Pre-Concert Interview: The Dears



Murray Lightburn calls his music Neo-Blues, disassociates himself from Morrissey and indie music, doesn’t like Death Cab for Cutie, and, as of this interview, hadn’t heard much of the bands he’s touring with, the Great Northern and the Eulogies (they're at the Grog Shop Saturday).

912d/1241803395-dears2009.jpg“For a long time people would compare my singing voice to Morrissey but what they don’t realize was that I only discovered Morrissey after somebody heard me sing and said hey you sound like this guy and gave me a cassette of Hatful of Hollow in high school.“

“I think there’s definitely an influence but I think it’s quite understated. It’s like when people compare us to TV on the Radio, the only reason they compare us to TVOTR is because there’s a couple of black dudes in that band and I’m a black dude. They might as well say we sound like Living Color or Bad Brains.”

Lightburn calls the Dears’ songs “Neo-Blues,” explaining it this way: “Maybe if I have one regret I wouldn’t have added Whites Only Party to Gang of Losers… we’re not very politically correct, we did all kinds of [un-PC] jokes towards each other all the time just for kicks… it’s kinda how blues lyrics can be. There’s humor, there’s optimism in the darkest situation, it’s so dark that you have to laugh. [We’re] a bluesy outfit, but not in a traditional way. We’re Neo-Blues.”

Calling the Missiles album “an extremely pensive record” he says, “I recognize that’s not really what people are into these days, but I think The Dears will always come in and out of vogue so I really don’t care.”

While his attitude towards fame is admirable, he says he knows what it takes to make a pop song but deliberately mixes it up to keep that from happening. “Right now I’m working on this song, I realized that the chorus was at the end…and that I should put this chorus after this pre-chorus because then I’ll have a hit song but I don’t want to do that.”

The Dears have gone through band members the way Kings of Leon go through fifths of whiskey. I asked him if he has high expectations of his musicians. “Yeah definitely, I think if you’re walking into a situation with The Dears you gotta have your shit together, you can’t be a spaz. You can’t walk in and spaz out because that won’t work, that won’t fly, you have to know what you’re doing…and be able to plug into the system.”

Natalia Yanchak, Lightburn’s wife and keyboardist for The Dears, writes on her blog: “I am not a big Death Cab fan by any means…” So I mentioned it to Lightburn and asked how he felt about them. “It’s not like she hates them…we’re not really indie rock fans. We’re more into stuff that doesn’t exist anymore.”

Including the bands opening for him on tour. Lightburn admits that he hasn’t listened to the Eulogies new record, but thinks Peter Walker is “super talented.”

“To be honest, I’m not familiar with Great Northern.” But, “It’s always nice to make new friends.” — Crystal Culler

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