Margo Timmins On Bono And Her Torontonian Music Recommendations
Margo Timmins and Cowboy Junkies slide into town tonight for their first Houston gig in quite a while. It seems everyone Lonesome, Onry and Mean has talked to about them remembers their gig at Numbers back in the day. We recently had a wide-ranging, one-hour-plus interview with Timmins, most of which appeared in this week's print edition. But the lagniappe was just too precious to waste.
Houston Press: You were listed as one of People magazine's Fifty Most Beautiful People in the World in the early '90s. What's the oddest thing that's ever happened to you in relation to that?
Timmins: Some years ago, I was flying to England to meet up with my husband. He'd gone there on a business trip, and his firm OK'd me flying over to meet him for a vacation. I usually travel coach, but this time I was traveling business class. Anyway, I got settled into my seat when I see people around me turning to look at something. And Bono of U2 walks by, opens the overhead bin on the seat directly in front of me. So all during this seven-hour flight people are coming over to talk to him, getting autographs and all that, and he's being very gracious to everyone. And I'm sitting there thinking I want to say hello to him but that I don't want to bother him. And I just keep telling myself I have to say something to him about how much I love his work, but I never did. So we land and get up to the terminal and we stand up at the same time to open the overhead bins, and he looks over and says, "Margo? Margo Timmins?" My mind is completely blown, but I say, "Yes," and he just starts going on and on about how much he loves our band and our music and why didn't I say anything during the trip. And I look around and all these people have stopped and are staring at us like "who's she." It was hilarious.
MT: You really can't believe it when someone like Lou Reed calls. He said he enjoyed our version of his song ["Sweet Jane"] and that completely blew us away. And Richie Havens called and said he loved our music, seemed to know all about us, that was just unreal. And of course Townes was always so complimentary.
HP: You've done so many interesting covers. Are you constantly thinking of songs to cover? What is your thought process in choosing those
MT: We are constantly introducing new covers, but they have within a certain aesthetic, for lack of a better word. A lot of covers we try don't make it, not necessarily because we can't play them, but if we're not adding anything to them -- maybe because I'm not a mature enough singer or something -- then we don't record them or add them to the show. Getting into a particular song, of course, you're a fan of the song, but then you're in the song and it's a whole other experience. So it has to feel right and we have to feel like we've added something of value.
HP: Is your son musically inclined? How does he fit into this 'family band' thing?
MT: He loves being on the road with us and loves being the center of attention. I don't know if he's musically inclined but he is a really good dancer, which he doesn't get from me. When Michael Jackson died, he suddenly started doing all these Michael Jackson moves that just floor me.
HP: When you guys were first coming up, playing the clubs in Toronto and Montreal, who were the other cool bands that you consider your contemporaries?
MT: Within Canada one of the first successful contemporary bands was Blue Rodeo. Then Tragically Hip came along just after us. These bands were struggling when we were struggling. And one of the lesser known bands that were real faves of ours was Skydiggers. They were absolutely incredible and still play around Toronto some.
HP: What's new and exciting in Canada that you guys have been listening to?
MT: Tom Wilson. Due to some record company legalities, he's going by Lee Harvey Osmond now, and he has a beautiful, John Prine-ish album out [A Quiet Evil]. He's opened quite a few shows for us this year. NPR did a feature on LHO in January and they called it "The Sound of Acid Folk."