The Lowertown Line

S3 E3 | FULL EPISODE

Haley Bonar

Haley Bonar performs live in tpts Studio A and discusses keytar, her creative process, and the South Dakota punk scene with hip hop artist, Dessa. Bonar's alternative country/folk-rock style has been a part of the local music scene since she was a teenager, earning her critical acclaim and recognition.

AIRED: December 18, 2017 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

(Dessa) "The Lowertown Line" is made possible by

The State Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund,

and the citizens of Minnesota.

[synthesizer plays softly]

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[applause & cheers]

(Haley Bonar] Thank you guys so much.

[bass, drums, guitars, & keyboard play rock]

♪ ♪

♪ The San Francisco lights at dawn ♪

♪ Blinking down the road that we've been traveling on ♪

♪ Holding onto what we've got ♪

♪ Asleep against the window like I'm something you forgot ♪

♪ The stereo is fading ♪

♪ I feel that heavy weight again ♪

♪ The static and the lightning ♪

♪ Can't keep me from remembering ♪

♪ I'll be here till morning ♪

♪ I'll be here till morning ♪

♪ I'll be here till morning ♪

♪ Singing slightly out of tune ♪

♪ Nowhere in Wisconsin underneath a summer moon ♪

♪ We were somehow out of place ♪

♪ I knew that I could love you ♪

♪ By the shadows on your face ♪

♪ The rain had started falling ♪

♪ I grabbed you and began to run ♪

♪ If we could run forever ♪

♪ Then we'd never have to kill the fun ♪

♪ You'll be here till morning ♪

♪ You will get back on the plane ♪

♪ Go back to the world ♪

♪ Where you never knew my name ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Holding hands across the sea ♪

♪ Laughing at the future that was hanging from the trees ♪

♪ Weekending in Camelot ♪

♪ We're getting pretty good at being something that we're not ♪

♪ I could be your baby ♪

♪ And you could take good care of me ♪

♪ And treat me like a lady ♪

♪ Be each other's somebody ♪

♪ You'll be here till morning ♪

♪ You will get back on the plane ♪

♪ Go back to the world ♪

♪ Where you never knew my name ♪

♪ Where you never knew my name ♪

♪ Where you never knew my name ♪

♪ ♪

[cheers, whistles, & applause]

[cheers, whistles, & applause]

(Dessa) You've been described as

an American alternative country singer.

Does that description fit, do you think, with what you do?

I think other people consider my music to be more country

than I do. Yeah.

I think maybe the way that I sing or my accent,

even though I'm from South Dakota,

it seems like that's the connotation that goes with it.

Some of my songs are countryish, but...

In what way? Like in the lyrics, in the vocals, in the guitar, like...

Yeah, there's definitely some train beats.

Yeah, okay.

In a couple of songs, and, you know,

just like kind of sad and croony,

depressing sort of music, yeah. (Dessa) Got it.

When you're writing a song here at home,

do you usually start on guitar, on piano or either/or?

I usually start on keytar and then...

No you don't! It's a total lie. [both laugh]

I don't really have an either/or,

it's just whatever I feel like playing.

But I find the, I start out most of my songs on the piano.

And then do they sometimes like jump,

do they move to guitar? (Haley) Yeah, yeah.

Like some of the songs on my newest record

that are pretty fast and rocky

and they started out as just like really slow piano

and just like giving myself enough time

to make up the lyrics and think about

what I'm gonna, you know, and so it just depends on the song.

And when did you start making music

with a mind of doing that vocationally?

I don't know; I feel like it's

probably hard to make that decision

before you're actually doing it, you know?

I never got into it because I thought I could make a living;

it was just something that I like to do,

But the first time that I got paid to do a show

was at a bookstore in Rapid City

and I just like-- I couldn't believe it!

I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

And I have to remember that sometimes. You know?

When I'm doing that I'm, you know,

stressed out about money or whatever, it's like, well,

you know, you get to do what you like

and you know, it's cool.

