So Slim Cessna's Auto Club are coming to Toronto FRIDAY AUGUST 2ND with The Sterling Sisters, which just happens to be Slim's son George's band! I email-terviewed both father and son about being on tour together and so on!
INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE
Your musical style follows so closely behind your fathers that you’re now opening for him on tour! Has he been your biggest influence over the years?
GEORGE: I've seen the Auto Club play and have listened to their music my whole life. The band has been together as long as I have been alive. My father taught me everything I know about music, he even taught me how to play guitar. I'm proud to be anything like my father, so in that way, yes he's definitely a strong influence on me.
Were you always a fan of his or did you go through one of those rebellion stages where you liked everything but what your dad represented?
GEORGE: I've never rebelled against my dad in any way like that. But I guess everybody's a teenager at some point in their life. It's very difficult to rebel against your father when he's in a rock n' roll band on Jello Biafra's record label.
In the first interview I did with Slim we talked about how he was raised very religious, by a Baptist preacher, but that he did not raise his kids religiously but musically … yet your music still reflects the same type of religious content as his…. where do your beliefs lie?
GEORGE: I don't know if that's necessarily true. I think the Auto Club's reflection of religion and the stories they tell are very different from ours. Country music has strong ties to Christianity and American history. It's not like I wasn't exposed to any of it while I was growing up. Anybody can have a connection to God, regardless of whether their parents took them to church every week or not. I'm scared of the same things everybody else is. But I've never believed in God more than when I'm listening to a good country or gospel song, and I guess in that way music has been the most important religious aspect of my life.
What about the rest of your band?
GEORGE: I can't really speak for the rest of the band, but all of us were raised in various Christian backgrounds and nobody is unfamiliar with questions or subject matter concerning religious belief. We're all interested in similar things, which is what brought us together.
What does your song “Heaven” mean to you? What inspired it?
GEORGE: It's about knowing there's a better place for you in the world, but being afraid of getting there. It was inspired by a six pack of Coors Banquet from Midtown.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club has been called ‘the best live band’ so many times and in so many ways… does that give you some friendly (or unfriendly!) competition while on tour with you guys to be better than the best?
GEORGE: Haha I don't know about that. We try our best, we put on a good show. But nobody does the Auto Club like the Auto Club. We could never compete with them.
Do you ever feel the pressure to live up to your fathers’ legend?
GEORGE: I guess, maybe? I don't want to disappoint anyone.
Do you welcome comparisons to your father in music or do you get annoyed by them?
I love my dad's music and I welcome any comparison. I don't feel like our music is exactly similar, and he'd probably tell you the same thing.
INTERVIEW WITH SLIM
Have you learned anything from seeing your son on stage that has helped you with your performance in any way?
SLIM: Yes. I learned that I need to stay on my toes and continue to work hard to keep up with him. George is really really good.
Is it hard not to play the ‘dad’ role while on the road with your son?
SLIM: I'll always be his father. Ha
Do you 2 get to spend a lot of father/son quality time together while you tour or do you keep to yourselves and give each other space?
SLIM: We haven't met up with them yet on this tour. That happens in a few days. I'm sure we'll have some time together. One thing I'm proud of as a parent is both of my kids are very good friends of mine.
Do you have to hold anything back or hide anything from George you or does he see the true Slim on tour to the full extent?
SLIM: No. He already knows I'm not like other dads.
I interviewed you last a couple years ago just after Unentitled came out, how have things changed between that album and An Introduction for Young and Old Europe?
SLIM: Hopefully we continue to grow and change. We try to challenge ourselves to do that. However, the new album is a compilation spanning many years of material. We re-recorded a few of them to represent the band as it now. These upcoming shows will have us playing a few more older songs than normal.
Is the version of “Jesus Christ” on the live DVD the one featuring Jello singing with you on it by any chance? From Denver?
SLIM: I wish it was Jello singing Jesus Christ with us on the DVD. He sang a great version of it with us several years ago.