Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are such critically and fan-acclaimed from Rolling Stone to Guitar World, and and to Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, have nothing but praise for these roots-driven, Southern rockers. With their debut LP, There Is A Bomb In Gilead, the title came from the hymn "There Is A Balm in Gilead," that lead singer and frontman of the band, Lee Bains, misheard when the hymn was sung, while growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. The band is currently touring through first half of November, with stops in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and several California dates, among others. If you're a fan of raw and talented, chopped-up rock style of the late 60s and 70s, don't miss out on Lee Bains' band and his music, Purchase their debut LP HERE. We got the chance to chat with Lee about the music on their new LP, the writing and recording process, what fuels his creativity to make music, and a few musical favorite. To find out more about Lee, his band and their music, read on:
You have said that your upcoming album is grittier and hard-hitting than your previous critically acclaimed There Is A Bomb In Gilead. What can fans expect to hear?
Lee: Well, this record is shaping up to sound like we sound live; we are a pretty rowdy wild rock'n'roll band, and Bomb In Gilead didn't put that across all that strongly. Which is cool. That's not really what we were trying to do with it, but we brought in Tim Kerr to produce this record, since his specialty is to capture a band at their most spontaneous and vital. I think he did a killer job getting us to play in the basement just like we would at a show. The guy with whom we recorded, and with whom I'm mixing the record is named Jeremy Ferguson, and he's done some great stuff at his studio, Battletapes, in Nashville.
What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Lee: I really approached these songs like a fiction writer or poet would, I think, in that I revised, revised, revised. i worked pretty hard to shape a thematically and sonically cohesive batch of songs, each one playing off the others to contribute more meaning. I workshopped the lyrics a lot with my buddy Caleb Johnson, who just got his M.F.A. in creative writing from U of Wyoming. It was pretty cool in that i was critiquing his first novel about the same time he was critiquing these songs. Over the past year or so, I've been reading and revisiting a lot of books that deal with the individual's connection to his/her literal and figurative place, through time: Gabriel Garcia-Marquez's Hundred Years of Solitude, James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, Caleb's novel. It's funny, but, as much as I labored over the writing, we took the opposite approach to recording; we tracked the entire thing in four days. Really more like three. We've been playing these songs a lot live, so there's a pretty wild, loose character to the songs.
You've received much critical and fan acclaim. Does that fuel your desire to continue making music, or is that just all part of the process?
Lee: Well, i don't know about that. I certainly appreciate any effort somebody puts into thinking or talking about the record or the band in general. You know, there's a strange relationship that exists between artist and critic, and I don't think my feelings about it are particularly interesting or different from most other folks'. I think critics are important, because they are, ostensibly anyway, folks who are able to talk about their area of expertise in a way that can uncover some of the artist's meaning, or alternatively call them on their shit work. I think that's a really valuable mission. At the same time, critics, even the best ones, are just individuals with individual tastes. So, as an appreciator of music and art, I respect the job of the critic, and appreciate it when he or she chooses to comment on my work. However, as an artist, I try to put it out of mind, and tell myself, "just because somebody likes your stuff doesn't mean your stuff is hitting its mark. and just because somebody trashes it doesn't mean its trash." My girlfriend has the patience of a saint, and reminds me of this pretty constantly.
Your influences range from legendary singers, to classic actors and bands. Why such a vast and broad variety?
Lee: You know, I've been sitting here trying to think of a classic actor that's influenced me, but I'm coming up short. Did you see somewhere that I was inspired by classic actors?
What are top five albums and/or bands you wouldn't want to live without?
Lee: Dang. Well.This will change between today and tomorrow. "No Division" by Hot Water Music. "One More From the Road" by Skynyrd. "Bealtitude" by the Staple Singers. "Let It Be" by the Replacements. "Raw Power" by The Stooges. It's still summertime, so i'm not listening to as much painfully depressing stuff as I will be in a couple or three months.
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