I N T E R V I E W S
Michael Landau & Raging Honkies Part 2
Raging Honkies is the newest incarnation of Michael Landau´s Burning Water project. In this trio format, he explores the outer limits of the guitar and for the first time we hear the studio rat singing his heart out. Rounded out by brother Teddy on bass and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums (son of the great bassist), the band borrows from Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan but the songs and lyrics are uniquely their own.
The debut Album titled We Are The Best Band (they have a cutting sense of humor) combines excellent playing with true feel. Landau´s playing here has far more urgency than his work on the Burning Water records though they stand up strongly on their own merits and it wouldn´t be stretching anyone´s imagination to see them teamed with a band like Green Day and Soundgarden. In fact, this is a bridge the group is trying to cross can studio dudes break out ot those preconceived notions and make it in the real touring and recording world.
The three Honkies gathered one evening to talk about this and many other subjects. In a way, they represent the great hope that music played well can find an audience amongst the groups with average chops and maximum image. They don´t take themselves seriously but once people hear the album, they should find themselves directly in the beam of the spotlight.
S.R.: So, a new band, a new day. What happened with Burning Water, or is it still going? What´s the deal?
TEDDY: It wasn´t really like a mutation, it was like more kind of, me and Mike have really always wanted to do this kind of a band. It´s like a trio, just blazing all the time. So, it wasn´t so much like we thought ´let´s do something new´. It´s kind of like what we wanted to do and just finally had the balls to do it I guess.
S.R.: So, musically this isn´t the kind of stuff you could have done with Burning Water?
MIKE: No, this is completely different. We wanted to do a trio.
S.R.: So, you definitely wanted the trio. That was a big part of it?
TEDDY: It´s just a cooler way, it´s just a real cool way to, I don´t know. For the stuff we´ve kind of always been goofing around with, it was a way cool way of expressing ourselves. You know, I mean it´s a blast to play in a trio and not have to worry about fitting certain this or that.
S.R.: So, is the approach any different as a bass player or a guitar player or drummer playing in a trio? Is it more open, is there more room to cover?
ABE: It´s both. It´s a lot more open, but at the same time, it gives us the ability to be, to get a lot more creative with trying to fill not necessarily a void, but making it sound just as full. And uh cause most of the stuff, you know especially most of the stuff on the record was really just done straight live you know.
S.R.: It is?
ABE: Pretty much. I mean like most of it was just like the three of us doing the track, solo at the same time, all that stuff. And then we would do the vocals over that. You know, to try and just really get that kind of a full basic sound, but full nonetheless you know.
S.R.: And most of those tracks were keepers? In other words...
MIKE: Our first demos are four tunes, and we did the live, completely live. We did solos and just played the tunes. And then I sang them, sang on them afterwards. And they ended up being the masters.
TEDDY: The second time we ever got together, you know we heard Abe was happening and we tracked him down. We jammed for like an hour or two and then we met like a few days later in a studio, and we still hardly don´t know each other. So, the second time we ever played with him, we cut "The Sun", which was on the record.
S.R.: "The Sun"?
TEDDY: Yea. In like two or whatever. We played them like twice. I don´t know. There are a couple of other things that aren´t on it.
S.R.: So I mean obviously Hendrix is somebody you listened to? Cream? I mean, do you in any way see yourself as contemporaries of what they were doing? I hear stuff that sounds like you´re just kind of jamming. I realize there´s a chorus and changes and things, but I mean it´s pretty open. Is that part of what you´re trying to do?
ABE: Yea, just playing you know. Not too much over-thinking about it. You know, not trying to get the super radio friendly approach to it. It´s more just you know, just uh getting it to where we can play on it and be comfortable.
TEDDY: We definitely got more into like writng some cool, you know trying to write some cool songs. We´re all totally into that. We´re totally into having really bitchin´ songs, which was like you know Hendrix. I mean he had shit where he could just like blow for ten minutes and it sounded awesome, and then he had a song that was two minutes long. And it was a killer song, no solo, nothing, just a song.
