Pearwood James: ACT:LIVE Interview

werd: james niche
foto: james niche

An interesting folk-punk-grunge-minimalist-eclectic duo named Pearwood James has been working a new CD, yet to be titled and are performing this Saturday at Spot Cafe on East Ave.

I have been listening to their latest project, 'Pearwood James EP', and get the idea that some of the folks whittling on the keys of their MacBooks should be warned. This is not your average folk music.

This, Mudhoney meets Modest Mouse, meets Andy Warhol, meets a slow dance with Neil Young, meets Bob Dylan band has a very organic sound and they would like to keep it that way.

Their singer and songwriter, Randall Coon makes a point to focus on a little more soul as opposed to an overly digitally mastered sound.

I listened to their CD and it's a disappointment in the sense that I wanted more music. The song 'The Chatter' is a favorite already.

"Say shut the fuck up to quiet the chatter" - The Chatter

There are only a few songs on this EP, so be sure to catch them live to get more.

I really liked the sarcastic element in Randall's lyrics and the ambiance of Dave Huurman's percussion work.

Like a lot of rockers, they have a good heart and don't take themselves too seriously, so this interview was another entertaining experience.

If you would like to see more pictures and hear some music from them, you can CLICK HERE.

ACT:LIVE: Let's get an introduction.

Randall: I’m Randall Coon from Pearwood James. I play guitar and I write the songs.

Dave: I’m Dave Huurman, I play dgembe and the drum kit in Pearwood James.

ACT:LIVE: So you guys are a two piece, right?

Randall: We had a third member but that just wasn’t working out.

ACT:LIVE: Explain the ‘Pearwood James EP’ to those that don’t know.

Randall: Each track was recorded live in one take, so what we played is what you get. We’re trying to do something similar in concept for the album coming out, which is a full length.

We have some really conceptual lyrics for the next one that parallel the life of our fake character, Pearwood James. It should be pretty interesting.

ACT:LIVE: So, did you record the EP in one straight shot, or were the tracks separate?

Randall: We recorded all the songs separately, but they are all in one take.

We were thinking about doing the next album all at once in one long take.

ACT:LIVE: That would be cool, it’s definitely been done, but I get the feel of that type of recording when I listen to your CD. Especially with the banter you have in between songs.

Randall: It’s a throw back to analog recordings.

ACT:LIVE: Tell me about Pearwood James, your character.

Randall: It’s kind of turning out to be a story about the character. Pearwood, NY is my fictional piss-ant town and the story is kind of going in a science-fiction direction with a real dingy rural tinge to it.

ACT:LIVE: Any thoughts Dave?

Dave: Well, we just released this EP and that was our earlier stuff, but now we are working on using a full drum kit and pushing some more boundaries. We’re basically trying to just experiment and have fun.

ACT:LIVE: How did you guys meet?

Dave: We met at MCC, but before this we were in a thrash-grindcore project. We kind of toned it down for this project. (laughs)

ACT:LIVE: Where are you from, originally?

Randall: I’m from Nunda, NY. I grew up rural and I dig it.

Dave: I grew up in Chili, so, closer to Rochester.

ACT:LIVE: What brought you up here? The weather?

Randall: Work, school and music.

ACT:LIVE: What were some events or music acts that have inspired you to do what you do now?

Randall: For my songwriting, Neutral Milk Hotel is a big influence. They broke up in the nineties, but they were pioneers in the acoustic punk scene.

I was always into a lot of punk rock as a teenager, but grew out of that phase. I love the blues and guys like Leadbelly as well as Arlo Guthrie and the rest of the folkies.

I like Bob Dylan a lot too, but his best work was when he was in Greenwich Village and not a rock star.

I listen to so much music today that is soulless. I would like to bring back some heart and soul with my music. I’d like to see more raw energy in rock and roll.

Dave: I grew up listening to music all over the map. There’s some stuff I’m embarrassed to admit I like.

I was really into experimental hardcore music for a while, but I feel like I’m getting to old for that music now.

