An interview with Mark Ortmann of The Bottle Rockets

If you missed it go back and read Neil Ferguson's excellent NoDepression interview with Brian Henneman. I'll steal a question and answer to convince you to keep reading:

Neil Ferguson: Is there one experience or sort of peak moment that stands out in the history of The Bottle Rockets?

Brian Henneman: Overall, I can't say, but I guess the defining moment was the minute Mark Ortmann joined the band, which was about 10 seconds after I dreamed up the idea in 1992. That was the defining standout moment. [Mark's] like my lifetime partner in this thing. Like I've always said, I'm not quittin' till he does, and he ain't quittin' [laughs].

So with that in mind here's a brief interview with Mark:

Hal Bogerd-Congratulations on the release of the deluxe double package of "Bottle Rockets" and "Brooklyn Side"! As a fan I'm bummed when the deluxe edition of a favorite disc doesn't really offer anything new except an alternate take or two. You've done a great job adding tons of additional material!

Mark Ortman- Much effort went into making the reissue Deluxe, and we're very pleased with the results. Bloodshot was incredibly supportive and allowed us to give it proper treatment.

HB-Twenty years! Did you imagine you'd still be playing together?

Mark- I had always hoped we'd be successful enough to sustain a long-term career, but didn't know what to expect. Although some band members have changed along the way, it's satisfying that we're still standing after twenty years. Now that I think about it, I guess we've indeed been successful enough to sustain a long-term career. Or maybe we're like cockroaches and don't require much reward to keep us going. [laughs]

HB-Times were tough twenty years ago and they're still tough. There are some great songs on your first two discs about struggling to make ends meet: "1000 Dollar Car", "Welfare Music", "Kerosene". Without getting too political isn't it a bummer that those songs are still so relevant?

Mark- Hardships are eternal and will never completely go away because there is no such thing as Utopia on Earth. Yeah, it's a bummer, but the struggles of life are persistent.

HB-Could you talk about the "Indianapolis" demo you recorded in 1991 with Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar?

Mark- I wasn't part of that recording because it was done in the spare studio time when Uncle Tupelo was recording their album Still Feel Gone at Long View Farm Studios. Brian was working as a roadie/sideman with UT while at that session, and he recorded ten acoustic demos with Jay and Jeff accompanying him at times. Their manager Tony Margherita then shopped the demo tape without Brian's knowledge and got an offer from the label East Side Digital. Although "Indianapolis" was included on that early demo, The Bottle Rockets didn't record a version of it until our third album 24 Hours A Day.

HB-You've influenced a bunch of roots music bands. I loved your album "Songs of Sahm". Would you mention a few artists who influenced The Bottle Rockets?

Mark- The list is so long, but would certainly include: Neil Young, Doug Sahm, John Prine, Cheap Trick, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many more.

HB-Talking about the reissue is kind of like only looking in the rear view mirror. Looking forward what's ahead for The Bottle Rockets?

Mark- We'll be touring to support the reissue, but hope to record a new album of original material sometime in 2014. We're due for a new record.

HB-Thanks and best of luck with the album and tour! 

Mark- Thank you. See you somewhere out on the road.

Catch them if they're in your town...

Dec 06 Mojo'sw/ Otis Gibbs Columbia, MO
Dec 07 Off Broadwayw/ Otis GibbsSt Louis, MO
Dec 11 Living Room Show Springfield, IL
Dec 12 Kiki's House of Righteous Music w/ Otis Gibbs Madison, WI
Dec 13 The Hideout w/ Otis Gibbs Chicago, IL
Dec 14 High Dive w/ Otis Gibbs Champaign, IL
Jan 23 Narrows Center for the Arts Presents w/ Marshall Crenshaw Fall River, MA
Jan 24 Infinity Hall w/ Marshall Crenshaw Norfolk, CT
Jan 25 Iron Horse w/ Marshall Crenshaw Northampton, MA
Jan 26 Tupelo Music Hall w/ Marshall Crenshaw Londonderry, NH
Jan 29 Sellersville Theater w/ Marshall Crenshaw Sellersville, PA
Jan 30 Boulton Center for the Performing Arts w/ Marshall Crenshaw Bay Shore, NY
Jan 31 Birchmere w/ Marshall Crenshaw Alexandria, VA
Feb 01 The Newton Theatre w/ Marshall Crenshaw Newton, NJ

Views: 126

Comment by Neil Ferguson on December 3, 2013 at 5:44pm

nice interview Hal! Mark's the man! 


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.