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Apr ’08 No. 1

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On Stands: Apr 1st

Volume 01/Number 01

on the cover:

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

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Essay

9

Essay

3 Color Serigraph on Paper 18” X 24”

Benjamin Hunter

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Editor-in-Chief

I’m Sellin’ it

(The McDonaldization of Music)

Will There Be Tanks In Heaven?

Cover Story

Interview

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

8 10 15

- May 1st

Interview

Del The Funky Homosapien

Coachella Preview

Interview

Joshua Wells

of Black Mountain

David Dodde

Creative Director

Shaun Saylor Publisher

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Art

Wide-Eyed Covers

18

Essay

Qatif Girl

Assistant Music Editor: Juliet Bennett-Rylah Music Editorial: William Case • Brian Hoekstra • Benjamin Klebba Eric Mitts • Nick Stephenson • Andrew Watson

Essays: Dr. Corey Anton • Nikos Monoyios Copy Editor: Cliff Frantz Contributing Art Director: Andy Cruz Contributing Artists: Jevon Dismuke • Jason Murray Photography: Keith Golinski • Damien Thompson Website: Chris Martinez • Shawn Melton

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Advertising Sales:

Interview

M.I.A.

Interview

22

Essay

Descent People Know Condoms Work

Brian Borchert

28

Essay

Interview

30

Interview

of Holy Fuck

Defining Our Decade

ads@wideeyednation.com

Headquarters:

Wide-Eyed LLC 1158 26th Street Suite #724 Los Angeles, CA 90403

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Matt Costa

Serj Tankian

Comments:

feedback@wideeyednation.com

General Offices: Wide-Eyed, 1158 26th Street Suite #724 Los Angeles, CA 90403. Wide-Eyed assumes no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic or other material. All rights in letters and unsolicited editorial and graphic material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to WideEyed’s unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially. Wide-Eyed, date of production January 2008. Custodian of records is Shaun Saylor. All records required by law to be maintained by publisher are located at 11740 Wilshire Blvd. Building A2203 Los Angeles, CA 90025. Contents copyright ©2008 by Wide-Eyed Publishing LLC. All right reserved. Wide-Eyed, the “Eyecon” and the Torn Edge mast head are marks of Wide-Eyed, registered U.S. Trademark office. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any electronic, mechanical, photocopying or recording means or otherwise without prior written permission of the publisher.

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24

Essay

The Trinity of Forest Gump

Department

Music Review

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Local Interest

Store Front


Letters

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Welcome,

We are the generation of great hope. We have the resources to create, to inspire, and to bring about the new digital enlightenment. Connected in a frenzy of chaotic digital technologies, we are plugged in and we are airing it out. Our senses are extended to the vibrations of cell phones, the beeps of instant messengers, while our eyes trace the never-ending cascade of multiple browsing windows. We resonate in vivid reality the worlds of our ever expanding creative prophets. The renaissance is now. Wide-Eyed aims to recoginize the greater picture. Wide-Eyed seeks those quality contributions to the landscape of art, music, and thought which are vibrantly coexisting in the creative consciousness. Our delivery is simple– the marriage of words with powerful and intriguing visuals. An image with a story. In a jolt perception world, an insightful read must be carried on the shoulders of a provocative image. Keep singing, writing, and creating. The wide eye is on you.

All the Best,

Benjamin Hunter Editor-in- Chief

feedback @ wid

eeyednation.co

m


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A

By: Nikos Monoyios s our society continues to trail-blaze its way toward championing monetary value as the epitome of worth and success, the consequences of neglecting the significance of artistic value are apparent. Although this is a dismal notion, it is actually quite easy to recognize why economic value is deemed more important than social value. Simply put, we ascribe something, and anything, with monetary value. Dollars and cents. Digits when lined up next to each other can be arithmetically manipulated on a spreadsheet to ultimately decide what something is worth. Even though our brains are capable of colossally complex ideas, we still rely on the results of the “bottom line” to make a decision. Applying a number to something makes a decision easier to gauge. Of course, this method is imperative for business, but what happens when society reinforces the application of this method onto our artistic sphere? Do we remember how to value the artistic contributions without emphasizing an ascribed dollar amount to it? Let’s look at the music industry. For example, was John Lennon’s Imagine so popular and moving because of the economic value or social value it generated? Did punk rock flourish in the lower east side in the late ‘70s because of the grand production scheme, or because of the social movement? The same could be said about Seattle in the early ‘90s, right? These two examples don’t even scratch the surface of the myriad of experiences that make music more socially influential versus economically successful. For these examples, the social significance emerged before any money changed hands. However, what are the consequences now that music is taking a stronger approach toward being producer-driven? Why do primary television music channels like VH1 and MTV seem to principally broadcast and showcase

the monetary worth of popular musicians as opposed to our society’s vast array of musical offerings? Simply put, the music industry has been McDonaldized. McDonaldization, a cleverly cynical term coined by sociologist George Ritzer in 1995, is the process of ascribing systematic and rational fast-food business principles within society. The main components of McDonaldization are efficiency, calculability, predictability and control. Utilizing these components emphasizes the increasing rationalization of every task. In other words, determining and measuring how methods work faster, more cost-effective, and

“Irrational and imaginative creativity and artistry are no longer reinforced because aspiring musicians are being steered to follow this rationalized pattern in order to gain success.” more consistent is paramount to maximizing success. And of course, money is the way these factors are measured. Similar to how the fast-food industry harnessed these components to maximize the influence of their business, the music industry has adopted these same principles with interest to maximize their profits. Furthermore, recognizing the harm of this McDonaldized approach can be clearly observed. Businessmen in the music game are the primary beneficiaries of this rationalized approach toward the music industry. Musicians are no longer steering artistic

direction in the industry as much as they have in the past. The audiences do. What sells does. Bean counters and analysts scrutinize spreadsheets monitoring who is buying what and where. This measurable and rational approach determines what should be produced and distributed. Therefore, success for a musician depends upon adhering to a proven genre and a mastered image. Unfortunately, this problem is a cyclical one. While the business side determines what music should be produced, the audiences are subjected to the resulting popularity. Consequently, the music is broadcast and advertisements pop up all over and the masses digest it, only to regurgitate this info back to the analysts. This McDonaldized reality threatens to diminish the social value of music. We can’t afford to accept this commodified popularity as a social commodity. Our intrigue and star-struck sentiments are no longer defined by the music, but by the image. This is why popular music has become a flavor-of-the-month club, and those poor musicians are convinced that audiences really do love their music. Irrational and imaginative creativity and artistry are no longer reinforced because aspiring musicians are being steered to follow this rationalized pattern in order to gain success. We’ve learned this so well – which is why Guitar Hero is so popular. All we are conditioned to do is to record-by-numbers. Music has been confined within the lines of a coloring book. We need to remember the days when scribbling all over those pages was our way of “stickin’ it to the man.” Otherwise, we could turn into sheep in a land where the producers and financiers will be our shepherds.


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Del The Funky Homosapien interview by William Case

Fresh from promoting his new album, Eleventh Hour, at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, Del the Funky Homosapien spent some time with William Case of Wide-Eyed discussing his philosophy of funk. As a legendary hip hop producer, songwriter and MC, Del provided unique insight into his creative process, from the technology that shapes his production techniques, to the musical inspirations that shape his style. In his thoughtful and unifying style, Del shared his feelings on the state of hip hop culture - past, present, and future – with passion and a steady, holistic vision.

W ide -E yed : We haven’t seen a solo album from you since 2000 with Both Sides of the Brain and Deltron 3030. Why did you decide that now was the right time? Del the Funky Homosapien: The album was ready to go. And I figured I needed to get it out now before it gets too far away. It’s just a matter of when I got the record done and stuff, and I didn’t want it to be done, sitting around waiting, basically. So that was my main motivation. WE: How have you changed as an artist since your last solo? How has your music changed? DEL: Not very much, to tell you the truth. I studied music theory, so I have a clearer idea of what I’m trying to get out of my music. Studied song writing, so I’m trying to be more direct with what I’m saying with my raps. Lyrically, I’m not just rapping for the sake of rapping. I try to get some kind of idea across even if I am just rapping or talking shit. I still want people walking away from it with some kind of idea, so even if it’s just a vibe, I want to be able to leave the song with something to hold. It’s not always going to be positive; it’s not always going to be negative, either. But whatever it is that I want to express, I want the listener to feel that. My music is probably a bit more consistent than it was in the past, and as far as my raps, I try to be a bit more direct with it, you know, so people can understand where I’m coming from. WE: You’ve done a ton of work outside of your solo albums. You’ve been productive your entire career working with Heiroglyphics, collaborating with Gorillaz, label-mate El-P, among others. Who are some other artists that you would like to work with in the future? DEL: I’d love to work with either Kanye, or Pharrell and Chad of the Neptunes. I think the work they do is dope. Whether or not that ever would happen, I don’t know. But I hear they used to listen to Heiroglyphics stuff, so… WE: You’ve been producing for a long time, from the analog age to the digital days now. How do you see technology changing the way you produce music? And how do you do you see music and technology influencing each other going forward? DEL: First off, knowing music theory hella helps, as far as my production is concerned. Things that would take me hours to figure out before, just little subtle things, like how pieces sound together harmonically, even if I am working with samples, it helps a tremendous deal. Things used to be, ‘Let’s try it and see.’ Not saying that it’s not still like that, because you still have to try stuff to see how it works – experimentation, to give some kind of direction to it. The digital age, or for me, working with computers to produce my music – I’ve been using computers since fifth, sixth grade. That was a long time ago.

That is when I was really introduced heavy into computers. Now the computer is at the forefront of people’s households, so it’s not that big of a deal for us because we have always had technology in our houses. Feel me? Technology just makes things more streamlined. Definitely for production, you can do things with the computer you couldn’t even think of doing with an MPC or SP-1200. Not putting the machine down, because it is what it is, but for me, personally, my production has been taken to another place, to where I just couldn’t achieve some of it using a drum machine. I even try to compose actual pieces now. For that part of it, I don’t see being able to do it with just a drum machine. I would need to have the keyboard, I would need the selection of different instruments that I just didn’t have without sampling stuff and chopping it up on the drum machine. Part of that I just outgrew. Not to say that I don’t do it anymore – I go about doing it a different way, because the prices are astronomical. Nobody really seems to understand the art form of chopping a beat up and chopping the sample up and making something new out of it. WE: Take us through your creative process. Do you have a routine or is it more spontaneous? How often do you feel like a track is just right from the start? And how often do you have to tweak things? When do you know it is done, and it’s created, and just right? DEL Usually, it’s done when I have a feeling like adding more would be adding too much more. To me, less is more. If you have something that works and it’s simple, there is no need to add more confusion just for the sake of adding more confusion. I mean, I like the wall of sound theory and all that, too. Public enemy is one of the greatest to me. The Bomb Squad is one of my favorite producers. But on the other hand, Erick Sermon is my other all-time favorite producer because of how he took the simple funk, kept it simple, and kept it real funky. If it works and it serves its purpose, there is such a thing as minimalism. It doesn’t always have to be hella complex. Then again, you might feel like you want to add something and you want to elaborate a little bit. And I feel like that’s okay, too. WE: How did you cultivate your diverse musical tastes? What kind of music did you grow up listening to? You mentioned, Erick Sermon and Public Enemy, who are some of the other artists that have influenced your style? DEL: The number one influence is probably funk, just musically, in general. And probably to a lesser degree, jazz; jazz and some kinds of funky R&B and funky dance music… Those are my biggest influences. Particularly, Parliament Funkadelic – anything they did and every off-shoot of their music, I probably have every last record. And I am still looking (concluded on page 31)


9

By: Benjamin Hunter

It’s perplexing to observe the steadfast

will of radical Evangelical Christians. They are on a mission from God and they will stop at nothing to proselytize the masses, amend the Constitution, deny global warming, suggest the assassination of foreign dignitaries, and set up shop in the Pentagon. Set up shop in the Pentagon?! Yes, my fellow Americans, welcome The Christian Embassy. Onward toward perpetuating the folklore of Armageddon in hopes that Jesus will appear in the sky to rapture the faithful!

