3/20/2006

The Thrills

The Thrills Interview
By alexander laurence

The Thrills are a new group of five friends from Dublin, Ireland, who have come out of nowhere to impress the European music scene. So there were a lot of expectations in New York City for their first American show during the recent CMJ festival. I can tell you that I was there and I saw the light. They were well received and won over the crowd, mostly made up of jaded journalists who had seen it all. There take on California music is reminiscent of Gram Parsons and The Beach Boys. It turns out that much of their inspiration was taken from a visit to San Diego in 1999. Many of their songs about Big Sur and Santa Cruz have this romantic idealization and longing about them that is unique. And with great pop songs like "Don't Steal Our Sun" and "One Horse Town," The Thrills really are thrilling.

Their 2003 debut album, So Much for the City, has finally been released here in America. It was one of the biggest debuts in the UK along with records by The Darkness and Interpol. This record really began two years ago when Morrissey discovered them. He offered them an opening spot on a London gig. Soon they were signed to a label and were ready to do this album back in California. I got to talk to the leaders and childhood friends, Conor Deasy and Daniel Ryan, during their stay in New York City. We hung out on their bus outside the Bottom Line while their crew slept on the other side. After a few drinks and a few false starts we got to talk about the music of The Thrills.

Conor Deasy: Vocals
Daniel Ryan: Guitars and Vocals
Ben Carrigan: Drums
Kevin Horan : Keyboards
Padraic McMahon: Guitars and Vocals

-------------------------------------------


AL: How long has the band been together?

Conor: Since we were about sixteen. We are all twenty-four now.

AL: Are there a lot of live shows and an indie scene in Dublin?

Conor: Not really. A little bit. When you are growing up you don't realize that Dublin is different than most cities. Most of the music is based on live shows. There is a big live scene of Irish bands that play at the pub. They don't get out of Dublin too often. Then there is a big scene for bands who are well known there, but who nobody else knows. JJ72 is one of the few bands that broke out of Ireland, but it's hard for Irish bands in the UK. London has been slow to pick up on them.

AL: Have you been offered to play with U2?

Daniel: No, we haven't. We are not big U2 fans. I don't know if we would do it or not. I don't think it's a good idea for an Irish band to go out with U2.

AL: Did you release other records or EPs before you did this album?

Conor: We put out an EP of our old demos that we recorded when we were younger. We recorded them in a cheap Dublin studio during the night.

Daniel: It was the first single released by Virgin Records. It was an EP of demos.

AL: When did you start recording So Much For The City?

Conor: This time, a year ago, around Fall 2002. We recorded it in two months in a studio in Hollywood called Sound Factory.

Daniel: Ryan Adams has been doing stuff there.

AL: Did you bump into anyone there?

Conor: We bumped into Slash from Guns & Roses.

AL: Who produced it?

Conor: A guy called Tony Hoffer. He did records with Beck and Air. He's a good guy. It was a good experience. We were looking for people to work with. We saw who he had produced in the past, so we thought he would be good. We rang him up. We spoke to him on the phone and he seemed like an easygoing guy. He didn't have a big fucking ego.

AL: Are all these tracks live takes?

Daniel: Yeah. That is a good way to work.

AL: Does it take a lot of practice to do harmonies?

Daniel: Yeah it does. We haven't perfected it, but we are getting there.

AL: Who does most of the songwriting?

Conor: I usually do most of the songwriting. Then we work hard together to make a song come together.

AL: How do you know when you have a proper song?

Conor: We have an egg timer. We usually give ourselves an hour and an half to complete a song. We stop there and hopefully by then it's all-together.

AL: You work fast.

Daniel: If it's not happening after an hour, it's not worth pursuing it.

AL: How many songs have you written?

Daniel: We have about 170 songs.

AL: Do you play out all of those songs?

Conor: We like stacking them up. That means that we can release six albums after we break up.

Daniel: Most of them are recorded. We play a lot of them at soundcheck before a gig. We did a secret gig in Dublin. We played all our songs over two days. It was at an art gallery.

AL: Did you take any breaks?

Daniel: We took only one break. We went home to go to bed and then we came back and finished the next day. It was two seven hour sets. It was the tightest gig we ever did.

AL: Did people stay for both shows?

Daniel: Yeah, because we are quite big in Ireland. It was one of the best gigs we ever did.

AL: I saw a band play for three hours the other night.

Conor: That's a stroll in the park to us. In Toronto, we played for four hours. But most of the shows on this American tour are going to be 45 minutes.

AL: Are you pretty excited to be playing in New York City?

Conor: Yeah. It's a rock and roll city.

AL: I saw you play at six in the morning on Channel Two on one of the morning shows. I left the TV on and I woke up and there you were. I was thinking that I have to interview you guys the next day. Have you been here in New York a while?

