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Maynard and the Musties, Questions, Answers and Music Tonight At The General Assembly

Tonight is the night for our third installment of Muse and Music.  Before the performance by Brooklyn-based alternative country band Maynard and The Musties, they will sit down and speak with our own Iman Lababedi to discuss their inspirations and muse.
 To follow is an indication of the Q & A proceeding the show. 

1. Reading your influences, I can't hear Chris Stamey at all!! But Willie Nelson maybe? Wanna update that list?

Chris Stamey is more of an influence on Mo, my lead guitar, but the biggest hero he has is Marc Ribot. I'm more the country guy in the group. My heroes are all the great Nashville singer-songwriters, but especially Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Steve Earle and newer ones like Charlie Robison, and I'm a huge fan of Gram Parker (and Parsons!). 
 
2. Do you see a connection between trade and artistry, the agent between the artist and the public?

"Trade" now days is trickier. This could turn into an hour discussion about the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 19th century. Yes, there is a connection. Most people, even within trade, don't have the subtile, artistic skills they would have had before the industrial revolution, or even the mallification of our culture in the post WWII era. Even contractors, etc. their industry for instance has been largely reduced to snapping together home-depot parts, as opposed to really building something. My trade, the book trade, is a window through the history of thought, the entire intellectual, free-thinking movement from the beginning of universities onward. I would have to have a few volleys of conversation with you to really form this discussion.

3. Has digital books killed bookstores the way mp3s have killed record stores?  What has been lost.

I would say that brick and mortar bookstores were killed by internet sales by sites such as amazon and before them barnes and nobles, as well as the real estate market. they also did not react to the change in technology and real estate pricing, so it is a 2-way street. I will say, however, as a former brick and mortar shop owner, the cards have been stacked against them. It's also stacked against any shop which does not have huge chain backing. Notice how banks are the only new businesses who seem to have enough money to open a cornershop!  Oh, for the quaint days of the gap taking over the city!

Books offer a specific experience from reading electronically. There will always be a market, even if it is smaller. Antiquarian or collectable books are just like antiques. There will always be a market even if it is shrinking. Record companies, on a large scale are suffering, and naturally fewer record stores just like all other brick & mortar  or mom and pop businesses. The problem with record companies dying out is that a level of expertise, or curating is being lost. It is to a degree being replaced by blogs, but it's different when a record company finds an artist, gets behind them, and has a marriage of sorts, and a creative team with them. That won't be happening as often from here on out. 
 
4.  What would bookbinders of the early 1800s make of what is left of their craft.

I have a friend who is a binder and restorer, and from his point of view, book making went down hill after moveable type. Obviously, skills are being shed left and right in all fields, and bookmaking is only one of them. My bandmate, our trombone player Dikko Faust, still makes books the old fashioned way on their imprint "Purgatory Pie Press." He and his wife Esther, who teaches bookmaking at Cooper Union, can also answer these questions. 
 
5. Are you something of a luddite?

Compared to someone 10 or 20 years younger than me, yes. Compared to someone 10 or 20 years older than me, no.
 
6. Are you pessimistic?

I'm a pragmatist. To me pessimism borders on depression. Cynicism is what I have more of a problem with. Paranoia. There are however, so many convergences of power, as well as sources of info, wikileaks, etc., that it is genuinely more complicated to navigate. Perhaps there is just more personal responsibility, or a window into what our leaders are facing. I can however escape into the country and feel relatively pleasant quite quickly! My sister is in rural VA, and I have friends in other places. 
 
7. People who don't really know country, maybe more Lady Antebellum than George Strait, will be surprised by your child of GP, songs. Is great country going the way of great jazz?
 
I don't have a clue what Lady Antebellum does. Perhaps I'll google her! Country is essentially a native music. The audience is actually growing, not shrinking. Nashville at large does not put out the best, but if you go to sites like nodepression, etc. there is a lot of excitement out there. Alot of ex punks even, like the guy from the horror of karen black (who is japanese) are doing country. of course, Dave Alvin of X has always been both country and punk. or at least country and rockabilly… and let us not forget Hank III!  Thrasher-bluegrass. There are alot of fun things happening under the big tent of "Americana."

8. In the late 90s early 21st century there was an alt country music movement in place. It died. What gives?

I just disagree with you there. nodepression.com was a zine in the 90s that was a spin-off of Uncle Tupelo's mailing list. Uncle Tupelo split into Son Volt and Wilco, both going strong. Many, many new bands every day, even here in the city. In places like Portland, OR, the punk of the moment is "Americana." The slow food movement, organic farming, it's all tied together. Mass media will say the only thing happening is Lady Gaga and black eyed peas, but just last year the black keys broke through and while they aren't country, they are I think an authentic band experience with something to say. I sort of like lady gaga, or at least she seems fun, but she just doesn't do the sort of thing that gets to my inner workings. But the skinny is, that I think there is a ton of great new stuff out there.

9. In 2007, I went to see George Jones at Carnegie Hall on Halloween. His first concert in NYC in decades. It didn't sell out. Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

No, it's a sign of bad PR. I didn't even hear about it.
 
10. Excellent album, but why so glum chum?

I don't think I'm glum. That particular album came out after my roommate and bandmate Drew Glackin passed away very suddenly. And one song was written  a few years back after my mother died, thus the title "So Many Funerals." But I think a lot of bands who come up through bars are "party bands", which is great, but they usually are about pumping the crowd and getting people on the dance floor. I'm just about whatever song pops in my head, whatever issues I'm dealing with, whatever happens in my life. Unless I'm on heavy happy drugs, it's just not going to be all sunshine.

 To purchase tickets or for more information, please call 212-840-1840, ext. 2 or email info@generalsociety.org.

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