The Road Less Traveled
loobie New Angeleno Lou Barlow of Sebadoh talks with fan and Jim editor m bates about the Western Mass mentality (itís bad), his new sunnier environ (itís good), the flag he flies (none), and his career of being determinedly wrongheaded about playing music (it can work).
Howís LA treating you so far?
Oh, fine.
Kath was raving about the house that you guys have.
Yeah, we have a nice house. I mean that probably 70 percent of why Iíd be happy here. I think if I didnít have a nice house it might probably be a different story.
Is that a big transition?
Definitely, oh totally.
Like what kind of stuff?
Socially. Driving all the time, you know, thatís a big deal Ďcause I didnít drive for years and all. The weather of course.
Thatís kind of a nicer thing down the line.
Yeah. Iím totally digging it. Itís just different. I really needed the change real badly. I really couldíve never predicted Iíd end up here.
I thought it was really cool the New Yearís goodbye thing you held-- I wasnít there. Thatís unlike what most any performer would do.
You think so? Well it was mostly b/c of Billy Ruane, the guy who booked the show. I mean, I thought about doing a show. I didnít really verbalize it, but he called me up Ďcause heís an amazing promoter. He gives his life to music and perpetuating some kind of scene in Boston.
I just liked the whole thing of getting a really great bunch of musicians who are also yr friends and giving away personal items b/w acts.
Yeah that was cool. I had a really great time at the show. I must say that was one of the highlights. And Elliott Smith played too.
Yeah, you canít beat that. Do you get bummed out by any of the regular stuff people bitch about LA, like the plasticness of many of the people?
Not really. Itís weird. Itís just such a huge city. Itís a city for one thing and on top of that culturally itís like far more complex than anyone has any idea. ďWell it has no cultureĒ-- itís like, fuck that.
Itís almost like people are bitter b/c itís got this domination over the pop culture of the country.
Oh, totally. Yíknow, I just canít... Iím not really that judgmental about things. I just think itís funny. I mean, I usually go to Glendale when I need to go someplace. Thereís different scenes. You could run into the actor scene and all that stuff. Itís definitely... Itís just, you can find yr life here. It takes money of course. I think even if you didnít have money, I think that like just watching the way bands and stuff exist here, thereís just more of an idea of scenes and people try to make it. Itís just the friends that I have here, like the guys who play in Beachwood Sparks, they find places to play shows. Not like the one place that they do in Boston. They look around. Music is much more important here, it seems like to me. Itís more a part of peopleís day-to-day lives than it is in Boston and New York, probably b/c they drive a lot. Someone told me that that was it-- the stereos-- b/c thereís so much driving going on music is so much more of...
Yeah, you have the radio in yr car.
Yeah yr radio and yr tapes.
[Lou asks, so we talk about my educational career.]
I didnít go to college myself, so...
Well it was more like concentrating on music for you, b/c high school was just...
Well high school, I feel like I barely graduated. Then I just got out of high school and I was like, ďIím not working a job.Ē And I had bands, yíknow, so when I finally did get jobs I spent all my money on amps and stereos. Somehow it took care of itself. Iím extremely fortunate.
Thereís no one around who writes songs quite like you. You canít chalk it up just to luck.
No, I guess not. [jokingly] ďThatís right, goddamn it!Ē No, I mean Iíve worked really hard for the last ten, twelve years or whatever in a strange, totally backwards way.
Well in terms of maybe like the ascendance of Sebadoh, if you can say that...
[laughs]
I donít know.
Well weíve done really well for ourselves by really not ever doing what bands do... like practicing. [laughs] Yíknow, we just always cut a lot of corners, and itís just all about trying to make a living really. Basically that was pretty much the bottom line. I think a lot of people who are in bands who have a lot of ambition... itís hard to even make a living, Ďcause the level that they want to succeed at takes money and takes an attitude I just have no connection to whatsoever. Which is fortunate, but itís also funny too, that I was able to make it work by listening to total antisocial and totally noisy, very purposely abrasive music in my teenage years.