♪ Don't you love a man who cries? ♪

♪ Can't find any of them ♪

♪ ♪

♪ He falls all over everything you write ♪

♪ Can't find any of them ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Once you loved his hippie ways ♪

♪ And now you want him to cut off all his hair ♪

♪ See what he's made of ♪

♪ Wipe his tears away ♪

♪ 'Cause you know that he will stay ♪

♪ And you can get away with anything these days ♪

♪ We can get away with anything these days ♪

♪ Oo-oo oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ ♪

♪ I don't want no sensitive man ♪

♪ ♪

♪ I don't wanna talk ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Shut your eyes and play me something good ♪

♪ I don't wanna talk at all ♪

♪ Just let the record spin ♪

♪ And I'll punch you in the back ♪

♪ 'Cause you won't put up a fight ♪

♪ I have all the strength you lack ♪

♪ And I can get away with anything these days ♪

♪ We can get away with anything these days ♪

♪ We can get away with anything these days ♪

♪ Oo-oo-oo oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo-oo oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo-oo oo-oo oo-oo ♪

♪ Oo-oo oo-oo ♪

[cheers & applause]

Thank you.

♪ ♪

[click of the footswitch; guitar now louder with distortion]

♪ ♪

(Dessa) So is there a music scene

in South Dakota where you grew up?

(Haley) There was actually.

I mean, there's a lot of folk music based in South Dakota,

but the music that I was exposed to most was

like the punk and metal and the indie bands

that were coming through, and that was great

because I don't think I would have seen any shows

besides like the Steve Miller Band

if I didn't go and participate in these,

you know, "get-togethers" as my mom called it.

(Dessa) Get-together? Does "get-together" mean

like basement show or were they...

(Haley) There were basement shows, there was a warehouse,

you know, there's shows at the 4-H Club

or like in the basement of the old folks home

or whatever, and we were always trying

to figure out where we could hold the next show.

And then from South Dakota, you went to college

at the University of Minnesota Duluth Campus. (Haley) Yes.

(Dessa) Did you have aspirations of becoming a musician or...?

No, I actually was there to study English Lit

and I was getting a minor in Women's Studies.

I found that I spent time that I should have been

doing my homework for those classes

sneaking down to the piano rooms in the Music Department,

and I was always too intimidated to actually, you know,

enroll in any music classes at the college.

Why intimidated, like scared of performing

in front of people or...?

(Haley) More just hearing people play scales

and then do classical music, and everyone can read

and everyone's very like educated in that regard.

I was super intimidated by that 'cause I can't.

Did you play piano when you were a kid,

like had you taken lessons or...?

Yeah, I did, I took lessons for,

kind of off and on for the better part of my childhood,

but I honestly never considered studying it,

because to me it was

too much of a fun thing to do on the side in my spare time.

[piano & guitar intro]

♪♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ It's not as cold up here ♪

♪ ♪

♪ As you may recall ♪

♪ ♪

♪ The fire is wild and warm ♪

♪ ♪

♪ In the last night we have ♪

♪ ♪

♪ In the last night ♪

♪ We have ♪

♪ ♪

♪ And of course ♪

♪ I'm this gun without a horse ♪

♪ In the last ♪

♪ War we had ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ It's not ♪

♪ As lonely up here ♪

♪ ♪

♪ As I was in a dream ♪

♪ ♪

♪ We were naked as the day we came ♪

♪ ♪

♪ And the water's up to here ♪

♪ To here now ♪

♪ And of course ♪

♪ I'm this gun without a horse ♪

♪ In the last ♪

♪ Words we said ♪

♪ ♪

♪ In the last ♪

♪ Breath we laughed ♪

♪ ♪

♪ In the last ♪

♪ War we had ♪

♪ ♪

♪ In the last ♪

♪ War we had ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[cheers & applause]

♪ ♪

Thank you.

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

(Dessa) Is there a point when you started

when you were 20 where the win

might seem like getting signed by a major,

like that was how you could define success?

Like, did you hope to be signed by a major label

when you were starting out?

I actually, I didn't, and I was going to sign

to a major label to, at two different times and I said no.

Why, why did you say no?

Because they wanted me to sound

like a certain part of one of my songs that I had.

They said, you know that part on "Car Wreck,"

you know, like that, that song, that sort of,

you know, vibe that you have like, we want that.

And I was like, well, you know what?

"That" isn't all of this, like I gotta,

I have to be creative, and I can't just do that.

And you know, and I mean, I'm, I'm stubborn

and I was way more stubborn back then.

So it was like, oh you want me to be like that, huh? No.

I look back and I think wow, you had some balls back then

to do that because a lot of people were like,

how can you just turn down this label and all this money

and this, you know, 15-year contract

including the greatest hits?

And I was like, because it's terrifying

and I'm young and I don't know what I'm doing yet.

And to give that away to somebody

with extreme like legal complications involved

at this point just seemed really,

it seemed crazier to me.

