What about the words of Woody Guthrie ringing in your
head? Those are lyrics from the song "Bandages and Scars."
Basically, it was just looking to Woody as a point of reference and
a source of inspiration. He's someone I first came across through
my parents, you know - they would sing and perform his songs, and
they also had his records in their collection. I found that my own
children kind of respond to Woody's music enthusiastically.
What does Okemah and the Melody of Riot mean? Okemah
is the hometown of Woody Guthrie in Oklahoma. So there's a
reference in the first song. It's also a place that, years ago, I
made a pilgrimage [to] with, uh, two of the guys from the Bottle
Rockets. So, I do have a little firsthand experience with Okemah.
Enough to know that the local pronunciation is O-kee-muh. It's a
small town, but it has its own distinct character. We saw
[Guthrie's] boyhood home. It was all torn down, but you could still
see the foundation. And on the water tower they have "Home of Woody
Guthrie." I do remember having one of the most interesting
interpretations of the grilled-cheese sandwich [that] I've ever
seen. It was one-half of an English muffin, with a piece of cheese
out of one of the plastic wrappers melted on top. [Laughs]
Having your own studio, you seem to have a certain freedom -
no one banging on the door or charging you hourly rates.
Yeah, it was a pretty organic process that way, in that we were
able to record whenever - late into the night or during the day.
[Author's note: Oddly enough, considering that the studio is
smack-dab in the middle of St. Louis proper, Farrar says the
neighbors have never complained.] Also, it's great to have the
studio space where all of your equipment is right there, so if you
need to try a specific instrument - whether it's a certain organ
sound or a stringed instrument like a lap steel, mandolin, or
whatever - you've got it. I was exposed to a lot of instruments
growing up, so I was just able to pick up a little bit on a lot of
different instruments. I think that also predetermined that I would
never be very good on any one instrument. [Laughs]