TEDDY: And it was awesome. You know, it was killer. And we´re definitely into that. I mean the first record was pretty, it was basically like we just met and we just like jammed, recorded it, and then it was a record. So it was like really we didn´t spend as much time writing the tunes and all that.
S.R.: You didn´t?
MIKE: We jammed.
S.R.: So, it´s not like you had a pocket full of riffs when you came in? You just kind of really jammed basically?
ABE: Basically, yea. We all kind of had ideas and came in and fucked around a bit.
S.R.: Could we talk a little bit about the tracks themselves? You know, "Don´t Make Me Hate". It´s track one. Does that kind of set the mood for the record? Do you see things like that?
TEDDY: As far as that, no.
S.R.: What´s it about musically? I´m just trying to get an idea of what´s going on here.
MIKE: I kind of came up with that music and the riff of that one. That´s Abe´s title. And um I like to think that yea, we´re like that. You know, we´re not fucking some hate band you know.
TEDDY: We´re like don´t make us hate, don´t make us hate in a good way. It´s like you know, everything´s good so why make us hate? So why should we hate?
ABE: We´re not so much into the angst rock-n-roll, you know? It´s just about playing really.
S.R.: I understand. So, is that where you differ?
TEDDY: Well we are the best band in here.
S.R.: So, what about sound-wise, sonically as a guitar player. Let´s just start there.
MIKE: Yes sir.
S.R.: Is it a different guitar sound than Burning Water?
MIKE: Um, not maybe so much no.
S.R.: Same basic guitars? I mean the Strat thing?
MIKE: Basic Strat, Fender and Marshall sound, Vox.
S.R.: What´s that stuff we talked about, that same kind of gear? Could you give me kind of the main setup here?
MIKE: Pro Reverb and it´s actually through a Matchless 212 bottom, and then a Marshall 100 watt, 67 Plexi Marshall.
TEDDY: You dog.
MIKE: Superbass II
MIKE: And the effects are like a Voodoo I and a Tube Screamer and a wah-wah. Custom Audio wah-wah.
S.R.: Right. It´s a Custom Audio. Every time it comes to the wah-wah it´s like wow.
ABE: He gets bigger, a fourth member of the band.
MIKE: Yea, it´s really Bob. Bob is basically in the band, but he´s just not here right now. And it´s actually a tremolo box that Bob built, it´s customized tremolo.
S.R.: we talked about that, right.
MIKE: And he now has a Univibe remake, we´ve been trying to use it recently. It´s called a Black Cat Univibe.
S.R.: So, you mix the Fender setup and the Marshall setup. Are they both set up?
MIKE: It´s either one or the other. When we´re doing the tracks live, I would do you know rhythm on the pro Reverb. I just switch. I never use both of them at the same time. And more recently, I´ve been using just Bob´s head. He makes a channel-switching head that I can use.
S.R.: Oh, really?
MIKE: So that´s just, it´s made it easier. We´ve been doing a lot of hurry on, hurry off kind of gigs. So I´ve been taking just his head and a 412. Just kind of do-your-own cartage.
S.R.: I mean the guitar sound was really great.
MIKE: It´s more aggressive I think. I mean you know playing with Abe is just definitely fucking, kicking everyone.
S.R.: So that´is a big difference.
MIKE: You know our jaws dropped when we first started playing with him, the first three seconds we were playing with him you know.
S.R.: So you kind of knew?
MIKE: Yea, I mean it was very obvious, very quick. That´s not to diss anyone else, but you know that´s what we wanted to do. We´ve always wanted to do a trio.
TEDDY: Nice songs, just some good ones you know.
MIKE: You know we kind of threw them together. I had riffs, Teddy had riffs, and now Abe´s writing a bunch of shit. The next record is well, it´s going to be even better.
ABE: Yea, the songs, well we´ve definitely grown as a band. The songs are starting to take more of a shape and really more of a direction. I don´t know what the direction is, but we can tell like when we play ´em live, even the old songs are starting to take that shape.
S.R.: Right. So, when you jammed with these guys, I mean obviously you´ve probably heard this guy play once or twice before, you know?
