Dick Prall
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Dick Prall

 

A small town boy with big city mentality, Dick Prall embodies the role of a modern independent musician. Deciding to forgo a more comfortable lifestyle to follow his desire to write and perform his own creations, Prall's music and voice are both unique and comforting. Way Cool Music sat down with Prall to discuss the joys and disappointments of the recording process, the importance of allowing space in a song and his future as a working musician.

 

 

WC:

Tell us a little about your background.

 

 

Dick
Prall:

I was born in Hannibal, Missouri and my family ended up in Mason City, Iowa. My father passed away when I was a little kid. My mom got remarried so the family moved to a very small town called, Sheffield, Iowa. It's in north central Iowa; it's about 1000 people now. I didn't do music when I was a kid except for singing in the choir, or chorus as it was called. But, I was kicked out of that for being a smart ass. Then, I moved away to Denver, Colorado. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I always fantasized about being a musician, but I wasn't. I couldn't play anything...I never sang in a band. I started dabbling with a few musicians out there, learning covers in a basement, hanging out. I decided I really wanted to be a musician. I didn't know if I wanted to do music or act. But, music was always something I fantasized about as a kid...not acting so much...it always intrigued me.

 

 

When I was in Denver, I started writing some songs. Just melodies because I still couldn't play. I got together with a friend who was a guitar player and cut a demo. it's a 5-song demo on a cassette player. it's tucked away and I still have it. The songs had names like, 'don't Cry (I'll Call You In The Morning)', and 'Real Life America' which was a heart-felt song about the travesties that go on in our nation. (smirking) They centered around small-town life. I wrote a love song...an amazing piece of work called, 'Fall Into Your Soul.' (laughing) They were all so wonderfully horrific.

 

Dick Prall

 

 

WC:

Why has that song not appeared on any record?

 

 

DP:

The gems I like to keep to myself. So, I did that whole thing with my buddy. It was cool, but I didn't get the idea across as to exactly how I wanted to do it because I didn't play guitar. So, I moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and started getting involved in local bands. I was in a band called, Bomb Pop. Every city in the nation has a band called Bomb Pop, I discovered. One of these guys was in another band called Baggy Spandex. We started playing a few songs that he had written and started writing together. His name is Quentin Duarte. Quentin was insane, and extremely bipolar, but had a brilliant mind and was this tremendously original writer. He was a little guy who looked a little like Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers). When I first met Quentin, he was small, but lean and muscular. When I started playing with him, he had a gut. But, he still played with his shirt off like he used to when he was lean. So, here I was playing in this power punk band, me with my little pop melodies. It kind of worked. Quentin and I were socially very different. I'm really chatty and he is not...doesn't really like people. But, we really hit it off more than the rest of the guys did. He introduced me to stuff like The Buzzcocks and New York Dolls. He got me into House of Large Sizes, which is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, live bands. They are a good Iowa band.

I told him I wanted to learn to play guitar. We drove to Des Moines, Iowa one day. I had $300 and I bought a shitty Sigma Martin guitar. It was like pushing down railroad ties because the action was so high on the strings. He circled chords in a chord book and said, "This is what you need to know to start with." I taught myself how to play. He played these new jazz things. To this day, I can't play what he plays. But, it was fun. I started writing on the side. With the first four chords I learned, I wrote a song called, 'Turn Away.' Pretty much everything that's on the first CD is everything I had written. Bomb Pop kind of stopped when I was writing my own stuff. We had gotten a new drummer, Bill Neff, who played with House of Large Sizes for a while. He also played in a band called, The Bent Scepters...he's a pop guy. He heard the stuff I was writing and said, "You should be playing this in Bomb Pop." But, it wasn't really Bomb Pop's sound. My songs were poppy and rootsy while Bomb Pop was full - on punk. He said, "Let's record this stuff." So, I just started doing that. Eventually, it became the Dick Prall Band with me and Bill Neff and Eric Straumanis playing bass and Brook Hoover who was another insane guitar player back home. There are a lot of phenomenal musicians back home (Iowa), but they don't have anything over their heads like labels or competition bullshit. They are just really good at what they do. On the other side, there is a lot of apathy and not a lot of ambition I guess. that's where I differed from those guys because I was ambitious in the sense that I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to be a better songwriter and see how far I could go with it.

