Manchester-born, NYC-based singer-songwriter Warren Malone’s bio is something else. Not only does he source his musical beginnings at four years old to hearing a Hank Williams record, he also drops—buried there in middle—that his parents met while his father was in prison. It’s a fact of his past that, he says, “is a whole other story. It would be a great movie, actually.”
Unique beginnings make for unique doings, and so it’s no surprise that Malone strays from a common path in his life and work. While the town of his extraction more readily brings to mind the sounds of the almighty Factory Records (Joy Division, et al), Malone’s music—like its maker—flies far from that scene. Malone makes lovely, immediate, folk music; his latest record, And the Ants Ate the Bee, came out last October. BLT sat him down for a Q&A before his appearance in Beauty Love Truth at the PIT on May 31 at 8pm. Even after answering all our favorite questions, he’s still a mystery. We like that about him.
Tell us something you think is beautiful.
The sound of guitar and mandolin together.
What’s something/someone you love that would surprise people?
Tell us something true.
I own 57 copies of Grapes of Wrath. One day I will have a party for the book, and I will use them as invitations. And everyone will come in work clothes. The band at the party will be called The Angry Raisins String Band.
What do you love most about making music?
It makes me feel like I have something to offer, and it makes me feel good.
When did the truth get you in trouble?
Today, yesterday and probably tomorrow.
Have you known other people who have done Beauty Love Truth? What are you expecting? What are you looking forward to?
I know a couple of people who have done it. They speak highly of it. I only expect to have fun playing to new people in a different setting.
Tell us a truth told in your lyrics.
“Daddy was a singer, Daddy was a drunk/ Just a drunken singer, he was murdered in a flophouse/ Broke and drunk, now he’s broke and drunk forever.”
Do you still think of yourself as English? What part of you?
No, I never did. I saw Elvis on a beach in the movie Blue Hawaii when I was four years old, in Manchester, with the rain falling hard and thought to myself, “This is not right.”
Finally: The aliens have landed and one asks you to explain beauty, love, and truth. How do you explain?
I’d say: “A whop Bop a Loobop A Whop bam Boom,” and they will know instantly what I’m talking about.