The Untitled Interview #1: Starring Jason Russo (Hopewell)

I’m a big fan of interviews. Specifically, I enjoy asking questions that hopefully aren’t the same old nonsense that people ask all the time. I like to know minute details, random bits of information that are a pros pos of absolutely nothing. And it is with that in mind that I present to you the debut of the Untitled Interview series, featuring the lovely Mr. Jason Russo of the equally lovely Hopewell. Nice boy that he is, Jason has once again agreed to be my interview guinea pig. Bless his heart.

If you’re not already a fan of Hopewell, chances are good that you might want to seriously consider it. I did, and I’ve been a happier gal ever since I started listening to their glorious, outer space rock. It’s a good time to be in Hopewell, as the band is making another trip down to Texas for this years’ South by Southwest shindig. Happily, their trek includes a stop at DC9 on March 9th, and I know I’ll be there. I’d strongly suggest your attendance. And now, on with the show.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Jason Russo: I am well, thank you. Busy. Which is good.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
JR: Pissing In A River – Patti Smith.

LET: For your money, who is/was the best singer/guitarist ever?
JR: Wow, that’s quite a question. Do you mean songwriter? John Lennon. Do you mean guitar player? Eddie Van Halen.

LET: Playing music is _________.
JR: a metaphor.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
JR: Sgt. Peppers. Or maybe The Wall.

LET: How does the songwriting process work for you, typically?
JR: It wells up in me; I am at its mercy. It doesn’t respond to my call, I have to be patient.

LET: What was in that cleansing drink you had ages ago when I saw you at North Six many moons ago?
JR: Fresh lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. I hadn’t eaten in 6 days when I saw you.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
JR: No fucking way am I gonna touch that one. They are the same band to me.

LET: What're your top 5 albums?
JR: Jesus, now? Then? Atom Heart Mother, Meddle (P. Floyd), Roxy Music, All Things Must Pass, She’s So Unusual.

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
JR: Jesus Christ Superstar.

LET: What city or venue would you like to play, but haven't yet been to?
JR: South America. Mexico City.

LET: Half full or half empty?
JR: All full, all empty.

LET: Apart from your band, of course, which of your musical peers do you think is making the best music these days?
JR: Dirty Projectors, No Age, Devendra Banhart, Suckers, The Silent League, Gang Gang Dance.

LET: Your birthday says you are a Leo. Based on what you know of your sign, do you find it to be accurate? Supposing you buy into astrology…
JR: I don’t buy into anything. However, I would say my personality shows glimpses of what has been described to me as “Leo-like”. Mainly within the context of my band. I am a singer, I like being in front of people, I am the oldest of a large Italian family and I grew up poor. Use whatever template you want to figure that one out.

LET: "Bethlehem" is a song that makes me smile whenever I hear it. What are some songs that elicit grins from you on a regular basis?
JR: “Turtles Have Short Legs” by Can. Or “Nonalignment Pact” – Pere Ubu.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
JR: I have no idea.

LET: Best song ever written?
JR: “A Day In The Life”? “I Am The Walrus”? “Come Together”? NO! “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Happy Birthday”!

(photo by Scott Irvine)


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