A short interview from a looooong night that eventually ended at that one taco place at the northwest corner of Irving, Lincoln and Damen… you know the one, “Best Tacos is Tawn”… that one. Not there any more. From RW#13, 1999:
“Link Wray makes my panties wet.”
It should be mentioned in preface to this unscripted interview that I, Joeseph Titanium Germ, had every intention of interviewing the countrified surf-rock trio, Booker Noe, for this issue of the Reglar Wiglar and in several ways I was successful in this enterprise. For example, I was able to ask the group several questions about a few things marginally related to them and their music. I did have a tape recorder and it was, in fact, turned on and recording for most of the night. As for my effort to try and delve into the music of Booker Noe, the theory behind their sound, the essence that fuels their live performances and gain insight into the minds behind the music through a series of thought out and provocative questions posed in a serious and straightforward manner, that kind of got lost somewhere in the mix, so to speak. The end result was an eight hour drunken debacle stretching from one side of Chicago’s Loop to the next, an embarrassing spectacle of whiskey soaked tomfoolery and the absence of self-control one feels only when listening to Conway Twitty blasting on the car stereo.
And so I beg of you, please, if you can not find it in your stone-cold hearts to forgive me for the following interview, please forgive this magazine and for God’s sake, forgive Booker Noe.
Booker Noe is:
Mike Wing: guitar
Lori Kolb-Wing: bass
Jake Hupert: drums
RW: We’re with Booker Noe and we’re on our way to … where we going? A liquor store?
WING: Cal’s Liquor’s.
RW: And where is Cal’s Liquor’s located?
WING: Van Buren and Wells.
RW: Van Buren and Wells.
LORI: Is this for the Reglar Wiglar?
RW: Ahh well … it is for a “magazine.”
LORI: Ok …
RW: What magazine wants to option it, we don’t know yet.
LORI: Is it going to be a magazine with the circulation of the Wiglar?
RW: Could be.
WING: Is there going to be tablature in it? Am I going to have to write all my songs out in tablature?
RW: That’s a good idea, I never thought of that. Tablature sells copies. That sells magazines.
WING: Are we going to start talking about gear now?
RW: What do you play through?
WING: I’m using a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.
RW: What’s your favorite gauge of string?
WING: I like the GHS Boomer Thin and Thick, the thicker the
better is the way I look at it.
RW: Excellent! Enough of that. Where does the name Booker Noe come from? Is it a character in a Western? That’s what I tell people.
LORI:No. He was the last—
LORI: He was the last Jim Beam distiller.
WING: The current distiller.
RW: He’s still alive?
LORI: He was born in 1906.
RW: Whiskey will keep you young. So he’s still in power?
WING: Yes, he is. I thought you said there was an exit here.
RW: There is.
(There is a brief moment of confusion as the turn on to Lake Shore Drive comes into sight.)
RW: How do you describe Booker Noe’s music? Can I tell you how I describe it to people? It’s theme music to a Western movie. How’s that?
LORI: That’s good. It’s a little more rock than that.
RW: A rockin’ Western! I didn’t say it was a lame Western did I?
LORI: No, you didn’t. You wanna fight?
RW: Not yet.
WING: That would be somewhat to the idea, but we think it stems off into other areas, like rock and roll.
LORI: It’s kind of surfy.
WING: It’s kind of country, but we do like Western movie soundtracks.
RW: Do you play country and western? I understand that you’re playing two shows tonight. That’s quite a grueling schedule.
RW: That’s quite a grueling schedule. I’m sorry, I’m eating a Jack’s Naturally Rising frozen pizza slice.
WING: You should really eat a little bit healthier.
RW: I should but hey, I was asleep about fifteen minutes ago, so… you gotta go to where the story is in this business.
WING: When you interviewed the Polkaholics (RW #12) did you get up fifteen minutes before their interview too?
RW: No, I prepared all day for that interview. I got up really early. I rehearsed all the questions. We’re not talking about the Polkaholics. We’re talkin’ to Booker Noe.
UPV (Unidentified Person in Van): What’s that you’re drinking? Coffee?
RW: Yeah. I actually wrote out some questions but I forgot ‘em.
