Category Archives: Interviews

Interview:: Samuel Lunsford (The Young Sinclairs/Eternal Summers)

Roanoke, Virginia’s The Young Sinclairs first appeared in the pages of PARASITES & SYCOPHANTS over three years ago. The band is back and set to release their new odds and ends digital LP “Don’t Believe In Demos Vol. 1” (Planting Seeds Records). Sinclairs vocalist/guitarist/primary songwriter Samuel Lunsford sat down with P&S for a detailed look at his musical beginnings: the formation of his 60’s psych/indie band & Virginia based collective – the Magic Twig Community –to highly successful tours with The Brian Jonestown Massacre & The Lovetones – to last summer’s sudden mental breakdown.

As an introduction, tell us where your interest in music began. Did you grow up in a musical family?

I grew up in a VERY musical household, with the biggest of these family influences being my older brother, Joseph: my parents bought him a drum-set when he was 6 or 7, and he kept it in his room and would bang on it all the time – the folks were kind enough to let him play those drums pretty much whenever he wanted, within reason. He was amazing even back then, and he still is. He is also a brilliant guitarist and a badass rock & roll vocalist – excellent songwriter and arranger, too. My mother, Carol, plays the piano (among other things) really well and can sing like a bird – mostly classical and gospel and a little folk music – she is classically trained, can sight-read sheet music, and has perfect pitch. Her mother was a Baptist minister and brought her up singing in the choir and even tried to push her to eventually be the musical director of the church, which she never did. Also, both of my mom’s brothers, Michael and Terry, are great drummers. She even had an uncle named Reed who was a somewhat legendary big-band jazz drummer locally. My father, John, played clarinet in school – later switched to sax – he also plays a little guitar and can hold down a beat on the drums pretty well. He is self-taught and therefore kind of shy and self-effacing about his abilities, but he is a very creative thinker and has a deep love and appreciation of music. He always had a huge and very diverse collection of albums and CD’s – I can remember being a very, very little boy and flipping through his vinyl and kind of being mystified by it all. So there was music around me everywhere from the beginning – being played, being sung, or being listened to on the stereo – it has just always been there.

The Church:: Norfolk, Va: “An Intimate Space” Live Review

Our correspondent Neil Delparto caught up with Australian legends The Church live at Norfolk, Va’s Norva. A small turnout made for a truly intimate affair as you’ll read below.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Australia’s The Church released their debut single and album. In celebration the band has put together “An Intimate Space”, their 2010 USA tour (which wrapped on May 1st) – a special semi acoustic show which for the price of admission includes a fantastic tour program and CDEP (“Deadmans Hand”). The Church – Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Piper, Peter Koppes, and Tim Powles are fresh on the heels of their latest critically acclaimed 2009 LP “Untitled #23.” They have returned stateside with their 30th anniversary tour that’s already collected rave reviews from each stop. The set-list included one track off every LP in reverse chronological order, ending with a song from their debut release “The Church” (“Of Skins And Heart” in Australia”). The tour made its stop in Norfolk, Virginia on April 28, 2010 at the Norva Theater.

In the span of 30 years, The Church have maintained a steady dose of atmospheric overtones, shimmering guitars, and melodic nuggets – all of which were on display Wednesday night – the band’s fourth appearance in Hampton Roads (the last was in 2006). “Pangea” from “Untitled #23” kicked off the first set which would segue way into tracks from their recent LPs: “Uninvited Like The Clouds”, “El Momento Siguiente” (a jazzy tinged version of “Reptile”), “Forget Yourself”, as well as the internet only released “Back With Two Beasts”. “The Unguarded Moment” made an appearance in it’s stripped down “El Momento Disguidado” version with Willson-Piper adding awe-inspiring Spanish tinged guitar work at the songs close. One of the Church’s underrated late 90’s singles – “Louisiana” was another highlight of the evening with Koppes providing mandolin and Kilbey/Willson-Piper sharing lead vocals on this country driven arrangement.

The Church are best known for their 1988 Top 30 US hit “Under The Milky Way” – which surfaced as part of the band’s second set, along with a slew of their classic 80’s/90’s output. In quick succession the band launched into more of their Arista Records era catalogue – “Mistress” (from the band/fan favorite album “Priest=Aura”) and “Metropolis” – which Kilbey introduced as “our last commercial hit – 20 years ago.” Arguably the best performance of the night was the exquisite reworking of 1985’s “Already Yesterday” – complete with its breezy melody, Beatlesque drum rolls, and swirling harmonica solo. The Church closed out their second set with a quartet of welcome surprises: Willson-Piper’s “10,000 Miles”; the hypnotic “Fly” from 1983’s “Séance” LP; the acoustic bliss of “Almost With You”; and the excellent jingle jangle of “Tear It All Away”. The evening would close with two sets of encores including a somewhat pedestrian reading of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm” and the brilliant Church classic “Grind.”

Along with an evening of superb timeless classics, The Church entertained an intimate Norva Theater audience with a career worth of stories and in-between-song banter – reminiscing about past managers, the meaning of “mope rock”, car commercials, songs about sunglasses, and countless clever exchanges between Kilbey and Willson-Piper. It sure felt like a night out with old friends with the promise of more great music to come. If the last several years of critically acclaimed releases is any indication – we can hopefully prepare for another exciting chapter to be written.

Reptile (Live, The Norva – Norfolk, VA 04.28.10)

Interview with The Church

churchuntitled23promoWe caught up with STEVE KILBEY of THE CHURCH in Bondi, Australia (August 2009) for a QUICK Q&A SESSION about the band’s latest LP Untitled #23 and elsewhere. Also, check out their session on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (June 11, 2009).

P&S: “Untitled #23” is the latest …how did you come to that title?
SK: No one could agree on a title, so untitled was suggested
I then suggested the #23 part because 23 is a very strange recurring number.

P&S: Do you think the solo projects that each band member has done past and present – may be a contributing factor to the evolution of the Church’s sound?
SK: Yes…the solo albums keeping adding new sounds to the church oeuvre

P&S: How can you explain the band’s longevity? Has the creative/songwriting process differ from the bands early years?
SK: There was never any point in breaking up…what would that achieve?
We still write songs in much the same way though…jamming!

P&S: Looking back if you had to pick one Church LP other than the latest, which would be your favorite?
SK: Priest = Aura

P&S: Was this a natural decision toward moving in a DIY/Indie process (as a lot of bands have chosen to do) – as opposed to working with Cooking Vinyl again or another label?
SK: Yes we constantly move closer to DIY

P&S: Myspace, facebook, twitter, etc – with these tools available, do you view them as passing trends or as vital tools that will continue to be necessary outlets to promote music?
SK: I think these things are here to stay, getting more elaborate all the time
they will continue to be important for rock music

P&S: Do you and the band embrace the state of the art method of recording or does the band go into the studio or perform live without the intention of an elaborate setup?
SK: We embrace technology but our recording process has remained much the same except now on computer instead of tape.

P&S: Do you prefer performing acoustic sets or live full setups?
SK: Full electric set up is best. Its what we really do and are best at.

P&S: When you are not performing or recording, what do you like to do? Any current favorite bands or artists?
SK: I paint and I write blogs; I like Sigur Ros and Greg Dulli

P&S: Whats in store for The Church in the near future? More touring? More recording?
SK: What can we do but tour and release more stuff…?

