The Jayhawks: „a place where music lovers and musicians come to be inspired by the art that is music“ (Interview)

The Jayhawks (Foto:, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Plattenladenwoche: Many artists from Germany have great success abroad. Also more and more albums succeeding in the charts (media control) are produced in Germany. What do you think is special about Germany as a creative location and how did you become a musician yourself?

Gary Louris / The Jayhawks: I can only speak of my favorites, Neu, Can, and Faust. They all had almost an industrial quality mixed in with expressionism and a search for freedom. I never tire of listening to those bands. Germany itself I always see as hard working and productive and possessing much physical beauty.

The Jayhawks have never particularly done well there so I am not an expert on the country. I do know I have a soft spot for Berlin, and love those Bowie records made there in the 70’s. Maybe I am just stuck in the 70’s.

What kind of meaning do record stores have concerning music culture in general and your own music in particular in your opinion?

Record stores are more than about music. They create interaction between fellow music lovers, and become hubs for listeners to come and interact with the so called experts behind the desk who can tell you about what is new and exciting.

How important are specialist shops for you as an artist as well as a consumer and a music fan?

Growing up a music lover I was always drawn to the local record shops in Minneapolis. That’s where I would sit and talk with my friend or owner behind the counter who would tell me excitedly about what was new and what I should listen to. They also were places where musicians would assemble, kind of like a hangout or clubhouse. Along with good local radio stations and a good local club and promoter indie stores really fueled the local music scene. Minneapolis was blessed with many great Indie stores… Oar Folkjokeopus, Garage d’Or, Let It Be, Electric Fetus… sadly all but the Fetus are gone now trampled down by the big giant conglomerates.

What are your current personal CD tips and which artists and albums should not be missing  in any CD collection?

As far as tips are concerned I think it’s good to have a ‚list‘ before going into the store because I know I get overwhelmed when I walk in and forget what I came for. It’s always good to have someone you trust behind the counter to tell you what is cool. Otherwise it is word of mouth and searching the web nowadays for what sounds cool. Then go buy it. Don’t try to get it for free. That band you love may break up because they don’t get any money for making their record.

I know that my collection is filled with many cd’s I don’t really know why I got. And then there are classics that I am missing. I would make sure you have the building blocks, the great records that have stood the test of time first and not just what is cool ‚today‘.

“I support ‘Record Store Week’ because …”

I support ‚record store week‘ because they are more than just a shop to buy music… they are a museum, a church, a hangout, a library and a place where music lovers and musicians come to be inspired by the art that is music.