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Five Questions with … John C. Stubblefield of Lucero

April 19th, 2012


Lucero has been mining the considerable musical territory between country and punk for 14 years. And after releasing the stellar Women & Work last month, they’re back out on the road, doing what they do best: playing raucous live shows and leaving it all onstage every night. The band (above, doing “Like Lightning” at Brooklyn Bowl) plays Webster Hall tomorrow night with the similarly high-energy J. Roddy Walston and the Business. And from the bus on the way to Northampton, Mass., bassist and band founder John C. Stubblefield rang up The House List to answer Five Questions.

Even with a deep catalog of studio albums, Lucero’s long been known for live shows. Is there something to that?
Absolutely. You’re right there in everyone’s face and everyone in the crowd is as important as everyone onstage. When you’re recording you kind of consider the audience. But it makes the moment much more transcendent when everyone in the room is on the same wavelength. We don’t make set lists. And we definitely feed off the crowd. We actually listen to the crowd. They might shout out something we haven’t played in three years. And it’s like, “All right, let’s give it a try.”

Have you found yourself drawn to any new bands, either through touring or just hearing their music?
J. Roddy Walston and the Business for sure. William Elliott Whitmore. A great band that we played with from Alabama, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. When they were in the midst of recording, Lee sent me some tracks and I gave him some feedback.

Where do you like to hang out in New York City? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
It’s a place I like to visit. Lucero’s been a band for 14 years and I’ve been on the road for 18. But it definitely is a place I’d have to take in smaller doses.

Do you have any crutches when writing a song—are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much?
It’s pretty different every time, especially with this new record. It was a collaborative effort. On each song we used different styles. We didn’t get bogged down at all. And each song holds its own.

At your after-party and there’s an endless jukebox, and The House List gives you a buck. Which three songs are you playing?
Firehose, “Brave Captain.” ZZ Top, “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers.” And R.L. Burnside, “Shake ’Em On Down.” —R. Zizmor