Lydia Loveless may be our favorite touring country artist. She’ll be at Rock & Roll Hotel this Sunday. It has to be better than her most recent gig in Virginia, Illinois. -ed.
Brightest Young Things: What’s the worst gig you’ve ever been a part of?
Lydia Loveless: The most recent one was this place in Illinois that was like a cafe kind of place so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was super small and we were on tour so I had the whole band with me and we were kind of on a roll with the shows, rocking and rolling, and all that.
We set up and start playing and people start swarming the stage like “You cant be this loud” and “We want vocals.” We all turn down almost completely. At some point the super drunk owner came up and kicked like the entire band offstage. And then her husband tried to like fight the rest of the band, because he thought that somehow we were doing it on purpose that we were playing so loud.
Brightest Young Things: Wait, the owner tried to fight the band?
Lydia Loveless: Yes.
Brightest Young Things: Were you still playing at this moment?
Lydia Loveless: I was still playing, yeah.
Brightest Young Things: Do you remember what you were playing?
Lydia Loveless: Yeah, I played like 3 more songs. I think I played “Boy Crazy” by myself, and then I went for a walk, because I was so angry, and confused, and I think it was just like drunk people with money that bought a restaurant, type of situation.
Brightest Young Things: Was this near Chicago, or like, rural?
Lydia Loveless: No, it was Virginia, Illinois
Brightest Young Things: I’ve never heard of Virginia, Illinois…
Lydia Loveless: I hadn’t either until I was there, and then I was like, what am I doing here?
Brightest Young Things: I’m from Illinois.
Lydia Loveless: Yeah, so it’s kind of weird.
Brightest Young Things: Okay, so you’re in Virginia, IL, and the owner is trying to fight the band, and you knew that they were fighting and you were like, fuck it I’m gonna play this song? Was there like a time guarantee that you had to play x-amount of minutes?
Lydia Loveless: It was just kind of, I don’t know, even when people are douchebags, I still try to fulfill my duties. It’s kind of amusing to me but still really depressing.
Brightest Young Things: And this was recent? Was this the most recent tour?
Lydia Loveless: It was. I think it was October, maybe.
Brightest Young Things: That’s recent!
Lydia Loveless: Yeah, it was kind of crazy.
Brightest Young Things: You had a very good critical year, I don’t know how your personal life is, that’s your business, but from my perspective, you’ve had a very good year. You had a perfectly matched tour with the Old 97s, you did a club tour on your own, you’re doing a bigger club tour right now. It wasn’t a bad year…
Lydia Loveless: No, it was just one of those weird gigs where you’re like, how did this happen? Maybe they were just like “we’ll have some country music at our bar” and didn’t know we were a five-piece band somehow and hadn’t heard our album, I don’t know, it was very confusing.
As told to Brandon Wetherbee. Edited for clarity.