 

 

 

Dick Prall

 

I played in the Dick Prall Band, had a revolving cast of a few musicians, and then got married. I moved to Chicago. And, that's when Starch Martins started. I always hated the name, Dick Prall Band, but the guys in the band could never agree what we should call ourselves. I had this name, Starch Martins, for a while. When I disbanded The Dick Prall Band, I went to that. Dick Prall is kind of an odd name, if anyone hasn't noticed, so I wasn't comfortable using that name. Growing up with it was weird. I went through a phase, in Denver, where I introduced myself as Richard. But, I had so much guilt calling myself that because my father went by 'Dick' and that's what he called me. Seemed like I was disrespecting my dad by not calling myself what he wanted. I went by 'Richard' for a year, but couldn't take it anymore. I said, "I'm really Dick!"

 

 

 

I got married and moved to Chicago. I had written a batch of songs and found a studio, Rax Trax, which I really love, and recorded those songs. My wife took a job here. It was between Chicago and San Francisco, but I'm deathly afraid of earthquakes so we chose Chicago. And, that's how I got to Chicago.

With the Starch Martins album, I had written a number of those songs while I was separated and starting a divorce. So, I wanted to take those songs that were a little darker, more introspective and throw them against a canvas that was brighter and more poppy. I was happy with the album. I was horrified by the mix. The whole landscape of an album can change in someone else's hands who has no idea the vision you were going for to start with. that's what happened with the Starch Martins album. I'm proud of the songwriting because it's a leap from where I was before. But, it didn't come off anywhere near what I had hoped it would sound. We were a little overindulgent being in a big studio for the first time, using all the bells and whistles. And, John Svec who is a fucking incredible bass player, and writes beautiful music, took over the reigns on guitar. I think we produced some really cool shit together, but we went overboard. It was kind of uncomfortable for me once the album was done. It was a much more Dick Prall/John Svec album then it was a Dick Prall thing. I didn't have as much ownership of it as I wanted. But, that's how it goes.

 

 

WC:

How would you describe your current sound to someone who's never heard you before?

 

 

DP:

There's the whole singer songwriter label which, at one point, was all the rage...the guy with his acoustic guitar. I think that's always going to continue with guys like David Gray. But, now you have guys like Damien Rice, Patrick Park, and Ryan Adams who does whatever the hell he wants which is cool. But, I don't think of myself as the troubadour with his guitar that does all of these heart felt songs all stripped down. There's an element of it that I like, and a thread of that just in the way I write with an acoustic. But, there's a lot of shit that I hear in my head, certain parts that I like to hear that you just don't get with an acoustic. I think that with this album, I've finally straddled the two things that I love, which is a basic song with little sonic threads that add to the whole mood or soundscape of the song. it's those elements that make them more interesting and separate the songs from the just being singer songwriter material.

 

Dick & Paul Stebner

 

 

 

I got to work with horns for the first time. That was exciting because, for example with the song, 'Great Admirer,' I've heard that song in my head for three years. I had always heard it with horns, and with a certain vibe. The horn players who came in were awesome and great to work with. I didn't have to chart stuff out because I don't know how to write music. I just hummed it and we got it done.

I'm really happy. I think the biggest reason that I'm happy is not because, "Jesus, I have this great album," but it's that I finally interpreted something in enough of an articulate manner that people understood it, and we could put it to tape. It wasn't just my ability, but working with people like Brian McDonald, who "got" it. He's someone I've worked with for quite a while. From us being friends for all these years, regardless of what he's into, he knows what I like to hear. that's pretty rare. Instead of being slapped with some studio musicians and me saying, "This is what I want," and, them saying, "Here's the tricks of my trade." Brian had a lot of time to foster the ideas that I had and, actually, bring them to life. Josh Shapera is the same way. He engineered the album. I think that was the best fit because he's known me for a while. For years now, we've talked about doing an album together. He was my first choice. In a short amount of time, with a normal commercial studio vibe, we walked in and really brought to the table exactly what we wanted. We got it delivered because Josh understood from those conversations we'd had in the past. We started recording in October and by the middle of January, we had it done. Part of it is that I know more...I'm not as green. The first CD was recorded in a basement in Iowa City. For the second CD, we were in a big studio and we thought, "I guess we could put 62 tracks on this one song." Seriously, it got to that point where, when you are doing that much, and you weed through what you need and don't need, you start squeezing these instruments into little, tiny pockets of the song. In the end, there's no space.

