We spoke with John Andrews of John Andrews & The Yawns and Quilt before his tour with Hand Habits that will bring him to Asheville, NC on February 19th at The Mothlight.
Have you ever been/played in Asheville? If so, what venue? With who?
Oh yeah! I’ve played Asheville many times. I believe the first time I was through I was 18 and we played in someone’s living room. It was a big old house called “The Pearson House." I have played quite a few houses in Asheville but that’s the only one I can recall the name of. Since then I’ve played pretty much exclusively The Mothlight with my bands Quilt & Woods. The Mothlight is the grooviest venue around and I love John & Amanda Hency who run the place. Total sweet hearts.
Asheville has a rich folk music culture. Any favorite folkies you find inspiration in?
First that comes to mind is Elizabeth Cotten because it was her birthday a few days ago. I find her to be very inspiring because her musical career developed much later on in her life. It’s kinda similar to how Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was 78. She’s a quick favorite of mine, the list is kinda endless though.
So Hand Habits, am I right? Did you play on her new album? Are you guys close friends? Have you played with Meg before?
I did not play on her new record but Keven (from Quilt & The Yawns) recorded a few songs on it. I have known meg for a few years now and she was actually in the first line up for The Yawns. The first Yawns show was at a now defunct venue in New York called Palisades. We played with Alex Bleeker & The Freaks & EZTV. Meg played guitar in The Yawns. We only practiced all together once & I think we sounded pretty tight. We covered “Vampire Blues”.
We're hoping this tour is a sign of a new John Andrews & the Yawns album. Any chance we're correct?
Yup! Got the test pressing in the mail today actually and it sounds pretty good. It’s a collection of home recordings from the past year of living up here in Barrington, New Hampshire. More news on that soon….
We post a bunch of psych stuff from the 60s and 70s. Do you have any cratedigging gold in your collection you'd like to share with us?
I have some really amazing Bob Dylan bootleg LPs. One is the full record he made with Johnny Cash during the Nashville Skyline sessions. I love how on the fly and messy it is. I found that one while record picking through a flea market in Berlin. I also have a ton of John Lennon’s home recordings on various, weird, bootleg LPs. The Princeton record exchange in New Jersey literally got about 2,000 Beatles bootlegs in and I went on a shopping spree. One of my most prized possession is the original 1972 Raccoon Records pressing of Michael Hurley’s Hi Fi Snock Uptown. Got that one at good old Academy Records in Brooklyn.
You play drums in Quilt. Do you bring any of your bandmates on tour with The Yawns?
Keven who plays bass in Quilt is drumming in the Yawns for our upcoming tour. Our drummers have been dropping like flies the past year so hopefully he sticks around haha.
What album is playing in the van/bus most on this tour?
Well right now I am currently home in Barrington, NH. I’ve almost exclusively been listening to Joni Mitchell. Particularly her records Blue and Roses. It’s real good middle-of-winter morning music.
Do you have a favorite new artist?
Last year, The Yawns played a small DIY show in NYC with this dude Max Clarke who just moved from Chicago and plays under the name Cut Worms. It was one of his first shows in the city and it completely blew my mind. I bought a cassette and pretty much became obsessed and showed everyone i knew that ran a record label. I’m pretty sure he signed with one of them (it’s a secret for now though). He just finished his new record. I’ve heard some of it and it’s AMAZING. His songwriting is so timeless and trendless and his stage presence is one of a kind. Look out for Cut Worms in 2017, I can tell you it’s going to be a big year for him.
Best show you saw last year?
Saw Dead & Co. in Camden New Jersey. They opened up with Bertha and when Bobby started singing I cried. Saw Michael Hurley three nights in a row during his New England tour.
Got to open up for Vetiver up here in New Hampshire. They were a very influential band to me growing up so it was an honor. It’s been a great year for music!
Catch John Andrews & The Yawns on tour with Hand Habits. See dates below.
Feb 10 - Baby's Alright - Brooklyn, NY
Feb 11 - Everybody Hits - Philadelphia, PA
Feb 12 - Lilypad - Cambridge, MA
Feb 13 - Apohadian Theatre - Portland, ME
Feb 14 - Monkey House, Winooski, VT
Feb 15 - La Vitrola - Montreal, QC
Feb 16 - House Show - Albany, NY
Feb 18 - Songbyrd - Washington, DC
Feb 19 - The Mothlight - Asheville, NC
Feb 20 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
Feb 21 - Schubas - Chicago, IL
Feb 22 - Rumba Cafe - Columbus, OH