Bottle Rockets – Dirty white boys got the red wine country blues
Helping Henneman write a few of those songs was a Festus schoolteacher, Scott Taylor, who actually taught two members of the Bottle Rockets in their formative years. Taylor co-wrote “Kerosene” and “Got What I Wanted”, a song about, well, a typical male?
Used to have a woman love me hard and slow
Why I ever left her I will never know
But I saw a pretty baby comin’ down the line
Had to go and make that little girl mine
Now I’m feelin’ so low and sad
‘Cuz I got what I wanted
But I lost what I had.
“You’d have to ask Scott about ‘Got What I Wanted’ because he wrote most of that one. See, he can write songs just fine, he just can’t play guitar at all. When he does, it sounds like a really bad Hank Williams song,” chuckles Henneman, as if he knows full well what the story was with that song.
Henneman, who is 34, (“a 10-year showbiz veteran,” he says) was in a band called Chicken Truck when he was called upon to join Uncle Tupelo for touring and roadie assistance. It was here where Henneman was schooled about life on the road — vans breaking down, sleeping on floors, and nearly no money.
Are those days over? The newly signed major-label Bottle Rockets, whom Henneman now says can “maybe make a lower-middle class living,” will be hitting the road again to support the re-release of The Brooklyn Side. The live show, as would be expected, is a turn-it-up, rev-it-up, drink-it-up, and if it’s good enough, throw-it-up experience. The band often toys with cover songs; a recent favorite has been the old Foreigner rocker “Dirty White Boy”.
“My girlfriend and I were just driving around St. Louis when it came on the radio, and she said, ‘You guys oughta cover this’. We tried it, and it worked,” says Henneman.
You might also hear Aerosmith’s “Draw The Line”, or even Ernest Tubb’s “Waltz Across Texas”. Maybe, as was the case at the Mercury Lounge in New York City last month, you’ll get a barefoot Henneman doing an a capella version of “Early In The Morning” from the self-titled first album.
As for the Atlantic deal, Henneman is cautiously optimistic. “Yeah, we’ll see if it’s congratulations or condolences. We’ll see.” He’s well aware that moving to the major-label ranks has its pros and cons. On the positive side, TAG’s reissue should open new avenues for the band to reach potential fans. “I’ve already seen a little bit of that at work,” Henneman says. “Atlantic has publicists that pretty much kick ass, so already we’re gonna be on TV now. We’re doing Conan O’Brien September 19th, and then they’ve got something almost secured with the Letterman show. So you can just see how it’s gonna end up in places that it never was before.”
Another outlet, of course, is a video — but Henneman’s schpiel about those plans offer a good glimpse at the darker side of the major-label experience. “If it were up to them, we’d make some damn Spin Doctors lookin’ thing,” he says. “I met the bigwigs back in May up in Minneapolis, and I told them what we wanted for a video — just a live performance-type thing. And they go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great, that’s cool.’ And then they decided they wanted to some little storyline or whatever. And we just said no. And then they were saying, ‘Well, how about this,’ and ‘How about that.’ So finally we just got in the mood of letting them fight it out amongst themselves, and we’d just keep vetoing it when they’d send it in.
“I hate MTV; I hate everything about all that video crap. But they’ll get one. It’ll just be us playing. And if that’s too boring for ’em, well, then, can our ass!”