I have to mellow down. (laugh)

Randall: I’m really into artists that are original, first of all. I have spent $60 to go to shows that last four days and I think that’s reasonable, but I don’t care about seeing whatever the big band is that’s on the radio. I would rather find a really talented band that’s local and have more fun.

ACT:LIVE: The reason I really wanted to talk to you guys was because you have a gig October 4th at Spot CafĂ© on East Ave. Is there anything you want to share about that? That’s this Saturday.

Randall: We’ll be playing out in front by the window so people can at least see us. The sound is ass though. If you sit up in the balcony, anyone on the mic sounds like God because of the reverb in the room. It’s a fun place to play though.

ACT:LIVE: What can has been the reception of the crowd at past gigs?

Randall: We get some people bobbing their heads, for sure. We try to keep it upbeat and a little more poppy but at the same time, we keep the lyrics and guitars in another world.

Dave: Definitely poppy to keep people interested.

Randall: Then they listen to it and they say, damn, that’s a sick bastard. (laughs)

Dave: If they listen to the lyrics they don’t know what’s going on. (laughs)

ACT:LIVE: Where else have you played?

Randall: We’ve played at Spot, Boulder (repeatedly) and The California Brew Haus.

We played at the practice space on St. Paul, too. That was a trip.

I have a question for you…what do you do with a building that is broken down and decrepit?

Rent it to rock and rollers, that’s the idea behind that place. It’s like five floors up and just old and decrepit.

ACT:LIVE: What else do you do to keep busy and involved in the Rochester music scene?

Randall: I do a lot of solo stuff on my own, but am also in a band with some college friends out in Buffalo. They needed a bass player so jumped right in.

It’s like a shitty glam-punk band where we dress in black. (laughs)

Dave: I have always jammed around town, but my first band was a hardcore band called Gacy Escape, named after John Wayne Gacy. It was homage to his last words. One of the guys in the band was obsessed with serial killers. Go figure.

ACT:LIVE: Who are some local guys you really dig?

Randall: Tim Avery.

Dave: Tim Avery, of course!

Randall: He’s a short, squirrelly guy that’s full of energy.

Dave: Dude, he’s gonna read this.

Randall: He’s one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my life.

Dave: He just sold an organ to us, so we will be playing with that soon.

Randall: Karrah Teague, she has played with us and she’s pretty amazing. She’s a singer/songwriter.

ACT:LIVE: I don’t want to try to get too political, but to change the subject…what are some feelings you may have on the topic of the election. The debates were just on and it’s getting down to the wire.

Randall: He does.

Dave: Do I?

Randall: Dude, you’re full of opinions on that.

Dave: Yeah, when I have four beers in me!

Randall: I’m not even registered to vote.

ACT:LIVE: You can still have an opinion, right?

Randall: I really try to stay out of that kind of thing.

I really can’t believe that any big politician or business man is the same human being that I am. I can’t believe that someone who grows up in the environment that they do, with all that wealth and power, can represent my needs of desires as a human. We’re not the same people, so don’t believe that for a second.

ACT:LIVE: What kind of image do you guys send to your audience?

Randall: I like to come out looking like a fat Nick Cave. Or, maybe like a drunken uncle falling out of the trailer in his Sunday best.

We really want to keep things minimalist.

That’s why we reduced ourselves to two members. Three people were just too much.

ACT:LIVE: Thank you guys for your time and I hope the show is fun for you on Saturday…one last question…what’s your superhero name?

Dave: Man Man. I would have a wife beater on with a beer in one hand while watching the game on television, and when danger calls I pick up the phone and tell them to hold on because I’m watching the game.

Randall: Panther Face.

Again, Pearwood James bring their unique brand of musical science to Spot Cafe, Saturday, October 4th at 7:00pm.

See you there, player.


- Games

Right now we're listening to:

Andrew W.K. "We Want Fun" ("Jackass: The Movie", 2002, American Recordings)

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