Type Without Thinking (Much) with Singer/Songwriter Jordan Carr — Article and Music Video Premiere Included!
Type Without Thinking (Much) is an email interview series I’m working on where my subjects let their mind wander and are encouraged not to give my questions much thought. The order of the questions are intentionally random. Given the strange times we’re living in, I’m hopeful this gives you a bit of a break from the news. Vote BTW.
Jordan Carr is a Minneapolis singer/songwriter who sounds, according to a recent review by Vita.mn anyway, like a stripped-down Springsteen soaked in booze. It’s not a terrible take on this gifted musician, who just dropped a new EP entitled Neapolitan Man. The effort is an intentional mix of different flavors where the former pop punk frontman (Forever Dumb) and booze-soaked troubadour (Jordan Carr & The Boys) let three different engineers interpret each of his songs in their own way. “No Ragrets” is the first single, which Carr made during quarantine last spring. “It’s about two of my old bands that had gained local success and not much more,” he explained. “That local success allowed us to strive for very little more as long as people were buying our drinks and getting older didn’t seem like a possibility.”
Carr — a great indie find — is here for our silly interview so we’ll get to it, but there’s more! We’re proud to premiere the music video for “No Ragrets” right here, right now. Well, I mean you have to scroll down and/or read this first.
First question is never a question — please promote anything you’re working on.
I finally just finished the follow up to 2017’s full band record, Jordan Carr and the Boys: Empty Bottle, Full Hearts. JC and the Boys: Rail Vodka is a three-song EP that has been in the works for quite some time and I’m so very happy it’s done. With recording process in the rearview, I’m in pre-production with Justin Sapp (“American Spirit” producer) for a full length, solo record. Outside of music, I’ve started a monthly coffee subscription company called Winnow MN. Winnow will deliver you a fresh, 12 oz. bag of coffee from a different Minnesota roaster each month. We ship to anywhere in the US. With nearly 100 roasters in Minnesota alone, there are some real gems out there that I can’t wait for people to try!
You had me at coffee. You recently released a new EP called Neapolitan Man. What flavor of Neapolitan ice cream would you scoop out and which one would you throw out?
I would scoop and toss no flavor! Much like this three song EP, every flavor plays a roll and is not to be overlooked!
Well played. Your first single “No Ragrets” is spelled wrong. Please explain why no one intervened.
Since the song is loosely based on two of my old bands, the original title was going to be “Sex, Rides, Cigarettes and Booze” — a working title for the last, unreleased album from the Grand Central Posers. “No Ragrets” just seemed more fitting. I think it seems a lot more fitting if you’ve ever seen We’re the Millers as my previous musical endeavors have very much in common with the kid who has “No Ragrets” tattooed on his neck and “doesn’t regret one letter!”
Indeed. Minneapolis is Prince country. Has he had any influence on you or your music?
To me, Minneapolis is Replacements country, as far as what musical acts have had a direct influence on me. I think it would be naïve of me to say Prince has had no influence on my music, but never directly. On the other hand, The Replacements were something I could wrap my head around: punk,pop, rock songs about self-sabotage, heartache and substance abuse was what I could wrap my head and heart around.
Off topic — Do you think Uncle Kracker missed a golden opportunity to join forces with Cracker Barrel on a promotional campaign back in the day?
If it was offered and turned down then someone is a fool.
Hey, is your last name really Carr? More importantly, do you think Tracy Chapman ever found a “Fast Car” and if so do you think Covid travel restrictions have hurt her travel plans to leave?
Does Carr sound cool enough to be fake? Nothing can stop Tracy Chapman.
What has your weirdest pandemic purchase been?
Probably these cloud lights that hang from the ceiling. I bought them to use as lighting for when I converted my basement into a venue for a livestream concert back in April. I opened for myself. It was fun… Anyways, the clouds showed up three months after the show and were just two giant cotton balls with a string of cheap LED lighting and no instructions. I don’t remember where they came from and it just seems like too much work to figure it out and send them back. That and mushrooms to eat by myself in the backyard.
You had a successful kickstarter campaign to make a music video, and it involved a ton of fireworks. Explain how it went and how no one was injured.
Well, this video in particular has been over a year in the making. The song, “Rail Vodka,” pays tribute to a friend of mine who died of oral cancer a few years back. We used to get wasted on cheap vodka and listen to 80’s hair metal. Since his passing, I have no other friends who are into that genre of music, so there’s really this empty void. That’s really what the song is about. I wanted the song and music video to really feel like a song and video you would’ve heard and seen on MTV in 1985. That’s where Kickstarter came into play. We had a more than successful campaign, which allowed us to really go all out with the video. We had a guy who ran pyro for KISS, a guy who specializes in drone filming, and a very cool location to shoot. There was a lot of planning and prep. THEN, two weeks before the shoot, the pyrotechnic broke his back in a car accident, the location fell through and the recording studio sessions took longer than expected. So the video was put on hold. Flash forward a year — the recordings are complete and as the warm weather was quickly fading away, I threw together a team of friends who all sort of just learned how to become a music video crew in two weeks.
I drove to Wisconsin and picked up roughly $3,000 in explosives and we found a new location and it all just came together real quick. We ended up shooting on the last day before this record setting, incredibly bizarre snowstorm hit in Minnesota. It was really a magical evening. It’s something else to have you back to thousands of dollars of explosives and not know when they are going off or how close they will come to you. It’s not everyday you lip sync to your own song and then turn around to see an entire field on fire. Anyways, there is not yet a release date for the Rail Vodka EP, but I’m hoping for a music video premiere in December 2020.
The day after the shoot was the first time I realized that there were no fire extinguishers on set. Not one and no one ever mentioned it. Rock and roll isn’t always safe, but we lucked out.
Speaking of music videos, you are debuting a new music video today for the aforementioned “No Ragrets.” Tell us how that was made, why it was made, and why I’m not in it.
With Covid shutting most gatherings down, I was seeing lots of music videos that were done over Zoom. No offense to anyone putting those sort of videos out, but I just wasn’t interested in seeing anymore muchless making one myself. (That’s why you’re not in it, JON. Nothing personal, pal)
So, I waited… fellow stay-at-home dad, Nelson Hill, who also shot the “Rail Vodka” video, and our families had a nice, outdoor, social-distanced dinner one evening and we started talking video ideas and since the song is all about being alone in a basement, we decided we’d shoot it that way. He came over, we had some Modelo’s and we shot for two hours. For what we shot in that short of time, I think we really captured the feeling in the song. “No Ragrets” is just a song about waking up older and finally realizing that the party is over. There isn’t much acting in the video, as I’m the guy who is finally realizing that my party is over…