Abri Van Straten Talks About the Function of Art, Being Married to Kristin Bauer, and His Upcoming Performance at Phoenix Comicon
Abri Van Straten
Abri Van Straten: The songs I started listening to were singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s, like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. I thought that was how you did it. They take parts of life and look at them through song.
NT: What is about the lyrics of artists like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel that you like?
AVS: Into my own mind, and it doesn't really matter what time it is. I go into my head, and sometimes, I come out for coffee (laughs).
NT: How does your solo album differ from anything you've done with The Lemmings?
AVS: It's not too dissimilar, but especially live, there's a lot more rock 'n' roll energy to it. Solo is much quieter, and a more peaceful situation.
NT: Your acoustic guitar playing is very crisp and pronounced. Do you use a pick, or do you hand-pick?
AVS: I was classically trained, so I play classical guitar. I have long nails, which is scary for most women (laughs), but I'm just really drawn to the sound of guitarists like Jose Feliciano. I like that Spanish sound and color.
NT: What are the ideas and influences behind your song "Living in L.A.?"
AVS: Unlike New York or London, that have identities, L.A. doesn't -- it kind of morphs and shifts. And it's very haunted, as well -- it's literally crawling with ghosts, at these old hotels where people like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean used to stay.
NT: How long have you been living in L.A.?
AVS: Two years...I was there on tour, and I was hanging out in L.A., and Kristin [Bauer] called me and asked if I'd like to go have coffee.
NT: And now she's your wife.
AVS: Yes, now we are married. The universe was up to its old tricks again (laughs).
NT: How has your tour schedule changed since marrying Kristin Bauer? Are you playing a lot more fan conventions?
AVS: I'd never heard of these things until I met Kristin. There's nothing like them in South Africa. I think it's very much an American thing. But we had fun traveling the world last year and doing that.
NT: What can we expect at your Phoenix Comicon performance? Will you have any backing players, or will it be a solo show?
AVS: Just me on stage, naked, with a guitar (laughs). Really, I'm looking forward to it. I love Phoenix. I love the desert. I'm a desert person. It's really beautiful there.
Abri Van Straten is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at Phoenix Comicon at Phoenix Convention Center. Visit www.phoenixcomicon.org for more information.
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