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Q&A: Milo Greene’s Graham Fink on touring, road music and making friends on social media

Sydney Moyer: Last time we spoke, you guys were about to start out on your first headlining tour. Now you’ve been around the country a bit, stopped by Letterman and even London. How does it feel to get off the ground like this and have so many people responding to your music?

Graham Fink: Uhh … exhausting. [laughs] No, it’s incredible. It’s cool to go back to places we’ve been to and see the crowds grow, and it’s even cooler to go to places for the first time and have full rooms of people. We just played in Albany the other night and it was a sold-out show, and we had never been there, and all the shows in Europe were really overwhelming in a positive way. So it’s cool. I mean we’re all tired, we’ve been running around pretty much non-stop since I last spoke to you, but it’s good. We’re happy to be busy — it’s better than the opposite.

Sure. So what’s a day on tour like with Milo Greene? Can you describe your road dynamic a little bit?

GF: Oh, it’s mayhem … no we’re a pretty mild-mannered crew, to be honest. You know, on days off … let’s see, the other day we had one of our first days off. Andrew went skiing, Robbie and Marlana and Curtis probably went and saw a movie and walked around Albany, and I caught the first train I could into New York City to see some friends and stomp around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side and stuff … and we’re always trying to catch up on sleep, so there’s a lot of napping, a lot of eating, a lot of music-listening, it’s not terribly exciting, not like something out of a rock ‘n roll film, but you know, we get by. If there’s a Clippers game on, you can bet that I’m watching that.

An important part of being on the road (at least for me, I don’t know about you), is the music involved — what’s on your road playlist as of late?

GF: Oh man, it depends who’s driving. We have the collective rule that the driver picks the music, so it depends. If it’s my shift, usually a good amount of David Bowie, Talking Heads – I really like Tom Petty and Wilco and Big Star for long Sunday drives – and if it’s a little bit more dreary, I’ll probably go with Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky or something like that.

Ah, so you got to match it to the mood.

GF: Exactly, mood is key.

So, what has been your most memorable show thus far and why?

GF: In, ever? In the history of Milo Greene?

In the history of Milo Greene.

GF: Oh wow, that’s a big one. You know, I always come back to one that really sticks out. When we were on tour with The Civil Wars about a year and a half ago, we opened for them at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, which, I don’t know if you’ve ever been or seen photos, but it’s just a big beautiful ornate theatre that I’ve been going to since I was a kid. I’ve seen people like Elvis Costello there, and when we got to play that show with them, that was one of those dream venues that you always hope to get a chance to play someday. And I remember … you know concerts, when you’re playing them, they go by really quickly. It’s like you blink and you’re at the last song. But that show in particular, I really savored, I took time to smile through it and enjoy the 40 minutes or so that we played.

Nice. So you’ve been on the road for a while, have you had any weird or funny fan interactions? Crazy fangirl stories or anything?

GF: Most of our fans are pretty awesome. When we were in Seattle, we had some time before a show, and we basically just put out via social media, ‘anybody in Seattle want to hang out with us?’ and a couple of girls invited us over for a dinner, probably thinking we were kidding, and we ended up just showing up at their doorstep after our sound check. They treated us to a nice rice pilaf, and some fish and vegetables, and we ended up having a campfire with them after the show and you know, roasting s’mores, and it was pretty funny. We’re still in touch with them.

Sounds like something out of an indie movie.

GF: Ha, totally. We’re a friendly bunch, and a lot of the cities we’re in, we don’t really know very many people. Another time in

Phoenix, we didn’t have a car and we were trying to go see a movie, so we ended up seeing if anybody wanted to come see a movie with us, and this one kid who was a big fan drove into town to pick us up and basically chauffeured us to a movie and saw Looper with us.

Ha — how’d you like it?

GF: I loved it, I was really entertained.

So what do you plan to do in Boston while you’re here?

GF: I don’t know how much time we’re going to have there, but … let’s see, what are my go-to Boston things? I don’t know … Boston’s a city that I’ve spent a fair amount of time in, but I don’t really have my go-to spots, so if you have any suggestions, I’d be open to them.

Let’s see, where are you guys playing?

GF: The Sinclair.

Oh, The Sinclair, okay. In that case, I’d definitely hit up Harvard Square, it’s a great place. There’s a nice cafe there called Crema Cafe. Excellent sandwiches, you will not be disappointed.

GF: Okay, all right, well there. Now I have a plan.

So do you guys have any plans post-tour this summer? Have you talked about what you’re going to do?

GF: More touring. We’re definitely going to spend some time working on writing and recording ideas for a new record, but we’re also going to be doing a handful of festivals over the summer and some more touring … it’s going to be a busy year. We’re going to be running around like crazy people, per usual.

All right, and one last question for you Graham: what is your favorite song to play live and why?

GF: Hmm … I’ll go with “What’s the Matter” because it’s the only song where I get to jump on keyboard and percussion, and if we don’t get time to go to the gym, I’m basically playing shaker throughout the entire four minutes of that song, so it’s a muscle- building cardio workout. Although, I think my right arm is getting disproportionately strong to my left arm, because I don’t play shaker with that one.

The perils of percussion, I guess.

GF: [laughs] Yeah.

Catch indie-folk sensation Milo Greene at The Sinclair on March 1.

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