known as Homemade Sister and
Swell….They are one of the hidden treasures of rock music.They’ve been
playing together for more than 15 years now.Magnapop was on hiatus
after 1997 and nearly ten years later they released their amazing album
“Mouthfeel” in 2005. Now in 2009, a new album and a new tour is
expected. To be a fan
of Magnapop is
something very special and it’s an honour to
do this interview with the former member and one of my favourite
PUNK GLOBE: Ruthie, after a 9 year break you released the album “Mouthfeel” in 2005. How was the feedback you got, how did the touring go?
RUTHIE: I really love this album even though I think it would have been better to have someone other than ourselves producing it. We toured Europe in 2007 playing the festival circuit and those were some great shows. People seemed to really enjoy the music. I think "Mouthfeel" was well received both in the United States and abroad. People seemed happy we were back but everyone wondered where had been; we had been writing music all along.
GLOBE: When did
Magnapop form? Where did the Magnapop name come from?
RUTHIE: Magnapop was formed in 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, after I was introduced to Linda Hopper by a mutual friend. Magnapop was our third try at a band name. We wanted something that sounded like a brand name, and Magnapop sort of sounded like Magnavox, the electronics brand.
PUNK GLOBE: Please tell us a bit about the early days. When did you exactly start music?
it your plan or dream to be a guitarist of a famous rock
when you were young?
RUTHIE: Although I didn’t start playing the guitar until I was 20 years old, I was, from a very young age, an avid music listener. I think I have excellent taste in music and when I began playing the guitar, I feel like I brought that influence with me and incorporated it into my songs. I met an older musician when I was young who mentored me and showed me how to write songs. We played in a band together for a while until I left Florida and moved to Atlanta. I didn’t really dream of being in a famous rock band when I was a kid. For me, it was more about writing and playing the songs.
PUNK GLOBE: During your music career, were you involved in some side projects,too? Can you give us some information on them?
RUTHIE: During the time I lived in Seattle (2001-2003) I played in a two-piece band with my friend, Curtis Hall, who is now playing drums with Grand Archives, a cool, new band from Seattle, Washington. They’re kind of like Band of Horses. There is even a name for this new genre of music from Seattle … they’re calling it “Grange Rock.” Anyway, Curtis and I played together in a band called The New Candidates. It was a lot of fun and a really different experience than playing in a four piece band.
PUNK GLOBE: What did the members of Magnapop do in the period -- after 1997 -- until “Mouthfeel” came out?RUTHIE: After 1997, we were basically just trying to figure out our lives. Touring for years makes it hard to have a personal life so I think everyone enjoyed being able to just stay in one place for awhile. We also had legal issues that prevented us from recording for seven years. But I can’t say that those years weren’t fertile for me, musically, because I never stopped writing and I spent a lot of time really studying the art of songwriting. I feel like I have really honed my songwriting skills.
You are in the music scene for years now and you played guitar in one
of the most amazing and wonderful bands in rock music of all time. But,
if you were to create your all time dream band, who would be the
members of this heroic army?
Everybody knows about you being a great guitar player. (Juliana
Hatfield, which some readers may remember from The Blakes Babies wrote
song about Ruthie.) Do you play any other instruments besides guitar ?
During the 1980s I discovered punk rock and artists like David Bowie, The Stooges and The Clash which would eventually have a huge impact on me as a musician. At the moment, I am really into the band TV on the Radio. I really like the New York scene, bands like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes. I don’t consider them “unknown,” but I really like a band from Atlanta called The Black Lips.
PUNK GLOBE: Magnapop also played with bands like Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana in “The Year Punk Broke” Festival. Do you have any memories to share that you had with these bands and in this festival?What do you remember from those days?
RUTHIE: I remember this festival very well. We shared a dressing room with Nirvana and they were so rowdy and drunk. I remember meeting Kurt Cobain in a closet. He was sitting inside a closet when I was introduced to him. He was very soft spoken and sweet and very different from Dave Grohl and Krist Noveselic who seemed kind of like drunken fraternity boys. They were being very loud and throwing food around the dressing room and just behaving obnoxiously, in general. I also remember that watching them play was like nothing I had ever seen before. They were so incredibly good and they sounded so amazing yet I knew they were smashed. I also knew they were going to be huge ……. and they were.
PUNK GLOBE: With the last album “Mouthfeel” the beautiful sound and known style of Magnapop hasn’t changed much but it surely got better. Magnapop hasn’t lost any fans but also gained new ones.With your upcoming album and in the future what surprises can we expect from you next in terms of collaborations and musical direction?
Was it a rare period of time that showed us so many cool bands and unique, different but good music all together at the same time –- at least compared to these last ten years? What do you think?
RUTHIE: I think it was easier for bands to survive back in those days. It seems like now it has become really difficult. I’m not sure how to explain that or to say what accounts for that change, but there is definitely less of a community feeling in the indie-rock scene today as compared to the scene in the early and mid-90’s.
PUNK GLOBE: Last question…..When you were a kid
growing up, who did you imitate when you stood in front of the mirror?
Steve Nicks from Fleetwood Mac. She was so beautiful and talented and
she wrote her own songs. She was a real role model for me.
PUNK GLOBE: Any last words for Punk Globe
Thanks to Ozgur for giving me some really interesting and fun questions
to answer. I enjoyed talking to Punk
Globe. Thanks also to Ozgur for
playing our music in Turkey. We really love knowing that our music is
listened to so far from home.
PUNK GLOBE WOULD LIKE TO THANK MAGNAPOP AND RUTHIE MORRIS FOR THIS COOL
BY OZGUR COKYUCE – PUNK GLOBE DECEMBER 2008