JOHN YDSTIE, host:
(Soundbite of "The Rebel Side of Heaven")
Mr. LANGHORNE SLIM (Musician): And now we have a chance all of our lives, we ain't going to hell. Well we're going to the rebel side of heaven.
YDSTIE: Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles are touring, performing songs from their new album. And critics, well, at least one are proclaiming soul, fire, warmth. And we'll add energy, passion, and fun. Langhorne Slim joins us from Nashville with band members Paul Defiglia on the stand-up bass and Malachai DeLorenzo on drums. Welcome, guys.
Mr. SLIM: Thank you very much.
Mr. PAUL DEFIGLIA (Musician): Hi.
Mr. MALACHAI DELORENZO (Musician): Hi.
YDSTIE: So that was a song called "The Rebel Side of Heaven" from your new album called "Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles." What's the rebel side of heaven?
Mr. SLIM: Well, I was spending some time with a friend a few years ago and she had a very dear friend who wasn't doing so well in his life and he was drinking quite a bit. And we were hanging out with him one night and he said, guys, you know, things are just going terribly and, you know, I think I'm just gonna, when I go I'm going to hell. And this girl turned to him and said, you're not going to hell, you're going to the rebel side of heaven.
YDSTIE: Great thought. So what, what happened to him?
Mr. SLIM: He died and went straight to hell. No, I actually, I thought this friend and I were gonna be spending more time with each other, but as it turned out, she and I, you know, stop spending time and as a result, her friend and I, we didn't keep up with each other.
YDSTIE: So you didn't get a friend out of it, but you got a song out of it. So that's a fair trade-off I guess.
Mr. SLIM: I think so, yeah.
YDSTIE: Your parents named you Sean Scolnick, how'd you become Langhorne Slim?
Mr. SLIM: Langhorne is a town in Pennsylvania that I'm from and I was patiently waiting for somebody to give me a nickname that I thought, you know, suited me. To be honest with you, the truth of it is is that when I was young I really wanted to be a black blues singer. And its taken me up to 27 to realize that that's not gonna, that's not gonna happen for me. And I just thought it sounded cool and sort of fit in the tradition of a lot of the music that I was listening to at the time.
YDSTIE: And why did you want to be a black blues singer?
Mr. SLIM: I think deep down we all probably do. But I could be wrong about that. It's music that I fell very deeply in love with. I just thought it was, you know, some of the most raw, passionate, heartfelt music.
YDSTIE: So you guys have your instruments with you in Nashville there, right?
Mr. SLIM: We do indeed.
YDSTIE: Well, why don't you play us your song about how we love the animals?
Mr. SLIM: You got it.
(Soundbite of "We Love the Animals")
Mr. SLIM: The monkeys are happy, the zebras are playing, giraffes are laughing, and all the children are saying, what good friends we have. We love the animals. The fish are in the ocean, the birds are in the sky, we're singing and we're dancing, oh, ain't it great to be alive with all the good friends we have. We love the animals. Got a house by the lagoon and I'm moving there in June, get a garden and a cat with a piano in the living room.
Life is crazy, it's a zoo, and we love the animals. The monkeys are happy, the zebras are playing, giraffes are laughing, and all the children are saying, what good friends we have. We love the animals. The fish are in the ocean, the birds are in the sky, we're singing and we're dancing, oh, ain't it great to be alive with all the good friends we have. We love the animals. We love the animals, we love the animals, we love the animals.
YDSTIE: "We Love the Animals" performed by Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles. You also have animals on the cover art of the album, what's that all about? It's kind of leopard pattern, right?
Mr. SLIM: To my mother's dismay, the cover art is taken from pillows and chairs that her and my father picked out when they bought their house sometime in the '70s. So my mother has seen that a whole lot and I have a feeling, actually, my father might've picked it out. So she's not so thrilled that it's on the cover. But...
YDSTIE: So it's the actual pattern?
Mr. SLIM: It's just a photograph of the pillow.
YDSTIE: I would think you guys sort of thought you had it made when you were picked up by V2 Records, which also had the White Stripes, the Dave Matthews Band, but then the label closed. What happened and what kind of an effect does that have on your morale and your career?
Mr. SLIM: I think what you learn is you got to have, you know, a belief in what you're doing and so none of that sort of stuff, the ups don't get you too up, the downs don't get you too down and you just continue to do what you're doing 'cause you love to do it.
YDSTIE: You know, I just wonder about whether the music business right now is, it just seems like it's in such flux that you just never know whether your record label's gonna be around. But you can self record and sell your stuff on the internet.
Mr. SLIM: And what is a constant and what will never go away and what you can know is that there's always gonna be people out there that want to come to shows. And that's something that, you know, the record business isn't gonna affect one way or the other, you know, I don't think. So for us, you know, we take some comfort in knowing that, you know, we keep plugging away on the road and building more and more people coming out, and the other stuff will take care of itself, I hope.
YDSTIE: How about another song?
Mr. SLIM: You got it. This song's called "Diamonds and Gold."
(Soundbite of "Diamonds and Gold")
Mr. SLIM: You can have all the diamonds, you can have all the gold, someday you're still gonna get old. You've got to learn to get happy along the way. Take some chances, allow yourself to get lost, you're beautiful, baby, you're the boss. You got to learn to get happy along the way. There's no (inaudible) to follow, only stones left unturned. You must play with fire in order to get burned.
can have all the diamonds, you can have all the gold, someday we're all gonna wind up very, very, very, very, very old. Time to get happy along the way. Get your hat, get your coat, baby, leave your worries on the doorstep, take my hand, let's get happy along the way.
YDSTIE: That's Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles with a song called "Diamonds and Gold." Thanks so much.
Mr. SLIM: Thank you so much.
Mr. PAUL DEFIGLIA (Musician): Thank you.
Mr. MALACHAI DELORENZO (Musician): Thank you.
YDSTIE: Listen to Langhorne Slim perform his new songs and discover more new music at NPR.org/music.
This is WEEKEND EDITION. Dr. Simon returns next week. I'm John Ydstie.
(Soundbite of "She's Gone")
Mr. SLIM: Now you can wave your hand goodbye, you can dry the tears from your eyes when I said she's gone, stayin' in, I'm nobody. She's gone, stayin' in, she's gone, stayin' in, I'm nobody. She's gone, stayin' in. I'm unhappy half the time I'm told, and I suppose that's so. Well, there's just so many people with unwanted filthy demands. After you left I told my breath I'm alone, but at least I'm not your man.
Well honey I said, she's gone, stayin' in, I'm nobody. She's gone, stayin' in. She's gone, stayin' in. I'm nobody. She's gone, stayin' in.