Illustration by David Dodde

Christian Embassy Executive Director Robert Varney claims his organization was granted permission by the Defense Department to enter the Pentagon to make a video of service men and women expressing support for the group. NPR has reported that the group has an office within the Defense Department at the Pentagon and holds weekly prayer meetings followed by breakfast in the Pentagon’s executive mess hall. Considering the fact that it is illegal for active-duty officers to speak against or in favor of political causes while on duty or wearing their uniforms, should we as taxpayer be concerned? First let us explore the rationale of ranking radical Evangelical Christian leaders in this country. In the past Dr. Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist convention has stated “Any religion that keeps people from coming to Christ, is a manifestation of demonic power.” By having influence at the Pentagon, surely this logic would lead one to conclude that it is okay to use the military force of the United States to slaughter and destroy non- Christian enemy nations. Does this not justify the killing of over 500,000 Iraqi civilians since the onset of the conflict in Iraq? While half of the team are setting up shop in the Pentagon, we have others like Becky Fischer proselytizing the youth of tomorrow in Jesus Camp. “If you look at the world’s population, one third of that 6.7 billion people are children under the age of fifteen. Where should we be putting our energy and our focus? I’ll tell you, where our enemies are putting it! They are putting it on our kids.” Fisher goes on to say; “I want to see young people as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as they are committed to the cause of Islam. I want to see them radically laying down their lives for the gospel.” Fundamentalist Christianity was initiated as a reaction to 19th century Protestant liberalism that was seen as a threat to the

“basic truths of faith.” The fundamentalists of that time felt a need to form a solid foundation by establishing non-negotiable fundamentals of the Christian faith based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. This interpretation renders a population that neglects logic or science, and fails to respect the belief systems of other peoples and religions. With the world we live in it’s no wonder these churches are so attractive. Of course there is much to be upset about with the sad state of affairs we see in the world, but are these challenges not to be met with intellectual capacity and human ingenuity? The Evangelical motto of “let go and let God” provides an easy way to neglect the environmental crisis, the immorality of war, and the injustice we see in Africa and other parts of he non- Christian world. Rather than look to human

solutions, they are convinced that we are living in the “end times” and that conversion to the Lamb of God is the only means to salvation. Since when did “love thy neighbor” translate to: “be an ignorant bigot”? When the forefathers of this nation put the Constitution together they made sure to mandate the separation of Church and State. This wasn’t a secular humanist conspiracy to create a nation of heathens, the forefathers simply had a vision of a country governed by the laws of the Constitution, which were founded on logic and precedence. They were quite familiar with the insanity of the Catholic Inquisition in Spain, the persecution of the Mennonites by the Calvinists, the Protestant witch massacres, the Pogroms, and the countless other bloodlettings bred from the wedding of religion and political power in Europe. Franklin consistently attacked religious dogma. He believed that acting Christ-like is more important than accepting Christ as the savior of humankind. George Washington was an early supporter of religious equality. When hiring workmen for Mount Vernon, he wrote “If they be good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists.” Historians will debate whether or not he was commited to Deism over Christianity, but all agree he was certainly not a fundamentalist. Jefferson was a Deist. He believed in one God, and believed in a system of reward and punishment after death. He didn’t believe that Jesus was divine and found his doctrine to be lacking; “Like Socrates and Epithets he wrote nothing of himself... the committing to writing his life and doctrines fell on the most unlettered and ignorant of men.” --Thomas Jefferson April 21st, 1803. It’s very disconcerting to see what is happening in our schools, our communities, and in our environment. These are the growing pains of a human race that has gained four billion members in fifty years. We live in a time were population and technology parallel each other in exponential growth. Can we afford to “let go and let God” as the radical Evangelists proclaim? We need to embrace the multitude of races and religions for their positive attributes of tradition and fellowship with neighbors. It’s possible for Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Atheists alike to share this planet together.

For more information concerning the conflict of interest at the Pentagon visit: http:// militaryreligiousfreedom. org/urgent_issues.html


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ROGER WATERS Given the chance to even publish words about this guy is an honor. This guy was writing songs about drugs and machines way before the invention of Pete Doherty and white rectangular audio devices. He was Pink Floyd. He was the Dark Side of the Moon. The reason Dark Side will live on forever is that you know every second of it came from one mans soul, and he got it right! Creative people, no matter what the medium, look to the album with the colorful triangle as a barometer from the heavens. Roger Waters presents Dark Side of The Moon to Coachella in its entirety. Kids in the impressionable ages of the early teens, if you have the chance to witness this event…DO IT. Even if Waters sounds a little more gruff in his later years is no matter (He has sounded 40+ since his glory days anyway, right?) The guy made millions of basement psychedelic experiences, and will transform how you view your music collection from this performance onward. Cheers to years of air-brushing triangles on t-shirts and vans. Cheers to a writer locking himself into a room, to create masterpieces so millions don’t have to (its stressful stuff yo-yo!). See this show, and buy Dark Side of the Moon. Oh yeah, and buy Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Bases are covered. PORTISHEAD Portishead has the ability to stop time dead. In the ‘90s they put a copyright on crawling melancholy and trip-hop. Take their 1994 album Dummy, now a massively-known electronic classic. In a time where Alternative Rock was sweeping the globe via Weezer, Green Day, and Smashing Pumpkins, Dummy had the effect it has in bars today – no matter what the vibe in the room is, when Portishead oozes out of the speakers, people stop to take inventory. Beth Gibbons told the sad tale of “Sour Times” and the universe began to melt. Not only did the mysterious turntables slice into coffee shops, but the group found mainstream success. Cubicles full of graphic designers re-thought their lives, and techno kids learned how to act after the after-party. It is amazing to think about what is going to happen when thousands of kids hear this pouring into their hearts out in the desert. Somehow, the stars aligned, and the elusive Portishead will be perfoming at Coachella just as their new album Third will be hitting the streets. The album has only taken a little over a decade to hang a for-sale sign on, but we are sure that’s ok. “Sour Times”?? No sir. KRAFTWERK Kraftwerk needs nary an introduction. Since the 1970s these godfathers and pioneers of electronic music have trail-blazed their way into audiovisual lore. Musicians write notes, but Wolfgang, Karl, Florian, and Ralf are the staff upon which they’re written. As the backbone of influence and inspiration, these four from Dusseldorf continue to influence the myriad of musicians, from David Bowie’s early years to house and techno produced tomorrow. Afrika Bambaattaa’s Planet Rock sampled Kraftwerk into the mainstream fusing hip-hop and electro, a combination that continues to prove timeless. Perhaps just as important as their music is their live performance. While maintaining monumental minimalism, their visually powerful presence on stage is masterful. One glimpse instills an immediate sense of respectful recognition. Giant imposing video presentations spanning the stage coolly complement the four gentlemen standing calmly in their usual line in front of their laptops collaborating on their genius. Those attending Coachella have a rare opportunity to witness these minimalist maestros perform live. M.I.A. M.I. A . is beyond-beyond, two albums into her career, and basically taking names. Is it possible to have more natural free-flowing creativity? Like a hip-hop workout class on a riverboat… in a jungle… surrounded by many-many colors. To put it quick, she defies any sandbox you want to put her in. If you want a reference point though, think about how excited you were when you first started seeing Missy Elliott bouncing around in garbage bags. Her beats range from tribal to street in the blink, and the choruses are filled with chaos. Fear not the word “chaos”, everything with M.I. A . falls into place so you can shake your pants with jaw-dropped. It doesn’t even really make sense that this life-force has a website - HTML and the cyber-net cannot contain these beats. She recently released a solid remix EP of “Paper Planes” with the help of Adrock, Diplo, DFA , among others. The song barrages you with kid-voices, cash registers and gunshots…blam! Some dude on Amazon said…“Paper Planes” is one of the most oddest pop singles of the year -- how often do you hear guns used as percussion?” (There you go Amazon-kid, you were referenced in a recently-birthed mag.) So if Coachella is your Spring voyage of choice, M.I. A . should be on your checklist. BLACK

MOUNTAIN British Columbia’s psychedelic troubadours of rock could very well be the band to make acid cool again. Following performances on Conan O’Brien and a multi-city run, the Vancouver quintet hits the stage amidst the tour for their second album In the Future. The nostalgic vortex created by Black Mountain hints to the moment


11 when free love was interrupted by Sabbath jumping in the sack. Vocalists Steven McBean and Amber Wells play off each other atop a backdrop of texture and melodious pandaemonium. With arrangements of epic magnitude, these Canadians summon a carnal engagement for the spirits of the flower era, while channeling it with authority. For those attending the festival that had lived through the Vietnam era, this band is hauntingly authentic. If any of the up-and-coming artists on the bill are going to encapsulate the energy of Coachella’s predecessors – Black Mountain is the holy eucharist of the festival’s mass. SCROOBIUS

PIP In the mid-1800s, poet Edward Lear created Scroo-

bius Pip, a creature without a taxonomical identity who happily relates to all the other animals in the jungle. David Meads resurrected the hip-hop version of Scroobius Pip a few years ago just outside of London. Similar to the title character of Lear’s whimsical imagination, Scroobius Pip cleverly flaunts the virtues of music for music’s sake. Pip’s masterfully poetic popular culture commentary magically matches the beats of maestro Dan le Sac. Reminiscent of the factory beats of a 1984 Casio keyboard, Le Sac composes minimally to adequately adhere to Pip’s flow. Technically novice yet aesthetically brilliant, Scroobius Pip’s lyrics poetically challenge pop culture awareness. As their unique style is adored world-wide, a treat is in store for all the Coachellites. BREEDERS How can one not feel a bit of the good ole awe shucks nostalgia when the Breeders come on the iPod? Some of us will only remember the song “Cannonball” being the soundtrack to some teen angst shit they were going through some summer – but damn – Pod and Last Splash were both excellent grunge/pop/punk albums – Pod being quoted by a Mr. Kurt Cobain as one of his favorite records ever. And if you need any other reason to prove they rule, just throw on “Gigantic” by the Pixies and remember once again how amazing any song that Deal wrote with her “other ” band was/is just plain fuckin’ awesome.

THE NATIONAL The National is one of those bands capable of waking you up off the

couch at midnight. Matt Berninger ’s voice is haunting and restrained like a lullaby from a father. If your father was a tenor with a little whiskey on his breath and chops akin to Nick Cave, or Dickon James Hinchliffe of Tindersticks. The lullaby was the song “ Fake Empire” from the bands current effort; Boxer and the music box projecting it was David Letterman, during and the band’s first broadcast appearance. These Ohio transplants residing in Brooklyn are the real damn deal. If you love well-crafted melodies, minimal yet complex rhythms, a dash of strings, chin-stroking lyrics and one hell of a tenor, then you’ll find a nice surrogate father in The National.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE East

Coast freak-folk rockers Animal Collective bring their experimental soundscape to the

mix. Animal Collective owns their own label, Paw Tracks, where the website describes them as “four friends who like to get together to play music and watch movies and play football (a.k.a. soccer).” This vague description is key, considering that Animal Collective has long been escaping and perplexing reviewers with their odd stylings and penchant for bizarre sound effects and persistent, electronic noise rock. When listening to Animal Collective, one can expect to hear screaming, sputtering and strange sound effects merged with melodious progressions and quirky vocals. In September of 2007, Animal Collective released their latest and only classifiably pop album, Strawberry Jam; while Animal Collective’s most lyrical album, it remains rife with the endearing weirdness we’ ve come to know and love.

HOLY FUCK Holy Fuck is a lo-fi improvisational electronica band from Toronto, Canada. The band rocks live instruments and

miscellaneous primitive electronic instruments and non-instruments (including a 35mm film sequencer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns) to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops or programmed backing tracks. This is not their first go at Coachella. They were the back up band for Brooklyn rapper Beans at the 2004 festival. In the summer of 2007, Holy Fuck performed at the Glastonbury Festival, one of the largest music festivals in the world, where they were named the #3 top new act at the festival by NME magazine. Don’t miss this impromptu freeform extravaganza.


12

Al Jourgensen interview by Benjamin Hunter

Al Jourgensen is the human bridge connecting the last 40 years of sub-culture in America. His friendships were made on the real side of rock, and his influence sprawls the landscape of alternative culture. He is truly a living legend. He took the time to speak with Benjamin Hunter about his beef with the Bush Administration, his surrogate father-figure Timothy Leary, Jello Biafra’s Christmas germophobia, and his renewed appreciation of life and music post-cocaine and heroin abuse. There is no better personality in the creative community to grace the cover of Wide-Eyed’s first issue. Wide-E yed: After years of making records and sticking it to the rightwing, why are you bringing your career to an abrupt farewell. A l Jourgensen: Well, I don ’t know. Have you heard Cover Up yet? WE: Absolutely. AJ: Cover Up was kind of like an answer to the eight years of the Bush Presidency. I didn’t think that I was going to have to make three records about that idiot, I figured one would be enough and he’d get booted out of office, or impeached, or beheaded or something good. Then all of a sudden the fucking guy gets back in office, I had to make another couple of records. But I didn’t want to end my career by just shaking my fist in the air with politics, you know what I’m saying, ‘Mad at every one!’ I wanted to remind everyone, ‘Hey, you know what, with this Cover Up record, Ministry is a goddamn good rock band too!’ And we know how to party, and now the whole world is going to party now that fuckin’ Bush and Cheney are out of here. To me it makes sense {laughing}, maybe to no one else it does. WE: So is this the end of Ministry? Are you going to be working with your other projects at all? AJ: I’ve got a ton of other projects, I’ve got a record label; Thirteenth Planet, I’m producing most of the bands on there. I’m literally booked for the next five years. I’m booked in advance, I never used to know what I was going to do in the next five minutes, now I know my next five years. WE: So you will be out there, just not in a Ministry sense. AJ: Ministry is done, there is no reunion tour. There’s no three-year-long Cher

farewell tour and all that crap. We’re doin��� like, what, fifteen weeks this tour between Europe and America and that’s it, fuck it, I’m done, put a fork in me. WE: On the cut Watch Your Self from The Last Sucker, you have this voice at the beginning of the song. It’s kind of illustrating this sense of paranoia that dissenters feel under this Administration over the last seven years. You’ve been taking it to these guys since the papa Bush days, on Psalm 69... AJ: {interrupts} No, better! Even the grand papa Prescott Bush. He’s a fuckin’ Nazi banker. He made his money off like stealing gold out of Jewish people’s teeth and putting it in Swiss bank accounts. This family is evil from the start. I’ve been on ’em. I got my eye on them. I’m in Texas, I’m behind enemy lines {chuckles}. WE: Have you ever come across any feedback from [the Bush Family]? AJ: No, but I did meet the twins once, they were naked in a bar. They were topless and dancing around and I called them a couple of cunts. I said, “You’re a bunch of fuckin’ idiots!” They got all mad. Because they walk between the raindrops these people (The Bushes), alright. They can do whatever the fuck they want, they are above the law. And, eh, I just told them they were a bunch of assholes, I met the twins, that’s as close to the Bushes as I have gotten. WE: This war has been devastating for the troops and... AJ: Troops! It’s devastating for the world, it’s devastating for the economy, it’s devastating for families, it’s devastating for every possible aspect of our lives and no one even talks about it anymore. It’s