ABE: When i first moved back to LA, I came back here with a couple of other guys that I was trying to start a band with. We were looking for a guitar player. And I kept saying, ´Man, you know it would be great if you know Mike was into playing in a band´. You know, cause I didn´t even know the Burning Water thing was going on or whatever. And needless to say, the other guys took off nd you know I was bummed, I didn´t have a band. And then when I got a call to do this, it was like ´wow, this is exactly what I´ve been looking for this whole time´. So, it just immediately clicked. We got in there and just went for the throat you know.
TEDDY: It´s weird. You never, you know you should like always try everything, because when we first heard like someone said ´yea, he´s great, he plays great, you´ve gotta check him out, but I hear he´s only doing´, like someone told me when I asked, they said that he was on tour with En Vogue. Okay? And that´s all he wanted to do.
ABE: Was be a session guy.
TEDDY: I was like En Vogue? They said, ´yea, I swear to God, he´s on tour with En Vogue´. I said all right.
ABE: It was a line. They didn´t like me. You forgot the other part of it. I was only good for a day and then they fired me the next day um because they didn´t think I was a good player.
S.R.: Get outta here.
ABE: Okay, here´s the story. They got me to do the gig, right? Now first of all they were looking for a drummer for likea month. They went through like every drummer that lives in Los Angeles. They called me up, I come down and they´re like ´cool, you´ve got the gig´. Next day, we rehearse. They don´t have any music, they don´t have a tape for me to listen to. I don´t know who the hell En Vogue is expect for that stupid song, whatever it´s called. So, they´re like, you know the girls aren´t there and they´re like ´oh don´t worry about it, we´ll just yell out what happens, we´ll yell out the hits´. So I was like this is ridiculous, why don´t you give me a tape and I´ll go home and learn it and rehearse tomorrow. And they go oh no no no, we have to rehearse today. So, needless to say, we go through the whole day and it´s horrible, because they´re yelling ´anticipate the one here´, and that stuff. So, you know I get the tape, I go home, I transcribe all of it, I´m learning the stuff. I go back the next day and thy tell me, the musical director tells me, ´well i played the tape, you know we taped yesterday´s rehearsal and we played it for the firls, and they just don´t think you got it´.
S.R.: They told you that?
ABE: Yea. It was like ´cool see you later!´ I forget man.
ABE: And they ended up hiring the first guy they fired in the first place.
MIKE: Joey take orders? I think that´s him, he always takes orders.
S.R.: Wow, that´s amazing.
ABE: Sorry for that tangent.
TEDDY: We want a long article, so we´re trying to know you.
S.R.: Um, running down your rig.
TEDDY: Basically a Fender Jazz Bass
S.R.: What year?
TEDDY: It´s actually like a reissue that I can speed up, switch pickups in it and stuff; but a Fender Jazz bass and an Ampeg SVT.
TEDDY: Um hmm.
S.R.: Is that what you use? I love those. It´s great, I love it.
TEDDY: Basically that. I have also a bass that Jim Tyler, he made me a bass too, so I have one of those too. It´s basically a Jazz bass, it just looks a little different, but it´s set up exactly like a Jazz bass. Basically just that. You know, a few kooky pedals here and there, but nothing, just try to get a nice, fat brown sound. You know, you´re thinking you´re supposed to play more in a trio when you´re playing bass. But the more I play in a trio, it´s like totally the opposite. At least in this trio. Totally the opposite. It´s like totally the opposite. At least in this trio. Totally the opposite. It´s like you just try to have the fattest sound and try to play the most steady groove, because these guys are just you know I mean.
MIKE: We´re flailing.
TEDDY: Well, Mike´s soloing you know if he´s not, we´re not, you know he´s soloing. I mean that´s just the nature of the instrument. It´s so much more interesting to hear the drums start going totally off while the guitar´s soloing. To me, you know. And having the bass really totally anchored. I mean I love like Band Of Gypsies, it´s like one of my favorite albums. And the more out there the solos get and shit, the bass is just totally pumping. I just, I get into that you know.
S.R.: So in that respect, I mean this band is a lot more like a Hendrix band than like Cream were. It´s kind of like the opposite?
