This week the Recording Academy announced that it’s dropping the Grammy award for Best Polka Album. Think that’s not big news? Tell it to polka king Jimmy Sturr, who has won an amazing 18 times in that category. After the jump he explains why the Grammys have made a mistake and why you’ll never see him wearing lederhosen. Trust us: it’s a lot more interesting than you think.
Entertainment Weekly: Were you surprised by the decision to drop the polka category?
Jimmy Sturr: Well, this has been in the wind for the last couple of years. I guess they dropped it because there was a lack of entries. I think last year we only had around 35.
That actually sounds like quite a lot. It has been suggested that they dropped the category because you nearly always win.
That had nothing to do with it. There’s a reason we won. I’m not saying our records are the best in the whole wide world. But we built a bigger audience than some of these other people. A lot of these musicians that are complaining they play strictly to the Polish, strictly to the Germans. I Americanized it. I mean, they didn’t knock out Sir Georg Solti and he won well over 20.
Damn you Solti!
But now they have to find a category to put us in. And I’m looking forward to finding out what that category is. They can’t just leave us out of the Grammys.
Do you think the Grammys looks down its nose at polka music?
Let’s put it this way: you’ve got a good point. Polka is really an international music. It’s enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Maybe the new powers that be have no idea what’s going on. And people in television don’t know anything about polka. Do you ever see any kind of music similar to ours on the Tonight Show? David Letterman? They don’t know how good the musicians are. These guys still think that everybody’s in lederhosen. That is a gripe that hurts me.
Oh, come on, you do have some lederhosen somewhere, right?
I’m Irish! No, I don’t have any lederhosen! You know, Willie Nelson started in a polka band.
That guy’s a total stoner, though. He probably didn’t know what kind of band he was in. So, tell us about your new album.
You ready for this? The CD is called Polka Cola: Music That Refreshes.
Are you hoping for corporate sponsorship?
Of course I am. And I’m hoping for a category!
Where do you keep all your Grammys?
I can’t tell you or everyone will come to my house and rob the things.
So, they’re at your house?
Yeah, they are.