Conor: Really. It was an acoustic session. We did it a few days ago.

Daniel: We played at the Mercury Lounge first, then went to Boston and Toronto. Now we are back.

AL: Have you played in America before?

Daniel: No, we have been here before. We did mostly traveling and spreading the word. We hung out in California in 1999 and 2000. We didn't do any tours. We played some shows once in while. We did about thirty shows but they were shitty. There were about ten people there.

Conor: The bars would kick us off after an hour. We would just be getting warmed up about then. It's strange. Since then we have only played short shows in America. Americans don't like us playing more than 45 minutes.

AL: What do you think about that?

Conor: Some songs have long guitar jams and people aren't into that.

AL: When I listen to your record I think of many Californian records made during the 1970s. What other sorts of music do you like?

Conor: We love Classic West Coast. We also like Frank Sinatra, Air and Daft Punk.

AL: What's the hardest thing about being in a band?

Daniel: Probably sleeping on the bus. It's hard to fall asleep on a bus at night. Trying to keep Kev on the straight and narrow.

AL: Is this bus going to be trashed by the end of the tour?

Conor: It's getting crazy just the three of us on this couch. This is our third bus and it's only been four days on tour.

AL: What does your family think of your records?

Daniel: They despise them.

Conor: They think that rock and roll is Satan's music. They hate it. We don't tell them too much about it because it will upset them too much.

AL: Did you have a real religious upbringing?

Daniel: Yeah. Kev's dad is like… have you heard of Benny Hinn?

AL: Yeah, he's a televangelist. But he's American right?

Daniel: He is, but Kev's dad is like the Benny Hinn of Ireland. When Benny Hinn came to Ireland, Kev's dad supported him. They have created amazing miracles. They made grannies walk again. He's cured people of disease.

AL: Has the Thrills healed people with the force and power of the music?

Daniel: We have. Our manager had a real bad back problem. We healed that.

Conor: Anyone who has heard "One Horse Town" has been healed.

AL: What is going through your mind during a live show?

Daniel: I'm really freaking out and getting really aggressive.

Conor: I get lost and go nuts.

AL: How was Glastonbury this year?

Daniel: It was amazing. It was good fun hanging out with the other bands. We made a barbecue and the whole bus caught fire, so that was expensive.

AL: Did you meet any of your musical heroes at any of these festivals this summer?

Daniel: Echo and The Bunnymen. We saw them at T in the Park. Ian McCulloch told us that he likes The Thrills.

AL: You have been playing almost non-stop for three years. How many more places are going to go after this?

Daniel: After the American tour, we have two weeks in Europe, and two weeks in Africa. Then we go to England for a week. After that is Australia and Ireland. We were supposed to go to the North Pole, but the promoter is fucking around with us a little bit.

AL: Are there any side projects?

Daniel: Kev is doing a solo record. It's like the Neil Young thing: he has a movie to go with it. I am actually directing it. I might star in it. It's like Silence of The Lambs.

Conor: It's called "Setting The Record Straight."

AL: Have you read any good books recently?

Conor: I just finished reading Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe.

AL: Have you seen any films?

Conor: I like Rambo III.

Daniel: Beverly Hills Cop just came out in Ireland.

AL: What should people expect when they come out to see The Thrills?

Daniel: Mayhem, basically.

AL: What are your songs about really?

Conor: They are escapist songs. We were having a real shitty time at home. They are meant to take us away from where we were. We used to have all these friends in California. They used to have really beautiful girlfriends and beautiful apartments. They were all buff and pumped up. When we saw them next, they were in shambles. They were out of shape, their girlfriends had left them, and they had lost their apartments. California has a lot of potential for falling off the track.

AL: All those dreams of California are an illusion?

Conor: If we spent a few weeks there, we might have come back with a postcard image. We spent more time there, so we came back with a more rounded version of California life.

AL: Do you have any hobbies?

Daniel: Bowling. I could be semi-professional. I have bowled a perfect game.

Conor: I like Badminton.

AL: I played in high school.

Conor: You should play Kev. He's an amazing player. He good with the wrists.

AL: Anything else?

Daniel: Fishing is good.

AL: With your dad?

Daniel: Yeah, with my pop!

AL: Who does your website?

Conor: My pop does the website.

AL: When are you going to come out with another record?

Conor: Maybe next September, in 2004.

AL: Are there any other bands that you like?

Conor: The Rapture and Interpol, to name two New York bands. We also like The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Beck, and Super Furry Animals.

Daniel: I like The Libertines, The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Coral, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and The Band.

AL: What is an average day like for you guys?

Daniel: Get up.

Conor: Have a drink.

AL: What time do the drinks start?

