Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The folks at STAINED STRATUMS asked me to interview JAY REATARD for VOGUE magazine. I was told that i wouldn't need to write any questions beforehand. They were wrong. I didn't really have anything to say to the guy. It was about 6:00 in the morning, my phone cut out, and I had to had to get to work. This stunted conversation was heavily edited and paraphrased so it would be fit for publication in VOGUE.

r- hi jay, this is RILEY TITMANNUS FLEMMINGTON III calling from australia. I’m doing the VOGUE interview.

j- Oh hi, yeah yeah…

r- How you doing?

j- good man, just working on some recordings.

r- What are you up to?

j- I’m recording a record for this band The Barbaras right now.

r- Okay cool, your engineering…I guess.

j- yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Taking a little break here from things.

r- nice man. Nice. So you don’t get very much time to do that sort of stuff (recording other bands) anymore?

J- Umm no. Yeah, yeah it’s like I usually I don’t have much time to spend on other people’s projects, but umm, these guys kind of play as my back up band so, just making some time to help them make their record for in the red before we leave to come to Australia, so…

r- so you have a completely different back up band now?

j- Umm, no they used to be in this band called the Boston Chinks, but that band kind of split up now so they play in this band The Barbaras now which I think is a little better anyway.

r- Cool, cool cool. so how do you feel about the up coming tour?

j- I’m pretty excited. I’ve never been there so I don’t know what to expect. But I think it’ll be a good time. I dunno, I’m not looking forward to fucking flying on a plane for twenty something hours, but…

r- You don’t enjoy flying?

j- Umm, I don’t mind it, but like eight hours and fucking ready to kill somebody so… (laughter)

r- Oh well man, you’ve got some flight to look forward to there.

j- Yeah.

r- Yeah, your going to want to knock yourself out beforehand.

j- It’s a good day of flying.

r- Yeah, it’s a pretty negative experience.

j- man I don’t know if it’s going to be autumn or what?

r- Dude, it’s going to be really hot, so y’know bring some shorts.

j- Oh really, it’s going to be summertime there right?

r- It’s going to be oppressive. I don’t know what your used to, but yeah, it’ll be pretty disgusting. Nice and humid…

j- (laughter) Yeah, that sounds like memphis, like fucking umm, like maybe 105 degrees and really humid.

r- So you obviously still live in Memphis then?

j- Well when I’m home from tour I have a house here. So I come home to unwind, work on recordings and things…

r- I guess the side projects you had prior to this album doing as well as it has, are they still going? Or do you find that when your not on tour with this record, you want to unwind by not playing music at all?

j- It’s like when I get home, I have time to do nothing but concentrate on doing more solo stuff. But every band I just had to quit. So band I was playing in I felt like I was holding them back if I kept playing with them. So I quit so they could get other members. Some of the other bands I was more involved in, you know like the song writing process and everything; I just ended the band. There was just no reason to carry on, you know? (Jay can be heard coughing up phlegm).

r- Right. So is there a new album coming out soon? I know you did Terror Visions and that was a bit of a departure for you. Musically you know? What was the reasoning behind that. Or is Terror Visions a completely separate entity?

j- Yeah, it was a completely separate thing. You know, just a really shitty electronic punk band with a couple of friends that was just fun to do. I don’t know, I just kind of have this motivation to put out as much stuff as I can as fast as I can before people stop caring.

r- Yeah.

J- I’m not worried about the quality of things. I just try to put it out there you know.

r- It sounds like it’s worked so far. You know, you are highly prolific. But how do you feel about this last record (blood visions), above all the other records you’ve done, attracting the most interest?

j- well…

r- I mean do you think the lost sounds could have perhaps reached this level?

j- (jay can be heard coughing up phlegm) Well I guess I always kind of felt like I was creatively being held back by having to compromise what I wanted to do by playing with other people. So it made sense to me that I got around that problem. Now I can fully realise what I want to do and people are paying attention so….

r- Well it sounds like your onto something there. It sounds like your onto something.

j- You know I always wanted to have more pop influences in all the bands I was in, but some people I think were very uncomfortable with jumping out of whatever genre we were involved in and pop music was just not something they were interested in. So I finally felt that I could write 4 chord songs that aren’t too pretentious and I guess it kind of makes sense to people when its like that. I dunno, I guess it’s kind of hard to listen to 15 minute prog keyboard jams, so..

r- Yeah, but dare I say blood visions still has some of those influences. You know, influences from previous bands.

j- Well it’s impossible not to sound like yourself.

