San Francisco hits a nostalgic chord for the New Pornographers. The Mission’s Aquarius Records was all about promoting the band in their fledgling days, which led to some of their first sold-out shows at the Great American Music Hall and the Warfield. Now they’re returning to the city where they really took off to play Slow Food Rocks, the music festival component of Slow Food Nation.
We caught up with bassist John Collins via phone from his apartment in Vancouver. While not a slow food fanatic, he confesses that he’s intrigued by the movement. “We love San Francisco and are curious about learning a bit more about Slow Food,” says Collins. “I’m not a die-hard wholesome food fan, but I do appreciate a good smoothie. I know Carl [Newman] is doing some organic food delivery thing in Brooklyn and Kurt Drummer is raising his own cattle. He’s actually pretty intense.”
Then there’s Neko Case. She apparently mastered the art of eating locally and sustainably on the road five or six years ago, long before a movement around it was even born. Collins recalls an incident where she ran out of the van and into a store, bought baby spinach and devoured the leaves straight from the bag. Now that’s dedication. “I just thought she was trying to be weird,” says Collins “but now I realize that she was just a couple of years ahead of me in survival techniques. Now we’re all trying to get smarter about eating on the road.”
Collins says the band is looking forward to “checking out this whole Slow Food thing,” and milling around the taste pavilions this weekend. “We just have to try not to get too full before we play,” he says.
And what else is the band looking forward to in San Francisco? El Farolito. “We somehow always end up there in the middle of the night,” says Collins. That may not pass the mark for “Slow Food,” but we won’t tell.
Check out the New Pornographers, playing Saturday at the Great Meadow at Fort Mason Center.