Gary Mader Of Eyehategod- Take As Needed For Pain.

November 17, 2010

The first time I saw Eyehategod live was sometime in the late 90’s. I had just joined an old CT band and was playing probably my third or fourth show with them at the Pearl St Nightclub in Northampton, MA. We opened the show, then  there was maybe one or tow more bands before Today Is The Day took the stage. They were amazing and my night was pretty much complete at that point. I honestly hadn’t really gotten heavily into EHG at that point, and I’m sure some of you are scoffing at me right now. I really can’t say why. They were just one of those bands that while I was familiar with the name, had sort of slipped under my radar. Well that changed about five seconds into their set. I don’t remember the song they played, but what I do remember is singer Mike Williams immediately smashing a beer bottle over his head and the blood began to flow. I sat sort of in a trance for the remainder of their 45 minute set and have been a fan ever since. I had the chance to speak with bass player Gary Mader about EHG’s upcoming album, their side projects, what scares him the most in life, and more.  The following interview was conducted on 11/17/10 while in the throws of some crazy sickness. Seems only fitting I suppose. (To enhance this interview, read Gary’s answers in a slow, thick, Louisiana accent.

The Gary Mader Interview (more…)
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Aaron Turner Of Isis Talks With The Indie Spiritualist.

November 6, 2010

Aaron B. Turner (near) Seattle, Wa – Artist/Musician. Involved with/founder of/sometime participant: hydra head records, isis, house of low culture, mamiffer, greymachine, jodis, old man gloom, lotus eaters, drawing voices, vacation vinyl, twilight, etc. (Taken from http://aaronbturner.blogspot.com/).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk a little about Aaron Turner the man. While I’ve met Aaron on various occasions, I can’t say that I know him well at all. He was a pleasure to interview. He’s a very smart, friendly & articulate person, beyond that, I can’t say much more from experience. So I’ve enlisted the help of prior Indie Spiritualist contributor, and member of the band Cable (Hydra Head Records) Bernie Romanowski to shed some light on the man behind the man…  – Chris Grosso (*NOTE- This interview was conducted on 10/30/10)

You know this, but Aaron Turner is a multi-dimensional man.  I first met Aaron when I would pay visits to Jeff (Cable’s former bass player and Isis’ bass player) when Jeff moved to Boston in the mid-1990’s.  Jeff moved into Aaron’s apartment and unfortunately for Aaron, Jeff came with some baggage. Jeff’s baggage included 4-5 friends from CT with varied degrees of drinking and violence problems.  Over the next 2 years, I was present while Aaron’s apartment paid witness to a stolen mannequin being lit on fire in his living room, a cinderblock and wood coffee table being smashed against a wall, graffiti being written on his laundry room walls (including the ominous line “It’s not over” from the song “Ochre”), and seeing blatant urination take place on Aaron’s living room floor at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Happy new year.

Bernie Romanowski

While this madness was going on, Aaron was usually (and wisely) not present.  While the rest of us were testing the limits of the Boston legal codes, Aaron was gone.  I’m not sure where he went, and I’m sure some of the time was spent in his bedroom deep in thought or engrossed in a Masonna record.  Aaron had a padlock on his door and whenever he was home and I walked by, his room was usually barely lit.  This next sentence is going to sound a little strange, but humor me:  I finally got into Aaron’s bedroom after he allowed me to sleep in there while he was out of town.  After all those months of wondering what was behind the padlocked door, I finally got my answer: a very clean and very normal room.  Rather anti-climatic, really.  Lots and lots of records, a few piles of drawing paper, 1.5 million black band t-shirts, and a clean bed.  Clean beds were hard to come by in that apartment.  I was too overwhelmed by his music collection to choose anything new to listen to while I went to sleep, so I listened to Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine.”

The walls of Aaron’s apartment were painted blood-red with various figurines pained on the walls and ceilings.  It was like living in a rough-draft of Aaron’s Bloodlet “Entheogen” album cover.  Hydra Head was starting to take shape and his living room eventually became full of Cave-In and Botch records.  The boxes started to fill the living room, so the hallway started to fill up, then the shelves came, then a dedicated bedroom was filled with record label stuff.  Maybe Aaron would really make something out of this record thing… 

I got the sense that Aaron’s brain didn’t work like most people’s brains.  When Cable and Isis toured in the late-1990’s, Aaron didn’t find much humor in our shenanigans.  He was usually polite and he DOES have a sense of humor, but he has boundaries that we didn’t have at that time.  They are the same boundaries that I’ve developed in recent years, about 12 years later.  There was a lot of common ground between our two bands and plenty of musical enthusiasm, but it was clear that Aaron and Isis envisioned their band as a butane lighter compared to Cable’s riot-fire.  A controlled burn that would intentionally ebb and flow.  Over the last decade, Isis has crafted an aesthetic that is true to who they are as people — it’s not an act or a pretension.  I have a lot of respect for what Isis has accomplished over the years and I hope you do too. – Bernie Romanowski

The Aaron Turner Interview (more…)
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Aimee Mann Is Not With Stupid- An Interview With The Indie Spiritualist

November 1, 2010

From her work in the 80’s with MTV favorite Til Tuesday through her acclaimed solo discs “Whatever” and “I’m With Stupid” in the 90s, Aimee Mann has always been at the forefront of contemporary songwriters. The close of the millennium brought her greatest success, with the simultaneous releases of Bachelor No. 2 and the soundtrack to the film Magnolia, which garnered nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and three Grammys. After a decade in which her music often took a backseat to corporate mergers and contractual obligations, the message was clear: Aimee Mann is here to stay.

