Artist: Dietrich Strause
Hometown: Lancaster, PA (living in Boston)
Latest Album: How Cruel That Hunger Binds
Personal Nicknames (or Rejected Band Names): My friends call me Dieter & Deets; my mother calls me Sneaker; my grandmother calls me Deke; and my uncle called me Deke Dude, when I was a kid.
Which decade do you think of as the "golden age" of music?
If I think about the music I love, it puts the "golden age" sometime between 1955 and 1970. While writing and recording How Cruel That Hunger Binds, I obsessed over Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours (1955), Harry Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall (1959), and early Randy Newman records. But I also think of the "golden age" of music more abstractly as the decade starting in high school, spanning until your late 20s. The music you listen to then, through all that angst, learning how to fall in love, getting your heart broken, saying goodbye to childhood friends — through all of that — that's the "golden age" of music.
If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
I would love to be able to put cream in my coffee without having to deal with the social dynamics of the littler counter at the coffee shop. And if that's not available, I would want to fly.
If you were in a high school marching band, which instrument would you want to play?
I was actually in high school marching band and I played the trumpet. I love the trumpet — but on cold Autumn nights at high school football games, trying to keep your lips warm caused all sorts of extracurricular problems. So I think, if I had to do it again, I would want to play in the pit. I'd want to play the marimba. I think marimba players tend to stay out of trouble.
What's your go-to road food?
I love pistachios, but I can't eat them when I'm driving. You may say "Sneaker, just buy shelled pistachios and have at it!" Well, it's not that I can't shell the pistachios and drive at the same time. I've developed these skills. I'm allergic to pistachios, so I get an uncomfortably itchy throat and watery eyes. Not ideal for driving, but every once and a while, I'll lay it all on the line. Whenever I pass through Lancaster, a tin of Hammond's Pretzels will make it into the car and last for a month or so.
Who was the best teacher you ever had — and why?
My mother. She's a middle school English teacher. Tough, but fair. She's retiring after this year. She loves traveling and is a logistical wizard. So if anyone out there knows Rick Steves or anyone in his office, email me. Also, I bet she would be really good at tour managing.
What's your favorite TV show?
Seinfeld and Northern Exposure
Boots or sneakers?
Boots, despite my nickname.
Which brothers do you prefer — Avett, Wood, Landreth, or Osborne?
I prefer the Wood Brothers. Those guys really know how to play their instruments. But right now I'm really into the Brother Brothers!
Canada or Mexico?
Canada. Last year, I carved a pumpkin for Canadian Thanksgiving. Canadian superstar Rose Cousins was playing in Boston that night, so I brought it to the club for her. She sang Andrew Gold's "Thank You for Being a Friend" and now I understand the Canadian disposition.