just like this footnote, Oh, yeah we got people over there dying, no problem. WE: If the opportunity presented itself, would you rock out for those fans of yours (troops), at a USO show, and how would you approach it? AJ: Well, I would never be asked to do a USO show, ’cause that would cause dissent within the military. They have to have the military like trained fuckin’ robot pitbulls, you know. That can’t have people thinking individual thoughts – that would be horrible. So I really seriously doubt we’ll have a USO show. But how would I do it? I would do it right and I would just have a Ministry show and say, fuck it, with a big middle finger in the air. This is just bullshit! People buy into this stuff? I was just watching CNN this morning about the Obama race speech, or whatever, that he had {sarcastically} to do yesterday. I’m totally ashamed to be a white person and a black person, it’s just gross. We have really fucked up everything; this last eight years has been a nightmare. It’s more than just the Iraq war, it’s just the whole mentality. You know what’s funny? It’s like everyone loves Reagan now, everyone thinks that Reagan was great since he went crazy and died. Good, I’m glad he went crazy and died. I don’t know what people were thinking about him, they talk about him in reverent terms and shit – he was an idiot! Remember ‘greed is good’ – that was the Reagan Presidency. Now we have like ‘fist fucking is good,’ during the Bush Presidency. Every one bend over and take it up the fuckin’ ass from Cheney and Bush. Fuck this! I can’t even believe that people talk about Reagan in reverent terms. I met his son, his son fuckin’ hated him, dude {chuckles}. WE: Yeah, junior doesn’t like him, man. Junior is a democrat. AJ: Junior does not like him {laughs}. I’m into this man. It’s like people just buy into this bait that they put out on CNN and all these other crappy news channels. It’s completely stupid. WE: They need some alternative media sources. There are several of them out there. A J: Well Link Channel, can I give them a shout out, will you print that? Link Channel rules! WE: Are you a fan of Democracy Now!

with Amy Goodman? AJ: Yeah, fuckin’ Amy Goodman rules! That’s the only place, between that and my Washington connects. I got people working in Washington on all these different campaigns. They give me all the skinny on what’s going on, they e-mail me every day. W E : Ca n you see a ny t h ing good coming out of the Presidential Election this year? AJ: You know what, the Under Cover Brotha might be just what this country needs. He is what this country needs. Hillary’s dick is too big, she’s got a like a twelve-inch hanger. The only one bigger is Kucinich; look at the chick that he’s got, he’s gotta be packing some pipe. Hillary’s got too big of a dick to be President! Obama is just the right size, right in the six-to eight-inch range. So I’m voting the Under Cover Brotha and just praying to God that he is a sleeper cell {laughs}. WE: Getting away from politics, let’s talk about your music. AJ: Oh, that nuisance {laughing}. WE: You have cover ed D yla n , T he Stones, Golden Earring, you have gone as far as to cover “What A Wonderful World” on the end cut of this record. How does Al Jourgensen decide what to cover? AJ: The shit happens. I’m serious, that “Wonderful World” thing that you are talking about. We were at a party with fifteen fat strippers, we were sitting in a living room with an upright piano. I had my little alternate mixing desk, where we kind of write the stuff before we go into the studio, and I had a microphone. Somebody downloaded me some lyrics, and this Brazilian guy, Adu, from The Watchers was playing piano, and we did that in one take. I added all the orchestras and shit later. So in other words what I am trying to say is that shit happens. We didn’t choose it, it just seemed the right thing to do in that moment. WE: So it is completely arbitrary how you pick these songs to rock out? AJ: Completely arbitrary. You know what we do? We get wasted and start playing shit, shit that you learned when you were growing up. Somebody will go, “Yeah, let’s


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do that one!” I mean it was total Beavis and Butthead picking this shit out. It wasn’t like we sat down with a calculator and planned this out {laughs}. It was completely {in the voice of Beavis}, ‘Yeah, Yeah, that one’s cool!’ WE: Over the past five years, you’ve been off the hard shit. AJ: Oh yeah, done! Five years, almost six. WE: Congratulations. AJ: Thanks man. WE: How do you feel in your current state of mind, as opposed to your past times? Has your approach to music changed? AJ: Yeah, just the fact that I approach music. When I was wasted on the hard shit, it’s like at gun point you could barely get me in the studio. I was a mess, and now I’m just a drunk, I’m an old cranky drunk, and I love music again. I’m havin’ a gas! These last six years have been the best six years of my life. WE: I was checking out your career and doing some research… AL: Fuck {laughs}, you are wasting a lot time on an old idiot.

Photo Illustration by David Dodde

WE: You’ve had a fascinating career, and I want to do you respect. AL: A ll right {laughs}, f uck you {l au gh s}. He y, t h i s g u y s r u les {sh out in g out to th e r oom}! WE: So you were on the bus with some metal ‘zine (in a past interview) and you were talking about Timothy Leary and your experiences with him and you said ‘Timothy Leary was more of a father than my own father.’ Could you talk to me about your relationship with Timothy Leary? AJ: T h i s g u y w a s t h e u l t i m a t e knucklehead. I loved him, I really, really loved him. I lived with him for two years. I remember the first day I meet him, he looked at me with this crazed look in his eye, and he told me, “Senility is the ultimate freedom.” {breaks into hysterical laughter} I was stoked after that, I became a disciple. WE: How many years were you acquainted with Timothy? AJ: About ten. Last show he ever saw he came out on stage in his wheelchair for

a Ministry show in L.A. and died like two weeks later, that fucker. We had a gas man. Seriously, It was much more of an upbringing, I didn’t really get my upbringing from my parents until I was in my mid-thirties {laughs}. So I was kind of flailing around until I met Tim. WE: In your Wax Trax days, in the Chicago scene, you worked on a bunch of interesting collaborations. What I found to be pretty peculiar was your collaboration with Ian Mckay of Fugazi. AJ: Oh yeah, Ian rules, and it is very

curious because [Ian] is Mr. Strait-Edge and I’m Drunky the Clown {laughs}. It was great because back then I was completely strung out on coke and heroin. I’d like go to the bathroom every ten minutes out of deference to him, ’cause I knew what his deal was. So I’d be like, ‘Oh, I have to go, I have a bad bladder.’ I’d come back with little white rings around my nose and shit, and track marks on my arms. And Ian finally just goes, ‘Dude, whatever!’ We finally sat down and talked about it and realized that we are the same person, we are going to the same place, except he drives his own vehicle and I take a cab.

That’s what we came up with, that’s our story and we are stickin’ to it! WE: Do you still keep in touch with Jello Biafra? AJ: Oh yeah, I talk to Ian about every couple of weeks. I talk to Jello every week, he’s a complete idiot, he’s a germophobe, he’s a freak. I love that guy. WE: He’s the Green Party master. AJ: Yeah, but no. Green, he’s also afraid of green, anything with mold and things with germs and shit. He wears a little mask and plastic gloves and shit. He’s out of his mind. (concluded on page 25)


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Joshua Wells interview by Benjamin Hunter

Vancouver quintet Black Mountain is taking the U.S. by storm. With comparisons ranging from Zeppelin to Sabbath, they will be a must-see at this year’s Coachella festival. Benjamin Hunter of Wide-Eyed had the opportunity to speak with Joshsua Wells of Black Mountain. They discussed the band’s approach to writing, working in the studio and Joshua’s appreciation for his creative peers in Canada. Wide-Eyed: People are comparing you guys to everyone from Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin. Are you comfortable with being labeled as a classic rock redux band? Joshua Wells: I don’t know, I don’t think it’s really up to me. Those things, I think they help people in a certain way. Like, I guess I’m not entirely comfortable with it just because I don’t really think of us as strictly a retro band. We are at times fascinated by those sorts of things, it’s mainly the spirit of the era that I think we are mining. I don’t really think we are just kind of a throwback band, but I don’t really mind if it helps people explain us, that’s great.

Photo Illustration by David Dodde

WE: If it were up to you, if it wasn’t up to the critics labeling your sound, if it were up to you to describe Black Mountain, how would you describe Black Mountain? JW: I guess I would just describe it as like a space rock band. WE: I was joking with one of my peers the other day, and I described you as the band that could make acid cool again. JW: {laughs} Hmm, I don’t know, I think that might take a lot more than just us. WE: It’s just that whole aesthetic that’s built man... JW: I think you might have to actually change the quality of the people you are buying acid from too {laughs}.

WE: The new album, In the Future, definitely has a narrative and it plays like an album-oriented piece. Was this intentional from a production standpoint? Was there a linear process when you were putting this piece together? JW: No actually. The songs are actually from a bunch of different times actually, a few of them date back to the origin of our band four years ago. A whole bunch of them were written in sort of a brief creative spurt last year. So there was no real plan for it to have that sort of narrative feeling, but it came together as we chose the songs that we wanted to be on the album and then just in sort of sequencing them I think it developed a sort of common feeling. WE: Regarding the tonality and the aesthetic that you create in your recordings. Do you maintain a sense of purity by self producing your work? JW: Well I think for us {pauses} I would have to say no, but I think that for us producing our own stuff to this point has been really the quickest way to achieve what we want. We don’t really have any lack of ideas when it comes to getting in the studio. We tend to know collectively what we are all after, and we have some experience in getting those sounds ourselves recording and engineering. It’s pretty limited, right? But basically we know enough to know what we want. I think that it could be a positive experience to work with a producer in the future.

WE: No pun intended? JW: Well, yeah, right exactly, but you know, we’ve done two albums producing ourselves and I think that, in all, they were really positive experiences, but we don’t really like to just repeat ourselves. Every album, you know, this one, we tried to make it a bit different, we did things differently, but I mean there are only so many ways we can do that without having a little bit of outside influence. WE: The members of your group are involved in a bunch of different outfits as well. In a way you are part of this big rock music collective out of the Pacific Northwest, you have people working in other projects such as Pink Mountain Tops and Jerk With A Gun. With the success you have had thus far with the release of In the Future, are the other projects you have on hold for the foreseeable future? JW: No, just for the time being. The other stuff that we do, it sort of fits in the times when Black Mountain isn’t doing stuff. Like right now we’re doing a bunch of touring for our album and there is a bunch of Black Mountain stuff this year, but eventually we’ll need a break from that and we’ll go back to our other little things that just sort of provide a bit of a musical holiday. WE: In the past you have stated that you are not a political rock band, but quoting you “It’s pretty impossible for the shitty state of world politics not to come seeping into your life and affect the type of art that you might make.” My question for you, Josh, is that as a Canadian artist and as an outsider to the American experience, is there a light at the end of the tunnel with the political dynamic that is taking place in the US right now? JW: I don’t know, it’s possible to feel

somewhat hopeful right now, but I sort of went through the same thing about four years ago {laughs}. You know, by no stretch of the imagination could I have imagined that Bush would have been re-elected, but then he was. So obviously I have no idea of what’s really going on. WE: I think that was the biggest glitch in the matrix man. JW: {laughs} Yeah, but I mean it’s possible to see some hope, for sure. I definitely hope for all of your sake that there remains hope {laughs} and for our sake too. WE: Thank you, we do too. To date on this tour, you’ve been on the road for three or four weeks now? JW: Yes, nearly a month now. WE: Is there a performance that you have had so far that you would say has been the most memorable of this tour that you are on right now? JW: One of the most recent ones was in Portland, Maine. We just played there about four or five days ago. We’d never been there before, and we played there on a Monday night, and Monday nights no matter where you are tend to be a little quite and reserved naturally because people are working and living their lives. For some reason Portland showed up in full force and totally partied. It was super fun. It’s really cool to go to some place that you have never been before and then be so welcomed. WE: How has your experience been following Conan O’Brien? How many show have you had since? JW: We played in Manhattan, and then in Brooklyn, and then in Boston, in Portland, New Brunswick, and then in Halifax. (concluded on page 31)


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By: David Dodde

T

he intent of any magazine cover is a voyeuristic engagement enticing the reader into discovering its contents. Given that, we’ve made the choice to put an original piece of art on our cover as the hood ornament to our Guttenberg (father of the modern printing press) jalopy. Rolling Stone gave artists the cover, we’re presenting them as art. We also figured this was an appropriate way to communicate our love of all things creative, and a great way to start every issue. Think of it as a children’s book for adults... big pictures combined with big words and occasionally, big ideas. Each month a new piece, with the featured personality, will be crafted using the process of serigraphy (otherwise known as screen-printing) and used as the cover art for Wide-Eyed. Serigraphy is a unique analog process, a basic means in which an original image, created digitally or analog, becomes transformed by an alchemic process into something truly organic. Ink hitting paper displacing empty space revealing an impacting visual accomplishment. The goal of this process: balance, contrast, and the ability to evoke emotion. These dynamics are intrinsic to all creative endeavors, be it music, writing or visual communication. As much as we love the immediacy of publishing online or the ease of mass producing press photography, it’s the moving of atoms away from atoms resulting in stimulating and interesting imagery that cranks our wheels. Serigraphy is screen-printing with an added air of importance. Historically, the method of printing has been used primarily for commercial ends. Eventually it was adopted by

a variety of contemporary artists as means of creative expression, as seen in the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Coop, Kozic, Shepard Fairy, Tim Biskup, and Shag. The process is similar to printing tee shirts, however, paper or canvas becomes the substitute medium.  The tools to create a serigraph are quite basic. A screen, ink, a squeegee and paper. The art is another story, since the action of laying down one solid color over the next resulting in a cohesive composition can be a tricky one, it means your imagery has