TEDDY: I don´t know, I mean we´re totally, I mean we love Nirvana, we´re a trio. We´re totally into that. I mean they have like great songs and so that´s almost as much as what we´re trying to do. It´s not like we´re trying for anything, just bitchin´ songs. We repeat the format, where a guy sings and plays guitar. And there´s a drummer and bass player. We´re not a bunch of crap with all this fluff.
ABE: We´re just a punk blues band.
S.R.: So there is a space out there for Raging Honkies next to Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins?
MIKE: That´s what we hope.
TEDDY: I would think. I mean I don´t know. I mean you know, who knows.
ABE: I see these guys play and I don´t know.
TEDDY: I mean I wish honestly there was a gig and they put us on with Green Day. Green Day, the Raging Honkies, Smashing Pumpkins and whoever else you know. There´s definitely some great bands. But I´d like to be playing out, so people could hear our shit. I mean the way we play live is a lot different than the album, because we take it out there. It´s very cool.
MIKE: Basically, these people won´t let us play because they´re afraid of us. Because we´re the best band.
TEDDY: Yea. I mean we´ve had opportunities to open for some of these bands, and it´s like. Is it the truth?
ABE & MIKE: Yes
ABE: Bands like Alice In Chains and stuff like that.
S.R.: No kidding?
TEDDY: And I´m a fan of theirs man. I love them, I think they´re a great band.
MIKE: And they´re like ´oh they´re too good to open for us man´. You know.
S.R.: Wow, that´s kind of a slap in the face.
MIKE: Even Lukey won´t let us open up for them. There´s too much equipment on stage when they play, so they don´t like switching.
S.R.: That´s interesting.
TEDDY: It´s hard. Don´t you think?
S.R.: Oh absolutely.
TEDDY: You won´t see us out on some Lollapalooza tour in summer.
S.R.: We were talking about it earlier you know and I said wow man it´s like...
ABE: But you know there´s going to be a Lollapalooza in Europe. Can we get on that?
MIKE: Let me talk to Lon (Cohen, their manager back then)
TEDDY: He can rent us an amp for the tour.
MIKE: We´ve got a weird thing going because of the studio kind of thing, I mean I´m not usually the one to bring this up. But this is like what we grew up playing. This style of music and this is what you know I am and Teddy is and Abe is more than anything else. And we´ve done sessions to eat, yea, to pay our bills. And that´s cool, but I mean it´s either people think we´re, it´s like yea like were saying like they don´t want us to open up for them because they´re afraid or whatever. Or it´s like oh no, you guys are just a studio band.
TEDDY: That´s always when they see us, they see us and they don´t have any idea who we are and they´ll say ´I saw some band play, what the fuck was going on´? You know. They think you crawled out from under some log or something.
MIKE: The guy from Alice in Chains was telling Luke one day, ´I saw this dude, this 19-yr-old dude, Mike Landau. This new guy Mike Landau. And it was a killer band´. We were just fucking cracking up you know? It´s like people don´t know me that well you know. People who buy fucking whatever.
S.R.: You think maybe that´s why, and I don´t know the answer but maybe that´s why Europe grasps you into their bosom more than America does because maybe you´re not as well known over there as studio guys, and it´s more like...
MIKE: Bad guys?
ABE: Well we´re really not known here as studio guys you know. Especially this generation doesn´t sit there and read an album cover and say oh wow Abe Laboriel played drums on that track. That´s a different generation where people would buy the record and like, that´s the first thing you´d go to while you´re playing the record. It´s like wow who played on these tracks?
S.R.: Right, exactly.
ABE: You know?
MIKE: It´s helped us to get gigs overseas, but they don´t have like a thing about where oh because you played on this record you must be a fucking fart you know. Yea, it´s here.
TEDDY: It´s a Catch 22 sometimes, cause they´ll say, they won´t even listen to it and they´ll say ´oh you played on that? Oh really´. And then they´ll book our band with some like pop or whatever, just some wrong thing. And then we play and they´re all ´oh God we should have had you playing with Green Day last weekend with the thing and the deal´, and it´s like great. But you know whatever, you go and play and eat shit for a while just like everyone else.
