Q&A: Shakey Graves on his hated TV character and spirit animal

Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves perform at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley on Aug 2, 2019. Karen Goldman/STAFF.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to musician-actor Alejandro Rose-Garcia, known as singer-songwriter Shakey Graves, who’s performing at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival this Sunday. The talk was supposed to last about 10 minutes, but we ended up chatting for about 30. Read the full story here. Or check out the backstory that fans are sure to love — starting with his experience as the hated coach’s daughter-stealing lifeguard on cult television hit “Friday Night Lights.”

RIFF: I looked at your resume and the first thing that I saw was the role on “Friday Night Lights,” a show that I loved tremendously. I’m still upset that you even tried to get Julie Taylor away from Matt.

Shakey Graves: Yeah, I am too.

I’m sure you get that a lot.

I get a lot of people that just lie about it more. They’re like “Oh, I loved you on that show!” That’s impossible. If you like that show, there’s no way you’re into the character that I play.

Friday Night Lights, Shakey Graves

Are you still keeping your acting options open?

Yeah. It really comes down to time. I don’t even have time to see my family or anything right now. I need to go on a set and do stuff. I love acting. I hope that there’s a time where I get to step in and do some fun work.

I found an old Bonnaroo interview, in which you called Lana Del Rey your spirit animal and your unwitting lover.

I saw her at Sasquatch for the first time, and it was a pretty rough show. … I’m kind of fascinated with her as sort of an icon (for) the woes of the industry. I really think that studying musicians’ careers and paying attention to people like Lana Del Rey is really fascinating. People are, like, “Oh yeah she’s got that sort of Marilyn Monroe, sad movie theme thing. But … her career does kind of reflect that, anyway. A lot of her music has been taken from her, and her image has been falsified. I know she writes her own music. … I empathize with her a lot; she’s someone that has done what I call a lot of “boots on the ground” work. I’ve played in every venue, from Chinese food restaurants, to amphitheaters, and it’s a really hard learning process. You can’t just get thrown into something like that. The general audience has thrown Lana Del Rey into the spotlight and kind of castrated her because … she is who she is: An untrained person that wants to write music, and I think it’s really pretty songs.

So she’s a bit of a musical antihero?

Yeah. She’s just a girl man. I sound like a dude right now. But you know what? When I am feeling dramatic in my house, I listen to Lana Del Rey. That’s a fact. There’s a place for everything.

What the heck is Shakey Graves Day?

The City of Austin gives out proclamations every year. Tons of people there, and other bands, have days. Essentially there was one day in 2012, Feb. 9. You go into city hall and play to uninterested city hall people, and then they give you a piece of paper. I decided to continue it and use it as a good opportunity. I release all my music online for free for three days. Every year I put out a new EP that’s only available for those three days. Pay what you want, and then I take everything back off of the Internet. There’s four EP’s that aren’t available any time except for Feb. 9, 10 and 11 of every year. It’s my goal to have a really sick accidental discography.

Tell me about the repeated collaborations with Esme Patterson. How did you meet? Will she perform with you at Outside Lands?

She won’t be at Outside Lands. We met on tour in 2012; one of the first tours I ever did. Her band and (I), we were both opening for a band called He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister. At the time she was playing with a band called Paper Birds. (Later), we played a show together … in Boulder. That was when we wrote (indie hit) “Dearly Departed.” It was on Halloween. We sort of wrote it as a tongue-in-cheek sex joke song.

Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.

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