by Holly Day
The first time I met Robert “Bob” McCreedy was at my sister-in-law’s house. It was sort of a belated housewarming party, but since I’d practically been in labor at the time they’d bought the house, I hadn’t actually been able to see it until this point. Anyway, Bob was there, and I was in the kitchen cutting up my fancy housewarming cake when he came up to say “hi,” because he really is a nice, polite guy. Myself, I’m a grumpy old bitch, and instead of smiling and making small talk like I was supposed to, I waved the gigantic butcher knife I was carving up the cake with in Bob’s face and ordered him to carry plates out into the living room and serve dessert to people. And that was the end of my first meeting with Bob McCreedy.
Download an mp3 of Robert McCreedy’s song “Not
It’s about seven months later, and the toilet in my house is broken “Mom,
the toilet won’t stop running!” I hear about 10 times a day. So
we go down to Home Depot and pick up one of those replacement toilet-gut thingies,
and I figure, hey, I’ve got about an hour before I’ve got to talk
to Bob McCreedy about his new album, It Might Kill You (Eclectone Records):
why don’t I fix the toilet myself? So I get out my husband’s pitifully
small collection of wrenches and turny-things and set to work.
Fifty-eight minutes later, I’m covered from head to toe in toilet water.
There’s water all over the bathroom floor, there’s a steady drip
from some mysterious spot on the underside of the toilet tank and I still haven’t
gotten the original flusher-thing out of the toilet because the plastic post
is completely stripped and won’t move an inch.
“I might be able to walk you through this,” says Bob when I call
“I actually do know how to fix the toilet,” I say quickly, because
I am quite handy, and I know nobody can walk me through removing the
stripped plastic nut that would later be cut free with a hacksaw. “My
main concern is that I got mad and hit the toilet with a wrench and now there’s
this big crack in it.”
There’s a big pause, then Bob says, “Oh, shoot. That’s not
“Nah, it’s OK,” I say. “I’ll just slap some Gorilla
Glue on it.” Do you ever watch the “Red Green Show” on PBS?
I’m like that guy on it, except my solution to everything is Gorilla Glue.
My mom loves that guy.
I can tell that Bob’s having a hard time with this conversation, being
the truly professional handy-person he is; he even has a big picture of a tool
box on the cover of his new CD. Knowing the sensitive guy he is, he’s
probably even taking my plumbing misadventures personally, like I might if someone
told me that they had innocently downloaded a major computer virus, even though
they had been told numerous times not to download anything off the Internet
without prior approval.
But more importantly than being yet another person in this town that I’ve
frightened off with my lack of social grace, Robert McCreedy is a wonderful
musician whose relatively short time in the Twin Cities has made an indelible
mark on the local music scene. In his native Detroit he performed for 10 years
with The Volebeats and since moving here, he’s performed with the much-beloved
and missed Bellwether and with country chanteuse Dana Thompson.
“I’ve been in a lot of bands, and I’ve learned I really like
to play by myself,” says McCreedy. “When I was in The Volebeats,
I was one of three principle songwriters. Ten years in a band is a pretty long
time, and with three writers, it was very competitive, and quite a few of my
songs were being discarded. I mean, it’s great practice to work with other
people like that, and I think maybe the competition can make your songs even
better, but it got a little obnoxious in the studio. So I’m mostly doing
stuff on my own now, and I like it that way.”
Might Kill You is full of stories of people not being happy with each other
and the things they do. On the opening track, “It’s Not True,”
McCreedy’s melancholy wavers in and out against a beautiful, stark guitar
line that hangs by a thread, threatening to fall completely out of tune. The
song sets the pace perfectly for an album of bitter beautiful goodbye letters
and acoustic reminiscences, punctuated at all the right spots by violins, electronic
washes, accordions, vintage organs, echoes and thunder. There’s almost
enough experimental techno here to make it an electronic album, but it’s
built on a foundation of traditional flesh-and-blood songwriting; it could just
as easily be performed on a catgut-strung guitar and a set of bongos.
“The title?” Bob laughs when I ask him where it comes from. “That
line ‘It Might Kill You’ always just stuck out with me, and I was
kicking around some titles, like ‘Shade’ and then ‘Broken
Alien Monkey Horse’ and then my friend Vickie Gilmer suggested I stick
with that one. It was kind of catchy. Anything might kill you, you know? It’s
a very positive thought to take with you through the day.” ||
Robert McCreedy performs the CD release show for It Might Kill You
on Fri. July 29 at the Turf Club with Mike Gunther and his Restless Souls. 9
p.m. 21+. $6. Corner of University and Snelling Aves., St. Paul. 651-647-0486.
Find out more about Robert McCreedy on his official website
on over to our mp3 page to download hundreds of tunes, including Robert
McCreedy’s song “Not