Sending a host of questions via email to a musician can be a bit of a crap shoot.
I have been pretty lucky. The overwhelmingly majority of the responses I have gotten from my interviewees have been astute and interesting. Thankfully, it is only the rarest occasion where I got responses that are difficult to work with.
And then I got my responses from Nate Cook, front man for Denver rock outfit The Yawpers. He sent me a short story, in six parts, as his answers to my questions.
And I didn’t know what to do with it. The story was great, but it wasn’t what I was looking for or expecting. I figured we would chat about the new record, the song featured on Trail Mix this month, and maybe some clever asides.
This month, The Yawpers released a very cool project involving a rock and roll concept record with a companion comic book written by J.D. Wilkes. Set during World War I, the album and comic chronicle the story – via the brash rockabilly, thrash, punk bombast The Yawpers are known for – of a woman abandoning her newborn child.
Boy In A Well, the new record, is both an inventive and ambitious audio and visual adventure, and I wanted to chat with someone about it.
Thankfully, drummer Nate Shomberg took care of my questions for me, chatting up the new record, it’s companion comic book, and his manhood.
And if you are interested in Nate Cook’s short story, scroll on down when you finish the Q&A.
BRO – What drove the decision to release this album with an accompanying comic book?
NS – We had the pleasure of touring with The Legendary Shack Shakers in the winter of 2016 and fell in love with J.D. Wilkes’ artwork, specifically his comic books. When Nate conjured up the idea of our next album being a concept record, it seemed like a no brainer to get Wilkes on board to assign a visual aspect to the story.
BRO – Speaking of comics, are you a fan?
NS – Currently I am not much of a comic book fan. I’m more of a comic strip guy. When I was younger, I got into the standard Marvel and DC stuff, and that’s just about where it ended.
BRO – How was it working with Tommy Stinson?
NS – We loved workign with Tommy. He’s not too bad of a roommate, either. Tommy helped reign in our ideas, break up fights, and keep the flow of the day moving forward.
BRO – We are featuring “Mon Dieu” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
NS – This was one of the first songs we wrote as a band for the new record and one of the first we recorded. The story was conceived many years ago in my adolescence. My French grandmother and I always had a rocky relationship. While growing up, I would often profess that I wanted to be a rock and roller and she would often profess that I was wasting my time and should focus on a “real” career like accounting or, if I was to pursue pursue, I should play classical. You know, something respectable. I’ll never forget her calling out the phrase “mon dieu” over and over again in disappointment and frustration as she would talk to me about my life and future.
BRO – How mighty is your yawp?
NS – About ten inches. Yours?
Yeah, well, I might call shenanigans on that . . .
The Yawpers are currently on tour out west, with dates in California, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon slated for the next week or so. For more information on these and other dates, as well as how you can grab a copy of the new record, please visit the band’s website.
And, because it was so good, here’s that short story from Nate Cook I mentioned up above. It was too interesting to leave out.
I done told that ol’ dog to hunt, but he’d stopped listening. Like Pa after GM folded in town. He was just talking when no one was around. Like Boone hadn’t passed, and they were jawing at the VFW. Until his brain stroked, of course. Then there was nothing at all.
I can’t really recall, to be honest, the moment it happened. I saw the ash hit the straw in the barn, and all of a sudden, Jim was yelling, “Run! Run you damn fool!” And I kept screaming for Pa. But there weren’t time.
It was beautiful. Like God finger painting on chalkboard. The moon was behind the big storm heads, like the ones Pearl and I used to watch off the porch before the consumption took her, and the flames licked the place where the stars used to be. Like there were reaching to God. Like I used to.
But Ma couldn’t let go like that, what with all the screaming. She ran in, black as a dust bunny held to the sun. I felt my face was all wet, and Jim held me in his arms. He shushed me like the school teachers, but softer. I could see his face was wet, too.
The stones weren’t much bigger than a brick The men from the institution had driven me down to see them. Side by side. My face weren’t wet no more. It was dry. Just like the morning.