The southern psych-rockers talk about arachnids, pickeled cucumbers, and Cameron Crowe

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If there’s a market for monumental cosmic roadhouse psych-rock, My Morning Jacket have cornered it. They’ve also, this evening at Barramundi on New York City’s Lower East Side, cornered the market on jet lag, having just come off a 13-hour flight from Japan. As LTT sits down with the sleepy Louisville, Ky., quintet to throw a few back and chat about their spectacular and, on this soporific night, quite appropriately titled new album Z (out Oct. 4), the haze of transworld travel and booze eventually leads to such dream-derived topics as arachnids of the Far East, pickled cucumbers, Cameron Crowe’s status as a stand-up dude?and, of course, R. Kelly.

ROUND 1

BIG IN JAPAN!

LTT (Corona) You guys just flew in from Japan. What was going on there?
Jim James (guitar/vocals, vodka tonic) We were making ahi tuna sandwiches.
Bo Koster (keyboards, Mandrin and soda) Between tours we take food preparation classes.
LTT With an eye to the inevitable post-rock career?
James Yep. This is our final interview. It’s already over.
LTT People might not need rock & roll forever, but they will need sandwiches.
Patrick Hallahan (drums, Beefeater martini, up, with cocktail onions) Until their teeth fall out, and then it’s back to baby food.
James We actually played the Fuji Rock Festival on a stage called the Field of Heaven. It was backed up to the forest, and they had all these disco balls hung in the trees.
Two-Tone Tommy (bass, Beck’s) They actually grew the disco balls.
James Spiders kept falling in my hair while we were playing. Big black spiders.
Carl Broemel (guitar, Pilsner Urquell) We tried to find this one spider after the show…
James I killed it. It was the first time I ever killed a living thing on stage — other than slaying the audience with my tasty guitar riffs.

[Entire band cracks up.]

ROUND 2

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

Hallahan (Grey Goose and tonic) So why can’t you smoke in New York bars?
James (vodka tonic) I like people not smoking in bars, for the record. I think it’s wonderful.
Koster (Mandrin and soda) There’s something that comforts me about a smoky bar, but yeah, sometimes it really sucks.
James If they ever ban smoking in Louisville, that would be a revolutionary thing.
Hallahan They’re working on it.
James [Rethinking his bar antismoking position] You’re not serious…

ROUND 3

A REAL PICKLE

James (Pilsner Urquell) Why do people in New York like those gross [half-sour] pickles?
Hallahan (vodka tonic) Me, I love a good dill pickle.
James Vlasic? Yeah. Ice-cold…
Tommy (vodka on the rocks) Hell, yeah!
LTT (vodka tonic) Some people in New York would say you don’t know what a pickle is.
James That’s everybody who lives in New York. ”You don’t know bars! You don’t know pizza! You don’t know bagels!” Like, everything.

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