Yeah, Iíve heard you talk about how yr mom was afraid for you Ďcause youíd lock yrself in the room and pump up The Swans.
Yeah, she was afraid of The Swans. She said, [concerned mom voice]ďOh man, that makes you want to kill yrself.Ē [stoned voice]ďNo mom, it doesnít.Ē Itís just hard to, I mean, that stuff-- The Swans-- itís extreme. Itís hard to explain to somebody whatís uplifting about a band thatís just [strums] uuhhhh [strum]. I had a whole philosophy worked out about it.
Itís funny. I have similar stuff w/ my mom in terms of what Iím a fan of. Itís not as much the abrasiveness as much as the sadness in yr early stuff, the sadness in Elliott Smithís stuff. Sheíll hear me listening to it and Iíll be like, ďThis is beautiful.Ē And sheíll be like...
[concerned mom again]ďWhy are you so sad?Ē
Yíknow, [my concerned mom]ďDoesnít it make you feel like killing yrself?Ē Iíll be like, ďNo, itís the sad that makes you happy.Ē I donít know. She likes Michael Bolton, so I love her anyways.
[sarcastically]Thatís good that you donít hate yr mother b/c she like Michael Bolton, thatís very tolerant of you.
[dejected]Just joking.
I know. Iím joking too. [faking alarm]Wait!
Now that youíve gotten to this level-- you did sign to Sire recently, right?
We didnít sign. Itís just that Sub Pop is kind of working w/ Sire.
Oh, is that what it is? So I guess I heard it bass-ackwards in that case. Itís not as much a question-- I mean, the sellout thing, given that thatís bullshit...
Especially now. God.
...given that thatís bullshit-- I still kind of... when a band I love is making that transition and theyíve sort of been doing their own thing at that indie level, sometimes Iím a little afraid b/c even bands I donít dig but I might respect, you sort of see them selfdestru-- not really selfdestruct, but they canít exist at that level.
Yeah, I know what you mean.
That level of pressure.
Yeah, thatís really hard. Itís insanely hard. It really is. Thereís just... no bullshit and I donít really have any kind of confidence about it. Yíknow its just like somehow Iíve been able to make it work, but itís not been easy at all. Itís been really hard.
I think I read an interview you did along w/ Jon Davis. You actually expressed a little disappointment-- that might not be the right emotion, but... in how Sub Pop had reacted to Harmacyís sales, like they wanted it to blow up...
Yeah.
...and even though it was an increase and aesthetically it was a success, they felt it was a failure b/c it didnít make you their next Nirvana or whatever.
Well, it wasnít that so much. Itís just there was a lot of pressure going on at Sub Pop and they were in a transitional period of just... their group of friends who werenít really friends who were all working at this record label... and just that whole Nirvana thing just fucked things up for those people. It just made everything really complicated. Itís like when Folk Implosion hit w/ ďNatural OneĒ or whatever, when it happened I was like, ďOh, cool! Oh, everyhtingís cool. Everythingís gonna be great. This is neat. What a cool bonus for me.Ē Yíknow? I watched that success just tear shit apart, even though it wasnít like real success. People, I donít think, can really deal w/ it all.
Yeah.
People canít deal w/ success. People donít know what to do when they get success. Unless yr sort of really ambitious and then... But the people I know... Everything I do, like all my bands and stuff, itís all about my relationships with those people. Itís not about them doing something I tell them to do. Itís not like, ďDo that. Do this.Ē Itís about this weird friendship and creative thing trying to evolve.
And chemistry you have.
Right, and trying to preserve that chemistry. And it was funny how that success really did just tear that chemistry up.
Really?
Or at least put it through some tests, yíknow. I mean, we all came through in the end but it was tough.
Thatís how it seems from the album.
Yeah. When yr younger or whatever and you look at the bands and you look at the way you make all of these totally righteous statements about it. Like, [whining judgmentally] ďIíd never do that.Ē And, ďHow does that happen? Thatís bullshit!Ē But the actual mechanics of the whole situation... itís amazing. You gotta be vigilant. And then if yr vigilant, thatís not even talking about the music.
