If you know anything, you know these things: The Jim Dandies. They’re one of the hottest bands on the planet, hotter than that bowl of molten magma you microwaved too long. Against all odds, I recently had a chance to interview the group’s four members – Curt Crawford, Chase Willoughbie, Sid Rosewater and Boabbey Smith – for this website.
FTI: Is there anything about you that most of your fans probably don’t know?
CC: Well, there actually isn’t a member of the band named Jim Dandy.
CW: A lot of people think that we’re all named Jim Dandy. But very few of us are actually named Jim Dandy.
CC: Only, probably, one or two.
FTI: Your 2006 album Strong Willed, Average Build was what launched you into the rock stratosphere. Four songs hit Number 1 on the Modern Rock chart, and one of them was somehow a New York Times Bestseller. What was the biggest sign that you had made it?
CC: The groupies stop asking what you’d like to do about the baby you put inside them. They know you’d like to keep it.
FTI: Instead of releasing your new album By The Light of Moonnight via traditional means, you chose to release it into a large wooded area. Some journalists are claiming that this was a result of your displeasure with it. Is that true?
CW: No, not at all. I mean, if people want to listen to the album, it’s right there, in the large wooded area.
FTI: In 2007, you put out a collection of rarities, which literally consisted of rare artifacts you had gathered from searching Mayan ruins. Any chance of a second pressing?
All Members: It’s up to the label.
FTI: One of the more embarrassing footnotes to your runaway success was extending a collaboration invite to the long-dead Layne Staley, then publicly claiming you were snubbed when he didn’t respond.
CC: I don’t think you get to be huge in the world of rock without racking up a few regrets. I don’t want to speak for the other guys, but I sometimes feel bad about all those Layne Staley effigies we burned.
FTI: 2008 was a tough year for you. You abandoned your “Choose to Choose” voter advocacy-themed tour after criticism that you focused too little on the upcoming American Presidential election, and too heavily on the new season of Dancing with the Stars.
BS: We think that show is cool, and it’s something we like a lot.
CW: It’s very interesting to us, aesthetically.
CC: That’s not the reason we quit the tour, though. What a lot of people don’t know is that Sid had just been diagnosed with juvenile senility. And so you either publicize that and play the “woe is us” card, or you deal with it quietly, within the group, which is ultimately healthier.
FTI: You used the time off to record the poorly-received double-disc set “Sid is Really Sick”.
All Members: We don’t want to talk about that.
FTI: You continued to roil music critics by releasing By Any Other Voice: A Tribute to the Jim Dandies, which consisted of covers of thirteen of your own songs. What’s more, many of the tracks are simply the actual songs being recorded off of a stereo – a poor-quality one at that.
CC: When it comes to our band, we never really cared what nerd-geeks on their computer websites had to say.
FTI: Present company excluded, I hope. (laughs)
CC: (silently pulls on werewolf mask)
CW: Listen – people are like assholes, they’ve all got an opinion. That’s why we’ve stopped trying to figure out what will entertain everyone, and brought a psychotherapist on the road who convinces us that everything we do will entertain everyone. We could be playing to a 50,000 seat stadium full of scarecrows in Ed Hardy T-shirts and wouldn’t know the difference. In fact, if I had my druthers, that’s how every show would be.
FTI: You’re now preparing for the first leg of your 361° Tour, which is apparently an attempt to eclipse U2’s ongoing 360° Tour. Can you give fans an idea of what to expect?
CW: People say 360 degrees is as much of a visual experience as you can provide. So we’re adding another degree: smell.
FTI: Thanks, guys.
SR: You can go to hell.