The MusicNerd Q&A With The Bottle Rockets

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Seen by some as one of the originators of what has become known as the alt-country genre, Missouri group The Bottle Rockets are celebrating the reissue of their first two records (1993’s Bottle Rockets & 1995’s The Brooklyn Side) via influential label Bloodshot Records.

If you are a fan of Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers or Whiskeytown, you are probably already familiar with the Rockets.  But if you are not, there is no better time to get acquainted.

The MusicNerd Chronicles spoke with Bottle Rockets guitarist-vocalist Brian Henneman last week about just how damn fast 20 years have passed as well as why he feels his band cannot take credit as being the originators of the alt-country genre.

Was it a little mind-blowing to think that your debut record is now 20 years old?

It absolutely blows my mind. It is scary that 20 years passed us by so quickly.

Were these reissues something you were planning for quite some time?

We had actually lost our first two albums in legal limbo for a number of years. The records were licensed out for seven years but then it took almost another 10 years to get the masters back. There was really no master plan to make these records available again. The fact they are coming on the 20th anniversary of our debut is only a coincidence.

When it came time to revisit these records again, were there any moments where you cringed at what you were hearing?

The amazing thing about sitting down and listening to these albums again was actually the lack of cringe-worthy moments. I don’t sit down and listen to our stuff once I’m done with it but listening to these records, I thought we did okay. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed by any of it.

You guys are seen by some as the originators of the alt-country genre. What are your feelings about carrying that distinction?

This style of music has always been there; it is just guitar rock that bears the influence of more direct American sources. You could say that CCR are an alt-country band. In some ways, so are The Eagles. In the 80’s, it was Jason and the Scorchers. It just happened to be in the early 90’s, at a time when we were one of the happening bands, that they finally found a name for this style of music.

Article published in the December 12, 2013 edition of Here Magazine

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