Yeah, itís pretty much the business side thatís...
Totally fucks it up.
The thing that was cool about yr work on the KIDS Soundtrack... What really-- it didnít give me the personal reaction of a Sebadoh album or Sentridoh stuff or whatever-- but what blew me away was the total shifting of gears there. B/c I donít think that much stuff that youíd done before that hinted at the sort of hip hop direction. And to me thatís what the KIDS material was. I reacted to it as like, ďWow! Lou and Jon put together some really good hip hop.Ē And somehow it wasnít reacted to like that. I read some reviews where they compared it to Donovan stuff.
Yeah.
And I was like, ďWhat are they hearing?Ē
Well, I think they were just hearing the voice on ďNatural One.Ē Thatís all.
I guess youíve been listening for a while now to stuff like Wu-Tang Clan...
Not so much Wu-Tang.
You donít? What other...
I like Timbaland, the producer who does Missy Elliott. When the NWA record came out years ago I liked that. Iíve always liked that stuff.
[A bouncer takes my ticket and stamps my hand. I apologize for acting like a spazz. We talk about the area weíre from in Massachusetts.]
Itís a boring town. I appreciate coming from there, Ďcause it was really good in terms of growing up...
Yeah. Yeah.
...but everybody I knew who had something going on usually wanted to get out.
Yeah. Itís weird. Just moving here and stuff, itís funny because people who are younger are so much more positive than people that I remember. Like in Westfield and stuff, people from Amherst, itís kind of interesting Ďcause Jason [Lowenstein, the other songwriter in Sebadoh] and I were both total Western Mass guys and our humor... we freak out this guy Russ [Pollard, no relation to GBVís Bob Pollard], whoís the new guy in Sebadoh. Itís just like, he doesnít know what to make sometimes of how negative we are or how our humor just always goes right to something completely morbid. I freaked out a lot of people here. And theyíre just like, [concerned] ďWhy are you so depressed? Why are you saying that?Ē Iím like, [puzzled] ďWhat? This is just the way I am.Ē Thereís just a whole different... itís not cool to be excited, in Massachusetts, about anything.
No. Like someone will flip it on you the second youíve got some sort of...
Yeah. Iím ready to buy that whole clichť now, and itís also like I feel somewhat... Westfield was beautiful. Western Mass is a beautiful place.
Yeah. Itís like I said, you appreciate it but some of the stuff just kind of fucks you up.
Well, you have to deal with it later. You have to all of a sudden find out, [surprised] ďOh. Iím really like that. I am. Oh, Iím negative.Ē Like, I never thought that. Iíve always thought I was more positive. But Iím not. My years of hanging out w/ J Mascis and Eric Gaffney fucking took its toll.
Itís a buildup of negative energy. You mentioned the new drummer, Ross Pollard. Is he likely to take a songwriting role?
Yeah, a little bit definitely. B/c he can play everything. Thereís a couple of riffs that he wrote that weíre probably gonna jam out.
Are you guys-- you say ďjam outĒ-- are you guys heading towards a more collaborative thing or is it still gonna be everybody brings their own songs?
Itís totally weird. I canít tell right now. We jammed for months. We really jammed for weeks and just came up w/ really great riffs and stuff, but we didnít put them together as songs. And now that weíre approaching recording, all we have is these songs that weíve already... yíknow, Iíve wrote 4 or 5 songs that have parts, and we figured them out in classic Sebadoh fashion or whatever. But were really leaving it pretty scarily open ended. Weíre already in the studio right now. I donít know whatís gonna happen. I really donít know.
Thatís fair. Thatís really honest. I guess there was sort of that separation when Jason moved fulltime to Louisville, so when you were jamming toward the album you were sort of flying there once a month.
We never, we didnít jam no matter where we lived. Ever.
Oh, really?
