Catherine Popper


Name:
Catherine Popper

Hometown:
Charlotte, NC

Birth date:
12/28/73

High School:
North Carolina School of The Arts

College:
Manhattan School of Music

Where did you grow up?
I’ll let you know when I do

What were some non-musical jobs you had?
Sold credit cards over the phone to people with scarred credit, Domino’s Pizza tosser, librarian assistant, hotel maid, perfume salesgirl at Bergdorf Goodman, temp. administrative assistant at Merrill Lynch

When did you pick up the instrument?
When I was 9

Who are your musical heroes and why?
Ray Brown – favorite upright bass sound and where he puts the beat; Paul Westerberg – Just love his voice; Levon Helm – plays so far behind the beat, it should stop the music but it just pushes it along somehow. Also, this dude has a lot of love to give everyone he meets; Sonny Rollins – always reminds me to play with a sense of humor; James Jamerson – completely innovative, complete pocket

Top 5 recording artists
Nada Surf, Sonny Rollins, R.E.M, The Band, Paul Bley

Top 5 records
Nada Surf-Let Go
Echo & The Bunnymen-Ocean Rain
Ben Webster & Oscar Peterson-Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson
Desmond Dekker – This Is Desmond Dekker
The Band – Northern Lights, Southern Cross

Top 5 songs
Tender Is The Night – Jackson Browne
Ohio Air Show Plane Crash – Joe Henry (exquisite lyrics on both)
Daddy Was A Bankrobber – The Clash
Everybody Bawling – U Roy and the Melodians (These two songs can cheer me up no matter how bad shit is)
Without Rings – Neil Young

What made you wanna become a musician?
I couldn’t help it. I was sitting at the family piano, plunking out noise as far back as I can remember

What would you do if you weren’t a musician?
Open a doggie daycare

Was there a record/movie/concert that changed your life?
The Last Waltz – hated it, hated the Band, fell asleep in the first few minutes, woke up and suddenly fell in love with them. A few weeks later had my first recording session with Levon; Brad Mehldau Trio at the Village Vanguard – he put a wind up music box on the piano and played Young At Heart against the random melody of the music box. I’ve never heard a room be so silent during a performance. Toots & the Maytals at SOB’s – right after 9/11 just a few blocks above the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center, no one was sure if he would cancel or not. He brought so much energy and joy into the room that a couple hundred New Yorkers got a two hours of relief from what would be months of darkness

What’s your favorite and least favorite things about live performance?
Least favorite – When it gets too loud and I get to the point where I can’t hear anything and get all spaced out and can’t be present.
Favorite – making my band sound great by being in the moment and keeping it exciting and hilarious

What’s your favorite and least favorite things about studio recordings?
Favorite: when an engineer can capture the air in the room and understands what I mean when I say “make my bass tone sound like Neil Young kicking the mic stand on Heart of Gold”
Least favorite: being locked in an airless room and waiting for hours while engineers jerk off over drum and guitar sounds

What’s your worst nightmare?
Being mashed into a bucket of razorblades while being fed spider legs and eyeballs/playing live with more than 3 guitarists at once

What’s your greatest fantasy?
Coming home to my farm from tour to find that my guy Dicky has dressed up the cows in people clothes