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Elastic Springs Back

Tripping Daisy’s DeLaughter explains how “Jesus” can save rock

The only things Tripping Daisy have to show for the last three
years are amodest hit (“I Got a Girl,” from the band’s major-label
debut, I Am anElastic Firecracker), a successful tour
supporting that album and twoyears off. Not bad, but the rock beast
must constantly be fed to survive-orat least to prevent it from
eating its own spawn. To that end, leadsinger/songwriter Tim
DeLaughter and Tripping Daisy recently profferedJesus Hits Like
the Atom Bomb
. Now, the group is preparing for itsfirst tour
in two-and-half-years (kicks off Sept. 9 in Nashville) to
supportthat record, but DeLaughter isn’t interested in talking
about the extendedtime off or the songs from his band’s latest.

“I don’t really want to talk about that, to tell you the truth.
It kind ofbothers me, this biography crap. I’m more interested in
talking about what Ithink about what’s going on in music today.”
(For the record, the band neededto regroup after spending the
better part of ’95 and ’96 on the road. After awhile, DeLaughter
had much on his mind. The studio seemed the logical placefor him to
vent.)

“This record … is the most honest record coming out in the
last few years,”DeLaughter says. “It’s overlooked. It’s like other
things that are going ontoday, as far as radio goes on. It’s in bad
shape. It seems like art’scompletely overlooked. It kind of [makes
me] distraught, since I’m acontributor and completely aware of what
real art is going on and seeing itcompletely missed by big
corporations.” And one more thing: “Not to say howdisgusting I
think it is, not just the magazine [Rolling Stone], but radiotoday
is pretty much shattering what’s been going on, the real thing
going on,real music.”

DeLaughter may be angry, but he’s not unaware of his position as
a songwritersigned to a major label. “I’m taking advantage of
having the privilege to beable to play music, to be able to reach
people,” he says. “I’m takingadvantage of that opportunity. I’m
giving them something that’s from theheart, from the soul, that I
consider is real, American music.” And the partabout being signed
by a big corporation (Island is owned by multimedia giantPolyGram),
isn’t that antithetical to raging against the death of art?

“You have to become what you despise to be able to have
something to talk about,” DeLaughter responds. “I became what I
despised; I was part of that marketing scheme,” DeLaughter says of
the first heady days of big-money-supported tours and calling the
career shots. “I was part of that, God-‘Here, do this and you will
get this,’ and ‘Do this and you will get that’-and that whole sort
of, like, large mentality of playing part of thepredictability
game. I realized that it wasn’t about that. I kind of got backto
where I got started in the first place.”

Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb and its upcoming tour,
then, areDeLaughter’s statement. But elaborating on that statement
is not part of hisplan. “I’m simply going to rely on word-of-mouth,
I’m simply going to rely onhonesty to prevail,” DeLaughter says of
promoting the new album. “That’s mynew attitude. I don’t have to
promote myself, I’ve already done it. It’s gonnabe, if you hear
this, I’m relying on the person that truly, like, loves musicand is
seeking out what they’re not getting … I’m relying on them to
tellsomebody.”

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