This edition of "Band on Band" features Jesse Swan Throrson of The Slow Death and Natrina Naden of The Strait A's. Both bands share a split 7" put out by Kiss of Death Records. They take turns asking each other five questions about friendship, touring and what it takes to get people to play in your band.
Part 1 - Jesse Swan Thornson of The Slow Death ask Katrina Naden of The Strait Aâs:
Why (on earth) did you think it was a good idea to start Strait A's?
Chris and I hung out all the time anyway and were always going to the same shows, so we figured why not write songs so we can play those shows and hang out and drink, but in a more productive way.
We did this split because we're buddies, at least that's sort of why. So what's been the best part of having me for a pal?
Oh, buddy! Who can I really say? I mean, you're smart, charming, you have a fantastic sense of humor! I guess if I had to choose one thing it would be that I can shit talk all types of stuff to all sorts of people and there's a pretty good chance you're quite a bit bigger than them and will bail me out.
Why is it you guys had such a hard time keeping a drummer?
We didn't, dumbass. We were originally playing with a drum machine, Chris still has all the parts programmed, so that he and I could just play a show whenever we wanted. We then decided it would be more fun to play with whoever wanted to play with us and it totally was. We've had almost a dozen drummers and we only cut that out when Nate (who's done most of the recording with us) said he wanted to go steady. We were moved. But even our first recording has two drummers on it (Nate, and Dave), neither of which had heard us until they got there to record. So far we've had as our drummers:
Jimmy- Sass Dragons
Ryan- Off with Their Heads
Dylan/Dave/Ross- The God Damn Doo Wop Band
Roger- Red Phone Dispatch
Mikey- The Ergs!
I wanna say there's more, but I can't recall right now. It's kinda awesome that all these dudes have wanted to play with us, just 'cause it's fun as hell.
Jesse: You're a pretty busy lady, yet you're always in a bunch of bands. Why, and what would you say is the biggest ass pain of being in a band?
I've discovered recently that I'm pretty neurotic. If I like hanging out with someone I'll usually start playing music with them. It's just a lot easier for me to talk to people if we're talking about music, I guess. So I do music so I don't become a shut-in.
The biggest pain in the ass? Not sure. I usually quit a band once it stops being fun. The toughest part though, I think, would be that with said friends it turns into an almost boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Full of compromises and, "Where have you been? You're half an hour late….", and crap like that. I've had a couple friendships go south because of it. That's definitely the toughest part.
This is a three parter. Why did you name the band Strait A's, why is it spelled like Dave Strait (Pretty Boy Thornson guitarist and gastropod)'s last name, and what's your favorite color?
Chris came up with Strait A's, but I can't recall why. He gets ideas and runs with them I think our record was going to be called Detention Span about five minutes after the band got named Strait A's. Also, it was originally spelled "straight" but was then changed because of that incredibly handsome fella in your band, Mr. Dave Strait.
And my favorite color? Your eyes. Your eyes are my favorite color.
Part 2 - Katrina Naden of The Strait Aâs ask Jesse Swan Thornson of The Slow Death:
You recently changed your name from Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels to Pretty Boy Thorson and the Slow Death. How's that going for ya?
Awesome. Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels was originally supposed to be Pretty Boy Thorson & The Incredibly Handsome Cowboys but we couldn't fit it on a myspace page, and I'm lazy so we just took Gram Parsons band's name and changed it a little. I'm very lazy. We just go by The Slow Death now cause I got tired of people tellinâ me I ain't pretty.
You say we did this split because we're pals. Would you have ever thought it was a good idea to do a split with Strait A's if Johnny C's band (The Rest of Us) hadn't punked out?
Totally. You mentioned that you guys had a bunch of left over songs, including "Disapointed," which is about me. I thought that it would be really funny to do a split 7" where the band on the other side called me a "fuck face." Also, I like you guys' band a bunch and I hate everything.
You know, we've been buddies for some time now, feels like forever, yet I have no idea how long the "Pretty Boy" empire has been going. How long have you been kicking this poor horse?
Since 2005. I started writing some songs in 2004 when I was living in Manitowoc, WI. The next year I moved to [Minneapolis] and started going up to Fargo to play with Dan (the old guitarist, er, former guitarist. We are th3 same age). Then he moved here and we started the horse kicking.
You just got back from tour. I know you love the road and wouldn't mind staying out til you die. What's the appeal?
Sometimes I wonder that myself. I guess that it's just that I love playing music so much. I get to play every night on tour, and if I did that in [Minneapolis] no one would come to see it. Also, it's one of the only ways people outside of our hometown find out about us….and I like to buy hats in new places.
You write an awful lot of songs about girls and drinking. Ever wonder what'll happen of what you'll write about if you meet a lovely lady who straightens you out?
Yeah. I do. Right now I am trying to finish up writing a new full length and I just started dating a wonderful woman so I'm kinda worried I won't be able to write any good old depressing tunes. I'm scared I'm gonna write songs about ducks or something. Luckily I've been depressed a lot and can remember what it's like. And I guess if I do get straightened out (not depressed and drunk) I probably won't give a shit what I write songs about. Songs about ducks could be cool.