An Interview with Mississippi Stranglers’ Own Kurt Carlson
By: Coren E. McLeod
The Mississippi Stranglers hit the main vein of American Music. From folk to progressive rock they cover a spectrum that spans from front porch hoe-downs to traditional garage rock offering something for everyone.
The Mississippi Stranglers truly are an original “American band.”
If anyone out there knows, I am really good friends of the Sonic Americana band Mississippi Stranglers. Lately, the band has been playing a lot of shows around the McHenry County area and beyond.
I got to catch up with the singer and guitar player, Kurt Carlson, to ask what is happening for the rest of the year with The Stranglers.
Here is what he had to say:
UnRated Coren: I heard there is a big festival you guys will be playing soon… Tell me about that…
Kurt: Yes. There are two in fact: the first one is in Dixon Illinois called Gardenstock Art & Music Festival. The Annual Gardenstock Art & Music Festival is Saturday August 20, 2016 on the grounds of Distinctive Gardens, 2020 Lowell Park Road. Gardenstock is a really laid back event featuring the area’s best live music and art on beautifully landscaped grounds. We are very excited to play with some great bands and for the great people that put this event on: They really do it right!! The Stranglers will play at 2:45pm. Ya’ll can get more info at www.diggersdelight.com
The second festival is The Gram Parsons 70th Birthday Bash Heartland Series on Saturday, August 27 at the legendary Milwaukee venue, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 1001 E Locust St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Everyone feel free to invite all your friends! Gram Parsons InterNational comes to Milwaukee for its Heartland show as this year marks what would have been Gram Parsons’ 70th Birthday.
They are putting together a traveling festival presenting his 70th Birthday Bash in Nashville, Milwaukee, L.A. and Dublin. And we were lucky enough to get on the bill for the Milwaukee show. It felt right when we talked with the festivals great promoter Will James about show as we are big into Gram Parsons and all his work. So, it’s an honor for us to be part of it. The Stranglers set is at 9:30pm with many other great bands on the bill.
UnRated Coren: What are the other plans for the summer?
Kurt: Well, as for plans, we are working on new material for the upcoming E.P. that we will be recording this fall. (We don’t have a title yet) We hope to have it out this winter but I’m sure some of the new songs will make their way into the sets coming up. We have had a busy summer and want to thank all that came out to the shows. We hope ya’ll had as much fun as we did.
We are closing out the summer with the two festival sets and just getting ready for the fall and winter shows as we move closer towards summers end. Neal will be going under the knife to fix some problems with his back finally!! He has really been sticking it out through all the shows this summer and has really given his all through the pain. Neal is a real trooper and deserves a big round of applause!!!
I, personally, will be playing with some guys from the band and some other local musicians that we have played with. We will be working on some songs from my old band from California The Spots to try and resurrect an old ghost. I just don’t want to see some of those older songs go to waste. But more about that later…I will have more news about that as the project evolves. We will see……. But The Mississippi Stranglers will be better than ever this fall and winter with new material.
UnRated Coren: It seems like all of you have been very busy this summer. What have you enjoyed so far?
Kurt: Well, just playing the shows and getting to hang with all of our Strangler Family. I think for a few of us getting the chance to play for our children at the festivals has been a great experience. We don’t get a chance that often to do that when we are playing at night in the bars and clubs.
The show at Glacial Park was really cool. Scorched Earth Day Festival was great. The Rosbrook Studio show with good friend Jay Vonn was another great night. As always, playing on our home turf this summer at The Chain O’ Lakes Brewery always gets us keyed up. The Stranglers opened up the live music season over there (Chain O’Lakes Brewery) with good friends Zeppelin Unplugged. It was a great show. I think all the brothers and sisters (fans) enjoyed that one a great deal. And, of course, the Fiesta Days Block Party at The Chain O’ Lakes Brewery with great locals Greywall and Mark Hobbs was a blast as always.
The last show we played at KC’s Cabin was really fun. Greywall put on a great original rock & roll festival. There were a lot of amazing bands. I have been working with Curt Ames from the Chain O’ Lakes Brewery this summer booking bands as well so check them out!! Come enjoy some great beer and great live local talent at Mchenry’s Great Brewery.
UnRated Coren: Are there any new songs on the horizon? What have the Mississippi Stranglers been working on?
Kurt: Why yes indeed there are. We are working as I mentioned earlier on a new E.P. this fall that we hope to get out this winter. (Just in time for the holidays.) Some of the new tracks have made their way to the live sets and we plan to add more as we get them’ road ready.
This fall we have some shows and we will be showcasing a lot of new material. We feel as a band, before we start the recording process we like to play all the new stuff live and keep them fresh. Then we jump in the studio and lay them down. We have been working on the new songs at our home studio in between shows and all I can tell you is they are really coming alive. We are defining us more and more with every lyric and every note…Its going to be good…real good!!!
UnRated Coren: You just played a festival at KC’s Cabin on Saturday, August 6th. How was that? How did you get involved with that?
Kurt: Well, Garrett (Stranglers’ guitar player) was in a great band called The Other Us (still going strong). So, we did some shows with all those good brothers at School House Rocks and got to know each other pretty well over the past few years.
Garrett and Matt (Stranglers’ drummer) still have a great hang with The Other Us guys and they jam out in Antioch, Illinois. So, we are all familiar with each other’s music. We had just had Greywall out to play the Chain O’ Lakes Brewery Fiesta Days Block Party with us. So, when David Michael and Dave Baker from Greywall and The Other Us asked if we wanted to be part of an All Original Rock Festival they were putting together, we jumped at the opportunity to play with our rock & roll brothers.
David Michael put together some great original rock & roll bands to share the stage at the festival with Greywall headlining. It was basically a no brainier!! We got to share the stage with Werewolves an Hour Thirty (WAH30), The First Rule, The Z Chord, Ashes from Stone, and Greywall all in one night!!! Well, shit ,Coren, you were there…you know it kicked ass!!! I hope those brothers will want to do it again next year and invite us back.
UnRated Coren: Anything you would like to tell your fans…..
Kurt: Well, as always we love all of our Strangler Brothers and Sisters and want to thank them for the support!!! This has been a great year for us and we couldn’t do it without ya’ll!!! Thank you so much for buying our last E.P. “The Great Revival”…we can’t believe the great response we have received from ya’ll after giving it a few spins. The shows have been great and we have enjoyed the hang with all ya’ll…. new and old fans!!! We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have!!
The Mississippi Strangler Family is only growing bigger and bigger and we are enjoying every minute of it with each and every one of ya’ll. We have lost some and gained some, but we loved them all. In these very strange and confusing times remember one thing….Love your fellow brothers and sisters and everything will work out just fine.
Thank you Coren!!
No, no… Thank you, Kurt!!!! And the rest of the Mississippi Stranglers!!!!!