This album (fizzlebuzzie) has lots and lots of space. It breathes. it's much truer to how we sound live. When we first talked about this, we were going to do more of a live album...but, I didn't want to do a live album. I wanted to take those liberties of having a headphone experience. it's a big part of what I love. I'm a big fan of The Beatles and Catherine Wheel. Those bands that give us little treats that you hear when you have headphones on. You are not going to necessarily hear when you are blaring it through your stereo or your car.

 

 

WC:

Describe your songwriting process.

 

 

 

Dick Prall

 

DP:

I don't write a lot, to tell the truth. It just kind of hits me. I'm not the person who gets an idea at 2:00 am and I grab my guitar. I'm too fucking lazy for that. Obviously, when I get done with an album and have some time with the songs that I'm playing live, then I start to jones to write new material. So, I'm not constantly writing. What I do, what I've always done, is sit down with my acoustic. Hopefully no one is home, or I go in the bathroom. I'm very, very easily distracted by TV and people...and shoestrings. Probably, not unlike most musicians, I pour myself a drink and see what happens. If things fall out of my head, great. If they don't, they don't. I try not to get too flustered. I don't know if I've ever sat down and ripped off a whole song in one sitting. I'm way too analytical and way too critical to do that. And, maybe that's bad, but it just doesn't feel right to me. There are times where I'll write one part of a song, and months later something will hit me and make me think, "Shit, that'd work for that song." It's specific to that song. I don't take one part of one song and part of another to fuse them together. I'll get on one song and work on it for a couple of days. If something doesn't happen then I'll walk away.

WC:

What comes first, the lyrics or melody?

 

 

DP:

They come together. It's weird for me. it's like...not to be Zen or anything, but it happens. I think it's because of the phrasing. If I'm writing a chord and the melody's coming, the words just come out because they fit within the phrasing of that chord progression. I really don't know, necessarily, what I'm writing about. But, the idea comes fairly soon after I've thrown out some of it and I work out the idea of the song. I've never had the title or idea of the song beforehand...it just doesn't happen like that for me. I can't write without my guitar. I have to hear it back.

 

 

WC:

Where do you find the inspiration?

 

 

DP:

It tends to be personal, but then there's a lot of influence outside of myself. It might be a story someone's told me or problems or arguments. I do write a lot of stuff from my personal life. I'm not hugely political. One song that turned out to be more of a political or socially conscious song is 'Copperhead Town' which is basically about me being disgusted by mainstream media, and how things are being delivered. It's how all of these pretty faces are telling these horrible stories and they are sound bites so you are not necessarily getting the truth. You just don't know what you are getting. And, all of it being negative and that's why you should stay away from Copperhead Town. Be positive and get your information from somewhere else.

 

 

 

I write songs based on relationships, but not necessarily relationships between two people; relationships that people have within society. Like 'Saturday's Changed,' anyone who has lived life beyond 21 can get. Now I have responsibilities. it's not about waking up hung over and sitting around thinking about what we are going to do tonight, being baked or whatever you are into. Things are not as easy or carefree as it used to be. you've got shit that has to get done. But, part of that is your choice. The first part of that song is about the goofy things that, as kids, used to trip you up. Like, for boys, it was being in PE class and hearing, "Today, we are wrestling." You are thinking, "I'm weak! I can't do it!" And, it turns out that it's your best friend that you have to wrestle. You want to feel competitive, but you don't. Yet, he is more competitive so he is going to beat you and you'll feel even more like a douche bag because you didn't kick his ass. And, having to dance in junior high, but not knowing how to dance or how to interact with girls...it's all that shit. The second part is about being an adult. You are making this money, but you're really not because it's going toward the house and the car and the kid's soccer practice, skiing, all these lessons...all this shit that doesn't mean a whole lot. Then, it turns back into wishing you had that summer when you just wanted to be with that girl that you fell in love with.