“ Whether it be sonic, literary or visual, this magazine and everything it attempts to represent pays homage to the creative world” to work in the confides of a simple process. Pen and ink illustration are a widely used technique in creating serigraphs. The rudimentary process of printing a serigraph favors “comic book”-style line art and coloring easily broken down into basic forms and shapes. Each color will then be layered onto the paper, a color at a time, drying between each consecutive impression. When done correctly the outcome is nothing short of serendipitous, both surprising and unique with a life all its own. The final piece has not only a “feel” to the surface

but color which is extraordinarily rich and vibrant. It says, “I’m not tomorrows garbage, I’m art”. Every step closer to the finished work is a step away from the model that created it. Think of it as a four track recording, done one track at a time without the ability to mix-down the tracks upon completion. Each take needs just the right level and there are no overdubs. In serigraphy, color takes the place of instruments or sound sources. The outcome can be unpredictable, which renders the process mysteriously spectacular.  One of the philosophies of Wide-Eyed is to be a blank wall for artists. Our pages represent a gallery for imagery juxtaposed to printed thought. The idea of providing a blank wall starts with the cover.  Another one of our philosophies is to function as a seeker and witness of craft, thus the name Wide-Eyed and the all seeing eye. We’ve decided to report on, look into, distill and hopefully discover artists of all disciplines. Whether it be sonic, literary, or visual, this magazine and everything it attempts to represent pays homage to the creative world and its processes. Our covers are our way of making an equal contribution to the field of visual art and to communicate our willingness to make an impact of our own.  Those individuals and collectives committed to contributing to the creative cosmos are our subjects. The basic act of giving back. All in a simple effort to foster good relations over a wide range of creative disciplines and to help one another better communicate their ideas and emotions to all fellow astronauts.


Photo sequence by: Keith Golinski

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By Benjamin Hunter Qatif in Saudi Arabia increased the sentence of lashings for a rape victim who had spoken out in public about her case. In 2006, the 19-year-old Shi’ite was abducted and gang raped along with a male companion by seven men. She was originally sentenced to 90 lashes and six months in prison, while her attackers were sentenced to five years in prison. The absurdity of this verdict drew strong criticism from the international community and prompted widespread media coverage of the course of events. The court increased her sentence to 200 lashes because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.” The prosecution’s request for the highest rape penalty (genital mutilation by sword) was denied and the rapists were given a lighter sentence for kidnapping. The judges claimed that there was no evidence of rape, despite ignoring the fact that the incident was captured on video with a cell phone by the attackers.  Meanwhile, in the United States, we enjoyed Thanksgiving turkey. Ah yes, that delicious time of grandiose self-indulged gluttony, when our greatest fear is that of grandmother getting too drunk and shitting herself. Perhaps we were to busy looking for all those great “Day After Thanksgiving Sale” inserts to realize that there is a world beyond the remote control and plate of nosh. While we voraciously wallowed in full-throttled consumption, our President and State Department did the same. There was no condemnation. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack responded to the Saudi court’s verdict by saying, “relatively astonishing.” He reminded all interested parties that “This is a part of a judicial procedure overseas in the court of a sovereign country.” He might as well have added that “as a sovereign country upon which the United States is so dependent for oil, we repeatedly ignore all atrocities its leaders commit, accept in the cases of our manifest destiny, being Iraq and, in the future, Iran.” The next morning, while freezing our asses off in line outside Best Buy waiting to nab a discounted X-Box, did it dawn on us that the credit cards we were about to use were secured in part by Saudi banking institutions? But those are the good guys, right? They are allies in the war on Osama-bin-what-the-fuck, right? Wasn’t a gallon of gas under $3 for the holidays? Wait a minute, didn’t the hijackers on 9/11 come from Saudi Arabia? Argh! This hurts my brain to much! Where are the two-for-one George Forman Grills? How do the X-men of democracy plan to riddle up any solutions for peace in the Middle East when they befriend the regressive retrograde likes

of Saudi Arabia and the police state of Musharraf ’s Pakistan? This backwards-assed foreign policy of our leadership in Washington stands in direct opposition of their bullshit freedom-talk of “spreading democracy” in Iraq. To date we have lost more than 3,900 troops (not including the more than 6,000 suicides committed by solders upon retuning home in 2005 alone [CBS News, Nov. 13, 2007]), and we have spent $500 billion on the war, while innocent women are being punished for being rapped in a place that could use some real “regime change.” Instead, we as a nation were talked into ravaging a secular nation – a nation with thousands of years of rich history and culture, not to mention glorious universities, first world transportation conduits and infrastructure, and a population that includes the most PHD -earners in the Middle East. If it’s all about spreading freedom (whatever that entails) and securing future oil supplies, wouldn’t it have been easier to kick the shit out of a bunch of chauvinistic ex-bedouins, sparing the destruction of the birthplace of Western civilization (Iraq).  In October of 2007, King Abdullah announced a judicial reform, promising new specialized courts and training for judges and lawyers. His announcement is riddled with ambiguity; its more of a public relations statement than any actual legal overhaul. There is currently no rule of law in Saudi Arabia; they lack the basic foundation: a written penal code. There is no solid constitutional framework, sentences are arbitrary and inconsistent. Often, judges do not provide written verdicts, even in death penalty cases. Judges sometimes deny individuals their right to legal representation (www.humanrightswatch.org). In 2007 the Saudi government beheaded 136 people.  After massive scrutiny from the global community, King Abdullah gave in and let Qatif Girl slide. None the less, the question we should be asking ourselves is this; Which candidate in this election season will formally cut ties with barbaric nations? Which of the candidates, will truly be a steward of human rights without political persuasion? We think the guy on the back of this magazine could be a good start. From the mishandling of Katrina, to the torture of captives at GITMO, to putting our men and women in service in harm’s way, to befriending rouge regimes, it’s time we get back to being the kind, loving America which the world once knew. Birds of a feather, flock together, and the vultures of Saudi shouldn’t get to roll with our flock. Illustration by David Dodde

Last October, the General Court of


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M.I. A . interview by Eric Mitts

In a lot of ways, Sri Lankan-raised,

London-based hip-hop artist M.I. A . (born Maya Arulpragasam) embodies art and music in the new millennium. M.I. A .’s childhood was surrounded by the turmoil of terrorism, or freedom-fighting (depending on your point of view). M.I. A . was born in London, the daughter of an active member of the Tamil Tigers, a revolutionary separatist group in Sri Lanka. Her family returned to Sri Lanka when she was only six months old and stayed there until her father decided the rest of her family should leave the country to avoid civil war being waged between Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority and its Sinhalese majority. Living in Madras,

M.I. A . also joined Gwen Stefani during her Harajuku Lovers Tour in the United States. When asked how she felt about performing for a more mainstream audience, M.I. A . told Wide-Eyed, “I can’t really say no to any experience because everything counts. Whatever life throws at me I say, ‘yeah,’ and just do it. When I’m there I’ll find out what it’s like.” Of Stefani, M.I. A . said, “I’m more curious to see what it’s like for her than my own experience. I want to find out how she manages to be what she is.” In 2006, M.I. A . began work on her second studio album. Kala came out in August of 2007. Named after her mother, Kala was distributed partly on the Internet, with songs and videos made available via MySpace and YouTube. “I think the Internet is such a major part in what I do

India, and later returning to Sri Lanka, M.I. A . rarely saw her father, and ultimately her family returned to London without him. There, she lived in South London’s Acton neighborhood before attending St. Martin’s College to study art and film. Her talents in those areas drew the attention of Elastica’s Justine Frishmann, who asked M.I. A . to film a tour documentary. While working toge ther, Fri schmann encouraged M.I. A . to start making music of her own and helped introduce her to former Pulp bassist Steve Mackey, who, along with British electronic artists Richard X and Ross Orton of Fat Truckers and Diplo of Philadelphia-based mix crew Hollertronix, produced her debut, Arular.

Named for her father, Arular captured the lack of identity and civil unrest existing among many of the socially and economically repressed peoples around the world. Lyrically, she touched on topical issues that few artists seem to want to address. “I try to stay as true as possible to myself,” M.I. A . said. “If I feel something in the air that is going on, then I want to address it. I don’t feel like I owe it to anybody to be who I am… when you go to the favela part [of Rio de Janeiro], the kids come out and they’ve got bazookas and grenades and they’re dancing with it. There is a civil war going on, but it’s not politics – it’s poverty.” Thanks to massive Internet support, the response to M.I. A .’s work was global. Arular was the second most featured album in music critics’ Year-End Top 10 lists for 2005 and placed number two on The Village Voice’s 33rd annual Pazz & Jop poll for the Best Album of 2005. Arular was also named best of 2005 by Blender and Stylus.

and I have to go back in and take it a lot more serious,” M.I. A . told us. “I had no idea, coming from England, I just had no idea how much of an impact it’s having. When I came to America, it was such an eye-opener and now it just seems to keep going on and on. So, I have to say I have to take it more serious because there is so much more power with what happens on the Internet than what happens on the charts.” It’s true that the Internet has made it possible for M.I. A . and other artists to touch people globally in a way that was previously unavailable to acts not being heavily marketed by major record labels. We asked M.I. A . if she felt her experience growing up in different countries and cultures, never really fitting in entirely in any one place, played a part in why people have been so

impacted by her music – and it came back to the Internet. “That’s kind of what the Internet is – the coming together of many cultures,” she said. “I feel like I did it because that’s just me and naturally that’s where I was at. It just was lucky. That was the sentiment that so many people were feeling on the planet at the time and I managed to find them… I’m just really thankful that I found a lot of people who are ready to say, ‘Fuck it, we don’t give a shit.’ We’re not really patriotic. We’re evolving. The future is anywhere.” The Internet also plays a role in hip-hop, in terms of its abilities to present the blending of cultures and sound on a world-wide level. “I think it’s ironic because hip-hop is about shouting out to your local hood or whatever,” M.I. A . said. “So to be able to use that and be really global about it is cool. But hip-hop as a music has gone so far and no one’s really acknowledged it properly in hip-hop. It has some kid in Palestine rapping and has got some kid in Papua New Guinea rapping. Hip-hop has done that, but hip-hop never acknowledged that because they only want people to support them and where they come from. So they don’t realize that some little girl in Mongolia is rapping herself. I guess I feel like the first witness to hip-hop and how far it goes.” M.I. A . went on to say, “For me as an artist, to be accepted by America and have all the people turn out for my shows and have sold-out shows, that’s so positive. That proves to me the difference between the government and the leadership and the people. This is why the Internet is so important. People don’t need a television. People don’t need the newspaper, because those things are always going to support the government or the leadership because they’ve always got agendas. But on the Internet you don’t have to have agendas and it’s amazing. And America, it gave itself that tool to bring information to the whole world to educate people that third world countries really rely on. So, I just feel like it is the tool that empowers the people in America and as long as they bring awareness and get information out there without any agendas, like any information, as long as it can be there for people to seek out, that’s good enough because that’s more than anyone can do and Americans do that a lot. So that’s empowering that you have that arena.”


22

By: Benjamin Hunter

“ We should commend girls like Jamie Lynn Spears for making a courageous decision to have the baby,” said Bill Maier, vice president of the conservative ministry Focus on the Family. “On the other hand, there’s nothing glamorous or fun about being an unwed teen mother.” Reverend Maier and his evangelical conservative compadres are directly responsible for the Bush Administration’s abstinence-only sex education initiatives. In the days of prevention and family planning there was a sharp decline in teen pregnancy (a 34 percent decrease from 1991 to 2005). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the teen birth rate increased by three percent nationally in 2006. Some, may pass this off as a blip in the data stream, however, the rise in sexually transmitted diseases clarifies the fact that we as a culture are getting mixed messages from our gun-slinging President and his legions of preacher men. Between 2000 and 2007 the abstinence-only sex education funding grew from $60 million to $176 million. According to Congress’ General Accounting Office, most abstinence-until-marriage programs are not reviewed in a scientifically acceptable manner. In July of 2007, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who served under the Bush Administration from 2000 to 2006, revealed that the White House insisted for political reasons that he ignore the facts about sex education and focus solely on abstinence. “There was already a policy in place that didn’t want to hear the science, but wanted to ‘preach abstinence,’ which I felt was scientifically incorrect,” Carmona said in a testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Perhaps part of the reason we face an escalation in unwanted teen pregnancy is the fact that the abstinence-only programs are riddled with complete bullshit lies. According to mediamatters.org, of the 13 federally funded abstinence-only programs they studied, just two provided students with accurate medical and scientific information. In the rest they found:

• abortion can lead to sterility and suicide. • half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus. • touching a person’s genitals “can result in pregnancy.” • a 43-day-old fetus is a “thinking person.” • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears. • condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse. (In fact, the rate is less than three percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.) • women who experience abortions “are more prone to suicide” and as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. In 2001 the CDC set a target of cutting in half new annual HIV infections to about 20,000 per year by 2005. In December of 2007, the National HIV Prevention Conference, held in Atlanta, focused its attention toward newly published research on HIV prevention. The CDC estimates that annual new HIV infections are around 40,000. That is a 50 percent hike from the goals that were set in 2001 – but wait, it gets worse. According to the Washington Post, which purports to have spoken with sources familiar with the new estimates, the new data shows that there are as many as 55,000 to 60,000 new HIV infections per year. According to an Associated Press report, one million-plus cases of chlamydia were reported in 2006 – the most ever for a sexually transmitted disease. In the case of gonorrhea, in which rates are again going up after hitting a all-time low, an increasing number of cases are caused by a “superbug” version that is resistant to several antibiotics. The rate of congenital syphilis, the type that deforms or maims babies, rose for the first time in 15 years. “Hopefully we will not see this turn into a trend,” said Dr. Khalil Ghanem, an infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. Can we get back to educating people about condoms please!? As behavior is suppressed, naturally, young people rebel. In another study conducted by the CDC, scientists found that although teenagers who take “virginity pledges” may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, they are more likely to enjoy oral and anal sex, and they are just as likely as other students to be infected with sexually transmitted diseases. “The history of medicine proves that in so far as man seeks to know himself and face his whole nature, he has become free from bewildered fear, despondent shame, or arrant hypocrisy. As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity.” – Alfred Charles Kinsey (1948)

Illustration by Jevon Dismuke

J

amie Lynn Spears is pregnant, and Nickelodeon plans to keep her sitcom Zoe 101 alive and kickin’. Juno, a comedic film illustrating the trials and tribulations of a pregnant 16-year-old, has grossed over 100 million dollars. Knocked Up, the comedy that portrays a professional woman impregnated by a loser during a one-nightstand and who chooses to keep the baby, had consistently topped the DVD rental charts since the 4th quarter of 2007. So last year condoms were out and barebacking in! Has there been a paradigm shift in the way Americans think about sex? It’s obvious that the entertainment industry is beginning to reflect the current trends in human sexuality. Have STDs and AIDS taken a trip to the Mars?


