all photos: Dakota Fine
all words: Jeff Jetton (interview questions by John Foster)
We’re trying some new stuff here at BYT. We love interviewing DC folks. We’re actually pretty good at it. We thought it might be fun to start taking our subjects out on the town and getting them into weird/interesting situations. We tried it with Animal Collective’s Geologist a couple of times, dragging him to a hockey game and meeting up with him at a Grateful Dead show, and now we’re getting even more creative. Please send us your suggestions. Do you want to see Wanda Sykes learning how to sail? Jetskiing with Fenty? We’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, we asked Mary Timony, who is playing Fort Reno on Thursday, to come check out TryItRacing at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassass. She agreed.
Mary Timony is a D.C. Rock legend. She was in the bands Autoclave (Dischord Records) and Helium (Matador Records) before embarking on a solo career that has seen her put out albums on Lookout! Records and Kill Rock Stars. In addition, she has been involved in Stephen Merritt’s side project ‘the 6ths’ and had another side project with Carrie Brownstein of Sleater Kinney called the Spells. Her newest band is called Soft Power, formed with her boyfriend, Jonah Takagi (Benjy Ferree) and friend Winston H. Yu (These United States). You know you’ve hit the Indie Rock bigtime when Deathcab for Cutie references you in a song.
If you’ve never heard any of Mary’s music or bands, she’s been kind enough to give us a little listening tour of her musical history. Check it out:
1) Dr. Suess - Autoclave
2) Superball – Helium
3) Rider on the Stormy Sea – Mary solo
4) Isabella – Soft power
5) La la la – Soft Power
John Foster, BYT’s favorite interviewer, was kind enough to provide some questions for Mary even though he couldn’t make the trip:
BYT: Three favorite guitar tunings off the top of your head – go!
Mary Timony: I use DADGAE all the time, pretty much. I have a few songs in drop D –DADGBE, and one song with all the same note, I think it was DDDDDD
BYT: Were you aware that your contribution to the Sixths album is John Foster’s favorite part of the record?
MT: hehe, no, thanks for bringing it to my attention! I love that 6ths record too.
BYT: If your answer is “no” then you don’t read our site often enough and you owe John Foster a funnel cake.
MT: okay, I do read your site, so thats not true, but funnel cake sounds really really delicious. I think they have it at the Montgomery county state fair. lets go!
BYT: Why did you change the name of your new DC supergroup from Pow Wow to Soft Power?
MT: Well, turns out there are 2 Pow Wows already, one it nyc, and one that is an all male a capella vocal group in France. I think they might be kind of like boyz 2 men, but older. Maybe more like Take 6. it also turns out they are booked by the same agent as I am over in Europe, so I couldn’t really say I hadn’t heard of them.
BYT: What brought you back to DC a few years ago?
MT: I had been getting really tired of Boston, and I was playing music with peeps in DC.
BYT: What do you think is different for women in indie rock today versus when you broke in?
MT: I don’t imagine its too much different to be honest…although I can’t really say for sure. I am curious how all these rock camps for young girls that are popping up are going to effect things though… I hope its awesome.
BYT: Quick – least favorite thing about teaching a song to your band:
MT: Acting like I know what Im talking about
BYT: Quick – least favorite thing about teaching a song to your guitar students:
MT: Bored stares?
BYT: You have ended up being involved in a number of film projects – both on screen and off – how has that come about and what do you feel is different about writing for a record versus a film score?
MT: I love writing music for film. It’s like doing a puzzle, or playing a game to me. Its’ just really, really fun. Its different than writing songs because the main goal is to try to translate what ever you are seeing on the screen into sounds, whereas when you are writing songs, you are try to translate what you are hearing in your head into something outside of your head. I have a home studio now, so Im pretty set up to do soundtrack work out of my house. It’s popping off.
BYT: When can we expect to hear the full on Timony prog rock extravaganza, via a 27 minute A side, that has been brewing in the tiny corners of your music?
MT: I think there might be one on the soft power record that we are recording right now.
BYT: We also just did an obit on the guy that designed Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.” What’s your favorite song on that record?
MT: I love all of them, but I’ll pick “id have you anytime”
BYT: Pros and cons to dating your band mates – go!
MT: ha ha ha! funny one.
BYT: What does the “H” stand for in Winston “H.” Yu? We’ve always assumed it is something horribly dirty.
MT: Well, well. you funny guy! I don’t think so. and Im not sure what it is, although I think its a Chinese name perhaps.. let me call Winston. (Ed. She never called Winston)
Okay, thanks for answering John’s questions, Mary, now let’s get into the good stuff. It’s trivia time. Since we’re at TryItRacing driving NASCARs, I brought along my handy 15 foot NASCAR Wall Chart that I got from the book fair at work. It’s awesome. I’m going to test your NASCAR knowledge just like we tested Geologist’s hockey knowledge. Here goes, fill in the blanks…
1) ______________ overtook Dale Earnhardt with 10 races to go and held off a late charge by Harry Gant to win the 1984 NASCAR championship. In 1978, he was driving Sportsman cars on the short tracks near his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texaswhen NASCAR team owner Buddy Hagan gave him a shot at the big time. With his signature steady driving, he became a contender for the NASCAR championship by his 3rd season.
MT: I really don’t know.
2) ______________, a pint-size driver with a heavy right foot, took the points lead in June 1960 and never looked back as he sped to his first NASCAR championship. As a child, he was stricken with polio, but the little guy with the big heart didn’t let the one-time crippling disease slow him down. He grabbed the title in 1960 with six wins and 35 top-ten finishes in 40 starts, ending the year 3936 points ahead of runner-up Richard Petty.
MT: Jesus, I have no idea.
3) One of the biggest crashes in NASCAR history took place in the May 1, 2005 Aaron’s 499 at ___________________. Jimmie Johnson, Mike Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Scott Riggs were involved in an accident, triggering a pileup that involved 25 cars. The race was stopped for 43 minutes to clean up the mess.
4) ______________ won the inaugural NASCAR race at the Daytona Beach-Road Course in Florida on February 15, 1948.
MT: Am I really supposed to know any of these?
BYT: Okay, Mary, that’s 0 for 4 in the NASCAR trivia department. A whole lot of suck. I’ll stop now to spare you the agony of defeat and we can just post the answers for those who care. You can have my 15-foot NASCAR Timeline Wall Poster to put up in your house so you can study up on the history. I expect you to kill it when we play NASCAR-edition Trivial Pursuit later this year.
MT: I’ll do my best
1) Terry Labonte
2) Rex White
3) Talladega International Speedway
4) Red Byron
And a little bit about TryItRacing. For $300 you get to spend the day learning how to drive a NASCAR. Mike Southard and team will take you through the ins and outs of being behind the wheel of…
Try It Racing is a full-service NASCAR driving experience based out of Old Dominion Speedway in Manassass. Packages start at around $60-100 for ride-along experiences and go up to $300-600 for driving experiences.
If you’d like to book a package, call Mike Southard @ 703-368-3232
Check out our first not-so-average interview with Animal Collective’s Geologist:
And be sure to check out Mary and her band Soft Power at Fort Reno tomorrow night along with Benjy Ferree!