Oh, totally. There was a time when I lived in Northampton with Eric and Jason, but I think all of us have always made sure that there was other things in our lives. We always made our relationships way more important than the band. Weíve never sacrificed anything. Itís always been about ďGirlfriends come first.Ē Thatís why itís tough moving forward b/c as a band weíve never done anything other than making crazy records and making sure we go on tour. We just never had any type of ambition to like, [anal rock dude voice] ďMan, we gotta tighten up! We gotta fuckiní put the screws down, figure it out.Ē It was always just about trying to make sure that it was as easy for everybody as possible.
Itís funny, especially w/ the touring and the live shows, almost every time you come through town some of the free papers, which are like the only ones I read around here, will trot out the ďSebadoh sucks liveĒ thing or the ďLou will freak outĒ thing.
Sure.
Thatís perfectly cool?
Well, I mean I did it. I did that for years. You donít live that shit down. It just doesnít disappear if you play one show or do one tour where you didnít freak out much. I think playing live music in a band is extremely fucking hard, and when you have a band like Sebadoh that doesnít-- yíknow, weíre not practicing in front of a big mirror, weíre not getting our shit together at all before we go out on tour...
Well, wasnít there more of an effort w/ the Harmacy tour to do that? Or not really?
Yeah, there was. Definitely. ĎCause I was sick of hearing people complain about it.
It did pay off.
Oh, it totally did.
When I saw you guys on tour, aside from the songwriting and everything else that the fans normally love, you guys actually rawked out.
Yeah. We just got to the point where itís just like... I mean, I spent how long just totally alienating people, from Dinosaur on. Itís like, making people really uncomfortable. Into that, thinking thatís what I want to do. I just want to make people really uncomfortable, Ďcause I feel uncomfortable.
The folk terrorist thing.
Totally. But then, I donít know what really happened. Now I feel like I have more to gain by just being... it just happened one too many times, where I would talk to somebody after a show [demanding redress of grievances]ďI drove 10 hours here from Tallahassee, and you guys got up on stage and...Ē
The tuning breaks.
Yeah. Itís fucking legitimate stuff. And the time to be the fucked-up band that could be either alternately brilliant or alternately like just a fucking waste of time live... we did that. Yíknow, I feel like I did that. Itís like, ďOkay, itís time to see how good we can get with the band.Ē But it was also that the band was still a group of friends trying to make it work w/o firing anybody for musical reasons... or just about being a group of people that liked each other and went out on tour to make some money. Which Iíve now realized is very... Itís pretty rare. People donít really... Itís hard to do that and actually make money like we did.
Itís like two almost opposing things.
Itís tough if yr gonna be a band. I mean a lot of people donít bother being in a band unless theyíre like a kick-ass band. And Iíve just never thought twice about it. ďItís good enough for me. Letís go. Itís good. Iím having a good time.Ē
Itís worked.
Totally. It really has.
Well, I guess youíve sort of established this-- ego and issues that a lot of bands go through arenít as much at play w/ you guys. Sometimes I wonder if Jason gets frustrated...
He totally gets frustrated.
I donít know. Iíll battle through this. Itís more of a media thing. But something thatís annoying even from the standpoint of a fan is, with each album at least one major magazine that reviews it has talked about how yr songs are great and Jakeís are so-so or Jakeís are getting better. And then theyíll attribute one of his songs to you.
Oh, totally.
They did it w/ ďHappily Divided.Ē I donít know if Rolling Stone did it or... And I mean, itís like, ďCheck the liner notes, dude.Ē
I know. They donít care. But itís funny, though. That does happen and it takes its toll too. I think it does. Jason would say no, but it does. It totally does. And all that kind of shit came down on us the last few years.
There always seems to be this thing where everybody except the band wants to, or the people involved want to, get this competition going of ďwhose songs are we gonna call the best songsĒ when youíve got this cool thing of a band who lets everybody get their try on the mic...
Itís The Beatles, if you think about it. Itís the classic White Album...
Itís true, and you guysíve been compared to that, but how many bands are frustrating their members b/c in the more business-oriented or ego-oriented thing of someoneíll bring an idea to the band and theyíll laugh him off.
