One person who has continually impressed us at “The Eyeslit-Crypt” and throughout the years is the prolific artist/entertainer, “America’s Funnyman,” Neil Hamburger. From his older material on Amarillo records to his new country album on Drag City records and everything in between, Mr. Hamburger has consistently amused us with his razor sharp observations of contemporary news and pop culture, his charming fashion sense and his ability to send us into epileptic fits of uncontrolled laughter. Several months ago, we briefly wrote about “Poolside Chats with Neil Hamburger,” which I still believe to be the most interesting and engaging call-in/talk show that I have ever seen.
We caught up with Neil Hamburger for the second installment of our “Three Questions” series (although, it is actually four questions). This comes on the heels of his glorious album “Sings Country Winners,” which has been one of my perpetual soundtracks for driving my pick-up truck through the lonely backwoods of Northern Michigan while on vacation. One thing that struck me was the range of “country” music that is employed on this album. Moving beyond parody, this album actually seems to open a true country space, an authenticity of country, channeling the ghosts of the great country singers of old.
So, without any further ado, I present to you “Three Questions with Neil Hamburger.”
1. What musicians, if any, inspired you on the “Sings Country Winners” album?
Neil Hamburger: We were inspired by the “Bakersfield Rebels” compilation CD (low budget Bakersfield country circa 1969), as well as Porter Wagoner, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, John Entwistle, Ferlin Husky’s “Walkin’ and Hummin’ album, and in particular, the Telly Savalas track “Rubber Bands and Bits of String”.
2. Do you read a lot on the road? If so, what are some Neil Hamburger literary recommendations?
Neil Hamburger: I read a lot of newspapers, usually at least a week out of date. I find them in recycling bins after midnight, in residential neighborhoods.
3. What is your favorite food while on tour?
Neil Hamburger: Rice, or chickpeas.
4. Or, if you are interested, It would be great to hear what Neil Hamburger thinks about “noise” music.
Neil Hamburger: I think it’s awful.
We, at The Eyeslit-Crypt, would like to thank Mr. Hamburger for taking the time to share his thoughts with us and, of course, we wish him all the best in his comedic and musical endeavors.
Fortunately for those of you lucky enough to be in North America, Neil Hamburger is hitting the road again. Please see his Myspace page for tour date information and remember to help support Neil by digging deep into your pockets and spending some money on a man worthy of your hard-earned money.