A.C. Cotton: Interview with Alan Charing

This interview is with Alan Charing of the band, A.C. Cotton.

JM: What’s your south?

AC: a place where i can disappear when i’m done, live on a farm or in a shack, raise alligators, probably somewhere in cajun country, louisiana.

JM: Have you been to Nashville? And did you like it?

AC: Yes. and No.

JM: And if not do you plan to go?

AC:we’ll be back there i’m sure. it just seems really touristy and like there is no real heart to it now… but i don’t know; i’ve only passed through a few times, short stops. maybe it was my fault for going to a seafood restaurant in a city nowhere near any ocean.

JM: Or where do you want to go, where does the root of your music live?

AC: I do feel like it comes from being out here in Portland. I moved from boston and did take some stuff with me, a lot of influences from there, but i do FEEL like my music is in the west. Not western, but of the west, like kerouac said, the east of my youth and the west of my future. I WANT to go everywhere i can.

JM: Do you feel there is a resurgence of Rock and Roll in the indie world, music that’s getting away from the drone and shoegazine, fist airing, of hip-hard-rap like Limp Bizkit?

AC: In the indie world, yes. in mainstream, no. I think the term “indie” now is even too limiting. i don’t feel that straight rock and roll like ours even fits into what most would consider an indie sound, but we like it, and we are certainly independent. but that old style of rock and roll doesn’t seem as easily accessible besides maybe a band like the black crowes. if people had more exposure to it in a mainstream way, i bet they would dig it too. everything is trying to fit into something now, and thats a sure way to be unoriginal and unartistic. you just do whatever feels good and people will get it or they won’t. doesn’t matter if it sells

JM: Which end of the spectrum do you like better; Rolling Stones or XTC?

AC: stones.

JM: If you were to make a family tree for your band what bands are your parents and ancestors?

AC: bob dylan-godfather
the band-mom
the stones-dad
tom petty and bruce springsteen are uncles
kurt is a dead grandfather
roger waters and leonard cohen are eccentric cousins
and the black crowes and crazy horse are brothers
the beatles are like great great grandparents who won’t talk to us.

JM: What’s your favorite guitar, and what guitar do you play the most often?

AC: i have a ’74 les paul which has been pretty good to me. also a music man. and a tele. that family is pretty sturdy. i had a gretsch country gentleman, but the way i play, it was impossible to keep in tune. when i am home, or writing songs, i use a beautiful hollow body vox that i bought from a friend of mine it isn’t good for live shows either, going out of tune, but it is all i play at home or writing. i guess that’s my favorite in many ways.

JM: How often do you tour? Nationally or locally?

AC: we try to get out of town now once a month, even if its down to california and back for a weekend, just to keep at it. we did a month of touring last summer to the east coast and through the south, and plan to do that again at the end of this summer, hit the festivals and see as much of the country as we can.

JM: What recommendations would you make to other bands on music as a career choice?

AC: 1. you better love it, and really want to do it. don’t just take up space just for kicks.
2.its great if you don’t want to make any money for a long time

JM: Do you have a day job and what is it?

AC: freelance waiter

JM: What does it take to have a hit song?

AC: don’t try for it. just write what you want. if you are a good songwriter, hopefully you will get the recognition, and even then probably not. but i’ll let you know when it happens

JM: What is your definition of success?

AC: to be able to feel good about what i am doing. not necessarily happy all the time, but proud. knowing there’s nothing else i can do. to be able to keep myself alive doing what I love, and keep going in a positive direction. a lot of people say success is happiness, but i know a lot of people who are successful and unhappy. or vice versa.

JM: Would you sell your songs to a pop-star if they wanted to record them?

AC: no. not really. not yet. they are a part of me; it would be weird to hear it from someone else, and i probably wouldn’t like it. it wouldn’t sit well. my ego wouldn’t stand for it

JM: Would you be happy being a one hit wonder?

AC: no, but i would take the money if it came

JM: What bands should we be listening to?

AC: a.c. cotton, all the old bands i mentioned before. sonic youth, frank black, a lot of jazz, bob dylan bob dylan bob dylan

JM: What bands of the 90’s didn’t get the attention they deserved?

AC: american music club, tree, poster children, freewheelers, elephant sandwich. or maybe they really did and i just don’t know it. bosstones took a long time to really hit too.

JM: Do you find redemption in your songs?

AC: hell yes. i better.


Learn more about Alan Charing and A.C. Cotton at the website http://www.accotton.com