Brian Borchert interview by Benjamin Hunter

Holy Fuck will be performing in April at Coachella. The avant-garde dance rock gadget gurus from Toronto are turning a lot of heads, include those of NME and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. The band’s organic, freeform arrangements make for an interesting tour schedule, a schedule where band members change based on availability and geographic location. Founding member Brian Borchert took the time to speak with Wide-Eyed about their songwriting process, their creative peers, and what it takes to pull off a unique live show night after night. Wide-Eyed: It seems as though to date all of the music writers in a variety of publication dog you about your name. Why have you chosen the name Holy Fuck? Is it as arbitrary as it sounds? Brian Borchert: No meaning at all; its like any project you don’t know where it’s going to go when you start it. It’s not like we are here to take over the world or to be on Letterman or fucking being on the cover of Rolling Stone. It’s something that we started as friends because we thought it might be fun. And so the name is only just a name.

Photos by Damien Thompson

WE: It has been noted on your website that your first album was a collection of impromptu pieces from your first tour. Was the process the same when you created your follow-up album or was it more contrived? BB: Yeah, kind of, I mean we’d been touring and the first album was something that we had been doing while touring, it was this self-released thing that we had made. And we recorded it before we were even really playing on stage very much, it was when we where putting together an idea of what kind of project that we wanted to be involved with, making music that we thought was interesting, but based more on a concept than on an actual experience playing together. So hitting the road and playing we pretty much tour all the time now, we get a week off here and there, so the process has been really consistent. The only kind of random elements that exist in the band is that when our members change from time to time depending on who is available, mostly in the rhythm section, and as of lately just the drummer. That was sort of the same thing with the material that went into our new record. We were doing a lot of touring and when we had a day off we would go and record with who ever was in the band with us at that time. So the record has a weird chaotic feel to it, but it was representing what we were doing on stage for the most part. WE: Do you record your rehearsals knowing the outcome of the free-form of the musical pieces you create? BB: We kind of save rehearsing for the stage. We come up with our ideas either in the studio or the stage. We kind of cut out rehearsal mostly because in the beginning we wanted to be this very spontaneous live thing and we wanted to come up with a lot of random energy. So we thought it was more appropriate to do it on stage. And then since then, even as things grow and progress, we always like to sort of lead with our best foot first. We still are in a situation were we are not rehearsing and preparing as much as we would like to

for going on the road, mostly as a result of being supper busy. We had a drummer and we are doing a long tour and this tour has been broken up into two different halves with two different drummers based on who was available for what. Their other bands [that the drummers are in] are touring and they can only commit to so much. So the second of the two just joined us a couple of nights ago and I really wish we had some time to rehearse. I wish we could have taken a day off and

rented a rehearsal space so we could sort through our shit, but life just hasn’t been allowing for that. So, we drove to the airport and picked him up and hit the stage and it is kind of like flying by the seat of your pants a bit. I guess the upside of it is that the audience always gets something fresh. WE: Being a lo-fi band, have you embraced Steve Albin’s “All Wave” philosophy? Th e process carries through the entire productio n a nd mastering process, including mixing, editing, sequencing, and post-production. I know that you like to use analog processes for your musical arrangements and are not using laptop sequencers on stage. BB: Yeah, but we sort of differ in that respect. We are still taking advantage of the mediums that are out there to make our lives easier, and that happens to be [using] a laptop to record on or maybe a studio and hiring engineers. We are just going to use the technology that they

have at their disposal when it comes to recording and capturing all of it. But when it comes down to it, we generate the music that we are going to make, we don’t want to use computers as a song-writing devices or as an instrument. Everything we do, we want to keep it hands-on. We like to take advantage of the theatre of battery operated lo-fi bullshit that people have overlooked because maybe it didn’t seem like a real instrument. It jumps from being in a guitar band, and then a laptop band, but skipping that whole step to create music with cool gadgets that you would find in an old junk shop. So the advantage to that is we still have to make this stuff up randomly every night and there is no just push a button and it will do every thing for you. We don’t feel for capture that we have to use analog tape. We really don’t have anything against the digital realm.

WE: How does it feel to get the attention of the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead? BB: That’s awesome. I guess what we really had going at the beginning of this band is other musicians responding to what we are doing. You kind of recognize the comments from him and then getting out on the road and being able to open for Wolf Parade, and so our progress had been mostly on the account of other bands and how they have been responding to us and I guess that’s flattering. These are people that could be very critical and they make their living playing music just as we are doing and they hear music every night of their life and I’m sure they get sick of it. It’s just encouraging because whatever we are doing, we must be doing something right, because it seems to be grabbing the attention of people that we admire and respect. Radiohead is a perfect example; it’s a band we all admire. I really appreciate the emotional connotation of their music and how

they express themselves on a cinematic 23 emotional level and I also like how they challenge themselves in the studio and on stage in a nonconventional way. That’s why I like a band like that and I’m not going to say that since Thom Yorke played our song on the radio once that we are immediately aligned with those artists or Radiohead. I’m not going to look into it too much, I just take comfort in that they like what we are doing and that anyone likes us, and the audience responding to it, or having opportunities through interviews and media. I just find it all just very exciting. WE: Over the past five years there has been an explosion of attention directed toward independent Canadian musicians. Do you take pride in being a group from Canada? BB: No, no more than I take pride in anything. It’s just a place. I’m proud of many things in the immediate surroundings in my life and the accomplishments that my friends and family have been able to do. It’s exciting to be in a city like Toronto where you look around and see so many like minded individuals having a chance to do what they are doing, and to do it with some level of success. I get excited to see my friends doing cool things whether it be fashion, or art, or video, or music. When we return home from this tour I can’t wait to go out for drinks with my buddies and see what they are up to. Hopefully I’ll cross the paths of other musicians. Maybe I’ll go up to Montreal and hang out with my friends from Wolf Parade and see what they have been up to and hopefully get a chance to listen to their new album and maybe get a rough mix of the stuff that they have been working on. If I’m lucky they might get me a CDR so I can go through it on my iPod. That’s the real joy in being connected to people that really inspire you, but beyond that I don’t think it has anything to do with the country you are from or anything beyond that. WE: In the past couple of years you have shared the stage with Wolf Parade, UNKLE and M.I.A. With your work being improvisational in your live sets, does performing with certain artists add a new dynamic to your live show? BB: Yeah, I think the artists that we have performed with have all brought something kind of new to it. In a weird way I think some of the stuff that we have inherited from the other bands is maybe not so much musical but more on personality. There is always going to be something you admire about people or just their attitudes. We are a young band, relatively, and we have a lot to learn other than just being on the road everyday, like just being able to speak your mind and knowing when to put your foot down. We can gather inspiration from some of the artists that we have been lucky to tour with because we get to see how they have been able to get to the sort of level that they are at. Maybe one of the things we take most from being around Wolf Parade is their attitude about how they are really (concluded on page 25)


24

Beach House

Birds of Avalon

The Raveonettes

emmanuelJal

Carpark Records

Volcom

Vice Records

Sonic 360

I’ll bet there are a large number of you out there who are just looking for a nice, relaxing collection of pop songs. Beautifully rendered songs soaked in atmosphere and glamour. You want songs that will forever remind you of the spring of 2008. Beach House just wrote you those songs. I’ll bet Devotion ends up being one of those records that, even though you may have downloaded it for free, you still go out and buy a copy of anyway because you think if you actually own these songs, they will somehow say something about you. Guitars and organs and swirling magic fronted by an absolutely gorgeous lead vocal, lost in haze and pasture. This is warm and unforgettable stuff from one of America’s best new bands. – Andrew Watson

Every time I hear “Superpower” from BOA’s debut Bazaar Bazaar, I turn up the volume, look at the person next to me, and say “best guitar intro ever.” And I stand by that. The only thing that sucks about Outer Upper Inner is that it’s only an EP. If you haven’t heard them, BOA gives a seriously loving nod to the past without aping it. That being said, the entire EP was recorded on ancient half inch four-track recorders by Mitch Easter (REM, Wilco), giving it a dusty, homespun feel, detracting nothing from the songs. “Earthbound” and “The Reeds” soar with some searing dual guitar interplay, while other songs like “Shakey Tiger” and “Hazy 98” have a Beatles turned prog sound that was hinted at on their debut. I can’t wait for the next fulllength, but buy this and Bazaar Bazaar while you’re waiting. – Ben Klebba

There is a creepy, retro-rock, leather and biker vibe to The Raveonettes’ 2003 debut Chain Gang of Love that I was absolutely blown away by. I still play that record a lot. Sadly, they haven’t made a whole lot of progress as a band since then. The follow-up to that initial outburst, Pretty In Black, was a failed attempt at mass appeal, and this latest record is a same-sounding, uninspiring retreat into a painful and tragic mediocrity. All the sexy, B-flat major surf romping trash madness that I used to love has, it seems, been sucked right out of them. It wouldn’t be as bad if they’d turned some kind of artistic corner or something, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. –Andrew Watson

Emmanuel Jal comes from a culture that receives little glorification – there is very little to glorify in war-torn Africa. Though his stories of death and destruction he experienced growing up in Sudan can be heavy-handed, his overall message of hope and survival cannot be denied. Jal refutes values of money and material with his songs “No Bling” and “Skirt Too Short,” demonstrating the fiber of an artist who sees a picture beyond himself. While his lyrics are straight-forward and rhyme schemes are simplistic, his story is developed straight from his heart. His message is pure. Rich with African and Caribbean rhythms, the production is diverse, upbeat, and provides plenty of room to move. Emmanuel Jal’s Warchild is valiant, contributing awareness and depth to a hip-hop community that is currently swimming shallow. – William Case

BORIS

Ministry & Co-Conspirators

Autechre

Del The Funky Homosapien

Southern Lord

13th Planet Records

Warp Records

Definitive Jux

BORIS return with all CAPS on their latest, and their cult following will not be disappointed, but do not expect a sequel to their critically hailed Pink (I mean that in a good way). Smile finds them binding some of their previous ideas together – from song to song and even within the songs – with acoustic guitar, samples, and (as to be expected) – some blistering superfuzz. “Flower Sun Rain” is almost a power ballad (a cover of a song by the Japanese band Pyg), while “Statement” roars, and there’s some heady rolling bliss drone on here too. Michio Kurihara from Ghost contributes some guitar to two tracks and Stephen O’Malley from Sunno))) to another. It may sound scattered, but the whole coalesces perfectly in a nice arc that only BORIS could pull off. - Ben Klebba

What happens when Bush and Cheney leave office? A big rockin’ party and the godfathers of industrial are celebrating early with a slew of shredding covers. Cover Up is a farewell to an era of angst on a happy note. Jourgensen and the gang bring it on “Under My Thumb,” “Radar Love,” and the best remake of “Roadhouse Blues” to date. It’s been rumored that “What A Wonderful Worlds” vocal and piano tracks were done in one take. Al’s string arrangements give me memories of my grandmother’s loving smile (this was her favorite jam). It bums me out that she’s not around to hear it. She would have rocked to the thrashed out ending for sure. – Benjamin Hunter

I’ll spare you all the technical mumbo-jumbo that would normally accompany an Autechre review; as a stranger to the alien world of IDM, it would be foolish of me to wax knowledgeable about this stuff. I know this, though. I know this music isn’t dance music because it doesn’t make me feel like dancing. Can’t even get loose to the up-tempo jams – way too distempered and illogical. These feel more like aural experiments – twenty short, eclectic tracks that arrange “melodies” and “beats” into brief flashes of time and sound. I respect Autechre’s longevity and dedication, but this music reeks of uselessness. What’s it for? What is being communicated here? The lack of emotional depth troubles me. Who loves this music and why? –Andrew Watson

Devotion

Smile

Outer Upper Inner

Cover Up

Lust Lust Lust

Quaristice

WARchild

Eleventh Hour

A legendary lyricist and producer with roots deep in the hip-hop tree, Del has created another album that will bump with pride underground but may not reach the mainstream surface. With dexterous linguistics and a mastery of the free-flow verse, Del’s microphone skills remain sharp at the Eleventh Hour. Incorporating quick, clean delivery of crafty, long-range metaphors over minimalist, sample-thick, self-produced back-beats, Del has once again blended a commendable record. As an old-school hip-hop expression in a new-school hip-hop age, Eleventh Hour will struggle to find breathing room in the market. With or without mainstream recognition, Eleventh Hour, and every project Del touches going forward will continue to run the roots of the hip-hop tree deeper… Del has always been a sleeper… Eleventh Hour plays like creeper… a keeper. –William Case


Coda... Al Jourgensen (continued from page 12) WE: A re you guys ever going to do another Lard (A l’s project with Jello) record, man? AJ: Nah, probably not. I can’t stand being in the same room with him for more than twenty-four hours at a time. It would have to be a record that is made over the course of twenty years. I can only do one day of Jello at a time. We have him over for Christmas every year, right. And he is a freak, he inspects the turkey for mold, and germs, and shit. Then, we eat and he is all freaked out and has to wash his hands about twenty times. He’s a nutbar! I mean, you try and work with that shit!