P&S: Steve, we appreciate your time – thanks!
SK: Thanks for the interview!

Interview:: Mark Crozer (The Jesus & Mary Chain/International Jetsetters)

As The Jesus And Mary Chain make their return to the U.S. for West Coast dates in October, guitarist Mark Crozer sat down on a Sunday afternoon to talk with Parasites & Sycophants about his his early exposure to The Beatles, his solo LPs, meeting Jim Reid, and his very cool band The International Jetsetters

Parasties &Sycophants: Mark, thanks for spending some time with us here at Parasites & Sycophants…It’s been a long time coming – we’re glad we finally got it together! As a sort of an introduction to our readers, tell us where it all began for you musically. What bands/artists influenced you early on?
Mark Crozer: As clichéd as it sounds, it all began when I was about six years old, listening to my mum’s Beatles singles on an old mono record player. I think I was watching A Hard Days Night one Christmas when I decided I wanted to be in a band. I was also really into The Monkees shows on TV. It wasn’t just the music it was the whole idea of having a band that appealed to me. I alternated between wanting to be a drummer and a guitar player despite not actually been able to do either. I got my first guitar when I was nine. I didn’t really start listening to anything contemporary until I was ten or eleven when I discovered Adam and The Ants and then I began the slow decline into becoming your typical pop-chart obsessed teenager.

P&S: Can you recall the name of the first band you were in? What was your first attempt at writing a song?
MC: I was in my first band when I was thirteen. It wasn’t really a band as such as we could barely play. It was just me and my brother and some friends mucking around although we did take it very seriously. We even performed at a church harvest supper and a number of elderly ladies walked out with their fingers in their ears. Ha! I think I was quite pleased about that. Fortunately I can’t remember the name but I’m sure it was something really cringe-inducing. My first real gigging band was when I was fourteen and we were called Insane Logic. It was just me, my friend Alex (whom I’d talked into buying a bass guitar) and a Boss DR-55 drum machine at the beginning. At our first show we were heralded as Oxford’s answer to New Order. I’d never even heard of New Order at that point. My tastes in music were extremely un-cool. I had just discovered Big Country (still one of the best live bands I’ve seen) and U2 and had spent all my paper-round money on some cheap, crappy effects pedals to get that big, chiming guitar sound. Then they got stolen after the gig. Embarrassingly I can remember my first attempt at writing a song. I was nine years old and I wrote a song called ‘Lucy’ using the only two chords I could play – E and A. I can still remember it. It was crap.

P&S: Apart from playing Bass and Guitar, what other instruments do you play?
MC: Er… I can just about keep a beat going on the drums and I can tinkle a bit on the piano but I wouldn’t say that I can do either well enough to play in front of anyone else.

P&S: According to an early bio, things started taking off for you professionally in the late 1990’s when you moved to Canada – what prompted that move from your hometown of Oxford?
MC: Again this is going to sound rather clichéd but it was because of a girl. I met a charming French-Canadian in 1989 and spent over three years traveling backwards and forwards between England and Canada to be with her. We eventually got married and I moved out to Montreal in 1993 though we’re not together any more. It was a serious culture shock going from a small city like Oxford to a busy, vibrant and also largely French-speaking metropolis like Montreal. It’s the largest French speaking city in the world after Paris you know.

P&S: During this period you recorded two critically acclaimed LP’s “Shining Down On Me” (1999) and the follow up “Unnatural World” (2001) – were those LPs distributed worldwide/backed by a label or were they self-released in Canada only? Do you have any plans to record another solo LP in the near future?
MC: Well, critically acclaimed is probably pushing it a bit though it’s very nice of you to say so. A few people did say some quite positive things but they were largely ignored. They were self-released albums and both totally different from each other. I was floundering totally, both as an artist and personally when I made the first one. I’d been in a band in Montreal which fizzled out disappointingly and then sold all my music gear and moved out to Vancouver and started my own business selling massage equipment. Very bizarre. I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing with my life. But somehow I got drawn back into music again, wrote some songs and recorded them at my friend Paul Garay’s studio. They became ‘Shining Down On Me.’ I was really pleased with it at the time but it’s so different from what I’m doing now. ‘Unnatural World’ was mostly just me and an acoustic guitar recorded live to DAT though there are four ‘produced’ songs on it too. I still quite like that album. It’s dark. Not surprising really as I was not very happy back then. I don’t think I’d do another solo album. I got bored of working on my own. I’m much happier in a band though I am a total control freak which makes it difficult sometimes.

P&S: Correct me if I’m wrong, but were you the main person behind Coolbrook Booking Agency? Is the agency still booking artists in the UK?

MC: I was the main (and only) person behind that, yes. I started Coolbrook in July 2005 at the instigation of my friend Mark Browning. I’d just come back from a 26-date European tour with his band Ox, whom I played bass with for a short while (and I could talk for hours about that tour – in the space of one month I experienced every rock n roll cliché imaginable and that doesn’t even include the story about the rampaging wild boar.) Mark is someone I knew of from Vancouver and our paths had crossed a couple of times when I lived out there. I moved back to England in 2003 and on a return visit to Canada later that year I learned that Mark had a new band called Ox who were doing really well. I checked them out online and was totally blown away. So I got in touch with him and asked if he wanted to do a gig in Oxford. I booked it and it was a big success. A year later when he was planning his next tour he got in touch again and I half jokingly offered my services as a bass player for the tour. Surprisingly he was quite keen so I was ‘hired.’ I then ended up booking half the tour and it was suggested I could book tours for other Canadian artists. So I did. It was quite a tough job and I lost quite a bit of money doing it. I decided to call it a day in January this year and just go back to being a musician where I could lose money but at least have some fun doing it.

P&S: What first brought me to the attention of Coolbrook a couple of years ago was the addition of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Jim Reid to the roster of artists. How did you meet Jim and how did you begin playing bass in his live band?

MC: Well, it’s really just another example of me opening my big mouth and saying ‘I can do that.’ Funnily enough the connection came about because of a record label in Canada. One of the first bands Coolbrook worked with was The Heavy Blinkers from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had a chat with their record label (Endearing Records based in Vancouver) and learned that the band was signed to Transistor Records in the UK. I was quite surprised to discover that Transistor – whom I’d not heard of before – was based just up the road from me in Chipping Norton. It’s literally a twenty minute drive from where I live. So I hooked up with Mark at Transistor and discovered that he was doing a single (“Song For A Secret”) with Jim. I heard it and got quite excited and asked whether Jim was planning on doing any live dates and said I was interested. So that was that. I booked some shows for Jim and Phil and met them both for the first time on October 29th 2005 at The Cavern in Exeter. I was slightly overawed when I met Jim I have to say but managed to hide it. It just sort of snowballed from there. Jim wanted someone at the shows to help set up guitars and amps and make sure everything was tuned properly so I offered to do that. Then backstage at a gig in Brighton in January 2006 we got talking about the possibility of him having a new band. I said that if he was interested then I’d be up for playing bass (Phil was already playing guitar with Jim) and I knew a drummer (Loz) who’d be perfect. I didn’t know Loz at all then – I was totally winging it – but I’d been a big fan of Ride and had seen Loz playing with Dusty Sound System just a couple of weeks before and thought somehow it might just work out. Remarkably it did as Jim said he was up for it. I got in touch with Loz via Dave Newton who managed Ride and not long after I found myself in a tiny rehearsal room in Oxford playing with these indie legends. I couldn’t believe my luck. The funny thing is I’m not really a bass player at all but have somehow ended up playing bass more often than guitar.

