- By Kevin
- 21 August, 2012
- Comments Off
Wild Haired Shaman”, Jamie Manser, Zocalo, 5/2011
I’ll chalk it up to cosmic synchronicity. The Great Mystery must have given a wink and a nod when I was re-reading Tom Robbins in the same temporal space as listening to The Swigs.
An interview with singer/guitarist Kevin Henderson rang with the themes in Robbins’ Wild Ducks Flying Backwards. Like peanut butter and chocolate, The Swigs and Robbins’ are the delicious music and literary equivalent of those mouth watering chocolate-covered cups. Though I’m not sure who’s the peanut butter and who’s the chocolate. Both are robust with talent, accessible while speaking deep truths, and simply make people feel better about being alive.
Astute minds, listen up, and they will take you on a joy ride of ideas. Henderson makes it clear that there will be ramblings, stream of consciousness rants and overall detours throughout the interview. There are and it’s fun. For example:
“Tucson attracts artistic, freaky people and we have a really neat scene now, I think. The Swigs sort of start in 2006, I had all these solo records and all this material and I wanted a band to do it with.
“The Hut starts, The Hut changed, Stu gets in charge and starts booking things and it turns from this cool bar into a place where they would have all these different kinds of bands. And the Red Room – we used it on the cover – it is also important, because – if you are a musician, all roads lead through the Red Room. You’re going to play there, everyone can play there once. A bunch of different musicians come to town, and all these musicians from outside come here and they see the opportunities that maybe those of us here didn’t see. So it’s been several years now of that. And, like the group of people we put together for Spillapalooza, it’s quite a pool of talent to draw from and I haven’t really experienced that since the punk scene days of the 80s.”
Henderson speaks with genuine love for Tucson’s thriving scene of creative illuminati, a core of downtown residents and regulars who all seem to possess gobs of talent in various mediums. In Tucson, one isn’t just a guitar player or poet. They are both and can also play three more instruments, write novels, paint, sculpt and can hold their own in the fields of science, history, astronomy and world affairs. It’s not much of an exaggeration. Beyond the talent, however, is a spiritual undercurrent that translates in kindness, joy and rising up in spite of the terrible truths.
“We’re willing to explore good places and dark and painful places, but we don’t want to wallow there. It’s about transformation and exploring the dark side of sex, drugs and rock & roll, and then to transform and bring out of it and heal and elevate ourselves and the listener. I hear a lot of singer/songwriter stuff these days and it’s about sharing misery. And we’ll explore those places but it’s about exploring them to heal them or do something positive.”
Music is healing, and The Swigs are transcendent.