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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Kelly Hogan 'Feel Good' interview

With the release of her third solo album in 2001, Because It Feel Good, Kelly Hogan solidified her place in the upper echelon of the alt-country ranks, alongside Bloodshot Records' label mates Neko Case, Ryan Adams and Robbie Fulks. She is currently on tour and rolls into Cafe Montmartre, 127 E. Mifflin St., on Friday night. The Daily Cardinal caught up with her en route to get some pancakes after a show in Nashville, Tenn.  




Where's the place to eat pancakes in Nashville? 




It's called the Pancake Pantry. It'll blow your mind. 




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Let's talk about your new album. What can you tell us about recording it? How did you pick the songs you were going to do? 




Oh, all different reasons. So, picking the songs for the record? All different ways and means, some songs we had in mind, some songs that me and Andy had collaborated on, some songs that we tried didn't make it on the record for one reason or another. Like the Statler Brothers song [\I'll Go To My Grave Loving You""], we had heard kind of a snippet driving through the Georgia mountains on tour, and we just thought it would be cool to do it more like a suicide note and less like an oompah-oompah kind of song. But lots of reasons, we picked songs that just felt. 




I was kinda surprised Neko [Case] didn't show up on the album, since you're always backing her up. 




Neko pretty much is gone all the damn time. She's my roommate, and since I moved in in September, I've seen her less than ever, in our entire friendship, she's just gone. She's a genius; she's got people wanting her all over the planet so she's just been gone. We still wanna do our gospel record, and one day ?? it shouldn't be proper to say 'Goddammit, we're gonna do a gospel record!' but one of these days. But it's not for lack of wanting her on the album, it's just logistics.  




Both of you kinda got your start doing the rock 'n' roll thing [Case with Maow, Hogan with Rock*A*Teens] and then Neko did her country thing, and now she's doing the rock thing again with the New Pornographers. Is there any chance that you'll go back to it? 




Oh, I'd LOVE to. I crave the Rock*A*Teens, man. I cried throught the last half of my last show with them, which is not a very punk rock thing to do. I was so sad, I tried to stay in the Rock*A*Teens after I moved to Chicago, but financially, I couldn't do it. We lost, like, a transmission on every tour, which is very punk rock. So yeah, I miss being in a band like that, a loud band where I just turn up my amp and don't worry about singing, it's a relief and a total get-off factor.  




What was it like working with the Drive-By Truckers on Southern Rock Opera? 




You gotta salute the vision and determination behind that. I was talking about that this morning'I was doing an interview with Josh Klein for the Chicago Trib about the Drive-By Truckers, and he printed something that I didn't say. ... Anyway, he said I made fun of the project, which I never did. ?? I also went on and on talking to him about how Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote these amazingly complex, perfect pop-rock songs which, especially if you ever try to cover a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, you realize just how hard and interesting and rhythmically complex they can be, and I saluted the Drive-By Truckers and their dogged determination. When they first started talking about it, people were laughing up until they heard it, and it's really good, and I salute them with both hands. I think they're the greatest guys, and they're a tireless road band. I loved it, I was so honored to be asked to sing on it. It was really fun, we just went over to Cooley's house and drank a bunch of PBR, and I sat in the living room and they were doing the mixing board in the bedroom. And it was a great thing for a homesick southerner living up north to do, I was really proud to be associated with it. I wasn't making fun of it.  




We'll clear that up. One last one: What's it like being a woman country singer these days with all these hot commodities like Kasey Chambers out there? 




I try not to worry about that, although last night I totally blew my own mind: I was watching CMT right before I went down to play my show, and it just depressed me, watching Shelly Wright and Rascal Flats and I was like 'Ugh, why do I even bother?' I'm not even trying to be associated with country music, that's just the stuff I like to sing, that's the stuff I really get off on, and I love good country music. But, I mean, I'm 37 and a quarter, I have a beer gut. ?? I try not to worry about it, I'd have to go off and shoot myself. I'm just trying to be the best singer I can be and sort of exalt the songs. I'm just all about the songs. I wanna be the appleseed for all these songs and songwriters that I really like. But I don't worry about my bellybutton, that's for sure.

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