Interviewed by Natalie K.
October 31, 2008
Estrella: Can you please state your name and what you do in the band?
Keith: I’m Keith Murray and I sing and play guitar.
Estrella: How has the tour been going with Kings of Leon?
Keith: It’s been excellent. It’s been sort of a crazy tour because it started on the west coast and Kings of Leon record just came out so they were doing a lot of press for it. They have been flying and have not been around all that much at the beginning of the tour. So we and The Stills became friends very quickly but we rarely got to see Kings of Leon. For the last week and a half or so the west coast are all big media towns, LA, Vegas, and San Francisco, they were really busy all the time. But now we’ve all started to jell and it is all really good. It was really hectic for everybody; we had just flown from Australia and had landed the day of the first show. It took some getting used too, not that there was anything weird about it but I think everybody was frenzied in a different way. Now it is awesome.
Estrella: How was Australia?
Keith: It was amazing, we had only been there one time before and that was three years ago. I guess I sort of had forgotten how good it was. I remember thinking that Australia was a really great tour the first time. When we went back this time I think our first show was in Sydney and the show was amazing, sold out, and really crazy fans.
Estrella: Did you get to sight see when you were over there?
Keith: A little bit, it is so big so we had to fly everywhere. Travel time was relatively short; it could be three hours total drive to the airport and an hour and a half flight. We got to see a lot of Brisbane and Sydney, not really that much of New Castle.
Estrella: What is your tour plans for after this one?
Keith: This is our last tour for this record, we think. We realized we have not done much American touring on this record, and our initial plan was we were going to finish this tour and that be it and we would start working on the next record. Then I was on the phone with our American booking agent the other day and he was like, “Why don’t you do just one more American tour.” So we told him to send us perspectives.
Estrella: Would it be headlining?
Keith: Yeah, it would be another headlining tour. That would probably be in the new year, but we’ll see though we still have not seen his plan yet. After this we are going to the UK for about a week and a half just to do press and then I guess we will figure out tour for next year.
Estrella: Have you already started working on songs for your next album?
Keith: No work in furnished yet. I find it really hard to write on tour because there is so little time to actually sit by yourself in privacy to work on things. You are either sitting in a van, playing a show, doing an interview, or sound checking. For me it is really hard but I know Kings of Leon when they headline they take really long sound checks and they just jam on stage. We also don’t really write songs by jamming. We lock ourselves in a room for a month trying to write songs. Standing on a stage during sound check I also get embarrassed by seeing people sweeping the floor and we are sound checking writing songs and they just want you to shut up so they can sweep in silence. Kings of Leon turned around that last record so quickly but I think it is because they were headlining all the time so they had all of that sound check time. Even when we headline, we don’t write anything.
Estrella: Your latest single is “Impatience”, why was that one chosen and what is the process for choosing a single?
Keith: That one was sort of a strange process for choosing “Impatience”. Usually the process for choosing it is, we have our ideas for what think the singles are, then the guy that works for the label is sort of like, “Here is what I think they are.” Unless we strongly, strongly disagree with him, we sort of let them have it their way. It seems like a bad start to a single for the persons who’s job it is to talk to the radio stations to get them to play it to feel like their connection to a song has been under minded. My feeling is I like all these songs equally, and essentially there are songs that I personally like more than others, but I don’t pretend to know which ones other people will like. It’s his job it doesn’t really make any difference to me what song gets played on the radio, so if he feels passionately about it we let him do it. He is also a friend of ours now and we have a good relationship with him. There was a song that we really thought should have been a single, well not should have been, we wanted it to be a single. It’s really keyboardy and 80s pop sounding.
Estrella: Which song was it?
Keith: It’s called, “Lethal Enforcer”. We really wanted it to be a single. Emotionally we were all, “Oh man I want that to be a single so bad!” He talked to some radio stations and they were all, “I don’t know it sounds kind of retro.” We were sort of torn between “Lethal Enforcer”, “After Hours”, “Impatience”, and “Chick lit” for this single. Those as a group we were always talking about as a single. It did not really matter to us, but “Impatience” was the one he really wanted. We really wanted “Lethal Enforcer” but recognize that “Impatience” was probably the better song for rock radio.
Estrella: Is there any song that you never get sick of hearing?
Keith: Pretty much any Velvet Underground song, except for “Lady Godiva’s Operation” that song is really annoying. Sometimes “Heroin” is a little annoying because it is so droned. Funny you ask that question, I was thinking about that maybe a month or so ago that pretty much all bands because I over listen to them; because I get really enthusiastic about them I do get tired of their music. Not with Velvet Revolver, I will just not get tired of them.
Estrella: What is one of your favorite lines in one of your songs?
Keith: I kind of like, “I promise to remember that making promises is always a mistake”. I kind of like that one only because it resonates with me, as I guess any line I write should. I feel like that is really a nice distillation of a personality trait of mine.
Estrella: What is something you have always wanted to do, but have not done yet?
Keith: I’d like to go on tour with a band as the drummer.
Estrella: Do you know how to drum?
Keith: Yeah, yeah I am definitely not good enough of a drummer that I would be somebody’s drummer full time. For example, I don’t know if you know of a band called Bishop Allen. They are friends of ours from Brooklyn, I think they are going to be in Chicago sometime soon and actually our old drummer is now the drummer for Bishop Allen. We were really good friends of theirs from back before either of us toured that often and they had taken some time off and their drummer had gotten a full time job and they wanted to go back on tour. Their drummer had said, “Look I cannot take time off of work”, it was a week and a half tour or something. They asked me to be the drummer on the tour and I was so excited and thought, “Yes this is going to be amazing!” because their drum beats are pretty simple. I don’t even remember what happened I think maybe he did end up taking time off of work and he went, but I was really disappointed. Ever since then I’ve always been like; oh I want someone to take me and let me be their drummer, for fun.
Estrella: Have you ever played the drums in concert for one of your songs?
Keith: The thing is, our old drummer, and our drummer now, is both a billion times better than I am. It would only be indulgent of me to be like, no I’ll drum. When I write songs I drum on all the demo stuff. I am definitely not a great drummer; I am a solid simple drummer. I’m like a good green salad. I am not very flashy, not really tasty but very helpful; I take care of the bottom line is what I do.
Estrella: If you can see any band or artist perform any song live what would it be and why?
Keith: I would like to see Pavement play “Stereo”, the first song on Brighten the Corners. Actually, I would like to see them play “Stereo” into “Shady Lane” which are the first two songs.
Estrella: Since it is Halloween, what has been your favorite Halloween costume?
Keith: I’ve seen pictures of it and it is really awful, but when I was maybe like 11 I really, really, really wanted to be a witch. A female witch, I just wanted to be a witch; a green witch with nose, long black hair and the hat. My parents were like, “Dude wants to be a witch, let him be a witch”. They let me be a witch and now I look at it and think it was really weird but I like how I was like, “awwww gender, what’s the difference?!”
Estrella: Do you have any final comments?
Keith: This beer is doing good work on my frazzled nerves; I apologize for being so frenzied earlier, now I feel much better.