Chris Simpson has been releasing music now for almost 15 years. He started with the band Mineral (1994-1998, two LPs), then the Gloria Record (1998-2004, two EPs and one LP), and now Zookeeper (2005-present, one EP and one LP). He is the lead singer/songwriter/lyricist/guitarist for all three bands. Recently Chris sent me four mp3s from an upcoming Zookeeper album and we did this interview to go alongside them. You will find these four brand-new Zookeeper songs on his Myspace site, but here for FREE (downloadable) at the bottom of this page.
As for writing autobiographically -- in the Mineral and Gloria Record days, to some degree, it seemed to be the only way I could write. It's exciting to be able to experience some kind of freedom from that, although I think it still may be a very valuable way to write. It's hard to fault the honest approach -- writing what you know about -- but there's a point at which that seems uninteresting. And even if a little guesswork is involved, it seems more interesting to write about characters.
Zykos - Keep It Light EP (Good friends with all of them from way back. Various members have played Zookeeper shows and played on recordings.)
Brazos - Phosphorescent Blues (Friends -- Martin is a great songwriter.)
Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band - Los Meridanzas (Alex Dupree -- Zookeeper clan. Alex regularly plays and records with Zookeeper and is a very gifted songwriter. Some of his bandmates play on Zookeeper stuff as well.)
Sad Accordions - Bad Year for the Sharons (Zookeeper clan. Seth Woods and Ben Lance regularly play and record with Zookeeper, and their other musical projects [including SA, Whiskey Priest, and Booher & the Turkeyz] are all fantastic. )
The Frames - For the Birds (Odd connection there. Was always a fan of their music. My then-girlfriend/now wife used to edit a music magazine and befriended their then-manager. Put us all in touch and found out Glen was a fan of Mineral. The Gloria Record played shows with Glen and one with The Frames on a midwest tour back in the day. Glen is still one of my favorite performers.)