Calexico Joey Burns John Convertino

Calexico – Joey Burns

Calexico have been in existence for around 20 years now, bringing their “Desert Noir” sounds to Australia 5 times already. This Saturday night the 19th of January, they bring the band to Cairns for the first time when they play the Tanks Arts Centre. I caught up with singer/guitarist Joey Burns ahead of their Cairns show.

In 2018 Calexico released their latest album “The Thread That Keeps Us”, Joey explained where this curious title came from. “Well I think we’re sort of broken down into many compartments these days. Certainly with a band like ours that has been around for a couple of decades with so many different descriptions and styles of music and members from all around the planet looking for something that could touch on all these elements. I think especially in that perspective from this current climate of extremes we’re all looking for a way to come together So the title was born from all these experiences and influences. My idea for the title was The Distance Between Us the threats to keep us. The drummer John Convertino said “allow me to shorten that a little”

One of the tracks was recorded at drummer John Convertino’s home which overlooks the Mexican Border, I asked Joey if there was any danger of his view being blocked by a wall anytime soon.. “Well I think the wall, like President Trump is just a distraction. And unfortunately a distraction that’s trying to stoke flames of fear hatred and racism. Cartels are digging tunnels under walls that are already there in place. And it won’t solve any problem, just like being quiet in an argument won’t solve any problem. Actually developing a better Mexico is a better border. So if there was maybe more fairness in trade policy perhaps we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Calexico’s music seems heavily influenced by the various moods and landscapes of their surroundings. I asked Joey if their previous travels in Australia had influenced any of their music.. “Well I would say that you know a lot of the landscape here reminds me of the south west of the United States. So if anything I usually feel pretty at home when I’m when I’m travelling here. Probably the most outside of the cities that we’ve ever been to is outside of Perth in an area called Wave rock. You know that made me feel like I was in Arizona. It’s like Cajun country with some strange swamps surrounding it. But you know just being out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by stars I think is the most cosmic and beautiful experience one can possibly have on this planet”

“I’d love to see other parts of the country but you know with touring, we don’t really have a whole lot of time for vacationing. We have to kind of get in and out, but you know what the thing I think that is really encouraging for me is the fact that this culture that is Australia is similar to New Zealand, the United States and England to a certain degree where you have this western culture. It’s that I’m more relaxed because of the environment. You know it’s not as uptight as the European counterparts in England. You know the weather really kind of impacts spirit. And so the sun Sentinel really impacts the spirit of the people here in Australia”

“Now I know that Australia Day is coming up, and there’s been some talk in the news about the past celebrations of integration ceremonies being held on or citizen status being celebrated on Australia Day and things like that. And I think it’s good to have those conversations. And certainly in a country where I come from because of immigration we’re having a lot of discussions about great civil rights, environment, all those things are kind of being opened up now and that’s really nice to hear and to see those things influence the music”

Playing Cairns for the first time this Saturday, The uninitiated might wonder what Cairns audiences can expect from a Calexico show.. “Well I’d say bring a towel, there will be a lot of celebrating, and you’re gonna get wet, it’s going to be a lot of fun! There’s so many musicians, seven musicians on stage from a lot of different backgrounds. There’s great grooves, lots of instruments and they love the party. And so that’s what we want to bring. We want to bring a party to the Deep North”

Todd Macalpine

Tickets available through Ticketlink

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