ACL Music Fest Friday Interviews
UK's lyrical savant dissects his insectoid obsessions
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 36pm, Austin Ventures stage
With the number of tarantulas and giant wasps around these parts, you'd think Robyn Hitchcock, long the intermittent chronicler of arthropod doings in his dark and quirky pop, would feel at home in Austin.
"I heard that there'd been something like 60 days of over a 100 degrees," counters Hitchcock from across the big pond. "I can't imagine what it was like before air conditioning. Or what life on the East Coast was like generally, before air conditioning. Europeans, when they got there, especially people from Britain, what the hell did they make of it?"
The guitarist and lyrical savant started out in the 1970s with the Soft Boys, journeyed solo as well as with the Egyptians in the 1980s and 1990s, and now gigs with the Venus 3, featuring R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows, and Ministry's Bill Rieflin. Yep Roc re-released the man's entire catalog.
So what might Hitchcock's fans make of his insectoid references?
"Well ... they've been here for millennia."
When we crawled out of the swamp, there they were already.
"Exactly," he retorts. "And they'll probably be there to wave us goodbye, too. So, in deference to their longevity, they're there. They've always been there; they look good; you neglect them at your peril. For me, they're kind of psychic icons. They represent themselves, not anything else.
"They got to me when I was quite young, and stayed there."