Official Folklife Q&A is Trampled by Turtles
When I have too much time on my hands, I start thinking about my favorite bands. When I have too much time on my hands and I’m in Minnesota (as I am now), I start thinking about my favorite bands from Minnesota. And sometimes, if I get lucky, I interview some of them. This was the case for Trampled by Turtles. Frontman Dave Simonett took some time out between gigs at the Minnesota State Fair and Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival earlier this month to answer Folklife’s “10 Questions.”
The bluegrass dervishes’ new album “Palomino” (Banjodad) is their first album since 2008′s “Duluth.” “Palomino” offers a solid gold platter of songwriting, owing as much to John Prine as to Ralph Stanley. Until now, live shows have been the band’s bread and butter. But “Palomino” makes a bold case for their studio work. Lead single “Wait So Long” is a frenzied hyperspeed hoedown, and “Victory” its teary-eyed twin. In fact, the whole album has a haunted quality, ghosted by minor keys and regret-not a bad soundtrack for a sojourn in Minnesota, particularly one involving the state fair, where everyone goes to hear free music and eat cheese curds and deep-fried chocolate to ease their pain over summer’s ending.
Trampled by Turtles and tour mates The Infamous Stringdusters will be in New York to play the Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 11. Be sure to catch them if you’re in town-I certainly wish I was.
Define “folk” in 10 words or less.
Music of the people; rugged and homemade.
What’s your most bizarre tour moment?
We were playing a festival and the sound guys were having so many problems that at one point the front of house tech just threw up his hands and left. This is right in the middle of our sound being totally screwed up. Thankfully, some guys from another Minnesota band (The Boys ‘n’ the Barrels) happened to be in the crowd and stepped up for us. They just went into the sound booth and took control of the board, fixed the sound and allowed the show to go on.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a live show?
Usually a cocktail and some headphones.
Which album are you embarrassed you have in your collection?
None. I’m proud of all my guilty pleasures.
You just played the Minnesota State Fair. What’s your favorite food on a stick?
Chocolate covered bacon.
Best Bob Dylan encounter?
The closest we’ve ever got is a bill from his publishing company for putting “Outlaw Blues” on a live EP.
If you could live in any time period in history what would it be?
I’m pretty happy right here in the present, but if I had to pick I think I’d go with the early 70′s so I could catch Townes Van Zandt live at the Old Quarter in person.
Minnesotans have a complicated relationship with winter. What’s yours?
I just moved from New York back to Minnesota. Any adjustment tips?
Remember it’s socially acceptable here to be passive-aggressive.
Where do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you not want to be?
I’d like to be close to where I am now-playing music for a living, happy home life, supportive family and friends. Not want to be? Too far away from that.
Image courtesy Angie Carlson of PressHere
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