AUSTINDAZE: – HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING GUITAR?
EVE MONSEES: – I got my first guitar at age 12 and took lessons from a guy named Brian
Curley for a little while. On my 15th birthday, Gary (Clark Jr.) and I went down town to a blues jam which became a weekly sit in opportunity for us. Shortly thereafter, we began getting hired for gigs. So I picked up a guitar nine years ago and started playing gigs six years ago.
AD: – DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND
EM: – As a band, the Exiles combine blues music and R&B with 1960s era garage rock and roll. It’s similar to what the Rolling Stones had going in the mid 60s.
AD: – HOW DID YOU LAND YOURSELF IN ANTONES NIGHTCLUB? I FIRST SAW YOU LIKE 4 YEARS AGO WITH EM & THE STROLL.
EM: – I met Clifford (Antone) at the club a couple of times and he immediately showed an interest in hearing me play. One night when James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin were playing a show, Clifford asked Gary and I to sit in at the end of the night. It was our first time on stage at Antone’s. After that we were asked to play at the club’s anniversary and received other gigs there as well.
AD: – HAVE YOU HAD TROUBLE BEING ACCEPTED AS A WOMAN PLAYING GUITAR IN THE BLUES WORLD?
EM: – The only time I ever think about the fact that I’m a female guitar player is when someone else brings it to my attention. If anything,Ibelieve it has helped.
AD: – WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES AND WHY?
EM: – I listen to as much music as I can. (Exiles drummer) Mike Buck is always turning me on to artists and records that I didn’t even know about, so my influences are always growing. As for records I regularly sit down and play along to at home, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Freddie King, and early Rolling Stones are just a few.
AD: – WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR MUSIC?
EM: – I feel extremely fortunate to be in a band with three other great guys and great musicians; Mike Buck on drums, Speedy Sparks on bass and Grady Pinkerton on guitar. I don’t want it to be perceived as just about me, because it’s not. We work as a group and have a group sound. I just want us to continue to work together and hopefully turn other people on to what we are doing so that they may develop an appreciation for roots music as well.
AD: – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BUILDUP OF AUSTIN?
EM: – I love living in Austin, but it is definitely growing. With the tons of bands in town, it’s getting harder and harder to make a living playing
music. Also, as the city grows, it seems that several places that were at one time live music venues are switching to a juke box or karaoke with their focus on alcohol sales. People often take live music for granted.
AD: – SXSW?
EM: – For working musicians it’s “play for free week.” I’m sure some good can come of it, and it’s cool that so many people come to town to play, but there are a lot of frustrating aspects of it too that people don’t tend to talk about.
AD: – WHAT DO YOU DIG MOST ABOUT AUSTIN?
EM: – As a musician it’s good to be around other like minded people who care about music. There is definitely a laid back attitude that can be found
around the city, much more so than Houston, where I lived until 1992.
AD: – WHAT OTHER BANDS BRING YOU OUT?
EM: – Le Roi Brothers, Texas Mavericks, Gary Clark Jr., Barfield
AD: – WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ASPIRING MUSICIANS IN AUSTIN?
EM: – Austin is a great place to learn about music and absorb the culture, but it’s not an easy place to make a living playing music.
AD: – WHERE CAN WE SEE YOU?
EM: – We play places like the Hole in the Wall, the Continental Club, Antone’s, Evangeline Cafe, Nutty Brown, Guero’s etc. The best way to find us is to check out the band website at evemonseesandtheexiles.com
AD: – ANYTHING ELSE?
EM: – Mike Buck and I both work at Antone’s Record Shop which is a great place to absorb even more music. I learn so much working there. Buck and I started the Exiles together a couple of years ago and constantly bounce ideas off of each other about songs or arrangements. He’s a very creative person that is great to work with.
AD: – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AUSTIN DAZE?
EM: – Glad to see a successful, liberal minded paper on the stands.