Wunky Interview: Southside Desire
Wunky Interviews is a feature where Reviler friend Erica Krumm hits the pavement to find and talk with some of the best bands in the Twin Cities music scene. Previous Wunky interviews have been released into two volumes of an excellent Zine, which you can purchase from Erica HERE.
On a very chilly winter night I had the pleasure of meeting up with Minneapolis band, Southside Desire. Marvel (lead vocals), Trevor (bass), Damien (drums), Gloria (vocals), Paul (guitar), Jenny (vocals), and Margaret, “ Mugsie” (vocals), all huddled into Marvel and Trevor’s super cool, wide open apartment. Warm light, a beautiful red dog, a gigantic space heater and the band’s vocal practice welcomed me in. After serving up the most deluxe and delicious taco dinner I’ve ever laid eyes on, the band all huddled up in the living room together, (not an easy feat considering there are seven members) with beers to talk to me about how many of them have known each other for over a decade, and their deep love and appreciation for their audiences.
Erica- I’d like to ask everybody what their very first concert was, and where was it?
Paul- Mine was Richie Havens at the Brainerd High School theater.
Erica- And how old were you?
Paul- I was 7 or 8…
Erica- Did you like the concert?
Paul- Yeah, I loved Richie Havens, just because my dad had the Woodstock LP set so I heard Richie Havens and liked him….mostly because I knew that he didn’t have any teeth, and it was interesting to hear a man with no teeth. (Everyone laughs) And he wore like, a million rings, and it was amazing how he could play guitar with all those rings and no teeth. (everyone laughs)
Trevor- I grew up seeing my family play… I think the first concert I ever went to on my own was probably Edge Fest. The first memorable rock show I ever saw was Ween at First Avenue.
Marvel- I can’t think of one thing that really made me want to [play in a band], I think I always had a fantasy of it because of our dads and stuff. I think watching my uncle’s soul cover band, they were like, a ten piece band…and this isn’t original music, but it still had a huge effect on me.
Jenny- My first concert, I was eight and I saw Chicago at the Albany, Georgia Civic Center. I don’t know if it had a huge impact on me but it was a huge production. They also had the monster truck show in that civic center!
Mugsie- My first concert was in sixth grade, I think you’re twelve in sixth grade, I saw Three Dog Night. My mom always had the record and we listened to it all the time and Three Dog Night came to town and we were going. That was it. And she stuck around, my mom is really not that kind of lady to get backstage, and stuff but she stuck around for all of us and we got pictures.
Damien- I think my first concert I went to was the Grand Ole Opry, my parents took my sister and I. I know that Garth Brooks played. Garth Brooks was the opening act for the Grand Ole Opry at the time. Nobody had heard of Garth Brooks at the time, in 1987. I fell asleep because I was four (everyone laughs) it was cool. The first concert I went to of my own volition was Edge Capades in 1995. (Everyone giggles) It was at Target Center.
Erica- Do you remember what bands were on the bill?
Damien- I think I can remember what order they were in! It was Flipp, they were terrific….and then, Goo Goo Dolls, Lisa Loeb and the Nine Stories, and the Toadies, and Oasis and Meat Puppets, and Del Amitri (everyone laughs) and I think that’s it.
Trevor- That was very ‘95
Damien- It was a thrilling concert, it absolutely made a huge impact on my life.
Paul- What did Del Amitri do? What was their hit?
Everyone- “Roll to me!”(Everyone starts singing and giggling….)
Paul- How many people here have been to a Dave Matthews Band Concert?
Paul- No one?!
Trevor- You can raise your hand….
Paul- No, I never…I’m actually surprised. I was just wondering, you know…
Trevor- I think like one in six has been to a Dave Matthews Band concert….Dave Matthews Band is like the Noodles and Company of Rock N’ Roll. (Everyone uproariously laughs)
Marvel- (giggling) So exotic, so jazzy!
Damien- What was your first concert, Gloria?
Gloria- The first really memorable performance I think was when I was four or so, my mom would take me to Flamenco shows. I would always dance and I was really impressed with the guy who sits on the cajon, the drum.
Marvel- I went to the first show with you guys…
Gloria- Yeah, I went with Marvel and my sister bought us all tickets…
Erica- How long have you two known each other?
Marvel- Oh my god, such a long time.
Gloria- Since birth!
Erica- Really? Were your parents friends?
Marvel- We grew up across the alley from each other. Our families were really really different but kind of the same in their weirdness…In the neighborhood we were kind of in a way the weird families on the block. (everyone laughs)
Erica- It’s awesome that you guys have known each other so long!
Marvel- It is awesome and it’s funny all the stupid things we’ve done together (laughing)
We used to go to Rainbow when the Rainbow in midtown used to be open all hours of the night, we’d go there without shoes on, and go get the weird little five dollar cakes….
Gloria- mmmm german chocolate! (everyone laughs)
Erica- So, what’s your guys’ favorite part of playing live in this band?
