Fred Thomas talks 'All Are Saved'

We love longtime Ypsi/Ann Arbor resident Fred Thomas' new record, All Are Saved, so much we had to ask him about some of the songs.

Metro Times: Let's start with the first song, "Every Song Sung to a Dog." Why are there steel drums for the first sound of your album?

Fred Thomas: It's actually a guitar being run through a pitch shifter and an Echoplex, trying to sound like a steel drum, but by and for people who hate the sound of steel drums. A copy of a copy — ends up being something totally different!

MT: What the hell is "When They Built the Schools" about?

Thomas: This is a song about how falling in love can revert you back to your baseline feelings, your original self, the person you've been since you were born and always will be. It's so beautiful to remember yourself.

MT: Wait, isn't "Monster Movie" already the title for something I like already?

Thomas: Yeah, pretty sure there's a Blue Öyster Cult record called Monster Movie. Just kidding!

MT: If "Bad Blood" were an ice cream flavor, which one would it be (it's cool if it's vegan)?

Thomas: Probably a sour flavor that eventually just gets thrown out after sitting in the freezer for six months. Brambleberry?

MT: "Unfading Flower" — what's your favorite thing about this song?

Thomas: This song feels to me the same way that 1995 movie Kicking and Screaming does. It's about college, or getting a little bit older, or something? But mostly it's in between feelings and kind of pleasantly gray.

MT: "Bed Bugs" reminds me I wanted to ask who are your top three literary influences, because your song titles are the best.

Thomas: Thank you! Anne Carson, John Donne, Jae Choi. Mostly poets.

MT: And finally, "Expo." If you listen to this as if you didn't write it, what do you think about it?

Thomas: It's a little irritating, to be honest. Probably really fun to play but sort of bombastic in an overbearing way. Sounds like Ani DiFranco playing with Bloc Party, which seems horrible, but it's probably just OK.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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