You might've known Jim Fairchild from his time spent in Grandaddy, playing guitar for those trucker hat-clad Modesto boys, who had a penchant for songs about drunken robots and the like. But when the band split, dismantling the robot named Jed the Humanoid along the way, Fairchild hit the open road under the name All Smiles. His debut solo effort was last year's gorgeous, textured Ten Readings of a Warning, a record that shares the personable appeal of his previous band, but with a stripped-down rock simplicity and breezy delivery that is entirely his own. Like so many likeminded musicians, Fairchild recently pulled up stakes and relocated to Portland, where he took a moment to talk about his new home, his nomadic ways, and his old band.
First off, why Portland? You lived here previously, in 2005, right?
Yeah, we lived up here in 2005 for the summer on a glorified housesitting expedition. I guess the whys are the same as most folks who live here; trees, friends, fantastic food, chickens, rivers, good water, nice air, patios, and tons of people to play music with. There's a spirit here that I don't hope to quantify but identify strongly with. Plus, seeing that many people turn out for Obama gives me hope that we might have a couple years before somebody has true justification to dump a billion-ton pile of steaming rat feces on the way shit runs in this country.
I also have read interviews that place you as living in Modesto, Los Angeles, Chicago, and here as well. Are you a bit of a nomad?
I guess I'm a little nomadic. I started touring when I was 21, so I'm comfortable with the notion of home being a moving target, for now.
Initially, was it difficult to leave the comforts of Grandaddy and embark out on your own?
I joined Grandaddy when I was 21 and we broke up when I was 32, so most of my adult life, until two years ago, was spent in the same rooms with the same five dudes talking mostly the same shit. It was easy, then it was difficult, and now I can't imagine possibly being in that band any more. We were really good for a while, then we weren't very good at all. But I am happier and more productive than I have ever been, and I can say that I'm friends with and have love for each member of Grandaddy.