Culture Shock Interview: The Kernal
By: Avery Walts
What do Prince, Kurt Vonnegut, and IU all have in common? The Kernal of course. Making the trip from Jackson, Tennessee for Culture Shock 2012 is singer/songwriter The Kernal, whom I had the lovely opportunity to interview. “theKERN,” the name to which he ended our email conversation, has been on tour promoting his debut album Farewellhello. The Kernal should feel right at home in Bloomington having played with Bloomington natives The Calumet Reel and The Broderick in the past, and on behalf of WIUX, we are honored to have him.
What sealed the deal on your decision to play Culture Shock? (on behalf of IU, thank you!)
We have some wonderful friends up in Bloomington who were gracious to get us on CS this year. We’re excited! We’ve shared the stage with The Calumet Reel and The Broderick and we’ve become fast friends with those gentlemen.
Have you played college campuses before? If so, how are the crowds different from a regular gig?
Yeah, we’ve played a few colleges. Some colleges we’ve done have been empty but when there’s a following at a college you’re hard-pressed to find a better group of people to play for. Our few experiences playing for IU crowds have been fabulous.
How has the tour for your debut album been so far? Anything stand out in particular?
The tours are up and down; strikes and gutters, you know. It’s my first album so the only formula for keeping our head above water is playing shows; unfortunately it’s expensive to travel, but we’re doing the best we can to take as many trips as we can afford; normally for no more than a week at a time. Our band collectively books a club in our town (Jackson, TN) called The Downtown Tavern and we’ve met a lot of great bands that way. Some of our recent favorites to play with are Phillip Roebuck, The Devil Makes Three, and we’re playing with Unknown Hinson in a few weeks which I’m sure will take some sort of cake.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I noticed your album title comes from a Kurt Vonnegut novel, a fellow Indiana Hoosier, so I’m sure you’ll fit right in.
I am a Vonnegut fan, no doubt. I watched a documentary once about a choreographer named Bill T. Jones and he said that he was a ‘Two-Fisted Maker’: When you commit so much to something that you don’t have a free hand you can really discover and push forward; you know, giving up all types of ‘success’ and materials to keep yourself human. I’m always inspired by two-fisted makers who have a grip on the path that gave them their opportunity to say something.
What time do you perform?
I’m actually not sure when we go on. I haven’t heard
What’s your favorite song to perform?
Ooosh, favorite song to perform lately is probably one our new ones called “Tennessee Sun” because we all sing.
Can the crowd expect any surprises like an appearance from Prince, complete with fog machines?
Prince is having to keep his sister’s dog that weekend, but we’re going to throw a cow into the audience so people can feed her while we play our jams.
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