The Smoking Flowers

Smoking FlowersInterview with The Smoking Flowers
Christopher Duda  (

Did that apple fall on your head? Have you ever performed a show with the apple on your head for the duration of the whole concert? And lastly what is your preference in apple types or strains?

Kim:  The apple on my head is actually my newest hat.  Wore it to Steeplechase.  Then got hungry and ate it.

No, never wore it at a show. I do like the idea of a balancing act on stage, though.  It usually is a circus with our full band anyway.

Scott likes Pink Ladies.  I personally like my MacBook Pro laptop the best.

Do people ever refer to you as the Sonny and Cher of Nashville?

Scott:  Can’t say we’ve never heard that, but it is more common that they refer to us as the Bonnie & Clyde of Nashville

Kim:  And not because we have ever robbed a bank or harmed anyone.  Feel like I should mention that.

Scott:  Yea, must be because of our chemistry and style.  And vintage car.

Can you wink like a female impersonator doing his best Cher?

Scott:  Kim can do more than that when it comes to Cher. She is a maestro at both the wink & the tongue in cheek. And you should see her wear one of Cher’s outfits.

Why is Nashville important in the make of who you are?

Scott:  The roots/country/Americana aspect of our music is probably the most prominent  Nashville influence. You live somewhere long enough and you eventually find yourself in rhythm with its true pulse. We were both more rock n roll by nature, I would say, prior to moving to Nashville umpteen years ago.  Kim has been here 24 years and has been a fixture in the music scene for most of those years, so Nashville has definitely been an influence on her.  Sometimes the Loretta or Patsy comes out of her and sneaks into our songs.

Is Grimey’s Record store an important channel to todays music scene in Nashville?

Kim:  Undoubtedly.  Both the record store and it’s music venue, The Basement (owned & booked by my good friend of 25 years, Mike Grimes), which spun off of his East Nashville venue the Slow Bar in early 2000′s. We’ve been in East Nashville since 1999.  A lot has blossomed here since then.  There’s another solid local-scene record store called The Groove, but Grimey’s is the undisputed godfather.

Who are you biggest influences and why? Gram Parsons/Townes Van Zandt or more traditional country and or rockabilly like Hank Williams, George Jones, Wanda Jackson etc..

K & S:  Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Elvis (Scott went to Elvis’s funeral when he was 3 years old), Linda Ronstadt, Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, The Ramones, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

Why?  Because we grew up on them (except Welch & Rawlings) and identify with the honesty in all of those artists.

The biggest attraction of an artist like Neil is that he is brave enough to swagger into both the folk/country and rock/punk realms. And be uninhibited in either one. And be equally as profound and relevant in either one.  That alone is a big influence on us. Zeppelin kind of had that ability, too.

Was punk ever on your radar?

Kim:  Absolutely.  I was 70’/80’s child and couldn’t believe what I heard when I first listened to true punk.  It hooked me.

and if so what punk bands did you cut your teeth on?

Scott: The Ramones definitely are, were, and always will be tops.

Kim:  The Sex Pistols and The Ramones were my first introductions to Punk and still my favorites.  I also liked bands such as The Dead Milk Men, The Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys.   And The Clash, although I wasn’t sure if they were considered punk at the time.  I see clearly now that they were.

Is there any plans to tour outside of the USA?

K& S:  Absolutely. Fall/winter 2013 prospectively in Europe & the U.K.

What is your most memorable gig?

Scott:  There have been several. The one I will always remember the most, though, is the first time we ever played together as The Smoking Flowers. It was at The Basement in Nashville. The room was packed. It was just the two of us. We only played 2 or 3 songs. You could hear a pin drop. This was years ago, before duos were the trend that they are now. It took everyone (including) ourselves off-guard. We all collectively knew something special was going down.

Kim:  I had a solo rock band in the 90’s and early 2000’s called Kim’s Fable (Middle Eastern Rock in style).  We played a big outdoor show in Nashville (Uptown Mix) on September 12, 2001.  Obviously an ominous day and I honestly thought the show would be cancelled.  But it wasn’t.  I decided to only include my positive songs of love and peace.  It was the hardest show I’ve ever played… still stunned by the previous day’s events.  People actually showed up.  At one point in the show the audience were all holding hands and a lot of folks were in tears.  It was during my song “Mando Song” which speaks of the longing for peace in the world.  That show proved to me the power of healing through music.

Can you share a good ol’ southern recipe with us?

Kim:  I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, so here is a healthy vegan version of a classic.