LORI: Save ‘em for the follow-up interview when we’re rich and famous and we grant one interview.
RW: I will. (To Unidentified Person in Van) So what’s your role in all this?
UPV: I’m just along for the ride, man.
RW: Yeah, there’s a lot of guys like you in the music business. Who is this guy?
RW: We’re looking at boats on Lake Michigan. It’s a crisp spring evening. I’m going to continue this interview throughout the course of the night.
Lori: Yeah, after we’ve had a few drinks.
RW: I’ve had a few drinks and I’m recording over someone’s demo tape right now. I don’t know whose but I’m sure they deserve better.
Cal’s Liquor’s is a south Loop dive through a hole in the wall, not much in the way of decór but they did happen to have free music and cold beer and that’s a good combination.
RW: So where are we and why exactly are we here?
WING: We’re here to turn a few more heads on to the Booker Noe
RW: Is that a slow process or do you find that people are hip to the country/western/rock kind of thing?
WING: I don’t think it’s that slow of a process. When we get in front of people they seem to enjoy it quite a bit. The problem is getting ourselves in front of a lot of people.
RW: Yeah, that’s always tough.
RW: Especially getting a lot of people to pay money to have you in front of them.
WING: That is a problem.
RW: I’m surprised, but I believe it.
RW: Is this a bad time for music, right now? The end of the world, this is a bad time for music? Is it ever a bad time for music?
RW: There is a bad time for music?
WING: If you’re talking about popular music. Is that what you’re, in fact, talking about?
RW: I don’t know, I’m just throwing it out there.
WING: When I turn on a Top 40 hit rock radio station
RW: Which is how often?
WING: Maybe once a week.
RW: You turn on a hit radio station once a week?
WING: When I listen to it, I hear two or three songs in a row that sound very similar, the quadrupled vocals, these big effects and they got so much compression on them that it sounds like a video game/skateboard kind of thing. We got to go back to where the amp and the guitar make a difference again.
RW: Back to where the amp and the guitar make love again?
WING: Sweet love.
After the show.
RW: You guys were really workin’ it up there. I could tell. You’re sweaty.
WING: When I play I like to have a little sweat going so sometimes you’re sort of shivering up there. I don’t like U2, I don’t like any of that shit.
RW: You don’t like U2?
WING: Let’s put it this way, I saw U2 at the Fox Theater in ‘87 or ‘88.
RW: And they weren’t sweating enough for you?
WING: Bono was very sweaty, I’m just talking about that fucking video they had.
RW: The one where they’re sweating?
WING: “Christmas Day” or whatever the hell, where they’re standing outside.
RW: "New Year’s Day"?
UPV: “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, man.
WING: Yeah, where they’re standing outside with cut-off gloves and shit. But anyway, I saw them in Detroit and they were very good but—
RW: They were too sweaty?
WING: Well, obviously Bono lost touch with reality. I think that
the Reglar Wiglar audience would agree with me.
RW: I think a great portion of them would agree with you on that one, but certainly not all of them.
JAKE: Hey, that gig was a lot of fun.
RW: It looked like fun.
JAKE: Yes, it was. It was hot and then I took my shirt off.
RW: I saw that.
JAKE: And then it got a little hotter in the room, you know what I’m saying?
RW: A lot of the ladies had to sit down.
JAKE: We got a ten dollar bill in the tip jar.
RW: I’ll bet.
JAKE: It has my tits written all over it.
RW: I know, I put that in there. Just kidding, I wouldn’t tip Pamela Anderson Lee ten bucks. You guys still gotta play another show tonight?
JAKE: Yeah. I’m used to it though, I used to play cruise ships in Las Vegas.
Well, that’s it. That’s all I was able to salvage from the tape. Booker Noe did indeed play another show that night and I’m pretty sure I was there. My tape recorder disappeared for awhile at the party. I found it on the side of a pool table recording some idiotic meathead conversation that thoroughly bored me upon replay. Pretty pathetic, huh? (Just say yes.) I tried to do a follow-up interview with the Booker Noe but they’ve since moved to Colorado. And so it goes.
Mike Wing enjoys a delicious salad.