Lawnya Vawnya III kicks off tonight (April 17th) at the Fat Cat with performances by Knoah Knoah, Long Distance Runners and Thom & The Tomcats. As usual, this year’s festival features a full slate of incredible acts, one of which will be garage pop legends Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby. I recently had the opportunity to ask Eric and Amy a few questions about their band, their latest album and their upcoming visit to St. John’s for Lawnya Vawnya III.
You two have been playing together since 2006. Before that you were both established artists in your own right. How does the writing process generally go for an Eric and Amy album? Do each of you come in with your own songs written or is it a collaborative process?
Amy: We come up with songs separately, or work on music and put that and words together, or do an album of other artists’ songs like our second album, so, all of the above.
Eric: Amy writes songs whereas I’m more likely to write or construct a pop record. Writing songs never really came easily to me.
Do you sometimes write songs for each other to sing, with the other’s vocal or style in mind?
Amy: Maybe from a harmony angle rather than “Now he or she would really sell this thing!”
Eric: I might think Amy could play the piano on something or come up with a great 12 string part. When it comes to harmonies I sometimes sing an idea and she refines it or she knows exactly what we’ve got to do before we start.
I’m currently listening to Working Museum. I love the texture of the record, it’s got some real grit in there messing around with those nice melodies. It kind of reminds me of a comparison I heard one time between recording a song and making an omelette. The best songs leave a bit of the eggshell in. I think Tom Waits said that. Is that generally the approach you take in the studio?
Amy: Eric dislikes eggs, so even mentioning an omelette would probably offend him! The rough edges are there whether we want them or not, so best to make the most of it.
Eric: The rough edges are there because as the engineer/producer I’ve decided to keep them. If we don’t like something it doesn’t stay in. When I started making records you had to do the best you could and hope it was good enough. Now, with computer technology, it’s possible to achieve absolute perfection and a lot of people don’t know where to stop and end up with a perfectly cooked dinner with no salt, pepper or vinegar involved. Something has to wobble and throw things off here and there or there’s no tension. Do the metaphors need remixing?
“Do You Remember That” sounds like the story of how you two met and got started as a band. Although Amy admits that she made up the bit about driving your car down a one way street while you kissed, much of the song rings of the truth. Is that pretty much how it went down or is it embellished a little?
Amy: The details are true, the chronology is adjusted. Eric did very impressively and intentionally drive the wrong way down a one way street…something I’ve seen him do many times since, usually to get to the load in at a club, it was just the kissing part that was made up.
Eric: Yeah, we didn’t get to the kissing till I got her back to my place.
We’re really excited to have you both coming to St. John’s to play Lawnya Vawnya. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to experiencing?
Amy: Being in a new and bizarre time zone!
Eric: Any chance of a bit of warm weather?
Don’t miss Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby’s Lawnya Vawnya performances Friday (April 19th) at The Rocket Room and during the annual music crawl. For a full schedule of the festival acts and more music from Eric and Amy check out the links below.
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