by Roy Kasten
In this week's RFT, we interviewed singer, songwriter and one-woman, country-blues-punk wrecking crew Holly Golightly. But, in truth, she's not a solo artist, as her most recent album No Help Coming and her live performances feature the Brokeoffs, aka Lawyer Dave, a one-man band of sorts who drives the duo's sound (largely with his feet) in and out of the rural route ditches. Here's more from the interview to get your ready for the duo's return to St. Louis at the Firebird tonight.
Roy Kasten: Can you talk about what it's been like living in Georgia and how it's shaped your music?
It's had no impact at all really. I just live in the middle of nowhere here, just like I did in the UK. It's a different bubble, slightly different climate. I don't think what I'm doing is so far removed from my first record. Maybe in terms of production or the fact that we're just two people. We don't go into town very much. It's fairly insular here. That's been the case anywhere in the world. Even in London, when you shut the door you're in your own world and playing the music you're interested in. If anything, the fact that it's hotter, it takes longer to get things done.
You've always had old-time country and blues in your music, but on this record there's even more of a gravitation towards those sounds.
It's more sparse. It's not a full-band production. With a whole band, other people's input comes into play, and you may go with what those people suggest. But because it's more sparse, that's what you're pinpointing that's different about this album. When you're working with people who are playing country songs but who don't have a lot of experience of playing country music, it's going to be different. The formula would be the same but the delivery would be different.
You've probably told this story a bunch of times, but could you tell the story behind your name?
There's not that much to tell really. My mum was reading Breakfast at Tiffany's when she was pregnant. She liked the character and the name. It was the luck of the draw. She could have been reading something else.
Thankfully she wasn't reading science fiction.
Yes. I could have been named Death Star.
Holly passes the phone to her collaborator, Lawyer Dave.
I was talking to Holly earlier about percussion and I suppose she didn't want to encroach on your turf. One of the things I like about the new album is some of the latin feel of the percussion.
Lawyer Dave: I reckon. I don't know if I was trying for that. When I was younger I used to play in a latin band, and did different rhythms. I played upright bass, but I'm not an expert at it. I think sometimes it comes out like that.
It provides contrast to the country and blues sounds on the record. Can you talk about how you work together to build the songs?
Usually what happens is, I don't play well with others. I can play in a band and play the songs, on upright bass. But I'm kind of a jerk. For production, I'm basically a one-man band anyway, if you've seen us live, the way I play with my feet. What happens is, I'll go in there and monkey around with ideas I think would work or songs I've recorded a while ago, and then develop a backing track. Holly will pick out the ones she wants to work with, and then we'll do our own thing separately. She'll do a lot of the lyrics or melodies if I don't already have one. Then we'll come back together and turn it into something that we both can work with.
The last song on the record, "LSD (Rock 'N' Roll Prison)", was it your idea to cover that?
That was actually Holly's idea. She thought it was really funny. When it came time to sing it, I kind of took that one and ran with it. She gave me a list of potential cover songs she'd like to do, that was one I thought was pretty good.
Is that because you have more experience with LSD and prison than she does?
I have enough experience with LSD to know I'm over it. It was fun while it lasted, I reckon. I have plans to take up hard drugs when I retire, when I'm 65 or whatever. Drugs are a good way to waste your youth, but when you're old no one is going to hold it against you.