The phone started cutting out here. Here was the last word from jay that should make the interview somewhere.

j- You know man, I’m at home 24/7, working on music and drinking soda.

'Survive the Future'' - Extortion tour diary. January 2008.
This was supposed to appear in DISTORT flakezine 15 years ago. The editor of said publication decided that the band had ''too many clean pauses'', and ''simply not enogh feedback'' for it to fall within his spheer of interest. So here it is, complete with all spelling/punctuation erros.

Please note: ( Some attempts were made by outside forces to expurgate certain words and passages from this text. )

Wednesday night:
I walked from my office, across the Horseshoe Bridge and through that other street to get to Roman's place of work. Roman works at a shop called ''Death Metal Supermarket''. Perched on a bench, some Victoria Beckhams kept me company until Roman clocked off.

Dan came around to Roman's a bit later on, and that's when the real fun began. Noxious gasmasks, nasal push ups, Emu Bitter Dinner, sleeping pills, hard spirits and indeed, high spirits got us to Perth domestic airport in time.

As a fellow consumer and concerned citizen, I feel it is my responsibility to warn you of the ineptitude of Perth Airport and its staff. Ever since this great state of ours blossomed with weapons, brothels, drug trafficking, domestic crimes, pollution (etc), the sheer influx of people into this wretched place has increased ten fold. Rather than expanding the terminal, building new runways, hiring additional staff and constructing a larger baggage collection, they have opted to downsize the whole operation. This has resulted in absolute pandemonium during check-in, take off, landing, arrival and baggage claim. I believe a frightening new dawn is upon us. I predict dark days are ahead. My friends, I believe the lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.

The flight was a non-entity, except for a stunningly display of aeroplane slumber by Jay Grind. This mid-air maverick performed what came to be affectionately known as ''The Brown Slouch''. It was as if someone had turned old Jay off at the mains, and let him recoil to some sort of default sitting position. Picture if you will, a twenty something man, sitting with his back in a semi-upright upright position, arms by his sides like a young and eager to impress Myer customer service operative, head tilted forward, chin almost touching chest, and mouth in a prone position, as if he were a Crocodile waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting Springbok or Water Buffalo.

It pains me to say, but as a band, we have very little time for each other. So in an attempt to limit the possibility of others being embroiled in our inner-band tensions, each of us stayed in separate lodgings. Nothing personal, just simple logistics.

Now I don't want to sound like I'm superficial or anything, and I usually don't believe in black cats, walking under ladders, smashed mirrors and all that nonsense, but I simply refuse to play a show without getting a decent buzz on beforehand. So it goes without saying that we had a great time getting half-wankered in Welshpool, sorry Osborne Park, I mean, Marrickville. The gig was fun. Some good outfits played. CRUX in particular impressed us with their heavy guitar sound. The crowd turned themselves inside out in response to our live gig phenomena.

At the bar later on, Roman performed a clinical execution of the reverse slouch. Absolutely spot on! Afterwards, our friend and spiritual leader A-dawg got our fucking heads right into the early hours of the morning. Thanks A-train.

I woke up in the morning with an arm wrapped around me. It was the arm of Daniel Maynard. The whole situation was made more uncomfortable by the fact that Rohan Harrison was already awake and pretending to read a book. He was clearly watching the madness that was unfolding, and it was obvious that he had been doing so for some time. Furthermore, he was liking it.

We watched cricket and smoked can bongs all day. Some would argue that this is a waste of a holiday. I beg to differ. In my opinion, this is the ultimate realisation of leisure and relaxation. To do what you would normally do on any given day, in a different state, for free...well that speaks for itself.

The show was great. All the bands were good. EXTORTION has a good following in Sydney. Some wild characters turned up when we played. A cripple managed to find his way up onto the stage. Now in a perfect world, these people would not be allowed into events of this nature, nor would they be allowed in the public eye full stop. But alas, we are living in a post- 1945 world, and there are certain concessions one has to make in order to keep up appearances. Not Rohan Harrison though. He proceeded to strangle and repeatedly strike this wheelchair bound individual until he quailed in fear and subsequently wheeled himself off the stage. Chris Onton did not catch the gentleman as he was at the I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN show that night, and didn't want to get his shoes dirty.