 

Dick Prall

 

 

 

I'd say there's a lot of nostalgia in this album because I, personally, miss a lot of that stuff. Not just my youth. I find myself saying, "Kids these days don't have what we have. They've got too much, but they don't appreciate it." But, I also don't let go of the new stuff.

They're saying that the music industry is in trouble. And, I think it's because there's not a lot of genuine stuff on the radio. The funny thing is for those people who listen to mainstream shit, you play The Shins for them and they say, "This is really fucking good! Why isn't this on the radio?" I think, "Why isn't this on the radio?" The industry isn't run by music people. that's not whining or bitching. I truly believe that it does suck. It is the lowest common denominator, which, I think, is a real kick in the crotch to the public. We are assuming that all listeners are the lowest common denominator and this is all they are really going to understand, and the weirdoes and indie people will find their own music. that's bullshit. They've done a great job of segregating all of these people, which is stupid. I remember reading an article...a black artist from the '70s who said, "We just used to call it rock & roll." Whether it was Simon & Garfunkel or The Beatles or Black Sabbath or Jimi Hendrix...it was all just rock. It all shared the airwaves. Now, everything is categorized so you can wear your music like you wear your shirt. that's sad. I'm no different from anyone else; I like a lot of different stuff.

 

 

WC:

it's been four years since the last album, what was the delay?

 

 

DP:

Money. Money for the first couple of years. After that, I was disgusted with the way things were going for me at the time. Mad, in selfish way, that things weren't going the way we had hoped or the way so many people had said they were going to. I kind of stopped writing and thinking, "What's the point?" Prior to this year of writing and working on this album, that third year was about saying, "Fuck it. I don't want to do it." When I disbanded Starch Martins, I didn't have to worry about being cool or getting on this tour, or anybody watching what I was doing, I started writing for myself. I'd always written for myself, but this time there were no expectations. During the first album, I wanted to share the songs. The second album was like, "I've got one album so I've got to have a second album." Critically, it was really well received, but where's the stardom, where's the fame, where's the radio? I had gone through that metamorphosis and realized it's not there. I can go back to sitting on my couch, playing songs that appealed to me. it's almost like it was when I was first writing. Not trying to impress anybody but myself. Now I think I'm a far better songwriter, hopefully, than when I was writing the Dick Prall Band stuff. I know a lot more and I'm more comfortable with what I do. I can get the songs out that I want instead of struggling to find the right chord or progression.

 

 

WC:

Tell us about the new CD.

 

 

 

fizzlebuzzie CD

 

DP:

What it means to me is that it's the first time that I've gotten what's in my head out on tape. that's an awesome feeling. No bullshit, I've only listened to the entire Starch Martins album twice. I've listened to the new one three times, and not like, "Oh, I love myself." it's like when you build a new house, you keep driving around it. that's what its like for me. it's not just because it's simpler...it just is so much of an extension of who I am and what I think that an album, that I want to listen to, sounds like. Good, bad, ugly or tremendous, it doesn't matter. Obviously, I put them out on CD format and package them because I want to sell them. But, I don't feel pressured into selling a bunch of albums.

 

 

 

So, I was kind of moved when I first heard it. Wow, we did this. Obviously, it wasn't me alone. Brian (McDonald) got it and brought important things to the table. Greg (Miller) is a tremendous drummer who threw the exact right vibe, didn't overplay it, didn't underplay it, and gave it what it needed. Sarah (Ferguson) has a beautiful voice and adds great textures on keys. Paul (Stebner) had a lot to fill because he is a tremendous lead guitar player and there are not a lot of leads on this album. Josh (Shapera) was the right person to bring it to in order to get this thing that was conceived. The mixing process was really fun because there were a lot of things that we tracked that we stripped away as opposed to jamming the space. that's more for us. First and foremost, I want to be a listener first and musician second. Because, as a listener, you are only going to put on what is going to drive the idea home. If you get all musician-y, you are going to throw in a bunch of gratuitous shit that doesn't need to be there, that's more of an assault. Listeners don't appreciate it, and don't even get it. But, it eats up frequency. If you know how the human ear works, you eat up all this frequency; people don't really grasp what you are doing. There is a lot of space and air on this album. That was kind of hard for me to get used to at first because you assume that you need to do more than you really need to. Josh really supported the idea that you can get away with less. There are little guitar things that Brian did that last a few seconds, but doesn't happen again. To me, hopefully, the melody is the hook. Hopefully, how and what I am singing delivers the idea of the song and it doesn't become repetitive.