Conor: Before lunchtime.

AL: How many days can you drink before stopping for a rest?

Daniel: Every Sunday we only drink whiskey. That is rejuvenating.

Conor: Every two weeks we take a day off. We like to keep it in perspective. Drinking is part of life.

AL: Every day of your life you have had a drink?

Daniel: Not every day, but since I was nine or ten.

Conor: In Ireland, we can get into pub very early. When we first went to San Diego we couldn't get into bars. We couldn't believe it. What the fuck is this shit. We were twenty and we had been drinking in bars for ten years. We went to Tijuana.

AL: Were are the hipster places in Dublin?

Daniel: The Temple Bar. It's in downtown Dublin.

AL: Any more messages to the fans?

Daniel: Keep the faith in music and in drinking. Find methods of mayhem.

Conor: Get those drinks down.

AL: And come see The Thrills.

AL


alexander laurence


Website: www.thethrills.com

[photos by Danna Kinsky]



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3/19/2006

Guitar Wolf





Guitar Wolf
The power trio of guitarist Seiji, bassist Billy, and drummer Toru formed about fifteen years ago. They have since played all over the world. Guitar Wolf's first album "Wolf Rock" was released in 1993 from an indie label, Goner Records, in the U.S. We soon bought imports of more records. Some of their best records were released soon after, Wolf Rock and Kung Fu Ramone. They were garage rock before it began a trend. They went on to inspire American bands like The Von Bondies and The D4.

At an in-store performance at a New York record store, the group started a fire, and impressed Matador Records. They were signed and tour America often. Their first Matador record in 1996 was Missile Me! Jet Generation in 1999 was another collection of high-octane punk-a-billy. They were featured in a few films included The Sore Losers (1996) and Wild Zero (2002). Much of their videos and history are included on the RED IDOL DVD. We got to talk to Guitar Wolf on their recent tour at the end of 2003. Their latest CD is called UFO Romantics. They are working on a new CD. ******

The Band:Guitar: Guitar Wolf (Seiji) Bass: Bass Wolf (Billy) Drums: Drum Wolf (Toru) SFB: You guys seem to have been around for fifteen years. When and where did you all meet? Seiji: Planet of the wolves
SFB: What made you decide to become musicians?
Seiji: We are destined to create busting sounds on the earth.
SFB: Have any of you had any musical training?
Seiji: The howling of wolves is our teacher.
SFB: What made you come up with the concept of being raised by wolves or were you in fact raised by wolves?
Seiji: Yes, of course. My grandmother was wolf. So I'm a quarter wolf.

SFB: I hear that you are in love with Joan Jett. Is that true? If so, have you ever met her?
Seiji: We met her in Tokyo this year (2003). We played with her as the support act.

SFB: Wild Zero is a great movie and one of our favorites now. Did you have any acting training or couching in preparation for your roles or did you just behave like you normally would in front of the camera?
Seiji: That was a documentary film. We are very happy that now everyone knows we are protecting the earth.

SFB: What are some of your musical interests and influences?
Seiji: Bruce Lee

SFB: Is it true that you prefer to play small venues instead of larger venues? If so, Why?
Seiji: We like both.
SFB: Have any of you ever eaten basashi (raw horse sushi)? We are all dying to try it but for some dumb reason its illegal here.
Seiji: Of course. I'm wolf.

SFB: The band broke up a while ago. What happened and what made you decide to give it a second try?
Seiji: NO. We didn't break up.

SFB: Do all of you have motorcycles? If so, what kind are they? Seiji:
I love motorcycles.

SFB: What is the ultimate motorcycle in your opinion?
Seiji: KAWASAKI 750RS a.k.a. ZII

SFB: How often do you tour and how many shows do you play on a typical tour?
Seiji: We spend 1/3 of a year for touring.

SFB: After your shows you seemed to be completely drained. What is going on in your head after a show?
Seiji: Give me beer.

SFB: Billy (Bass Wolf), you have a hell of a lot of tattoos. You're not Yakuza are you?
Seiji: No. No Yakuza.
SFB: At your shows you always wear leather. It seems like you all get pretty hot. I have a photo of you with a giant globs of sweat dropping from your in mid air. Has anyone of you collapsed from heat exhaustion at a show?
Seiji: No. We've never collapsed but it's quite hard to stay conscious.

SFB: When did you record UFO Romantics?
Seiji: 2 years ago.

SFB: Are you doing a new record?
Seiji: Yes.

SFB: Are all you songs recorded as live takes?
Seiji: Yes.

SFB: Is the new DVD Red Idol a good retrospective of your career so far?
Seiji: Our beloved friend-wolves helped us to make this DVD. I'm very pleased to have them in this DVD. Plenty of the live scenes. Great.

