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The Siderunners
interview by: Mike Johnson September 2002

Mike Johnson: So, you guys have gone through at least a couple of line-up changes, and a name change, but going back to the beginning, how did Sons of the Soil come into existence?

Nate: By chance really, I had always wanted to do a country band, so had Sappy and Pat but I didn’t know them at the time. Years ago I started writing country songs because it just seemed right. One night I was out with Adam Norden and Mike Duffy of American Heritage, I was telling them about how I always wanted to do this, and I had songs etc. Adam told me he had been playing country with Sappy and asked if I would like to sit in that coming Tuesday. I did. Originally it was going to be just for fun, doing old country standards and playing the occasional show, but fairly quickly we started writing our own songs, just to have some variety in the set, and also because it’s our nature. We really had no concept of what direction we were heading in or what sound we were going for, we just let it develop naturally and tried to sing about things that were real and meaningful to us that weren’t the “make fun of the white trash” subject material that is so pervasive in the genre. We are white trash so how can we make fun of ourselves? We really wanted to contribute something to country music.

Mike Johnson: How has the chemistry of the band changed since that time?

Nate: It’s a lot more relaxed these days. We laugh a lot more than anything else. Everyone wants the same thing and is not content with playing a few shows here and there for fun. It’s easier nowadays.

Mike Johnson: How is the songwriting process affected with the line-up changes that you've had so far?

Nate: It really hasn’t changed. What affects it more than the lineup is people’s lives, how they feel, how much bullshit is going on. All the new songs have more swing type of beats, more solos. The band learned a lot about arranging when we did our record, and we are using that more now.

Mike Johnson:. You guys have gotten yourselves onto some killer shows in recent months. What's been your most memorable show so far? If you could play with any band/performer, living or dead, who would it be?

Nate: The Tweeter center show was a trip. It was about 30-35 degrees out and we were fucking freezing. My fingers were numb and I had a little more vibrato in my voice because I was shaking so bad. A lot of people we knew came down there, which was amazing, and I am so grateful to every one of them. No one complained at all.

I would like to play with Johnny Cash but he is retired. Jeff Buckley would have been amazing. Hank Sr. – Dylan – Kiss – Ernest Tubb – Lefty Frizzell – Merle Haggard – Gram Parsons – Stones – The Original Skynyrd – Motorhead – Slayer – AC/DC – lots of punk bands but Pat Buckley has played with most of them already.

Mike Johnson: Any plans of doing some out-of-town touring in the near future?

Nate: As much as we can. We need a new vehicle though.

Mike Johnson: I'm sure people are wondering, with the backgrounds that you all have in other bands, why country?

Nate: I can only speak for the others so much, but most of us had it around as kids and came back to it later in life. For me, I love folk music in its simple forms and have always been fascinated with the idea of writing good songs that stand up on their own, just guitar and voice, and experimenting with the arrangement and sound to make something new. Country fits perfectly.

Nate: It’s very American music. So many people associate country with the unbelievably horrible shit you hear on hot country radio. It’s really sad. There is so much good stuff out there, but people are listening. Funny that Chicago is at the center of this new country movement, we have a HUGE country radio station here, and they won’t touch any of it.

Mike Johnson: If you weren't playing country (or punk), what would your next genre of choice be?

Nate: Stoner Rock with a baritone guitar.

Mike Johnson: Johnny Cash or Elvis?

Nate: Johnny Cash, though I do have a soft spot for fat wasted Elvis.

Mike Johnson: Old Style or High Life?

Nate: Old Style

Mike Johnson: Five top albums of all time?

Nate: I don’t really have many, I like songs mostly and it changes so often. Bob Dylan Desire I love a lot and have been listening to again lately. It’ s metal one week, country the next, then punk, then rock; I can never make up my mind.

Mike Johnson: Five favorite movies?

Nate: Hearts of Darkness, Godfather, Empire Strikes Back, Hydrogen and You (filmstrip), any Driver’s Ed movie.

Mike Johnson: What's the worst thing you ever got in trouble for when you were a kid?

Nate: What I got in trouble for and what I did are 2 different things. As for what I did, I still can’t say publicly.

Mike Johnson: Anything else you want to add?

Nate: 3985664233841636 + 4866455698569 = 3990530689540205

for more info on The Siderunners please visit: The Siderunners home page

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