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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crate-digging with Gentleman Jesse: a deleted scene

For this week's music feature story, Digging in the crates with Gentleman Jesse, I scoured the used bins at Wax n' Facts and Criminal Records with the inimitable Gentleman Jesse Smith (of Carbonas, COPS and Gaye Blades fame). The conversations prompted by the records that we churned up gave as much insight into Smith’s personality as the music he creates on his own. Editing these conversations to fit the allotted real estate on the printed page was a chore, and the following passages from our talk about Roy Orbison were cut for space and continuity, but Smith had a lot to say, some of it too funny to be deleted forever.

Were you a fan of the Traveling Wilburys?
Hell yeah, how could you not be? [Roy Orbison] was the king of that group. They all had to look up to him. The most important members of that band were Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Can you imagine being Tom Petty in that band and looking around thinking, “Holy shit, what have I gotten myself into?”

Right, I've always assumed that you dig Tom Petty's stuff?
Of course, although I often joke about him — in terms of ’90s, noisy post-punk music, you’re either a Sonic Youth fan or a Fugazi fan. You can like both and you can have records by both bands, but you’ll be more into one or the other. I feel the same way about Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. I've always been much more of a Bruce Springsteen fan.

When I was a kid, like 5 years old, I “wrote” a song called “Born in a Chicken’s Egg,” and I thought it was just genius — just as good, if not better than anything that Weird Al ever did. It doesn’t even rhyme, but I thought it was fantastic, and no I didn't record it. I was a kid! Anyway, I was too young to really understand it at the time, but I've always liked Bruce Springsteen more.

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