Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

The Long Way Around - Feature from Issue #6 Nov-Dec 1996

Vic Chesnutt

Gravity In BulkEccentric Southern songwriters Vic Chesnutt and Jack Logan are the Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach of their generation

Vic: Yeah, that’s a problem. But I just took two strings off my guitar, and tuned it like a mandolin. It’s cool. I was thinking, “I want to show this to Jack.” It’s only four strings, so it doesn’t play minors or majors, because it’s not a whole chord. It’s only two notes, but it’s cool.

Jack: I’ve been writing a bunch lately, just because I have to.

Vic: You’ve got a new record to do, don’t you?

Jack: Yeah. We’ll be recording soon, behind Fellini’s (a pizza place in Atlanta). Are you gonna be in town? We’ll probably start…

Vic: Y’all got unlimited time out there?

Jack: Yeaah! I’m gonna try to demo as much as I possibly can.

Vic: Are you going to get all the boys in there?

Jack: Yeah, it’ll pretty much be the [Liquor] Cabinet. If you’re around, come along. Let’s do something.

Vic: I’d love to.

ND: Here’s Vic’s new CD, which I can’t give to you.

Jack: Is that the new one?

Vic: That’s an early one. That’s not it.

ND: It’s the songs.

Jack: What’s [gonna be] on the cover?

Vic: A photograph of me, of course.

Jack (looking at the track listing): “Myrtle.” The beach, or a woman?

Vic: The bush.

Jack: “See You Around”? Awesome!

Vic: I hate that song. That’s a really old one.

Jack: He played that with the La-Di-Da’s.

Vic: Every gig we ever played, that was the last song. I fucking hate that song.

ND: Why’d you put it on the CD?

Vic: I don’t know.

Jack: Because it’s a good song.

Vic: Well, Tina liked it. But it’s so old, it’s sort of embarrassing.

Jack: It stands up well. But I know how you feel.

ND: All those songs that ended up on Bulk — it seems like you put a lot of effort into getting them right, even though presumably you didn’t expect anything to come of it.

Jack: Oh, yeah. We wanted them to be good. But why would I have [expected anything]? Nobody had ever heard them, except for a small group of friends. (to Vic) You probably didn’t expect to make records, did you?

Vic: I didn’t. I didn’t care. I kind of thought about it, but…

Jack: It seemed so far away, not too long ago. It just seemed impossible.

Vic: Yeah, it was ugly.

Jack: When we were first playing, Vic had his band, the La-Di-Da’s, and I had Lava Treatment. We did shows together, but we were, like, the bottom rung. We were the bands they’d call Tuesday, for a Wednesday night gig. It was like, “These guys dropped out; do you guys want to play?”

Vic: But we did record back then.

Jack: Oh, yeah, always. I’ve got some real old stuff of yours, stuff we did on a boom box.

Vic: See, Logan was my hero.

ND: Do you think there’s a particular “Athens” sound?

Jack: Well, the thing is, in Athens you can do whatever you want. But I think Athens is like anywhere else. Right now, there’s a bunch of country bands, or Flying Burrito Brothers-type bands.

Vic: Yeah, there’s a lot of country shit going on here.

Jack: And there was none of that five or six years ago. There was a lot of Steve Albini-sounding…

ND: So you don’t think there’s an Athens sound, at all?

Vic: No.

Jack: R.E.M., they’re the ones who first brought attention to the Byrds-sounding thing, or something.

Vic: Dinga-dinga-dinga-dinga. Nobody does that; not even them. They don’t do that shit anymore.

ND: Do people ever make comments about you and Michael sounding alike, vocally?

Vic: Oh, fuck, yeah! Of course they do!

Jack: I don’t see that. I think you sound like Ray Charles.

Vic: In my wettest dreams.

Jack: It’s that kind of confidence in the words, or something. He’s not afraid to be a little jazzy, but he still keeps the main melody, where you can hum it. Your phrasing, I think, is what’s totally unique. And your enunciation.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #6 Nov-Dec 1996

Cover of Issue #6 Nov-Dec 1996

Sorry, this issue is SOLD OUT

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter