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Magnapop…….Previously 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 guitarists…..Ruthie Morris.

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.

PUNK 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?

Was it your plan or dream to be a guitarist of a famous rock band 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.

PUNK GLOBE: Ruthie, the songs of the album “Mouthfeel"..were they some old songs that you were planning to record (in the late '90s maybe) or did they all come up around 2003-2004??

RUTHIE: Linda and I recorded some of the songs on "Mouthfeel" with a band comprised of some friends of mine from Seattle. Linda actually came to Seattle in 2002 and we demo’d some of the songs at that time. Other songs on Mouthfeel were written in Atlanta in 2004.

PUNK GLOBE: Which bands or artists -- can we say -- had most influence on the music of Magnapop ?

RUTHIE: REM, Velvet Underground, Big Star, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks,  Guided By Voices, Wire, The Stooges, Neil Young, and Johnny Thunders. This list could go on and on but I feel like these bands do a good job of representing our nascent beginnings.
Magnapop with their old line-up

PUNK GLOBE: 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?

RUTHIE: Peter Buck and Keith Richards on guitar, Dave Grohl on drums, Kim Deal on bass, and I, of course, will be playing guitar. As long as we’re talking dreams, I would also like to have a few dream side projects featuring musicians such as John Lennon, Flea, Johnny Thunders, Kim Deal, and Josh Friese on drums.  

PUNK GLOBE: Nearly ten years have passed since the events of September 11 in the U.S. and terror is a bigger threat for lots of countries than ever. What has changed? And when we think about today, doesn’t the world need the existence of real and honest bands more than ever? For telling the youth what’s going on, giving them the spirit to not only getting angry but to question everything. What do you think?
RUTHIE: I think music has always been a huge part of social change. In fact, I think that changing people, in some way, is what art should always strive to accomplish. We are living in very tumultuous times and modern music reflects that unrest. Music has that magical quality of being able to reach people across cultural, racial, and economic lines and now, more than ever before, musicians can reach audiences they never would have been able to reach before the internet existed. I think it’s great that there is a dialogue going on out there ………. people are speaking to one another with their music and if it helps us understand and accept each other better, then that’s a wonderful thing.

PUNK GLOBE: Everybody knows about you being a great guitar player. (Juliana Hatfield, which some readers may remember from The Blakes Babies wrote a song about Ruthie.) Do you play any other instruments besides guitar ?

RUTHIE: No. Just guitar. I did play the clarinet in the high school band but that was a long time ago.

PUNK GLOBE: What were you listening to in late '70s and early '80s, and what are you listening to nowadays? Are there any unknown bands you’re into at the moment or you could recommend us to check out?

RUTHIEDuring the late 70’s, I was still pretty young so I mostly listened to whatever my older sisters were listening to – bands like
Cars for The Rolling Stones, classic rock and roll.

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?

RUTHIE: We are preparing to release our next album. I think this new album has the Magnapop sound but I feel like, as a band, we have reached a new level with our vocal harmonies. That’s not so much a new direction for us but I feel like it is something we have refined through the years. The production on the new album is everything we could have wanted. It sounds “big” and reminds us of the production style of our album, 
"Hot Boxing."

: Now, as you are still continuing touring and releasing albums,how do you compare the music scene in late 2000s to the music scene in the early or mid 90s? There are so much people I know, who remember especially the early 90s indie-rock-alternative scene with a smile on their face, telling how colourful and honest it was, missing those golden days a lot.

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? :)

RUTHIE: 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 Readers??

RUTHIE: 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.




( ozgurcokyuce@hotmail.com ) 

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