Black Francis

Saul Williams

Cooking Vinyl

The Inevitable Rise And Liberation of Niggy Tardust

Svn Fngrs

For his last couple releases Frank Black has courted the American essence of Dylan and Nashville. The Svn Fngrs EP is a return to the roots of his indie-pop-Pixie’s sound. Honey Comb and Fastman Raiderman were stellar americana classics, whereas Svn Fngers puts the father of indie rock back in the driversseat. Frank is the master of the hook, and these melodies definitely stick. Backed by drummer Jason Carter, and Frank’s wife Violet Clark this collection will leave you wishing that it was a LP. You can preview the cut “I Sent Away” on YouTube. – Benjamin Hunter

For a renowned reclusive, Trent Reznor remains hell-bent on revolutionizing the idea of interaction through music. In the Internet age, musicians and listeners can connect well beyond concerts, fan clubs/ forums and mail, as Reznor’s latest Nine Inch Nails offering, the four-EP instrumental project Ghosts I-IV strives to show. Released entirely online in varying formats last month (at store.nin.com) ala Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Ghosts suddenly materialized out of nothingness,

Hoping to innovate hip-hop, slam-poet-turnedMC Saul Williams looks to some ‘90s rock mavericks. First he collaborates with Trent Reznor on Tardust, covers U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and then becomes the first somewhat high-profile artist to adopt the Radiohead model for distribution. Making this CD only available at niggytardust.com, either for free or a $5 artist contribution (which includes higher-quality audio choices), Williams’ fuckthe-man music strongly suits such a strategy. The higher-quality cuts are worth the price, as Reznor’s synth-rich, saturated production and Williams’ dense lyricism require closer listening. Reznor’s sampling of Public Enemy’s “Welcome To The Terrordome” on “Tr(n)igger” provides a reference for what to expect when rap goes industrial (“Skin of a Drum”). –Eric Mitts

seemingly half-formed. Like most of NI ’s previous album-cut instrumentals, bare piano dominates the melodies of Ghosts, whether alone or buried beneath a barrage of scattered, sometimes somber percussion, synths and angry guitars. While the absence of vocals does not detract from the welcome sense of spontaneity Reznor employed when recording the songs over a set seven-week schedule (one that forced him to work faster and more collaboratively than he ever has), it does hint at something more. Reznor has since presented the idea of an online film festival on NI ’s official YouTube page (youtube.com/ninofficial). All this month listeners can re-imagine the very visually-inspired songs in whatever way they choose, post them back on the site, and watch the resulting shorts after Reznor and others have a chance to select them. Reznor’s recurring themes, some borrowing heavily from minimalist composers, as well as early-era industrial artists like The Art of Noise (the first track off Ghosts III most definitely), lend the 36 deliberately untitled tracks to just such a project. – Eric Mitts

WE: You could do it over the Internet? AJ: {laughs} You know what? My engineer told me that the other day, he goes, ‘We could just send him shit.’ WE: Just fire it up over the iChat. AJ: We might just do that, maybe we’ll take your suggestion {laughs}.

WE: You’re getting out [of El Paso] when 25 he moves back? AJ: Actually, I’m gonna beat him to it – he’s not out until next January. He’ll be back in Crawford and I’ll be right across the border in Anthony, New Mexico. I’ll beat him to it, I’ll be out of here before that fuckin’ idiot comes back and ruins this town even more {laughs}. {trails off subject and begins laughing} Hey, you know what, I gotta tell you a story. WE: Go for it, man. AJ: I found a dead skunk yesterday, out where we are rehearsing. We are out in the middle of bum fuck nowhere land in the desert. So I put it in Tommy from Prong’s bed {laughs}. He’s all mad at me, he’s not here right now {laughing hysterically} he went and stayed at a hotel. Oh, it’s awesome, it’s so great to be above ground, dude {more laughter}. Honestly, he’s overreacting, he’s all mad at me. We have to rehearse in about one hour from now and he is nowhere to be found. WE: You put a fuckin’ skunk in his bed! AJ: A dead skunk! And then the best part is that I found a dead owl too! I put the dead owl in his car, so when he tried to make his getaway, he’d get in his car with a dead owl {laughs}!

WE: With this tour being your final mark of your Ministry legacy, have you entertained putting out a book of memoirs, or a biography? AJ: Yeah, there is some asshole working on that right now. I don’t know what the hell is going on. Apparently, I have to do an interview next week, there is this whole retrospective shit, some idiot running around with a camera and always following me around. I’m hatin’ it, but my wife says, ‘This is important, we need to do this.’

WE: He’s gotta be pissed! AJ: He’s very pissed, dude. The other funny part is that me and Burton from Fear Factory, he’s singing with us on tour, like on eight songs. He wanted the owl for himself, so we almost got into a fist fight over putting the owl in Tommy’s car {laughs}. We obviously need hobbies, dude. We’re just fucked up.

WE: Well, that’s good to hear, I’d be very interested in reading it. You have had quite the career. AL: I’ve been very charmed, I’ve been very blessed and I am very happy. I’m in a really good place, I’m just like the old cranky drunk guy. It’s all good. I mean I look back on it now, ’cause you knuckleheads keep asking me all of this shit. So it’s made me think about it, right? Like Jerry Garcia said, ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been.’

Holy Fuck

WE: So you going back to Cuba ever, man? AL: Yeah, as soon as these fuckin’ Castro guys get out of there. My family was like, I was born in a thirty-two room mansion there. My grandfather invented artificial insemination in cattle. He made a butt-load of money on it, he’s got a patent on it. Well, he’s dead now, but the family gets money from like bulls fucking each other or whatever the fuck they do. He somehow figured that out. That it would be a good thing {laughs}. So we have this huge mansion over there that Castro took over, that’s why we left. He was like, ‘I want that for my Minister of Defense, you have to move out, you have to move into some combine.’ My grandfather was like, ‘Fuck You! I’m going to the States.’ So that’s how I wound up here. I was only like two years old when it happened. I don’t know the politics of the whole thing, but it’s pretty creepy to get told by the government that you have to move out of the house that you built, you know. WE: Let’s hope we can get through the end of this year and get another President here in the States. AJ: How many days, two hundred and seventy something left? Oh, Jesus, hurry up and make your money and get the fuck away from me. Except now he’s gonna move back down to Texas, but that’s alright because I’m moving to New Mexico as soon as the tour is over.

(continued from page 23) sincere and try to be true to the decisions they make and who they should engage with and the kind of venues they play. You know they are not getting swept up in all of the bullshit of the music industry. And also our friend Bean and his concept of hard work and rehearsal. The tour has really had more of an effect on the actual performance. I think of some of our shows opening for these great bands and I kind of cringe thinking of how shitty some of those shows have been, because we had this idea, but we really didn’t know how to execute it. So I think having the opportunity to play night after night has been a blessing, because it gives us the opportunity to hone our craft a little more. Opening for Chick, Chick, Chick certainly gave us a lesson on how to fuckin’ play dance music; those dudes are not hacks. There are a lot of punk disco bands out there where the indie kids are just in it for the party. Then you see these guys and they ’re cool and there’re throwin’ a party, don’t get me wrong, but they are also just reeeeeeealy good. It just makes us realize, wow, we really need to get our shit together. So now we are in a unique position where we’re touring with our own opener, A Place to Bury Stangers, and even they are giving us a run for our money. They are a really cool asthetically nice, loud band that really puts on a killer show and we got to follow them every night. No more foolin’ around, no more being the goofy Canadians goin’ ‘ We’re going to play casio guitar party music.’ We really need to lay it down.


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Locals Only Neighborhood Favorites

Munky King Melrose 7308 Melrose Ave, LA

Hama Restaurant

213 Windward Ave, Venice

• myspace.com/munkykingtoys

Phone: (310) 396-8783 • Web: hamasushi.com

Designer toy-temple Munky King serves the LA underground art and urban designer vinyl movement. Located on Melrose in Los Angeles they have a very eclectic mix of original artwork, designer vinyl, clothing, books, magazines, prints, and a few surprises! Also host to release parties and art shows the MK Melrose gallery goes off bi-monthly so check their calendar!

Hama Restaurant has more than just the rogue gallery of mainstream sushis. They feature a vast and innovative menu, including eyebrow raising combinations and sakes, putting them above the rest. An informal atmosphere appeals to a diverse clientele, from celebrities to regulars, from sushi experimentalists to connoisseurs.

Phone: (323) 938-0091

POPKILLER

Nine Star

7503 W. Sunset Blvd, LA

1103 Olympic Blvd, LA

Phone: (323) 874-7731 • Web: popkiller.com

Phone: (310) 477-3999 • Web: 9star.com

POPKILLER has a unique selection of new/vintage clothing for men and women, original T-shirts, accessories, toys, and more! Their original T-shirts are exclusively sold at POPKILLER as well as items imported from Japan. Find rare items and killer style like oldskool, metal, nerd & glam! Open late to shop until midnight. Two locations in West Hollywood and Little Tokyo.

On the corner of Olympic & Sepulveda  in Los Angeles lies the one stop shop for any Surf Skate Snow or BMX junkie on the west side. Nine Star stocks everything for or about action sports. Including a stellar selection of clothing from the likes of RVCA, LRG, Quiksilver and Obey. Come to shop, get your snowboard tuned or just hang out. They have a full service shop, video game lounge and a full on half pipe in the parking lot!

Lisa Kline Men

C&O Trattoria

143 S. Robertson Blvd, LA

31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey

Phone: (310) 385-7113 • Web: lisaklinemen.com

Phone: (310) 823-9491 • Web: cotrattoria.com

A man who drips with style and whose wallet overflows will find himself pleased by the selection at Lisa Kline Men. The trendy brother to the Lisa Kline shop across the way, this masculine half provides well-tailored clothing for informal ventures, featuring upscale casual wear.

C&O Trattoria prides itself on generous portions and rich Italian dishes, stating that “people generally don’t leave here hungry.”An optional garden patio, nightly sing-a-longs and signature cultural cuisine like Killer Garlic Rolls, Calamari Fritti and pastas of all mixes and blends combine for a true experience.

Rocker Board Shop

Planet Blue

12204 Venice Blvd, LA

1250 6th St Suite 102, Santa Monica

Phone: (310) 397-8300 • myspace.com/rockerboardshop

Phone: (310) 899-3877 • Web: shopplanetblue.com

RBS specializes in gear for women while representing a large assortment of board shorts, wetsuits, rashguards, tees and flip flops for the men. You’ll definitely want to check out the surfboard selection from Guy Okazaki, Scott Anderson, GSI’s sick line of Merrick designed Anacapa boards and skateboards from the local boys at Arbor, Loaded and Juicebox plus knockout decks from Pura Gallo as well.

Planet Blue is for the eccentric fashionista. Offering an upscale and trendy selection of accessories and clothing, the shop immerses the browser in a cool and modern atmosphere, surrounding them with all the chic money can buy. From Bohemian frills to enchanting prints, Planet Blue makes for serious shopping.

Father’s Office

Surfing Cowboys

1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica

1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice

Phone: (310) 393-2337 • Web: fathersoffice.com

Phone: (310) 450-4891 • Web: surfingcowboys.com

This sleek bar offers over 30 beers on tap and a healthy selection of wine, which easily distracts from their lack of hard liquor. The menu offers a variety of specialty appetizers with a Spanish flair, but most are impressed by their signature bleu cheeseburger, often hailed the best around.

Need an antidote to the prefab sterility of the Ikea Age? California Modern meets surfing culture in a match made in Venice (Beach, that is). For 10 years Surfing Cowboys has supplied its global clientele with vintage mid-century furnishings, 60’s surfboards, original artwork, contemporary jewelry, and anything else that catches the eyes of owners Donna and Wayne Gunther.