SFB: Who put together the new DVD?
Seiji: This is the best DVD. It has everything of us, scenes from our live shows, music videos and the footage from Wild Zero.

SFB: Do you guys get a lot of groupie action?
Seiji: The wolves are never short of foods.

SFB: In Japan, you play many big festivals like Fuji Rock Festival. Do you find it weird to play the USA where you play smaller clubs?
Seiji: No, but we like big festivals.

SFB: As Americans we can only understand what we glean from your actions and attitude that you project in your music and shows. Is it all about Rock 'n' Roll, sex, motorcycles and beer? Or are there other messages in your music that we are missing because of the language?
Seiji: Another message in our music is that you are missing UFO, Universe. Don't forget the days of Adolescence.
SFB: How did you get involved with the film The Sore Losers by John Michael McCarty?
Seiji: Memphis is our home in the US. A friend asked us to be a part of the film.

SFB: Are there any other Japanese bands that you would suggest that your fans listen to in America?
Seiji: Gasolin, Jet Boys, The 5,6,7,8's, Fire Starters, Gimmies


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3/08/2006

The Lovetones Interview



The Lovetones
Interview with Matthew J. Tow
By alexander laurence

SUN 12 MAR [2pm]
FREAKBEAT RECORDS
Los Angeles CA
2PM INSTORE - LIVE & ELECTRIC
+ The Quarter After

SUN 12 MAR - SPACELAND
Los Angeles CA
The Lovetones onstage 11pm
+ Expatriate
+ Bluebottle Kiss

MON 13 MAR - SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
Los Angeles CA
The Lovetones onstage 9pm
+ The Quarter After
+ The Parson Red Heads
+ Darci Cash


Matthew J. Tow is one of the best songwriters from Australia. I heard about
him back in 2000 or so when he was hanging out in NYC with Anton Newcombe of
The Brian Jonestown Massacre. I found out about his previous band, Drop City.
They had toured with Stone Roses, and Stereolab. After Drop City disbanded in
2000, Tow toured with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. That led to The Lovetones.
They are Matthew J. Tow (guitar/vocals), Serge Luca (guitar), Matthew Sigley
(bass/keyboards) and Chris Cobb (drums).

The Lovetones released their debut album, Be What You Want (2002). I was very
excited. I got to see them for the first time in 2003. The Lovetones spent
about two years touring.
They even supported Morrissey, during his first solo Australian tour. Tow
contributed two tracks to the Brian Jonestown Massacre ...And This Is Our Music
(2003). In the same year, Fire Records invited the Lovetones to contribute to
the James Joyce Chamber Music project alongside Mercury Rev, Mike Watt, Sonic
Youth and REM's Peter Buck.

The second album, Meditations (2005), comes at a crucial time. This album is
a wonderful statement. I got to speak to leader Matthew J. Tow when he was
hanging out in Los Angeles at the end of 2005. The Lovetones will be playing at
Café Du Nord in San Francisco on March 10th. Be sure to make it out for one of
the best international bands out there.

**

AL: We don’t see a lot of Australia bands over here in America. Only the most
successful bands we ever see playing over here. Since Australia is half a w
orld away, most Australia bands go to England first, do you think?

Matthew: That’s right. Most bands go to England because there are more
affiliations on that side. Most Australian bands find America to be impossible. It’s
so huge. They don’t have the network here to start with. The bigger bands
come over here because they have more money, or the American label picks them up.
A band like us can come over here because of the enthusiasm of other bands
like Rob Campanella (The Quarter After) and Anton (Brian Jonestown Massacre). I
have played on their records. It is so much easier when you have that initial
network of people to help you along. It is helpful for Australian bands and
even American bands to have that support. It all started with Anton.

AL: How did you meet Anton Newcombe?

Matthew: I was doing the last Drop City tour in 1997. This guy, Chris Beyond,
of No-Fi Records, ask me if I heard of Brian Jonestown Massacre. I said
“No.” He said, “Let’s go meet them.” I have been a friend with them since. He was
trying to get me into them for years.

AL: I saw you at a CMJ show.

Matthew: That was back in 2000. He was trying to get me in the band. I was
just hanging out there. I was having a holiday with my wife. We got married
here. It was very flattering to be called out by Anton at that show. Anton told me
to come down to the show. Three years later I was in the band. I was playing
on their records.

AL: Did you meet Greg Shaw?

Matthew: Yeah. The first Lovetones record came out on Bomp Records. I knew
Greg Shaw from a while back. He was going to do some Drop City stuff. But he
never did. Then we broke up. The Lovetones was something different.

AL: Well, getting back to the whole Australia scene: we see a lot of popular
bands, and then once in a while we see a cool indie band like The Lovetones,
Bird Blobs, or Morning After Girls. Are these all bands taking a chance coming
over here?

