Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
What follows is where Langhorne Slim comes from. It's amazing all of the intimate details you can glean about a person using a cocktail of fabrication and poetic license. Most of what you're about to read is concocted from some random, base facts about the man who used to school and now resides in New York City and twice as much from what can be inferred when you solder a friendly acquaintance with he, drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, and bassist Paul Defiglia to much lyrical inference. It's staggering the conclusions that can be made and confirmed just based on the contents of 2005's "When The Sun's Gone Down" and the new songs he and the group have released here and elsewhere, digitally on the "Engine" EP. One of the first things Langhorne tells me when we meet in a small downtown bar, elbow-to-elbow with the already drunk is that he and DeLorenzo are gay together as in, "You know we're gay together, right?" It's a joke that the dial up from time to time publicly and much more often while driving the mean streets of America in Langhorne's grandmother's white Toyota Camry - the condition of which makes one assume that it is the only running vehicle any of the three members of the band - recently signed to V2 Records, the home of Mr. Jack White (which makes something like a spring tour with The Raconteurs not completely out of the question; can it really be such a great leap?) - have in their lives.
They've learned to make it work - with a drum kit and an upright bass crushed in there and still enough room for the bodies. Langhorne is packed into a pair of boots that appear to have been through a dozen or more cattle drives and rustlings, capable of applying a thick thumping to a stage. The band brings themselves to you in a continual state of sousing - with beer, sweat, the kind of body odor that women are still drawn to, cigarette smoke, adulation and a healthy cut of the heavy stuff that's rubbed deep into their fiber. They seem to come from where nights have no expiration and the moon provides the lamplight for mischief and smoldering heart and mind situations.
Take yourself - if not physically, then mentally - to somewhere up in the hilly regions of Wisconsin this time of the year, as autumn's started to settle in and the odorous potpourri of drying, dying leaves and scalding apple cider take the place of barbequed burgers, brats and firecracker exhaust in the wind. Strips of corn husk and hardening silk are floating in the same air as the geese honking south for the change of season. Langhorne Slim would fit comfortably in with the laid-back country folk of the Midwest and his songs, this time of year, would lend themselves favorably to a hayrack ride and possibly later on, quite literally, a roll in the hay. He's got the essence of Cat Stevens in his voice, dancing with the nuances of Dylan. There's languish and strength in the words that rise from the pits of his body to fume out into the open air, slaking themselves of any saggy melancholy and indenturing themselves to a guy who's worn his skin a time or tow, gathered an ass-whupping on occasion and endured more than his fair share of broken hearts. Where Langhorne Slim comes from is where people use their porches more than their tables in the dead of summer. Do not let his voicemail message of - "Leave a sexy message" - distract you. He has sexy down, but most definitely not in the way you're thinking. It's his for demonstrating the realism that can sneak up on you if you just let it fuck you up a little bit. All it takes is a good and brash devotion to clipping and saving all of life's inconveniences and making them work for you. It's like saving pennies - pretty soon they add up to something. Slim brings us a prime example of raising a toast to letting the string go, watching it get caught in the highwire and then lamenting on what could have been done differently and what you'd do exactly the same.
Langhorne Slim in a man, with a posse, who you would expect to see nestled onto his very own particular stool at the greasy spoon diner on the corner of small town America. Actually, he's the man - again with the posse - who wouldn't be seen at that diner. He'd be built into the Formica countertops, worn thin from the wear and tear of sliding coffee cups and pie plates, like the fly on the wall, taking and living the stories of every patron. Without even trying, he's already them. Just wait and see. You'll feel like them too.
h3. The Daytrotter interview:
*When did you start going by Langhorne, because that's what the casual acquaintance believes your name to be, correct?*
Langhorne Slim: I spent a lot of time with my grandfathers growing up and they would always tell stories about their gang of friends when they were kids. All of their friends from childhood had nicknames -- Curley, Whistle, etc. I wanted a gang of friends like they had and I wanted a nickname. I was hard-pressed for either for quite a while, but I gave myself the name Langhorne when I left high school. Somebody had to do it.
*How are you so naturally a folk singer or is that even what you consider yourself to be?*
LS: If folk music means music for the people, then that's what I would like to be as naturally or unnaturally as that may occur. I wanna make peoples' heads explode with good feelings. I would like to move people and be moved.
*You've got some fucking fire in that belly of yours when you sing, don't you? How do you conjure it and where did it originate from?*
LS: That's just how I roll, Sean.
*What were those Violent Femmes shows like?*
LS: The Violent Femmes shows were incredible. They've been a favorite band of mine for a long time. I met Gordon (Gano) and got star struck. It was beautiful.
*How do you guys travel in a car with that upright bass?*
LS: With a lot of homo-erotic jokes. And thank you, grandmom, for letting us borrow the Camry. I will get it back soon.
*What's signing with V2 going to do for you guys? What can we expect from the new album? When will it be available to us?*
LS: We hope it will be out late January. It's creatively the best thing I've ever done, so hopefully that's good. I'm a lucky man to have my friends Malachi, Paul and Sam -- who made the album with me They sound very sexy on it. Signing to V2 is going to get me my own reality show where Ray Davies and I live on a houseboat together in Margate, N.J. What unfolds is...I can't really say too much. It's very edgy stuff.
*What sticks out the most about your Daytrotter experience?*
LS: It was early in the morning and we made some new friends.
*Are women a source for endless inspiration?*
LS: So far they are. We are very different and they are very interesting.