Quinn Fallon has been an integral part of the Columbus music scene for the better part of two decades, as both a club owner and songwriter. The latest release by his band Los Gravediggers, Get a New Ghost, is available this month and the CD release party is Friday October 10th at King 5. Doors at 8 p.m. and Erica Blinn opens the show at 9. Quinn was nice enough to answer a few of my questions while slinging drinks at his kick-ass bar Little Rock.
Colin G. - You have made good records as a solo artist and as the leader of The X-Rated Cowboys and Los Gravediggers, but the early buzz is that this is your best release and after listening I agree with the hype. Do you feel this is your best work to date and if so, what makes this record different from your past releases?
Best release? Hopefully, but it's by far my favorite. Everything that happened with the Cowboys was very organic and it was exciting to write in a couple of genres that were newer to me. Then with the first Gravediggers record - which is basically a well-produced publishing demo - I really got to work on my pop smarts and, for the first time ever, was making conscious decisions to make the music as accessible as possible. Then on this record I threw all that crap out the window. I really just wrote what I had to write and I did not have to look very far for inspiration. I don't feel feel like I wrote several of them, they almost occurred to me as opposed to working on them.
C.G. - Andy Harrison and Dan Baird seem to be your personal production team. How did that pairing come together and how do they compliment each other in the studio?
I have been friends with Andy forever and it was Andy who brought in Dan to work on the second Cowboys' CD, Saddest Day. I think I pretty much hated him and swore I would never work with him again. A few months later I started to realize how much better I liked Saddest Day than the first record and steeled myself to work with him again on our third record. That one was a cake-walk, everyone was done trying to mark their territory, I suppose.
I did not single them out in the credits, but Dan produced a batch by himself, Andy did a batch by himself and then they did five tunes together. They have a great back & forth and a real easy way of working together, plus they are both killer guitar players. They also make things pretty relaxed in the studio, which makes it easy to get the right vibe on some songs. They are a great fit for my stuff.
C.G. - Boy, you have got some heavy hitters on project. Tell the folks about a couple of the players helping out and what it was like to watch them perform on your songs?
We were very fortunate to have some great players sit in on some of the tunes. Al Perkins played on a majority of the songs of Get a New Ghost and I believe it was the third time he has done a session for the Gravediggers. Al played on records from Dylan, the Stones, the Flying Burrito Brothers - of which he was a member - and about 1,000 others, so it was a real honor.
He is an amazing musician and such a gent! We always have to spend about five minutes yelling curse words and worse before he shows up to record. He is a devout Christian and will walk out of a session if someone takes the Lord's name in vain.
Dan brought in Brad Pemburton to play on five tracks. He is a member of Ryan Adams' band - the Cardinals - and he also plays with Brendan Benson, as well as Bobby Keys. Really cool guy, super-chill and he beats the shit out of his drums! Fearless.
I snagged the opening spot for Bobby Keys when he played at Woodland's in October, 2012 and got to hang out with him a couple minutes after the show. I told him we had debuted a song that night that I had stolen from the title of his autobiography called "If Every Night Was a Saturday Night." He seemed genuinely flattered and said he would be happy to play on it next time I was in Nashville, and much to my surprise he did.
Worth noting that Bobby's band had Brad on drums and Dan on lead vocal & guitar. Yup, they are awesome.
I am very lucky to play with the caliber of guys who are in the Gravediggers. Matt Mees on drums, Mark Nye on bass, Jake Reis on guitar and occasionally Andy Harrison on guitar as well, but no one's schedule was lining up to cut the final batch of songs cut for the record and I couldn't picture Get a New Ghost without some of these songs on it.
C.G. - Speaking personally, I know you went through the some tough times before recording this album. Do you feel that had an influence on your writing?
Everything that was happening in my life bled over into the record. In the span of a short time, I lost my Mom, split with my wife and had to leave our house in Clintonville, all while running a brand-new business. And this was all on the heels of having lost Andy Davis and my Dad in the two years before that. Some of these songs I just reached up and snagged out of the ether, as opposed to sitting down and working on.
I coasted quite a while just focusing on the bar and this record, not really facing up to everything that had happened. I always said the Fallon family motto is "Drink & Repress."
I tried to make sure none of the lyrics came across like journal entries, but yes, there is some really personal stuff on there.
C.G. - What three songs should people make sure to check out on your record?
"Ain't Gonna Live Forever." This is important to me as it's a bit of a rallying cry to not cave in no matter how appealing that would be.
"Yesterday's Girl." This was in the maybe pile and I was nervous to show it to everyone. It felt unfinished, it was just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus, chorus. Ridiculous arrangement, but we recorded it just how I wrote it, It's got this whole Petty vibe and it's really pissed off and fun to listen to, always my favorite combination.
"Wings Made of Whiskey." No getting around this. One of the songs of Ghost that directly addresses the end of my marriage. I feel like I would not have been capable of writing those lyrics a few years back and I like how greasy the band feels. Kinda reminds me of a Westerberg ballad. Really pretty if you just want a casual listen, but pretty devastating if you wanna dig deeper.
Colin Gawel started Pencilstorm on a slow morning at Colin's Coffee. You can learn more about him and other Pencilstorm contributors by clicking here.