Band of Horses are an American group which a select but growing audience in New Zealand has embraced, largely on the strength of them touring here early (earlyish) in their career . . . and then coming back.
And they make great records: Their Cease to Begin was in our 2007 "best of Elsewhere" list, their follow-up Infinite Arms was equally acclaimed in these pages (and Grammy nominated) and we had an interview with Tyler Ramsey from the band (here) because he also ran an excellent parallel solo career and sometimes opened for them.
They have moved from indie outsiders and closer to the centre while managing to retain serious credibility for their broad-based rock which touches country and polite ballads with equal panache.
Their most recent album Mirage Rock (produced by Glyn Johns) also received favorable reviews and went top 25 in many countries (#13 in the US, 20 on the UK and 21 in New Zealand).
And they are touring again in New Zealand (see dates below). So let's have keyboard player/guitarist Ryan Munroe -- who last year released a solo album A Painting of a Painting on Fire in 2012 -- take a shot at the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.
The first piece of music which really affected you was . .
Probably " You Are the Sunshine of my Life" by Stevie Wonder because my mom used to sing that to me all of the time when I was a fart dodger. Or "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" from 'Annie'. I had to sing that at school in the second grade. Man, come to think of it "You Are My Sunshine" was one too my mom used to sing to me. Apparently I was influenced by lots ofvitamin D
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
Well my dad and my brother were always more advanced, musically, than I was when I was a little kid. They taught me tricks on all of their hand me down guitars and keyboards etc. But I remember wanting to be a mix between Kenny Rogers, James Brown and CC Deville when I was 10. Not musically, I just wanted to be extremely unattractive and thought with that mix, I could achieve ultimate hideousness.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Lennon, Nirvana (tough one), Madonna, Jacko (not even close on the last one, Michael Jackson was larger than life)
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
I really want to do some acting in the future. I've been acting like I'm a good musician for most of my life and now I'm giving an interview so I might really have a knack for acting.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
hmmmm...that's way too tough.. :) (sorry)
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?
I have John Stamos' bongos from the Kokomo video flanking the bay window in my apartment....kidding. No I don't have anything.....wait!!!! Eddie Vedder gave us all Zippos on the last day of our tour with Pearl Jam. Eddie also threw me a Zippo during their show one night. Both of those Zippos are special to me.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)
Neil Young, "Comes a Time" on the the organ... (I already did that)...... holy crap! :)
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Rocky 1, Rocky 2 and Rocky 3
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Vinyl, I bought REM's 'Life Rich Pageant' for Tyler and downloaded Tame Impala's Lonerism the other day ... stunning
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
A huge photo print of a smiling dog in the back of a pickup truck going about 70 mph by Christopher Wilson
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
Teen Wolf crushing a beer can with his fangs..
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
Being in Band Of Horses touring the world with my girlfriend, Lydia by my side.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
. . .
BAND OF HORSES TOUR DATES
January 15, Opera House, Wellington (with Mike Noga)
January 16, Powerstation, Auckland (qwith Mike Noga)