CMJ begins tonight and one of our favorites, the publicity-challenged Ox, is playing The Knitting Factory at 7:30. He’s huge in Canada. His originally self-released alt country ode to America, Dust Bowl Revival, debuted at #1 on the Canadian college radio charts. We’re usually suspicious of everything Canadian, but Ox (aka Mark Browning and his band) is the real deal. His hauntingly beautiful debut is one of our favorites this year. Check out these MP3′s L.A. City , Carolina then be sure to catch him live if you can.
1. Why Ox?
KISS was taken. Honestly, it was a magic type of thing- the name just came to me one day and it resonated right… at the time I was very much a solo singer/songwriter type and I recognized that I wasn’t ready for the name so, over time I grew into it. With the Dust Bowl Revival album I knew it was Ox.
2. As a Canadian, why’d you decide to record an album about the American heartland?
The record isn’t really about the American heartland… it’s about America- but a twisted reflected variation of it- as in, the image of America through glass- a windshield even… the glass is the border and I’m Canadian. It’s about the 70′s- skateboards and banana seat bikes, summertime romance that doesnt go anywhere… the hot highway and fast cars that guzzle fuel.
3. You’re a rock star in Canada. Any thoughts on why you’re yet to find a major American audience?
I’m patient and I don’t really care. I just do what I do and sometimes people like it- sometimes they really hate it. Hopefully, nothing in between.
4. We’re always curious to know people’s first concerts. What was yours?
I did a festival gig at the Northern Lights Festival in Sudbury, Ontario- my hometown. I was 16. I can’t remember the show at all and later that night I threw up in bed from the stress. I was way freaked out. Since then, I’ve never really been nervous again.
5. What’s your most cherished record? Most embarassing?
cherished: JULIAN COPE, peggy suicide
embarassing: REO SPEEDWAGON, hi-infidelity
6. Have you ever driven a Trans Am?
My mom used to drive one. She sold it when I was 13 and bought a fucking Honda Civic.
7. Anyone you strongly admire? Anyone you hate?
I don’t really like ‘people’. It’s more about the things that people ‘do’. I like Julian Cope a whole lot cause he’s manic and driven and crazy- and that’s reflected in everything he does. I like P.T. Anderson (the director). I admire my bandmates cause we’re a family. I guess I hate Madonna.
8. Has your music ever gotten you any action?
9. Canada or America?
If it’s for cigarettes and movies- America. if it’s for donuts and moosemeat- Canada.
10. What’s next? Any plans on an American tour?
I’m touring the USA in November. Next month we’re finishing the new Ox album which will be a double- and released possibly next summer.