We got the chance to interview local blues artist Craig Kinsey after last week’s Birthday Bash. Check out what he had to say about his new album, why he decided to start touring and his upcoming plans for his website.
How was it like working with Steve Christensen on your newest album?
Great. Steve Christensen was amazing. It’s one of the most pleasant experiences you can imagine making a record with Steve Christensen. Guy is brilliant, fun, cool.
Could you talk about your life growing up?
My life growing up?
Sure. Just to give some background.
I guess I listened to a lot of AC/DC and got into a lot of trouble. That pretty much sums it up.
Then you became a monk.
Yeah. Then I stopped getting in trouble. Well, I went to the monastery and got in trouble there too.
What were your musical influences on American Roots and Machines?
It’s kind of always the same. AC/DC is a big influence. Bob Dylan. All American roots music. Smithsonian institute music. There’s a lot of old recordings in the Smithsonian Institute of early American music. There’s a song on the album that was produced like Weezer. So I guess you could say Weezer was an influence in one of the songs.
It’s called “What is it that you want”. Another big influence for the album was Homer. The Iliad. There’s a poem in there [the album] called American chant. It’s actually based after the Iliad. But instead of talking about the Trojan War it’s talking about America’s history.
What instruments did you play on the album?
I just played the guitar and harmonica and sang. My main thing is writing songs and performance. Not a super instrument-based guy.
What instruments are you wanting to learn?
That’s a good question. Violin. Fiddle. And piano.
I really liked the music video for “I’m Not Part of a Scene”.
Yeah it was fun.
Is that your first solo music video?
Yeah. That’s actually the first,like, official video that I’ve done. I haven’t been doing the music business part of it until the last year. And now I’m pursuing music as a business and we’re hiring a publicist and we’re about to start doing national touring and stuff. But that hasn’t been a main goal of mine until just recently. Even though I’m known for music around this town.
Could you tell us why you decided to go on this career path of doing what you do now?
Because I realized I can go camping when I’m on the road. That’s the short answer. I’ve never wanted to do….The road always seemed like a trap to me. Hotel, gig, road, hotel, gig, road. That’s what the road is. You don’t get to do anything else. So I didn’t want to get into that. Then I realized I can go camping, and I’m a big outdoors guy. So when I realized instead of staying at hotels, I could camp and see national parks, state parks all across America and have music pay for that? I’m cool with that.
Can you share some of the techniques you learned for entertaining crowds at the University of St. Thomas?
Magician’s secrets, huh? I noticed on CraigKinsey101.com which- is that your website?
Yeah, we’re in the process of building it.
There are two blank sections- CraigKinsey101 and the other is Conversations with Dad.
Two blogs. And I haven’t started writing on them. Craigkinsey101 will be stuff that I write from the road, and essays probably. It’ll be anything that’s in my mind. I might even do philosophical essays. I was a philosophy and psychology major at St. Thomas. So I may do legetimate philosophical essays on there. I haven’t decided if I want to go that far but I probably will, using terms that the average person might not understand, but just for my own fun to put it up there. Anything from that, to descriptions of stuff that happens on the road. Crazy stories and all that. Any number of things I’ll put on that. And then the conversations with my dad is… do you know about that?
On my facebook page, I started writing these conversations I had with my dad. They’ve become hugely popular. Every one I put up on there has gotten 100 likes or more. People ask for them. When I’m out, people ask ‘Where’s my dad?’ It’s become like a thing. I’m just going to take all those things I’ve put on Facebook through the years, and roll them over on a blog, and do it through a blog instead of doing it through my Facebook. It’s simply that. I write them in script format, like if you were reading a script for a play. It’s not prose. There’s no descriptions. There’s just the raw conversation.
Do you include how he pronounces the words?
No. And there’s no pictures of him. So it leaves everything to the imagination.
How is your relationship with your dad these days?
You guys play video games together?
Well, I’m not a big video game guy but I’ll do it occasionally just to hang out with him. He’s the video game monger. If I was going to play a game I would play more like chess or settlers of Catan, or some kind of board game type of thing.
When you play, will you be choosing songs to cater to our college- aged crowd?
Oh, I always take into account the crowd. It’s like if you’re on a date with a lady. You take into account what she likes and what her preferences are. I think it’s disrespectful to not care what your audience might want to hear.
By Nicholas Randall