Big Hairy Dudes From Kentucky

Jim James
Jim James

Even if they are BHDFKs, don't call My Morning Jacket "Southern rock."

"We're proud of where we're from, and we're proud of who we are," states Jim James, the Kentucky quintet's Southerworldly voice. "I just wanna say that first of all. But I think it's fucking bullshit. It just sucks.

"[Critics] are always trying to make up movements -- you know, bands rising up. I just think it's so unfair to bands. Like the whole grunge thing: Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. None of those bands even sound like each other.

"It's the same thing with -- even though I don't like the music -- the Strokes and White Stripes, and that stuff. I don't think all those bands sound like each other either. If people are trying to [pin down] some Southern rock thing, I'm not even sure what bands they're trying to group. I know for one thing that we're not 'Southern rock,' even though we are from the South and like to rock, but that shouldn't make us a Southern rock band ..."

James laughs. Mention of the Drive-by Truckers and Kings of Leon stops that.

"I like the Kings of Leon guys, but I don't think they sound anything like us. The only reason people tie us together is because they happen to be from around the same part of the country, and we both have long hair.

"Lots of people don't have that nowadays, but if you put on our records -- we've made three albums now -- and you put on the Kings of Leon new record, they don't sound anything alike. That's what pisses me off: People are so hung up on image, and how you look, and shit like that, that they don't even take the time to listen to the records! And if you come out and see us play and listen to the records, they do not sound anything alike.

"Now we are big hairy dudes from Kentucky, I won't deny that. I'm not gonna say we don't look it. But I wish people would close their eyes and listen to the music -- listen to what we're trying to do. If they did, they'd see that it's not about that."


My Morning Jacket plays the Parish, Thursday, Oct. 16, and Friday, Oct. 17. Jim James will be solo acoustic at Waterloo Records, Friday, Oct. 17, 5pm.

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