Welcome everyone to the #MNMOtv Twitterview with @dylandhicks. A classmate of mine from Jr. High. 🙂 Lets get started!
Dylan: Okay, I’m here.
So to get things started @dylandhicks, share a little about where you grew up and what interests you had.
Dylan: I was born in Austin, Texas, and spent my early boyhood in North Dakota, Idaho, and Illinois. My family came to Mpls. in ’83
As a boy and a teenager, I was almost single-mindedly interested in music.
So from being a teenager up until today, how did you go about pursuing your interest in music?
Dylan: Sorry, I got distracted. Anyway, as a teen I collected records, read a lot about music. My ambition was to become a pop critic.
I wrote a bit about music as kid, and, I suppose, studied it. I was given piano lessons (I wasn’t an prodigious student).
My stepfather plays guitar, so he taught me some of the basic chords, and I learned some other things out of instruction books.
But I was a rather inept instrumentalist. I wrote some mostly satirical songs, and got some nice responses to those.
Eventually, I made a cassette of my own songs, sent it to local critics. I started playing in clubs in early ’91.
Then made singles and CDs during the ’90s, had some regional and scattered national success.
Oh, I also served as a teenage volunteer DJ on KFAI, which is where I met my wife. I did jazz, hip hop, and rock shows there.
So really a self-taught musician! You’re also an author, as brought out in the MAY @MNMOmag. How did that start?
Dylan: Well, I had those piano lessons and my friends and family, but largely self-taught.
I wrote infrequently in my twenties, then starting writing freelance journalism in 2002. I worked an an editor and City Pages.
During the ’00s I started to miss making stuff up, and drifted into writing fiction in ’06.
I started working on my novel in late ’07. I wrote some songs to accompany the book, and have released a companion album to it.
I still write freelance journalism, but I’m mainly focused on writing fiction now. And essays that I never finish, or start.
I see. What is the title of your book and the album that accompanies it? Have you done a “set” like this before?
Dylan: The novel is called “Boarded Windows,” it companion album “Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene.”
It’s my first book, and the first time I’ve tried to combine music and writing in this way.
The premise of the album is that one of the book’s characters has written the songs, or most of them.
And when earlier I wrote “it companion album,” I meant “its companion album.”
At readings, then, I’ll sometimes be playing a few songs as well. But at concerts, I’ll rarely read.
In fact, for concerts I rarely even read the contract or the set list.
Can you provide some dates for your book/album tour?
Dylan: Sure. We happen to be playing tonight the Amsterdam. And I’m performing and talking with James Everest tomorrow at the Whole.
Then the book launch is on May 10 at Open Book, followed on May 12 by two music sets at the Bryant-Lake Bowl.
And there are many others, here and out of town, and a few more in the works. Most are listed on dylanhicks.com.
Since you wanted to be pop critic, what’s your view of #AmericanIdol and #TheVoice when it comes to talent?
Dylan: I fear this will make me look snobby, but I’ve never seen those programs.
I have liked one or two songs by Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia, both winners, I think.
Do you feel show like those 2, YouTube and MySpace have helped “unknowns” have a better chance at “making it”?
Dylan: I guess there are some talent-show-hatched celebs who might have had trouble getting attention in other ways.
And yeah, user-fueled sites have certainly helped many unaffiliated acts with catchy songs and self-promotional acumen.
Since you’ve been in the music business, what was your take on the special Album Day last Saturday. Good idea?
Dylan: Record Store Day has been a real boon for my friends who run or work at record stores, whose survival I’m very much rooting for.
When I was a young, I spent an improvident amount of money on records, but I’ve cut back considerably.
Thanks for your time today with #MNMOtv! All the best for you with your new book and album. Good to catch up with you. 🙂
Dylan: Thanks much, Joel. We should close with the Folwell Jr. High song, but I’m not sure there was one.