realize it because they sort of hear Sam Boyd Stadium and think it’s a big football stadium. But really most of the festival happens on a 30-acre field that’s behind the stadium. You can go to the Web site and see some of the pictures from last year. Man, this is awesome, awesome view of a really beautiful mountain range. It’s just a tremendous site.

*Q:*And how does it feel to have a hand in helping to develop some of these newer acts, like Gomez or Toubab Krewe or Matt Costa? It seems like you guys have given them a lot of exposure by putting them on your bills at both Bonnaroo and Vegoose.

Rick Farman: Well, that’s probably our favorite thing to do. I mean, certainly it’s great to get to work with big name acts Tom Petty, the Killers, Widespread. That’s definitely fun. But I think probably the most gratifying thing is certainly to turn people on to new music. I think that’s one of the special things about a festival, is being somebody who’s involved in music promotions. Because I love music, because me and my partners all enjoy turning people on to new music, when you can do it in a setting like this where people are coming from all over the country and then they can go home and sort of share these things that they’ve experienced with other people, that’s probably the most special thing we get to do.

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