interview by RJ Cubarrubia
photos by Chona Kasinger
If you were ever a teenager in the first half of this decade, chances are you met someone, laughed, cheered, made out, fell in love, got your heart broken, fell in hate, learned a few things about life, and did a little (or a lot of) growing up along with a lovely band from Omaha, Nebraska called Cursive. For kids my age, Cursive was a beacon of catharsis where singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Tim Kasher emptied his rage and frustration with such chilling honesty that it made our awkward and painful teenage moments bearable; Cursive was our Bible, Domestica and The Ugly Organ were our Old and New Testaments, and Tim Kasher was our martyr. Six years and two releases later, living The Good Life with a few side projects along the way, Cursive is still hard at work helping the next generation cope with the growing pains of adolescent love and hate with their latest release, Mama, I’m Swollen. After their KEXP in-studio, I chatted with Tim about their recent appearance on network television, the progression of Cursive, and what’s next for him (marriage!).
You guys were recently on The Late Show with David Letterman. How was it, being on network TV for the first time?
You know, it was pretty weird. There are fairly simple benefits when you do something like that, where you run around and play music like this. Our older generations, like your family, don’t really quite understand what you’re doing, so when you do things, like when you end up in Rolling Stone or if you end up on Letterman, it helps validate what you’re doing. And I know it seems really strange to think of it that way, but you know, for your grandmother, it ends up being like now she understands. It’s like, “Oh, ok, I see. You’re one of those bands that I don’t listen to that plays Letterman.”
Yeah, it’s like, “You guys are making money! Wow!” That’s definitely a trip. Was it like a point of reflection, like, “We’re a band that originated in Omaha,” and now it’s all full circle?
Oh yeah, and we still get a kick out of David Letterman kind of being surprised, like at the end he’s like, “Oh, you’re from Omaha!” There’s definitely a lot of pride. I have a ton of pride for Nebraska in general and the Midwest in a greater sense. I feel more comfortable in Nebraska.
I heard you recently moved to California, though. Why’d you move and how do you like it?
I’ve been liking it fine. I did it because I’ve stayed in Omaha for so many years because of the band but it just got to a point where I didn’t want to stop doing the band but I didn’t want to halt all the other things I wanted to do with my life, which was basically just to go live different places and go explore different cities. I think I obsess over what I’m going to think about on my deathbed and I want to be able to have a rich timeline. I’m hoping to be fortunate enough to keep playing music and keeping up my life pattern and continue to live different places and doing different things.
Yeah, with all those other projects, what’s next for them and what’s next for Cursive?
For Cursive, this album is so new that the horizon is just, “What is the next tour?” and stuff like that. For myself, I’m working on an album that I think will inevitably have to just call Tim Kasher for lack of a better name. I guess, maybe I feel like it’s time to start doing, and start writing, what will take me to the grave.
Something that is very interesting to me is that for kids my age and in my generation, Domestica and The Ugly Organ were huge albums for us. How do you feel that you’ve progressed since then? How was that progression been for you and what is it like now that you’re older?
Yeah, it’s interesting to see the kind of the separation of the crowd now. Certainly The Ugly Organ was the biggest record, as far as how it was received, but what’s odd now is having done two records after that, we’re used to pulling out any Ugly Organ song and the crowd’s going to flip out. But you know, that album came out in 2003 or 2004 and now it surprises us that you’re playing in front of a whole new group of younger people who maybe haven’t even picked up Ugly Organ yet. So basically, there’s everybody: there’s like the kids who want to be the coolest, so they like Domestica the most, then there’s definitely the biggest base of people that listen to Ugly Organ, and then with the younger people, Happy Hallow is what they’re most excited about, and now we have a new record, some people want to hear that too.
So I saw you in 2006 in Charlottesville, Virginia and at the time you said you were visiting and playing the show because you had just started dating a woman from there. Are you still together with her today?
Yeah, she is from Charlottesville, and we’re getting married this fall.
Wow, congrats. Thanks, Tim.
Yeah, you bet. Thanks.