Matthew: It’s basically what it is. Australia is a small place and a small
scene. There are more people in California. There is a small underground scene
in Australia. You can call it the new psychedelic music. Drop City were always
doing that. My first band was signed to Red Eye label, which associates us
with Beasts of Bourbon, The Go-Betweens, and Steve Kilbey. We were at the end of
that movement which started with bands like The Church. We started in 1993 and
ended in 2000. At that time there was no bands like us left. We didn’t have
the same success as the Church but we were the late 1990s version of that. Now
there are bands like The Morning After Girls who have tapped into that, and th
ere is a whole new scene again.

AL: What are some of the other new bands?

Matthew: There’s the Dolly Rocker Movement.

AL: What does that mean?

Matthew: I think it’s some Syd Barrett reference. There are too many bands to
mention. With the Lovetones, I have been really lucky with my association
with Anton. Even though I have been doing music for many years at home, many
people don’t know about it, because Drop City was never released over here. People
only know me through The Lovetones and also Colorsound. I do Colorsound,
which is released on Sonic Boom’s label in England. It’s more like psychedelic
drone music. It’s experimental. We have done five albums.

AL: What other bands have you played with in Australia?

Matthew: There is a band called The Dappled Cities Fly. They are good. There
is a band called Sounds Like Sunset. There is a band called Bells Will Ring.
Gaslight Radio is probably the best band at the moment. They are from
Melbourne.

AL: What’s up with Kilbey?

Matthew: Kilbey is hanging out in Sydney. The Church are always doing stuff.
Kilbey is always active. EMI has just re-released all their records. There is
always a big interest.

AL: We have all seen this Dig! documentary over here. Was there ever a Brian
Jonestown Massacre/Lovetones rivalry?

Matthew: No. It’s one big happy family.

AL: How did end up doing some songs with Anton for the Brian Jonestown
Massacre record?

Matthew: I was in town during 2003. The Lovetones had just toured with Anton.
The idea then was that Anton was going to produced the first Lovetones
record. I did two songs and Anton said, “I really like these.” And I said: “I will
let you have one, and the other will be on the Lovetones record.” Anton said:
“I love them. I want them both on my record.” It was that simple. Songs from
that session when on the Brian Jonestown Massacre record and the first
Lovetones record.

AL: “Starcleaner” was on that record?

Matthew: Yeah. That and “A New Low In Getting High.” That song
“Starcleaner” was also on the greatest hits record. We have produced most of my records
with Jason Blackwell.

AL: The Lovetones has always had the same lineup?

Matthew: No. Serge Luca played drums on the first album. Now he plays guitar.
Chris Cobb plays drums now. Everyone was at one time in Drop City too. We
have known each other for a long time. When we are on the road there are no
surprises.

AL: You were in Brian Jonestown Massacre too?

Matthew: Yeah. I was in the touring band for 2003. I played on a three-month
tour. Ricky Maymi took my place.

AL: Do you like vintage gear?

Matthew: Yeah. I love Vox guitars. There are a few places in Sydney who have
vintage stuff. But you have to come to America to find old guitars. I have
played through Vox amps.

AL: On your albums how do you do all those horns and strings parts?

Matthew: We had a guy do a lot of that stuff on keyboards. We record the
albums on tape. Then we switched over to Pro Tools and did overdubs. It takes a
lot longer to do it that way. We worked over a long people of time.

AL: Do you tell people what to do in the studio?

Matthew: I don’t rule with an iron first. It’s an iron fist, velvet glove.
Matthew Sigley wrote a few songs on the new album. He has his own band called
The Daytime Frequency. They are really cool.

AL: How do the songs start for you?

Matthew: It’s always starts with me strumming a few chords and humming some
lyrics. Lyrics always come last. Melody is something that I am working toward.
It’s melody and chords first, and then lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics are
written right before I am doing the vocal takes. With the second album, we went in
the studio without anyone knowing the songs. I just said “Follow me” and it
was cool.

AL: Is there some personal philosophy in the songs?

Matthew: Most of the songs are about understanding one’s self. My songs are
political in the sense that here is how I want to live my life. Politics
shouldn’t be about telling other people how to live their lives. When you get your
life right, other things fall into place.

AL: You say that lyrics come last. So when you have a melody that suggests
longing for home, do you say to yourself “This must be a song about going home?”

Matthew: Exactly. I have general ideas and images of what a song is going to
be like.

AL: What bands have you always been into?

Matthew: When I was younger I was into The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and The
Beatles. Later I got into Spaceman 3 very heavily. I got into some experimental
drone music and psych bands. I like all the 1960s music and stuff that is
going on now.

