John Strickland, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Lullwater, one of the hottest bands to come out of Athens, GA in quite some time, recently chatted with us about the timing of the release for the band’s latest video “American Glutton,” which exclusively premieres on AXS today. The track is the fifth video off of the band’s 2015 album Revival. “American Glutton” is a controversial, in-your-face kind of commentary on the current political climate. Lullwater has found a way to convey their passion over such subjects to the masses by using their talent and pure, raw emotion. They are also one of the industry’s hardest-working bands out on the road today. Follow Lullwater on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming tour information.
AXS: Tell me about the inspiration behind the track “American Glutton.”
John Strickland: Well, I think you could say the main inspiration behind “American Glutton” is…I want to say it is more of an anti-pop culture, anti-establishment video. It is a very angry song. It is about corruption that happens in the financial institutions and the political landscape we’re in right now. How f***ed up it is right now. I think that what went down with the financial establishment really hurt a lot of people. It became about how gluttonous the American people can be, especially with pop culture. You know, like the Kardashians and what you are supposed to look like and how much money you are supposed to have. You are supposed to have nice cars and all these things. So it is kind of a jab at pop culture today.
AXS: Who came up with the concept for the video?
JS: We all did actually. It was done in-house for sure. Our director and videographer had this space and the band decided let’s get all these TVs, big, old TVs in a room. It ended up being pretty much a wall of tvs in this space. Because, you know, metaphorically it is all static. We wanted a cool video, but we also wanted to show what things were like today with the news and how you are just bombarded with all this information and what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s pretty much all static at this point and that played into the theme of the video.
AXS: Were any of the other songs off Revival inspired by political events that going on in the country?
JS: No actually. We recorded this album in 2015. It was recorded then…but then it just became relevant. That is why we wanted to do a music video now even though it is a year and a half after the release of the record. I guess because the political system was so charged and everyone was so passionate about everything, even us. I mean we were charged about what was going on, too. It just became relevant and that is why we made the video for “American Glutton.”
AXS: Is this the album that was recorded out in Seattle at London Bridge Studios?
JS: This album was recorded in Texas at Sonic Ranch Studios. We flew out there for about a month. The ranch is in the middle of a pecan orchard in Tornillo, TX in the middle of nowhere, outside of El Paso. Just wide-open acres, beautiful haciendas and studios, it is a magical place. We had a blast making that record for sure. We recorded the previous album at London Bridge Studio. Funny you should mention that. We met the producers for this album while recording our last album at London Bridge. They were assistants. We liked what they did so much. We liked their working style, how they engineered, produced music so we snagged those two guys up and flew them out to Texas. They did the entire Revival record.
AXS: Did they get you to consider ways to approach the songs you hadn’t considered before?
JS: Definitely. I think they got a lot out of us. We recorded on analog tape so for us to record it had to be tight. I mean, obviously you can’t just cut and paste on tape. They were for sure a driving force behind out sound and got that raw feel. It came from those guys understanding us and working with us.
AXS: You guys are from Athens, GA, which is known for its unique music scene. You have recorded in Seattle and Texas, which are also known for strong unique music scenes. How do the scenes in Seattle and Texas compare to where you are from in Athens?
JS: For us Seattle has always been that mythical place. When Grunge came out I was in middle school. It just completely changed my whole outlook on music. I wanted to learn how to play the guitar pretty much because of it. So recording in Seattle…the scene is so different from Athens, but that is what we wanted. We wanted to do a grungy record in the Seattle winter and we got what we asked for. We figured if we did it in the winter when it is grungy we’d be miserable and get pissed off. We thought it would be a good idea to be uncomfortable while making a hard rock record. It did, it was brutal. Athens has always been known for REM, Widespread Panic, Driveby Truckers-and those are all good bands-but Athens has been really odd lately. We really don’t play in Athens that much anymore. The live music scene is still there and there are some good indy bands that live there, but for me personally it has been losing a lot of that special spark that was in Athens for a long time. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of live music anymore. It is really too bad. I mean there are staples in Athens, they have the Theater, 40 Watt, Nowhere Bar, places like that, but as far as bars downtown where someone is playing acoustic music or live music in general, it kind of dried up a little bit. It is a little frustrating to know what Athens was and to be disappointed in the live scene now.
AXS: Are you on the road now?
JS: We are in Spokane right now actually. We had to get our trailer fixed. We got pulled over the other night and had to fix our trailer. So we are taking some time to take care of that, but last night was the last night of the tour for us. We are heading back to Athens to start working on some new material. We want to line up some more tours for the spring and kinda get back to business.