What inspired the song "Steamship Moselle"?
I live in East Row of Newport, so the River is obviously the touchstone of the town's early history and still very much a part of the vibe here. The song's a factual account of the 1838 explosion of The Moselle, which remains the largest steamboat disaster in Ohio River history. It was early in the riverboat era and The Moselle was considered the most advanced and fastest ship of the day, so a large crowd assembled in Cincinnati to see it. According to accounts, the cocky young Captain wanted to impress the onlookers and repeatedly called for more steam, which overloaded the boilers and caused a colossal explosion, killing 160 passengers.
"It was remarked that the force of the explosion was unprecedented in the history of steam; its effect was like that of a mine of gunpowder. All the boilers, four in number, burst simultaneously; the deck was blown into the air, and the human beings who crowded it were doomed to instant destruction. Fragments of the boiler and of human bodies were thrown both to the Kentucky and Ohio shores, although the distance to the former was a quarter of a mile".
The song also discusses an actual passenger who was killed in the disaster. Elijah North was a minister, whose body was found, dry, on the Kentucky side of the river, still clutching his family bible. I'd taken my son to the Children's Museum and stumbled onto an article in their magazine, with a photo of a tattered Bible from a library's collection. Inside the front cover was an inscription stating that the Bible had been "found with the remains of Reverend Elijah North, killed upon The Moselle at Cincinnati, April 1838".
Together, both storylines seemed like a good basis for a song and the idea of a guy named North being thrown South was kind of irresistible. It was one of the first songs we recorded for Damndest and our friend Chuck Cleaver (Wussy/Ass Ponys) sings a nice cameo in the bridge. I always thought he should play Elijah North in a video, but we didn't get around to shooting one.
What is your favorite summertime venue to play in Cincinnati?
The Bunbury Festival was fantastic and a real high point for us, but we've also done several Indie Summer Series shows on Fountain Square for the past few years, so the big stage in the heart of downtown has really come to signify summertime for our band.
What is next for The Ready Stance? shows, tour etc?
We have a couple of out of town dates coming up and we're really looking forward to Midpoint (The Ready Stance performs MPMF at The Drinkery on Saturday, September 28 at 9:45 pm). After that, we'll be knuckling down to finish the next record, before we start making plans for it's release and touring.