P&S: I’ve heard a few bootlegs of Jim Reid’s early solo shows – the set was a good mixture of Mary Chain classics, Jim’s post JAMC band – Freeheat, Dylan’s “If You Gotta, Go Now”, and a slew of others. Did you or the rest of the band suggest songs to play live?

Video:: Jim Reid w/ Mark Crozer (Bass)
“Stranded – Live”

MC: In a word – no. Jim had got a set worked out before I started playing with him. Aside from Never Understand, the other Mary Chain songs we did were lesser-known ones. He never seemed that keen to do any of the better-known Mary Chain songs. I think that to him it just didn’t seem right without William’s involvement. That’s just my feeling. I’d love to play some more of Jim’s songs in the new incarnation of the Mary Chain. There’s one called War On Peace that is just fantastic – easily up there with the best he’s ever done and we worked out a really good arrangement with the band last year.

P&S: Playing in Jim Reid’s band led to you playing guitar in the reformed Jesus And Mary Chain. I read on your myspace blog several months ago a retelling of the day Jim called you and asked if you would like to play guitar in the Mary Chain – That must have been one of the most rewarding feelings as a musician – Were you a huge Jesus And Mary Chain fan before you joined the band?
MC: Being asked to play in the Mary Chain was a very exhilarating, life-affirming moment for me. I’d just come from playing one of the worst solo gig’s of my life and was pretty depressed about it. Moments before Jim called me I was seriously considering whether I had any future at all playing music. Things were looking very bleak. I had no money, no proper job and the one thing I knew I could do well looked like it was slipping away from me. I was even thinking about moving back to my mum’s house! I was sitting at the bus stop in Notting Hill when the phone rang and I heard Jim Reid asking “how would you feel about coming to California with the Mary Chain?” I thought he’d called me by mistake! So thank you Jim. When we played at Brixton I wore a t-shirt that said “Jim Fixed It For Me” which was the slogan from a TV show from the 1970’s called Jim’ll Fix It. But I meant it literally.

To say that I was a huge Mary Chain fan before joining the band would be disingenuous but I was certainly aware of them and knew they were very cool. I remember sitting around with my friend Joe in 1987 (when I was sixteen) listening to Darklands and thinking it was really out there – very different from what I was used to listening to and that they had totally freaky haircuts. Joe made a tape for me along with The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure. That soon became the soundtrack to my teenage moping and I tried desperately to get my hair to look as wild as theirs. I started working at Our Price Records a few years later just as Automatic was being released and I liked Blues From A Gun a lot. I think though in many ways the Mary Chain were always way ahead of their time. So as a fairly main-stream teenager I’d hear something like Psychocandy and go “What the hell is that!?” It was only years later that I heard it again and thought what an amazing and ground-breaking record it is. I am definitely a fan now for sure. I listen to Darklands the most though. That’s my personal favourite.

P&S: Do you think your life has changed drastically since joining one of the most influential bands in rock history? Do your friends and family treat you any different?
MC: I’m having a very surreal moment. It’s been a dream since I was six years old to be asked a question like that! Well, since joining one of the most influential bands in rock history (heh heh) my life has changed in some ways but pretty much stayed the same in most respects. You see, I’ve been living a fairly unorthodox, rock n roll life for quite a while anyway. The only difference is now I have the band to go with it. It’s quite hard to describe how it’s been over the last few months. Aside from just being part of the Mary Chain reunion – which in itself has been incredible – meeting people like Scarlett Johansson, Jarvis Cocker and doing things like Letterman have been the most fun and weird. I guess generally it’s an odd mixture of moments that are utterly bizarre and unreal tempered by others that are totally normal. When I’m playing with the band on stage and really focusing on not screwing up my parts it’s not really any different from being in any other band. You’re just trying to do the best job you can. Then there’s this sudden realization of being in front of thousands of people who are going crazy, singing along, crowd-surfing and I think “wow, this is totally, unbelievably amazing!” Playing Brixton Academy recently was one of the biggest thrills of my life. There was a moment of perfect synchronicity where I thought “this is what I was born to do” that came as we were playing Darklands. It was the first time in nearly twenty years that the Mary Chain has played that song and I’m standing there thinking “this is just completely mind-blowing.” We were great that night. The band has been getting better and better and we still really haven’t played that much together yet. I can’t wait till we do some longer tours. So to answer the question: Yes and no. I can pay my rent now which is a pretty drastic change from the beginning of the year.

My friends and family treat me exactly the same. Why wouldn’t they? I’m 36 years old and have lived enough years as an adult to take it all in stride and so have they so they do as well.

Video:: The Jesus And Mary Chain
“Just Like Honey – Live Summercase ’07”

P&S: Are there plans for you to record with the band on sessions for their follow up LP to 1998’s “Munki”?
MC: Well, I’m not entirely sure what the plans are. You’ve got to remember that until a few months ago the prospect of new Jesus and Mary Chain material was not even the glimmer of a prospect. So Jim and William are still trying to figure out how this is going to work. Initially I think they were just thinking of going into the studio with Loz but now it’s looking like we might all be involved. I hope so because I know I’ve got a lot to offer and there’s good chemistry between us. I’d love to be able to help orchestrate some of the sounds on any recordings that get made. I love engineering and producing as much as I love being a musician. But ultimately it comes down to what Jim and William want of course. We’ll see. I’ve taken to jokingly comparing myself to one of the red-shirt-wearing ensigns in Star Trek. Jim and William are Kirk and Spock and the rest of us are the ones whose names you don’t know but sooner or later you suspect they’ll probably get zapped and disappear. I’m joking of course when I say that but I like to think of it that way as it stops me getting big-headed.

P&S: Along with work in the Mary Chain, you have formed your own band, International Jetsetters – with Bert Audubert and fellow Mary Chainer Loz Colbert (also ex Ride) – We know you’ve played with Loz in Jim’s solo band, how did you meet Bert?
MC: Bert and I have been good friends for about four years. We met while we were working as telephone fundraisers for the Royal Shakespeare Company. We got to know each other during a very drunken summer. It all began at a midnight party down by the river in Oxford with a mad girl who was trying to catch crayfish with a children’s fishing net. She kept a dead kestrel in her freezer too. Bert and I both had a crush on her. The three of us had another boozy night a few days later on the roof of the house that was later to become International Jetsetters HQ. I knew we were in trouble when she turned up with a longbow and a quiver of arrows. Anyway, back to the river: Guitars came out along with copious amounts of red wine and spliffs and we realized we had a lot in common – particularly our unorthodox view of the world and love of music. Up until then I’d had an image of Bert as an incredibly clean-cut fellow as he always seemed to be very together. The reality is that he’s one of the wildest, most debauched party animals I have ever met. When the Mary Chain played at Coachella in April he insisted on coming along to live the rock n roll lifestyle on my behalf. I just can’t keep up with it these days so it worked out very nicely. We’re like the Abbott and Costello of backstage partying.

Video:: International Jetsetters
“My Redemption”

P&S: What music has influenced the overall sound of The International Jetsetters?