AL: Did you get to play with some of the more experimental artists?

Matthew: Funny you should mention it. The Silver Apples are one of my
favorite bands. They actually remixed one of my Colorsound songs. It was amazing to
be involved with those guys. I haven’t really collaborated with a lot of people.

AL: Is there any literature that turns you on?

Matthew: I am a big fan of Dylan Thomas. I like the Beat Generation. There
are too many to mention.

AL: Did you go to art school?

Matthew: Yeah. I did an art’s degree. I was at a university for a few years.

AL: Did you grow up with a political environment?

Matthew: I was raised in a very left wing environment. In Australia, I was
into the Labour Party and the left. All my family are on the left and that is
where my loyalties lie. I believe strongly in a fair social system, and health,
and education. The government has a responsibility to look after people. You
help people who can’t help themselves. The current government is trying to be
like another America. We don’t want to be another America where the underclass
is screwed. Free health and free education I think is the cornerstone for any
decent society. Those are rights and not a privilege.

AL: When people come to see you play what should they expect?

Matthew: Great psychedelic rock. That is what it’s all about! We are looking
forward to playing SXSW.

AL: Any final words?

Matthew: Keep on the left side, because the right side is too cold.






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3/04/2006

Morningwood



Morningwood
An interview by alexander laurence

Morningwood are just one of those bands that makes you want to listen. You
might think that it’s for you, but you end up loving these songs and humming
them all day. I saw them opening up for Gang of Four. Gang of Four is some band I
loved when I was a teenager. But what I remember about this gig was how great
Morningwood was. The band is mostly just two people: Chantal Claret (vocals)
and Pedro Yanowitz (bass guitar) and whoever want to join them.

There is no doubt that “Nth Degree” and “Jetsetter” are great songs. Their
videos are fun as hell. This is a band with a sense of humor. There is an
amazing vitality to their live shows. You just want to be part of the fun. I saw
them play a few times last year. They opened for Kasabian and Gang of Four.
They played at the San Diego Street Scene with White Stripes and Garbage. I
recently saw them with Head Automatica. They are coming back to the States on a big
tour with The Sounds. This will be one of the most fun nights this year. I
look forward to it.

I got to hang out with Chantal and Pedro in their hotel. I was waiting for
someone to pull a prank or throw a TV into the pool. Luckily I emerged unscathed
and they had to rush over to do the gig. When we began the interview, Chantal
was looking at the bands Myspace page.

AL: I noticed that you are adding some friends to your Myspace page. Does
anyone not get added?

Chantal: Most people get added to the band’s page. I have my own personal
page too. If anyone I don’t know writes to me a lot, they get blocked.

AL: You had some members from the bands Spacehog and Cibo Matto. What
happened to them?

Chantal: They are not in the band anymore.

Pedro: Two people left the band when we were doing the record and we were
waiting for the record to come out. They had cancer. Just kidding.

AL: Some Morningwood is mainly you two and whoever joins the band?

Pedro: We are a two-headed rock monster. But we have recently added Alfredo
Ortiz of the Beastie Boys. He is a percussionist. He is an old friend of mine
and now he is part of the family. He is going to be on this journey with us.
Right now we have our guitar tech, Jeremy, playing guitar. He is in another
band.

Chantal: He has been playing with us longer than he was ever the guitar tech.
He is still listed on my phone as “Jeremy the guitar tech.”

AL: Is Morningwood going to be like the Eurythmics: just you two and a
supporting group?

Chantal: We are looking for the right lover but we are dating right now. It’s
like getting married when you are in a band. We want to be a foursome. We
have to sit someone in there until we know it’s right. It has to perfect.

Pedro: We have to fuck a lot of people to find the right lover.

AL: Sean Lennon figures into the beginning of Morningwood. Lennon was in Cibo
Matto too. And you had a few members of that band in your band?

Chantal: We had two guys from Cibo Matto in the band at first. Pedro has been
friends with Sean Lennon for a while. Sean went to the same high school that
I went to. He went to Dalton long before I did. It was a small scene.

Pedro: It is a school in the Upper East Side for rich kids.

AL: I thought that you went to PCS?

Chantal: No, but my best friend Paula went there. I don’t know how I knew
Sean. I used to go out a lot.

Pedro: It was his birthday party. He had a bunch of mutual friends over.

AL: He didn’t form the band?

Chantal: No. He didn’t put us together.

Pedro: We were all very drunk at his Mom’s house at the Dakotas. That was
when I met Chantal. After that we just got into it. We started our friendship and
then started playing.

AL: Do you think if a spot opens up for Sean Lennon, he could join you?

Chantal: He is doing his own thing. His new record is awesome.

Pedro: He gets Morningwood and he likes it.

