When they are not making music with Chicago band Wilco, Pat Sansone and John Stirratt are making music with their own project, The Autumn Defense.
The Autumn Defense will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21, as part of The Two Brothers Summer Festival at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway Ave., Aurora. Los Lobos, Edward David Anderson, Ralph’s World and Justin Townes Earle are some of the other acts that will be at the festival, which will run Friday, June 20, through Sunday, June 22. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Sansone about the upcoming show and the band’s fifth album, “Fifth,” which was released earlier this year.
Eric Schelkopf: You guys are going to be at The Two Brothers Summer Festival. Do you like festivals as opposed to playing on your own?
Pat Sansone: Festivals are just like any other performance situation. We’ve definitely had some great festival experiences, and some not so great festival experiences.
The Autumn Defense hasn’t done a ton of festivals. We have a handful of festivals that we are doing this summer, and that’s kind of a first for us, so we’re looking forward to it.
Schelkopf: Of course, you are touring with your latest album, the aptly-named “Fifth.” What were your goals for the album, and do you think you accomplished them?
Sansone: Well, the goals for the album were basically the same as they have been for all our records, to make a record that we are proud of and that it would sound like a record that we would want to listen to ourselves.
And I think we did it. I’m very proud of the album. I’m very happy with how it turned out.
Schelkopf: As far as a project like The Autumn Defense, what does this project give you as opposed to Wilco? Do these songs not fit on a Wilco album?
Sansone: The music of The Autumn Defense is John and I singing our own songs. In Wilco, John and I are there to perform a supporting role and help bring forth the songwriting of Jeff Tweedy.
It’s a great environment to be a musician in, but there’s also a part of John and I that want to sing our songs and do something that is more directly connected to our own creative impulses.
So, that is what The Autumn Defense is for us. I love to write songs, and I love to sing.
Schelkopf: One of the songs that I really enjoy from your last album is “Back of My Mind.” But for some reason, it didn’t get much radio support. Is that frustrating for you?
Sansone: Yes. I would love for our music to be on the radio more and to have a bigger audience. We make this music, and our hope is that as many people as possible will hear it and enjoy it.
We don’t make the music with the intention of keeping it secret. There are some stations around the country that got into it, and have gotten into the new album.
But it would be great if there was even more exposure for the music. That is the goal, to have the music be heard.
Schelkopf: It seems like you are always busy. You toured with The Zombies in April. What made you want to do that?
Sansone: Well, I’m a huge fan. Both John and I are big Zombies fans.
Their 1967 album, “Odessey & Oracle,” was a big influence on John and I, and one of the sort of inspirations for us to even start The Autumn Defense. We actually opened for them back in 2003 when they were beginning to tour again.
To be able to share the stage with some of my musical heroes is a real thrill.