A Conversation with Jesse Matheson about his debut album, Pleasure Pounds, a record so full of fun, food, sexual innuendo, and sexual food innuendo youâ€™re sure to be back for a second helpingâ€¦
Jesse Matheson, what do you mean when you say Pleasure Pounds?
Pleasure pounds are something like a love handle,” says the aÂffable singer-songwriter. “They’re those parts of a woman’s body that are, well, womanly.” So is it safe to say, then, Jesse, that your debut album, which is entitled Pleasure Pounds, is a celebration of women’s bodies? “Well, that’s part of it,” he says. “That is definitely a part of it. But I’m not just about the female figure…I don’t start there. I’m crazy about the way women’s bodies get to be like that. I’m crazy about food.”
Are you really crazy, Jesse?
“Have you heard ‘The French Song’?” [in â€œThe French Songâ€ Jesse lists all 23 French words he knows in an eÂort to seduce the object of his desire]
Good point. Tell me about that song.
“Oh, you know, I’m not just about women’s bodies and food. But, for the record, I am about women’s bodies and food. But I’m also about, you know, the work it takes to keep all of that going. You’ve gotta put in the eÂffort for romance, you’ve gotta go for gusto. Even if you only know about 23 words in French.”
Gusto, huh? How does that apply to this record?
“Gusto, yeah. I think that comes from all the bands I listened to when I was a teenager. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, the Velvet Underground, Mojo Nixon, and Railroad Jerk, this great band from New York that nobody seems to remember anymore, but they were on Beavis & Butthead once and it changed my life. All these bands I looked up to didnâ€™t do things halfway. They didnâ€™t worry about looking silly even when they did things that nobody else was doing. They would just go for it and let their music be their music. It could be strange or silly, or whatever, but they put it out and let it stand. Thatâ€™s what Neil Diamond does. He goes out on stage and sings these ridiculous songs, but he believes in them, and thatâ€™s why people love him. Thatâ€™s why I love him, and thatâ€™s what I try to do. So I pulled out all the stops when I was making Pleasure Pounds with producer Caleb Stull. I thought, how would Mojo Nixon do it? How would Lou Reed do it? Lou Reed would call in David Bowie. I donâ€™t know Bowieâ€™s phone number. So I called in every favour I had out there, and got some of the best musicians around to help me out. Allison Russell of Poâ€™ Girl sings on a few songs, and who needs Bowie when youâ€™ve got her singing? Jesse has appeared at select Folk Festivals in Canada including the Regina Folk Festival. In the spring of 2008, he toured Western Canada with his band, The Midnight Snacks.