AL: Were you in some other bands?

Chantal: Morningwood is my first band.

Pedro: I was in some other bands but I don’t want to talk about it.

AL: Did you have any non-musical jobs?

Chantal: After school I wanted to be a director.

Pedro: I was the drummer for fifteen years in a bunch of other bands. Right
after college I joined a band and have never worked a fucking job in my life.

AL: How did you get from meeting at the Dakotas, to saying we a re a band,
and trying to play some gigs? Do you do some demos?

Chantal: I have a rehearsal space in New York that is insanely expensive. All
the songs came to fruition as demos. All the songs would start in Pedro’s
bedroom. Then we would go to the rehearsal space. We would go into my mom’s
gallery. That was in 2002.

Pedro: We would play live. We had a lot of cover songs.

AL: At that time in New York there was all this focus on New York bands like
The Strokes, Interpol, and Elefant. Did you know anything about that?

Chantal: We weren’t paying attention. We were enjoying each other’s company.
We were just trying to play shows. We weren’t thinking all the time “Hey,
let’s get signed!”

Pedro: We were so into having our heads up our own asses.

AL: All those bands at that time were wearing suits and saying, “Hey look at
us, we are cool.”

Chantal: I will play with them, physically, but I won’t make any music with
them. I will fuck them but I won’t play that music.

AL: What was the reaction to your first shows? Did people take you serious?

Chantal: Yeah.

Pedro: We were outside of all of that scene stuff and hipsters. We were the
underdog to all of that. We came from left field.

AL: You were popular with the hipsters?

Chantal: We weren’t making music like that. We were never hipsters or trying
to be. When we started, a lot of the guys had been in bands before. So we were
never considered a big band or a hipster band. It was a generational thing.
Even though we were starting out like babies at the beginning. We were a
struggling band. People can’t get their heads around that we were all friends and
natural. They might think, “It’s contrived!” But it has nothing to do with
that.

AL: Did other bands discover you first? Maybe they wanted you to tour with
them?

Pedro: We have never been asked to tour.

Chantal: None whatsoever. A lot of bands get scared of us. They don’t like to
tour with us because our live show is so energetic. We have been denied some
tours because we are so entertaining. We can dwarf some other bands.

AL: Many people have seen you supporting Gang of Four in Fall of 2005.

Chantal: They asked us to come along with them.

Pedro: That was a case of us being awe of them.

AL: Did you lobby for that slot?

Chantal: That came out of nowhere. I remember sitting in a van three weeks
before. I can’t remember what tour we were doing. I said: “Hey guys, we should
cover this song.” I played them “Damaged Goods.” I was trying to convince
them all. Then we were going to do a small tour of England. Then I got a call:
“You have just been asked to be direct support for Gang of Four.” I couldn’t
believe it. That was a case of them getting the CD, no hype or buzz. They got
the music somehow and loved it and they asked us to do it. It was the biggest
honor ever.

AL: Gang of Four was happy with the results?

Chantal: Yeah. I got to sing, “Damaged Goods” and “I Love A man In Uniform”
with them every night.

AL: Gang of Four had some onstage joke: “Morningwood. I don’t know what it
means. I think it has something to do with lumber.”

Chantal: They said that? That’s awesome. Dave Allen came to the show in
Portland with his whole family.

Pedro: We were either going to be Morningwood or Morninglog. Gang of Four is
the best band ever.

AL: Did you play the San Diego Street Scene last year (August 2005)?

Chantal: That was fun. We were the first band onstage on the first day. It
was like “How did we get on this bill?” I remember not having any water
onstage. There was hundreds of kids. I was having a panic attack. I got to get the
singer from Kasabian naked.

AL: A year ago you toured with the Music and Kasabian.

Chantal: They are sweethearts. We have toured with a lot of British bands.
They are nice.

Pedro: That was our first tour after finishing the record.

AL: Had you played a lot of shows at that point?

Pedro: We played a few years in New York. We did a tour with The Fire Theft.

AL: How did that happen?

Chantal: We had the same manager. Emo kids don’t understand rock and roll.
They all cry after they masturbate. They saw me onstage. They were like “Why
does that boy have lumps on his chest?” They couldn’t grasp the concept of a
woman being onstage.

AL: Where did you play your first shows at?

Chantal: The first few years we played at Don Hills, Pianos, and Knitting
Factory. That was it. We played some parties too. We never made it over to
Williamsburg. We have played two shows there in our career. We are not a Brooklyn
band. I only go over there to Brooklyn if I am getting laid, doing a show, or
doing karaoke. I don’t hang out in Williamsburg. I get panic attacks in the cab
on the bridge.

