Mini-Interview: The Western States Motel
Wake up, wake up, you’re sleeping the day away, sings The Western States Motel’s Carl Jordan in the first few moments of his band’s debut cd, due out later this month. A million mysteries, they whisper your name. They’re lines like many on the album -- lyrics with images of broken playa above the city at night, views of a small town with nothing to do, an ocean in your eyes, and being so high up you never want to come down – which when they hit just right, imbed themselves in your brain and make it clear they have no intention of leaving. It’s pop music at its most unabashed, without pretension, all heart, and catchy as a mother-fucker. We recently talked to Carl, figuring the best time to ask him about the construction of The Western States Motel was right now on the eve of his album’s release. Hi, Carl. So, where you from? How long have you been making music? I’m originally from Monterey, CA. Spent a few years in Santa Cruz, and now I live in LA. I started playing an acoustic guitar when I was thirteen, but for me, just as exciting was spending every dollar I had on my first 4-track. How did you start The Western States Motel? I found myself without a band for the first time since I could remember, and for whatever reason, I thought I'd just try working on some songs by myself. I started in on some recordings I intended to use as a score for this short film that was bouncing around my head, but I eventually ditched the film idea, and slowly shifted my focus to actual songs with vocals and all that. I recently enlisted a couple of friends to play the songs live, and now were a band. How long have you been working on these songs? Wow. A few of the songs on the album began to take shape as long as three years ago. A good portion of it was created within the last few months though. Who or what are your influences? (I’d have to guess driving in the desert and sleeping on the beach would be at least part of the latter.) Yeah, I love being out in the desert for sure, and definitely get a lot of inspiration from any sort of uninhabited expanse. It’s funny that you mention sleeping on the beach, though, because thats probably going to be the plan for some of these out-of-town shows we’ve got lined up later this year. And the album is done now, correct? Yes. Though I’m waiting for it to be delivered. I’m hoping it shows up before we drive to San Francisco. You mentioned to me before that you’ve got a tip of the cap to a well-worn old blues line in the song, Southwest Planez. What was it again? One of these days and it wont be long, you’ll look for me baby, and I’ll be gone. It’s a line that’s probably been around since the very beginnings of blues music and eventually appeared in different variations in songs by Zeppellin, Johnny Cash, Velvet Underground; I’m sure there’s tons more. I listened to a lot of blues when I was first learning guitar, so over the years, as I discovered those other bands, I realized they were all using that same line. Cash only uses the first half, but it’s sung the same way you hear it in those other places. You’ve got a few dates up the California coast in support of the albums release. What’s next for you after that? I think we’re just planning on doing as many little trips around the state as we can, trying to get the album out there. There are already some new songs to record, but that process probably won’t get going for a few months. I’d love to do some music for a short film, but not that one I was talking about earlier. Who are some of your favorite bands in LA right now? There’s these guys I’ve seen play at El Compadre a couple of times while eating dinner. I don’t even know if they have a name, but they rule. That's it. Many thanks for your time, Carl. Thank you, Joe.