Tomorrow I’ll post the full and unedited interview (and mp3s of the in-studio performance) I did with John Vanderslice back in July on the air at KZSU, but for now, here are some excerpts: the best of, so to speak. If you want to read the last interview I did with him, head here.
On the title “the nicest guy in indie rock”:
“Iâ€™ve got to punch someone out to get rid of that stuff, man. I think itâ€™s damaging me.
“No, Iâ€™m kidding…In fact I really donâ€™t like when people act in a way thereâ€™s a predeterminedâ€“I see so many bands in the studio [where] they literally show up with a bottle of Jack Danielâ€™s because thereâ€™s that thing; theyâ€™ve read the Motley Crue thing or whatever. Itâ€™s just that I think youâ€™ve got to mix it up.
“Sometimes I think I should go road-raging or go crazy… But am I any different than any other person that comes in here?
“That sucks, though because it means theyâ€™re maybe not so nice because I just see myself as being completely normal. I am very socialized. Itâ€™s true, I am very socialized, but I feel that Iâ€™m totally normal.”
On Scott Solter:
“Heâ€™s my partner really. He produced the record and he works at my studio a lot. And he toured with me forâ€“I canâ€™t believe now that I got him out on tour for so many times because you know, heâ€™s married, heâ€™s got a real, normal life. I think I took him out on six tours or something. But heâ€™s been there since Time Travel [is Lonely]; heâ€™s been really really important to what Iâ€™ve been doing.”
On interviews and being entertaining:
“…Sometime when I read interviews Iâ€™ve done I just cannot believe I have said those things. Like Iâ€™m wondering nowâ€“seriously, the only thing Iâ€™m worrying about now is am I being boring? Iâ€™m answering your questions and Iâ€™m likeâ€“
[Adrian looks at other people in the studio, posing the question. They nod.]
“See! I am! I need to ratchet it up, right?!
[Other people in the studio shake their head vigorously.]
“See, it is on me to be entertaining. I am an entertainer. Iâ€™m being asked questions. I really can appreciate that English front guyâ€“Oasisâ€“that guy just being absolute off-the-wall. I really appreciate him now. I didnâ€™t get him but I went back and Iâ€™m like, thatâ€™s an artwork, a living, standing, breathing artwork. Instead of having to read through some really careful press release. I began to think thatâ€“I really appreciate how honest and straightforward people are in interviews. I realized if you did that youâ€™re going to be somewhat abrasive. Youâ€™re going to annoy some people.”
On whether he worries about buzz building up too quickly:
“No, itâ€™s never enough. You know like when you were youngâ€“can I say anything I want? I should be mellow, huh. Letâ€™s say youâ€™re young, first time drinking alcohol and you want it to hit so fast and so hard and it doesnâ€™t. I remember the first I got drunk, I drank bourbon at my friend Ricky Rankinâ€™s house straight. We put lemonade mix in it. I remember thinking, this isnâ€™t fast enough. Itâ€™s not intense enough; itâ€™s not strong enough. And thatâ€™s how it is when an album comes out. You just want it to be this torrential flood ofâ€“the thing is, when you do it over and over again, thereâ€™s a routine. I think that routine is cool, but itâ€™s almostâ€“listen, youâ€™re not the Beatles at Shea Stadium no matter what. I mean, thereâ€™s too many things coming out. Thereâ€™s too many amazing records coming out every week. Youâ€™re just another band putting out a record. And youâ€™re totally thankful for it, but thereâ€™s a part of youâ€“seriously, thereâ€™s that Mick Jagger inside you that just, you know, wants insanity. You want to be in a Prevost driving 150 miles per hour while people are shooting heroin. You know? It doesnâ€™t ever happen. And strippers and craziness. It just doesnâ€™t happen.
“The question is, is it ever enough? No, itâ€™s not enough, because I have this infantile image inside my mind of how intense it was in 1968. You know what I mean? [laughs] And all the bands I know, theyâ€™re likeâ€“itâ€™s like business people on a trip. They go to their Courtyard Marriott, turn on the golf channel and go to sleep. And itâ€™s never crazy.”
“I donâ€™t take any more amazing photographs than any of my other band mates. Theyâ€™re right beside me; weâ€™re taking the same shot. Theirs looks exactly like [mine]. Itâ€™s just that they donâ€™t bother to put it on the web. [laughs] Thatâ€™s the only difference. Itâ€™s just that I take 10,000 photographs a year and I weed out the 150 and Iâ€™m probably a decent editor. What Iâ€™m doing, anybody could do it, if they get a Pentax K1000, get some decent film and then go to Photoworks or Pro 1 in LA and have it developed on nice matte paper. Itâ€™ll look exactly the same, you know?
“And, photography for me is a hobby and itâ€™d never enter the realm of any other thing.”
On a United flight that dropped out of the air for a few seconds:
“That was the worst experience I ever had but the real depression of that flight was afterâ€“basically the plane just dropped out of the sky for four or five seconds and then everyone started screaming, like all these seasoned travelers. You know, people who fly back and forth every week were freaking out and there wasâ€“I mean, everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs for like three minutes. It was the worst thing I ever saw. I mean, basically, the plane was in the middle of the Pacific and it had just fallen out of the sky. Itâ€™d free-fallen so much that the crew and everyoneâ€“people had lost it. But it wasnâ€™t then that I really went nuts, it was after the plane had stabilized and I thought, this is horrible. It was even worse when the plane was flying to Japan again. I mean, they were playing Miss Congeniality 2 on there.
“You know what I mean? Iâ€™m not trying to be funny, but I just thought, is this how Iâ€™m going to die? At this point in my life? Itâ€™s all the typical, cliched stuff you think about your life.
“Again, I submit: Miss Congeniality 2.”
On whether he’d write a fully-autobiographical album:
“In general itâ€™s not that Iâ€™m not interested, but Iâ€™ve been writing songs for so long, Iâ€™ve mined a lot of that personal stuff. Itâ€™s difficultâ€“you know, Iâ€™m not a drama guy. Iâ€™m actually looking for the absence of drama. Iâ€™m very very domestic and super mellow and I donâ€™t really find or seek out conflict with people. I really donâ€™t want to be emotionally destabilized at all so for me itâ€™s not like Iâ€™m Faulkner. I donâ€™t have this tremendous wellspring of experience necessarily. Or James Joyce. Iâ€™ve found that I take a piece of experience and expand it, blow it up, exaggerate it and then place it somewhere else, which is probably what a lot of writers could do anyways.
“I mean, not every slight that happened to Morrissey was really that important, you know what I mean? Thatâ€™s totallyâ€“thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that. I mean, thatâ€™s songwriting, thatâ€™s art. I mean, Emily Dickinson wasnâ€™t really that freaked out about the spider in that one poem. ”