Hoppin’ John with Collards
¼ cup apple cider vinegar, divided
2 Tbs. agave nectar
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. chili powder, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
1 large bunch collard greens, chopped
4 slices meatless low-fat bacon strips, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (¾ cup)
3 ribs celery, chopped (¾ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 ½ cups cooked long-grain white or brown rice
1 15.5-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1. Whisk together 2 Tbs. vinegar, agave nectar, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt; set aside.

2. Cook collard greens in pot of boiling salted water 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.

3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, onion, celery, garlic, and remaining 1/2 tsp. chili powder. Cook 8 minutes, or until translucent. Add collard greens, vinegar-agave nectar mixture, 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid, 2 Tbs. vinegar, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until greens are tender. Transfer to serving platter.

4. Add rice and beans to skillet. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid, and cook 3 minutes, or until heated through. Serve rice and beans over greens.

Serves 4

Does the Nashville music community embrace newcomers with open arms? Seems the Black Keys went to press with the comment… “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us Jack White”

Scott: My personal experience as a newcomer on the scene was not so much of an embrace in the beginning. My brother and I were a bit of outsiders, playing unpolished and raw music and recording analog at a time when it wasn’t the trend.  In the end, I could never image feeling closer & so supported by a music community, but it took time. Kim seemed to be embraced fully from day one when she entered the Nashville music scene in the early 90’s.  Her solo band was pretty successful, considering they never signed to a label.  Never has our community here humbled me more than how they rose to the occasion last year when Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer. This community literally helped to save & heal her. We could have never afforded the alternative treatments that Kim adopted without the benefit concerts & fundraisers that were organized & executed by our music community. We will never forget that, and will always give back to this marvelously independent & giving music community.

Kim:  Plus, this is neither Jack White’s nor The Black Keys town.  They moved here because of the energy and the talent that was already present here.  That’s why they all flock here.  People are kind in this town, and Nashville is big enough for the world, in my opinion.  But this is coming from a true southern girl overflowing with hospitable nature!

Music fills voids for many people. What do you think you would be doing if you were not able to create music. Do you think you would turn to another art6 form?

Kim:  I would be in the world of natural medicine, an Ayurvedic Practitioner a yoga instructor or maybe a marine biologist.  I have so many varied artistic interests, that I would always be creative if music weren’t in my life.  I love photography and design.  I also love to cook and make homemade kombucha (my friends call it “Kimbucha”)!  Is that an art form?

Scott:   Indeed. I probably would be a wine maker. Or a film director.  I would hire Kim as a lead actress… or assistant wine maker.  Very hard to imagine something other than music, though.  In my dreams I’d be a tennis pro… gearing up for Wimby as we speak!

Has your past musical collaborations shaped who you are musically? 

Kim:  Inevitably the past seeps into who you are as an artist.  But I take pride in the fact that I stay pretty individual with my style without too much outside influence.  My husband has most definitely helped shape me to be more dedicated and focused with my writing.   Otherwise, I get side tracked and aloof!

Scott:  The bulk of my career has involved playing with my wife, my brother, or both. They are probably as big of an influence on me as anyone, up there with Neil Young.

What are some current bands that you believe should be given recognition and on that same token what are some defunct bands that should of been given recognition? 

Current:  First Aid Kit, Phil Hummer & The WhiteFalcons, The Buddies, Pat Hull, Kurt Vile, Diamond Rugs, Ours

Defunct:   Daniel Johnston, Joe Marc’s Brother, Greg Garing, Pale Blue Dot, Kim’s Fable

What is the future for the two of you as a married couple and fellow musicians? 

Kim:  In the near future, we will have a lot of time on the road together, which we enjoy.  We also have an entire new album’s worth of songs written and ready to record.  So we see ourselves in the studio again later this year.   Our marriage is our career together as well as our personal love life.  Those two elements really blend as one for us, which is something that is rare and beautiful.  So far (for 15 years), it seems to be working!

Scott:  I truly love singing with Kim.  There is nothing like it.  It never gets old.  And I never tire of writing songs.  The line between “married couple” & “fellow musicians” is very blurry for us.

Does working and living together ever get in the way of your own personal freedom??

K & S:  To us, this walk of life is a true lifestyle, so our personal freedoms aren’t compromised.  We certainly have other individual interests, but our way of life is what our statement is.  It is our breath and life force.  We love adventure together… in any form.  We truly believe in and have adopted the liberating philosophy of living in the moment.  Until we both reach a point, musically or personally, of “I don’t think this is working for me anymore” then we will keep at it together. What did master Yoda say, “always in motion is the future.” ?

Are there any regrets? 

Nope. Unless not being in the right place at the right time is a regret.