After a rousing game of phone-tag, we caught up with Jim Elkington of the Zincs before a round of shows in New York, his most favorite city to play in. Catch the Zincs at the Black Cat this Saturday night with labelmates The Sea and Cake and Loney, Dear.
Have you come to DC before?
Yes, I believe we played at the Black Cat. I’m familiar with the city, having been at Georgetown a long, long time ago.
What’s your favorite place to play?
Toronto. Anywhere in Canada, really. Montreal, Vancouver.
How about your least favorite?
Definitely New York. Without a doubt. It seems like we’re not in the city twenty minutes before we get slapped with a $120 fine for something.
Do you guys have day jobs?
Yes. I repair old tube amps and guitars. My other guitarist teaches guitar, and the drummer teaches drums. One of us does concert programming, we’re all involved with music.
That sort of throws out my follow-up about whether you keep your rock star identity a secret.
Everyone at our jobs knows all about it. Our rock star identities are a well kept secret from the world.
What sort of clothes do you pack for tour?
Not much, I tend to travel pretty light. A lot of non-patterned shirts.
What would you say is the band that changed your life?
Well that’s a difficult question of course, it was always changing. Probably it was the Smiths for a while, until Sonic Youth came along. Then later bands like Slint and the Jesus Lizard. Now it’s sort of everything, I can find a lot more to like.
How about the first record you ever bought?
That would be Soft Cell, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. My dad had a few questions about me after that one. The Human League’s Dare! though, would be the stronger one. I still listen to that.
Can you tell us about some great bands we may not have heard of?
Oh this question is going to get me in trouble with all the people I forget. From my area, Josephine Foster is a great folk singer with three albums out now. There’s another band from Chicago called Baby Teeth that’s just great. From outside the area, there’s a group called the Oriental Brothers that I really like, they do this African pop guitar stuff.
Finally, we’re going to review a song. Actually my mother is going to review a song, coming from a place of pure pop ignorance. What song off your last album should she review?
I think she would like “Rich Libertines,” the last track on the album.
And here’s the review:
It’s very nice music. It seems so sad though. I don’t understand why every singer has to be so sad. Like the boy you played me who died, such a beautiful song but it’s so sad! [Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” – Ed.] Also I can’t understand what he’s saying. It’s a very pretty song though.