FROM A BORING JOB AN ALBUM EMERGES
Sara Sherr, For the Daily News
Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places.
For Mary Timony of Helium, – who plays Nick’s on Tuesday – it was working at what she describes as the worst job ever: working in a warehouse of a video distribution company. But according to the 27-year-old singer/guitarist, it was footage of the Rolling Stones and T. Rex and endless conversations about rock history with her pals that saved her from the daily grind of working in a warehouse and inspired her to come up with “Magic City” (Matador), the Boston-based trio’s third album.[pullquote]”“It represents me going away from my anger or from frustration with the everyday world and finding a different imaginary place to dwell in that anything can be true in.””[/pullquote]
“I was obsessed with the Rolling Stones and T. Rex,” the 27-year-old singer/guitarist says by phone from a tour stop in Los Angeles. “I would come home every night after work and watch video footage of T. Rex. It was just this obsession. I think in a way, there are references to ’70s bands on the record but in no way is there a conscious attempt to sound retro.”
If anything, Timony describes her music as “fantasy rock.” Instead of using her lyrics to earnestly confess or angrily lash out as many indie rockers do, she uses them the way a sci-fi writer creates an alternate universe in order to escape to an ideal world where “she can fix things.”
“It represents me going away from my anger or from frustration with the everyday world and finding a different imaginary place to dwell in that anything can be true in.” If anything, she identifies with Parliament-Funkadelic’s mothership. “It’s imagining something that doesn’t exist and being empowered by that.”
Timony’s been doing just that since her childhood, when she studied viola, moved on to folk and jazz guitar in high school, and briefly studied classical guitar at Boston University. But it was the punk scene in her home town of Washington, D.C., that really inspired her.
“That was what made me want to start playing rock music,” she says. “I saw that it was your way to get your message across to people.” Even though the scene was a boys club, she momentarily made waves in a band called Autoclave, one of the few female bands on the mostly male Dischord roster.
From the Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
November 21, 1997