MC: Well, for me it all goes back to The Beatles and the music of the sixties. They were my first love musically and will always be the benchmark I’m aiming for in terms of songwriting. There’s probably also elements of the stuff I was listening to in my teenage years such as The Cure, The Smiths, etc. I have to say that playing in the Mary Chain is having a big influence too. The Reids really are masters of three chord pop so I’ve been trying to strip it down in a similar way. I recently wrote a song with just two chords and the next challenge is to write one with only one! I’m also very influenced by my dreams. I have some very strange dreams and one in particular – where I dreamed I punched a clown in the face – was the inspiration for a song called Keep In In (Let It Out.)

P&S: I know the band is currently recording the debut EP/LP – I also noticed a few shows the band is playing later in the year – will there be plans to play in the US?

Video:: International Jetsetters
“Inside Yourself – Live”

MC: We would absolutely love to play in the US but logistically I think it’s going to be difficult if not impossible unless a label puts out the album and can sort out visas and flights for us. It’s hard enough trying to arrange shows in our own backyard as it is. Everyone’s busy. Loz and I first and foremost are committed to the Mary Chain so have to work round that; Loz also has a family and has other projects on the go; Bert is an in-demand actor and pretty difficult to pin down as he’s frequently off working on a film or an advert. Ask him about the time he was asked to play a slice of bacon for an advert. He loves talking about that. He should call his autobiography ‘From Hamlet To Ham and Back Again.’

P&S: Mark, what other plans do you have in the works for the near future?
MC: Well, I’m really keen to get into production. I’ve worked on a few small projects (including engineering a couple of tracks for Jim last year and all the International Jetsetters stuff) but would love to be able to work with other bands too. I’m hoping to expand my studio one day soon. It’s very basic at the moment.

Aside from doing music together, Bert and I also write comedy (along with our friend Bruce on occasion.) We’re currently working on a short film based around the unusual-yet-somehow-totally-normal things that seem to happen to us daily (such as being asked to join internationally famous rock bands; dressing up as pigeons to hand out leaflets in Trafalgar Square; getting into car accidents with wild boars and so on…) Keep an eye out.

P&S: As a sorta way to close things out we always like to ask fellow musicians – what sort of stuff are you listening to right now? What would be your current TOP 5?
MC: Ok. Well. Hmmm. My current Top 5 bands/albums are:

Editors: An End Has A StartBat For Lashes: Fur and GoldIda Maria (from Sweden) I saw this band last night in Oxford and they were unbelievably brilliant.
Jarvis Cocker
Richard HawleyP&S: Mark it’s been a real pleasure! Best of luck with everything and let’s talk again in the future.
MC: It was a fun way to spend Sunday afternoon

Mark Crozer will be on tour with The Jesus And Mary Chain this fall, along with a couple of dates with his very own International Jetsetters…
09.27.07 – International Jetsetters – Oxford, England -The Jericho
10.20.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – Las Vegas, NV – The House Of Blues
10.22.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – Anaheim, CA – The House OF Blues
10.23.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern Theater
10.24.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – San Diego, CA – 4th And B
10.26.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
10.27.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
10.28.07 – The Jesus And Mary Chain – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
11.21.07 – The International Jetsetters – London, England -The Windmill

For More Information on Mark Crozer/The JAMC Please

Special thanks to Rose

Interview::Mike Cooley in the Independent

The Independent Weekly of the triangle area printed a rare interview with Mike Cooley from the Drive By Truckers yesterday. The article talks a little about Gravity’s Gone, the lost art of road testing songs, and the new record. I didn’t however see anything about Cooley’s shirt collection. I think someone should do an expose on that alone.

Here are some excerpts, and for the whole article go here:Cooley in the Independent Weekly

INDEPENDENT: I understand you wrote “Gravity’s Gone” over a long period?
MIKE COOLEY: It’s something I kept coming back to for over a year or more. I think I came up with the chorus, or most of it, at one time, and just thought it was cool and didn’t know really what it meant. I’d just kept going back to it. Every time I’d think about writing, that’d be one I’d go back to. And then the verses started popping out and taking shape.
You say you’d been coming up with lines: Did you know they were for this song?At a certain point, I think I was kind of consciously thinking of them to go with that chorus. A lot of them, when we were on one particular tour, every day or two another one of those kind of funny lines popped into my head, and I’d hang on to it.It’s reminiscent of the advice from that famous column “Wear Sunscreen.”
I don’t live by any of that crap, but I try to bestow it upon others as much as I can. [laughs] I’m usually talking to myself, that’s my dirty little secret. If I ever sound like I’m preaching or trying to make someone smarter than they are, I’m talking to me.
It has a quality about the lovable loser, like some of the songs by the Replacements or Townes Van Zandt.A lot of times it takes me a few years after I write something… [Cooley tells a squealing kid to hold on, he’s on the phone.] It takes me a few years before I really know what I’m talking about. In that particular case, a lot of it came together while I was on this tour that I wasn’t having much fun with. [laughs] I was on the road a lot harder and longer than I wanted to be, and I didn’t feel like we were really reaping the benefits. [Editor’s note: Could this be the Dirty South tour?] But the whole thing in the chorus is kind of like, if I derail my career, at least I’ll have my feet on the ground. I’d rather be at the bottom with my feet on the ground than the bottom with no where to land. So it took me a while to figure out what I was talking about, but I think that was it.I suppose there’s an aspect that you couldn’t write as well as you can if you knew what it was you were saying.Oh, exactly. You would probably say it badly if you knew exactly what it was. You wouldn’t be nearly as clever because you wouldn’t have anything to figure out later.I guess it’s one of those themes that has an appeal because a lot of us are fuck-ups.Yeah, I like to stick with that because I think it’s honest. That’s kind of who I am.It reminded me a bit of “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” with a kind of wistful yearning for something fleeting or a day gone by.I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, but they were very similar. I had kind of reached the same point in my career, as he was in the second verse of that song. Like, “Well, I’ll be, here I am. I made it. Great. Now what do I do?”So I understand you took a little hiatus before working on this new record.We were off the road for most of 4 months. We did a show here and a show there, but we didn’t tour at all. When we actually started coming in and working up these songs, it had been several months.How’d it feel?It was great. We were getting ready to do a tour, and putting together the whole Dirt Underneath thing, and had [Muscle Shoals keyboardist] Spooner Oldham in there, so it’s a new sound. We were actually excited about touring again. That was the cool thing about it. We used that tour to work up the songs and we played mostly, or at least half the show was brand new stuff.You road tested them?Took it on the road first, what a concept. [laughs]The old-fashioned way.Yeah, and a lot of the times you’ll get a certain amount of resistance and people will tell you you shouldn’t be out playing new songs before the record comes out. It seemed like why not. They’re mine, I’ll play them whenever I feel like.How is the new album coming along?We’re pretty close to finished. Everything’s tracked. I’m going back tomorrow [to David Barbe’s studio in Athens] to do a few more days of working on it. Maybe redo some vocals, add some parts here and there. But it’s pretty much there. I think we’re going to trust our mix.

Interview::Lavender Diamond

There is an exclusive interview with Lavender Diamond up on Urge. Check it out: Lavender Diamond interview

Here are some excerpts from the interview if you don’t want to get involved with all that.
URGE: Was the ideological aspect one of the starting points of the band? Was that there from the beginning?

