An interview with Jason Narducy (Bob Mould Band, Superchunk, Split Single)

Photo Apr 29, 10 46 12 PMJason Narducy is far from a household name. But in my opinion, he should be. Jason started his music career playing clubs with his band Verboten at the tender age of 11. Dave Grohl, who’s 13-year-old cousin was in the band with Narducy, credits him with inspiring him to become a musician. Jason is featured in the Foo Fighters documentary Sonic Highway.

A decade later, Jason and cellist Alison Chesley started an acoustic duo, Jason & Alison, which later morphed into the 4-piece band Verbow, and signed a record deal. Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) became a fan of Verbow and offered to produce their record Chronicles. Jason was the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter on this album, as well as the band’s second release, 2000’s White Out.

Somewhat disappointed by the reaction to White Out, Narducy decided not to put his all into something and become that vulnerable again. Verbow officially disbanded in 2003. Narducy settled down with his family and began to run a successful painting business and play a handful of local shows on occasion. This all changed in 2005, when Bob Mould asked if he would be interested in playing bass in his new touring band. Jason, who was primarily a guitar player, practiced his heart out all summer until he knew he was ready for the gig as Bob’s bass player.

The following year, Jason was asked to play bass for Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices). Jason has also played with the bands Superchunk and Telekenisis and is in the process of recording his second album with his band, Split Single, where he teams up with drummer Jon Wurster (Bob Mould Band, Superchunk, Mountain Goats) and bassist Brit Daniel (Spoon, Divine Fits). Narducy once again took over the role of guitarist and lead singer. Split Single released its first album, Fragmented World, in 2014.

Jason is one of the hardest working musicians in show business, currently recording his own album as well as preparing for the second leg of Bob Mould’s tour. If this weren’t enough, he still has his painting/handyman business and 3 kids. All of these responsibilities don’t seem to slow the 45-year-old musician down. I recently saw him play with Bob Mould’s band and his energy and love of playing were clear. This man gives his all to his music. And it shows.

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Jason some questions recently. Not a man to take himself too seriously (follow him on Instagram and Twitter and you will find yourself laughing out loud at his frequent comedic posts), he responded in true form.

 

 J. You started your first band, Verboten, at such an incredibly young age. What inspired you, and did you always imagine yourself being a lifelong musician?
J.N. My dad took me to see The Kids Are Alright when it was released in theaters. I was 8. I liked Kiss, The Ramones, and The Beatles already, but The Who were a whole new level of intensity and importance to me. A year later, my mom and step-dad bought me a guitar. I started writing songs and looking for musicians to play with. By age 11, I had a band (Verboten) and we were playing clubs. It’s sort of absurd when I think about it now—the level of intensity I had.
J. Dave Grohl credits you as one of his main inspirations for becoming a musician. In your own music, particularly Split Single, I think I hear some Big Star and Guided By Voices influence. Are these some of the bands that have influenced you? What other bands influence the music you write?
J.N. Yes, I love GBV and Big Star. Cheap Trick is huge for me. They are from the Chicago area (Rockford) and I saw them often as a kid. Now that I’m older, I find inspiration from less obvious sources; a lyric I think of, a synth part I hear on a college radio station, a drum beat I hear but misinterpret where the “one” beat is, etc.
J. You are certainly well known in the music world, but your name seems to escape those in the mainstream. Is this frustrating or is it nice to be a professional musician that can fly under the radar and avoid many of the pitfalls of instant face and name recognition?
J.N. I would say I am most certainly not very well known in the music world. I know this because I’ve been to all of my shows. I would say I’m comfortable as a working musician who’s sometimes not working.
J. I took my 18-year-old son to see you, Bob, and Jon recently in NYC. I insisted he wear the earplugs I brought, knowing full well the volume at a Bob Mould show. How do you handle that kind of volume night after night?
J.N. You made the responsible decision.
J. You’ve toured with so many different yet amazingly talented acts. Do you have a favorite band or musician to tour with or do you enjoy changing it up and playing to different types of audiences?
J.N. The three bands I play in now have very similar audiences. I love my three current bands.
J. What are your plans now that the first leg of the Bob Mould tour is over? Are you planning anything new with Split Single?
J.N. I’m making a new Split Single album right now. Very excited about it. I’ve heard rumblings about a potential Superchunk show. Lots of Bob Mould Band shows coming up in the fall. We are thankful and excited that Bob’s new album Patch The Sky is doing so well.
J. You’ve had such a varied and interesting career so far. What would you like to do next?
J.N. I’d like to go get a sandwich.

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