Five Questions with…Tim Fite

June 2nd, 2010

Tim Fite’s latest album, Under the Table Tennis, which you can download for free here, came out last month. The new disc and ensuing tour bring him back to NYC to play Mercury Lounge on Friday. Expect “a bunch of new songs, a bunch of the old ones—people like to hear something familiar as well—so it’s a mixed bag.” Fite (below, doing “The Big Mistake”) wanted to check in before he returns home so he got on the phone with The House List to answer Five Questions.

Which bands that you listened to growing up do you still listen to? I listened to Uncle Tupelo yesterday. I listened to that growing up. We listened to some of No Depression and a little bit of a playlist of the other stuff. And I’m still listening to Public Enemy. I still listen to Kool G Rap. Still listen to Bad Brains, Minor Threat.

Who are your inspirations outside of the music world? Today I looked at paintings by Philip Guston. He’s always made me excited about living. One I like especially is “Bad Times.” It has a couple guys in a car with some guns shooting at somebody. It looked like bad times, for sure.

Which New York City musician—past or present—would you most like to play with? I would love to do a concert with Big Daddy Kane. He’s like the greatest showman on the face of the planet. He’s unrivaled.

What music or song always makes you dance? This is coming out of left field because I don’t know if anybody remembers this lady, and I don’t have any idea where I got her CD or why I love it, but it does make me dance. Her name is Debelah Morgan. I think she was an R&B singer in the ’90s who didn’t totally take off, but for some reason, if I put on her album, like especially when I’m cleaning the house, I just dance right through it all. I also like it because I read something about her: I think she was really, really fat for a long time. When she recorded the record, she was like a superfat lady, and then before she got her record deal she lost all this weight, and you could sort of hear this kind of exuberance in her ability to move in the songs, and that’s exciting.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you? I think no to all three. I think that human beings are emotional vessels, and if you’re capable of containing emotions, you can access them regardless of where, when, how, who, what and why. —R. Zizmor