By ERIC SCHELKOPF
More than 20 years after opening for R.E.M., the members of Atlanta band Drivin N Cryin are proving they have plenty more to say.
The band, www.drivinncryin.com, just released "Songs From The Psychedelic Time Clock," the third of four EPs the band plans to release over a 12 month period. Each EP shows off a different facet of the band.
Drivin N Cryin is sure to play songs from the new EP when it performs May 30 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago.
Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts are also on the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, available at www.schubas.com.
I had the chance to talk to Drivin N Cryin frontman Kevin Kinney about the band's current activities.
Q - Great to talk to you. Of course, the band has released three of its four planned EPs so far. Is it easier to make and release music this way rather than concentrating on a full record? What do you see as the benefits?
It's a lot more challenging in some ways, but also somewhat freeing in others. The EP lets me focus on a certain style or head space I'm in at the time.
What usually happens, and what most people hear is a collection of the 20 or so songs I've released this year. We sit in the studio every few years and pick the 11 that would be presented as an album, which usually leads to confusion and criticism about how many different styles we are projecting.
I don't want that any more. I would rather everyone get the EPs and make their own 'mix tape.'
Q - Which EP have you enjoyed working on the most? Can you provide any clues as to what people should expect on the next EP?
Well, as always the one we are working on now is my favorite. It is I guess, best described, as Bad Company meets Grand Funk at Jimmy Page's house and sits around playing 45's sitting on the shag carpet, loud as hell, until Jimmy's mom flashes the hallway light and screams, 'Turn that bloody racket down!!!' Does that give you a clue?
Q - Kevin, you are originally from Milwaukee. What made you want to move to Atlanta and what did you think of Atlanta's music scene when you arrived there?
I moved for the jobs. I worked as a laborer at the sewage plant for a couple of years.
The music scene was not that different than anywhere else in America's big cities, but I really got turned on to the 'Kudzu Circuit ' bands !!! It was a whole scene from the southern states, bands like R.E.M., the dB's and Fetchin Bones loosely based on the psychedelic movement of California, i.e., The Byrds, the Beau Brummels and The Velvet Underground .
The Milwaukee sound was a little more factory industrial aggression sounding.
Q - The band's album "Scarred But Smarter" was well-received and helped the band land a contract with Island Records. Were things happening faster than you expected?
When the band opened for R.E.M. and sold out the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, did you think Drivin N Cryin had finally made it? What kind of lessons did the band learn in opening for R.E.M.?
R.E.M. taught us mostly about trying to be a democratic entity, they all had a say in the way the band worked. We tried that, but decided later not all bands can work that way.
I am far to aggressive in where I wanted to see Drivin N Cryin go. I wanted a balance between making it and not making it.
When our most popular record, "Fly Me Courageous," was released, that was a difficult year for me and I didn't think Drivin should try to sustain an approach of trying to sustain mass recognition. I don't want you to own all my records and see every show, but if you could just buy a couple records and come to see me once in a while, I'd be great with that.
Q - It appears that Island Records didn't really know how to market the band. What was the problem and do you think it is easier for a band these days to get its music heard? Is the fact that Drivin N Cryin is releasing these four EPs on its own record label an ideal situation?
I think the EPs are a great way to be heard and it's not a commitment on the band or the listener. I can't listen to 12 new songs of any artist in a row.I love the digital convenience coupled with the up and coming hunger for vinyl.
We will be releasing the fourth one on vinyl, "Songs For A Turntable."
Q- You also have released several solo albums. How do you view your solo projects? Are they songs that you feel don't quite fit on a Drivin N Cryin project? Anybody that you still want to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Neil Diamond. I'm not joking!!!
I have taken a break from the solo career for a bit. That being said, I just released a new record I recorded in one sitting at Chris Griffins house after a 20- hour drive called, "Songs For A Late Night Morning."
Q - After the four EPs are released, what will Drivin N Cryin do next? Four more EPs?