I think what you're getting at is we just weren't cool. More than I feel country alternative, Americana, any of that stuff, I feel a connection to bands from the South. But I think what makes us different from Skynyrd or the Allmans is that we came up at a different time and heard different music growing up. We loved Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, the Clash and X. I do feel a part of that Southern music world, and it's been perceived as cool or uncool at different times, but now I'm at an age where I just don't care.

As a guitar player, and the three of you as a band, you could do the Southern jam band thing. But you don't.

I do love the Allman Brothers and the North Mississippi Allstars, but the thing about us is we're song-oriented. If there's a guitar solo or jam, it's going to be secondary to the song. For me, I want to play 18 to 21 songs a night. I have noticed, though, that our audience has started to draw more from that jam scene. I think that's great.

The Mars Volta: Ouija board, Ouija board, would you help me?
Ross Halfin
The Mars Volta: Ouija board, Ouija board, would you help me?

Would you put the breakup of Blue Mountain to the end of your marriage with Laurie, or was it the other way around?

I can't really answer that question. A lot of bands tend to fracture after eight, nine, ten years. Being in a band can be tough on a relationship. I think that's true if you're brothers or high school buddies or married. I think both things imploded from too much togetherness. Laurie and I talk about it now, and we don't think of the first run of Blue Mountain or our marriage as a failure. We were together playing music together for ten years, and we spent more time together than most couples spend in forty. And most of those times were really great times. — Roy Kasten

9 p.m. Thursday, April 17. Lucas School House, 1220 Allen Avenue. $10 in advance, $12 day of show. 314-621-6565.

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