Scene Point Blank: You refer to being an "old man." Does doing a different style of music fit a little better into the "adult lifestyle"? For example, Avail has parents and people have careers and things like that in mind, so is it just easier to work on your own?
Tim Barry: I embrace economy and for me to be able to go ahead and receive an email inquiring about me playing a show and not have to check with anyone about the date, and find babysitters and get grandparents to come down and watch the kids or find their wives or significant others, where Avail or everyone will kind of be gone for a weekend. It's pretty easy for me to just do this stuff alone I can simply look at the calendar and go "Eh, I could make that," you know. And then money's not as much of an issue because it's just me and I need very little to sustain myself. Avail, if we went out for a week straight and we all didn't make $250 bucks each at the end of the trip we're not able, you know. Some of these guys aren't able to pay their insurance or their health care for their children and things like that. Staying home is economically more viable and working the day jobs. But with that said, I really do enjoy - I'll use the word autonomy again - just being able to sort of dictate it on my own and live in the van if need be. My dog comes with me often and it's just really peaceful. And getting onstage I don't have to exert as much physical energy and - I turned thirty-eight a couple weeks ago and I'm not saying that that's ancient - but the road certainly takes effect on your body at some point, especially after touring for about eighteen years now. It's nice. I refer to "old man with an acoustic guitar" because I think it's a fucking sick joke. Let's be honest, watching a thirty-eight year-old man stand onstage by himself with an acoustic guitar is a profoundly fucking boring idea. If somebody asked me to go see someone my age stand onstage with an acoustic guitar, I'd be like, "Hell, no! Why would I do that?" and so for me it's exciting ?cause I gotta make it interesting not only for myself but the people who are at the show.
Scene Point Blank: Well, it's working.
Tim Barry: I hope so. Tonight's the first night of the tour. Holy shit I get nervous on the first night of tour. I feel like tour doesn't start until the first night is done, so about midnight tonight I'll finally feel like I'm on tour. I shake like a motherfucker and I'm gonna get up there nervous as hell, not as rehearsed as I should have been, but ?
Scene Point Blank: Do you ever feel rehearsed as you should be?
Tim Barry: Oh yeah, sometimes. But I also do all my management. Sometimes the stupid business side gets?prioritized a little more than the rehearsing. I also figure, you know, say this tour I'm doing around fifty shows; I figure I'll have it pretty much set by the last show. It's enough warm-up dates for the end.
Scene Point Blank: Since you've been doing this for about eighteen years, you've been around the country a lot. Do you actually remember a lot of faces when you come into every town?
Tim Barry: Oddly enough, I sort of have a picture-perfect memory for shows that I've played. I even remember faces and stuff. I don't always remember all the band names, but I'll always remember the bands and the music and whatnot. It's kind of weird how that works. Also, if you travel for that long, places become as familiar as home: specific landmarks, even gas stations, you're like, "Wow, I've been to this one a dozen times." Or, you kind of learn your way around states. You find sort of a comfort in that. I remember the first time I crossed the country. It was 1992 and we were in California. I remember looking at the map and I was like, "Holy crap! Look how far away from home I am." It was, like, the most mind-blowing thing and, now, when I'm in California I feel like I'm right around the corner. It's strange. It's a comfort too of building relationships and having friends in different places. I know when I get to certain cities - when I get to, say Nashville, Tennessee, then I'm going to stay with Maryanne and Renee who are friends of mine and sisters that live in Hermitage and their home feels like my home. I'm excited to see them because they feel like family and that kind of stuff just makes everything a little easier.
Scene Point Blank: One thing I was thinking of was a Minneapolis show maybe a decade ago - Avail struck people very personally for whatever reason, your work still does now - but I remember somebody proposing at one of your shows. Do you ever get feedback on that years later, like run into these people and have them say like, "Hey, I'm happily married and blah blah blah" or?
Tim Barry: Those two that got engaged at, I believe that was Hot Water Music, Leatherface, Avail, By All Means, and Boy Sets Fire, was it that show?
Scene Point Blank: Yeah. Didn't you meet up with another tour just for that show?
Tim Barry: Exactly. And by the way that couple is still married and they have a son who's in his early teens now that's really heavily into punk rock and they live in Seattle.
Scene Point Blank: Wow.
Tim Barry: So it's pretty cool. I actually hung out with them and their son the last time I was up there three months ago. He's a cool kid, man. He's a super punk kid. Yeah, but that stuff happens and luckily I'll get to see the people off and on.
Scene Point Blank: That's cool that you get the feedback and know, I don't know, that you played a role in all of that.
Tim Barry: It's not me in particular. The movement of music in the community that we come in, I think, causes that more than anything: with the coming together, the celebration of sharing ideas and inspiration from each other, and doing that onstage and offstage. I think that's what motivates people to do things like propose onstage. And obviously that worked out, so it's a beautiful thing.
Scene Point Blank: Is this kind of a side benefit to playing music or does it add motivation for you to keep doing it?
Tim Barry: I don't know what the hell motivates me to do this. [Laughs.] I think life is in patterns and I have different patterns. I have my life's own. If I'm there too long it's time to leave, and when I'm gone too long it's time to go home and that's my pattern. I don't know if it's a motivation as much as it is what it is.
Scene Point Blank: It's just a way of life at this point.
Tim Barry: I got itchy feet, man. If I stay home for too long it doesn't mean I'm gonna get in the van and tour. I'll go do something, granted I'm not working or something like that.