ĎCause they all want the publishing.
[laughs]
No. Itís true. It becomes a real... but yíknow, Iím proud of the pretty fucked-up way weíve managed to exist.
I think thatís some of the attraction to the band besides the actual music.
Thatís what Iím starting to realize. For a while I was pretty down. Just this last year I got really depressed about it. We fired Bob. And that was pretty tough. It was necessary creatively, but it was really tough personally. And it kind of just put a different light on things. But the more Iím starting to think about it, Iím just talking to friends Iíve made out here about Sebadoh. We just seem to be like, as a band, itís almost like a philosophical thing weíre kind of pushing. Every band, when you say talk about bands, you hear a sound in your head. Thatís that band. Like Black Sabbath or The Melvins or anything is like that. W/ Sebadoh its just been this constant, like some people would call it, a very purposeful refusal to have any sound. But it wasnít purposeful. It was just that we like too much music. We respect too many things.
But itís a great thing b/c the songs are ultimately what itís all about. And when those are in place, you can-- as youíve shown, sort of redoing a few of yr songs over the course of Sebadohís career so far-- the sound can change as long as quality of the songs are there. I wouldnít so much accuse Sabbath or maybe The Melvins, but when you think of maybe lesser bands that are more about the sound they produce, it wears thin on even the fans...
It wears thin on them too. That was what it was like w/ Dinosaur. We had a sound and we pursued that sound. And then it eventually became greater than the personal thing that was involved in the band. And it just began to corrupt what I imagined could be the potential of it. But then again, people just have a hard time working together. Thatís just the way it is. But bands who have a sound, its like God bless Ďem, yíknow. And then bands that have sounds and then songs, itís just completely rare.
Well you guys have not had a sound over the what, 11, 12 years youíve been releasing stuff under the name Sebadoh, itís just... early on you could say the sound was that sort of static-y, acoustic, let-the-lo-fi-ness-ride, and Bakesale over the course of the album had a continuity of the sound...
Yeah, Ďcause we did it really quick. But that was good. When I think about it, really itís really cool that Iím able to do what I want after basically, by any kind of traditional terms, Iíve been totally undermining myself for years now. Iím very proud of that fact and I also like the fact that the stuff that I did thatís called lo-fi or whatever, I put so much fucking time into that stuff. People notice. And thatís the thing. Some people notice. Not a lot, but the people who do notice really understand. And thatís so rare.
That was something I was gonna ask. Thereís a tension b/w the media portrayal-- ďAll that Sentridoh shit is him basically farting on a tape and releasing itĒ-- and you obviously care too much about yr craft...
Yeah, I really did.
I mean, beyond the undermining question, you show more selectivity than they realize.
Oh, totally. [mock emphatically] Yes I did!
Guess itís not much of a question...
Oh, no. Iím just making fun of myself really. I donít know. I put so much time into that stuff. And the other thing is I happen to like the way it sounded too. I really like the way it sounded and also on top of that music is about being able to do it on the moment you feel it and being able to do it like that economically. That was totally impossible for me to do so for someone whoís not a musician, like myself, who doesnít feel like Iím a musician... Like my playing is crude. My ideas of whatís good music are not shared. Most people donít share my tastes at all. No one. Itís weird.
But theyíre all over the place enough. I mean, a common mechanism of the press on you is to talk about, ďHe loves Black Flag and Joni Mitchell,Ē or ďEven though he came from being in a hardcore band like Deep Wound, he can admit a love for Jim Croce or Bread.Ē
Yeah. Man, I still find that amazing, that thatís even a big deal. A lot of people in LA are like that too. They like one kind of music. ďI like this. I like that.Ē
A lot of people everywhere. ĎCause its about yr self-definition.
Totally.
What flag you fly.
