Houston Calling

Ten Questions for Lanky

October 19th, 2004 · No Comments

I recently discovered a good musician from New Jersey that goes by the moniker Lanky. His latest CD, Last Chance For A First Impression, contains songs recorded at shows during a tour of the U.S. the songs on this album are acoustic, stripped-down, but not powerless. Each song is a testament to Lanky’s songwriting skill. You should definitely check it out.

Lanky will be in Houston this Friday, performing at Helio’s (on Westheimer). Be sure to make plans to come out and show your support. I recently asked Lanky some questions for Houston Calling. Enjoy.

Ten Questions for Lanky

HC: How did you get started playing music?

Lanky: Well, my cousin turned me on to KISS records when I was a little kid. He sat me down in front of his record player, cranked up KISS ALIVE, let me stare in awe at the album jacket and told me stories about the live concert. I believe that was where it all started.

I ran around the house doing my best air guitar moves and then a few years later I guess I decieded it was time to learn it for real.

HC: With any singer/songwriter, comparisons are pretty much inevitable. I’ll let you take the reins on this one. What do YOU consider to be your musical influences?

Lanky: The list is really long, but at a time when I was really getting my writing skills down, Francis Dunnery and Peter Holsapple come to mind. Though, the biggest and most profound I think would have to be the Indigo Girls. I wore out a lot of their recordings. And I think that was at a time when I wanted to dig in lyrically and they were writing very honest words, coupled with great melody and harmony and a great deal of cool instrumental color and counterpoint.

HC: What prompted you to release a live album? It was recorded in various cities in the U.S.–where are your favorite places to play?

The live cd was a way to keep traveling, revisting a lot of places more quickly then I would have if I waited for the next “studio” cd to be released. And I uess writing songs and performing music is really about just that, getting out and ding it. I get a bit restless at home. I think I’m inspired by connecting with people, realizing that we’re all in this boat together. By that I mean, as different as we are, we go through a lot of the same shit as people.

Also, it’s really a snapshot of the year of promoting INNER ONWRITER. And I wanted to have something that represented how I was touring, solo acoustic. To show the stripped down Lanky style. I didn’t feel comfortable releasing songs from the first cd again. So I went this way. I’m a songwriter, I like to present new songs.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? I notice that you’re pretty active with your website. Do you feel the internet is an important tool to market music?

Lanky: The internet has made my life much easier. I can find things in a instant. So I would think people can find me and my songs much easier. I like the idea of being connected. I like being able to get a song. I am concerned about how that affects income, but it doesn’t affect how I embrace the technology.

It’s funny because the people making lots of money fear it and those of us still struggling embrace it. I would like to think there will come a happy medium. But such matters really point to the growing difference between “haves” and “have nots.” I think it also points to the lack of understanding or appreciation of art and artists. Kids are learning that music should be free, their school music programs are cut. They don’t get to know the work and skill and devotion to making music and the true gifts that some artists possess.

Arresting people isn’t the answer, putting FBI warnings on cds isn’t the answer. Education is always better than fear. Their are just too many people in powerful positions that are scared right now. A system will emerge and we’ll all go, “Shit, I should of thought of that.”

HC: Coming from New Jersey, do you feel influenced by your surroundings? How do you approach the songwriting process?

Lanky: I’m definitely influenced by my surroundings, I’m not sure what is the NJ influence. Probably a lot more rejection, more often. It’s tough to come up in the NYC metro area. Lots of apathetic people, lots of musicians, lots of crazy kinds of music, every act comes through town. It’s hard to make a mark, hard to get people to notice. I guess it makes you tough. Or sound like a complainer, like now!

As far as songwriting, I just wait for the spirit to move me nowadays. I have a good sense now when a song is coming. When it does, I just try to get out of the way, let it flow. From there, I edit and refine. A few don’t need it, and those are the real honest, magical ones. Those are the ones that keep me writing.

HC: You cover U2’s “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” on Last Chance For A First Impression. If you could have any band or musician cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band or musician?

Lanky: Tough question. I think I’d like to hear Elvis Costello sing “Careless.”

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

Lanky: Singer/songwriter.

HC: Last Chance For A First Impression is a great title, in my opinion. Any deeper meaning you’d like to explain about it?

Lanky: Very tongue-in-cheek. I’m glad you got it. I mean do we really get another chance for a first impression? But to that point I guess it grabbed me because I was presenting another side of me. Most people who see me live, see me with just a guitar but INNER ONWRITER is full-on production. So I was having a second chance to introduce myself. If you hear the CD first and then see me live or vice versa. I’m kind of two different acts in that way.

HC: What’s next for Lanky? More touring? Another full-length next year?

Yes and yes. I’m doing more shows with a band. I should have a few players with me at Helios. It’s the “rocked out” Lanky. It’s good fun. I will do a few songs solo as well. I’m really enjoying having the ability to do both. It’s keeping me on my toes.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

Lanky: David Mead’s Indiana has been hauting me for months. I’m in Austin now and a beautiful girl is playing me Bjork’s new one, a Postal Service CD, Joe Henry, Ryan Adams, and Stevie Wonder. So, needless to say, I’m in good spirits.

Special thanks to Lanky for taking time out to asnwer a few questions for the site and thanks to Megan for setting it all up.

Be sure to come check out Lanky in Houston this Friday night (October 22, 2004) at Helio’s on Westheimer. It’s sure to be a good show. For more information on Lanky or to purchase his music, visite his website at www.lankymusic.com.

Please remember that the Drop Trio CD release party for their new improv recording, Leap, is Saturday night (October 23rd). The band will also play an in-store at Catcus Music and Video (on Shepherd) at noon on Saturday. See you there!

Now Playing in My iPod: Pink Floyd — Meddle

Tags: Music