Q&A: Dean Whitmore on the New Unnatural Helpers' Record, Touring with Mudhoney, and That Time He Almost Got Beat Up in Brooklyn"/>
Unnatural Helpers are playing the Crocodile a week from tonight -- Wednesday, the 22nd. This afternoon UH lead singer Dean Whitmore chatted with us about the show and what the band has been up to this holiday season, as well as some of his reflections on the year that was 2010.
Are you working on a new album already?
We're starting a new record but doing it in parts. At the end of the month, we have four days booked [again with Kurt Bloch, who produced UH's Cracked Love & Other Drugs], and we're just going to see where we're at. We have nine or ten songs ready to go and then some other bits and pieces of shit that are laying around that I just want to throw out and see if it sticks. I like to do it in parts, take it in chunks.
Would you say your new songs are a departure from the ones on Cracked Love?
There's some really poppy ones. And then there's kind of a longer one, it might even be in the 5 minute range. That's a different progression for us. It feels different. There's one song about a therapist's office. There's one song about kissing up to your girl. One about getting ditched on the side of the road by your girlfriend because she's sick of your shit.
Is that based on personal experience?
There are metaphors involved.
What's your estimate for a release date on this new album?
Maybe midyear. I'm not looking to rush it very much.
Looking back, are you still proud of Cracked Love?
It's worn pretty well. I have a pretty short lifespan for things that I've recorded, and of course now I'm like, 'oh this next one's gonna be so much better.' I think Cracked Love was pretty varied but I think this one's gonna hit deeper, wider poles than that one. The cringes over time for me, they get a little more violent with certain parts of the record, but comparatively with things I've done before, I'm fine with it. But I'm just ready to get going on a new one.
What are your big plans for 2011?
We're planning on going to SXSW. But my head's pretty much in the recording process.
Is your show at the Crocodile holiday-themed?
We have one tune that we're kicking around.
What's the holiday tune?
I can't tell you! It's classic, it's by a classic British band. I'll give you that much.
What was your best moment of 2010?
It must have been some point on that Mudhoney trip. Probably walking into Leeds University, the site of my favorite record of all time, where The Who Live at Leeds was record. That was a pretty big fucking moment for me. I got to go stand on the stage where the Who recorded that. That was cool moment. But that trip was full of those moments. We had the best time.
What about your worst moment?
Almost getting beat up in Brooklyn was pretty bad. It was the very last night of the last US trip we took, and the whole trip had been awesome, but I was just kind of spaced out. I cut off these toughs, two dudes, and they chased us down in our van and cut us off in the middle of the street, and then just parked their car diagonally in the street so we couldn't forward, we couldn't go back. And then they got out of their car and were heading towards us. But all they did was berate us. That was kind of a bummer. I didn't know if we were going to get shot in the face or what. I was just talking really calmly to them, I just said, 'sorry, I didn't see you, I cut you off, my fault.' I took a very submissive role and avoided the fisticuffs. I don't think I was giving them what they wanted, so they decided I was too wimpy and meek to pummel the shit out of that night.
Unnatural Helpers will play the Crocodile on Wednesday, December 22. The Intelligence and Dancer and Prancer will open. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is free with an RSVP.