 

 

WC:

Tell us about 'Grand Marquee.'

 

 

DP:

I think it will be misconstrued as a dis to modern radio. It wasn't, necessarily, about modern radio, but it was about things that I missed. I don't listen to a lot of radio so maybe there are songs on there that would give me the same feelings, but I don't have a chance to listen. The whole song is about a grand marquee or a venue where many of the greats have played. To me, there are a lot of subpar artists that are getting to play there as well. I was thinking, "Wow, Britney Spears has played the same place that Elvis Costello has played." Thinking of removing the letters to put up Britney's name, and that this girl has no right to share the same stage that Elvis Costello has graced. that's a personal dig, and it might offend some people, but that's how I look at it. Like I said, I don't listen to music that much anymore. But, it's a huge thing that I really miss. Sitting back with my headphones in a rocking chair, closing my eyes and fantasizing that I am that artist. I'm Paul Westerberg singing anything off of 'Tim' or 'Pleased To Meet Me' rocking my balls off on stage. For me, it's how I look at music.

 

 

WC:

you've done a lot of touring in 2002 and 2003. Tell us about life on the road.

 

 

DP:

For a band at our level, it's a lot of fun when the people you are with are fun people who are relaxed. When it is what it is, and no one has visions of it being anything more than a bunch of smelly people in a van with not enough room or money or food. That can be really fun, but also can really suck. There are points when you can get disgusted with it. When all you want is to be home with the people that you love and the places that are comfortable to you...get a good night's sleep. So much of the drinking and partying was, for me, self-medication. I'm going to sleep on someone's floor tonight. We just played for 30 people. I'm tired and I'm just going to get drunk. It wasn't always like that, that's the worst of it. The best is playing for 30 people who are cool as hell, and they have a party afterwards so you meet folks. They are into your stuff. They say, "I'm going to tell my friends. Next time you come back, we'll get you on the college radio station, etc." The support for you, as a nobody, can be really cool. To me, it was more of the good stuff than the shitty stuff. Like anything, towards the end, it got shittier because it was ending.

 

DIck Prall

 

 

 

Playing with Glen Phillips (former Toad the Wet Sprocket) for the first time was a great experience. We are in this gigantic room together. He and Steve (manager) were on their computers and I just sat there. Glen was really nice, making small talk. But, I'm really bad with that and get more nervous. So, I grabbed my guitar and walked way in the corner and started playing, not so anyone could hear me, just to warm up. When I was going on, Glen walked with me and asked if he could introduce me. I said, "that's up to you. Whatever you want." He said, "I'd be happy to." He walks out and people start cheering, and I'm thinking, "Wow, I'm going to be playing with Glen Phillips." He said, "How's everybody doing tonight? I wanted to introduce this artist named Dick Prall. I know absolutely nothing about him. I just picked him up today at the airport. He seems like a very nice gentleman. I just heard him warming up. He has a beautiful voice and the songs I heard are really good and I think you'll really like them. Here's Dick Prall." The audience was really welcoming because he helped me get them. I had a great show. He was on the side yelling goofy shit at me. We really hit it off. We always have fun together. I like him as a person regardless of what he does. I think Glen is comfortable around me. We've shared hotel rooms and I've dragged him out late at night in a drunken stupor. I've made him eat Fritos and french onion dip...shit that he normally wouldn't be a part of. And, he had a really good time with it. He's been very gracious in letting me continue to play with him. it's been very cool...he's a sweetheart.

 

 

WC:

What has been your biggest rock star moment?

