[This is Part 2: the Interview. See also Part 1: the Garden Tour.]
After the tour around the garden, John and I went inside and chatted while he changed his strings. It veered much more toward conversation than interview throughout the hour. It’s strange interviewing someone you know on a personal basis. Here’s some of what we talked about.
Adrian Bischoff: How was the tour with [the Mountain Goats’ John] Darnielle?
John Vanderslice: It was probably the best tour I ever went on in terms of ease and fun.
AB: Did you guys just go around in a van?
JV: It was just me and him and [Mountain Goats tour manager] Brandon [Eggleston] in a minivan. It was as easy as it gets. It was perversely simple.
AB: So [keyboardist Ian Bjornstad’s] the only one in your band from the last record, right?
JV: Yeah. We have a new drummer, Matthias. And we’re going to lose Matthias immediately after we do one tour with him, so we’ve already rehearsed with the next drummer.
AB: Wow. Who’s the next drummer?
JV: Jason Slota, who’s incredible. Man, I hate to say it, but one thing that’s cool–it’s like when your favorite band breaks up, there are so many other bands. That’s the cool thing. There are so many musicians. It’s a bountiful world. The Bay Area is a very good place for musicians. There are just shitloads of people here. There are a lot of drummers. There’s a lot of stuff happening here. It’s kind of awesome.
AB: So where’d you find these guys?
JV: It’s weird. I found a lot of them through Matthias. Do you know Matthias? You met him, right?
AB: I think I met him.
JV: Yeah, the new drummer I’m playing with, he’s awesome. He’s a total badass.
AB: I met the guitarist, right? What’s his name? Sil–
JV: Silvain is awesome. He’s really, really good.
AB: And then you have a fifth, right?
JV: Yeah, there is Jamie Riotto, the bass player. He did some of the arrangements. I met him because he works with the Magik*Magik Orchestra. A lot of these people are really connected to the Magik. They’re on a different level than me as far as how they play. They’re all really good musicians.
AB: So why did you switch labels?