May 16, 2012

Interview: Natural Child

Back in early April, after a show at the Black Cat here in DC, I spoke with the fellas in Nashville's Natural Child about their new record For The Love Of The Game, their interest in Kevin Costner movies, and swimmer's butt. The show ended that night with a blistering cover of "Like A Rolling Stone," and somehow that era-defining anthem fit perfectly into a set alongside the fiercely rollicking and low brow humor of Natural Child originals like "Easy Street" and "Shame Walkin," which feature the respective choruses, "Let me get that stoned" and "I don't wanna fuck you, but I got to." Natural Child may not be nearly as poetic as Dylan and they certainly aren't out to reinvent the wheel, but shit can they play. In fact, they might just be the best pure rock 'n' roll band playing today. While For Love Of The Game may lack any new curve balls (aside from the reggae joint "Paradise Heights"), it delivers the goods in the form of a raucous and unapologetically good time: crunchy roaring guitars, fat bass and drum grooves, and lyrics about everything from from death to codeine and weapons charges.

How did Natural Child get started? Wes, you were in Meemaw. Did you meet while the other guys were interning at Infinity Cat?
Wes: That’s not how I met everybody. We were already friends. Me and Seth had already played in a couple of bands together. We started Natural Child about three years ago.
Seth: We all hung out in the same places.

What made you guys want to move to Burger for this record?
Seth: They’re one of our favorite labels. They’re some of the easiest dudes to get along with ever.
Wes: They’re awesome to work with.

Tell me about the butt shot for the cover?
Zack: We got really drunk and I took a picture of either Wes or Seth’s ass.

I thought it was a lady’s ass, that’s a man’s ass?
Wes: We doctored it up a little it.
Seth: We were working out a lot.
Wes: We’ve been shaving our whole bodies for speed for swimming.
Seth: We’ve got swimmer’s ass.
Wes: Yea, I mean there’s a difference between a lazy guy sitting on the couch eating Cheetos all day and a man who’s a swimmer.
Zack: So then we all got the tattoo on ourselves.

That’s a real tattoo?
Sack: Yea.
Wes: The fucked up thing is none of us remember who it was because we all have that tattoo. We really don’t remember a whole lot about that night.
Seth: We don’t know who gave us those tattoos. That’s probably why we all have hepatitis.

So were you guys watching Kevin Costner flicks while recording this?
Wes: Yea, every time we get the chance to. Whenever we don't have to be on the fucking road.
Seth: Yea, Hard In Heaven is the name of our next record, but then the one after that is going to be called Dancing With Wolves.

Tom T. Hall - "That's How I Got To Memphis"

There’s two more records in the works?
Wes: Well, we haven’t written one, but we’re about halfway done with Hard In Heaven.
Seth: I don’t know when it will come out, but it'll be done in May.
Wes: It’ll be done in May, but probably wont come out for like 6 months.
Seth: We won’t let it sit too long. We’ll get it out by November.

You guys are about to meet up with Hunx for a tour?
Wes: Yea, were meeting up in New York then are gonna do the whole shebang-a-bang. The whole shebang-a-wang. The whole nine yards.
Zack: The whole 10 yards.
Seth: We did some sightseeing today. Went and saw the national mall. That’s what it’s called, right?
Wes: Did it make you feel patriotic?
Seth: Yea, it did actually.
Wes: We also ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Are you going to keep going with Burger then for the next couple of records?
Wes: Who knows. Why not? So far they’re our boys. They on the up and up and we on the up and up. So we’ll see what happens.
Zack: We like ‘em. They’re really responsive dudes.

Man, I can’t believe that was one of your guy’s asses. I definitely thought that was a model’s ass. (ed. note: Please excuse my extreme gullibility.)
Wes: Well, thank you. I mean, that’s what happens when you go swimming everyday and really dedicate yourself.

You think you guys will ever go back to that punkier sound of that early 7” with "Shame Walkin" and "Crack Mountain"?
Wes: We won’t go back, but we might go forward.
Seth: Hard In Heaven is going to be a lot more hard. We played one song off of it tonight, right?
Zack: Yea, the one we co-wrote with Chuck Berry.
Seth: A lot of it’s going to be darker. Maybe not punkier, but faster. It also probably has one of the slowest songs we’ve ever written.
Wes: Yea, we might go forward, but we also might go backward.

Denney & The Jets Feat. Jessi Darlin - "Come On"

What’s your recording setup like?
Seth: We record everything ourselves. We’ve got a shed. The sound is really good there. We just recorded another band there too. We recorded a song for Denny and The Jets.
Wes: We’re going to record our next album though in a studio in the mountains.

In the Tennessee mountains?
Seth: Virginia.
Wes: Yea, the Rappahannock mountains in Virginia.
Seth: With some very old hippie.
Wes: It’ll be similar to the shed, but there’s no cell phone service. That’ll be the main difference.
Seth: We already spend everyday together pretty much. I can’t remember the last day I didn’t see you guys. Like a year ago?
Zack: That’s pretty cool, I hadn’t thought about that.
Wes: Yea, me neither. I really like seeing you guys.
Zack: Beautiful.

Purchase For The Love of The Game from Burger Records.

Natural Child - "Ain't Gonna Stop"

Here's a brand new gem that recalls a bit of Crazy Horse-era Neil Young:

Natural Child - "Mother Natures Daughter"

Natural Child

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