 

 

DP:

My first was meeting Slim Dunlap, from the Replacements, which was awesome. This was in the Turf Room in Minneapolis when we were the Dick Prall Band. We pull up in our old brown van in the alley behind the club. I'm just jumping out of the van, and I hear, "Is that a Dick Prall?" I walk behind the van to see this skinny guy, slightly hunched over and it's Slim Dunlap. He's says, "Are you Dick? I've listened to your album. It's really good stuff. Do you need help unloading?" I'm like, "Do all of the really great Minneapolis bands unload each other's shit?" I'm waiting for Westerberg to come around the corner with an ice cream cone! So, (Slim) helped us unload. His band played mostly Beatles covers, and it was just a big party.

The second one was meeting Ken Coomer, from Wilco, and having him play on the album (Starch Martins). He's a sweetheart. I'm a big fan. I've become friends with Kenny. Whenever we are in Nashville, he has us come stay at his house so we go and take it over, try not to torment his bird.

 

 

 

Dick Prall and the band

 

The most powerful moment was opening for Michelle Branch. We played a festival with 7,000 people just sitting on their butts waiting for Michelle. One band had just gotten done playing their 1 hour set and people just sat on their blankets. We got up and started playing. Three songs into it, everybody was up, jammed up against the barricade, yelling and screaming. It was powerful because people reacted. We started playing better and getting into it; we all fed off of each other. I did this total rock star move just to do it. I walk over to stage right, take my hand and raise it up so that whole side of the crowd starts yelling. I run over to the other side and did the same. I turned around to see Chooch (bassist) and he's just shaking his head like I was a moron. It was awesome to feel that reaction. Afterwards, the cops had to shut down our merch booth because of the line of people who were buying our CDs and wanting autographs. To have that reaction when the next person up is why they are there. I remember saying to the band, "How'd you like that? don't get used to it because tomorrow we'll be playing for 10 15 people in Dubuque or Rock Island." And, sure enough, a couple days later, were in Rock Island for a handful of people. I think that's when it started for the band thinking, "Wait a minute. We just did this huge thing. Why not more?" I think if we'd gotten on a big tour, and got the exposure, things would have been different. But, that's what you say when things didn't turn out your way, right?

 

 

WC:

As an independent artist, what keeps you motivated to continue to make good music and play shows when you aren't booking those shows opening for 7,000 people?

 

 

DP:

The most important thing to me is the writing side of it. Just because I want to see what I can do with my voice and what kind of melodies I can come up with. I try to be as original as I possibly can be. don't misunderstand...I like playing in front of people, but I like writing a lot more. I like playing in front of people when you get that feeling that you are reliving how you felt when you wrote it. Anybody who says they do that each and every time is full of shit because you don't. When you dial it in, and I'm guilty of that myself, it's work. So, I love the writing side. I like the studio and towards the end. That big, fucking middle part, I hate because you have no idea what it is going to sound like. What makes me do it is wanting to write a better song than the last one I wrote.

I was listening to an interview on NPR, no one famous, that was talking about writing music. They were talking about if people have exhausted original music. This guy was saying, "Oh yeah. There are only so many chords..." That's fucking bullshit! I'm driving through downtown Chicago looking at all these amazing buildings that each has their own vibes. So many are made with the same bricks, the same color, but they are all their own building. So, chords are the same bricks, but you build your own thing. Once your voice is on it, and you pour your heart and soul into it....not to be cliche...you give yourself to that song, it's yours. It doesn't matter if so and so used those three chords and verse...no shit! But, that melody wasn't on it and those lyrics weren't on it. I'm sure some things I do are more similar to someone else, and some things are, hopefully, completely original.

 

 

WC:

What are some of your favorite venues?

 

 

DP:

Schubas (Chicago) is great. it's got a great sound system. The sound guys are tremendous. it's comfortable and has a great vibe. I love Gabe's Oasis (Iowa City) because it's a full on rock club. The Hurricane (Kansas City) has a great stage, great sound people...Stan (owner) is awesome. He's very kind and very supportive. I like Uncommon Ground (Chicago). You can try new stuff on the acoustic and see how it turns out. My favorite place to play is the Surf Ballroom (Iowa) because I'm a huge Buddy Holly fan, and it's been a dream of mine since I was a kid. We played there and, hopefully, will play there again. Schubas is home.

