Broke-Ass Band Interview: Amy LaVere Tonight at Joe’s Pub

Armed with a standing bass and a voice that swings easily from a raspy blues purr, to a clear, dulcet alto, Amy LaVere commands the stage. Amy brings a range of experiences – moving around the country as a “General Motors brat,” roles in Black Snake Moon and Walk the Line, a breakup with a band member, and the passing of a musical mentor – to her most recent album, Stranger Me. Tonight, she’ll be making a stop at Joe’s Pub, and in anticipation of the show, Amy talks to us about the charming sound of “Buddha Boxes,” her “frenetic” song writing, and why she never goes to the same place twice when she’s in NYC.
How would you describe your sound in one sentence?

I work hard to be sure that you cannot describe my music in one sentence.

What’s your song-writing process like?

Frenetic and without structure or rules. It’s mayhem in here.

On Stranger Me we can hear organs, toy pianos and Theremins, in addition to more standard instruments like the guitar or violin. What’s your favorite makeshift or unconventional instrument? 

On this recording, the Buddha Boxes were my favorite discovery. They drone really nice, hypnotic noises.

What do you want people to take from your music? 

I just want them to say to themselves, ” I will get out of my house and support live music if this band comes within 100 miles of my town”

Where are you from, and where do you call home now?

I am a GM brat. Born in Shreveport but moved constantly around the Midwest mostly and Canada. Been in Memphis now for 11 years and I love it.

Did moving around as a child influence your musical tastes?
It definitely influenced the fact that I chose to pursue music at all. I enjoy the travel.
When you’re in NYC, what’s your favorite neighborhood to hang out in?

The one I haven’t seen yet. I’ve been up to NY maybe 10 times in my life and I really just want to see new stuff when I go.

Your favorite cheap bar in NYC?

I’ve never been to the same one twice.

Your favorite cheap meal in NYC?

Blaue Gans was pretty great last time we were there.

What was one of your brokest moments as a recording artist?

Right now. Always. I can’t get ahead. I am one more bad tour away from being a homeless failure and it seems most of musician friends are in the same boat.

What do you refuse to spend money on?

I can’t think of anything I feel that way about.

What do you think any artist should suck it up and spend money on?

I don’t have any thing to offer here either. The tools don’t make the artist.

What was the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and why did you make the purchase?

The Van. The big gas sucking wallet draining van. I love it. I love driving it, napping in it and listening to the radio in it.

 How do you save money on the road?
Grocery stores and a cooler.
What’s your pre-show ritual? 

Tuning my bass is the only thing that would be a consistent ritual.

What can the audience expect from your live performances?
I love this band I am touring with. Krista Wroten on violin, Shawn Zorn on drums, David Cousar on the guitar. I play the upright bass and sing. They share my love of the craft and respect the opportunity. We play to the stories and give it all we got while we are on stage.
Amy LaVere
Tonight, 9:30PM
$14
Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St)
[Noho]
Photo Credit: amylavere.com

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About the author

Tiara Francis - NY Know-it-all

Tiara was born in NYC, raised in NJ, and after studying Comp Lit at Columbia, vowed to never go back to the suburbs. While she has expensive taste, she also has shallow pockets and is always looking for a budget way to be a weekend warrior. Her hobbies include laughing way too loudly, putting hot sauce on/in everything - including margaritas - speaking French at inappropriate moments, and dancing like there’s no one else in da club.

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