MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
- The Little Wretches: When I was a kid, my dad was remodeling the basement of our house, and my cousins and I used to take the scrap wood and try to make guitars. Adults joked that we needed a recording contract, so we used to copy the addresses of record companies from the vinyl records in our parents’ collections and write letters to the companies to ask for a record contract. We never got a reply.
Honestly, I live in my own little dreamworld. In the world of modern technology, there’s a lot of what they call “AI” and “virtual reality.” I created my own little virtual reality long ago, and I’m comfortable in that dreamworld.
I don’t know how to account for what motivated me. Making music is so much a part of me that it’s like breathing and sleeping. That being said, there have been times when I had to make career-choices and lifestyle-choices, and I chose to see myself first and foremost as a songwriter and performer.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
- The Little Wretches: At first, I simply loved the sound of music, any kind of music, any style, any genre, any setting. I remember in high school encountering older kids who lorded their superior musical tastes over we ignorant consumers of mass-media. And I, too, went on to develop some pretty discriminating musical tastes.
I’ve always been drawn to the lyrical poets–Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan. Poets of the theater like Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O’Neill, Sam Shepard and August Wilson.
I’ve always bought into that warrior-poet thing, a songwriter and a guitar battling evil and fighting for truth and justice.
Like I said earlier, I live in my own little dreamworld. I’m like Superman, Batman and Captain America, and my superpower is songwriting.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
- The Little Wretches: It’s all in the songs, whatever message I want to send. If I could say it any other way, I would. But songs are the only way I know.
My mission statement comes from Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, “I’ll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in case you don’t know.” That’s our job as artists.
My goal is merely to do my job. Write the songs. Play the concerts. There’s a passage in the Bible that says something like, “Whoever puts his shoulder to the plow and looks back is not worthy to enter the Kingdom of God.” Just do the work. Write the songs. Be a mirror. Reflect the beauty all around you. Reflect the courage, and the love, and the struggle. Do the work, and everything else will take care of itself.
I hope that I’ll write something that people will be able to read or listen to in a hundred or five-hundred years. Timeless beauty.
MuzicNotez: What’s the latest release of yours? Tell us about it.
- The Little Wretches: The new album by The Little Wretches is called RED BEETS & HORSERADISH. The album is a collection of songs and stories about the indomitable spirit of humor and hope that sustains the sick people, old people, crazy people, working people and people who are alone who reside in the many river towns of Western Pennsylvania. We get to the universal through the particular.
The title comes from a dish served by a lot of Eastern European ethnicities. The red of the beets is symbolic of the blood of the people or the blood of their savior. The horseradish is symbolic of the bitterness of their suffering of the suffering of their savior.
Red beets and horseradish is kind of like The Little Wretches. Our songs and stories are beet roots. You pull them out of the dirt and eat them. And our songs and stories can be like horseradish, a little too spicy for some tastes.
The album has some great songs, but it stands up even better when taken as a whole.