 

Dick Prall

 

 

WC:

What is your opinion of the Chicago music scene?

 

 

DP:

Disjointed, fragmented, not a lot of camaraderie. I don't think the community itself is coming together. I don't think that's a part of Chicago, as a whole. I think it's because it's the Midwest...it's a Midwest vibe to be more laid back. You don't feel very compelled to put this scene together. I think there are people who would like to see that. I'd like to see it, but Chicago is a big city. New York's small and congested and LA is sprawling. But, I do love Largo (LA). I hope to get to play there again and, then, I'd probably call that one of my favorite places. Opening for Jon Brion was another huge rock star moment. Flanny (owner) asked me to open for Jon after he saw me open for Glen (Phillips)...that was stellar.

I think there are a lot of really good bands in Chicago. I think people talk too fucking much at shows. I don't see that in New York, or down south or, especially, at Largo. People need to shut the fuck up. If you are going to see Glen Phillips play acoustic, why are you going to talk? Instead, go to a bar, or the bar area in the same venue, get the shit out of your head and then come back. that's infuriating and disrespectful...not just to the performer, but to the listener. I went to the Abbey Pub (Chicago) to see one of my heroes, Grant Lee Phillips, and I left. It was either leave or punch someone out.

 

 

WC:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

 

DP:

that's the question that all employers like to ask. "Hopefully, not working for you," is what I'm thinking. Just being a better songwriter. Ideally, making a living off of strictly being an artist. Providing for my daughter and girlfriend. Just having a comfortable existence as a musician. Five years from now, I'll probably be working and writing music, maybe two or three more albums.

 

 

WC:

What other music are you listening to?

 

 

DP:

The Shins. I'm a huge Rufus Wainwright fan. I bought Poses years ago and love that album. Melodically, it's beautiful...that voice. Josh Rouse, to me, is the real deal. I'd love to play with him. He's a phenomenal songwriter. Bobby Bare, Jr's Young Criminal Starvation League is great stuff. I get these compilations from my friend, Kevin from Colorado. It's always great stuff, but I don't know the names. There is a shitload of new music out there that is great, but not on the radio. Hopefully, the Internet and XM radio will start paying back these artists.

 

 

WC:

How do you spend your time outside of music?

 

 

DP:

I love being with my daughter, Elizabeth Rose. Playing with her, seeing her grow up, watching her intellect grow and expand. I love sitting on my couch with my girlfriend watching movies and passing out after work. I love what I do for work. I like what it is. I love hanging out with my friends, having some cocktails and shooting the shit. Outside of being with Elizabeth and Angella, that's what I love to do. If I don't do that, I get really agitated. Those are the things I like to do.

 

 

 

 

1.

What's the worst job you've ever had?  it's sad, I don't think I've had a job I absolutely hated because I ended up liking who I was working with. I've fabricated steel. I've cut meat. I've reviewed loans for a bank...that's scary that I've got your mortgage in my hands. I like the menial stuff. I write a lot of material when I'm just going through the motions. I'd say the worst job I've had, which really wasn't that bad, was detassling corn.

 

 

2.

What's your favorite movie quote or song lyric?  "One foot in the door/The other foot in the gutter." It's from Paul Westerberg's (The Replacements) 'I Don't Know."

 

 

3.

Who would you want to star in the movie of your life?  Carrot Top

 

 

4.

What's your favorite TV theme song?  Greatest American Hero

 

 

5.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be?  Spiderman...I want to be Spiderman. No other superhero matters to me. I'll be Spiderdick if I have to choose a name.

 

 

6.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Eastern European

 

 

7.

Finally, why are there so many songs about rainbows?  Apparently, I've been listening to anti-rainbow songs because I didn't know that there were that many songs about rainbows. Maybe there are songs about rainbows because people need something that rhymes with "flamethrows."

 

 

To find out more information about Dick Prall, visit his website at www.dickprall.com.