Totally, and I think that thatís probably sort of the crux of it. I fly no flag ever, and I donít think any band is the greatest thing in the world. Itís like, yeah, thereís a couple of bands in the world that made a couple of good records-- not that-- thereís tons and tons and tons and tons of great music, but for me it all comes from completely... I have no... itís hard to say... itís like, when I meet some musicians, what they want to do, itís like they want to get Keith Richardsí guitar sound. I just donít care about that stuff at all. I hate the cult of rock or this idea that, [goofy hipster voice?]ďOh yeah, man. The Velvet Underground are like the greatest band that has ever existed.Ē
Well it changes depending on whatís in fashion or what subgroup yr talking to. Sabbath has made a big comeback in terms of everyone saying that was their big influence, and they are. But itís not the only thing either, as yr saying.
No. Pretty close to it though.
[laughs]
Thatís funny though. Thinking about Sabbath... I think theyíre better than Velvet Underground, The Stooges, all that stuff that punk rock is, and Iím supposed to... and Iím like, ďNo way. Sabbath is it.Ē They were like the beginning of indie rock. They were so crude and then on top of that the way they put their music together was just truly visionary, but not in any kind of premeditated way. It was just in this totally [Homo erectus imitation]ďwuuuhhhh,Ē lunkheaded, kind of really soulful but very stilted... just, yíknow...
In [early-years SST Records staffer and underground rock radio stalwart] Joe Carducciís book, Rock and The Pop Narcotic, he has a really interesting thing where he charts the critical, and maybe also fan reevaluation of Sabbath, where early on when the records first came out, everyone except for maybe the fans who really loved the music were trying to say it was shit on a platter...
Oh yeah.
...and then when the influence and visionary quality of what they were doing came through later, the same people whoíd been dogging them early on called all their early records classics and even the people who stuck to the line of, ďOh, theyíre overrated. Oh, theyíre crap,Ē it still raised them in their estimation.
Thatís... yeah.
Again I donít know if thereís a question there.
No, no, no. Yr talking about the people who just... thatís kind of what I was talking about: ďThatís good. Thatís bad. Thatís good music and this is bad music. No, thatís a bad band.Ē Do you know what Iím saying? People who draw lines about what they like, what they can like, what a good musician does, what a good band does. And Iíve always just really... I hate that. I like, I like everything. Iíll like anything. When I make tapes at home I donít care about continuity. And when I play it for people, theyíre just like, they canít handle the fact that you put Missy Elliott next to Sepultura, and I just think itís funny. And it makes life interesting. But thatís how I naturally arrived at music, and once I stopped wondering what was cool, finally when, my senior year of high school, when I started listening to Neil Young and stuff. I didnít care about what was cool, yíknow. I just donít care. But it still amazes me how people are really concerned with like what cool music is, what cool people...
It wonít stop.
No, it wonít.
It drives the industry to a large extent, I mean...
But whatís going to happen? But the thing, itís like somethingís gotta happen. B/c everythingís happening at once and thereís more and more types of music.
Well, the style could change but underlying drive for hipness and cool probably wonít.
Of course not.
Maybe itís incongruous but what it brings to mind: You brought Elliott Smith along w/ you on tour. September Ď96 you came through town and played the Roxy and everybody in the back sat there and yammered through his set and it got to the point where he-- whoís a quiet guy-- was saying, ďCould you guys shut the fuck up please?Ē
Right.
And you came on and you had the rapt attention, Ďcause that was when ďOceanĒ was pretty much breaking, and you said something along the lines of, ďI know heís not on KROQ, but you could at least show him some respect.Ē Itíll be interesting now that heís starting to get that play b/c of the movie song. [I babble for a while] But ultimately it canít hurt for even the people you dislike, in terms of just a complete clash of values, it canít hurt if the mainstream picks up on something really great, Ďcause itíll only raise the bar for everything else.
Well thatís all Iíve ever wanted to do, was for people to listen to my music. Thatís why I started. I think weíre fortunate enough to be such a kind of strange band thatís done really good. I dunno. Itís worked out pretty well. But I totally can see kids who were into my 4-track stuff, if I was them and I was really into that, and I heard Harmacy or whatever, Iíd totally just be like, [angered yet whiny] ďWhat the fuck? Nnyyuuh!Ē
So you can sympathize w/ their point of view?
