Interview with The Decemberists: Walk A Thin Line Patrick Slevin June 8, 2009 Interviews Correct me if I’m wrong, in its formative stages this was set up as kind of stage show as the concept of the album. Actually, that was before there was a concept for the album. Colin was approached by some Broadway types, and they agreed that they were going to try to do a musical together. He started working on that, and he, I think, got attached to the songs in a way he didn’t think he might, and he was writing something that would be really complicated to bring to the stage, and he and the producers agreed that was the case. I think it was a combination of things and it ended up coming back and falling back into the band’s lap after he worked on it for a while. I think there’s still probably a show in him somewhere, I think he still has an interest in that. But for now, back to us. But there was never an idea of ‘Well, it was originally a stage show, why not as a band we try to co-opt and personify these characters?’ No, I don’t think so. It’s such a hard thing. Just the album, if it just sat there, it would seem silly to a lot of people. Doing a rock opera at all is not everyone’s cup of tea for sure. But if you kind of step over the line between ‘Oh we’re just musicians playing this piece,’ to ‘Here’s a play,’ I think you could go wrong pretty easily (laughs). It would kind of be too much. I think we just want to be a band and not a theatre group, even though we do a lot of things that might make people think otherwise. There’s a thin line somewhere that we try not to cross. I was listening to NPR the other day and there was some debate about concept albums and rock operas, so to speak, and they were talking about the new Green Day record in the same breath as Hazards Of Love. Does that comparison make sense, and why this resurging idea of concept albums? Why are the guys who did ‘Basketcase’ writing concept albums, and do you see that as dovetailing with what you do or even the same thing? I haven’t heard that record, for one. I think that there are ideas that are up for grabs at given times. I kind of believe in the idea that things will start reoccurring in groupings (laughs), the way time and pop culture kind of moves together. People in different places have the same good idea at the same time even though they haven’t talked to each other. Things just kind of cycle. Not that we’re stuck in yesterday, certainly I think everyone’s attached to their iPhone and everything, but the idea that the record industry is crumbling and people are just trying to buy a song at a time, and I think there’s some resistance to that amongst us as musicians. Probably a little bit of ‘Oh yeah, well what do you think of this?’ (laughs) Not to be spiteful, it was mostly just an idea that sounded like fun. I’m proud of putting out something to be listened to as a whole piece at this particular point in time because I think it’s a little more challenging. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.