♪♪

♪ After some thought ♪

♪ On the subject ♪

♪ I've decided ♪

♪ That I've kinda lost it ♪

♪ I feel stupid and confused ♪

♪ On anything ♪

♪ That has to do with you ♪

♪ And I got a bad reputation ♪

♪ I got a bad reputation ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Too much coffee ♪

♪ And no smoking ♪

♪ I feel a little lame ♪

♪ Like I'm kinda boring ♪

♪ I wish I could ♪

♪ Date my former self ♪

♪ She'd be a fun girlfriend ♪

♪ She'd be a fun girlfriend ♪

♪ She got a bad reputation ♪

♪ She got a bad reputation ♪

♪ She probably needs medication ♪

♪ She don't care about no reputation ♪

♪ And I've lost a little bit ♪

♪ But I'm gonna go find it ♪

♪ I'm gonna go find it ♪

♪ ♪

♪ I have dreams about the end of the story

♪ There's no explosions ♪

♪ There's never any holy glory ♪

♪ Just a bunch of people lost and sleepy ♪

♪ Trying to find someone ♪

♪ Trying to find someone ♪

♪ We got ourselves a bad situation ♪

♪ We got ourselves a bad situation ♪

♪ We gotta get to the next space station ♪

♪ To save ourselves from this bad situation ♪

♪ And we've lost a little bit ♪

♪ But we're gonna go find it ♪

♪ Gotta go find it ♪

♪ ♪

♪ I got a bad reputation ♪

♪ I got a bad reputation ♪

♪ I probably need medication ♪

♪ To save myself from this bad reputation ♪

♪ Mmm mm-mm-mm-mm-mm ♪

♪ Mmm mm-mm-mm-mm-mm ♪

♪ Mmm mm-mm-mm-mm-mm ♪

[cheers, whistles, & applause]

Thank you so much.

(Dessa) Okay, what about musical influences?

(Haley) I, I grew up listening to the oldies station.

I love what everybody loves, the Beatles

and the Rolling Stones and Joni Mitchell

and Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn

and you know, I was influenced greatly

by that and also a lot of grunge and rock music

in the '90s and stuff, so...

What kind of grunge stuff?

Oh, Nirvana of course,

I mean, it's like answering these questions

I always feel like just a big, long cliche,

like just poops out of my mouth--

it's like I like Nirvana, I like the Beatles,

you know, but I do, so...

What about nonmusical influences, if there are any?

Yeah, I can get the same sort of inspiration

from reading a good book or watching an awesome film

or seeing a dance performance

as I can seeing a show or listening to a record.

So there's definitely a lot of authors that I love,

like one of my favorite authors is Charles Bukowski.

I started reading him when I was really young, probably way too young.

Did you find the book somewhere?

(Haley) I did, I found it at the library and it was like, whoa,

this is so strange and dark

and he's mean, and he's also got this heart

and this sweetness to him

that I just found was really unique.

[the drummer establishes a rock beat]

♪♪

♪♪

♪ ♪

♪ Greener sleeves than apples trees ♪

♪ I can feel it in between my toes ♪

♪ And I love you baby heaven knows ♪

♪ How much it means to me to be alone ♪

♪ I'd call you on the phone but I hate the phone ♪

♪ I can barely even answer it while I'm at home ♪

♪ Besides I'm half my way on down to Mexico ♪

♪ So I'll see you on the other side ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ Oo-oo ♪

♪ ♪

♪ You're the only one that loves me unconditionally ♪

♪ If the condition's like the dishes and the laundry ♪

♪ You know I'd love to play the monkey but the beer is free ♪

♪ And I got nothing left to hide ♪

♪ I'm sure that I'll be missing Christmas in the summertime ♪

♪ Send a letter with a picture holding baby of mine ♪

♪ I'll be drinking Coca-Cola gladly wasting time ♪

♪ Half naked on the Great Divide ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ Oo-oo ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Heaven's made for two ♪

♪ Oo-oo-oo-oo ♪

[tempo increases] ♪ Oo... oo oo... oo ♪

♪ Oo... oo ♪

♪ Oo... oo ♪

♪♪

♪♪

[loud cheers & applause]

Thank you so much.

Thank you guys, thank you.

Cc--Armour Captioning & TPT

(Dessa) "The Lowertown Line" is made possible by

The State Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund,

and the citizens of Minnesota.

[orchestral fanfare]


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