Having gigged with everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to R.E.M., Scott McCaughey brings his Minus 5 to Balboa Theatre downtown on March 24. He took some email questions from the Reader.
What San Diego music memories come to mind?
“The Young Fresh Fellows had a few memorable shows at the old Casbah. Jim’s vintage Danelectro Longhorn bass got its neck broken at one. Of course, Skid Roper was there, yeah! But my best San Diego concert memory is of the Minus 5 opening for Wilco at 4th&B in 2002. [Tweedy, featuring Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and his son Spencer, will open this week’s show.] At the end of Wilco’s show, Peter Buck and I and the rest of the Minus 5 were in the venue lobby with acoustic instruments playing songs around the merch table. So many people crowded around us that it was jamming things up so they kicked us outside. We kept shouting out tunes there until a couple squad cars pulled up.”
- Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
868 Fourth Avenue,
The new album (Dungeon Golds) contains some of the final performances of keyboardist Ian McLagan. How did you meet him?
“I think the first time I actually talked to Mac was when he was playing with Billy Bragg and they were doing a double bill with Wilco outside Seattle. I was thrilled to have a few pints of Guinness with him backstage, and then over the years we just met up in Austin and Portland, whenever our paths crossed, which was fortunately pretty often! I always felt so lucky to have become friends with him — beyond my appreciation for his work, he was just such a wonderful guy.”
How did you find out he’d died?
“Alejandro Escovedo called me from the hospital the morning after his stroke and let me know that the decision had been made to take him off life support. It was not a great day in my life — but Mac had so many people who loved him, so I was feeling for them, too. I worked on music with friends, which was very therapeutic, and then Guinness played its part.”
What’s in the future for the band and yourself?
“We’re going to the toppermost of the poppermost! In May I’m doing a solo tour of Spain, which is a bit crazy. Hopefully, more Minus 5 dates will get squeezed in if possible, and there must be more songs to write — I just have to find them. Or, more likely, they will find me.”