Doug Burr doesn’t want to tell you what’s on his mind; he wants to show you ‘til you feel it in your bones. For over ten years Doug has garnered acclaim as one of North Texas’ finest singer/songwriters, and his latest release O Ye Devastator only serves to further the validity of those claims. Read as Doug talks performing, parenting and more.
AHD: AHD is proud to co-sponsor an upcoming concert featuring you and Air Review. What should show-goers expect November 3rd if they’ve never witnessed Doug Burr live?
DB: We just kind of take people somewhere like a good movie or a good story does, hopefully. We want to sweep people off their feet, never by telling them something, but by making them feel something.
AHD: What do you like most about performing?
DB: I love making music any time, but it’s especially fun to create this artifact in front of an audience–they really become part of it. It’s not the same when they’re not there, so it’s always an exciting privilege.
AHD: You play at museums and draw comparisons to literary greats. As a musician, how often do you take in the visual, literary and performing arts, and how much of a role do they play in your songwriting?
DB: I think other art plays a huge role in having a fertile imagination, and in keeping me inspired. I stay pretty close to home these days with four kids (three of them little), so I don’t often get to attend museums or anything that would require a large block of time. I am always reading something new and exciting, to me at least. As a musician, I get to experience other live bands fairly often, though not as often as I’d like.
AHD: What themes do you find yourself returning to most often?
DB: I think there’s a lot of death and rebirth in my songs. A certain amount of despair, but also a prominent sense of hope.
AHD: As you evolve as an artist, and get more records under your belt, are you ever afraid you’ll run out of things to say?
DB: Not at all. Sometimes I experience a serious dose of writer’s block, but that’s mainly a problem of figuring out how to put something or say something in a fresh way. I think all of art–the good stuff anyway–is saying the same things in new and visceral ways, finding new language to speak the same old things–old to the state of being human.
AHD: You’re not shy about maintaining a dim disposition. Do you have to try and infuse a message of hope, or does good news appear naturally within your work?
DB: I can only be honest in my work and put down what lives in my head. If I felt like I was infusing it with anything, it would start to die for me and wouldn’t be fun anymore. I think it is what it is, but certainly I think there is good news (or goodness) under every leaf and when I sing about that leaf, it’s just there. Otherwise we wouldn’t be singing at all. To me singing itself is kind of this striving, kind of a spiritual groaning, and it’s very existence points toward a subversion some day of pain to peace.
AHD: Do you have actual plans in place for taking over the world, or is it just a notion at this point?
DB: No plans. I’d love to sell a ton of records and provide for my family without juggling the extra blowtorches of holding down a good day job, but the music business is bloated with über-talented kids racing around in little ragamuffin vans and I’m not signing up for that at this age with little people and a good wife depending on me. So it’s in the Lord’s hands. I’m just trying to write the best songs I can write, put out records and play music with some of my best friends until I get too old.
AHD: How can we help you continue to write songs and tell stories?
DB: Spread the music by word-of-mouth, but only if you find it amazing. If you don’t find it amazing then don’t bother. There’s too much amazing stuff out there–no time for anything that’s not.