DFW Music News

Q&A: Christina Marrs of The Asylum Street Spankers Talks About the Band's Final Dallas Show And The Changing Face of Austin Music

Asylum Street Spankers
Austin's Asylum Street Spankers have been around since 1994, playing a crafty blend of folk and roots rock. Lead by Christina Marrs, the Spankers have become legends within the Austin music scene.

Sadly, the band has decided to call it a day and tonight's stop at The Sons of Hermann Hall will be the last time The Asylum Street Spankers makes its way to our fair area.

Before this final show at Sons, Marrs took some time to reflect on her band's history and to talk with us about the band's decision to call it quits. She also touches on the way Austin's music scene has changed over the years, and how the hell she expects to fill up her days now that the band is coming to its end.

Check our conversation out in full after the jump.

Why is tonight's show the final time the band will play Dallas?
We are in the midst of our farewell tour which will take us through the end of March or the beginning of April. It was time to go around the country and say goodbye to all our fans. Tonight will be the final Dallas show.  

Why end the band now?
There were numerous factors. We've been playing music for 17 years and it's time to do something else. It's been rough the last couple of years. The economy has definitely impacted us. It's tough to be a touring band right now. The only way to make a living is to be gone all of the time. People are picking and choosing what shows they are going to and they are not buying as much merchandise. People aren't buying CDs anymore. For bands like us, that's a big part of what we do, a large source of income. Plus, it's more expensive to be on the road. It's been a long, long run, but it's time to do something else.

What's next for you?
I don't have anything specific in the works. I have been talking about some other projects that will keep me closer to home. I will probably put together a project with some of the current Spankers. For me, The Spankers were taking up so much of my time, the better part of a decade and a half. It's been impossible to work on other things. It will be kind of cool to check out a few other things because I won't have to worry about being gone half the time. That will be cool. I have to keep playing music because I am pretty unqualified to do anything else.

Is Austin the perfect place for your music?
I don't know that it is anymore. I am so out of touch with what is going on musically in Austin. I don't know if it's the perfect place. There are other cities in the country that have more of an acoustic music scene than Austin. Austin's changed. Places change. For one thing, the population has doubled in such a short amount of time. We've had a huge wave of people in the technical industry. These people came from California with a certain different influence. You started to see all these expensive little boutiques popping up everywhere and all these condominiums.  People bring with them different tastes. When I started the band, I was 20 and now I am 40 and I'm married with two kids. I've changed as well.

Even if you band stops touring, can't you still release albums?
There is a possibility that we may make one last record. There are some songs that have been written in the past year and some that have already been recorded. We might do one last record. As far as keeping the band together around Austin, I don't think that's going to happen. We will do this last tour, maybe put out a record and that will wrap it up.

I understand that there have been over 30 former members of the band. Do you ever go out and see someone and think that they may have one time been a member?
I do run into ex-Spankers all of the time. We were in Nashville a couple of days ago and I ran into a guy who used to play fiddle for us. There are enough of them out there that we definitely run into each other. Thirty may actually be a little on the low side. I think there may be more than that.

The band's music has been described as progressive folk, jazz, blues, ragtime, roots rock and comedy rock. Care to add anything else?
I could probably add a few things. We've definitely played just about any kind of American roots music that exists. And lots of other stuff, too.

Asylum Street Spankers perform tonight at Sons of Hermann Hall

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers