Where and when was your first show?First paid gig was at this tiny room in Upper Jay, NY, in the Adirondacks. We passed the hat and probably made $75, sometime in 1990.
What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence? The Beatles, no question. Then Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Roches.
What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences? We have a lot, but the story I want to share is this: in 1998, our major label record company went under, and our masters were shelved. We'd heard stories about this, and were really scared we'd lose our album Gotta Get Over Greta, which sold really well from the stage, had charted on AAA radio, and most importantly, we were really proud of it. Not only that, we had two albums worth of new material we wanted to record and release; we had shows booked all over the continent, but our 4 year old van (Moby Juan Van Kenobi) had shot its second transmission and had gone 150,000--it was on its last legs. What were we going to do?
"We can still play," our bass player Dave Chalfant pointed out. So Nerissa wrote a letter to EMI president Ken Berry, making a case for our scrappy little band to get our masters back for a fee we could afford. We recorded the songs for two new albums in Dave's little studio and threw our own DIY CD release party, dubbed it Jam for the Van, and did a kind of Kickstarter/carnival at the Hatfield Pavillion near our home in Northampton, MA. Hundreds of people came to the show, donated, pledged on auction items (Nerissa would knit you a sweater for $500, David sold his entire video collection of the X-Files, Dave Hower did fortune telling, Katryna painted pictures), and we raised over $27,000 and bought a new van. Rounder/Zoe Records signed us, and we went on to tour and record to the present day.
In this day of crowd sourcing being a common phenomenon, we are still at it. Our seventeenth album (XVII) is coming out on Feb. 2, 2015, and we are well on our way to raising all we need to support it, thanks to the most generous fans on the planet. (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/thenields)
Favorite Food: Nerissa: local carrots. Katryna: roasted brussel sprouts
Favorite Drink: Nerissa: Lion Mountain Keemun tea from Peet's, Katryna: Starbucks Misto.
Cat-Person, Dog-Person, or both? DOG! Here's Nerissa's dog, Stella! Mini husky/Jack Russell/Basenji mix.
What two words would best describe your music? Joyful, passionate.
Check out The Nields at Jammin' Java on Saturday, December 6th!