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By: Nikos Monoyios

W

hile perusing through my dose of last years’ periodicals, I grew fascinated by each respective article reviewing the previous year. These typical year-end pieces stem from a simple list of noteworthy news events, to long-winded rants on what to expect in the new year. After reading these pieces, I began to realize that this decade is almost over. Which begged the question, “ What will this decade be remembered for?” We all have recognition of common characteristics from decades of the 20th century, right?  Generally, we could list sociocultural defining moments and have an idea of which decade was inferred. We’ve seen culture progress through music, design, culture, politics, etc. Books, television programs, and films have all addressed memorable times while alluding to a certain decade. With that said, I asked myself what is the significance in this first decade of the new millennia now that it is almost over? How have we culturally progressed?  What has global society offered, and what does it mean? How will our grandchildren remember this decade similarly to how we recognize a decade in the life of our grandparents? I’d argue that the most striking contribution this decade has offered so far has got to be the pervasion of digital media. The online experience of Google®, MySpace®, Wikipedia®, YouTube®, Facebook®, blogging, etc., have all been the breath of cultural definition throughout this past decade. The seeds of our virtual landscape have bloomed into a vast new world completely unfamiliar before and the effects are mind-blowing. We can instantly regurgitate information or answer any question we may have on practically anything. This results in us learning at an exponentially faster rate than ever before becoming sponges of information. We can also communicate

easier and faster. This digital revolution allows us to mirror our lives on to a new virtual canvas for the world to see. Sounds great, but with every enlightened side, a dark side also exists. During the advent of online communities like MySpace® and Facebook®, a good friend of mine sarcastically stated “electronic friends are the best friends.” I think the depth of this comment was more profound than he knew. Why? We enthusiastically embrace this massive expanse of digitally social opportunity while we forget that we, as a society, feel lonelier and more isolated from each other now than ever. However, we can instantly send messages to friends, read personal blogs, and post bulletins announcing tonight’s proceedings all

without seeing, hearing, or talking to another human being. If our ways to communicate have increased, how can we feel so distant from one another?  For starters, what is happening is that we are valuing the content of socializing more than the experience of socializing. We text friends instead of simply calling them. We invent emotions to express the tone of our text when we write. We try to advertise our personality by constructing one online.  This is the essence of our new decade. The telephone allowed us to communicate apart from being in the same physical vicinity. Email and cellular telephones further disintegrated communication limitations. Now we actually create online personas. We can socialize all from the comforts of our

own homes without ever having to see, talk to, or hear anyone. However, it is the experience of actually getting together that is socially fulfilling, not simply the content. Defining this decade, we have spent so much time cultivating an online existence that we’ve forgotten to cultivate our real existence.  Relying on virtual communication will continue to harm the integral fabric of our social condition. Even though we’ll be able to keep in touch with each other easier, we will continue to feel a disconnect and a loneliness. For example, we’ve all seen the surveys folks complete which they post online for others in their community to view their answers. These popular surveys ask typical questions about their daily routine or simple preferences regarding taste or style. It’s sad to see how we are reaching out for people to know us in ways we feel important while remaining faithful to the new virtual standard of communication.  Can you remember a time when our friends and family could answer these surveys for us? All previous decades have produced something culturally tangible. Music, art, design, literature, politics. These have not really changed in the past eight years. We have spent so much time defining ourselves online and inventing a virtual world that our history will be written in the annals of servers and hard drives. The invention of a new digital world is the greatest defining characteristic of this decade and maybe I’m getting old, but I’m already starting to reminisce about the good ‘ol days... especially when the time will soon come when bedtime stories to our grandchildren will be read from robots and written in ones and zeros.


29

Matt Costa interview by Eric Mitts

Photo Illustration by David Dodde

Just like it’s best not to judge a book by its cover, don’t judge Matt Costa by the stereotypes associated with most singer-songwriters. An aspiring musician since he started playing the piano as a child, Costa actually first gained public attention as an amateur skateboarder who nearly turned pro before breaking his leg at age 19. With nowhere to go, literally, during his recovery, Costa returned to his love for music, picking up his castoff guitar and deciding to write songs for the first time. He made some simple four-track recordings of those early songs and through word-of-mouth those tracks spread throughout Costa’s Southern Californian home. Ultimately they reached the ears of No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont, who became Costa’s mentor and producer, guiding him through his first full-length studio album, 2005’s Songs We Sing. After touring the world over with his friend and label owner Jack Johnson, Costa continued to let his inspiration flow into his follow-up Unfamiliar Faces. Once again produced by Dumont, the disc’s release got delayed from last year until late last month, leaving Costa lost amidst the aisles of his area book store, contemplating his music and his future – a moment he relayed to Wide-Eyed during a quick cell phone conversation. Wide-Eyed: What was it about being laid up with a broken leg that made you decide you wanted to try your hand at songwriting? Matt Costa: I’d always been drawn to music, playing music and listening to it. I always really connected with it. I felt a very strong connection to music. So when I started writing songs, I wondered what it was about songs that made me want to learn them, that made me want to listen to them. So I just started trying to do that; just to play the things and create the things that I would want to listen to. I just went from there and then I started thinking about what sort of messages the songs conveyed and what sort of images they brought to your mind.   WE: What sort of impact do you think having taken time away from music to pursue skating had on you once you became a songwriter? MC: It wasn’t anything that I had strategically planned or anything. When I was growing up, those were the two things that I did the most. I put all of my thought

and effort into those things, more so than school or anything else, because I felt like that was what I was most passionate about, so I did that a lot. I think that creatively all the things that I learned from having [skating] in my life, I think that growing up around a sort of counterculture, skating culture, that it creates a sense of creativity and I think anyone who’s in one of those groups or whatever, there’s a lot of creativity that you can pull from those groups. So skating was a big inspiration as far as the music that I got turned on to, and also being around something that was self-driven. And also I got encouragement from people around me, not so much by receiving a grade on a report card for whatever I did, it was kind of more of a self-gratifying thing and you decided whether it was good or not. WE: Your music career really seems to have grown out of that, from when you recorded your early demos just for yourself, to how people just passed your music around until it reached enough people that you got to record

professionally. Is that how you look at that whole experience? MC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would just do recording on a four-track and I’d go record a few other things here and there and eventually people started to notice. First off, I didn’t ever want to perform in front of people, because I just thought the recording thing captured something in that moment, and so when I’d passed those recordings on that moment would stay alive for other people, and that’s why I didn’t want to play in front of other people. But then I started to realize that every time that you play, you’re kind of capturing, you’re kind of taking whatever sort of thing that’s happening in that moment and you’re trying to put that back into the things you felt the first time you wrote the song. So once I started thinking that, that’s when I started being comfortable doing live shows. Before that it was all just sort of recording.   WE: How has your approach or your outlook on recording changed as you’ve toured and gone on to record so much more, with a whole second record now under your belt? MC: When I first started writing songs, I was always surprised that I was able to write a song at all and I think with the first record it was a whole group of songs that went around that idea of sometimes when you write a song you don’t realize that you’ve written a song, it just kind of happens. And then the second time around, I realized that every song was still a surprise, but I kind of knew how to shape the record into something that had continuity to it, a flow. The first record I think had that too, but I think I was able to capture that more with the second record.   WE: You’ve said before that pretty much once you started writing songs that you haven’t really stopped. Has that continuation or that steady stream of inspiration just completely carried you over into the second record? MC: Oh yeah. I think that every song that you do, every song kind of leads into

the next, so this new record is… I never stopped writing from the last record to this record. I just like music that’s connected to everything, it gets connected to the same chain of music that’s been going since the beginning of time. There’re all types of different styles, but they all kind of intercept and connect. Everyone can put a dividing line and say, ‘Okay, this is this type of music and that is that type of music, but there’s always the music that brought these two together because there’s always something that brings those things together and I think with my record, yeah, there’s a first record and second record, but really it’s just one big thing. I just happened to have put two different titles on it. If that makes sense. It’s like you can have a conversation with people, and you can have a good conversation where you send out an idea but you end up talking with them and having a deep conversation and then you realize, ‘How did I ever end up talking about this with this conversation?’ And that’s kind of the goal with music, is just to bring creative ideas and just trying to step up with every song, and every part of the song or whatever, and just trying to step up that ladder a little, and trying to get closer to whatever the vision it is that you have in your mind. You’re never going to reach that. That’s what’s so great about finishing a record or a song, because that moment is the closest you’re going to get to it, and you realize, ‘Aww, this is as close as I’m going to get.’ And there’s some comfort in that, but then you realize a couple days later that you’re just going to have to start all over again. That’s the tide of life, you know. WE: Since you’re talking about finishing the record, Unfamiliar Faces was originally slated for release last fall and got pushed back to early this year. You’ve said before that your songs take on a different life once they’re recorded and other people can hear them. How have the last few months been for you waiting for it to get released? (concluded on page 31)


with the rapid blending of a lot of styles and emotions. How much do you work at having interesting juxtapositions between lyrics and music or your own vocal performance? ST: Although I love to create relationships between contrasting words, musical parts, even ideas, most of the juxtapositions are very stream of consciousness for me and not on purpose. Or even within the lyrics themselves, how often do you try to twist, say, the serious with the comical? All the time. I’m seriously laughing. It’s the smile and the realization that all is good that saves my day. Serj Tankian interview by Eric Mitts

On his official MySpace page, System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has posted a video of himself interviewing himself. The clip pokes fun at the fawning entertainment media, as well as Tankian’s one-man approach to making his debut solo album, Elect The Dead. So, when Wide-Eyed received the opportunity to interview the vocalist/poet/activist, it wasn’t a huge surprise when the answers he returned were a little aloof and a lot abstract. Touching on everything from his ongoing work with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello in the nonprofit organization Axis of Justice to the need for election reform in this country, Tankian maintained an artist’s conceptual distance in his answers, mostly discussing the process of recording Elect The Dead at his own home studio in broad generalities rather than detailing just how he handled producing, recording and playing nearly all the instruments on the record himself (with the exception of the drums provided by SOAD drummer John Dolmayan and ex-Primus/current Guns N’ Roses drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia). Tankian has obviously remained busy since SOAD went on extended hiatus at the end of last summer, and with Elect The Dead he remains one of hard rock’s most unique voices. Wide-Eyed: I last had the opportunity to interview you around the time you released the SerArt album [Tankian’s 2003 project outside of SOAD with fellow Armenian multi-instrumentalist Arto Tuncboyaciyan] and one of the things you mentioned was how that was completely spontaneous. How much had you planned on doing this solo record, and how spontaneous did it become while you were making it? Serj Tankian: I’ve always wanted to make a solo record(s). The songs were written over different time periods and crafted over last fall during recording. There were [sic] lots of spontaneity in the recording process, but the songs were crafted, not just done in a week like SerArt.

When did the songs slowly start to reveal themselves as rock songs? ST: When I started programming drums to get my rhythm tracks, I noticed that these songs worked really well with the dynamics offered by drums and guitars.

WE: You play most of the instruments on Elect The Dead yourself. How much freedom did that allow you to have as the songs took shape while you were recording in your home studio? ST: The ultimate freedom is to be a multi-instrumentalist and record everything in your own home studio.

WE: As a lyricist and a poet you’ve often said how it’s more important to you to share in the meaning behind your words with the interpretations your audience has for them, making your art take on a more collective experience. So rather than ask the meaning behind any of the lyrics on Elect The Dead, I’ll ask: how much more personal are some of the lyrics you’ve written for this record than any of the lyrics you’ve written before? ST: They’re much more personal simply due to the fact that I’m no longer representing anyone else with my words.

WE: On the other side of that, how much did you challenge yourself as a musician and a producer when laying down tracks on those different instruments? ST: Some tracks were quite challenging to play, others easy. As a producer, the challenge was to step out of the artist role so I can hear it with more objectivity. WE: You wrote most of the songs on piano initially. Do you still feel more comfortable playing piano than any other instrument? ST: I’m just as comfortable on acoustic guitar as piano. WE: You’ve said how you’re surprised that you ended up with a rock record from where you started with these songs.

WE: Looking back on the whole process of making the record, why do you think the songs shifted from the almost classical, traditional types of songs you had started out writing to full-blown rock songs? ST: Because the songs asked for the instruments and the arrangements. I have the classical/acoustic arrangements also, and some will be released as bonus tracks on our premium/extended release.

