21 Questions with Zach Williams
By TNB A&C
of The Lone Bellow
June 07, 2013
Please explain what just happened.
We just stopped at a little gas station where they had homemade hamburgers. We think there’s a 50/50 chance that this is actually true.
What is your earliest memory?
In the first place my parents lived in, my mom asked me if I wanted to talk to my dad on the phone, and I thought he was really inside [of it]. Then that same night she bought me one of those worm nightlights, and I was afraid of it so I unplugged it from the wall. The end.
If you weren’t a musician, what other profession would you choose?
I’d love to help make parks.
Describe a typical work day.
Wake up at 7 a.m., get in a van, drive for hours, go through waves of depression, get out of the van and tell myself, “Everything’s okay.” Go to soundcheck and realize that everything is not okay. Be way too passive with the sound man. Wish I’d played different songs. Wonder if I’m still able to do things that scare me.
Is there a time you wish you’d lied?
I’ve wracked my brain over this one and truly cannot think of a time where I wish I had lied. I wish I could think of one, if that counts.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?
I was reading East of Eden yesterday, and Lee said, “Right now the bads are terribly bad and the goods are terribly good.” I probably would have told myself to read more instead of trying to wing everything. It’s a good reminder that you’re nothing special and people have already been there. And the Forrest Gump soundtrack rules. The red CD is better than the blue. And you’re going to get dumped by the same girl over and over again. Then she’s going to marry you.
If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?
Enigma, Return to Innocence.
What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?
“In Focus” on The Atlantic, The Art of Manliness, Vevo.
From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?
My wife, my kids, and discovering the towns of this great country.
Name three books that have impacted your life.
Right now: East of Eden, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Old Testament.
If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?
Easy: The day I had when I was 17 and my great uncle died. Me and my cousin got paid $50 to drive an S10 pick-up to his house and remove all of his stuff. The place was the perfect amount of scary and weird and beautiful. We took my cousin’s older brother’s Van Morrison cassette and listened to it all day.
How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?
Well, I was in a hotel in Paris and Jamie Foxx was there and he saw this thing that looked like a pool and he said, “Man I thought that was a pool.” Jamie Foxx was in Collateral with Tom Cruise and Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin … boom. My wife also stole a bunch of really fancy soap from that hotel bathroom.
What makes you feel most guilty?
When I feel good about someone else feeling bad.
How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?
When, in a song or a book or a picture, there’s a character that reminds me of what, exactly, I am capable of … when I hear or see something that brings me back to the present … feeling alive is the bottom line for why we create as humans—or for me it is, at least.
Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind your self-titled debut album.
Really just wanted to be a part of something with other people, as opposed to self-loathing and being alone. This specific record leans on different lies and truths that I hear during a given day, and the motivations for some of these songs came from a place of despair, regret, and fear … and for others they came from a place of hope and renewal. Doing this album helped me be honest with myself and push back against those feelings of self-involvement … that feeling you get when you falsely feel stronger because of pain.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?
Don’t go at it alone.
List your favorite in the following categories: Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.
Comedian — Andy Kaufman
Musician – Bernard Purdie
Author – John Steinbeck
Actor — Sam Rockwell
If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?
I would put together a traveling circus with all of my friends. I’d try to train animals to sleep during shows in between folks in the audience. Maybe the theme would have something to do with the fights between a husband, a wife, and two ghosts who live in the hallway between their bedroom and bathroom.
What do you want to know?
What it’s like to sleep in The Outback by myself for one night.
What would you like your last words to be?
I’ve been loved.
Please explain what will happen.
We will write another song.
Critically-acclaimed Brooklyn country band THE LONE BELLOW (Descendant Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment) released their self-titled debut album in January 2013 to unanimous raves and are on tour this summer, playing with everyone from Brandi Carlile to Robert Plant. The band made recent appearances as well on Conan and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “The Lone Bellow” has been called one of the best albums of the year by People Magazine and has garnered praise from USA Today, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Paste, Forbes, and Filter. NPR’s Bob Boilen simply stated, “The world of acoustic music is about to get a new household name. The music of The Lone Bellow is born from tragedy and told with heart and simplicity.” The Lone Bellow is lead singer and principal songwriter Zach Williams, singer and mandolin player Kanene Pipkin, and singer-guitarist Brian Elmquist.
Fantastic interview! Thanks for the read. Cheers.