Friday, August 24, 2007

Mini-Interview: The Lonely Years

LA’s The Lonely Years are hard to describe in a way that really does them justice. I asked my friend Aaron, who's in a great band and generally knows a lot more about music than I do, and he said, “Kind of like The Carter Family … a lot in minor chords.”

And I guess I’d call them "indie folk with a country twang" or, more simply, “pleasantly melancholy.”

They’re opening up our Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s next Tuesday night – which is FREE – with The Amateurs and One Trick Pony, but we hadn’t covered them at all on the site yet, so I emailed Hale and Becky a few questions.

They replied in a kind of third-person omnipresent narrator fashion.

Hey, there. How are you doing? Did you have fun at Sunset Junction?

Hi, Joe. We’re good. Thanks! Sunset Junction was a sweaty, stinky festival of fun. Good thing it only happens once a year. Becky checked out the bands Saturday and Sunday we didn’t actually go in... just cruised the outskirts, caroused at Malo, and then fully enjoyed ourselves at the Fur Gallery. Did you have fun?

What I can remember was immensely entertaining -- and I guess it’s safe to assume the rest was, too... So, how did the two of you first start playing together?

We met about five years ago and immediately became friends. We didn’t start playing music together until about a year and a half ago, when we both were in a band called The Family Leaves.

Your previous band was called Junia May & The Hymns. Why the change to The Lonely Years?

Junia May & the Hymns was the band Hale created two years ago, before Becky started playing bass. They happened to need a bassist, and we found that we really collaborate well together, and so the music went in a little different direction. We wanted to come up with a name that really spoke to the kind of songs we were writing. We each had veto power, so it took quite a long time to come up with this one, but when we finally did, we both were like, “Yes… that’s it.”

Bryan -- who plays slide guitar, mandolin, and what else? -- carried on with you from Juania May. What's his background?

Bryan is one of those musicians who can listen once and pick up and play something amazing. He’s been playing music all his life. We adore him. His full name happens to be Bryan “everything sounds better” Dobbs

I think your drummer Joe Napolitano is in more bands than anyone else I can think of (including Le Switch). How did he join the band?

PURE LUCK! Pure luck. Becky met Joe at the Echo and we ran into him shortly thereafter. We charmed him into playing with us, so one night we practiced and we just had a lot of fun.

How do you describe your sound? And who are your influences?

We all come from such different backgrounds and our music certainly reflects that. Becky grew up on a farm in rural Ohio, Hale is a preacher’s kid from West Texas, and Joe grew up in Brooklyn from a family of musicians. I think our environments influenced us more than anything.

You have a unique sound for the LA music scene. How is that a help or a hurt?

We haven’t been around long…but have gotten some incredible shows. I’d say so far we’re on the good side of things…I think we’ll know more when we finish the E.P.

What's the status of that E.P.?

We’re in pre-production purgatory. We really want to get something recorded but for some reason or another we just haven’t been able to synch up our schedules. The status is looking positive though, we should be getting in the studio in September.

What's a question that I should've asked you if I was a better interviewer and/or had done more research and what not? (And what's the answer?)

What is Haru Ulala? Our favorite restaurant!

What's next for you?

Recording! And the show on Tuesday, of course…

Last question: What other acts in LA are you most enjoying these days?

Well, of course, Le Switch. We love them, and not just because of their drummer…We are also big fans of The World Record. And Joe saw Ric Veda the other night and really enjoyed that.

That's it. Thanks very much for your time.

You can hear songs off The Lonely Years’ myspace page here, but you really ought to see them live. Again, they’re playing our free Let’s Independent! event at Boardner’s with The Amateurs and One Trick Pony next Tuesday night.


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