Published Nov 01, 2005These Texas alt-country dudes are known for their scorching and sweaty live shows. Alive & Wired is as good as it gets for fans who cant wait until the next time the Old 97s make it to their town. Recorded in their home state over the course of two hot summer nights in June 2005, this two-disc collection could also serve as a greatest hits package as at 30 songs, most of the highs of the bands 12-year career are represented. From the country-punk of "Barrier Reef to the barn burning fan favourite "Doreen, Alive & Wired presents the Old 97s as they were meant to be heard: four guys leaving it all on the floor.
What do you think makes your bands birth state of Texas such a fertile music state? Vocalist Rhett Miller: Its a big place, you have a lot of cities, and they are different. Austin is very hip and a college town driven by youth whereas Dallas is one of those towns that is very adult in a way because its all about business and businessmen and women with big hair. Growing up there it was kind of a cool thing because there was so much to rebel against. Everybody there is basically Dick Cheney and George Bush, so its a pretty healthy place if you are counter-culturally minded, which I certainly was. There is something about Texas it has got both ends of the spectrum. There are a bunch of hippies and a bunch of uptight Republicans, so its a pretty good fertile, artistic ground.
What is it about playing live that is so thrilling? That is where we flourish; thats our proving grounds. Its a very exhilarating feeling to stand up in front of an audience and know even if they are fans and mostly fans you still have to win them over every single night. I still have a little bit of that feeling that every town you roll into you have to conquer that city and take it over. (New West)