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20 Questions: The Old Believers

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Thursday, Sep 11, 2008
by PopMatters Staff
Keeley Boyle and Nelson Kempf settle in to share some of their 'strange worlds' with PopMatters 20 Questions.
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The Old Believers

Eight Golden Greats

(Fine Romantic; US: 10 Jul 2008; UK: Available as import)

Review [30.Jul.2008]

PopMatters gave The Old Believers’ Eight Golden Greats an “8”. “The Old Believers have built a cozy, comfortable world—strange but at the same time utterly familiar—and it’s one where you want to spend more time,” writes Maura Walz.


Keeley Boyle and Nelson Kempf settle in to share some of their strange worlds with PopMatters 20 Questions.


1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Keeley Boyle Dr. Zhivago.
Nelson Kempf I’ve never cried in my life. Horton Hears a Who put me damn close, though.


2. The fictional character most like you?
KB Wendy from Peter Pan.  I’ve always been terrified of growing up.  I started an anti-adolescence club in 4th grade, and swore I wouldn’t go through it.  I also promised myself I’d be playing with my dolls until I was 40. 
NK No way, dudes. Questions like that scare me.


3. The greatest album, ever?
KB Flying Cowboys by Rickie Lee Jones.
NK Ummmm. Trout Mask Replica! and Blood on the Tracks and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and Kings of the Wild Frontier and Sexy Back? And Imperial Bedroom.  And also, The Fugs First Album.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
KB Both.
NK Star Trek is great and all, but definitely, definitely Star Wars


5. Your ideal brain food?
KB National Geographic.
NK French New Wave movies at night, Tape Op magazine in the car, weird cheeses at lunch.  But mainly, that peace of mind that comes once a whole moon when life actually seems to be moving at the proper pace and everything seems to fit just perfectly and you know you’re exactly where you should be.  I can write songs like a motherfucker when I tap that shit.
  


6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
KB I sang with my highschool choir at St.Peters in the Vatican City.  I’m proud because it was probably the most bad ass thing I’ve ever done. We weren’t supposed to sing there.  We charged into the whispering throngs of worshippers and tourists, linked arms in a circle, and broke the holy silence with Ave Maria.  Before we began, our choir director told us to keep our arms linked and voices strong, even if the authorities were barging through our circle demanding that we stop.
NK In second grade I won the word master’s challenge.  I think that’s my only intellectual achievement, so obviously I’m proud.  Although I think it was cancelled out when I dropped out of the spelling bee for misspelling ‘basin’.


7. You want to be remembered for…?
KB Nice things.
NK Writing the songs that make the young girls cry.


8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
KB My Grandpa.  He dove in the chilly Cook Inlet until he was 76-years-old.
NK Louis Armstrong.  This goes with out explanation.


9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
KB The Grand Canyon. 
NK There are a few songs by Modest Mouse and Devendra Banhart that I always think “why the fuck didn’t I write this song?!” when I hear them.


10. Your hidden talents…?
KB I’m pretty good at cleaning.
NK I’m pretty good at list making.


11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
KB My Dad convinced me to take sculpture instead of physics my senior year.  I made a ‘Baba Yaga’ marionette, and didn’t have to do any math.
NK I have a lot of “the best piece of advice I should have followed”, but I don’t think I have any suitable answers to this question.


12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
KB I bought a set of rose-colored Japanese China from a thrift store in Portland.  They’re so pretty.
NK I always steal soup when I go into the grocery store and I always feel really, really good about it.  I think it’s too petty to feel bad about, and I feel like I’m really getting my money’s worth while I shop.


13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
KB Summer dresses and big sweaters.
NK I always feel best in a suit.


14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
KB My little sister.
NK Bridgette Bardot.


15. Time travel: where, when and why?
KB Three years ago, Homer, Alaska.  There were huge fishing nets strung out over the top of a deep ravine.  Every time we played shows in Homer, we’d stop by and jump/roll around over the tops of spruce trees.
NK France. 1960s.  So I could try my best to get with Bridgette Bardot.


16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
KB I’m a hit man kind of girl.
NK Prozac!


17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
KB Tea in the morning, tea in the evening.
NK Myspace.


18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
KB Country, coastal Northwest.
NK Country.  France.  (I’ve never been there, but I’m sure about this one.)


19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
KB Howdy.
NK Why?


20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
KB A blue dress.
NK Debut album ideas. (And not to brag, but they’re really, really good.)


Related Articles
30 Jul 2008
As if two singers stepped out of Greil Marcus’ Old Weird America and, trying to reconcile it with the real America they find around them, have created a world that is at once strange and utterly familiar.
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