Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s Talks Basketball

RE-AWRichard Edwards, singer/songwriter of Margot & The  Nuclear So and So’s is an Indiana native. Many people in other states believe people from Indiana are basketball lovers by default, but is Richard?

The forthcoming 2012 record, Rot Gut, Domestic, features a rock song tribute to basketball’s, Lithuanian big man, Arvydas Sabonis.  {Sabonis entered the NBA late in his life, 1996, winning rookie of the year while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.  He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1985 but faced many era-related obstacles; NBA age requirements, Soviet Union laws, and horrible injuries to overcome before finally ending up in the NBA in 1996.  In 2003, he left the NBA to return home to finish out his professional career in the Euroleague with the BC Žalgiris, based in Kaunas, LithuaniaDo you feel better knowing this now?  We hope so.)

Rot Gut, Domestic isn’t out until March 2012. It’s a vicious collection of rock songs dressed up in bleeding bass & guitar tones. Inspired by the repeat listens to “Arvydas Sabonis” from the forthcoming RGD LP, Andy talks to Richard about basketball and other stuff, but mainly basketball because winter is cruel and dark— and we all need something to make it to spring once again.




On the forthcoming Rot Gut, Domestic (2012), you’ve written a song about NBA/Euroleague professional ballplayer, Arvydas Sabonis.  Of all the great, ex-professional ballplayers, why Sabonis over, say, home state heros, Steve Alford and Lawrence Bird?

Stephen Alford and Bird came along just before I was of an age to form emotional connections with ball players. Besides, they are not the kind of players who generally spark my interest. A bit too pale.

Very pale, blinding even. Being from Indiana, did you like Michael Jordan (Michael Horde-it) growing up?

We loved Michael Jordan, we even saw him play at Market Square Arena once. We rooted for him to beat the Pacers, but now I feel ashamed of that. Jordan seems like a grade A asshole, doomed to a loveless life by his obsession. Conversely, Reggie Miller and Rik Smits seem like real cool guys. How could you not root for Smitty as a kid? It boggles the mind. I was even sad when Smits hit that last second shot to beat the Magic in ’95, because my little brother loved Penny Hardaway.

I was a huge fan of Reggie Miller, loved his outside game.  I know a few Reggies but he may be the first Reggie I ever knew about in life. Enough, I failed to ask you this question ahead of time but have you seen what the fuck Michael has been wearing? I failed to share it with you before now, sorry.  Let’s talk about some Bobby BasketBallers. 

hurley-bobbyWhat is it about Bobby Hurley that many people couldn’t stand as a ballplayer?

He looked like Bobby Hurley and he went to Duke.


Such a big basketball heart for such a little man that Bobby Hurley is.  Would Bobby Knight be able to handle the modern day ballplayer’s ego coaching in the NBA today- or ever?

I think Bobby Knight’s ego would be, and has always been, the problem. I like Bobby, alright, but I would have no problem defending anyone, pro or otherwise, for Sprewell-ing his pale ass. Basketball is a game of poetry and finesse, you keep that Bobby Knight shit on the football field.

I’d like to see Mr. Knight as the new governor of Illinois. Speaking of, Illinois has corruption, California has porn, and Indiana’s tagged with the hoops stigma.  Being an Indiana native yourself, is this stereotype true or are politicians in Indiana looking for new safe ways to hide corruption and porn in the state of Indiana by using hoops as an eternal, positive foil?

They’re looking for a way to hide meth and crack. I cannot, and not for lack of trying, see any evidence of this ‘Indiana as basketball mecca’ mythology. Certainly not of this good ole’ boy, short shorts, pale variety that gets thrown about. That’s a thing of the past, if it ever existed at all. IU had a lot to do with that image, and they have (had?) been bad for some time, so I’m sure that had something to do with the degradation of the myth.

American myths are like finding available jobs anywhere in the states, or those weapons of mass destruction we heard about 10 years ago.  Just myths! Let’s say Dick Cheney was the same age and height as our president.  Can we pretty much assume that President Obama would destroy Mr. Cheney in a 1 on 1 basketball match?  Would Dick pay off the refs ahead of time to assure his escape from defeat, and then easily deal with the fines later that one of his defense contracts will cover for him?

Obama would beat his ass.

YES, HE CAN.  Do you think the NBA was ever scripted like the WWF / WWE was in the 80s and 90s?  (We all know that wrestling and basketball are all real now.)

I think if the NBA had been scripted, at least in the recent past, we wouldn’t have gotten all of those Spurs championships and Pistons finals appearances. Although, that referee who went to jail supposedly screwed Phoenix and Sacramento out of some playoff series’. And it is well documented that the refs used to gang up on Iverson. So maybe the NBA is just the most ineptly scripted sport in history, and they just manage to cheat it into being way more boring than it would if they left it alone.

It’s still hard to comprehend how dull those Spurs teams were.  Suiting up Detroit’s  fans would make for some good games however.  Ron Harper, ex-Cavalier/Clipper/Bull/Laker, is a legend in his own time. Should he be considered for the NBA Hall of Fame for easily managing to be the teammate of so many jerks on championship teams at a pivotal time in the history of the NBA between 1994-2001?

I think if you managed  to put up with Jordan during those years, you should get some sort of prize. If Hall of Fame induction is what you propose, I will defer to you on the matter.

