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with singer-guitarist Chris Conley of Saves The Day

click to enlarge The Decemberists dont like it when their headlines - reference 80s movies like The Karate Kid. Who knew?
  • The Decemberists dont like it when their headlines reference 80s movies like The Karate Kid. Who knew?

Indy: Your previous CD, 2003's In Reverie, was a good album that seemed to go nowhere on the charts. What happened?

CC: The first thing is, the album comes out on a Tuesday, and three days later we've got a sold-out show in Asbury Park, N.J., to 4,000 people. It was Friday morning and I get a phone call from our A&R guy, Luke Wood. And he says, "Well, I've got some bad news. No one at radio is biting at the single, and MTV doesn't want to play the video. I'm afraid we should consider the album dead and start thinking about the next record." That was word for word.

Indy: I've read that In Reverie's failure really caused problems for you as a songwriter.

CC: I didn't trust my instincts, and I didn't think I was good enough, and I thought maybe I was never going to have fun making music again.

Indy: You bounced back, though, to make a follow-up, Sound the Alarm, and now you have a new CD on the way. How did you regain your creative footing?

CC: I had just finished reading a book called [The] Mansion on the Hill, and it's about kind of rock 'n roll and commerce. I started to see the industry for what it was, where it's a business and the music is merely a commodity for the industry tycoons. I thought, "Oh wow, this doesn't really mean that In Reverie wasn't a good album. It means it was harder for them to sell." [The book] got my eye back on the ball.

At Denver's Gothic Theatre, Friday, April 20.

  • with singer-guitarist Chris Conley of Saves The Day

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