Today, we speak with the Texas singer-songwriter-bus-driver, Larry Hopper. I hope you enjoy. (Also, he's taking over Galleywinter's FB page Thursday.)
FTM: Hello, Hopper! It’s been a while since we last spoke. I’ve been meaning to ask you, are you related to Jim Hopper from Stranger Things?
Larry: I said no to this interview.
FTM: Your denial didn’t take. So what have you been doing in the 9 1/2 years since our last interview? Prison time?
Larry: I had some good toast about 4 years ago. I wanted to make sure and tell you about that toast. It wasn’t any special kind of bread, it was just the EXACT right amount of toasted. Not burnt, not under toasted. Can you imagine? It was so good!! I have some pictures of the toast if you need them.
FTM: I'm good. What are you doing to pass the time during quarantine, besides (insert tired beard grooming joke here)?
Larry: During what? No idea what you’re talking about.
FTM: These crazy times, buddy! Hey, when you and your wife are teaching your kids for in-home school, are you in charge of bad jokes and puns training, while she teaches all the other subjects?
Larry: My wife will be offended that you would think for ONE SECOND I would be the one who would teach puns. She has her doctorate in Punning.
FTM: Is it true you co-wrote a song for Cody Jinks?
FTM: Yeah right, Hopper; is it one that “accidentally got left off the album?”
Larry: It was the title cut of his 2019 release “After the Fire.” It was the number one country album for one whole week. Then he released another album the next week and kicked himself off the top spot.
FTM: Oh really? Does Cody owe you money or something?
Larry: I wish. I keep hoping someone will remember that they owe me money. Nobody does.
FTM: Most artists, and I use that term carefully, consume lots of art to keep their creativity flowing. What sort of books, movies, and music keep your muse alive? I’m assuming there will be a follow up question about coloring books, Tom Green films, and Hoobastank.
Larry: I only watch my extensive collection of Puppy Bowl recordings. I recently read a book about a little dog named Meli that went to the vet. It was quite the thrill ride. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but page 12 will surprise you!!! As for what I listen to, mostly my interior monologue of self doubt and fear and neurosis and anxiety and guilt . Also John Prine.
FTM: So I see you’ve been doing streaming concerts during the pandemic. What does that mean?
Larry: It just makes sense. Staying home is the best way for people to come see me.
FTM: No, I meant “pandemic,” I’ve always assumed that had something to do with pandas.
Larry: This is why I said no to the interview. Plus you barely even seemed interested in my really good toast story. The toast was excellent, the story was really good.
FTM: You live a wild life, Barry. I haven’t been stalking you, I promise, but I’ve noticed there are always a ton of kids in your social media photos. Are you starting a cult?
Larry: I hear there’s good money in it.
FTM: If your cult will have brisket and singalongs, I’m interested. Let’s talk about that later. Right now, I need to know what you think about how Red Dirt, independent country, and Americana music are kinda sorta mainstream these days. When we did that first interview, I’d have never dreamed that our buddy Drew Kennedy would be modestly more well known in 2020. It's wild.
Larry: I don’t know who that is, but the meshing of all the different musical subsets is bound to happen. It’s a cycle. Some kids get sick of mainstream music and there’s a movement of a new sound, it becomes popular and in that popularity gets watered down and pushed towards a more generic sound to appeal to more people. theres art and then there’s business and the 2 can only coexist in a small window before it becomes more business. That’s not to say anyone is wrong for that that’s just the nature of the beast. Radio stations have to sell ads to keep the lights on. They have the seemingly impossible task of staying true to their format but appealing to as many people as possible. People get mad at radio stations if they play a song that that person doesn’t think belongs. That’s bizarre to me. Just.. don’t listen to that song? I don’t like calling myself an artist but I’m sure not a business man. That’s why most people reading this think you’re interviewing the guy from the Lawrence Welk show, But there’s always good music to listen to. Mainstream or not. I’ll check out Drew Kennedy though.
FTM: Oh you know who he is; he asked me to tell you to stop texting him asking to open his shows all the time. It's getting awkward for everyone. Next question: Are you working on any new music?
Larry: I’m always writing. I have plenty of songs for a new album I just haven’t had time or money to record. And with the covidteen going on I have no idea what everything will look like when shows start up again.
FTM: You didn’t have to go on for so long. I don’t really care, it’s just something I have to ask since this is a music blog. But since we’re on the subject, will you be doing any boyfriend country songs?
