Phil Doucet is no slouch. The Katy Mae lead singer, guitarist and native New Yorker has spent the last several years plowing the musical fields, harvesting a distinctive sound that has earned the band critical acclaim- not to mention attention from the Money Men of the record industry. Now, as the band comes into its own, Doucet catches up with me for a unusually short interview on life, music, and the future of rock n’ roll.
Racket Jack: Nice to talk to you.
Phil Doucet: Thanks, Jack. got a small town tour down south, so I got to be brief. But I just want to say thanks for the review of our EP, and we appreciate the kind words.
RJ: When did you guys start playing?
PD: We’ve been playing under the banner of Katy Mae for 8 years. Drummer Mark Levy and I started this in the aftermath of a band called Stanley. We were a trio up until last year when we hired Hans on guitar and to give us more options for recording. Up until then, I’d describe our sound as something between Amphetamine Reptile and At the Drive In- that kind of hard-driving, straightforward rock.
RJ: What are your influences?
PD: I am a huge fan of Buddy Holly, originator of all rock bands, in my opinion. He pioneered what a lot of rock bands do today, in songwriting and recording and I could just go on and on. The Beatles are also important of course. But I am also a big fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, CCR, The Rolling Stones. Buck Owens. Did I mention I am also a big fan of R.E.M.? Their IRS-era stuff is incredible! The common thread is that all these guys wrote amazing songs. Nothing else matters to me.
RJ: How do you feel about the state of rock n’ roll today? What do you consider Katy Mae to be?
PD: Interesting question. I consider those two questions to be linked together, at least in my mind. I do consider Katy Mae to be a rock band. But these days it’s considered to be a put down, something like “Dumb rock and roll.” People want more specifics, like “alt-country” or “Alt-rock” and I just don’t like either of those terms. Bands I’ve always loved, like Hüsker Dü or the Replacements, they are rock bands, and within that broad term they can do whatever they want and it would still hold together because you tell they mean it. And because they are being truthful these bands can do eclectic songs, piano based, slow acoustic, it doesn’t matter… It seems that it is harder and harder for music fans to accept that. The pigeon hole terms and little niches in music push people away from just listening. Hell, it seems like it pushes the artists away from writing and not worrying what fits into those categories. I know this is not a new observation, but it seems to get worse every year, it infects each generation a little more and slowly they get brainwashed.
RJ: Thank you for your time.
PD: Anytime, Jack. If I can be of more assistance, please let me know.