Singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith once told The Current that as a kid, he dreamed of growing up to be a biochemist, of creating vaccines and curing diseases. All grown up, that’s not exactly where he finds himself, but his music, including this year’s Heart Murmurs, may still provide a remedy to those titular afflictions of the heart. He assures on “Tourniquet,” the album’s first single: “When you feel like dying, think you won’t be missed / I will be there in an ambulance.” Messersmith’s music is highly personal; “songs are a way for me to process and understand things,” he told the Star Tribune. The songs of Heart Murmurs are buoyantly melodic and consistently catchy, whether depicting joyous love or aching heartbreak. He has been touring these songs across the country, including two sold-out shows at First Avenue this February, and on Saturday, June 21, he’ll stop by the Walker for the first day of Rock the Garden 2014.
After Dessa’s consideration of life’s questions both big and small, Messersmith gives us our next installment of Rock the Garden 8-Ball, describing some of his Twin Cities favorites and providing some wise words from Terminator 2.
What’s your best kept Twin Cities secret you don’t mind sharing?
The Midtown Global Market. It’s funny how many of my friends in Minneapolis have still NEVER been there. It has The Salty Tart, The Rabbit Hole, Hot Indian, Holy Land, Sonora Grill, and so many other fantastic food options. It’s also a venue and community space. It doesn’t get much better than that!
What are three of your tour necessities?
A slanket, a jumprope and a giant bottle of hand sanitizer.
Do you have a favorite park/green space in the Twin Cities?
I’m not sure if this counts, but I’d pick the Greenway. It’s beautiful, functional and busy. It’s still one of the greatest urban bike paths I’ve seen.
What are you afraid of?
I’m not a particularly brave person, but most of my little fears about things (heights, public speaking) pale when compared to the big picture. My biggest fear is simply that we humans will not outlive our adolescence as a species and we may never get to travel the stars. We are rapidly making our own world uninhabitable through reckless and short sighted environmental destruction. That’s the fear that keeps me up at night. Okay, that and clowns.
What is your favorite sound?
I think my first impulse is to say silence, but that’s been done to death by John Cage already right?
Apparently, I’ve been conditioned by the advertising industry because I find the sound of a can of soda opening to be profoundly satisfying. The worst part of that is that I never drink soda!
If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
My last meal would consist of a glass of Pinot Noir, a chocolate tart, and a mushroom crostini with amanita mushrooms. Of course, amanita mushrooms are fatal, but I’d much rather go out on my own terms than give satisfaction to whoever was trying to execute me!
What fictional character do you most relate to?
Any Haruki Murakami protagonist. I’m cheating a little, but I often find them to be fairly passive, introverted males in their mid-30s. They also seem to spend a lot of time cooking and eating while crazy things are happening all around them. Sometimes being a traveling musician feels an awful lot like that.
What advice do you have for young people?
I’m going to quote Terminator 2, the film I try to live my life by: “No fate but what we make.”