Marc Olsen
Marc Olsen's sorrowful, whiskey-soaked country blues sound is so distinct he should put a trademark on it. His career took off with Sage in the early '90s, but his strongest work has been accomplished over the last few years. He's collaborated with Gang of Four's Dave Allen, toured with Mark Lanegan, and recorded three damn fine solo albums (the third will be released this summer). Olsen opens Jesse Sykes' CD release party Fri April 19 at the Tractor.

What are you drinking these days? I remember you used to drink vodka gimlets all the time.... "Oh God, no. Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon. I can't drink vodka anymore--I destroy things and forget stuff."

What's the best drinking experience you've had lately? "I can't remember, but it probably took place at Hattie's Hat."

So given the choice of doing a 30-day tour with John Tesh and getting paid $40,000, or a two-month tour with Neil Young where you had to pay Neil $10 every night to open for him, what would you pick? "No question at all--John Tesh all the way."

Really?! "No! I think my head would explode after three days with John Tesh, whereas I'd have to contain myself just to watch Neil Young do his thing each day."

So I know you have a strong preference for Gretsch guitars. If someone held a gun to your head and said you could never play a Gretsch again, what would be your alternate instrument of choice? "It would have to be a ukulele."

You'd rather play a ukulele than play something other than a Gretsch? That's brand loyalty. "It would have to be that way, I'm afraid; it's just the way it is."

Interview by Hannah Levin