Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With Mark Olson (of The Jayhawks)

Mark Olson

The Jayhawks are/were one of our favorite bands. Mark Olson shared frontman and songwriting duties with Gary Louris. Both have done solo shows at Jammin Java. It's always a thrill for us and we know you'll love them too! Mark is here Sunday 11/10.  

Where and when was your first show?

I first performed for passersby at a park in Rapid City, South Dakota. I was just out of High School. My Mom was there and we had a picnic that included a piece of card table bought cherry pie. I wrote one of my first songs about that day. I think, because I was just out of High School, it was June. I had no idea other than that I really loved music, what I was going to do and see in life..that I remember that day. Two years later I was busking in Belgium and Holland. There were really good Irish musicians playing on the street and in small cafes, so I stayed in their vicinity and learned, though not that much about playing music, but more about enjoying and the soul of the song etc...

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

Early on Joan Baez because I liked traditional songs. Then the Byrds and Burrito Bros. Now really out there stuff I chanced upon.

I listen to Jacques Bertin, the A Besancon album from 1974, he is a poet. Also I listen to the songs of Sayat Nova. These are the most amazing linear melodies ever! and the lyrics are almost impossible to find translated but if you can watch out! Sayat Nova! The greatest musical lyrical poet of all time. He was Armenian but invented his own musical language that included 3 other languages in many of the songs.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

Belgrade, Serbia. I had a song called Beehive that I really loved to play cause it spoke to me. Probably no one else really ever heard it or understood it, but it was something I had to show for my years of writing because it was inventive in the tuning and lyric approach. I walked into an Orthodox Church called Mark there, and found a large display of a handcrafted beehive (that it took a man 20 years to make). It was made in the image of the church named Mark that I had just walked into holding a song called Beehive in my heart!

Favorite Food: Generally Lebanese hummus and Armenian Dolmas

Favorite Drink: Generally Cactus juice from Mexico

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

Gerard Depardieu !!! The idea of him having any involvement in anything I ever thought or have done, is so crazy and the idea of telling my family that he was involved in any way shape or form with anything I had ever thought, or place that I had been, really makes the mind stretch.

What two words would best describe your music? in constant movement and undergoing research