Folk/country rocker Tim Barry, formally front man for Virginia punk heroes Avail, heads to New Zealand for the first time next week - Tuesday April 5th - with Chris Wollard (from Hot Water Music) and Addison Burns for one night only at The Kings Arms. Victoria Cormack spoke to Tim last week to find out how the transition from punk to folk rocker happened and what we can expect from his live show.
From punk to folk rocker, who are your musical influences/inspirations that have made this journey with you and how do they fit into both punk and folk music?
Because I came to age listening to, and playing both Punk and Folk music, the transition felt incredibly natural. My old band AVAIL wrote songs primarily on acoustic guitars and then transferred the song ideas over to a full band format. But I would say my main inspiration for writing and playing has been the folks I grew up playing music with and the people and places I've been to while writing. More direct influences from the punk movement would be DIY bands that taught me not to wait around for other people to help me along, and to understand music as a community event, not an ego bloating road to "fame." Folk musicians like Townes Van Zandt, from an early age and to this day have had a tremendous impact on the music I write.
Did you have to ‘cross over’ and start again when you started playing solo acoustic/country/folk music or did your AVAIL fans come with you? Have they stayed for the long haul?
I understand very well, that it would be insane and delusional for me to think that everyone would like everything I do musically. With that said, some fans of AVAIL have followed my music and others abhor it. No harm no foul. It's just music, so I don't mind either way. But I do feel really lucky when I play to see so many different kinds of people in the crowd. The shows are incredibly mixed up. And I think that's exactly what music/art/community events are all about. People coming together to share experience.
So, for fans of AVAIL – what can they expect from a Tim Barry live show? What elements are the same and what are different?
The heart is the same. The sonic out put is not. Instead of a wall of distortion and cut time drumming, the show is simply me with an acoustic guitar. I know that's a bad "sell." And if I read that quote, I would stay away from the show myself. Sounds like a real bore. But the truth is the shows are fairly intense and are honestly exciting. And that's not based only on my output on stage, but the energy from all that attend.
You are playing this show/tour with Chris Wollard (from Hot Water Music) are you friends, have you toured together before?
Yes, Chris and I have been friends for many years and have spent a ton of time on the road together. Although this is the first tour where we will both play our own music. I'm excited to see how we proceed.
What other artists have you toured with? Do you play on both folk and punk bills? Or does folk-punk have a strong scene of its own these days?
I have toured with so many bands and folks it's hard to really itemize. Last year alone I toured with The Gaslight Anthem, Frank Turner, Ben Nichols (of Lucero), Chuck Ragan, Against Me!, Red Clay River, Ninja Gun and many more. And also did "one off" shows with David Allen Coe and many more. And this does not include all of my headlining shows and tours. But to stop the name dropping and answer the question, I'm lucky that I have been both welcomed into the "new folk movement" here in the states, and by the still strong punk movement. I know very well how lucky I am.
Avail never made it to NZ (and never will?) what are you looking forward to most about visiting here and what do you expect/have been told both of the country and your audience!?
No, AVAIL will not make it there. We broke up a few years back. As for me, I am just thrilled to go somewhere new. I've been blessed enough to see so much of the world that it nearly blows my mind. Never in my life would I have ever thought that I'd make it to a place like Australia, for example. And now this will be my 4th time there. To add NZ into the mix is just about as incredible as it gets. Look, I was born and raised in Virginia. People like, and from here never get a chance to go somewhere like NZ. My friends and family here can't believe it's even happening. With that said, I'm not setting expectations. I'll take it as it comes. And really truly look forward to meeting new people and seeing a new place.
Seriously, thanks for the invite and having me for the first time. I look so forward to it.