Ron Regé Jr.: When I met Becky, she was performing as Lavender Diamond, just singing solo and guitar, slower and a little drawn out. But she had played with a few different guitar players, one was Jeff [Rosenberg], and another was Elvis Perkins. The two of us had a band called the Mystical Unionists, where we wore these crazy costumes, and it was just drums and vocals, and I had this weird machine, an echo box. Ideologically, all those songs were pretty much the same, probably more so than Lavender Diamond because the music was weird, and we were wearing these robes.

Stark: We weren’t wearing robes, we were wearing sexy outfits.

URGE: Where did those ideas come from? Was it upbringing and musical taste, or was it art-school ideas?

Regé Jr.: It was things going on, and probably the times we live in. I’m feeling really strongly about [our surroundings] these days. I look around at popular culture and youth culture, and I’m [wondering] “What the hell is going on?” I can’t believe how many artists are just singing about nothing. It completely baffles me. When I was in my twenties in the ’80s, we were all yelling punk-rock kind of stuff, mostly shouting about Reagan. But nowadays, even the folk movement and people with the hippie trappings, they don’t seem to be having any kind of protests. I know people might not want to be specific, or get pigeonholed, but … in my art and in my paintings, I came to [a] realization that I can’t make art that doesn’t mean anything, and I can’t make art that isn’t specifically about finding peace in this world. So, then Becky met Steve [Gregoropolous], who plays piano, who’s been doing music forever. Steve was also on board with making really subversive pop music. That’s how Becky got Steve to be in; with writing.

Stark: I said, we’ll do it really consciously, like Abba.

Regé Jr.: Yeah, like Abba or Human League or Blondie. Human League is the one that got him. Steve made industrial music in the early ’80s, and is also a pop and classical guy. So he definitely understands the idea, because he saw bands like the Human League go from being like Throbbing Gristle to being a Top 40 band.

Interview:: The Primary 5 (Paul Quinn)

Fresh off the release of their excellent debut “North Pole”, their appearance on Planting Seeds’ Rick Nelson Tribute “Easy To Be Free” – The Primary 5 continue their winning streak with a new LP “Go” filled with sugary melodies and timeless hooks. You may remember Paul Quinn as drummer from Teenage Fanclub and The Soup Dragons. Paul stopped by Parasites & Sycophants HQ to chat about his influences, songwriting, recording the new LP “Go”, Teenage Fanclub and lots more.

Parasites & Sycophants: Paul, thanks for hanging out with us folks here at Parasites & Sycophants

Paul Quinn: Pleasure to be here.

P&S: As an introduction, when did your career in music begin? If you can remember, what was the name of the first band you were in?

My first notion to play drums and be creative happened when I was around 14 years old, I can remember playing my parents sofas with knitting needles when I was much younger, so I kind of think I was destined/fated, whichever way you look at it, to play drums. I bought my first kit, a 4-piece gold sparkle Premier kit for £45 with my first wage from my first job after leaving high school, my parents weren’t very happy but I was ecstatically happy. A few weeks later I was in my first band, 7-ID, playing Clash & Sex Pistols, amongst others, covers, a really exciting time.

P&S: What were some of the records that influenced you as a youngster?
PQ: I come from a large family of two sisters and five brothers, so there was always music and records. Neil Young’s “Harvest”, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Sweet, Where all the bands I grew up with. My eldest brother had Marty Robbins records which I can remember playing a lot. As a teenager I grew up in the punk era And was a massive Clash fan, discovering ska with The Specials being a big influence and discovering the whole Trojan scene that influenced them, Postcard with Orange Juice and all those brilliant Scottish bands and songwriters.

P&S: Who are your all-time favorite artists/bands?
PQ: I would find it almost impossible to single out one band or person, I like so many artists for many different reasons, be it from a songwriting slant, arrangements, There voice, everything, the whole package. I think there are very few people who have had or have everything. I think these are genuine geniuses: Elvis Pressley, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Beatles, Jagger & Richards, Gram Parsons, Gene Clark, The Stones, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Roger Nichols, Rogers & Hammerstein, The Carpenters, Abba, The Raspberries, Neil Young, The Band, Dylan the list is endless.

My all time favourite band for right now would undoubtedly be the amazing Shins. I think James Mercer is a brilliant songwriter, who in myHumble opinion, has everything that a great songwriter should have: great melodies, smart arrangements, pop sensibilities in abundance and a fantastic bunch of musicians around him. A very cool and clever record label behind him is also a great thing to have. All things good that lead to good things. The 3 Shins records Are never that far away from me. I also think Ben Kweller is really great. I love Music & Movement, Findlay McDonald ex of Speedboat, Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits band, based in Glasgow. There debut album “This is…Music & Movement” is a work of art, start to finish.

P&S: Growing up in Scotland, what were some of the groups other Scottish bands took notice of as a sort of measuring stick for success?
PQ: I don’t think success was the key or the lure to music for anyone I knew when I became involved in making music or being in a band; we wanted to play and write And be creative and enjoy doing just that. I think some bands or people just set out to be successful and I think that’s where it all goes a little pear shaped as a A lot of these aspirations don’t ever become reality and you end up with people who become disillusioned or delusional! We all wanted, at a certain stage, to make records, then slowly but surely you start understanding the music business and all that goes with it. I think as kids growing up we listened to a wide variety of music. Bellshill, where I come from, is a small industrial town, roughly 12 miles east of Glasgow, and had a fantastic collective of like minded people who would eventually go on to make there own mark in music. Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, The Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits, Superstar all came from the same scene and the same town.

P&S: With you joining The Soup Dragons in 1990, the LP “Love God” took off with the hits “Mother Universe” and “I’m Free” (both favorites of ours)- was that your first taste of commercial success in the music industry?
PQ: I did a two week long UK tour with The Soup Dragons before being asked to join them and then went into the studio and recorded “I’m Free” which was the first Song I recorded with them. I remember recording some demos in Glasgow with them but I’m Free was the first to be released commercially. I’m Free completely Changed our lives as a band as it peaked at No 5 in the UK Top 10 and the whole thing just kept gathering momentum, the venues got bigger as did the crowds, The tours where longer, the destinations further away, it was a fantastic wave to be surfing and we did enjoy it until we stopped enjoying it and then we said that’ll Be that and it ended.

P&S: Following your stint with The Soup Dragons, you followed with membership in another great band – Teenage Fanclub – how did you get together with Norman Blake and Co?
PQ: Norman was one of the music loving and like minded people that I grew up with in Bellshill, I’ve probably known him most of my life. My first musical involvement With both Norman & Raymond (McGinley) was pre Teenage Fanclub’ and a band called The Boy Hairdressers. I played a couple of shows with them, I then Joined The Soup Dragons a while later and a few months after that Teenage Fanclub where put together. At the time of The Soup Dragons split, Norman was at Home enjoying a break from touring and I was dealing with the fallout of The Soup Dragons, he knew what was going on and during that time I helped him out Programming drums for demos he had which was a great release from the stress of dealing with lawyers etc. Chas Banks (TFC Manager) then called me a good 6 Months later and told me Brendan had left the band and the guys would like me to be their new drummer. Being a huge fan of the group and them as songwriters And people made the decision to join very simple. I’ve been quoted as saying “ It was one of the best moments of my life being asked to join Teenage Fanclub” A quote I certainly wouldn’t disagree with even if I can’t actually remember saying it.

P&S: You were with Teenage Fanclub until the recording of “Howdy” – what led you to decide to leave the band?
PQ: I had decided to leave the band during the pre-production rehearsals for “Howdy”. I would never had walked out on the guys or leave them with the situation of finding & rehearsing a new drummer for Howdy as rehearsals where pretty far down the road by that time. There wasn’t any problem within the band and rehearsals where going really well, so I recorded Howdy and very soon after it was finished I told the guys I would be leaving as I wanted to do something new. I’d been working pretty much full on for the past 11 years, rehearsing, recording and touring and really just wanted a break from the music business in general, that break lasted roughly about 4 months!!!

P&S: After leaving TFC, you took it easy – even going as far as leaving the music business. You then decided to write songs – what was the turning point that made you want to pick up a guitar – as opposed to your usual instrument, the drums and eventually form The Primary 5?
PQ: Yeah, I took some time out, 4 months as I said, and suddenly found myself wanting to be creative. Norman had left an acoustic guitar at my place and had very kindly asked me if I wanted to keep it when I called him to let him know I had it. I did keep it and over the next 3 or 4 weeks I’d written Easy Chair, Comin Home, Field of Dreams and I’ll Lay You Down. I could muster a few chords but not to the extent where I would, or in fact do, call myself a guitar player, I’m a drummer who plays a bit of guitar, writes tunes and sings, but at that time it was just me an acoustic & 4 songs that I didn’t really know if they where any good or not. It wasn’t until I’d met Ryan who at first just wanted to help me get them recorded as he had an 8 track digital desk and I thought he was a guy who wanted to be a recording engineer. I knew he played guitar and soon realised very quickly that he was very sharp on the understanding of arrangements and parts and was really quick in playing parts I was asking him to play. It was in this initial 4 song session that I knew I had met someone who could take what I had forward and very soon those 4 songs became ten that was to become our first album” North Pole”

P&S: The Primary 5 are essentially a duo – How and when did you meet Ryan Currie?
PQ: I met Ryan through a friend, Ian Anderson, whom I hadn’t seen for years until I bumped into him and he told me he was looking after this young band and would I like to come to one of their rehearsals to check them out, which I did and their singer/songwriter/guitarist was Ryan. Ian asked me if I could drop Ryan home as he lived on route to mine and it was during this drive that Ryan offered to get involved in recording the songs I had after asking me what I was up to, that was in late 2001

P&S: Was your time in TFC influential on the overall sound of the melodic harmonies of the Primary 5?
PQ: I suppose the biggest influence that rubbed off from my time in TFC was the fact that you make the kind of record you want to make. Of course I think I would be lying if I said my time with the band hasn’t influenced what I’ve done with The Primary 5 musically. We come from the same musical background and share a similar passion in making and listening to music. I learned a lot about how to make records by simply being in the studio with them. My involvement with TFC was to play drums and I loved that. I had no involvement in the song writing process and never shared or aired my views on anything to do with the recordings or songs after I had put the drum tracks down. Not that I’m complaining as I just sat back and watched the other guys create these amazing songs around my finished drum tracks. I never intentionally studied what they did or how they did it. Just being in the same room was all it took to pick up on how to work songs and work in the studio.

P&S: “Go” is the second Primary 5 LP – how did the creation and production of the new record differ from your debut album “North Pole”?

PQ: The creation of the songs was pretty much the same process as the songs for North Pole. I don’t demo songs; I have a Dictaphone and just hum melodies into that then figure out the chords that go around the melodies. Probably the same process every song writer goes through, nothing exciting I’m afraid!!

The main difference between the production of North Pole & Go was the budget. For North Pole we didn’t have one, for Go we did. We received funding from The Scottish Arts Council towards recording costs which enabled us to go into proper recording studios and record Go. We used Reel Time Studios in Scotland and Rockfield Studios in Wales. Ryan engineered recording the drums, I engineered the bass, Raymond McGinley engineered the guitars and Norman engineered the vocals. We took what we done at Reel Time and moved camp to Rockfield, Wales where we hooked up with Nick Brine ( Oasis, Bruce Springsteen, Stone Roses, Beta Band, TFC) who had mixed North Pole. We had intended to spend the time at Rockfield mixing the record but we still had recording to do. Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion, A lot! We really where under pressure as we had 5 Days to get it finished, which we did thankfully, very tired but very happy at the results.

P&S: Any particular song or songs that stand out as far production difficulites, studio fun etc – during the recording sessions for “Go”?
PQ: I think the song that caused us most problems was The Great Escape. There was an absolute feel that that song needed and it took us a bit of work to get it to where it ended up, but really we didn’t have any real problems as I knew pretty much the arrangements and the parts I wanted to hear. The Reel Time sessions where really very focused and workmanlike as the schedule of the studio didn’t allow for long hours, whereas Rockfield was very long hours and with long hours comes the cabin fever madness and a great deal of laughing occurred. The time at Rockfield I think regenerated my enthusiasm for the songs and where to go with them hence the fact we did loads of additional recording at Rockfield, there was a great spirit between myself, Ryan and Nick and we where all determined to make a better record than North Pole. We certainly feel we did sonically as I think it’s a better sounding record, whether I achieved anything personally with regards the songs being stronger than the songs on North Pole, then that’s for other people to answer. But I personally feel it’s a stronger record than North Pole, it was great fun to make and we’re both very happy with the end result.

P&S: What prompted you to enlist the help of Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley for the sessions?
PQ: I had always thought of asking Norman to get involved with the vocal recordings as his knowledge and ability in that dept is second to none,
I felt that I would be very comfortable vocally working with Norman and Ryan as I thought these songs would stretch me vocally and I needed all the help I could get really!!, seriously though, Norman was brilliant in the fact that he told me just to sing as naturally as I could and that’s how I felt very comfortable and certainly more confident vocally, so getting Norman in certainly worked.. I asked Raymond to get involved for a number of reasons, firstly his totally honest approach and his understanding of how to get the best performances. Raymond also brought a lot of amazing equipment to the session and knew what I was looking for. I also wanted to free Ryan up to be a guitar player instead of being the engineer and guitar player. I felt that this worked amazingly well and I was thrilled at what Norman & Raymond brought to the record. I also got Norman to sing some backing Vocals on the chorus of Off Course and Raymond played the outro to Stars & Stripes.

P&S: Speaking of the new LP, you are now signed to London based label Re-Action Recordings, how did that deal come about? And what happened to your imprint Bellbeat music?
PQ: I had decided long ago that I wouldn’t be bringing a second record out on Bellbeat. I’d really put North Pole out myself as I thought it was the right thing to do. I’d thought about approaching other labels with North Pole but reckoned that I would asking other people to put out a record by a guy who had never written a song before, had never played guitar or sang before and was by all accounts a drummer. I could just hear the comments: “Another drummer with lead singer disease” ie a drummer wanting to front his own band after being stuck in the background for years. This was never the case as I had never intended singing at all in the band, we just couldn’t find a singer after months and months of auditioning, so I felt I had to let people know that I basically put my money where my mouth is so to speak, which I did and North Pole was a success in my eyes as I didn’t expect to sell 1 copy never mind the thousands it did sell worldwide. Signing to Re-Action was a fairly straightforward process. Innes Reekie, who I’d known for years as a journalist, contacted me through myspace, asked to hear the new record as they where interested in putting it out. After hearing the record Innes flew to Glasgow from London, we spoke, thrashed an agreement around for a month or so and eventually came to a deal we where both happy with and here we are.

P&S: I see the band is playing several shows in support of the LP – Any plans to hit US shores?

