— information leafblower

The Year in Interviews

After taking most of 2009 off from writing, I had the chance to interview quite a few of my favorite bands in 2010 and one of the best photographers in the world.

Photographer Danny Clinch

One of the things I read about you is you got your start back in the day shooting hip-hop artists, back when that was a sort of a new genre.

Yes. I got a couple of assignments from SPIN Magazine, and one of the assignments was to shoot 3rd Bass. And I got the photos back and I was very proud of them. I thought they were really good photos and I thought, “What now? What am I going to do with these photos?” And I decided to take them to Def Jam Records, because they were on Def Jam at the time, and I thought I would take them over there and see what they think of them. So I tried really hard to get an appointment with these guys and they were like “No, no just leave us your portfolio. Drop it off on a Wednesday, pick it up on a Thursday.” And I finally said “I just shot 3rd Bass for SPIN and I got some really good stuff.” And so I finally went over and met with these people at the Drawing Board, which was the name of the art department at the time, and we just really hit it off. They really liked the photos I took of 3rd Bass. Back then in hip-hop, there weren’t big budgets. The bands were very popular commercially, you know 3rd bass, LL Cool J and Public Enemy, but they weren’t big budget jobs, so the big photographers could really care less. And so I started to get some of those jobs and it was a really good thing for me. So I was a young photographer that was getting album packing jobs, and it was really exciting.

Underworld @9:30 Club Underworld’s Karl Hyde

Let’s talk about your new album, Barking. Most of the reviews I’ve read have labeled it a “return to form.”

I know what people mean when they say that and I take that the way that it’s meant. As a fan, there are a lot of people that I wish were doing something akin to what I loved them for in the first place, you know, without asking people to repeat themselves or do a history lesson. But to be making music in the area of the music that I was excited about them for, but with a freshness. And when I hear that, it really makes me smile because this making a lot of people happy.

Teenage_Fanclub-4 Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake

What’s your best Alan McGee story?

I’m not really sure. It wouldn’t be a debauched one, you know? Because actually there’s another Alan McGee. There’s Alan who is full of anecdotes and crazy rock n’ roll stories, but there’s the Alan McGee that helped my friend Chas Banks out. He was our tour manager and he got a viral infection in his spine and was paralyzed from the neck down. Now he can’t move below the waist but he can still get an erection, which he told me he was very happy about! [laughs] But when that happened to Chas he was our tour manager, and he also worked for The Pixies, and Alan McGee got in touch with loads of people that he knew from the labels and said, “Look, Chas is a good guy, give us some money.” And he put a lot of money in and bought Chas a house. Alan would probably never have spoken about that. So there is another Alan McGee and I would rather focus on that guy. It was a really nice thing to do and he would never tell anyone that he’d done it. But he did.

James-0512.jpg Tim Booth of James

I also wanted to ask you about Lollapalooza 1997. That was the first time I had seen the band and it was such a strange scene with you on before KoRn. Obviously that wasn’t the right audience for you guys, which is putting it mildly. What do remember about that tour?

[laughs] We had started to fall apart just before that tour. I had ruptured two disks in my neck…

Oh yeah, the neck brace!

I was in a neck brace. We called the album Whiplash and then I gave myself Whiplash. Go figure. We were having lots of internal problems and that tour became the tour from hell for most of the band members. Everybody was completely fucked on that tour except for me, I was lying on my back with a nurse looking after me. I remember the first gig they [the crowd] were heckling us and shouting “faggot.” By the third gig, I had managed to find these sparkling tops and a little sparkly skirt, so if we were going to be faggots, we were going to be faggots. So we dressed up completely in matching mirrorball tops. So they [the crowd] would shout “faggot,” and I would say “I appreciate the fact that you are attracted to me enough to inquire about the nature of my sexuality.” We would take them on and we had quite a good time playing with the KoRn audience. I would go walkabout in my neck brace, my cowboy hat and sparkly top and go sing to the people hurling abuse. And I didn’t go with anger, and they didn’t know what to do with me. The cameras would be on them and I never got punched out. I always expected to get flattened by one of these tattooed, muscle bound guys and I never did. They’d offer me drugs or give me a drink. One guy asked me for a hug. And what happened was KoRn started watching our sets from the side of the stage to see how we would deal with their audience and at the end of the tour they came up to us and said “You’re our favorite band, will you come on tour with us for the American tour we are about to do.” We said thanks, but we’d had enough. [laughs]

Here We Go Magic’s Michael Bloch

The advance of the album I received had the artists listed as Luke Temple and the album name as Here We Go Magic. Is it safe to assume that this album started out as a solo thing and evolved into more of a band thing? If so, what brought about that change?

Luke’s solo thing was kind of a band thing billed as a solo thing. Then he made a record that was a solo thing imagined as a band thing, which then became a band thing, and was billed as a band thing. And now we’ve just finished a band record that is a band thing imagined as a band thing and billed as a band thing, and that’s what people at the show on Saturday will see and hear — the band thing. Luke is one of the best songwriters out there, easily. He writes amazing songs that we arrange as a band and it all goes towards being a total band thing. That’s where all the fun is.

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