TMF Meets Caitlin Rose

Caitlin Rose backstage at Manchester Academy by Mike Gray
We caught up with Caitlin Rose at Manchester Academy as her European tour comes to a close and she prepares to release her debut album, (Own Side Now - one of our picks of 2010) back home in the USA.

How’s the tour been going so far?

It’s been going good – getting better! We did Spain, Germany, Switzerland, but the past three shows have the best as far as attendance and crowd participation.

You were saying on Twitter that the Spanish audiences were like Nashville – what did you mean?

I think I was just trying to relate to them. They were really loud and talkative but really fun. It wasn’t a bad thing, just more like a Nashville show where everyone talks and drinks and doesn’t give a shit. But it doesn’t mean people aren’t listening, there are people at the front who are singing along, it’s has a definite charm to it. The people who do care, care and the rest of ‘em are just having fun.

You’ve had a good reception over here so far, good radio support.

We’ve not had any reception so far in the States, because it hasn’t come out! Compared to that, it’s really good. It came out in the UK in August, it’s out on Tuesday in the States – the ides of March.

So the plan is to go back to the States and tour the record over there now?

That’s the plan from next month. We’ve got a tour with Ron Sexsmith and a tour with Jonny Flynn. That should be fun.

You seem to like the UK venues, particularly the Windmill in Brixton

It’s the first place I ever played in the UK, maybe the (Heavenly) Social. I like the Windmill a lot. It’s like a Nashville dive bar vibe.

You spend a lot of time interacting on Twitter, and the thing that scared me about interviewing you today is that you’ve been interactive with your critics online too. You made some comments about a review criticising the sound…

*Laughs* Well, how’s he supposed to know what it sounds like when he’s sitting in the rafters? That’s all I’m saying. I just have fun with it. I’ve had really bad reviews and really good reviews. But if critics are allowed to say something, I don’t know why artists aren’t. It’s kinda silly that I do it. I’ve been addicted to the internet since I was 13.

On one of the aggregate sites someone said something unfavourable and you came back there too – they compared you unfavourably to Taylor Swift?

No! Someone said I was a fake person singing farm animal songs! So I posted “Ee-i-ee-i-o”. I thought it was funny. You get on YouTube and people say the dumbest things in the entire world. People who comment on the internet are usually pretty dumb. It’s not serious, but it’s there and I’m there. If you get on YouTube it’s one of the most brainless cesspools of people in the entire world.

It’s what everyone watches instead of television. Instead of being sat in their living room saying “fuck that guy!” they’re on the internet saying “fuck that guy!”. It’s the same thing.

You don’t really see artists interacting with the press in that way though…

I don’t know how I feel about it. I do it instantly, usually when I’m drunk. It’s like “Well, fuck you too!”. It’s like someone saying something to me in the bar. It happened the other night, someone said “You’re great but that set was terrible”. “Well, fuck you, then!”. I have a big mouth. I can’t help it.

You seem to end up doing a lot of interviews about alcohol…

Yeah, I need to do something about that.

Tour manager : The next interviewer is coming up to talk about favourite drinking songs, favourite US drinks…

We do know a lot about drinking. Spencer (her guitarist) knows a lot about drinking today. But it’s not really a talking point, unless you’re talking about something that happened while you were drinking, or a specific type of drink, or a drink that’s named after you?

There’s no Caitlin Rose drink, then?

Oh, there is. They just haven’t put it up in the bars yet.

Shall we move onto the “future of country music” label, then?

We’re country strong. The future of country music is just a hype term, I can’t be responsible for it.

I had a look at old interviews, and everyone seems to ask you the same questions.

What has nobody ever asked us? Let’s ask about Jeremy’s guitar tones. Let’s talk about how my guitar is fucked up and Jeremy’s guitar sounds great. You should ask about laundry on tour. Life on tour – not being able to do laundry or wash dishes. We’ve not had a real day off in 30 days.

Have you got any questions to break up these boring interviews?

Well, you could put out a press release full of lies…

That’s so Bob Dylan. But it is 1973. We were in a restaurant the other day with the other band. One of them came to ask for a key to the room, and I was kinda out of it. So I just told him the code to the door. “It’s 1973”. He just looked at me and walked off. So now it’s 1973, don’t upset Caitlin!

Do you see the cities you play in at all?

We get an hour. In Barcelona we stumbled around for a while after the show.

Are there any albums you’re listening to at the moment?

I really like that new PJ Harvey record. They did it all in that one room, just the three of them in that church in Dorset. I really like it – a very full sound, the songs themselves are ace.

What else are you listening to on the bus aside from PJ Harvey?

They won’t let me listen to PJ Harvey on the bus! Dennis Wilson, it’s really good, he only put out one album but it’s awesome. We keep getting free CDs. We got Jackson Browne, Can, I got Fleetwood Mac’s “English Rose”. Safe Money, my new favourite hip-hop artist that lives in Shep (her tour manager's) flat. Davy Graham, he’s an amazing guitar player who died of cancer. It’s amazing how much I learn about music on tour by not trying to put myself in (the band’s) conversation. I know a lot of music, but that’s all they talk about.

Interview and photo by Mike Gray. Do not use without permission.

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