Americana Highways brings you this video premiere with interview of Tim Easton, who’s currently on tour in Russia. The video features the sound track for his song “Exploding Buildings,” which was recorded in Rm #911 of The Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, TX. “Exploding Buildings” is from Easton’s recent release Exposition, which was recorded by Easton, mostly in Okemah, Oklahoma, the birthplace of Woody Guthrie. “Exploding Buildings” is Tim Easton on guitar and vocals with Ellington Easton on hand claps & piano. The video, which is footage of people dancing in Belgium, was filmed and edited by Tim Easton.
AH: What is this song fundamentally about?
TE: I wanted to write a song about how humans react when faced with true chaos. The theme is intense here, I know, but it’s also very real. When faced with immortality, often we make a beeline for intimacy. I was on tour with The Cowboy Junkies when 9/11 happened. This is that story.
AH: How much of what humans do in general would you say is motivated by a core need for intimacy?
TE: With me it’s a combination of independence and intimacy. I need connection, but I also need solitude in order to get my life’s work done. It’s not always easy, but it’s getting easier.
AH: Can you elaborate a little more about being with the Cowboy Junkies at that time?
TE: I crossed the entire continent with them that summer and fall and it was amazing and educational. They were so wonderful to me, even with their very clever last night of tour practical jokes like changing the plates on my harmonicas so that they were all the wrong keys. That was genius. They told me stories about traveling with Townes Van Zandt, and in general were very easy folks to tour with. We were in Flordida when the planes hit the towers. The show that night was cancelled so I went to the next town, which happened to be Gainesvile, which is more or less the setting for this song. I had made a whole album of songs for a girl I had a crush on in Philladelphia, and put it in the mail late at night on September 10th.
Then, after sleeping in like a traveling musician, I got on the Florida turnpike the next morning and all the booths were empty, and hardly anybody was on the road. I turned on the radio and found out long after the buidlings had come down.
What happened next was quite the debaucherous hang out and yes it involved dancing. It wasn’t out of disrepect, it was simply acknowledging that we were still alive. That lasted a few days. All the hotel room doors were literally left open. The gigs after that had way more intimacy and a general feeling of “let’s cut loose” and enjoy ourselves while we can.
AH: Where did you get this footage?
TE: Then, just last month, I stumbled upon some folks line dancing in a public square in Hasselt, Belgium and filmed them, ran it through a few filters, and made this video. It was a very enjoyable process, watching these people cut loose in public. I knew I wanted to make a video for this song and when I saw those folks dancing I knew I had it.
AH: Would you say there’s a degree of resignation even as these folks are dancing?
TE: Yes, but the summer dresses and various ages of the women and men make it quite interesting. Almost from a different time, but it was from July 2019.
AH: How does that fit in?
TE: There’s something to say about how we all fall in line and copy each other to stay with the group. I don’t consider myself a pack animal but of course I have my moments where I need to fit in more. I’m not much of a dancer myself, and I alway marvel at how some people don’t give a damn and just go for it. I’m here in Russia now, answering these questions, and every night there have been people dancing like they just don’t care, and I admire what I can’t be.
AH: Would you say that the lingering feelings of the trauma of 9/11 had a lasting national or even global effect for most people who experienced it?
TE: Most definitely. I believe that our entire nation is in a state of permanent PTSD since 9/11. The effect is far and wide. I could only imagine what such a catastrophe meant to a teenager or twenty something at that time. And some kids who see it now probably begin their decent into Nihilism at that moment. Of couse, we are quicker to forget and move on with the 24 hour news cycle these days, but I believe we are still in shock. I’m not a big conspiracy theory guy but a certain degree of distrust has entrenched itself in my psyche, although when I hear people say it was an inside job I always want to ask them “then how could you continue paying taxes?”
Either way, here in Russia I am on a mission of love and peace, and I tell that to the audience every night.
Follow Tim Easton here: https://www.timeaston.com and watch the video here: