Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Hiroshimagain.


J. Mascis was in a band called Dinosaur Jr. that have roasted my dome since hi-‘skool. After fifteen plus years of its original members wishing each other grim death and some good enough solo albums, the band will reunite this year for a short tour of Europe and what have you. Mascis’ guitar playing is a kind abrasion, a rush of blood not unlike the loss of oxygen that swells the chest while inhaling smoke or dirt. These days he resembles an elder god: the dude who Cronus and Zeus buy hash from. 4Teez n’ Blunse met Mascis with steadfast journalistic resolve to ask the tough questions. We also met him at a noisy Amherst diner entirely by accident. The nitties and gritties on past triumphs, foreign exchange, and ambitions both immediate and long-term await you.

4TEEZ: THANK YOU FOR AGREEING TO THIS INTERVIEW, IT’S AN HONOR.
JMASC: THIS IS AN INTERVIEW?
4TEEZ: WHAT WAS INSPIRING YOU DURING THE MAKING OF GREEN MIND?
JMASC: NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT GREEN MIND. IT WAS A BITCH TO RECORD AND PUT OUT AND I HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT IT SINCE.
4TEEZ: REUNITING DINOSAUR, BUT WITH NO DATES IN AMERICA. WHY?
JMASC: THEY GET US OVER THERE, BETTER CROWDS. I LIKE THEIR VENUES.
4TEEZ: THEIR MENUS?
JMASC: VENUES. (TO JOHN MAHONY OF SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN) WHAT THE FUCK DO I ORDER HERE?
4TEEZ: I RECOMMEND THE GREEK MOUSSAKA.
JMASC: WHO? HOW MANY MORE QUESTIONS?
4TEEZ: I THINK I’VE GOT ENOUGH. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, I APPRECIATE IT.
JMASC: YOU’RE WELCOME.
4TEEZ: ARE YOU GONNA GET THE MOUSSAKA?
JMASC: I’D PREFER EGGS.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Double Nagasaki, Pt. 1.

(3/01/05: photo credited to kesin at ecstatic peace)

Ben Chasny plays guitar and caterwauls under the cryptic tongue-roller Six Organs of Admittance. On last year’s Blue Cathedral, he became the most recent addition to Comets on Fire, a band of fellow San Franciscans producing some of the best rock music in the world today. Chasny himself has been shooting out the floodlights since the mid-nineties, his “psych-jerk experience” Plague Lounge the breeding ground for a solo career that began around 1998. Since then he has on his own and through collaboration released over a dozen albums, each meaty and soulful and true. 4Teez n’ Blunse caught up with Chasny following a genuinely phenomenal performance at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he spoke at length on the subjects of live performance, collaboration, and America’s burgeoning fascination with new folk and psychedelic music.

4TEEZ: GREAT SHOW MAN, THANK YOU FOR COMING.
6ORGZ: THANK YOU MAN.
4TEEZ: HOW’S COMETS ON FIRE DOING?
6ORGZ: GOOD. THEY’RE ALL ASSHOLES THOUGH.
4TEEZ: THAT’S TOO BAD. WHAT WAS THAT BOTTLE YOU HAD ON STAGE?
6ORGZ: WINE. THEY TOOK IT AWAY, THEY THOUGHT I’D KNOCK IT OVER.
4TEEZ: WOULD YOU HAVE?
6ORGZ: YEAH.
4TEEZ: DO YOU FEEL CONNECTED TO A MODERN MOVEMENT IN MUSIC, SOMETHING EXPERIMENTAL AND SPRAWLING IN STYLE?
6ORGZ: THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE PLAYING NOW THAT I REALLY LOVE, AND I THINK YOU CAN FEEL IT IN THE AIR LATELY, SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL THAT EXISTS BETWEEN ARTISTS AS A COMMUNITY, WHICH REALLY IS A PLACE FOR LISTENERS TOO. ARTISTS AND LISTENERS WANT THE SAME THINGS. THERE ARE NEW RECORDS OUT NOW THAT ARE MAKING ME CRY, AND I LOVE THAT.
4TEEZ: HOW WAS THAT WINE?
6ORGZ: GOOD.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tarkovsky Blood.


Now I know what Cube was thinking when he wrote that song about having a good day. Major developments for my life, and for this journal, which I like to think of as what my life would be like without mates, a dame, a job, or an education. Jonesin’ for a scoop? Read on, true believer!

Stayed up until seven in the morning last night writing two papers and doing an insane amount of reading, including a couple hours worth of this for my own pleasure. Got ninety minutes of sleep, and woke up to my alarm, which plays a loud garage rock album intended to spring me out of bed and was already halfway through the third song before I was conscious enough to hear it. I don’t even remember the next several minutes, but suffice it to say that they and a few more after those were spent laying on the cold tile of my floor’s bathroom, feeling as though I was either going to faint, throw up, or make boom in my pants.

I was only up at this hour of eight ay-em to print out the aforementioned papers and possibly bathe. I was only up at this hour because I’d set my alarm for it, my sleep starved mind watching the faintest light of dawn seep through the white curtain and decide that logically, the only way I was going to feel enthused about starting my day after an hour or so of bed would be to drink the remaining beers in my refrigerator. Upon waking up, such revelry was dismissed as the terrible idea that it is. I had half a mind not to go to class at all while writhing on that bathroom tile, but picked myself up by realizing that it is these moments of droopy bravado that university is supposed to be about.

It was hereabouts that I stepped into the world only to realize that it was snowing hard once again, as it had been just after midnight before stopping around three-thirty. I slipped gracefully on a smooth egg cream walkway, my student ID slyly falling out of my coat pocket, only to be returned an hour later by the divine hand of a Murikami fan in the very class I was on my way to. Said hour passed when I found out that Hampshire was opening at ten instead of the usual nine on account of the bluster. The production class that followed was delightfully stop-start, unprepared, loosey-goosey and brief. I caught another hour of lying half-awake in bed before Ethnography, where I got in some stiff jabs of discourse and subsequent professor applause regarding an article I hadn’t even glanced at prior to the start of that day’s class. Stopped by the Foreign Exchange office to continue pestering them about ways to make the Blunse Bullet Train an international incident. We’re talking either Dublin, Havana, Prague, or Rome for a full semester within the next year: ryde or die. My last class was cancelled altogether, the professor a young, kind man sharp enough to know a chance to stay cozy is a chance to cure. Thus I smoked a baccy pipe and took a long nap.

Waking up fresh as a daisy in a baking soda box, I showered in a bathroom I don’t believe I’ve ever even been to in this building. It was cleaner and more kindly lit than the one closest to me. From there I trudged to round up cats and kittens for a concert held in a red barn at the front end of my school. The headliner slayed with cuts from his new album and extended jams with two dudes from Sunburned Hand of the Man and local drummer Chris Corsano, who is an institution among this crowd, this city, this species. Corsano himself may best be known to Bostonians and New Yorkers as the really good drummer with the shaved head who sometimes plays for Sunburned and is totally not the uber-friendly bearded frontman, who ended playing a metal bleep-bloop box and some bells on a stick. Excellent show at an endearing on-campus (meaning free) locale from which I gaffed a handsome advertisement poster. If you went to Le Tigre at Smith instead of this, you're on Pity List '05.

While I was out livin' and preachin', Soulseek was draining the bones of Viking enemies, from the marrow of which came, no joke, a dozen goddamned albums. For no reason other than to have another place for me to look and their unified splendor and soothe my war on the internet with a Shaq-sized Icy/Hot, behold the reaped: Comets on Fire, Live! From the West Coast, Double Leopards, Halve Maen, Dredd Foole, Daze on the Mounts , Fushitsusha, Double Live , Keith Rowe and Fennesz, Live at the Lu , Phil Ranelin, Vibes From the Tribe , Sarah Peebles, Walking Around Tokyo at the Turn of the Century, Shit Spangled Banner, Infiltrated with Self-Hatred, Sunburned Hand of the Man, No Magic Man, Terry Callier, Alive, U-Roy, Dread in a Babylon, and Wolf Eyes/Double Leopards, Heavy Tapes.

Went to a diner afterwards with some charmers. On the seven-to-a-station-wagon-oof-my-legs-argh-my-junk ride there, I pondered to no one but myself how funny and typical of the local music scene to see the very musicians we were just hooting and hollering for at the establishment we were sitting down to. Needless to say, it happened. It simply was that day. All fellows listed above, plus some chicks and some dudes, cooling out at a table five feet from ours. We exchanged pleasantries on the way in, and it was then that I realized that one of the non-descript, nameless dudes looked like a forty-five year old version of one of my dearest teenage idols. I here realized that this nameless dude had a name I knew, or at least a last name and a first initial.

Long story short: tomorrow on 4Teez n’ Blunse we begin a two-part series of brief but beautiful interviews with two of the most innovative, raucous, yip/jump rock musicians in the world today: songwriter/guitarist Ben Chasny, better known under the moniker Six Organs of Admittance, and J. Mascis, professional longhair/grayhair and founding member of punk rock deities Dinosaur Jr. Get pumped or get gone.