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The Manic Pace of Nathan Payne and the Wild Bores

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Professionally Lific

Credit: Mike McClellan

Most bands release an album every two years or so. Some workaholics crank out a new work annually.

Jerome Arizona-based Nathan Payne, who will be playing at Club 66 in Ashland on Mon., June 29 with his band The Wild Bores, has 26 albums available on Bandcamp—15 from the last four years. Payne put out six albums in 2013 alone.

“I’ve just been writing for years and I have this huge backlog of material,” Payne says. “When I finally got access to my own recording equipment and could record this backlog of tunes, I wanted to get the songs out of my head. So as a result of having all these songs. I put coherent collections together and slapped a title on them.”

As for how he managed to be so prolific, he says the secret is to shut up and let the song have its way, the less fingerprints on it; the better.

“The song is what it is,” says Payne. “The song tells me what it wants,” he says. “Whether that’s an 8-minutes psychedelic slow-ish thing, or a two and a half minutes 200 BPM rock thing. I’m really trying not to be in it, the song is in control. It’s more like surfing than corralling horses.”

That means the sounds and styles on those 26 album can vary wildly, from country ballads to moody blues-rock to adorable Juno-soundtrack esque indie-folk to Tom Waits-style odd-rock. Payne binds them altogether under the heading of rockabilly, though out of the other side of his mouth he says it’s not strictly accurate.

“The only reason I use the rockabilly tag at all is that it’s the closest short tag you can give,” says Payne. “The aesthetic appeals to me personally, but I don’t really have the costume.”

Though he doesn’t entirely not have it either. Payne has the greaser hair, the battered guitar, the spooky desert lyrics. It’s the dark, psychedelic side of rockabilly found more in films like Six String Samurai, Johnny Suede, or Mystery Train than playing on the stereo at a car show. Payne’s discography sounds like a lo-fi Nick Cave/Tom Waits team-up.

“If you were actually to talk to me about old rockabilly music, I’d probably without exception, not know what you’re talking about,” says Payne. “I like everything by someone who is really good at what they do, whether it’s Tupac or Mozart.”

But Payne also says that genre largely doesn’t matter anymore.

“Because of the internet where there is no dominant music anymore,” he says. “In the ’80s it was metal. Then it was hip-hop. But the internet made it so anything goes. There’s no longer a dominant. There’s no way for a Nirvana to exist, because there’s nothing for it to react to and shake the culture out of. Everyone is in their own multifaceted world. I watched Purple Rain last night and it’s so funny because Prince is a star and it’s so quaint. It no longer resonates. It’s much broader.”


Nathan Payne and the Wild Bores

Mon., June 29

Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland


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