Jordan Carr turns 34 this month but the story is just starting to unfold for this Southern Minnesota native. A Fairmont graduate who spent many of his early adult years engulfed in the Mankato music scene, Carr relocated to Minneapolis and is busy with his band, Jordan Carr and the Boys. His background is anything but orthodox and his music paints the story. I caught up with Jordan to talk about his experiences and what he is up to currently.
Tell me a little about your background. How did you get your start?
My background is punk rock bands, rehabs, institutions, incarcerations and delusion. I spent most of my youth trying to replicate what I saw in the members of bands I loved, and I succeeded in almost every way…. Except for fame.
How & when did you decide, “I am going to be a musician.”
I decided I was going to be a musician when other people decided I was going to be nothing but a troublemaker at the age of 8. From that age on, I’ve thought about life in song titles and album covers. From 15 to now I’ve played in punk bands, hip-hop bands, hair metal tribute bands and for almost the last decade I’ve been writing and performing under my own name with the addition of the Boys.
Who were/are your biggest influences?
Biggest influences have always been intoxicants, relationships, incarcerations, confusion, loneliness and nostalgia. I once read an interview by Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio where he said something along the lines of always thinking his life had to be in some form of turmoil in-order for him to write good songs. At that time, nothing had ever resonated with me more. I felt that before I ever read that interview and because of that I was constantly putting myself in poor situations in hopes that I would write better songs. But, that’s a hard way to live. I know from experience.
Now, my biggest influencers are things that give me goose bumps and Billy Joel. Short answer to this question: Billy Joel.
How did you decide on your band name?
Jordan Carr and the Boys was a joke name for a one off Valentine’s Day show at the Sugar Room in Mankato maybe 12 years ago. If I remember correctly it was a name offered up by the drummer of my old punk band, Forever Dumb, when I was being a bit of an ego maniac… I think.
Who comprises the band?
Caleb Harris- drums, Jordan Riggs- lead guitar, Zach Anderson- bass, Ryan Davis- keys and the occasional sax player
Do you like coming back to Mankato for shows?
I do like coming back, but as the years go by, the nostalgia for the place I once knew so well fades. The places I used to frequent every single day are gone. Like, the Sugar Room, last I checked, is a well-lit bagel shop with no old jazz murals. Red Sky, which was my second home and where I had my first solo record’s album release show, is now a parking ramp. So, I do like to come back and play and always have a great time seeing old friends, but it doesn’t look or feel like the place it was when I was roaming around aimlessly pretending to be a good college student and an even better musician.
Describe your sound.
It was once written in an album review: “Jordan Carr is like a ‘boozed-soaked Bruce Springsteen,” so I tend to go with that whenever anyone asks. I would never be so bold as to write Springsteen and Carr in the same sentence, but, since someone else did, I’ll take it and I have no shame in letting people know.
Well, you did say “sax,” so I believe it. What’s Your Songwriting Process?
The song writing process, for me, starts with a line or a feeling or a melody that I repeat or hum from wherever I am when it strikes me all the way to the nearest guitar, pad of paper or phone charger…and it ends if my cat, Master, gets up and walks out the door. That’s how I know it’s no good.
I understand you have an upcoming show in conjunction with Burger Records?
Yeah, Burger Records (Ty Segall, FIDLAR) host Burger Revolution every year where they try and get as many bands as possible, across the globe, to put on a show or listening party on the same day. This year it’s Saturday, March 9th. They do a bunch of promotion for the shows. So, Jordan Carr and the Boys are playing that in Minneapolis on March 9 with Supportive Parents. We were supposed to have a videographer come in, but that fell through, so we took a friend’s idea to have everyone at the show use their phone to record the same song, from wherever they are in the venue and then will collect all the footage and create a video out of it for the full band version of the song we are working on currently.
So, the video idea kind of fell into place by accident? That’s cool, I look forward to seeing it. Can you tell me about the song?
Yes, the idea for this sort of video was my roommate’s and it just seems like a cool thing to do—get everyone at the show involved and basically let the people direct the video. Originally, we were supposed to have two videographers and they were going to shoot a new song at the show, but the date didn’t work out. Also, I figured if we wanted people to get involved and excited and care about recording a song with their phones, we should probably make it a song that everyone knows. That song, for me, is one of my oldest songs, “Ronnie (Let’s Do It Like We Used To)” off of my first album, “Reinventing the Dumbass”. That’s the song that most people who come to my shows know.
Ronnie deals with an alter-ego and being left behind while everyone else moves on and being torn between letting go of the “glory days” and growing up with everyone one else your age or hanging around the bar scene for just one more year before giving in. It’s still one of my favorite songs to play and due to years of requests, we are recording a full band version. This music video will accompany that full band version.
Any tours or album plans coming up in 2019?
Currently, I am in the final stages of mixing a live album, ReVisiting The Dumbass, which was recorded at Moto-I in Uptown, Minneapolis this past July, that serves as sort of a story-tellers about my time on trial during the recording process for Reinventing The Dumbass.
The Boys and I are also working on a handful of one-off singles and videos to be released over the next year.
I saw your record on the shelf at Tune Town! Last time we talked you were preparing for a release show, how did that go?
On December 14, 2018, we had the vinyl release for Empty Bottles, Full Hearts at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry to an amazing crowd which closed out a wild 2018.
Where can people find your music?
Both albums, Empty Bottles, Full Hearts and my first album, Reinventing The Dumbass, are streaming everywhere: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and can be found at jordancarr.bandcamp.com. For those of you in the Mankato area, you can pick up the latest album, Empty Bottles, Full Hearts, on vinyl at Tune Town. You can also see our in-studio performance on the White Wall Sessions season 6, episode 12 and 22. All news and info can be found at JordanCarrMN.com or on facebook.com/JordanCarrMusic
Where would you like to see your music career take you? You said the only thing separating you from your idols was fame. Is that still a goal?
While I am certainly not opposed to a little recognition from my music, my main goal is to never worry about picking up the tab when I’m out with my girl… If my name is ever to be surrounded by a star, I’d rather it be on First Avenue’s wall rather than on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Plus, you’ll always be famous to your cat.
As long as I play the right chords, yes.
By Molly Penny