the jayhawks

Though fans of the popular roots 'n' country quintet THE JAYHAWKS were upset when the band parted company a little more than a year ago, there's been plenty to be excited about since we announced that four of the members - Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Tim O'Reagan and Karen Grotberg - minus Mark Olson - have regrouped to record a new album with co-producer Brian Paulson (Beck, Superchunk, Wilco, Sun Volt). For months now, there have been rumors about a change in direction, a new sound, something as fresh and exciting in its own right as The Jayhawks when they emerged from the vibrant Minneapolis club scene back in the late 80s. What exactly are these Jayhawks up to? Guitarist Gary Louris and bassist Marc Perlman bring us all up to speed on their brand new and still unnamed band, whose brand-new CD -- Sound of Lies -- is scheduled to be released by American Recordings in the Spring of 1997.
QUESTION: After The Jayhawks took its "break" in November, 1995, what brought four out of five of you back together again? Gary: Before Mark Olson decided to leave the band, we all knew the time for a change was coming. And once he left, we just took some time off. Then last March, the four of us gravitated together and started to rehearse in my living room. Q: Are you still based in Minneapolis?
Gary: More than ever.
Q: What happened at those initial rehearsals?
Gary: At first we had a pedal steel guitar brought in and it sounded like Jayhawks music. But pretty soon the character of the band that had been the original The Jayhawks started changing a bit.
Marc: Yeah, it ended up evolving into a different sound. Less country.
Q: "Less country" what way?
Marc: Take the vocals. Instead of the classic country harmonies that Mark Olson and Gary used to sing, now - with Mark no longer in the band - it's one solo voice, with backing vocals, which is more of a pop or rock approach than country.
Gary: Remember, back when we started The Jayhawks in 1985, the music scene was different. We were different people then. I know that I'll never be able to sing country like George Jones. I have a more pop and rock sensibility.
Q: What exactly influenced this new emphasis?
Gary: I saw The Geraldine Fibbers cover a song by Can, which was an experimental German band from the Sixties, and it really inspired me to do something different.
Q: Are you now the sole songwriter in the band, Gary?
Gary: No, in fact we're all writing now. After Mark {Olson} left, it allowed the others in the band to step up and contribute more.
Marc: Yeah, everybody contributed to this new album, it was more a group effort.
Q: Will long-time fans of The Jayhawks hear any vintage Jayhawks songs from you guys when the new band tours?
Gary: Oh yeah, we'll still play some early Jayhawks songs, stuff that I sang lead on. But, we're really excited about these new songs. Although we're still called 'The Jayhawks,' in many ways we're a different band.
Marc: It's a new beginning.

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