PQ: Yeah we’re playing a few shows around the UK and hopefully some festival appearances too. We’ll also be playing a few European shows And hopefully Japan. I would love to play in the U.S with The Primary 5 but as yet we’ve never been invited so the answer to the question is No, No plans to play in the U.S. We’re open to offers though!!!

P&S: Paul, we truly wish the best for the band – the new LP is fabulous and we hope you come to America soon – thanks for everything!
PQ: Thanks very much, my pleasure.

The Primary 5 will be playing in the UK – get out and see them!
June, 9 2007 @ Bellshill Cultural Centre John St, Bellshill, Scotland
June, 10 2007 @ Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh. Scotland
June, 12 2007 @ The Luminaire, London

June, 15 2007 @ The Forum, Darlington
June, 16 2007 @ The Mixing Tin, Leeds
August, 25 2007 @ Underbelly (with Attic Lights) Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland -Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Interview::Patterson Hood from the Drive By Truckers

Last week on the eve of the Colorado stint of The Dirt Underneath tour, Patterson Hood was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. He talked a bit about the new record, the current tour, and things coming into focus for the future. Us DBT fans are really excited about the new songs we’ve heard during the tour. We know the next record is going to be a great one. Without further ado, here is the interview-

So how has the Dirt Underneath tour been from your perspective? Did it meet your expectations? Were the crowds well behaved?
Patterson Hood: Above and beyond my best case scenario and by far my favorite tour ever. We’ve been working up new songs as we go and have 11 going now, averaging 7-8 new songs a night. The crowds have been incredible. They have been overall well behaved. I mean, we haven’t become librarians or anything. We’re just trying something different and asked for some help by the folks out there. It’s still a pertty raucous show most nights and plenty of hell raising. We just want to have the quieter experimental moments work too. I’m extrememly happy.
Are all the songs written for the new record?
PH: We have plenty, but I wouldn’t say we’re through. Cooley has 6-7 so far for consideration. I’m sitting on maybe 15 that I consider serious contenders. My first choice would be to now write an entirely new album from scratch between now and end of summer, but we’ll see. It’s a fun position to be in.
Any theme this time?
PH: No one theme, but lots of recurring images and thoughts. Likewise, Cooley and I are very much same page again, maybe even more so than ever this time. A lot of cohesion between what he’s writing and what I’m writing.
Do you write on the road?
PH: It’s really hard but it can be done. Last summer when we were doing that shed tour all summer, and I was going fucking crazy and out of my mind but also trying not to totally abuse myself or go off the deep end, I wrote a bunch of songs, some of which make up the foundations of what I’m writing now. I have ideas all the time and try to write as many down as possible, but I do a better job of completing my thoughts at home in my little office with toys and guitars all aorund and a piano in the next room.
Does this year feel like a vacation compared to last year with all the touring?
PH: Absolutely. I’ve been busy as hell this year. I’ve done a ton of writing and a ton of recording and production stuff and side projects, but I’ve also spent a lot of time with my family and reallly recharged and refocused.
What is the low-down on Murdering Oscar? Any ideas on when it will be released?
PH: I’d still love to see it out this year but we’ll have to see. I just put 2 new songs up on myspace for folks to hear. I’m thrilled with it, but just having to be careful to not interfere with DBT, as that has to be my priority. Maybe someday I can just make records and put them out and not have to ask anybody’s permission but everything is a work in progress. One thing, my music is not in style in any way, so therefore I don’t have to worry about an expiration date. It will be just as out of time with the rest of the world next year as the year after that. I think we all revel in being our own thing with our own agendas and timelines.
You have mentioned Big Star’s Third as a favorite record? What are a couple of other all time favs?
PH: All three Big Star albums for that matter are absolutely essential. The second one (Radio City) has always been my all time fave, but the new vinyl reissue of 3rd (with supposedly proper sequence) is a revelation. Whether it really is the “correct” sequence is one of those “Rock Mysteries” that will never be conclusively known, but the one on the reissue is one of the coolest sequences I’ve ever heard (and I’m fanatical about sequencing of albums). Other all times: Todd Rundgren – Something /Anything, the new Sly Stone reissues are incredible. I’m listening to “There’s a Riot Going On” right now. Just wait till the next album…
Are you excited to play Willie’s picnic?
PH: Fuck yeah!!!!! Can’t wait.
Music from The Dirt Underneath Georgia Theather 27/28 April 2007

Interviews:: Ben Lurie – The Jesus And Mary Chain, Freeheat, and Sister Vanilla

With The Jesus And Mary Chain’s first live appearance in nine years set for The Glasshouse in Pomona, CA on April 26th – along with the recent releases of Sister Vanilla’s “Little Pop Rock” and Freeheat’s “Back On The Water” – longtime Mary Chain guitarist Ben Lurie sat with Parasites & Sycophants for a cool discussion about his musical past, meeting Jim & William Reid, and why he isn’t taking part in the JAMC this time out.

Parasites & Sycophants: As a general introduction to our audience let’s get to know Ben Lurie the musician a bit. How long have you been playing music?

Ben Lurie: I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 10 years old. I had a little flirtation with the recorder previous to that but it just never came together for me, that funny little pipe just didn’t cut it.

P&S: While beginning your musical career, what were some of the artists/bands that influenced you the most?

