Good Morning: drummer Hallahan tells all

Matt Siblo

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that when I call Patrick Hallahan, the drummer from Louiseville, Ky.’s My Morning Jacket, that I reach him on his cell phone while the band is frantically driving to its next stop on tour.

The band has been on the road for just about two and a half years, and with the release of its major label debut “It Never Ends” with RCA records, the band shows little signs of letting up. The album released Sept. 9 welcomed rave reviews from fans and critics alike, making it a frontrunner on Best of 2003 lists.

However while talking to Hallahan, you’d never suspect any of this. He seems very laid back and even a bit reserved as he tries to successfully multitask: he was answering my questions while trying to safely maneuver the band’s vehicle. He explains to me that the band has always tried to “block out the hype.”

With this in mind, I asked Pat if, “It Never Ends,” being on a major label, could possibly be the band’s attempt to cash in on the so-called trend of “rock returning.” He was quick to answer me with an astounding “No!” and pointed out that since the label move very little has changed in their day-by -day routine.

My Morning Jacket does most everything the exact same way they used to, with one major exception: distribution. The band had become extremely discouraged by the lack of distribution that its previous records received.

They decided on RCA because they were “one of the few labels out there that didn’t mess with the band’s artistic creation.” With its new deal, My Morning Jacket can now produce its records as it pleases, along with finally having the ability to distribute worldwide.

When I asked the band to describe its sound to an untrained ear Hallahan was definite in his response. “Rock and Roll man, that’s it,” Hallahan said. “It can be anything, it’s all encompassing.” As difficult a task as it is these days, the band continuously tries to break through the pigeonholing that runs rampant in musical journalism. Call it “Alt-Country” if you’d like, all My Morning Jacket cares about is putting on a memorable performance night after night.

The band admits to being influenced by a lot of older country and soul, they are from Kentucky after all, but still see its upbringing only as a jumping point for a sound that is something all its own.

When I asked what was in store for the up-coming year, all Hallahan could do was laugh and respond with “a little grace period.” My Morning Jacket may need a break, but much to its dismay the band probably won’t get one for long. The band will shoot out to Europe next month and start the whole process over again in 2004.

But this year has the distinct promise of change for the band, considering all the attention it has been receiving lately.

Even if the band never sees their name in lights, it doesn’t seem as if that would faze My Morning Jacket. “Our only future plans are to remain friends, and as long as that isn’t jeopardized then we’ll be just fine,” Hallahan said. My Morning Jacket will be on tour throughout the month of November. For more information, check out their offcial website, for more details.