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Published on Apr 24, 2008
Paradiso,Amsterdam, 2008 Image by Rémi Pinaud. Interview by Jochen Heyden. Vic was born in 1964 in Jacksonville, FL and was raised in Zebulon, GA. He loved music from an early age and, in fact, started writing songs when he was only five years old. He played trumpet in a high school cover band. As he got older and began buying records, his first favorites were Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. After a car accident in 1983 that left him partially paralyzed and the recuperation period that followed, Vic came to "a whole new understanding of music. The first results were what he describes as vacuous pop songs But when he discovered a book called The Norton Anthology Of Modern Poetry (its footnotes were eureka!) Vic had, for the first time, what he describes as that art feeling. It was then that his songs began to take on adult form. In the middle 80s, Vic moved to Athens, GA to study English. He formed a group called The La Di Das and began playing the clubs around town. In 1988 he quit the band and started playing solo shows, including a summer-long residency at The 40 Watt. It was then that Michael Stipe saw Vic, repeatedly, and was moved to invite him into a recording studio. They recorded the songs that became his debut album, Little and Vics career effectively began. Vic has made 10 albums to date as well as 2 albums in collaboration with Widespread Panic under the name Brute. He was the subject of a documentary in 1992 entitled Speed Racer directed by noted indie filmmaker Peter Sillen. In 1995 he had bit part in Billy Bob Thorntons film Slingblade. In 1996, Columbia Records put together Sweet Relief II: Gravity Of The Situation - The Songs of Vic Chesnutt, a benefit album to assist musicians with medical and financial hardship. It featured Vics songs covered by the likes of Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum, Garbage & R.E.M. In 2000, The Georgia House Of Representatives passed a resolution, honoring Vic for his off-beat musical genius and other purposes. In 2001 he wrote and performed the music for Josiah Meigs and Me, a puppet play done at St. Annes Warehouse in Brooklyn. In January of 2004, Vic participated in the Randy Newman Tribute at UCLAs Royce Hall along with Victoria Williams, Bill Frisell, Rip Torn and many others. In June of this year, he was invited to share the bill with Rickie Lee Jones for two concerts at the prestigious Century Of Song Festival in Essen, Germany. Over the last few years he has also been speaking on songwriting and creative writing at Berklee School Of Music, Brown University and The University Of Georgia. Vic continues to tour extensively all over the world and has shared stages with the likes of R.E.M., Laura Nyro, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, John Cale, Mo Tucker, The Jayhawks, Allen Toussaint, P.J. Harvey, Wilco, Billy Swan, Giant Sand, Calexico and The Sadies. Reference: 2006 New West Records LLC