Larry: I don’t know what that means.
FTM: Nobody does. Hey, it’s bizarre that I’ve “known” you online for over 15 years and I still don’t know your favorite N-Sync member. Care to elaborate?
Larry: Timberlake is the only one I can even name.
FTM: Who are some of your favorite songwriters these days?
Larry: Other than the standards, Lori Mckenna is just unspeakably good. I keep expecting to move on from my Isbell fanboyness but he’s just such a great writer. The writing BJ did on the new AA record is so good. Courtney Patton is better than most. So are Jacob Furr and Gabe Wootton. Mike Ethan Messick. Jackie Darlene for sure.
FTM: Again, don’t actually care. Did you watch Tiger King? That was some crazy sh*t.
Larry: I did. It was sad.
FTM: I see you’re still not going to come out and admit that you were the fake Cowboy Troy troll on that Americana message board we used to frequent. Why is that?
Larry: I think the record will show that the Cowboy Troy user had better spelling and grammar than me.
FTM: Okay, I think this has gone on for long enough. I’m as bored as you are, if not more. Let’s do the lightning round! Do you have a Larry Hopper face Covid mask on your merch site?
Larry: yes. It comes in the shape of a shirt and you have to DIY your mask.
FTM: That’s a missed opportunity. Alright, favorite flavor of Swisher Sweets?
Larry: I don’t use them because of poisons. I need to stay healthy so I can overeat for longer.
FTM: That’s a hoax. Tobacco is grown from the earth, so it’s healthy. Bigly. Do your research. Next question is multiple choice: Are these times A)uncertain B)crazy C)troubling 4)frowsty?
Larry: Can I put “exhausting” as a write in answer?
FTM: If Sam Hunt asked to cowrite a song with you, what color would the Land Rover you bought with the royalties be?
Larry: I don’t think you can buy a Land Rover with royalty money anymore. I might could get me an old Isuzu trooper.
FTM: Jay or Jeff?
FTM: No, I meant Jay Cutler or Jeff Garcia. Read the room.
Larry: Jeff Garcia from the Grateful Dead?
FTM: You don’t know soccer at all, Lawrence. Who is the coolest celebrity you’ve ever met?
Larry: Henry Winkler
FTM: Ayyyy! Favorite Juice WRLD song?
FTM: That is an acceptable answer. What’s the first restaurant you’re going to sit down and eat at when it’s finally safe again?
Larry: Somewhere with chips and salsa
FTM: You thought that was going to be a trick question, but these are very serious. What is the highest number of feral hogs that has ever run into your yard?
FTM: When you’re writing a song: lyrics or music first?
FTM: Another serious question! I’m getting good at this! Spell “Thibodaux.”
Larry: Thibodeaux. I learned that from an episode of King of the Hill.
FTM: I was talking about the city in Louisiana and with this being an email interview, I gave you the answer and you still missed it. Anyway.. if you were doing a big nationwide tour, what particular food or drink would be on your tour rider?
Larry: 4 fried chickens and a coke.
FTM: Alright, now it’s the requisite time in a Farce the Music interview when we give you the opportunity to speak poorly of mainstream country. If you don’t say something funny, pithy, or meaningful here, you may lose legions of fans. No pressure.
Larry: jokes on you, I don’t have legions of fans.
Mainstream Country is awful but so is a lot of other stuff. I just don’t listen. I don’t care what they’re doing. It’s not for me. I am not their target. Honestly the only reason I even know the names of most of them is because of Farce The Music, haha. And it’s just name recognition. If I’m in a store and mainstream country is playing it lets me know that I still am not interested, but that’s the extent of how much I think about it. I don’t like most Jazz music, so I just don’t listen to Jazz music.i don’t have to make shirts about how much I hate it. I used to get worked up about what they were calling country music but labels are for the masses and the record execs. Something I work hard on reminding myself, and I wish more people understood: you don’t have to have an opinion on everything. In the time of this constant barrage of new information or media or whatever, we feel like we have to know about it all and have an informed opinion on every single thing. Just pick a few. I just choose to not care, as you can fell by the massive paragraph I just wrote on the matter.
FTM: So much for “lightning.” What do you think the water from inside a waterbed would taste like?
Larry: Pall Mall cigarettes and bad decisions.
FTM: Possibly. It’s just something I’ve been wondering about. Okay, last question: Would you rather have a sack full of punch or a punch in the sack?
Larry: I really said I wasn’t going to do another one of these interviews.