MIKE: We´re just here to pay our dues.
S.R.: So, you mentioned the SVT´s, so the cabinets are just miked? Were you going direct?
TEDDY: Yea, both. Mix both to get a nice little sound.
S.R.: Of Course, Chris Lord-Alge, obviously you worked with him before?
MIKE: Not that much.
S.R.: Oh really?
MIKE: No. He came in the last minute. He came in and saw the old band and was a fan.
ABE: I´d never met him.
S.R.: Oh really?
ABE: And he dug it, cause he´s like the fucking Strat gig.
TEDDY: He´s the full guitar freak hero. I mean he is like the full guitarist.
MIKE: He hadn´t even heard the Honkies, and he said ´I´ve worked with them once´, after the Patty Smyth thing and he said, ´Anytime you´ve got something to mix, bring it down and then I´ll do it´. And so I called him up a couple days later, we had these tapes lying around. And he just mixed them.
TEDDY: Yea, he wants to do another record. He mixed it like so fast.
ABE: A whole song in an hour or something.
TEDDY: A whole album in nine hours.
S.R.: Get outta here.
ABE: No man for real.
TEDDY: He would do a song and go bam bam bam. He´s hardcore. We wish we could have started from scratch and done everything. He didn´t track everything. He pieced together what was done. You know, we´d get free time here and there, where we would just go record. Ended up we put out a record.
S.R.: Right. And where was this recorded Mike?
MIKE: A & M. Can we say that, Yea, I´d like to say that we did it for free at A & M, all the basic tracks. And now we´re selling the record for a profit. And we´re dividing it up ourselves. We´ve made 30 dollars each so far.
TEDDY: They made us wait, cause we went there for free. And they said that we had to wait until they cleared it, they get their tracks first. And it was like a couple weeks went by and no one even wanted to listen to it. So they just said go and do whatever you want. And then they end up in the meantime...
ABE: Well because it has to pass through them, since we did it there, and they have the option to say ´wow this is great, let´s pick it up´.
S.R.: Do they really? I thought A & M Studios were...
TEDDY: Well the engineer that worked there was a great cool guy, this guy Chad.
S.R.: Right. But I thought A & M was just like a studio that happened to be on their lot where a band signed to Polygram could go and record.
TEDDY: No, anyone can record there.
ABE: We did it specifically kind of underneath the A & M conglomerate so they had the first right to appease it.
TEDDY: A guy who works there said you know I´ve got this band I want to record, and he got time in the middle of the night, go in there at 2:00 in the morning and play till daylight. And they said we´ll give you free time, we just need to hear it first and if we like it, we´ll sign it or whatever. And they just didn´t even listen to it.
S.R.: And they didn´t listen to it? After it was done, they didn´t listen to it?
TEDDY: That´s what we heard.
ABE: It just sat around, kicked it around.
MIKE: And the guy who did it, Chad Munsey, was cool you know. He´s trying to get his portfolio or whatever you call it together. So we did it, it was a mutual thing. We´d never worked for them before, it was our first time going in there, so we just did it. I mean it´s cool, it´s definitly a first effort and it´s...
ABE: Yea, I mean we´re proud of it, you know. It´s good.
S.R.: Well that sounds great. That´s very cool. Let´s go through some of these other songs real quickly. "Save Me Some Love?"
ABE: That´s our hit.
S.R.: Yea, seriously?
S.R.: How much singing have you done in the past?Times New RomanMIKE: I did a little background. No I haven´t really, no.
S.R.: So to keep the trio situation happening it was ncumbent upon you to become a singer?
MIKE: You´ve been telling me for many years.
TEDDY: I´ve been just bugging him. I mean how cool is it to see the guitar player walk out there, play his fucking guitar, and then sing? You know? For a guy who plays like that. I mean there´s a few guys who could pull it off. If you´re some wanker, obviously you´re not going to pull it off.
ABE: I just always thought for the type of, for the way that Mike plays, it´s like it would be perfect. We just play and he´d sing until he felt like not singing anymore, then he could fucking play and sing some more. I thought it was way more interesting.
