Baptist General Chris Flemmons on Learning to Let Go
The Baptist Generals return to the stage at 35 Denton after a three-year hiatus, and though the band has only released a handful of tracks since 2003's Sub Pop LP, No Silver/No Gold, for the first time since 2005 it really looks like a new Baptist Generals record may drop as soon as early summer. Frontman and 35 Denton founder Chris Flemmons says the band hopes to have the album wrapped by May "at the latest," with 7-inches and videos trickling out beforehand.
Sooo, the new Baptist Generals record. I know you started to say you'd learned a lot from the past few years.
Yeah, well, I learned a lot from the festival. I kind of learned to let go and not try to be a control hound. And, basically, I told the guys in the band, "If y'all wanna do this, then you guys administer and schedule and organize. I'm just gonna show up and feel it." And now Stuart Sikes is recording us.
How's that going so far?
Oh, it's awesome. And I've never had a good experience in the studio ever. It's been really good. The guys, we're all really excited about it.
And obviously you've been working on this album and mulling it over for quite some time.
Yeah, I mean we made an attempt to record in 2005 with Stuart, and it was a misguided attempt, instrumentally. We'd just come off a tour, and we went into the studio and it was all electric. It had nothing to do with Stuart, but by the end of the thing we were like, "Man, this isn't like us at all." We played a rug show in Denton — it was an acoustic set — and I was like, "Oh my God, how the hell did you forget that the essence of this stuff is largely acoustic?" And that's kind of where it's always been. What happened was we had almost entirely electrified our sound on tour, and went in with that arrangement ensemble. But to my ear, we sounded just like any other indie-rock band. We didn't sound like the Baptist Generals. [The band made another failed attempt to record during the planning stage of 35 Denton's second year.]
Would you say the festival and your time spent trying to help Save Fry Street were procrastination on your part?
Well, no. But I think I needed my friends in the band wringing their hands about not working on a record since 2005. I don't think anybody in the band right now would disagree that it seems that period was necessary. Like, what we're getting now is really great stuff. And there's not any regret that it took this long to get to this place. And, like I said, I feel like I learned a lot, organizationally, from working with the festival. I learned a lot about myself, positive and negative. And I learned to kind of let go, and that's been an extremely positive force with the band and our productivity right now.
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