AL: I noticed if you listened to your record, it’s more like a heavily
produced pop record. But if you see the band live, it’s more like a rock band. Care
to comment?

Pedro: There are two sides to the band. We tried to capture the live energy
of the band on record. We like to build tracks on the record. The live show is
a different thing. It would be impossible to reproduce the record. We have a
lot of guitars on those songs and samples. There are only four of us onstage.
We try to do the best we can.

Chantal: We make up for it with loudness. Loudness and titties.

AL: How did you figure out what it was going to be like when you perform?

Chantal: I figured it out by being bored. I have a video of me performing
when I was five years old. I have the same stage persona as I do now. I am doing
the same identical thing. I had all the same moves, except licking titties.
But actually I was sucking on titties back then too. Nothing has changed.

Pedro: Sometimes you go see bands and nothing is happening.

AL: Some bands look bored.

Chantal: They are not enjoying the music they are playing. It’s our job to
show the audience what they are capable of doing. If we are liberating and the
audience can feel that, then it’s okay. If the band is doing nothing, and
standing there looking cool, then the audience is just going to stand around.
People do emulate what is going on the stage. People pretend that there is a fourth
wall there. There is not. There is no fucking wall. We are in the same room
with each other. Just because I am onstage doesn’t mean I have pretend that we
are not inter-acting.

AL: You are like a cheerleader.

Chantal: Yeah. I am a rock and roll cheerleader.


AL: You recorded the album in London. How did that come about?

Chantal: We didn’t have a lot of money. We were eating a sandwich a day. We
knew that we needed to get out of New York. It was distracting. We couldn’t
focus.

AL: Sean Lennon always knocking on the door.

Pedro: We did it in London because we were working with Gil Norton. He wanted
to be close to his family. He made all his records in London. So we were
excited to go there, rather than LA.

Chantal: If we were in LA the label would drop by all the time. But we didn’t
hear from the label till toward the end. They wanted us to send them
something. I wanted to send them a tape with scary haunted houses noises. Here is your
record.

AL: What neighborhood did you do the record?

Chantal: We stayed at some fancy hotel in St. John’s Wood.

AL: Abbey Road?

Chantal: We were right next to there. We recorded at RAK studios. It was
amazing. Radiohead did The Bends there. We were there for a day a few weeks ago
and Bryan Ferry was doing a new record.

Pedro: There have been a bunch of famous records done there. The Libertines
and The Zutons. You hear the drums and you recognize the sound from the
Radiohead record.

AL: How did you write “Jetsetter?”

Chantal: I was in London. Pedro was on tour with Money Mark. I woke up in the
middle of the night with the melody and lyrics. I spoke to him on the phone
that night and he had written the music. He played it to me over the phone. I
thought “Fuck, I have the perfect thing for it.” When we got back together it
worked out perfectly.

AL: How did you do the videos?

Chantal: We worked with this team on both videos called Worm’s Eye. We like
them because they like what we want to do. They are creative. “Jetsetter” was
more a collaboration. “Nth Degree” was more their idea. They had the idea to
do that with album covers. They wanted to do that for a long time. We talked
about what records would be put into the bin. There are a bunch of rare
records. There is a Serge Gainsbourg record and one by the Zombies.

AL: Now that you have done this video, do you ever want to come out onstage
as one of those bands?

Chantal: We always wanted to. We had a strong desire to come out as those
bands that we were dressed up like. We need more money to do that. I don’t want
to confuse people because we are a very new band. We are a versatile band.

AL: Do you have songs for the next record?

Chantal: We have just given birth to this first one. But we did have some
songs that weren’t right for the first record, that we know will be on the second
one. I am pretty sure those songs will be on the second one, unless we find
God.

Pedro: We like to keep people guessing. We might write a bunch of stuff at
the last minute.

AL: I see Morningwood as the next Radiohead.

Chantal: So that means our next record will be the best one. I like the
second album by Kings of Leon.

Pedro: The next one will be rocking.

AL What about the third one?

Chantal: That is when we all grow beards.

AL: As long as Man is around, there will always be Morningwood.

Chantal: I always read these interviews with the Rolling Stones. They asked
them in the 1960s if they will be around. And they say, “Fuck no. We will be
dead and buried.” They are sexy motherfuckers. I met Ron Wood. I smacked his
ass.

AL: So where do you see yourselves in ten years?

Chantal: In a tour bus.

Pedro: I hope we are together in ten years. And I like bands like The Clash
who decide to stop. I think we will do Morningwood as long as we are friends.

AL: So, Chantal I heard that you don’t hang out in New York anymore.

Chantal: When I am home I watch movies. I am on Myspace. I might go out one
night a week for drinks. I do it right. I get a lot of excitement in one night.

WEBSITE: morningwoodrocks.com
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