MIKE: I actually really like it too.
S.R.: You do?
MIKE: Yea, I really do.
TEDDY: Whether you solo like Hendrix or Kurt Cobain, you know you do your thing and you get into it.
S.R.: "What Am I Doing?" Is that the big ballad?
ABE: Yea. The big production ballad, to make allthe girls cry. It´s a love song.
S.R.: It´s got a real serious Hendrix kind of vibe on that one.
MIKE: In the kind of solo thing, but the rest of it´s kind of, I like to think it´s not.
ABE: That was pretty much Mike´s song. We just walked in and played it. It was basically like that, without the rest of us on it.
S.R.: We had mentioned earlier, Abe, that it´s not just all four stuff that you´re doing. There´s kind of symphony, I mean not waltz but...
TEDDY: Oh definitely.
ABE: It´s a different sound to make it a little more interesting. You know actually conceiving on the drum part. Not just sitting back there brainless. I mean I don´t know, I consider it as much of an instrument as what else is going on. So, it´s kind of like trying to think melodically in a way, but keeping the groove and trying to make it sound again fuller. You know, if I just sat there and did that the whole time during the song, it´s like, you know, bedtime by that point. It´s just something to give it movement and what not.
S.R.: I mean where do some of your influences lie?
ABE: For me? Specific drummers: Jeff Porcaro, Matt Cameron from Soundgarden, Terry Bozzio. Those are like my three guys who I tend to go back and listen to over and over again.
S.R.: You study those guys.
ABE: Yea, yea exactly. It´s all a different vibe than all the vibes that I dig, and try to stick it all in one.
MIKE: The drummer in Vixen?
ABE: Oh yea. She´s rocking. Great trivia band.
S.R.: I mean obviously you must have picked up stuff from your dad?
ABE: Oh yea. I´d be hanging out in studios and stuff, just hanging out you know. I grew up listening to jazz and then to the Beatles, you know Genesis and all that trip you know. It´s like my record collection is from A to Z of styles. It´s like completely random, but I just love everything.
MIKE: Seeing his dad play, I mean...
S.R.: Oh absolutely.
TEDDY: Have you seen him play, I mean...
S.R.: Oh absolutley.
TEDDY: Have you seen him play live?
S.R.: Many times.
MIKE: There´s a similarity.
TEDDY: You´ve gotta see us!
S.R.: Well, I guess there´s people who I get that sense from musically.
TEDDY: I wanted to play in the band so I can just watch.
S.R.: Can you run down real quick what kind of kit you´re playing?
ABE: Yea, DW. It varies as far as setups. Sometimes I use toms, sometimes I don´t.
S.R.: You don´t use toms?
ABE: Yea sometimes.
S.R.: So it´s just like a snare and cymbal?
ABE: Yea, cymbals and stuff.
S.R.: That´s amazing.
MIKE: I´ve seen him do it.
S.R.: I mean is that something that other drummers do?
ABE: I don´t know really. It´s just something that I like to do to really force the music out of the instrument you know.
S.R.: Do you go back and put in tom fills? Or is the song based around snare and bass?
ABE: I mean I don´t know if any of that is actually on the record, but sometimes live it´s like you know ´I don´t feel like playing toms today´. Basically, it´s a real standard 4-piece kit. It´s like one rack, one floor, 18" high rats. They´re normally 14", but I like them real big. I told you guys I´m going to get a 26" kick drum, that´s going to be my next trip. I love those things! Both heads on?
TEDDY: They sound awesome. They´re hard to play, like they´re hard to get...
ABE: Actually, no. I did this session out in New York man und used them on the whole week. 22", so it´s like that tall, and it´s with both heads on it. Just digging it. So yea it´s a total Bonham sound, full out, you know wide open. I really dig that kind of a thing. We didn´t have it together to get that going for this record, but it will be very soon. I think very soon on my end, I mean I dig the sounds on it, but there´s definitely things that I...