Absolutely. But Iím just trying to do things that I havenít done before. Sometimes thatís not the best choice musically, but it always makes it interesting for me. Itís always a challenge and what-- itís always about, too, is supporting a group of people, trying to make sure that we all have money to live on and to make a life out of music and see what happens.
On the one side it would be more untrue for you to stick to the old stuff when you really want to move on.
Yeah.
And if you donít bring it to a certain level where itíll reward you, then you canít continue to make the music.
Well, on top of that, I have so many 4-track recordings that I did. I put out so many records like that that Iím totally proud of, that I actually still would say are the best things Iíve done creatively or whatever. But at some point I made a very conscious decision to just go... I have to challenge myself. I have to figure out a way of making something as normal as being in a rock band, I have to figure out a way to introduce the emotion that I was trying to express in that early stuff somehow into a band format, go on tour and play shows and try to be a guitar player who can tune his guitar and get a good guitar sound. Itís like a huge fucking challenge, and I totally did not succeed in a lot of ways. But I donít, but Iím not kicking myself for that, going like, ďOh, man.Ē ĎCause I know that Iím just lucky. Iím just lucky that Iím 31, Iíve got so many different records. Whatever weíre trying to do, whatever Sebadoh is trying to do, whatever Iím trying to do, is just kind of weirdly unprecedented. And thatís what Iím starting to pick up on about it. Itís just something weird. Itís not a very good thing to imitate, I would say.
[laughs]Stumble along, follow what...
But like you said, itís always about the song.
This more goes a few years back, but Iíve never seen this raised in interviews w/ you. When Sonic Youth was coming out w/ Experimental Jetset, Thurston Moore in the press was saying he was very much influenced at that time by listening to Sebadoh, listening to like Pavement. And Bob Mould said something along those lines too. That kind of stuff-- in Thurstonís case he was a little more specific about maybe looking to shorter songs and making it more about the song and less about the jamming that they did-- how did that feel? For people who were influences or maybe inspirations for you to in turn be that inspired by your music?
Itís awesome. Itís amazing. Itís just like one of those things where once it happens yr like, ďWow. I never thought that would happen.Ē But itís like, where do you go from there? But I mean, that happened w/ Dinosaur. Itís like you go on tour w/ Sonic Youth. Yr like, ďOh my god! This is the fucking greatest thing ever!Ē
Yeah, Bug and Yr Living All Over Me are some of their favorite records.
Yeah. Weíd go on tour w/ them, and the next time weíd see them... Kim would be playing a Rick through a Marshall and Thurston would have a bunch of pedals, and its just like, [amazed] ďHoly shit! You mean weíve actually had an effect on these people?Ē Itís like totally surreal, but once that sort of fades itís like, okay Iím not gonna forever be like... I just donít fetishize bands. I always thought that was a bad idea.
It usually leads to some unhealthy things one way or another.
Yeah. I donít know. I just donít think itís really creative. But Iíve done plenty of things that are not particularly creative.
[I talk about how the press can fixate on Sebadohís few songs about smokiní weed and masturbation.] What I thought was more interesting is-- and I think this jumps out at some fans-- is the concept of friendship, even w/in romantic songs. And there are songs where youíve said, ďWell, you guys think everythingís about Kath, but not every song is a mash note to her.Ē
Right.
But that comes out a lot, the word ďfriendsĒ and the concept of trying to deal w/ friendship.
Thatís the whole band too. The most important thing, more than anything else with us, more than how we record our records, more than how we... yíknow, its all about trying to preserve friendships and trying to create some kind of family of people. But also the other part of that is just a constant process of learning about what... you can make all the conditions right for everybody and make your family and everything, but it doesnít mean shit. People do what they want, yíknow? And itís amazing. But b/c of the way I have done things like that and b/c it is all about friendship and itís all about writing songs about that as well, somehow I think that thatís probably the right thing to do. And thatís worked out really well ultimately.
I think that thatís a good ending.