We lumbered on until the wee hours with Reek of Purification, the fabulous Elissa, and some others. We got a comprehension of a different dimension with some strong rail slides. It be the will of Jah that we went straight from Newtown to the Airport early that morning. We yelled ''Rasta Far I'' when we saw the beckoning lights of Sydney Airport's finest eatery, Crics Affamés.

We arrived in Melbourne and were greeted by James Vinciguerra. James was wearing a fantastic ''Canterbury, Canterbury, CANTERBURY!'' rugby jumper. He looked like a cross between Where Is Wally, Andrew Ettinghausen and James Vinciguerra. He drove us to town in 1.1 seconds, and thoroughly enjoyed our banter, double entendre and witticisms along the way. We got to Dan Stewart's house. Dan Maynard found some silly plants in his pocket that he thought he had given to a homeless man in Sydney a few hours prior. Dan let out his patented, quaint little laugh, and the collective giggles resumed.

We got to the show which was at a community hall in a park. Now I usually don't go to community halls. I find the whole idea of a community in itself quite stifling and compartmentalising. Community equals conformity to this wandering soul. Conformity is another mechanism that the powers that be use to keep us sedate. Conformity is death. Death is life. And so the cycle perpetuates itself like the birth cycle of an African Hyena.

I came in to see STRAIGHT JACKET NATION tearing it up, and tearing it off (the singer's shirt). Now, I know being the singer of a band is a flagrant display of shake appeal and machismo, but did the singer of SJN really feel the need to take off his shirt and show us his MADBALL, BIOHAZARD and other traditional tattoos? THE KILL followed. They were absolutely great! Jaw dropping guitar and drum etiquette. Yobbo grind! The best Australian band in recent memory!

During the EXTORTION set, a fight broke out between a guy dressed in a police uniform and another guy in Navaho Indian garb. I was so engrossed by the dance floor justice that was transpiring between these two aspiring pugilists, that I made an absolute hack of the outro. But as the great Fred Astaire once said, ''The higher you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style.'' Right said Fred.

Trial and Error records paid for our ride to the Arthouse for our early sound check. Triple J's short fast loud radio show had some nice cold cuts and light refreshments waiting for us when we got there. JB HIFI hired some ex-Foreign Legion and Hell's Angels toughs to control the masses of fans that had already converged outside the venue. Other fans were said to be in the process of paving a path of destruction in the surrounding areas. Common Bond Records hired some local session musicians to sound check to our specifications sheet so we didn't have to do it ourselves. We spent most of our time in the plush backstage area sitting on rare furs; strumming vintage Gretsch guitars and drinking our collective body weight in the finest French champagne. We could have made a complaint at the time about the lack of Crispy Creme doughnuts on the rider, but we'll leave the complaining to the Brisbane hardcore scene, as we clearly make far too much money off our tours, records, practices, transport costs, flights, merchandise, phone calls and through virtue of living thousands of kilometres away to worry about something as trivial as sweets.

The show was tense. People got turned away at the door. It was far too packed. Folk were hopping the roofs of adjacent buildings to get in. AOA had the sound of the night. The CRO-MAGS cover was a little uncharacteristic for these big softies, but their bespectacled lead singer Grunt held it down by showing his muscles and intimidating the audience both on and off stage. SJN were great again. 731 had a great bass sound- They play grinding grind.. JAWS fumbled through a raucous final fling. MINDSNARE sounded heavy, but were too hard to watch given the claustrophobic environment. Dean went into overdrive for the EXTORTION set. Jay was drunk. The show ended and we went our separate ways.

Some would argue that writing a tour diary for four gigs is a little audacious. Some would even argue that four gigs is not actually a real tour. Both of which are probably true.

James, Elissa, Brendan Oath, Kim your own dog, Chris Onton, Anna, Eamon, Billy, Benny, Clint, Emillie, Lloyd, Mattalwaysgreenalwaysobscene, Black Metal Nick, Ester, Nigel, Dan Stewart, Dan Maynard, Anne, Alex, Meatdog, all Perth people present, Maison, A-train, Matt Reekie, Neil Cuthbertson, Missing Link Records staff, Straight Jacket Nation, Adrian 731, Jay Kill, Crux, Gordon, AVO, Thrush, Jungle Fever and all other equipment trustees, the wonderful young lady at the Old Fire Station Café in Preston and many other folk.