The term 'super group' is often mis-used.
Frequently applied to any band in which the members have some form of musical experience, the description has become baseless, almost meaningless.
Diamond Rugs though, are most definitely a supergroup. Between them, the various members have played with Deer Tick, Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite, while their walls adorned with countless gold discs, Grammy awards and other trinkets.
So when we say there's a weight of experience to debut album 'Hightail' we mean it most sincerely. Warped, twisted Americana with a blues flair, the songwriting has a depth that could sit alongside, say, the narratives of Steve Earle or the patiently wrought lyrics of Craig Finn.
Our interest suitably piqued, we asked Hardy Morris of Diamond Rugs and Dead Confederate fame to enter Their Library.
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What is your favourite book and why?
I don't have one favorite. It's like with bands or songs; at the right time and the right place, they are your favorite in that moment. But, that said, if I had to pick one (at this moment), I would say Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It is the perfect Western novel. It is one of those stories that everyone should read, and probably more than once.
What other authors do you like?
I like Rick Bragg a lot. He is a southern writer I started reading a few years ago. He has a memoir titled All Over But the Shoutin'' that is a book every young southern dude should read. I have just recently started some of his other books and they have a lot of the same feel. He draws you in quick and with his stories of growing up in the deep south. He's the real deal.
What draws you to certain books?
In fiction: Loners & desolation. I like Westerns. I love Cormac McCarthy's western novels because they are just so blunt and sparse. It's like watching a spaghetti western where there is virtually no dialogue... I love movies like that, and so I guess that's why I like dry, boring to some, novels. In non-fiction: Bad-ass musicians (the modern cowboys). Who doesn't want to read about the people that lived "it".?
Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
I don't think so, no. But one time I did buy a book at a thrift store and I read two chapters before I discovered that someone had cut a square chunk out of the middle to smuggle drugs into a prison or something. I obviously cant read the book with the center of 100+ pages cut out, but its a 'classic' to me.
Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
At times, but its hard to really put into words the way they influence the songs. I guess I would say that it is in the dynamics of the music more than in the lyrics or language for me. You know how a novel or story will just be plodding along and then all hell breaks loose? Those are the kinds of moments that make their way into some of my songs, where I am like, "we already played this part earlier, it needs to change to something crazy and interesting", and then the song shifts gears and hopefully all hell breaks loose...
What are you reading at the moment?
I've been skipping back and forth between the Keith Richards biography and Neil Young's 'Waging Heavy Peace'.. I think I identify more with Neil Young and his view of the world, but then again he's kind of got that 'every-man' quality that we can all relate to. Keith, on the other hand, is one of those one-of-a-kind guys that 'every-man' wants to be, but cannot. Physically cannot.
What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
'Hatchet'. It was about a kid who becomes stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash with only a hatchet. It was pretty awesome as well as I remember. I asked for a hatchet soon after I read the book and my grandfather gave me a one for my birthday. I still have it.
Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager?
Pretty good. There were always lots of books around the house, so I didn't have to go to the library too often. Honestly, I have always read some, but I started reading a lot more once I started touring. We even write our own stories when we've been out on the road a while and start getting extra delirious. They are definitely comedies.
Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?
Plenty. That happens a lot actually. I like to read, but i also like to read what I actually like to read, so if I don't identify with the author and the story pretty quickly, I'm out. I can't really get into that Chuck Palanphlugkh or whatever guy. 'Fight Club' is a good one, but the others, eh. I'm sure he's a huge fan of what I do too..
Do you read book reviews? Yea, if I stumble on 'em. I don't really go out of my way. I guess, given my profession, I don't always put a lot of stock in a critics review. But, I have found good books through reviews before. And music. oh no! maybe the're right!!?
Would you ever re-read the same book?
Yes. Plenty of times. I am re-reading 'The Crossing' by Cormac McCarthy right now (while skipping back and forth between the two Bio's). I like re-reading because although you know what's going to happen, you find out a little more about the characters.
Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
'Hatchet', man! I wanted to be in a plane crash so bad when I was a kid! I just knew that I could and would survive they way he did. It was like, 'just gimme the chance to be stranded in the middle of nowhere Canada with just an archaic tool." You could never have convinced me that I would've likely frozen to death on the first night.
Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
Like I said, I am reading two bios at the moment and kind of re-reading 'The Crossing' by Cormac McCarthy.. so yes.
Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
Leonard Cohen, of course!
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'Hightail' is out now.