Interview: Drivin N Cryin


On April 4, Drivin N Cryin made their second appearance in Salt Lake, playing a blistering set at the Bar n’ Grill with Boxcar Kids and Points West. Drivin N-Cryin consists of Tim Nielsen on bass, Buren Fowler on lead guitar, Jeff Sullivan on drums and Kevn Kinney, who is emerging as one of America’s best singer-songwriters. Their latest album, Fly Me Courageous has broadened their audience nationally, gaining AOR radio play and MTV exposure. Still, they are one of the friendliest and most accessible bands around. Phil Harmonic interviewed them following their performance. Present were Kevn, Tim, Jeff and Jeff’s grandparents who drove from Colorado to see the show.


SLUG: Kevn, who are your major influences?

Kevn: Elvis and Johnny Ramone. That red Mosrite is the first guitar I ever owned. If it weren’t for The Ramones, I wouldn’t be here today. The Ramones are the best fuckin’ rock and roll band in the world. 

SLUG: Who writes most of the material?

Tim: Kevn writes the words and most of the songs have his sound but the band works out the arrangements.

SLUG: Is this the first time you’ve had a tour bus?

Tim: We’ve been driving around the country in a van for about five years and this time we finally got a tour budget. You don’t make any money when you tour, these buses cost more than you make, The objective is to sell records, which are supposed to pay the bills in the long run.

Kevn: It’s just like a trailer, except without the Richard Petty posters.

SLUG: How was playing in Salt Lake again?

Kevn: That was a fun show, I like this bar. Good people tonight, some awfully nice people. The people in the crowd didn’t hurt each other. 

Tim: It was good. Last time was so long ago. I just remember we had a great time.

SLUG: Where are you headed next?

Tim: Reno, we start with Sonic Youth and Neil Young tomorrow. It’s going to be cool. I like those bands a lot. We’re taking Social Distortion’s slot on the second half of the tour. It’s a weird bill but I guess Neil likes it that way. 

SLUG: Was it a conscious decision to make Fly Me Courageous more rocking? More consistent?

Tim: Yes, well, Kevn did a solo record, so that kind of made more room for more rock and roll songs to fit on this record. It’s always been a problem when we make records, and there’s so many different kinds of music.

SLUG: Do you worry about that? Being pigeon-holed on one hand or too eclectic on the other?

Tim: We never used to worry about it, but it never got us anywhere—being so diverse. We’re huge in the southeast, but in the rest of the country we’re sort of unknown. There’s a lot of people out there who’d probably dig our music but the only way they’re ever going to hear it is if we have an album that’s going to get played on the radio. We never compromise anything musically, I think we’re better musically, we’re a better band now than we’ve ever been. Our fans can usually deal with anything we play. We’ll probably make more acoustic records and make more hard rock records.


For more from the SLUG Archives:
Jojo’s Corner: September 1990

Record Reviews: December 1990