From “Voices Carry” to the Oscar-nominated “Save Me,” Mann has always been known for her clever, literate, and dryly witty takes on emotional sabotage and self-destruction. Though happily married to Michael Penn (with whom she has toured extensively in a double-billed “Acoustic Vaudeville”), her fascination continues with “the freaks who could never love anyone.” With a songcraft often compared with the Beatles and Badfinger, Mann frequently pairs the bleakest of poetry with soaring, infectious melodies.

Mann continued her solo career with the 2002 release of Lost in Space the second release on SuperEgo Records, the label she co-founded with manager and former Til Tuesday bandmate Michael Hausmann. The opportunity to release her own CD’s independently allowed Mann the power to soar creatively. With Lost in Space Mann produced an album of songs that, like a book of stories or a novel, work collectively to become something more than the sum of the individual parts. “There were aspects of liberation that hadn’t even occurred to me. I became more creative all-around, in terms of marketing and promoting the record as well as writing and recording.” To that end, Mann commissioned graphic-novelist Seth to create a forty-page booklet that accompanied the disc version of Lost In Space.

Lost in Space Special Edition followed in 2003, featuring a second disc containing six live recordings, as well two B-sides and two previously unreleased songs. In  November 2004 Aimee released her first live album and DVD with Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse recorded at a series of July 2004 shows in Brooklyn.

In 2006 Mann released what might be considered her most daring album yet with the critically acclaimed The Forgotten Arm. In a natural progression of her literary writing, the album is a concept album that follows the story of two lovers who meet at the Virginia State Fair. The main character is a boxer who is sent off to fight in the Viet Nam war, the CD explores the themes of love, war, drugs and ultimately recovery and redemption.

The Forgotten Arm is, like so much of Aimee Mann’s music, really about the inexorable pull of co-dependency in human relationships. “The King of the Jailhouse / and the Queen of the Road,” Aimee Mann sings on one song, “think sharing the burden will lighten the load / so they pack up their troubles in an old Cadillac / that’s her in the mirror, asleep in the back.”

Aimee Mann also released a Christmas album titled One More Drifter In The Snow. “I wanted to do a Christmas record that reflected the whole range of emotions that people have around Christmas.” Aimee said, “I thought a lot about the feeling I had about Christmas as a kid, the almost spooky beauty and mystery that the holiday has, and wanted to do something that echoed that musically.” Harkening back to the classic Christmas albums of the 40’s & 50’s the CD features several classic songs and some lesser-known but no-less-classic songs: the Jimmy Webb song “Whatever Happened to Christmas,” which opens the record; “Christmastime” written by Michael Penn; the brilliant “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from the Dr. Seuss cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” featuring Grant Lee Phillips’ inspired narration; and an original song, co-written with producer Paul Bryan, “Calling On Mary.”

In conjunction with the holiday inspired album Ms. Mann has also launched an annual sell-out Christmas tour, incorporating various comedic hosts and fellow musicians who vary from town to town. This year’s tour included host Paul F. Thompkins and guest appearances from Jackson Brown, Nellie McKay, Ben Lee, Ben Gibbard, Patrick Park, Sean Hayes, Chuck Prophet, Josh Ritter, Joe Henry, Grant Lee Phillips, members of the Decemberists and Morgan Murphy. (Bio from aimeemann.com) The following interview was conducted on 10/28/10.

The Aimee Mann Interview (more…)
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The Gospel According To Brother Ali – An Interview With The Indie Spiritualist.

October 23, 2010

Brother Ali is an artist, a friend, a poet, a Muslim, and has no problem being the first one to crack on being albino, or overweight, or whatever the occasion calls for. Since the release of his first studio album, Shadows of the Sun in 2003, Ali has earned respect and praise throughout the independent Hip Hop community, and is considered one of the most important voices rhyming today.

The writer of this article wishes to agree. Brother Ali has soul, not just in his music, but in the way he talks passionately about his love of Hip Hop, The Nation of Islam, his good friend Micahel “Eyedea” Larsen, and the oppressed and marginalized people who are all too often forgotten about. It is my privilege to present The Indie Spiritualist interview with Brother Ali.

The Brother Ali Interview (more…)
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We Are Scientists Interview

October 10, 2010

Saturday, Oct 9th, 2010, 7pm. I sit on the corner of Daniel St, in Milford, CT at a quaint, hipster sort of coffee shop, called Café Atlantique. Tonight is the first night in the We Are Scientists month and a half Behold The American Barbarians Tour, which has the scientists covering the east coast, mid-west, and UK.  

I have approximately an hour to kill before my interview, so I begin reviewing my pre-interview notes. After a few moments, I look up and coincidentally see the scientists come in (those hipsters). I briefly consider playing the star struck fan, making a huge scene, but I then look back down at the piece of chocolate cake I’d been working on, and get back down to business.  I finish my notes, and cake (not necessarily in that order), and contact their tour manager Brandon to get things rolling.

The following was conducted at a back table of Café Atlantique. The interview begins with guitarist/vocalist Keith Murray and myself, shortly after which, we were joined by bass player/vocalist Chris Cain. Keith and Chris are easily the most enjoyable guy’s I’ve had the privilege of interviewing to date. Read on and see why…

The We Are Scientists Interview (more…)
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