Boston clearly loves it some Frightened Rabbit – the Scottish band’s show this Friday at the ‘Dise has been sold out for weeks. Though they’ve managed to stay somewhat under the radar in 2010, the Frabbits’ third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, is destined to end up on many year-end Best Of lists. We hope you got your tickets early for this one, because this may be the last time Boston sees the band before it goes into hibernation to start work on a new record in 2011.
When we caught up with lead Frabbit Scott Hutchison (far left) last week, we asked him about beards, booze and the habits of a touring musician.
Your beard seems to really be taking on a life of its own on this tour, getting plenty of attention in the facial hair blogsphere and at the Frabbit merch table. What would be harder for you to give up as a professional touring musician at this point: the beard or the booze?
Well, I haven’t had a close, clean shave in about 3 years. I remember thinking I didn’t particularly like my face without the beard, and my girlfriend wasn’t sold either. If I lost it, I suppose I could console myself with some booze.
You’re personally responsible for the symbol-heavy artwork on “Mixed Drinks.” Have you been presented with any impressive fan/press theories about the meaning behind the symbols?
People’s interpretations differ, and that’s kind of the point of the symbols. With the double cross thing, some people think we are a Christian rock band, which is amusing, given the content of some if the songs. I’ve had people see knives, Nintendo controllers, telegraph poles… It’s great when that happens.
You’ve got a box set of the singles from “Mixed Drinks” coming out soon. Does this mean the end of the touring cycle for this album is near? Do you expect we’ll see you Stateside again before you start work on a new record?
The end of this year will be the end of the touring cycle for this record. We have crammed a lot of shows in, and kind of feel as though it’s time to take stock, start writing again and stay away from the road. That said, we never say never. Something inevitably “comes up”…
You’ve spent a ton of time on the road over the last few years – what’s the most unexpected habit that you’ve picked up from that taking up such a huge chunk of your life?
Our habits have changed from tour to tour. I was obsessed with Twinkies for a while. On one tour, I became afraid of swallowing food. Thankfully it didn’t last. This time, I’m into eating avocado. You really need that one thing that holds your day together, keeps you sane.
Rainn Wilson has been pimping the Frabbits on his Twitter feed for quite a while, and you guys took a tour of “The Office” set last year. Is that the best celeb-fan perk you’ve gotten as a band? And, more importantly, are you officially in Dwight’s corner to be the successor to Michael Scott when Steve Carell leaves the show at the end of the season? Or are you torn between Dwight and Jim? (From the sound of it, it was John Krasinski who turned Rainn on to you guys in the first place.)
That was one of the finest days we’ve had as a band. We are huge fans of The Office. Honestly, though, I feel like it would be nice to just end on a high, and not make any more episodes after Steve Carrell leaves. It’s got such a perfect balance right now. That said, I’d love to see Will Ferrell replace him as the new boss.
Finally… Up-and-coming Scottish bands really seem to be resonating with U.S. audiences right now, from the Frabbits to We Were Promised Jetpacks and the Twilight Sad. Give us one band from your home country that we may not have been introduced to yet but should keep an eye on as we inch closer to 2011.
There is a fantastic band from Edinburgh called Meursault. Their latest album, All Creatures Will Make Merry, is stunning. They have a resolutely DIY ethic, which is one reason why few have heard of the band, but everyone should listen to their music. It’s good for you. Like avocado.
Frightened Rabbit plays the Paradise Rock Club on Friday, Oct. 30 with Plants & Animals and The Phantom Band. The 9 p.m. show is sold out. In sunnier Frabbit news, the band has recorded a cover of the Elton John/Kiki Dee duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – with the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn playing the Kiki to Hutchison’s Elton – as a b-side to its forthcoming “The Loneliness & the Scream” single. That’s set for a U.S. release in early December. You can also hear the Frabbits cover super-producer Peter Katis’s band, the Philistines Jr., on P4k.
Photo credits: Line-up by Chris Luttrell; Balloons by Jannnica Honey.