Sometimes an artist comes along that is just impossible to place. That artist is Sandy Dillon. With a new album "East Overshoe" in stores and a recent tour with Cousteau we caught up to find out about this "twisted country" music. It's like Shania Twain on acid she promptly explains. If that wasn't a strange enough for you add the fact that before she did this she wrote jingles for the US version of Weetabix and it makes for a pretty strange combination. Read on for tales of Incest, naked motorcycle riders and Nursery Crimes!!!!
Q: The album "East Overshoe" covers some strange subjects doesn't it? I.e.. Incest, TV Evangelists etc.
A: Well you know what it is. When I used to go back to Boston, I used to love seeing those shows. There was a really famous one, years ago now, called Erol Roberts and he used to go "if you do not send me $1, each and everyone of you, by midnight tonight God will strike me down dead!!!". And the thing is he would get millions and millions and I used to think this was so sad. And then I thought no, its really clever.
I've lived over here now for 15 years and I suppose the album is a little slice of Americana. A little road movie in your head except you don't actually go anywhere. I think there is a little town of East Overshoe, it doesn't really matter you probably have your own version. You see these little towns and you think "Oh that's nice" and then you find out its much more bizarre than anything that could happen in the Bronx or New York.
Q: Do you find yourself talking to strangers for inspiration?
A: No, because they all live inside my head. Once you've met someone or something's happened to you it gets stored in this permanent file in your head and that becomes part of the soundtrack of your life. Its constantly growing. If you can imagine an olds vinyl record except it keeps getting bigger and bigger so you can never reach the end of the album.
Q: So its all strange incidents from your hometown then?
A: There was one thing I was telling a guy the other day. There was guy in my hometown who was the son of the Chief of Police. He got drunk one day and road up and down main street, which is like the high street, naked on his Harley except for a hat and some cowboy boots. Its great because his father had to arrest him because he's Chief of Police. The best thing is, and this isn't a joke, his name was Randy Fiolla and his fathers name was Chief Randy Fiolla Senior. With stuff like I don't really need to meet strangers do I.
Q: How would you describe your sound. You've mentioned "twisted country" before?
A: Well its funny because the last time I did an album I think I said something like its deconstructive mutated blues. And of course what happened was all the journalist quoted that I said modern blues. When I say country people say its not country at all. When i say "twisted country" I kind of mean Shania Twain on acid!!!!
But I like country music, not as in modern Nashville, but people like Hank Williams - country blues I suppose you'd say.
Q: You've said before you could write a three and half minute pop song?
A: I've done plenty of that in my time. The funniest thing I ever did was the US equivalent of Weetabix. In the states its called Wheaties and I did a jingle that went something like "Come on in, have a seat. i'm going to show you what the big boys eat".
It was really well paid job, but I just couldn't stand it because when you become a jingle writer or a pop writer you literally write 9-5 with a lunch break. I worked with a couple of writers like that and you'd work 9-12 and go "Ok, break for lunch. We'll come back later and do the hook and it should come in at 28 seconds".
I was at a festival in Belgium and basically I was sitting round with a load of bands waiting to go on. The band before me was Nitin Sawney and they were talking about how Britney Spears "Baby, One More Time" was really sick. They were discussing the lyrics in a really really sort of "this is really heavy, its about violence". I thought that was sort of the opposite like Nursery Crimes - getting something really accessible and having people singing those subversive lyrics.
"East Overshoe" is out now
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