By Al Kaufman
Atlanta’s Nine Times Blue have made quite a name for themselves. Besides their raucous live shows at Smith’s Olde Bar, they released Falling Slowly in 2012. The Grammy-winning Don McCallister-produced album garnered the hit single, “Falling Slowly.” The guitar fueled, power-pop quartet follow that up with a six-song EP, Matter of Time. They will hold a record release party at Smith’s on February, 21st.
Nine Times Blue offers infectious pop in the vein of Gin Blossoms and Matchbox 20. The foursome, Kirk Waldrop on vocals and guitar, Greg King on lead guitar and vocals, Jeff Nelson on bass and vocals, and Jason Brewer on drums, get their name from an obscure Monkees song, demonstrating their affection for a good catchy melody, something that is in abundance on the new EP.
Kirk Waldrop talked to Atlanta Music Guide about his love of the Monkees — the band has been known to play a Monkees’ song or two during their shows — the new EP, and the joys of playing live.
You take your name from a lesser known Monkees’ song, one written by Michael Nesmith. Please describe the level of your Monkee love and if you think they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
My Monkee love is so huge that I don’t punish my daughter for saying the Monkees are a better band than the Beatles. Plus, I named the band after a fairly obscure Monkees’ song, so it’s safe to say I’m a big fan. For the record, I do think the Monkees belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including Nesmith as a solo artist.
“Only Lonely (The Shovel Song)” is an infectious little song on the new EP about a spurned lover. The song takes a dark turn when the shovel, duct tape, and hole in the ground are introduced. Does the ex live? Will there be a sequel song?
There’s no ex; but my wife definitely had some concerns about this one when she read the lyrics. Let’s call this one Nine Times Blue’s “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Will there be a sequel? That’s always a possibility since the protagonist still has a shovel and lots of shiny duct tape.
After the success of “Falling Slowly,” why are you following up the album with an EP instead of a full-length?
Based on our experience with Falling Slowly, we found that the majority of our sales were individual downloads of our radio singles; “Falling Slowly,” “Crazy To Think,” and “Grace.” So, while we had a full album’s worth of material ready to go, we decided to pick the best 6, many of which could be singles, and release an EP. A lot of artists, including Marshall Crenshaw, Plain White T’s, ZZ Top, etc. are doing the same thing. As a music fan, I love it because it means that I will get to hear new music from my favorite bands every year, or sooner, rather than have to wait 2 to 3 years between releases.
You pretty much call Smith’s Olde Bar home and have great shows there. How was it different opening for Plain White T’s there as opposed to headlining? Did you feel a home field advantage?
Smith’s is definitely home for us. Opening for Plain White T’s was a great experience because we had the opportunity to turn many of their fans onto us, and feedback from the show was that we blew them off the stage. We definitely had the home field advantage that night since about half the crowd was there to see us. We love headlining, too – but it’s different because everyone is there to see us and support us, so there’s not much opportunity to make new fans. In either case, we play as if we’re trying to win over the crowd for the first time.
You are known as a high energy live band. Do you make records so that you can play live, or do you play live so that you can make more records?
Truth be told, we play live because we have fun doing it and we walk away with new fans after every show, which is what keeps us going. People seem to react well to our music and want to continue to listen to us after seeing us live, or after hearing us on the radio, which we’re very thankful for. So, we make records for that reason. Plus, it’s just a good feeling to create something, put it out into the world, and see if it sticks.