Joey Burns The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Joey Burns The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Who are you?
Joey Burns

What are you up to?
On tour in Europe with Giant Sand and Calexico, who both have new releases; recording a version of Roy Orbison's "Running Scared" with Brokeback; finished working on Richard Buckner's new album Spoon River Anthologies; composing and recording music to accompany a Luke Sutherland (Long Fin Killie, Bows) spoken word piece; finishing up the film score to Lisa Krueger's film Committed out April 28th.

Hometown and current HQ:
Tucson, AZ "Barrio Hectico"

Current fixations:
I like people watching in Europe: discerning the differences of each country, then hoofing it back home to be amazed at how much more creative the folks shuffling downtown in Tucson are. Recently enjoyed seeing American Beauty and a documentary, Admiral Batalle and the SS Esoterica. Reading Death in the Afternoon by Hemingway, The Crystal Frontier by Carlos Fuentes, and Stacey Richter's My Date With Satan. Listening: Manu Chao's Clandestino; Francoise Breut's latest CD; Larmousse's 12" single "A Universal Hello"; Skeeter Davis, ‘60s era; Gil Evans Out of The Cool.

Mind altering work of art:
Igor Stravinsky, "The Rites of Spring."

Most memorable/inspirational gig and why?
Tom Waits in Austin, TX at last year's SXSW. Pure character; part Leonard Bernstein with his fine conducting abilities, part Jimmie Rodgers holding down the fort with Big "E" denim-laced hobo vox and brilliant diversions into stark studies of multi-expressionist Berlin-Budapest-Paris-Minneola cabaret. Beautiful mechanic/mentor. Also Rainer Ptacek in the lobby of the Hotel Congress, Tucson, AZ 1997. Conjuring inspiration from as diverse as the Far East ragas of India to the privately distilled spirits of the Delta blues' greatest, Tucson's own Rainer will always carry the candle of life's inner flame for me. Watching him set up in the corner of the art deco lobby in the heart of downtown Tucson — playing his National and Dobro slide guitars with multiple samplers, tremolos and delay, sporting a worn "Colorado Rockies" baseball hat — my jaw dropped, wondering where on earth he was gonna turn next. Always surprising and full of soul, these weekly performances marked a time never forgotten.

Don't believe the hype (what should people shut up about?):

Your greatest strength/weakness:

Your vital daily ritual:
A glass of water and some blue green algae.

Guilty pleasure:

If I wasn't playing music I would be…
Studying naturopathic medicine and herbology.

Your most memorable day job:
Front desk and promo-boy at SST Records, 1989.

Best/worst advice received:
Sounds great.

I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Native tribal people against corporations and government.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?:
Music: Afro-Cubano and Afro-Peruvian rhythms.

What personal trait would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed? And have you?
Using junk. Inevitably, there was one band that was ruined by it.

When I think of Canada I think:
Montreal, where I was born, and fine producers of musical artists: Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Godspeed You Black Emperor.

Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Sticky subject, love them both.

Strangest brush with celebrity:
Staying at Marianne Faithful's house outside of Dublin, Ireland and upon leaving, she asked to borrow 20 quid.

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Making a record with her.

Joey Burns and John Convertino comprise Calexico, and also back up Howe Gelb in Giant Sand; they used to be members of Friends of Dean Martinez and collaborated with Lisa Germano in OP8.