TEDDY: Yea, this was so, I mean this album is like we literally did it for like a couple thousand dollars as opposed to you know. And that was just to buy the CD´s. I mean any record that´s out there is you know 100 or 200 thousand dollars. We literally did it for nothing.
S.R.: So ideally the next one...
ABE: Just put a little more into it. I mean like we would do three to four songs at a time. You know, sit there and track four songs and we´d like ´okay cool we´ll mess with those´. And then you know maybe go back and do another batch of them. So it´s like always for me anyways it was the same kit, same sound, and just throwing it out there. Luckily, Chad was able to mix it and basically put a great bad-aid on the drum sound, you know. Because he really got into not only sounding big and full, but also to make it fit each song in different ways, which is great. Yea. So he saved my butt big time on this record.
MIKE: Yea, he was griping about the sound, which is cool.
S.R.: Was he really?
ABE: He would like to hear the basics a different way than Chad did. But Chad did a great job.
S.R.: "I´ll Get Away". Your tune?
MIKE: The music.
S.R.: The way you play, and I don´t know how to describe this, it sounds as if like when you´re playing, it´s like a bluesy thing but it´s almost like you´re bending sharper or flatter. I don´t know how to describe it other than...
MIKE: In my solo?
S.R.: Yea. Well I´ve only heard this tune a couple times so I don´t know exactly what the notes are, but I thought it was an interesting solo. Then you´re bending sharp and flat of where the notes are, I mean not like out of tune whatsoever, but the effect is amazing. Do you know what I mean? It´s almost like that sloopy kind of, it´s not the Steely Dan deal is what I´m saying.
MIKE: That´s kind of more a Beck thing to me.
S.R.: Cool, definitely. Is that where it comes from?
MIKE: Overbends, underbends. Yea, I love that rich sound.
S.R.: Yea, because Teddy and I were talking earlier and he mentioned that Jeff was like one of your main guys.
MIKE: Later on though.
S.R.: Later stuff?
MIKE: No I mean later on in life.
TEDDY: Mike likes his work on cars a lot. Yea I always thought I mean it was like a goffy kind of funk jam I thought, that was kind of like cheesy. That´s what I thought when I played with them. But then the way they both interpreted it, it was totally different. So it´s cool. Yea, it´s almost like a blues thing. When I first started playing it, it was like I heard kind of like a Chili Peppers´ type of funk. Not dumb but cool. The way that Abe plays it and especially the way Mike is playing thythm guitar parts, it´s totally not a lame straight funk thing like every stupid band is trying to play, funk guitar part.
MIKE: It´s a funky guitar part, not a funk part. Like Beck. His fucking playing is funky, not funk. He does it great live, that´s why I´m really into him. I spent many hours.
S.R.: "Don´t Tell Me How To Live". That´s a tune with no rhythm guitar.
MIKE: No that was live. Live in the recording studio.
S.R.: See, I dig that. I think that stuff is really cool. I think that´s how the band really shows less is more. Especially when you do it live, when It´s real bare, that´s when I think the real personality and character of the players shine through.Times New RomanMIKE: Totally. When Abe was talking about like playing less drums sometimes, I can totally relate to that, because it forces you to just fucking suck the shit out of the music you know. If you have one fucking amp and a fuzz box, you gotta do other things.
ABE: You can´t rely on your old faithful...Times New RomanMIKE: You do that automatically. If you have more shit, you´re gonna go ´okay´. Instantly, if I´m playing here, oh I´ve gotta go over here. That will pacify it or whatever.
TEDDY & ABE: Right.
MIKE: I´m sure you like play snare fills and shit if you don´t have any toms; you play these violent fucking snare fills.
S.R.: Right, that´s interesting. Which is maybe why music from that era when those guys didn´t have all the racks and all the tons of mikes, samples and whatever, there wasn´t all that kind of...
ABE: They just stuck to the basics and made that sound just as huge. You know, and for me, it was like then when I go back to play with the toms, it makes me use them in that manner and not just to use them as ´oh cool, I can do this really cool amazing fill´, and it has nothing to do with the song. It´s like ´okay, this works here, so if I do something like that with both sounds, it´s cool´. But it doesn´t really interrupt the flow of it.
