What's your favorite summer jam?

The Cactus Blossoms: Strawberry Rhubarb

Red Daughters: We all love the Beach Boys' "Big Sur" when we want a mellow vibe and I know I personally love blasting queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf when I'm driving around and raging on oppressively hot summer days.

 

Erik Koskinen: "Take Me Out to The Ball Game"

Eric Pollard of Actual Wolf: GD 2/26/77 San Bernardino (Full Set)

What are you most excited about for the rest of the summer?

The Cactus Blossoms: Getting our new album out of the studio and into your ears!

Brian Vanderwerf of Eleganza!: MORE SUNSHINE AND HEAT

Red Daughters: The release of our record, Dealer (August 29 at the Icehouse). It's been a long time coming and we are real proud of the way it turned out. We busted our asses and made sure that we didn't let anything pass that wasn't our best work.

Erik Koskinen: Outdoor baseball

Actual Wolf: Playing more shows with my band & heading to Europe in August.

How would you describe your sound?

The Cactus Blossoms: Dreamy, melodic

Eleganza!: Like a rusted out muffler on a Ford Ranger barreling down a dirt road

Red Daughters: "Rock n' roll but not the gross kind." Mark describes it as the illegitimate love child of Thin Lizzy and Billie Holiday. 

Erik Koskinen: American

Where did your country influence come from?

The Cactus Blossoms: Many of our favorite musicians ride a line between folk, blues, soul, country, jazz and rocknroll. The list is endless but here are a few ... Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Spider John Koerner, The Everly Brothers, Leadbelly, Chuck Berry, Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Ray Price.

How did your latest album, Live at the Turf Club come to be?

The Cactus Blossoms: We held down a residency every Monday at the Turf Club in Saint Paul, MN for about a year and a half. We would play three sets per night so in addition to our original songs we would play quite a few old country songs to try to get folks dancing. We had so many good times at the Turf and wanted to capture our sound and the feel of the place before moving on to new things. We accomplished this mission -- it sounds exactly like us playing at the Turf Club!

What's the real story behind the name "Eleganza!"?

Eleganza!: Take a look at the clothing line of the same name and it will all make sense.

How do you choose the songs you're going to cover?

Eleganza!: WE HAVE A BATTLE ROYALE--FIGHT TO THE FINISH --WRESTLING MATCH. Winner decides the song.

If you could turn a potential fan onto your music in one sentence, what would you say?

The Cactus Blossoms: Here's a new song called Take It Or Leave it...

Eleganza!: I have no idea what to say, you either get it or you don't.

Red Daughters: If you are serious about having a good time, Red Daughters are seriously a good time. Seriously. 

Erik Koskinen: Listen to it more than once.

Actual Wolf: Classic.

Who's your number one local inspiration?

The Cactus Blossoms: "Spider" John Koerner

Eleganza!: Musically? The Batson Brothers

Red Daughters: Collectively we are all influenced by whatever chugga chugga metal band or proto-trash punk band is practicing in the rooms adjacent to ours at city sound. We like to try our hand at playing along through the walls or at least attempting a rough imitation during the periods of silence. 

Erik Koskinen: Koerner, Ray, and Glover

Actual Wolf: Erik Koskinen

How does the Minneapolis music scene compare to your experiences in Michigan, New York, or Tennessee?

Erik Koskinen: The biggest music scene I lived in outside of the Twin Cities was Nashville, TN. What's different is the support from the clubs to pay musicians. Half the city plays guitar. The other half play bass, drums, fiddle, steel and banjo. On a local level in Nashville, you play for tips if you can get a gig. And it snows here, I like the seasons.

What's your favorite part of the Minneapolis local scene?

The Cactus Blossoms: Minneapolis has a very active live music scene! I don't know if it's our out-of-the-way geographic location and extreme temperatures, but Minnesotans aren't content sitting on their hands all winter and waiting for an out-of-towner to come when the weather is nice and show them how something is done. People here make their own music and art and put it out in to the world year around. It makes me smile.

Eleganza!: It's one big happy family!

Red Daughters: Going to a random show and seeing a band you have never heard of put on a killer show. There is so much good stuff that is not on the radar of the City Pages/Vita.mn/Current which is unfortunate because a lot of people don't look any further than that for local culture. It's also awesome to get outta town and play those weird shows around MN. In fact, we just did a wild show for the Maynard, MN volunteer fire departments 4th of July street dance. It was a four hour set and some of us barely survived. There were a lot of drunken housewives screaming for Bon Jovi covers so you know it was a good time. And now we can cover "Wild Thing" whenever we feel like. 

Erik Koskinen: Community.