BL: I loved The Police when I was a youngster. I loved the idea of a three-piece band, somehow that made it more accessible to me.
P&S: What was the name of the first band you were in?
BL: Silver Ghost – early high school band. It mutated into Sons of Sorrow post high school and we released an album in Australia in 1988 that sold about 92 copies, quite an achievement considering friends and family all got free copies and I moved to the UK a week after the record was released.
P&S: How did you come to work with Jim and William Reid? Were you a fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain before you joined in 1989 on “The Automatic” Tour?
BL: I liked the JAMC but I’d be lying if I said I was a huge fan. I had moved to London and was working at Rough Trade Records whose owner Geoff Travis also ran the Blanco y Negro label to who the Mary Chain were signed. Geoff’s assistant Jeannette knew that I was wanting to join a band and told me that the JAMC were auditioning. I went along, behaved in a completely uncool manner, told them I thought Nick Cave was funny (come on, he is), and that my favourite bands were The Police and The Smiths. Somehow I got the job, one tour led to another, and they eventually asked me to make records with them.
P&S: You appeared on the band’s last two studio LP’s “Stoned And Dethroned” and “Munki” – Also at this time, some of your songs started surfacing on the b-sides of the Mary Chain’s singles – “Taking It Away” and “Rocket” – how did the inclusion your songs come about?
BL: Simple, I asked. I knew we needed some extra songs for B-sides and I had a bunch of tunes that I’d recorded demos for, some that I thought would totally suit the band so I offered up Taking It Away and then later Rocket and there it was.
P&S: Around ’97 or ’98 it appeared you and Jim Reid were involved in a side project called TV69 – hinting that the sound of the band would be in a more cosmic/space rock style ala The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield and Gram Parsons — did that idea quickly fade into a more continuation of the JAMC style when you got the group together with Nick Sanderson and Romi Mori as Freeheat?
BL: I guess when we were intellectualising the idea of a new band we had all these albeit vague, but grand schemes. When we finally got it together to actually assemble a band it turned out to be a natural continuation of what we had been doing previously. Jim had a set of songs he’d been writing post-Marychain and everything just kind of fell into place.
P&S: How did the Freeheat tours differ from the last JAMC Munki tour?
BL: The last JAMC tour was pretty fucked up. The band really split up at the start of the tour at the House of Blues in LA and William left but for a variety of reasons we carried on. Basically it was a mess. The Freeheat tours were fun. It was just us in a van, very stripped down, and immensely satisfying when we pulled it off.
P&S: Freeheat’s only full length has received some good press from fans and critcs around the world – How did the release of “Back On The Water” come about – four years after the UK only “Retox” EP?
BL: Neil DelParto from Planting Seeds kept bugging me for something he could release. In the end his perseverance overrode my laziness.
P&S: In the last several months The Jesus And Mary Chain have been back in the news with their appearance at several upcoming festivals, most notably Coachella – with you in Australia, did that have a major impact on your participation this time out or was it more convenient time wise for them to employ Jim’s current solo backing band?
BL: Yeah my being in Australia had a major impact on my participation – it made it pretty much out of the question. As well as that, although William and I get along pretty well these days, I don’t know if we would be able to be in the same band again. I like to think that I did more than just play guitar in the JAMC, but the bottom line is that the JAMC is Jim & William’s band. Right now it works for them using Jim’s group.
P&S: What’s in store for Ben Lurie in the near future?
BL: I’m a designer these days, I’m going to be the next Milton Glaser. And somewhere down the line there’s an album waiting to fall on deaf ears…..
P&S: And last, A question we like to ask from fellow artists: What would you call your desert island discs – Your TOP 5?
1. Gram Parsons has to be number one, always – GP and Return of the Grievous Angel conveniently available these days on the one CD
2. I Feel Alright by Steve Earle (I could probably fill up my other top 5 slots with Steve Earle records but that would be dull so…..
3. The Stooges first album (self titled, eponymously titled, it’s called The Stooges in other words) – you had me at Alright
4. Twentieth Century by Cold Chisel (once you get past Jimmy Barnes’ squawk there are fantastic songs here. Step aside Nick Cave, Don Walker is your genuine great Australian songwriter)
5. Number 5 is up for grabs, I’m being indecisive, wishy-washy if you would. Right now I’m choosing Mercury Rev’s All Is Dream. It’s got texture. It’s got soul.

P&S: Thanks for all Ben, cheers!

(See Also)Interview:: Linda Reid/Sister Vanilla (P&S)

Interviews :: Sister Vanilla

Sister Vanilla AKA Linda Reid has just released the long awaited “Little Pop Rock” (Chemikal Underground, UK) featuring her famous brothers Jim and William Reid of The Jesus And Mary Chain – with longtime JAMC/Freeheat guitarist Ben Lurie, and Stephen Pastel.

P&S: Linda, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, we really appreciate it!
For those out there who maybe don’t know, how did the name “Sister Vanilla”come to be?

LR: It was William’s idea. He said I have the palest skin he’s ever seen – same colour as vanilla. and i’m his sister. So Sister Vanilla.

P&S: In researching information, you stated in an interview with Trev of LostMusic that you designed the cover sleeves for The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Happy When It Rains” and “April Skies” single – Was that your earliest involvement with your brothers’ band?

LR: Yes it was. I’m a bit younger than William and Jim so I’d be in the background just watching them make records and do what they do. It was a big thrill to actually work with them properly though.

P&S: When did you really consciously decide you wanted to record and play music?

LR: It was never something that I had thought about to be honest. Jim had originally asked me while they were recording “Stoned And Dethroned” if I wanted to sing one of their songs for a b-side to a single and I said yes right away. Nothing happened until they were recording “Munki” and it was then that I recorded “Mo Tucker”. The intention was still to use it as a b-side, but then when everyone heard it, they all thought it was good enough to put on the album. It was then that William and Jim asked me if I wanted to record my own album – but working with them. They encouraged me to write my own lyrics, which I had never done until then. Basically, this opportunity was given to me and I took it and I’m very glad I did.

P&S: Who are your influences? Besides your brothers music, who did you listen to growing up?

LR: I listened to my brothers and what they were listening to. I had a really good musical education because of them. There was always good music playing in our house. So bands like the Velvet Underground/ The Beatles/The Pastels/Dusty Springfield were things that I was listening to from an early age. I think I’ve been influenced a lot by bands from Glasgow – particularly The Pastels/ Teenage Fanclub/Belle And Sebastian/Altered Images. I also love Blur – I adore Blur actually!

P&S: How did the deal with Chemikal Underground to release “Little Pop Rock” come about? Did you shop the LP to a lot of indie/major labels?

LR: To be honest, we didnt actively shop this record around and that’s probably down to the fact that we’re all so lazy! Part of me didnt really think anyone would be that interested in buy ing a record of the sister of The Jesus And Mary Chain. But our friend Stephen Pastel (from The Pastels) introduced us to Chemikal Underground and we realised pretty quickly that it would be a good idea to work with them. They are really professional about everything but they also really love the album and are big fans of William and Jim’s music.

P&S: How did the songwriting process for the album work? We know some of the songs were written prior to the project, but for the songs you contributed lyrics to, did you write them with Jim, William, and Ben or was the music and lyrics a collaborative effort?

LR: William was very encouraging when it came to songwriting for me. He said that I should at least have a go at writing lyrics and it’s worked out pretty good so far. I added some of my own lyrics to “K To Be Lost”, “Pastel Blue”, “TOTP”, “Can’t Stop The Rock”. The music side of things I left to William, Jim and Ben.

P&S: Since The “Little Pop Rock” LP was recorded through the course of 10 or so years, are there any plans for a follow up release in the near future?

LR: I’m not really thinking about a follow up to “Little Pop Rock” right now. As you say, this record has taken so long to record – so I want to just focus on this right now and maybe in the future I can think about doing more stuff.

P&S: We all know how Jim and William have had their differences…have You ever butted heads with either one (or both) of them (either literally or figuratively) or has your role always been primarily that of the “mediator”?

LR: I just play the role that any sister would when her brothers arent getting along. I guess I have been a mediator between them but there have also been times when I’ve backed off and let them sort things out for themselves. I love them both equally and would never take sides. They are both friends now so thankfully I don’t need to mediate too much now.

P&S: What bands or artists are you currently listening to?

LR: I’m currently listening to the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Jarvis Cocker, Beck, Graham Coxon, Blur. I never tire of The Beatles and I play “Abbey Road” constantly.

P&S: What would you call your five all-time favorite LPs?

LR: I wont mention The JAMC here because I love all their records so i’d say….The Beatles – “Abbey Road”, The Velvet Underground And Nico, The Pastels – “Mobile Safari”, Beck – “Odelay”, Blur – “13”

P&S: What are your thoughts on the current Jesus And Mary Chain reunion? And do you plan on joining them onstage for any of the upcoming festival appearances?

LR: I think it’s great. I never thought it would ever happen but now it has, I’m all for it. I went to see them rehearse last month when they were both in london and it made me feel a bit emotional! They sounded really brilliant as well. My husband James and I are going to see them play in july in Spain so I’m looking froward to that.

P&S: Well Linda best of luck with the worldwide release of “Little Pop Rock’again thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us – looking forwardto more in the future!

LR: thanks for your support!!!!

For more information on Sister Vanilla please visit:
and check out the very cool Sister Vanilla minisite:

Sister Vanilla photos courtesy of Chemikal Underground; Special thanks to Niina Talikka.

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