I think Ron was a very nice guy who brought sunshine & laughs to the most egotistical team in the history of the NBA— especially in post game interviews. For that alone, he deserves sunny spot in the Hall of Fame.  Another sunny ballplayer— Reggie Miller, we touched on him already; but do you know any ‘Reggies’? Sorry, meant to ask earlier.

I’m genuinely sorry to say I have never met another Reggie.

Here’s your chance, Richard, meet my friend Reggie‘s podcast— he is very tough and can help you with anything. If you order a pizza at 4am, he’ll deliver it. 815-570-9866. Anyway, what else is there to do in Indiana besides play basketball?

Shit, lots of people snort cheap stuff they shouldn’t. People used to watch the Colts. That’s all over now. I believe there are rock shows for the young people, but no film scene. The kids just bum around when they’re not shooting hoops. A lot of playing hard, very little working hard. Alright place to live and to play basketball.

Sounds much safer than Rockford, IL. I’m sure you are aware of the rap records and video games Shaquille O’ Neal put out when he became a famous, large basketball man.  Do you own any of his recordings?

Yes, I own all the rap recordings; and I re-downloaded Shaq Fu when I was somewhere in Texas with the Twilight Singers. I bought all the cassettes when I was a kid, at a local flea market where I also bought basketball cards. When I was young, my favorite was shoot, pass, slam and we used to taunt each other with it’s chorus (do you want me to shoot it? Nooooo.. do you want me to pass it? Noooooo… Do you want me to slam?? SLAM!) while we were playing each other in basketball. Now I’m more into Biological (didn’t botha), because it’s more personal. I like it when he says, “Phil is my father!”

Shaq has had a few Phils for fathers. My favorite, Sir Phil Jackson, the George Martin of Basketball! What is life for you like without basketball during this NBA strike? Do you miss it?

It fucking sucks. When I first started living in Chicago, I had a little disposable income, and I discovered that you could buy this league pass thing, where you can watch every game. It was the greatest year of my life. I just drank beer and watched a few games, then maybe a movie or read a little. It actually changes my brain chemistry when I know basketball will be on TV at night, and it gives me something to live for. I don’t feel as depressed. This lockout is affecting me really negatively.

I hear ya there.  I’ve tried watching college basketball games but there’s something unsatisfying about watching them play for free. Do you have any advice for the poorer NBA basketball players as to what they could be doing with their time? Which books they may want to read; or which records they should be listening to as well?

Probably Shaq’s records. They should watch movies like Patton and shows like Friday Night Lights to get inspired for the season, whenever that may be. There used to be a football show called Playmakers, and they should watch that, too.

Christmas Day 2011 is almost here, Richard!  5 games are scheduled to ease the holiday stress.  If push comes to shove and the NBA needs teams to entertain people, is your band, Margot and The Nuclear So & So’s, ready to suit up?

My band would embarrass themselves, but I could come in as a ringer and be a good team player who likes to shoot first and throw passes later. I have a saying, I’d give it all up for one day of glory on the field, but field could also be court.

Who would play what positions; and what color uniforms would Margot prefer to sport on the court?

I want black uniforms with red trim, but like I said, most of my band mates would make fools of themselves on the court, so I would trade them all, except for maybe Chris, for the guys from Black Eyed Peas or LFO. I would play point guard, and the Black Eyed Peas would be my decoy players.

Will I Am is NASTY; his layups make millions and his half-court lob is a thing of beauty. What will your team eat before the game that will allow them to perform their best?  Keep in mind, that vegan shit don’t fly on a basketball court so well, and you’re the coach, you are the decider- what do you force them to eat?

You must be mixing me and Cameron up. I don’t do that vegan jive. Hot Dougs will get them operating at maximum capacity.

Hot Dougs is delicious but your guys might need potty breaks at half time, and many vegetables do not agree with sweat or pork these days.  Who in Margot has the best chance of dunking a ball through an orange metal rim?

I used to dunk the shit out of a basketball when I was 18. I think Chris gets the closest now. My body doesn’t work anymore.

Mine either, been bathing in too much Rockford area river water. We started this conversation with Sabonis, who you’ve written a great rock song about, it’s due out on Rot Gut, Domestic in 2012.  It had me thinking of other great, rock song, tributes named after performers like Alex Chilton by The Replacements.  What are your favorite rock song tributes?

Dear Prudence is way up there, but it’s obviously a bit more covert than the two songs you mentioned. I don’t know a whole lot about this young band of Wavvvvvvvves, but I heard a song by them about Dave Grohl that I thought was fun and catchy.

Dave Grohl has a decent beard to make up for his lack of everything else; and so does my personal basketball hero, Bill Wennington.  One last question: Is there any chance the great, bearded, Canadian–Wennington–gets his own song one day?

Let’s say, absolutely.

Thank you, Richard, can’t wait for people to hear Rot Gut, Domestic. Happy holidays and here’s to safe travels on the road, and the court.

AW | Andy Whorehall


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Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So and So's Talks BasketballAndy Whorehall

One comment on "Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s ..."

  1. Great interview, but hey, don’t kid about the Bill Wennington song. It is time for his resurrection and rise back into the upper echelon of humanity!

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