Allison Crowe interviewed by David Grierson, Host. Produced by Deborah Wilson.
Air date ~ Thursday, June 22, 2001
DG = David Grierson AC = Allison Crowe
DG: Young, determined and talented, with a voice that speaks to experience, she is Allison Crowe ~ a singer with, as they say, Ďthe buzzí. Here she is, "on the air":
On the Air (Her Royal Majesty's Records version) plays in full.
DG: Good morning Allison.
AC: Good morning.
DG: Is everything really important at this stage of your career?
AC: I would say so. Yeah.
DG: How would you describe this stage of your career?
AC: ...beginning, hopefully. Just learning, probably.
DG: Do you know what you need to learn?
AC: No. Not yet. A lot, (laughing) probably...
AC: ...I would say. I guess just playing as much as we can.
DG: If you were tracking the progress of Allison, the business side, and Allison the creative side, which is... are you neck and neck? Or?
AC: No. I suck at the business side. I have the creative side more, the business side, neh.
DG: Which do you think is easier?
AC: I would say the creative side. For me anyway. Iím not too business-minded.
DG: Why are you a creative person?
AC: I guess I was just born that way. Iím not very good at logical thinking, when it comes down to it. (laughing) So, creative just kind of takes over.
DG: Was music there for you in high school?
AC: Oh, yeah. Yes.
AC: Band. Stage band. Concert band. Tour band. Choir. Musical theatre. All those I was in.
DG: What was your instrument in school?
AC: I had a few. (laughing) I played the bass. And the drums. And the piano. And a bit of the guitar. And the flute... in concert band. And the trumpet.
DG: ĎCause so far youíve listed off an awful lot of rhythm instruments. And I can hear that in your music. You really have a sense of the beat and how to just cheat it. Where do the melodies come from.
AC: Iím not so sure. I just kind of come up with them. Iíll come up with a chord progression first and then just put the melody over top to fit it.
DG: Whatís feeding it then? What did you listen to or what are you listening to?
AC: Iím listening to a lot of Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple. Counting Crows I listen to, too... thereís a lot of people. (laughing)
DG: What is it in those that appeal to you? Is it the sound of Eddie Vedderís voice?
AC: Well, yeah! (laughing)
DG: Sorry, youíre a girl. You simply canít...
DG: ...have Eddie Vedderís voice. It doesnít work that way. (laughing)
DG: But the thought of a girl leading Pearl Jam is a very interesting idea!
AC: (laughing) I would say with all those, the mix of the lyrics ~ I really like the writing style of the lyrics, and, also the vocals. And Toriís piano is just amazing.
DG: It is. Itís not, um, I donít know how to describe her piano playing ícause she falls into the same kind of category that some people would put Veda Hille or people who tend to play the piano as a, almost as a, it is a rhythm instrument, basically, if you look at it. Itís a percussion instrument at its root. But they write music that way, too.
AC: Elton John, I think, did that, too, a lot. The rhythm... using the piano for more, a rhythm instrument.
DG: Do you find itís easy to sing along that way? Or do you want to just shut up and play the piano?
AC: Iíd rather sing along. (laughing). íCause Iím more comfortable in that.
DG: Do you sing like a player or do you play like a singer?
AC: (laughing) Thatís a good question. (laughing) That I donít know how to answer. Iíd say I probably play like a singer. More.
DG: The influences that you talked about tend to be, dare I say, a little dark?
DG: And dark not in the macabre, but certainly dark as in just a shade pessimistic from pragmatic. I mean, itís... life is not over, but we know when it will be...
AC: Itís serious. (laughing)
DG: over. Itís serious. But, what are you, I mean... are you twenty yet?
AC: Iím nineteen.
DG: So, what is a nineteen year old doing being this serious?
DG: What concerns you that much?
AC: Everything concerns me. (laughing) I grew up surrounded by older people, so I guess it just rubbed off on me.
DG: Did you talk the way older people do?
AC: Yeah. I wrote a lot and I read a lot. I mostly just sat around and read a lot. Though I was not good in school, I read a lot.
DG: How does that happen?
AC: I think I was more into doing that, then the school itself... on my own terms.
DG: So where do you go, musically, from here?
AC: Trying to record an album. But we have to get the means to do that, before we can do it.
DG: How important is the band notion? Or do you want to do it individually, do you want to be the chief cook and bottle washer or...?
AC: Oh, no. Iím not good at that. (laughing) Everyone has their own say. Our band, weíre all friends anyway.
DG: So far.
AC: So far. (laughing) Theyíre a few incarnations of the band. But, as we have it now, as a trio, works really well together.
DG: Are you competitive?
AC: Me? Sort of, but not outwardly. (laughing)
DG: Oh, I really want to know how that works. (laughing)
AC: (laughing) I donít really like to compete that well. Because... I just donít like it. Iíll compete against myself, just to do better, not against other people.
DG: Can you do it and stay living in Nanaimo?
AC: I think so... travel around but still live in Nanaimo as home. But Iíd like to travel around and play everywhere.
DG: June the 23rd youíre playing the Lucky Bar in Victoria. Itís this Saturday night. Do you have enough for a whole show?
AC: Oh yeah! Not all originals. We do a few covers.
DG: Who would you cover?
AC: We do Ani DiFranco... I forgot to mention her earlier.
DG: Yeah, I was going to say. Iím sorry I didnít bring it up, either, Ani Difranco... makes sense.
AC: Tori Amos. Radiohead we actually cover quite a bit. We have done Pearl Jam before. We actually did Neil Young, too, before... we did Southern Man.
DG: Southern Man is older than the collective age of all of your band! (laughing)
DG: (laughing)... this is a good thing. Well, best of luck. Sounds like youíve got a pretty good grasp of where you want to go.
AC: Well, thank you.
Disease (Her Royal Majesty's Records version) plays in full.
DG: Nanaimoís Allison Crowe. She plays the Lucky Bar on Saturday night. You can check her out her website -- itís www.allisoncrowe.com