Damien- I’ll go first… I’ve never been in a band where I have to use control, really…well, that makes me sound like a shitty drummer…(laughing) In most of the previous bands I’ve been in, they were more like loud, fast punk bands where it was just sort of go full bore, for the most part, and this one has been a whole learning experience, having to dial it back and make sure that… because everything, every little note you play matters more when you’re playing quieter music, it’s kind of a fun challenge to have to play less, but make what you play more meaningful.
Erica- So it’s challenging you as a drummer?
Paul- It’s the very same way for me. For me it’s the most fun to be able to harness so much dynamic in a performance, just to be able to go down really quiet as a guitar player or together, you know with Damien, as a rhythm section, to be able to come down and let the singers fill out their section, and then come back in…it’s a new kind of tension that I really enjoy.
Trevor- I really like playing music with my wife! I’m really really happy that the show is so rewarding….
Marvel- I like so much of the feedback, too… having the sensation, that through the music that we’ve all made together, that we’ve really touched people, people super, super enjoy it and there’s like an energy that starts to exist in a room when we’re playing, I try to kind of focus on the music but I’ll have a moment when I lapse and I look at one person and I see them looking at me and all of us and see that a lot of them just really…they get these songs and they enjoy them so much. And I feel like, when I write these lyrics, it’s like kind of really personal, creepy stuff, but it’s so cool to be like, “Oh yeah, these people are creepy too!” (Everyone laughs) ….Having people really, genuinely like something that we are all doing together is super rewarding, it’s a beautiful thing to share that with strangers.
Mugsie- My favorite part about performing live is when it is all in the right spot. I always call it warm butter. To me it just feels like warm butter, it’s so beautiful, all of us harmonizing, and the reaction… the audience, they hear it and they love it.
Erica- There are so few bands not only just in Minneapolis, but really at all right now, going on that do that. It’s really cool.
Gloria- It’s been making me think about choral singing a lot and how I’ve always really enjoyed that.
Jenny- I have nothing to compare it to, because this is the only band I’ve ever been in, I just love singing these songs. I sing them at home, they get in your head, I just love them. And what Marv said too, about being on stage and just seeing people, seeing their reactions to it. I’ve always thought it was kind of cheesy when people talked about connecting with the audience but that’s exactly what you do! You look, and they’re smiling at you and you’re smiling at them….
Erica- So what are your pre- show rituals?
Marvel- I have something I do pretty often, I walk outside of the bar or wherever we’re playing, and I usually… some nights if it’s really going to be a good show, you know, I start to kind of have a nauseating feeling, (laughing) I kind of get a really mild panic attack and I go and I find the nearest bus stop and I sing by myself (giggling) It’s always been a good show when that happens but it’s kind of something I’m picking up on more, go and be alone for a little while…freak out at the bus stop and then come back.
Paul- I tend to buy my first drink at whatever bar I’m at for good luck. It’s not good luck wasting money because I have drink tickets coming…(everyone laughs)
Trevor- I think that’s pretty charming though, Paul.
Paul- I try to meet the bartender and I try to meet the sound guy.
Erica- O.k. so, I’d like to ask you all, what’s your favorite planet?
Marvel- Uranus, duh! (giggling)
Mugsie- I’d say Saturn. It’s fascinating the way that the rings are…how thin they are. I’m a Nova nerd, bigtime…
Damien- I like Earth best.
Marvel- I was going to say Earth!
Erica- Really, Earth?!
Damien- Fuck Yeah. Earth.
Gloria- Mercury is pretty cool, it goes from like, a million degrees to sub zero.
Erica- Mercury is really cool! O.k. So, what is your favorite rodent?
Mugsie- Ooooh! Is a chinchilla a rodent? They’re so soft, you’re petting air. It’s unbelievable.
Damien- Yeah. They’re cute and they do all kinds of acrobatics.
Trevor- Wait until they get in your house!
Damien- Well, That’s never happened.
Marvel- Are weasels rodents?
Trevor- (laughing) for this interview, yes.
Marvel- Because I like members of the weasel family, but I don’t really like rodents.
Damien- Some of my favorite family members are weasels!
Erica- So you guys, some of you guys have been friends for a really long time, are some of you guys kind of at a point now where you can read each other’s minds as far as like, the next step in a song, or otherwise?
Trevor- I think Damien and I have pretty good instincts at this point. I can read his mind.
Erica- Really? How long have you two known each other? Since high school?
Damien and Trevor- Yeah.
Damien- Since ‘97
Trevor- We’ve been playing together since we were fourteen.
Damien- Half our lives we’ve known each other… I don’t usually predict how Marvel’s songs will go…
Marvel- Yeah, this is a new thing, though. I’m also pretty new to being in bands. This is my first actual real band….this is my first real thing, but me and Gloria have kind of been working together on songs off and on for almost as long as we’ve known each other. I think we’re both evolving, is the thing.