Arrogance talks about itself then and now | Music
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arrogance talks about itself then and now

Posted by on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 4:48 PM

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As the members of Arrogance assembled for their semi-annual-or-so rockanalia that returned to the Cat’s Cradle last Saturday night, we couldn’t help but notice that the gathering had even more juice than usual. It’s been 40 years since Don Dixon and Robert Kirkland bonded on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus, establishing the roots of Arrogance. That alone marks a pretty significant anniversary. To make the show even more special, original members Jim Glasgow and Mike Greer planned to guest with former Arrogance percussionist Ogie Shaw.

In an effort to wrap some kind of Now-and-Then perspective around the proceedings, the Independent Weekly caught up with Dixon as well as fellow eternal rock stars Rod Abernathy, Scott Davison and Marty Stout (we weren’t able to get in touch with Kirkland) and asked them about the gig. Then we revisited the questions, asking the four guys to imagine it was the mid ‘70s instead of the tail end of the ‘00s. It ended up going something like this…

And, hey, if you made it to the show, tell us how the memories served you.

2009

INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: How are you preparing for the show?

ROB ABERNATHY: Talk about the set list, pick everyone up at their respective rest homes, and do a few rehearsals.

SCOTT DAVISON: Rehearsing at Rod’s studio, plus Don and Robert will be working with Jim Glasgow and Mike Greer on the early stuff.

DON DIXON: I have a device that allows me to hear my bass while playing along with a CD, so I play along with the songs we’re going to do a few times to renew my memory.

MARTY STOUT: Trying to find time to play enough to toughen my fingers up a bit so that I won’t be in pain the whole time we are playing.

Arrogance, on the wall.
  • Arrogance, on the wall.

When you look out into the crowd, what do you expect to see?

RA: Lots of old friends smiling.

SD: Plenty of 40- and 50-somethings, often with their Gen-X kids (plus some grandkids).

DD: Half-drunk women and men dancing in place.

MS: Gray hair, balding heads and lots of familiar, friendly smiles.

What song are you most looking forward to playing and why?

RA: I can’t narrow this down to one song. “Southside Girl” because I love hearing Don and Robert singing it together. “Uh Oh”—Robert sounds better than ever. “Bring it on Home” and Don’s singing. “I Want You” cause I like singing it 40 years later.

SD: “Why Do You Love Me” from the Give Us a Break and Rumors albums. It's just a fun song to play and has a great feel. (Shoulda been a hit, but then I can say that about a lot of Robert/ Don/ Rod tunes.) Plus, Ogie will be playing percussion!

DD: I don’t do very well with superlatives like that. I tend to enjoy my brief time on stage with my friends no matter what song we’re playing. I don’t get to see them very often, and the kind of bond we have isn’t easy to describe, but anyone that’s been in a successful band for any length of time will understand that those relationships are familial: forged in hope, expectation and hours of hard work.

MS: “Done Is Done” because it’s just really fun to play. But I don’t think we’re doing it, so... and I’m sorry, but I think my other answer might spoil a surprise.

What are the last three CDs that you listened to?

RA: Arctic Monkeys’ Humbug, the soundtrack to Alien 3 by Elliot Goldenthal, and The Very Best Of Booker T. & the MGs.

SD: Rubber Soul (The Beatles), The Very Best Of Otis Redding and Black Ice (AC/DC).

DD: Excluding Arrogance stuff, Moxy Fruvous’ Thornhill, astroPuppees’ Twist, and Dexter Gordon’s Go.

MS: My recording of a recent “Breakfast with the Beatles” radio show. My recording of Meet the Beatles and Introducing the Beatles, all fitting on one CD! If I'm a Ham, Well You're a Sausage (that’s by a guy named Dixon).

MID ’70s

How are you preparing for the show?

RA: Since we're playing two maybe three times a week, it was get to the venue, set up, go eat, go to the hotel and shower if we had time, and go to the venue and play.

SD: Polishing up some new Don and Robert tunes. The venue for the show is the Cradle on Rosemary St., next to Tijuana Fats.

DD: Trying to save my voice by keeping quiet. We just played three shows in the last two days.

MS: Riding my bicycle out to work in my garden, working on my MGB-GTs, and washing and drying all that hair (that I used to have).

More hair, less wall.
  • More hair, less wall.

When you look out into the crowd, what do you expect to see?

RA: People dancing and having a great time. Maybe a beautiful girl or two.

SD: 300 people packed into a club that holds 150 (legally).

DD: Half-drunk co-eds in tube tops.

MS: Long hair, big hair heads, and lots of faces that might be smiling, but I won’t be sure because of the smoke.

What song are you most looking forward to playing, and why?

RA: The songs I like playing the most are probably “Open Window” and “Why Do You Love Me.”

SD: “Two Good Legs,” alt.country 20 years before anyone heard the term.

DD: Robert’s got this new song called “Open Window” that I really like, plus we just learned “Dixie Chicken,” so I want to play those.

MS: “Cost” because it’s still fairly new for us to be doing something that I wrote. And I have strong feelings about the words and the music.

What are the last three records that you listened to?

RA: Little Feat’s The Last Record Album, a compilation LP titled John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Peter Lang, and War’s Why Can’t We Be Friends.

SD: Feats Don't Fail Me Now (Little Feat), Straight Shooter (Bad Company), and 461 Ocean Boulevard (Eric Clapton).

DD: The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper, Little Feat’s Feats Don't Fail Me Now, and Wings’ Band on the Run.

MS: Procol Harum, maybe Grand Hotel. Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. Arrogance’s Prolepsis, of course!

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