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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:54

'Leaving it on the stage is better than sex' An interview with Bo Jackson of Bo and the Locomotive + Video

'Leaving it on the stage is better than sex' An interview with Bo Jackson of Bo and the Locomotive Courtesy of Bo and the Locomotive
Written by Alex Cunningham
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Beginning as the bedroom recording project of singer-songwriter Bo Jackson, St. Louis indie-rock outfit Bo and the Locomotive quickly evolved into a fully realized group unit. After the release of their self-recorded debut, "On My Way," Jackson and his bandmates headed to Native Sound Studios to craft a hi-fi follow up.

Following the completion of what became a yearlong recording process, Bo and the Locomotive now awaits the release of its second album, "It's All Down Here From Here." Jackson will debut songs from the album with the most recent Locomotive lineup at the group's listening party and album fundraiser on Thursday, August 14 at the Luminary.

I met with Jackson to discuss the recording process behind "It's All Down from Here," the future of Bo and the Locomotive and stepping outside of local barriers.

Alex Cunningham: What can you tell us about the new album?

Bo Jackson: It was recorded at David Beeman's studio, Native Sound Studios on Cherokee Street. It took over a year to make in studio, not by choice, but there was some turmoil in the middle of the recording between us and the studio but it's all worked now and we finished it. He had to move his studio in the middle of the record from one building to another, so that was a complete four-month span where we couldn't do anything. It was kind of a weird process, kind of disconnected. By the time we returned to it, it ended up being cohesive in a way that I didn't think it was going to be when we were in the middle of it.

How did these unforeseen circumstances shape the way record came together?

I guess we just had more time to listen to it in the mean time, so that was good. We were able to come up with new ideas that we were able to add in.

What type of plans do you have to tour off the album?

We'd love to do a good amount of touring since it's out. We're going to see what happens. Our manager is trying to get us better shows and better tours. I don't know. We'll see what happens.

What kind of touring have you guys done in the past?

We've done a lot. We've done a southern tour, east coast, a lot of midwest stuff. We have a good following in Columbus, Ohio for some reason. We always do well there. We've been to Chicago a bunch. We used to tour a lot. We would just go and do it. As the band grew, it became harder to do. I'm trying to get back into it.

What's audience response like playing out of town versus playing in St. Louis?

I think it's easier to play out of town than in town, even if there aren't as many people there. You're there on business. You're in the mindset of just playing a show and you're not distracted by people you might know coming to the shows and talking to you. Sometimes I'm really jittery when I play so I don't want to socialize. Even if there aren't a lot of people there, it's almost better sometimes that way. I think it's easier to play when there are a lot of people, but you have to be able to do both. I'd rather play in front of 500 people than five people watching me on a couch.

What can you tell us about the listening party?

We're doing a fundraiser for the album. It's basically an in-person Kickstarter. I always wanted to try something different because there are so may Kickstarters out there. We're going to have people come and listen to the album in full for the first time. When you pay to come in, you get a copy of the vinyl when it comes out or a CD if you want. We're going to play a few songs live as the new lineup. [Daniel Murphy] who did the album art is coming into town to show a bunch of his unused album covers; album covers that he made for bands that didn't select those covers. He designed covers for Secretly Canadian for a long time. That will be an element of the night too. That will be at the Luminary. Vintage Vinyl is sponsoring.

Overall, where do you see the project heading in the future?

I want to make it sustainable. I've always been into the idea of making it a sustainable unit that can keep playing shows and keep everyone involved and afloat somehow. We're still far off from that right now, but that's my goal.

What is something you want to do with this band that you haven't done yet?

I'm going to go on tour in a tour bus. I don't care how much it costs me. Just a week in a bus with a driver. I want to see what that's like [laughs]. Like I said before, I think it's a matter of being able to keep doing it and be happy. I have this fear that if I ever reach my goal I still wouldn't be happy. If I got to the point of success somehow, whatever that means...even if you got to that point and you weren't happy, then what would you do? I'm not unhappy, it's just in the back of my head that if this works, then what?

Is success just a measure of being able to keep playing for people?

Yeah. I think leaving it on the stage is better than sex. It's such a good feeling to do it. I think every musician wants people to hear their music, whether they say it or not. I think being able to keep doing it and enjoy it is the goal.

So not even finding an audience...that doesn't necessarily have to be a part of the end goal?

Finding an audience?

Outside of the local audience...

Yeah. I'm very dedicated to being not local. I think "local" is derogatory. In the big picture, "local band" means "bad" almost.

Then again every band is a local band somewhere.

Yeah, at one point. I don't think they are now. I know a lot of bands with members in different cities now; bands that travel a lot that don't all live in the same place necessarily. We definitely want to break the walls of local.

And have an audience outside of St. Louis.

Yeah, an audience anywhere you go really. You know Foxing? They're doing really well. They're really good, and they have some buzz going on right now. It's cool to see. I've known those guys for a long time. They're making it work.

I think playing in one place all the time is a bad thing. Playing in one city or one state doesn't mean as much. You have to get humbled playing out of town.

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