March 28, 2006

Five Important Questions with Nixon

As Louisville’s music scene has fluctuated over time, there have remained a few important bands on the harder end of the independent music spectrum, keeping things alive and moving. At various times bands like Kinghorse, Sunspring, Endpoint, Metroschifter, Guilt, Crain and, more recently, Black Cross, have shredded their way into the hearts and minds of Louisville’s youth — and beyond — and have provided the scene with serious, much-needed energy.The five guys in Nixon work hard to keep this tradition going, and their new self-titled album provides proof that they’re succeeding. Like the aforementioned bands, the members of Nixon have paid their dues in countless other groups, including Coliseum, Cherub Scourge and The Royalty. Drummer Eric McManus even moved to Louisville from Philadelphia to join Nixon after his band, Lickgoldensky, called it quits. Nixon combines their varied, yet often shared past and a wide range of influences (from D.C. hardcore to Touch and Go Records, from Refused to Sabbath and Maiden) to create the aggressive and melodic Nixon sound. They sat down recently to take a shot at LEO’s Five Important Questions. LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?Matt Haas: Some sort of fund for independent arts would be ideal.Matt Jaha: I suppose it would be too much to ask for an all-ages, city-sanctioned venue. Too much responsibility, I guess. What with all the cracked-out 14-year-olds and 16-year-old hustlers, delivering Adderall to the upper class neighborhoods in their parents’ Volvo station wagon, who would want to create an environment designed to attract their attention? It would be crawling with adolescent scum. I mean, with all the club violence that I keep hearing about, I’m afraid to even go to the nearest Starbucks to grab a yuppiccino and check out whatever 40-something guitar god is tweaked out on red-eyes, doing a free jazz rendition of Lennon/McCartney’s “Michelle.” Yeah, I guess I can understand why the city wouldn’t be very interested in supporting something like that since the skate park was such an utter failure.LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?Tony Ash: So, so many ... Teen Pregnancy is one of the best bands in Louisville, and they deserve everybody’s attention. I saw the Touched recently and they were absolutely incredible. Why aren’t they huge around here? Hmm … The Teeth, Ayin, Casket and Flower, Wolverine Brass.MJ: Needing attention, deserving attention and getting attention are very different. I like to avoid attention in most social situations, so I can understand how a band like The Kodiaks can play a show once a month to a hundred kids and spend four years trying to get their self-released record out without needing any more attention than they already have. They deserve more attention, but they are content doing what they do. My favorite band right now is Ayin. I identify with their music and I think it reflects the attitude that a lot of show-going kids share.LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?Eric McManus: Habanero peppers. It’ll burn your asshole.MJ: PIZZA!!! Probably Spinelli’s. And a couple of 40-ounce Steel Reserves to wash it down. That ought to punch me in the face.LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.MH: “Vertigo” and “Taxi Driver” are good movies. As far as books, I just got turned on to Franz Kafka.TA: Recently, I’ve gotten pretty heavily into the paintings of Robert Williams. Some in particular that stand out to me are “Assassins of Fashion” and “Impervious to Chaos,” though the majority of his work is pretty much brilliant. His stuff is totally fucking insane, shocking, demented ... all the things art should be.MJ: I think Hunter S. Thompson chose an interesting medium to work with, though I don’t know if many would consider it art. I’m fascinated by his work, but even more so by his persona in and out of writing. He lived every day of his life by the same credo that was underlying in all of his observations. I would like to think that I could live by the same principles that inspire me to be creative.LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?MH: Slint is overrated.EM: Basically, anything derogatory about Republicans.Doug Walker: Legalize it.MJ: Sorry.  Contact the writer at leobeat@leoweeklycom