Interview: Grass Widow (kill rock stars)

Interview with GRASS WIDOW

by transBLENDER

I missed seeing Kill Rock Stars alums Grass Widow play at SXSW, and goodness knows how many times they played, so really I have no excuse. I am in regret of that decision now. I’ve been listening to their LP “Past Time”, and though it reminds me of bands like Comet Gain and Essential Logic, it does not seem to draw from any specific source. Quite a few reviews I’ve read head straight for Vivian Girls comparisons, but they seem completely different. Grass Widow seem more comfortable in their own skin than most bands I hear, which adds to their appeal. Flow is an important part of the musical process, and Grass Widow have got that in spades. I could talk about their lovely harmonies all day, but that seems to be a drawing point in comparing them to other bands they don’t sound like, so I will skip that. The members of the band were nice enough to let me ask them questions, so here they are.

Who am I speaking to and where are you currently located?
Lillian Maring: Oakland
Raven Mahon: SF
Hannah Lew: SF

Describe how you found out your record would be put out on kill rock
stars, and who is your favorite artist on the roster?
H: Maggie Vail brought a lot of great bands to that label including
Errase Errata, New Bloods, Deerhoof etc…, So we were pretty stoked
when she wrote us and asked us to do a record. We learned later that
Aubrey Horner -a KRS intern, had campaigned for us pretty hard by
playing our debut record on repeat around the office.

Have you had music video ideas that were strange but you want to do anyway?
H: Yeah. pretty much constantly. If we had the funding I think we
could make a full length film a la the Monkees “Head” or any of the
Beatles movies. I think we would have so much fun doing that.

What bands in your area don’t get enough credit, and why not?
Lillian: Well, we haven’t run a credit check on anyone, unsure of the
score. That said, I think Rank/Xerox is the best. Maybe if they got
more fanmail they would play more shows.
Raven: There are a lot of good bands here, and definitely there is a
spectrum of reasons why people are making music. It’s nice to know
that such a thing exists where people play music for themselves and
their community and not with a goal to have internet media attention.
The “credit” comes from their community.

When did you realize grass widow was something special?
H: This project has always been very special for us. When we were
first playing (almost 5 years ago!), and we hadn’t played any shows
yet-I remember not being able to have any perspective at all for how
our music would be taken. I’m just glad some people have responded
well to what we’re making.
L:There was a particular moment in the beginning when we three were
just talking about playing together. We took a moment before heading
off to some show. Hannah said, “Ok, you sing this, and you sing that,
and I’ll do this…” We did, and it gelled instantly. It was like
R: Yeah, Hannah and I have been in musical projects together in the
past and although they were fulfilling in certain ways, Grass Widow
has felt like a project that all of us could use to voice something
different, more specific.

Have there been any surreal moments in the band you can recall?
H: Opening for Sonic Youth is still up there with the craziest I’ve
ever felt on stage. I still can’t believe we did that.
R: Touring with the Raincoats was surreal. And one of the highlights of my life.

Describe your worst tour memory.
L: Ask my therapist.

What’s the least flattering comment you’ve personally heard about the band?
H: Ass Widow
L: ‘Sexy!’ Embarassing.

Do all bands eventually “peak” in your opinion?
L: In terms of media attention? Financially or creatively? Probably.

Has the band turned down any outlandish offers, and if so, why?
H: I think we’re very lucky in that we’ve gotten a lot of really
awesome opportunities as a band.

Are there any types of music that make you cringe at the thought, or
you don’t understand?
L: Lou Reed and Metallica.