SXSW 2010 Quick Hits, Day 2: The Mother Hips, interview with guitarist Tim Bluhm

These veteran Bay Area rockers threw down a jamming set of their melodic psych-roots rock. The band loves to play in Austin and it showed. Bassist Paul Hoagland played his custom 12-string Hamer bass for the entire set, which helped pump up the groove on dynamic tunes like “Magazine” and “Third Floor Story.” Guitarists Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono were in fine form, trading riffs and harmonizing vocals throughout the high-energy set, which featured one melodic rocker after another. “Time-Sick Son of a Grizzly Bear” brought the short but sweet set to a rousing conclusion with a furious assault of fuzzy riffs and pounding rhythms.

“Our whole approach to touring these days is to find cities we like to play and go there all the time,” said Bluhm, whom I interviewed at the bar earlier in the afternoon. Bluhm said the band almost broke up in 2005-06, but couldn’t help but come back together. This has a been a boon for music fans, since the band’s last two albums have been among the best work of their career. 2009’s Pacific Dust was recorded at Bluhm’s own Mission Bells Studio in San Francisco, where he also produced the upcoming album from pal Jackie Greene.

mother hips

The band also seems to be jamming a little more these days, and Bluhm said that had been a back and forth process.

“We used to jam a lot, then spent a bunch of years intentionally not jamming, trying to shake these distasteful associations we were getting. But then, we always want to change, keep evolving, so right now we are jamming out more and enjoying it, it’s fun,” said Bluhm. Regarding SXSW, Bluhm said he loves to play it but finds trying to go out a bit much.

“I honestly find it’s overwhelming at SXSW, and I never have the patience to stand in line,” said Bluhm when asked about what other bands he wanted to see at the festival. He did say he’d enjoyed seeing Spoon the previous night and was looking forward to Or the Whale, whom the Mother Hips would share a bill with the next day.


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