During these trying times, it's tempting to look at next Monday's solar eclipse — the first to be visible on U.S. mainland in 38 years — as a scary omen: the dragon devouring the sun, as the ancient Chinese imagined.
When the sky darkens and the sun's corona can be seen shining from all directions around the moon, it's easy to think of the phenomenon of "totality" as a harbinger of the end of the world. And there's no one better to talk about doomsday drinking with than New Orleans-based musician and inventor Quintron, who is headed to Nashville, the largest American city in the eclipse's path, to perform at Third Man Records on Monday at exactly 11:58 a.m. There, Quintron and his weather-controlled drone synthesizer Weather Warlock, which last made a Memphis appearance at Gonerfest 11, will create a special soundtrack for the eclipse at an event billed as "Occulting the Sunn."
You've spent a lot of time in Memphis, mostly performing at the old Hi-Tone on Poplar and the new Hi-Tone on Cleveland. Got a favorite bar to drink in when you're in town?
I haven't really done a lot of bar-hopping in Memphis. I drink when I'm on tour, and then I don't go out to bars when I'm not, because I work in a bar every night.
What's in your cup when you're onstage?
I never drink before I play, ever. I always start drinking at the eighth song of the night, and I always drink whiskey. Because I play organ, I'm sitting and bouncing around, and beer is too foamy. I drink good American bourbon that's slightly watered down, on the rocks with maybe a splash of soda water.
From your music to your inventions, which include the Drum Buddy and Weather Warlock, you're an incredibly creative person. Does drinking help when you have a creative block?
Well, everybody's different, but I definitely think it does. The main benefit of drinking alcohol during the creative process is that it's almost like getting a free second opinion, but a second opinion from yourself through the goggles of drunkenness. Drinking can eliminate that certain fear that exists in your thinking, whether you're writing lyrics or creating new stuff.
Do you have any recommendations for drinking during the solar eclipse?
I think it's silly for me to recommend what other people drink, honestly. It's such a personal choice — it's related to where you are in life and where you are in your head. I'll probably be drinking something memorable — something aged, maybe wine. I always feel like beer is for fun and barbecues and birthdays, and wine is for those contemplative events that are more time imbued. So, perhaps I'll be drinking wine or a fancy old bourbon. Wouldn't it be nice to drink an old Scotch from as many years ago as when the last full solar eclipse in Tennessee was?
Uh, according to Google, the last time that a total solar eclipse was visible from Nashville would've been in 1478.
Let's drink a bourbon from the 1500s!
Any thoughts on other weather-themed cocktails?
All of that stuff seems trite, although actually I've always liked a Dark and Stormy. It's that ginger flavor. I didn't know of their existence until craft cocktails got popular again and they popped up in New Orleans, where we have weather-themed everything.
Fuck that shit. Hurricanes are sweet, gross, headachy bullshit. Look, I'm sure some pretentious bartenders are going to invent some ridiculous eclipse-themed cocktails this weekend. If you want to drink during the solar eclipse, go for quality. Splurge, people! This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing!