CAUGHT IN THE KITCHEN Damien Jurado

Currently on a North
American tour, the singer-songwriter cooks in more ways than one.

 

 

BY
ERIC SCHUMACHER-RASMUSSEN

 

Damien
Jurado loves cooking. It’s the only piece of biographical information on his
blog (www.Iamcaughtinthetrees.blogspot.com),
and it’s true not just of him but of the whole band, which, in case you hadn’t
heard, is also called Damien Jurado.

 

“We
love being in the kitchen. One of the only things that’s a real bummer about
touring is that we miss being able to cook,” Jurado says. Jurado’s a vegan,
guitarist/drummer/keyboardist Eric Fisher is a vegetarian, and cellist Jenna
Conrad “eats whatever she wants.” Jurado’s favorite dish to make for himself
and his band is garlic mashed potatoes. So what’s the recipe?

 

“I
sort of throw stuff in; I don’t follow recipes much at all,” he says. First
thing he does is take a whole head of garlic and roast it. Then he takes some
red potatoes, peels them part of the way-“I like having some skin on there”-and
boils them for thirty minutes or so, then drains and mashes them up with the
garlic, some Earth Balance butter substitute and some Silk soy creamer. 

 

“They’re
awesome, especially with some mushrooms sautéed in olive oil over the top,” he
says.

 

Jurado’s
improvisational sensibility is reflected in his music, too, especially on Caught
in the Trees,
the band’s new album on Secretly Canadian. and the first real
album for Damien Jurado the band, though Fisher and Conrad have played on
previous projects with Damien. “That’s why this record is so different,” says
the singer. “I feel very blessed to have played with a bunch of talented people
over the years, but you don’t always click with them. Eric and I clicked right
away, and Jenna is like my female counterpart. We think exactly alike, and
we’re all really good at saying, ‘Well, let’s just try this.'”

 

Jurado
says that approach is a conscious attempt to resist any sort of rigid recipe
for making a good record. “There’s so much formula that happens in music these
days,” he says, “whether it’s independent or radio.”

 

Of
course, it’s not a free-for-all in the kitchen or in the studio. “The basic
ingredient is the lyrics, and then I try to match the melody to fit what I’m
singing,” Jurado says. “I think of the music as the soundtrack that plays
behind the dialog in a film.”

 

[For tour dates, go to www.myspace.com/damienjurado]

 

[Photo
Credit: Sarah Joann Murphy-

 

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