|| The Baptist Generals Session
|| Violitionist Sessions
Session Date: March 11, 2009
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: BaptistGenerals.com, Wikipedia, Subpop Page, Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs
Note: This is an older session and may not exactly follow the “3 Questions / 3 Songs” format.
The Baptist Generals are the stuff of Denton legend. What began in the 90s as a way for founders Chris Flemmons(singer/songwriter/guitarist) and Steven Hill (drummer) to earn some beer money on Fry Street became one of the area’s most well-known bands. The group went from playing the street to playing clubs and eventually touring nationally and signing a contract with Sub Pop.
Though the personnel list is always rotating (it includes local music staples Peter Salisbury, Paul Slavens, Ryan Williams and Jeff Ryan, among others), The Baptist Generals are a permanent fixture in Denton. And Flemmons, also the founder of 35 Conferette (née NX35), is an advocate of the local scene that he has long been a part of.
Flemmons talks about the festival as well as the band and he plays an acoustic version of his song “Clitorpus Christi”.
– Jesseca Bagherpour
ONE: Can you tell us a little bit about the upcoming NX35 Music Conferette?
Chris Flemmons: About… it’s been five years now or so. A couple friends and I started noticing that there were a lot of people from abroad that were coming into Denton during the month of March, a lot of Europeans and some Japanese people and Dutch people and German people, I guess Europeans…some Limeys, some Brits coming in that were…they would come in like a week early in the month of March, a week before South-By, rent a car, drive around the state, and catch bands that were getting routed toward SXSW. They’d show up in pretty good numbers in Denton, and we were thinking, “We oughta try to do something like that here.” It felt like SXSW…try to organize something that would bring some people into town. So I felt a little over-reaching, and we decided to do an afternoon party in Austin for a while, just to kind of profile build the thing. Athens, Georgia, they’d already been having their own party in Austin, and we were kind of curious why it was that Denton didn’t have its own, so we did that for like 4 years. We’d get like industry mailing lists and drink out music writers and such, and we’d try to book some of the drawing acts that are already getting attention outside of Denton, and then in between we’d put stuff that we felt oughta be seen. Or at least was far enough in its development that it oughta get seen by some writers. We did that for 4 years, and we felt like it was time to bring it back here. Despite giving ourselves some time to wrap our heads around doing something so ambitious, it’s still been a real challenge. What we’re doing is NX35 Music Conferette, there are like 118 bands, and it’s 4 days long.
MB: And how many venues is it at?
Chris: Nine venues.
MB: Cool. So where can people get tickets for it?
Chris: You can get tickets at Recycled Books and CDs. You can get ‘em at Good Records in Dallas. And we have a ticket system online where you can buy the tickets. Yeah, please buy tickets. [laughs]
TWO: Who is your favorite band playing NX35?
Chris: If I were to pick someone that I absolutely wanted to bring here, and I definitely, regardless of walking around with a walkie talkie or something like that, I’m gonna try and be there when he plays, a guy that calls himself Possessed by Paul James. His name’s Konrad Wert. This guy, he comes from this hillbilly stomp blues thing, which I find absolutely obnoxious. There’s a cadre of people, like Bob Log who kinda started the thing, they do this one man stomp blues thing. And this guy kinda lives and labors and his audience is that hillbilly stomp stuff. These guys tour all over the country. Basically they get some lowbrow art done, they put it on a poster, and you go out and you play these shows. And they have this audience, and if you’re into that, you’re definitely gonna go to the show. And if you’re not into that…like me [laughs]… I might not have ever heard this guy. So I wanted to bring him up here and put him in front of a different audience because I think his stuff really transcends. It’s got its own sensitivity, it’s got its own novelty and innovation. I just don’t think enough people have heard him. His name’s Konrad Wert. He’s performing… when is that?
MB: Friday the 13th at Rubber Gloves.
Chris: Yeah, Friday at Rubber Gloves with Theater Fire and New Science Projects and Delmore Pilcrow.
MB: That should be a good show.
Chris: Yeah, it should be.
THREE: Is there any Baptist Genrals news to report?
Chris: We were thinking we were gonna be done with the record in October, but I got so wrapped up with doing this stuff. I hadn’t anticipated it being like a full time job [laughs], but it has been. We’ve had two songs that we’ve needed to recorded to complete the record. So I’m trying to get those written so we can get the thing out. I sure hope, I mean, this thing’s over on the 15th of March, I have full intentions of doing my laundry and raking up the leaves out of my yard and then raking the leaves out of my laundry or whatever, and then getting back to trying to get this record finished. We are doing the Sub Pop showcase at SXSW. Which, for us, is kind of a strange invitation because we haven’t had a record in five years, and then they called and asked us to do it, and I said “Why?” [laughs] But anyway, we’re gonna try to do a floor show, an acoustic set.
MB: Cool. Where’s it at?
Chris: It’s on 6th street. It’s at the… what’s it called? Bourbon Rocks?
MB: Okay. I’ve seen that sign.
Chris: Yeah, it’s one of those 6th street bars. It could be a disaster trying to do the rug show, but we’re gonna take a shot at it and see what happens.