Live Review, photos, interview: Dax Riggs at The Earl June 20, 2013

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Review and photos by Rose Riot

 

I am often confronted with a common misconception about my work photographing musicians and that is that I get to have one on one time with them. It has happened before but it is very rare. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am simply near the stage during their performance just photographing them. Occasionally, there is eye contact but that’s as far as the encounter goes. I am OK with this.

 

What to say to an idol?

What would I say to the said musicians without sounding just like every other fan they have met? I will happily just take their picture and go home. Occasionally, I interview the subject of my photographs. Until the evening of June 20, I had never interviewed anyone that I could truthfully say I idolized. I truthfully idolize Dax Riggs, and when I found out I was approved for an interview, I wasn’t excited like you might think. Instead, I have a feeling of anxiety mixed with a little dread. I have been a huge fan for the last three year and many times have thought, “If I ever meet Dax Riggs, I’m going to ask him ______.” Now was my chance.

 

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For the sake of Target Audience Magazine, I wanted to keep my questions mainly about the business of being a working, touring musician.I wanted to keep the interview under 15 minutes, also I wanted to keep it professional and not fan girly. In reality, I could have asked him 900 questions ranging from “What’s your favorite movie” to “What are your thoughts on the dwindling honey bee situation?”

 

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Rose Riot interviews Dax Riggs June 20, 2013 at The Earl in Atlanta. Riggs is currently working on a new album, he said. Photo by Ellen Eldridge

 

When it was finally time for the interview, I had been working eleven days straight on minimal amounts of sleep; I was exhausted. I treasured this exhaustion because it helped temper the anxiety of meeting someone whose art I connect with on an emotional level. That statement alone sounds pretty fan girl and that was my biggest fear. My two goals for the evening:

#1 don’t sound like a dork

#2 don’t spit while talking.

 

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A soft spoken man

Riggs spoke softly, as I had expected he would, and seemed somewhat shy and reserved. I hate to see people uncomfortable in any way; I almost wanted to tell him not to worry, no pressure and release us both from what could be an awkward situation, but he had agreed to the interview. He’s big boy who does this stuff all the time, and I’m big girl who has been through way weirder situations. We were going to get through this one way or another.

 

Riggs was great. He opened up more than I had expected and I really could have talked to him for hours. The questions I had prepared only made me want to know even more. Perhaps someday, I will be granted the privilege of another interview.

 

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When I was done with our exchange, I realized I was even more nervous than I was before the interview, and I felt slightly giddy. I made my position in front of the stage arm with my camera to shoot Riggs for probably the fifth or sixth time. I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me, I attributing this to my giddiness. I’m usually pretty cool just photographing things and not talking to anyone. The guy was a seasoned fan as well. I appreciated his infectious excitement.

 

Before the show begins

The Earl played Wovenhand before the main show started. I have, in writing and in my thoughts, often compared Wovenhand and Dax Riggs. The comparison wouldn’t be all that interesting except that Wovenhand sings about God and Dax Riggs sings about Satan, yet a common vibe pulses through their music. Future question #217, ask Dax about Wovenhand.

 

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The show started very humbly with Dax and a bass player walking onto the stage and taking seat on folding chairs.This was the first time I had seen him play with this very bare and very acoustic setup. Dax went into a rendition of “What a Wonderful World” made famous by Louis Armstrong, whom he had mentioned in our interview as a major influence.

 

The second song was a song of his own, “You Were Born To Be My Gallows,” which delivered as Riggs’ songs always do. Afterward, Riggs sang a most impressive version of “Gloomy Sunday,” originally by Billy Holiday, and covered by Christian Death and Marianne Faithful, good company for Dax Riggs I’d say. When he was finished, a voice came out of the crowd asking, “Is this new stuff!?” Dax laughed a very quiet, low laugh, then looked to the ground and said in a barely audible voice, “No,it’s old.”

 

After this song, I had to begrudgingly make my exit as I had to be up at 5 a.m. the following morning. I wanted to hear what other surprises awaited the room, but my exhaustion won me over.

Riggs told me that he was working on a new album, and that he liked to take a long time to do so. Take all the time you need Dax. I will listen to it like it’s a philosophy, and I will be at the show when you tour. I will implore all those whom I know to do the same.

 

Interview with Dax Riggs 6/20/2013

 

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