INTERVIEW: Chris Kennedy from Ruth Ruth
By: Alex Steininger
Alex: What are some of your musical influences?
Chris: OK...The Jam, Blondie, and The Clash.
Alex: What are your band goals for 1997?
Chris: Well, we are recording a new record in a week or two. Then we plan on touring at the end of the year.
Alex: What do you do on the road for fun?
Chris: Let me think a minute...there's not much time for fun. We go to movies, Bar-B-Q's, record shopping junk like that.
Alex: What is your favorite city to play and why?
Chris: Chicago. We usually have lots of people at the shows, and of course New York.
Alex: What goes into good music making for you?
Chris: Well, a good melody is important. I'm a big fan of melody. Lyrically it must have a meaning behind it. Well sometimes it wont, but a lot of times it should. Also, a good flow. It's very rare that you get a good flow with no effort.
Alex: What do you enjoy and hate about the music biz?
Chris: I enjoy playing, recording, going to live shows and meeting people, and the road. What I hate is when you are treated badly by the record company. They have no hand in making the music and they have never been in a band, so they don't understand you.
Alex: If you could change anything in your music career, would you?
Chris: Yeah, more money!
Alex: What are the high and low points that the band has experienced?
Chris: A low point was when Dave, the original drummer, left and quit the band. It really broke things up. But a high point is the new members.
Alex: Do you have a favorite song that you have written?
Chris: That I have written?
Chris: I like Julia, You Have No Heartbeat.
Alex: If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?
Chris: Blondie, if they are re-united.
Alex: Do you have any road experience that stands out in your mind?
Chris: Sure, there are a lot of them. We had good bar-b-q in Nashville. It was a 900 mile trip back to New York, and we were going to make it in one shot. But then we came across this bar-b-q. We ate a lot of pork, and had a lot of fun.
Alex: What made you want to create music?
Chris: I was a big beach boys fan! When I was 13 or 14 I really enjoyed them. Then I started learning how to play.
Alex: What inspires you to write songs? Life? Personal experiences? Fiction?
Chris: All of that. A combination. I'll hear a band that I like, and I'll incorporate an idea. The melody will come to me and I'll build a tune from that.
Alex: What do you want to the listener to get out of your music?
Chris: A feeling...a feeling I had when I wrote and recorded it. It could be a good or bad feeling. I want it to hit a nerve, and emotion. Pop music should move you, and I want it to move the listener.
Alex: Tell me about the new album. How does it compare and differ from previous material?
Chris: Laughing Gallery had more...I wrote it after playing New York every night. It was high energy, live trash. The Little Death was more melodic and complicated. The new one will be a combination of the two. The Little Death was only an EP, so if you liked it you should hopefully find something you like on the new album. If you liked Laughing Gallery or the Little Death you should find something you like, like getting them both in one package.
Alex: How do you honestly feel about American Recordings, now that Reprise has picked it up?
Chris: Well, we are in an unusual predicament right now. Laughing Gallery did good, but we had a tough time with it also. The Little Death EP, #2, did great. Hopefully for #3 we will get lucky and everything will click. It is very unusual, all three albums will come out on a different label, so hopefully that is a good thing. We have now been fitted. Epitaph was great with promoting the album and making it available. American Recordings was good at video and radio. We are hoping to get both in one package with new album.
Alex: In a few of your songs you talk about your dad with lines like, "Daddy Can't Shoot, where did I come from?" and, "oh good I reared a faggot, and I'm afraid he'll look like me." Any truth to these?
Chris: Sure, yeah. I have a good relationship with my father, though. When I write and read back the songs they are part fiction, and part non fiction. I couldn't tell you a line happened, it may or may not have. It is the feelings I had when I wrote it.
Alex: Is there anything I left out that you would like to cover?
Chris: In July the new record is coming out, and in the fall we should be touring.