Patterson Hood On “Demanding” Records, And His Fave Classic Rock LPs

In a letter dated 1/22, which was sent to fans in celebration of Brighter Than Creation’s Dark’s official release, Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood opens by explaining “my record” is now “our record” before moving onto the crux of his missive. We’ve mentioned Brighter could possibly maybe use some trimming, but it looks like shaggy doggedness was part of the plan. Which, of course, we had acknowledged, but sometimes the best laid plans of … Just kidding, we still haven’t stopped listening to the thing (get ye streaming) so looks like he’s onto something. And this is what he’s onto.

Patterson Hood

(Excuse the length of the quote. It was more difficult finding filler here than on the record)

We built her to last, skipping the undercoating and some of the shininess but focusing on really stout suspension and a hefty engine. Afraid she ain’t too fuel efficient, she’s a lumbering V-8, 4 barrel, but she’s built to last

Getting criticized for being a demanding listen makes my day. Too many things now a days are made for surface flash and disposable enjoyment. Fast food cookie cutter mentality. I don’t eat fast food and don’t spend too much time listening to the hits of the day.** That’s probably why we don’t sell more records, but that’s ok by me too. Most of my favorite records had to grow on me and many of them were too long. “Exile on Main Street” has lots of filler, yet I would hate to part with a single note of it. I like it better than the much more concise and friendly “Let It Bleed” (which by the way I also adore). “The River” is my favorite Springsteen album and “Physical Graffiti” is my favorite Zeppelin. *** When “Murmer” came out I didn’t get it, but I couldn’t quit listening to it anyway. I hated “Fables of the Reconstruction” but yesterday i listened to it and loved every second of it. Both of those are rightly considered classics. (Still love me some REM).

Not to put my band or our music in any of those categories. That’s not my job and would be futile even if it were. As I said, we wrote it, made it, and now it’s yours. The masters belong to a record company but the music is yours now. Our job is now to go out and do what we do. Love my job and eager to get to it.

It’s the true nature of what we do that the best Rock is sometimes the most challenging. My favorite artists and bands challenge my thinking, my preconceptions and sometimes my patience. If I didn’t love contrary I wouldn’t have spent nearly 23 years slugging it out with Cooley. I also wouldn’t be a Neil Young, Todd Rundgren or Bob Dylan fan. No one sits around debating the pros and cons of a two year old ____ album, but folks are still debating the validity of “Tonight’s The Night” (which for the record is my all-time favorite Neil Young album). **** …

** = I kinda dig that crazy Amy Winehouse chick though. And I love me some Radiohead who manage to be both demanding and somehow sell millions anyway. Right on, nice work if you can get it.

*** = “White Album” is my favorite Beatle album. “Blonde on Blonde”, “London’s Calling”, and “Daydream Nation” are also big faves. Todd Rundgren’s “Something / Anything?” is my all time favorite album.

**** = When it came out I thought it was too slow and too long. (I was only eleven but already a huge Neil Young fan so go figure). His 73-75 Doomsday Trilogy period is by far my favorite period of his work with “Zuma” and “Rust Never Sleeps” close behind.

Patterson would be such an awesome penpal. He also says New West’s releasing the D-BT catalog on vinyl on 2/5 but “no word yet on release date for BTCD on vinyl. Hopefully it will happen soon, as that is the way this album was made to be listened to. (4 sides, each sort of their own identity, sound of the needle moving over the lacquer. Glory!).” He ends it all with the following bit of rock ‘n’ roll inspiration:

I do love the concept of music as an open conversation. Rock and Roll comes from a tradition of that sort of thing. Also love the notion of an album as a document of a certain time. The best things are left open ended and never set in stone. Create your own play list of your favorite 10 songs and come back to the others down the line. Or simply turn it all the way up, roll down the windows (not if it’s too cold), and head for the open road.

Who’s on your top 10?