S.R.: I remember reading Mick Fleetwood years ago would just play his snare and bass drum part through the whole thing for like "Rumors" and then he´d go back and put in his tom fills, and he´d do his crashes and stuff.
ABE: Copeland did that too, Stewart. He´s another one of my biggest ones.
S.R.: Really? Interesting. Did you see that "Tyson" film on HBO?
TEDDY: I saw it.
ABE: I saw some of it.
S.R.: Well, what I like about that is Stewart Copeland wrote the music for it. But the guitars, I listened to the guitars and like most guys, you know you wait until the credits go by, and I said ´man this has gotta be one of a few guys´. At first, I thought maybe it was you doing it, and Tim Pierce, and you know. Anyway, it was Michael Thompson who I think is a great guitar player. Do you know Michael? I thought it was good what he was doing, it was real simple stuff. It was at the very end. It´s like a gladiator thing. It´s just real simple.
MIKE: It´s real refreshing for a studio guy, you know. He´s great.
S.R.: So, what are the plans at the moment?
MIKE: More tunes. We´ve got a lot of new tunes.Times New RomanS.R.: So you´re writing?Times New RomanMIKE: All the time. We have almost enough for another album. We want to play, we want to tour as hard as we can. We´re trying to get to Europe.
S.R.: So I understand that some Magazine will release the CD soon?
ABE: I don´t even understand how that´s working.
MIKE: We put it out on our own little label under a distributor, mail order through a magazine.
S.R.: Are you pleased with what you´ve put together here?
MIKE: Oh yea.
S.R.: It´s a first step?
TEDDY: Yea, we´d like to get out on some tours and shit, but like we said earlier, it´s really bizarre. It´s weird. It´s hard for us too. We can get gigs no problem. Like these little headline gigs at a club or something. But like we want to get out and play for some people, it´s hard.
S.R.: You know obviously nobody can predict what´s coming next. It´s never going to be 1969 or 1975 again. But ideally, it would maybe go from you know being able to have super chops, have great chops with great songs, and then it kind of evolved into the Nirvana thing.
MIKE: With no chops.
S.R.: Now maybe it´s coming back to chops and songs, but attitude and passion. You know maybe it combines things from both sides. Am I making any sense?
TEDDY, MIKE & ABE: Yea.
S.R.: The musician has a chance again, with really good tunes.
TEDDY: Well the whole chops things seems weird. I mean it´s like, yea if you´re a musician, you should like play your instrument good. But I mean I don´t know as far as like chops in the 80´s when everyone was like studying some kind of weird, I mean all of the sudden it was like every guitar player was crawling out of the woodworks and playing some tired shit that was like who fucking cares?
S.R.: Yea, which went by the waste side. You know?
TEDDY: Yea whatever. But to say to not have chops, I think like guys who you wouldn´t consider technical, to me having chops, to me is that they really play their instrument really bitchin´.Times New RomanABE: As far as the consideration of having chops is knowing when not to play, is knowing when to just do tasty stuff so that maybe it´ll stand out. But you know there was a period of time when all these guys were just overplaying and doing all this stuff to the point where it didn´t sound amazing anymore, because it was just this barrage, this onslaught of you know just garbage hitting you day in and day out. And it was like who cares anymore, because there was no real basis to it and no heart, and nothing to set it apart from the core. You know it was all over here, rather than it being like this where it filled the spectrum.
TEDDY: Yea, the chops should be the song. And it´s like ´well let´s put some shitty little song together´, and then
(imitates guitar riff).
MIKE: Playing some riff that I learned today.
TEDDY: On whatever instrument. I mean not only guitar but everyone. You´ve got all these drum and bass freaks. It´s just like, then you hear some guy who went through it all and just plays his bass like funky, jamming, just plays cool. It sounds great. And then you´ve got some guy over there going (imitates guitar riff), crying because no one will come to his gig anymore, you know? Some guy will play every note on his bass.
S.R.: Okay, cool. Any last comments?
MIKE: See you real soon.
TEDDY & ABE: Yea, se