Holy shit! An inerview with one of my heroes! PW used to be the growly guy in Mule. Check em out if you've never listened to them. They make the White Stripes sound like an ice-cream van in Disneyland. He lived up to all expectations by drinking three whiskey's on the rocks in half an hour. This was for the Viceland.com Blog.
P.W. Long has been defining his unique vision of bluesy, powerful rock and roll in bands like Wig and Reelfoot for longer than he'd care to remember. With his seminal early 90s trio Mule, Long pretty much wrote the book that people like Jack White and PJ Harvey have been studiously ripping off for the last few years...
He's just released a beautiful solo album called The Drunkard's Dog and he came over to London last week to promote it. We talked to him just before he ripped up the Old Blue Last with his balls-to-the-wall power-trio Young James Long.
Hey, Preston. So how’s the tour going?
OK I guess, touring is a process, it takes time. You get used to filling the time in ways appropriate to you. The amount of time that you spend on tour is completely reliant on your individual drug or alcohol consumption and the way you regulate it.
Any interesting tales from your time on tour then?
Hell no, it’s all just one thing you know. I mean there’s been times, like one time in Atlanta where we were sharing the changing rooms with some strippers but that was in a strip club so it was no surprise really. Oh, I suppose the band I was in before (Wig), the other guys got kind of jealous that all of a sudden I was playing guitar and wanting sing and write and stuff so they staged a fight. That was their way of kicking me out. We see each other around now, it’s all OK.
Why did you decided to take a few years off?
That was because the whole process bored me and I couldn’t focus on the thing anymore, you know, the thing that was making it worth it.
Didn’t you try some other work during that period? I heard you directed a video for Hank Williams III?
That didn’t come out the way I hoped. It was just this little thing I did. I moved around, tried out some different places, New Orleans for a minute there. I was doing some writing, I write some sports bits. I was always pitching ideas to the Editors but they were in a habit of taking some of my ideas a little too serious you know? Like a wrote some columns from weird viewpoints as a kind of satirical thing, they didn’t really get it. Like from the view of a blonde kind of white-trash woman.
Are you happy with the music you are playing now and being on the road again?
I guess. I like the LP, that came out good, But I had those songs down for about two years you know. It only just came out now. In the time off I was listening to just a bunch of old stuff, Miles Davis live records, Archie Shepp. Now I’m ready to put a few more down. The stuff I do in Young James Long is more of a live thing, powerful guitars. Kirkland James the other guitarist he writes a lot and we just get on going together up there and have a few drinks and see what happens.
Do you feel you are part of a legacy of Detroit artists?
What does that even mean? That is a question I don’t really get. I mean a lot of those bands you think of as Detroit bands aren’t even from Detroit. We played with Negative Approach in Chicago recently; maybe they are a Detroit band but a legacy of Detroit artists? No, nothing like that.