The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Songs Are Syringes: Kristin Hersh On Her Favourite Tracks
John Doran , October 28th, 2013 09:06

Throwing Muses are releasing Purgatory/Paradise, their first album in a decade, so Kristin Hersh met up with John Doran to discuss her favourite records (not albums)

Ry_cooder_-_paris__texas_1382965481_resize_460x400

Ry Cooder - ‘Paris, Texas’
It has nothing to do with the film for me. It’s very hard for me, historically, to play music in my environment because it moves me way too much when it’s good and it moves me way too much when it’s lousy. If it’s lousy I get furious. I can’t believe anyone would play music to suck. So if I want to play music that’s going to affect the atmosphere of where I am then it needs to be neither, it can’t push me in either direction and the Paris, Texas OST is just lovely. Well, it is until Harry Dean Stanton starts singing. I love Harry Dean Stanton but even he says the same thing, you have to run to the stereo to skip that track.

It was my soundtrack for years, I’d wake up in the morning and hit play on Paris, Texas. And it has nothing to do with Ry Cooder, I don’t really like guitar player players. I just get bored with that. You might as well be a session guy. But these pieces with the vocals and the atmosphere behind them and the slide that doesn’t really go anywhere, nobody was showing off so I could handle it. And the last time I played it was during the hurricane last Fall. There was a hurricane in my area. People are still recovering from it and I’m not sure they ever will. I lost my house a few weeks after Katrina and watched New Orleans repair. We actually had to hide out in New Orleans after losing our house in a flood. It was ridiculous. New Orleans has been on fire ever since. It’s such a successful city. This hurricane last year, I just don’t see people coming back from it. The North East is just so depressed. Anyway, I was with two of my sons, I live right by the water. The coast guard was positioned just outside my house, we had boats sailing up our street. Houses were disappearing as the water level rose. I put my youngest son in my neighbour’s house because there weren’t trees round it even though it was nearer to the water. I had to make that call. I could swim to get him through a window if I had to but I couldn’t stop a tree from falling on him. So I was in my house with my older son and we were checking the water levels all night long with flashlights out in the rain. The coast guard had said we could evacuate but there was a downed line. They said give us twenty minutes to clear it and then you can evacuate. I had children, dogs, snakes and food all packed into my car. And twenty minutes later there were no passable roads any more so we had to go back home. And there I was a single parent with two kids and wet dogs, just not knowing what the fuck what to do, with the whole north east slowly going under water. So what I did was to put Paris, Texas on in the car and it spun the whole thing round. The windshield wipers were rhythmic instead of scary and the rain was beautiful and we just drove back home and put Paris, Texas on back in the house, unloaded the groceries and thought, “Everything’s ok because of Paris, Texas.” And it was, it was ok.


If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.