Mister Green – Interview
Americana Highways had a chance to sit down with Andrew Lindner of the Americana roots rock outfit Mister Green. Mister Green released a song, “Annabelle,” featuring Tom Morello, from their new album Stay Tuned, which was also just recently released on December 9th. Mister Green is duo Mark Renk Mister Green is duo Mark Renk (producer/co-writer for Helmet, Maroon 5, P.O.D.) and songwriter Andrew Lindner.
Americana Highways: You opened the album with the song Annabelle, the single featuring Tom Morello. How did it come about for him to join in on this song?
Andrew Lindner: We have a mutual friend who introduced us, and we bonded over a mutual passion for standing up for others who don’t necessarily have a loud enough voice of their own. I admire this about him just as much as his musical wizardry. He was kind enough to offer to play a solo on our first single, “Annabelle” and I feel like it elevated the song tremendously and added a sharper edge to the song.
AH: “California Night” has an easy, acoustic Americana setup. How did you feel about this song and the way it turned out?
AL: This song is about a good friend whose partner was battling cancer at the time. They live in Southern California and embody that positive, upbeat California vibe. The song is about their relationship and how they turned their good- vibes attitude into a weapon to beat the disease. There’s something about California that gives people hope, from the gold-diggers that flocked there in 1849 through the dreamers today trying to make it in Hollywood.
AH: Is it satisfying to put a song like “California Night” right after a heavy hitter like “Annabelle” that featured Tom Morello?
AL: “California Night” started with the guitar riff you hear at the beginning. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and it felt so natural to play on guitar it practically played itself. The riff turned into an Americana Power Pop song that departs style-wise from the lead off song, “Annabelle”. The contrast between the first two songs is an unmistakable message to the listener to buckle their seatbelt for a melodically varied thrill ride with the common thread of vivid story telling.
AH: What were you going for, conceptually, with some of the different musical styles and musical juxtapositions on the album?
AL: The songs on the album revolve around the central theme of taking chances before it’s too late. That theme is told through the back stories of various characters in the songs. Story telling with adult lyrics paired with a youthful, fresh sound. Although the listener may be hearing them the first time, the songs should sound vaguely familiar nostalgic, as they borrow elements from the early innovators of rock ‘n roll from Buddy Holly to Green Day. Nothing beats the proven chordal formula of 1-4-5!
AH: How did you decide to cover “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and what was it like creating that one for the album, with all its intense electric energy?
AL: Such a great song that is overdue for a comeback. Let’s face it, Petty was the master of painting an entire portrait in the mind of the listener with just a few carefully selected words like “that party dress.” Three words, instant scene. He was amazingly efficient with his lyrics, and his delivery was authentic and irresistible. This is a very recognizable song which makes covering it dangerous business. This version has more twang but still honors the original simplicity and the genius of his simple story telling. Hopefully we hit the mark.
AH: What do you remember about your reaction to the news of Tom Petty’s passing, and the days afterward?
AL: Like most fans, I didn’t know Tom Petty personally, but when he passed it felt like I had lost an old friend. His songs were like a synch track for many people’s lives, and it felt like the music would never end. And then suddenly it did. It left a crater in a lot of people’s hearts. But his passing also inspired me to attempt to write my own songs that, like his, are catchy, relatable, and full of imagery.
AH: To what degree would you say music is an emotional release for the listener?
AL: I think music is experienced differently depending on the listener – any response is a good response if it moves you or helps you deal with something. Music can facilitate escape or experience depending on the need. It can be a time- machine taking you back to that feeling of your first kiss, or it can allow you to work through a difficult experience by listening to it on repeat. For example, “What He Said to Me” is a song about my father who passed away from ALS and hearing it is a way for me to experience something that is no longer here. Even though he is physically gone, I feel like I get to visit him every time I sing that song.
AH: How did you decide on the name “Mister Green”?
AL: (laughs) Weed. I suppose I could come up with a clever answer to the question, but the honest answer is weed. It would be disingenuous to not recognize weed as an essential ingredient in the creation of this album. How else could we have come up with the idea to have the child actor who played Mike TeeVee in the original Willie Wonka movie on the front cover of our album entitled “Stay Tuned”? By the way, he’s still wearing that same cowboy outfit and pickling his brain watching an old-fashioned TV.
AH: What’s on the horizon for Mister Green in the next couple of months?
AL: We are excited to release this LP into the wild and seeing where it goes and who it reaches. In the meantime, we are busy writing the next batch of songs for a follow up LP. Stay tuned
Thanks for talking with us, Andrew. Find more information about, and music by, Mister Green here: https://www.instagram.com/mistergreenmusic/