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Rhett Miller is NOT frustrated with Manhattan

Old 97's

Old 97's Photo Credit: Handout

For a while in the mid-1990s, it seemed like alt-country would be the next big musical thing.

Today, Austin, Texas’ Old 97’s are one of the few bands still carrying that torch, although they’ve integrated power pop, classic rock and British punk into their rootsy sound.

amNewYork spoke with singer Rhett Miller about the band’s new album, “The Grand Theatre Vol. 2.”

“The Grand Theatre” was supposed to be one double album. Why did you break it up? Market forces dictated it. I love the idea of a double album, like [Bob Dylan’s] “Blonde on Blonde” or [The Clash’s] “London Calling.” But it’s not really a thing anymore, and that makes me a little bit sad.

You sound frustrated with NYC in the song “Manhattan (I’m Done).” What’s wrong with Manhattan? I do this thing in songs where, instead of a girl’s name, I’ll put the name of the city where the whole thing is taking place. I wrote that song in Grand Rapids, Mich., but “Grand Rapids” doesn’t have the same poetic value as “Manhattan.”

How did you wind up becoming so tight with the Dallas Mavericks? [Owner] Mark Cuban is a fan. He asked us to do a concert before a game. They had been on a losing streak, and I made an announcement from the stage that tonight would be the beginning of a winning streak. I’m not taking credit for it, but they did win and kept winning. We had guitars made with the Old 97’s logo and the Mavs logo and gave them to Dirk Nowitzki and Cuban.

How are they as guitar players? I don’t know about Cuban, but Dirk is good. He’s like me — not a blazing lead guitarist, but a solid strummer.


If you go:
The Old 97's are performing tonight and tomorrow at 8 at the Bell House. 149 Seventh St., Gowanus, 718-643-6510. $35

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