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A Quietus Interview

Counting Backwards: Throwing Muses Interviewed
John Freeman , October 24th, 2011 06:11

As they prepare to tour Europe with their career-spanning release, the three Muses talk to John Freeman about the moments that defined one of America’s finest guitar bands and how they’ve come to a record a new 38-track album

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In late April of 1988, in the now-defunct Manchester International One venue, I stood wide-eyed and shocked as a band from Boston tore through a set of songs which scorched their way into my heart. That short Pixies support set would become enshrined in folklore. Minutes later, another group of Massachusetts musicians took the stage as Kristin Hersh’s Throwing Muses attempted to follow the incendiary scream of Black Francis. They managed that and more – the Muses’ urgent, jagged indie rock was both beautiful and intense and Hersh performed as if exorcising her darkest fears. My teenage self was captivated.

Fast-forward twenty years and Kristin Hersh made a connection with me on an entirely different level. Then, my four-year-old son was critically ill with a life-threatening brain haemorrhage. At the time his favourite story was ‘Toby Snax’, Kristin’s charming first foray into children’s literature. As he lay in the Intensive Care Unit at the Manchester Children’s Hospital – only a few hundred metres from where the International One used to stand – my son kept asking his mum to read the book to him. It is about a mother rabbit suggesting adventurous day-trips to her boy. As my boy clung on to life ‘Toby Snax’ was a particularly heartbreaking tale.

A couple of days later, with my son having undergone yet more complex brain surgery, I sent Kristin a befuddled, emotional, late-night email telling her about him and how much ‘Toby Snax’ had helped. Her response was...

...The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

David Ross
Oct 24, 2011 8:28pm

Excellent lively article about one of the best bands of the last twenty five years .... Thank you so much

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Oct 24, 2011 8:42pm

Inspired. Lovely intro, great middle and charming close out. Looking forward to the Manchester gig.

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Matthew K
Oct 25, 2011 11:04am

Beautiful piece, a band who so deserve to be treated with affection. I spent an hour on the phone with David N once, from Australia to Providence, supposedly doing an interview but just rambling about the band and its history. I ran over a couple of interviews scheduled with other magazines and he didn't mind, even though the zine I wrote for was tiny. When they played in Melbourne the band invited me and a friend to their room afterward, gave us beers, hung out and talked, it was pretty magical. I bet there are a thousand people out there they treated the same way.

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Lucy Cage
Oct 25, 2011 11:42am

What a lovely article, thank you.

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Greg Neate
Oct 26, 2011 12:02am

Cheers for the round up of past and present, a nicely woven piece.

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laura
Oct 26, 2011 2:24pm

I really liked your article at first, but I literally could not make myself continue reading it after "2003’s (slightly disappointing) Throwing Muses." I don't think you should make statements like that as though they are facts. A lot of fans really like that album. I've actually never heard anyone else refer to it as "slightly disappointing." As a younger fan, who only began listening to them in the last decade, that was the first Muses album I heard, and I loved it enough to buy all of their other releases, as well as Kristin's solo stuff and 50 Foot Wave. It is still my second favorite Muses album (after the '86 debut). I hate to think that someone who is not familiar with the band might read this article and completely surpass that album or listen to it with a bias or take for granted the idea that it's a "black sheep" among Throwing Muses releases, which is not so. As a side note, seeing as you are clearly someone who appreciates Kristin's work, I recommend you give the album another try as well.

Also, you stated that 'Limbo' was released in '97 when in fact it was '96. But other than that, I liked the article a lot. Hope your son is doing well.

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Dafydd Waters
Oct 26, 2011 6:53pm

What a great piece. Thanks! I'm surprised that you found TM's 2003 album "slightly disappointing", however. I think it kicks every possible kind of ass.

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