WE: You’re someone who is constantly writing because you’re so intrinsically inspired. What do you think writing provides for you emotionally, philosophically, intellectually, etc., that you can’t experience from doing anything else? ST: Cosmic release. WE: Particularly with Elect The Dead, but with SOAD and SerArt and a lot of the music you’ve done before, you’ve often dealt

WE: Since you are someone who remains very politically active, how much of a challenge is it for you to approach political issues in songs in a way that you’re satisfied artistically? ST: Well, the song has to be good for the message to be powerful. WE: You’ve made mention about how you had to release “The Unthinking Majority” before the rest of the album because you wanted to make more a direct, call-to-action statement with that song than any of the others on the album. Why do you think our society has drifted towards being ruled by an unthinking majority and what steps do you think need to be taken so that the people can take it back? ST: Good question. I think we drift toward becoming the Unthinking Majority unconsciously through personal isolation, through lifestyles not connected to the collective. We place more importance on luxury over values. We allow ourselves to be manipulated for the purposes of collective greed and apathy, while sacrificing our sanctity and sanity in the process. We are also made to feel like the un-effective majority by the ruling powers. The lack of quality in our education allows us to be taken for a ride where we give up our powers as human beings on this planet. WE: Both the videos for your first two singles “The Unthinking Majority” and “Empty Walls” have similar antiwar themes, where military action is made out to be something of a childish solution to conflict. Why did you decide on drawing that parallel between play and war? ST: I didn’t. Both directors had their own vision and treatments. It’s funny how that worked out. It’s interesting to note that we’re all born innocent and pure, and somewhere along the road we acquire the skill sets to cause harm to others. WE: What do you think it will take to finally turn the tide so that popular

opinion in our society doesn’t so readily embrace the culture of war? ST: When nations, flags, and borders will no longer matter in the face of other, more important endeavors, awakenings or catastrophes. WE: Do you think the upcoming election in 2008 will make any sort of difference in how people view that culture of war? ST: No. I think the election will reflect what changes are occurring in that view now. WE: With the way the political process is currently set up, how important do you think an individual voting really is? ST: Voting still can change many things within our country, and has its relevance, though leaders are not who we should rely on to carry out that change. We should rely on ourselves and each other for that. WE: Do you think that voting, the way it is now, really gives anyone a true voice in our democracy? ST: Not with the Electoral College around. We should eliminate that old tool of the

Original Photo by: J. Odell/ Reinterpretation by David Dodde

30


Serj Tankian elite and also lose our attitude of bringing capitalism into democratic politics by voting for those who best represent our values, not those who we think may win. WE: What role do you think music plays in achieving this level of true democracy among the people? ST: Music is the most intuitive and beautiful form of shared energy between beings. It comes from the universe through us. WE: Tom Morello will be performing [as The Nightwatchman] with you on tour while you’re supporting the release of Elect The Dead. How much do the two of you still work together on Axis of Justice? ST: We work on Axis in conjunction with each other, sending in info to [axisofjustice. org], doing our radio shows, taking up different causes with our staff, etc. WE: How satisfied are you with the impact you’ve been able to have with Axis of Justice? ST: There’s always more work to be done, but it’s a good effort. WE: How long do you plan to promote and tour in support of Elect The Dead? ST: This will be a full record tour cycle, so one and a half to two years. But to be more exact, when I feel like it’s done.

Watch Tankian interview himself, as well as the videos for “The Unthinking Majority” and “Empty Walls” at myspace. com/serjtankian. Check his official site, serjtankian.com, for the video for the new song “Saving Us,” and then come back to watch all the videos for all 12 tracks off Elect The Dead, which will be posted soon.

Coda... Del

(continued from page 8) for more records, if I can find them. Like, ‘Oh, I never knew they did that.’ If I can’t find it on CD, I get it on wax too. James Brown is the same thing. To put it simply, none of this stuff would be righteous now, if it wasn’t for James Brown. A lot of people today can’t even understand the concept of music being anything other than what it is now. But music today has everything to do with James Brown. Hip-hop is a big, gigantic influence too. In the beginning, Run-D.M.C., Afrika Bambaataa, Soulsonic Force, Treacherous Three to a lesser degree, LL Cool J was a big influence on me. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious five is probably the group. Melle Mel, in particular, as a rapper, really made me want to rap with a message. It made me say, ‘Damn, you can rap about this stuff ? You can put this in a song?’ Parliament Funkadelic used to say all this crazy stuff, it would be humorous sometimes, sometimes it would be deep. And I’d be like, ‘Damn, I didn’t even know you were allowed to make songs like this.’ I thought that you had to make songs like R&B, or however it was – there was always some

kind of formula. Parliament Funkadelic were able to take that formula, and not abandon it, but take that and do what they wanted to do with it, because they wanted to be a little crazy, and add a little flavor to it, or whatever. And those are the things that I really appreciate. As far as hip-hop, I have damn near everybody ’s album from a period of like ‘86 to the late ‘90s-early 2000s. WE: Do you believe that there is enough diversity in hip-hop? It is safe to say that most of mainstream America is influenced by hip-hop, whether or not they listen to hip-hop music. How far-reaching is hip-hop? Is it still considered a subculture? DEL: Oh, it’s far-reaching – it’s everywhere, too. You can’t even look at a cartoon without the characters being styled in a graffiti kind of manner. Everything coming out now is influenced by hip-hop. So you watch a cartoon, the legs are a little chunkier, the shoes get a little chunkier, there’s a little more swag in their attitude… You feel me? Music-wise, too, that beat is just dominant. Just the production techniques of looping things, and sampling, all this stuff is main stage in music at this point – especially dance music. Hip-hop left a big mark, but not any bigger than any other form of black music that came before it. Right before hip-hop, funk was just as influential. We just kind of picked up where funk left-off. People forgot about funk and all that, and we brought that essence back with hip-hop. We start digging through them records and people start finding the funk records. We say, ‘Oh, this is what music was like. It was dope!’ WE: Where does it go from here? What does the future hold for hip-hop and funk music? DEL: I think the funk is gonna continue. Anything that has some flavor to it, it’s gonna be funky. Funk just added that whole flavor to everything. I think it gave Americans something too have fun with, to kind of express their self with. That’s what we brought when we brought that funk. ‘Hey, they know how to get down, they doing it.’ You don’t have to be stuck up and acting like you better than everybody and all this stuff. You can just be free and express your own little style, and add your little swag to it, and just kinda be cool with things. You don’t have to look at people, saying, ‘Oh, you don’t belong here, or whatever.’ I think that is what hip-hop did too. You can be white and be down with hip-hop. There have been white boys down with hip-hop since the beginning. So, okay, you might say, ‘It’s a black thing, or whatever.’ There have always been Puerto Ricans kids, white kids, any race you choose that is here in America, down with hip-hop. You feel what I’m saying? I think nowadays there is a section of hiphop that has become real elitist, like how jazz was. And it’s kind of weak. It kind of lessens the potency of the hip-hop, because the average person is like, ‘Oh, you all some jerks. I don’t even listen to this crap anyway. It’s way over the top, and so it’s nothing I can understand anyway at this point.’ And on the inside, the elitist, says, ‘Oh, it’s got to be hella bizarre, or abstract, or otherwise it’s not real,’ just for the sake of being that. Like, “If you mix a little R& B with my hip-hop, that’s weak. If you mix a little bit of this with my hiphop…” whatever they think that hip-hop should be. But hip-hop has always been

whatever it needs to be at the time. WE: If you could remix or redo one classic hip-hop song and make it your own, which song would you do, and why? DEL: ‘Renegades of Funk.’ At an early age, Afrika Bambaataa kind of put me up on what funk was… in his own way. I just thought it was raw – the song itself was raw. As a kid, ‘Renegades of Funk’ sounded so raw to me. He made me want to explore more of what funk even was, to the point that I’m now a Funky Homosapien. You feel me? And I think that song is basic enough that I could take it and do something else with it. Some songs are already finished and you can’t really add anything else. ‘Renegades of Funk’ is basic enough that I can rework it, still keep the elements, but add some of my own elements if I wanted to.

Black Mountain

(continued from page 15) WE: All in one week; you guys are working hard, that’s seven nights in a row. Are there certain cities from your past experience on tour that you are really looking forward to playing in the coming weeks ahead? JW: We’ll, tonight we are playing in Montreal, which is always a great time for us; we have lots of friends here. It’s a good chance to visit with some people we haven’t seen in a while, and our shows are usually really good here and Toronto is kind of the same thing. You know, the Eastern Canada connection, always super fun. Definitely Chicago is always a high point of our tours. We already played Austin on this tour, and I guess we’ll get back for South by Southwest, and Austin is great. Virtually the whole West Coast was amazing on this tour. It’s really hard to complain about anything. I mean we have had so many good shows on this tour, it’s kind of ridiculous. WE: Speaking of Chicago, you’ll be playing with Birds of Avalon, from Chapel Hill, are you looking forward to doing some tour dates with them? JW: Yeah, absolutely. I met those guys when I came home from work and I usually get home from work around four o’clock in the morning. They were sleeping on my floor {laughs}. So I was like, oh, cool these guys must be in a band, and I had some breakfast with them the next morning and they are really nice guys and girl. WE: You are playing Coachella. Are there bands that you are looking forward to seeing that are performing on the bill? JW: I’m really looking forward to seeing Kraftwerk, I’ve never gotten the chance. So that will be pretty amazing. I not quite clear as to what else is going on, my mind is a bit of a blur right now. What are you looking forward to?

that will be interesting to see. I think 31 I heard that Dwight Yokam is playing too {laughs}. WE: That’s an interesting twist there. I’m just looking forward to going out into the desert for a couple of days and seeing some great music. JW: Yeah, I think it will be a great time. WE: So after this North American tour you are going to be heading over to Europe this summer. After Europe is it back to the studio, or are looking forward to taking a bit of a sabbatical for a while; what’s the game plan? JW: I think we will try to have some weeks off at the end of summer and into September to maintain a bit of sanity. Yeah, hopefully we will get around to recording, at least some stuff in the near future. I’d like to sort of do it sooner this time then we did the last time around. We definitely let a lot of time pass before we really got back down to it, and I’d like to keep it more of a steady process.

Matt Costa

(continued from page 29) MC: I kind of realized how upset, or not really upset, but how inside my head I was… I couldn’t really put a term to it until I was in the bookstore and I was drawn to a book. You know how you pick up books because the cover relates to you or the picture relates, or like the title relates to you or something, I don’t know why. But anyways, a couple of weeks ago I picked up a book called The Dangling Man by Saul Bellow. And I just realized that’s what I felt like I was, the dangling man. Now I’m just the hang man; I’m just at the beginning of the hang man game now. You’ve got to fill in all the blanks and see if you can put me on the rope.   WE: The new album title, Unfamiliar Faces, is that drawn from your experiences on the road? MC: I guess there is probably some of that, but I don’t think it’s that dissimilar to any everyday encounter at the grocery store or even with your close friends or strangers or your parents or your dog or whatever, whoever it might be, people are always turning around and surprising you, for good and for bad. That’s what makes life exciting is when you have those things, but at the same time, there’s a fear in that too. Life itself is a balance between good and evil, so I think that’s why a lot of people end up shutting themselves off from the world: they ’ve had an instance that has scarred them, and they ’re afraid of the dark side that everyone has. So every song on the record is basically like a perspective to overcome that, and not in too dark of a way, overcoming those things that can shut you off from the rest of the world.

WE: M.I.A. JW: Oh yeah, that could be cool. WE: You guys, of course, The Bees, I’m a fan of The Verve and it will be nice to see those guys play again. JW: I didn’t know that, that’s kinda cool,

Matt Costa will play Orange Country Performing Arts Center on April 24th. Unfamiliar Faces is in stores now. For more, click over to mattcosta.com.


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II. Forrest Gump, Revisited.

I. Why You Shouldn’t Like the Movie Forrest Gump.

III. Forrest Gump, one last time.

I really must say, I do not like the movie Forrest Gump. Now, let me tell you how all this began. I was teaching Morris Berman’s The Twilight of American Culture and Berman was quite critical of the movie, going so far as to suggest that we now have a “Forrest Gump” President. The students in my class strongly reacted against Berman, and I defended him saying, “No, Berman is a great scholar and he would not unjustly criticize the movie.” The students asked me, “ Well, what did you think of the movie?” I admitted that I’d never seen it, and they all yelled back, “Oh you don’t even know what you’re talking about.” So, needless to say, I saw the movie and it was not good. This is not a good movie. Do you know what one of the main messages of this movie is? It is that blind obedience and dumb luck will get you through life. This movie leads you to believe you’re more likely to run disabled legs to health than you are to improve yourself mentally or intellectually. People should see this as a problem. The advertisement for the movie, the promo on the rental box, suggests that Forrest is a simple man, an average man (even everyman). He is not described as mentally disabled; if anything, he is slightly below average in intelligence. When his mother has sex with the principal to keep him in the regular school, he doesn’t run up there and say, “Mother, don’t do this. I can be at least average. I will work hard, I will study: I can be average.” What does he do? He does nothing. Why does he do nothing? Because he doesn’t have a clue of what is really going on around him. Seriously, this movie took advantage of a rich emotional backdrop, a tapestry of meaning. They selected the most memorable images and music from history as seen on television and in the movies, and they created an emotionally loaded backdrop for a guy who seriously doesn’t have a clue what is happening to him or the people around him. If you have a well-trained dog and it does not crap on the rug, its blind obedience may be nice, but it doesn’t understand why it is doing what it is doing. Why does Forrest Gump do what he does? It is not because he deliberates and carefully considers the consequences of his actions on himself and others, and it is not because he has anticipated outcomes and is choosing the most beneficial, reasonable, or thoughtful course of action. No. He does what he does because it is what “Momma said.” Again, the movie is about blind obedience and dumb luck. It’s a good thing Forrest did not have The Water Boy’s momma!

The theme of obedience to what “mamma said” reveals a subtext of the movie Forrest Gump: deny the ambiguity of life. Popular schmaltzy movies often give the sense that there is either no ambiguity or that ambiguity is a bad thing. Let me give you one extended example. In the movie, Forrest doesn’t do any drugs. It’s as if he doesn’t even think about it. The mystery girl who he has the hots for, “Jenny,” on the other hand, is rather experimental. The movie gives the impression that Forrest inhabits a higher moral ground, while she is basically confused. It is morally superior to not think about drugs than to struggle through a decision of how they fit or not into one’s life. But Forrest is in the right here in the same way as is a well-trained dog. I mean, how can you get an air of moral superiority if you don’t even know what you are doing? Aren’t things a little bit more ambiguous than this? Are we to believe that the use of drugs is not ambiguous? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating drug use. I am advocating that we be honest about the ambiguity of it all. Could it really be that the world would be better off if all the drugs (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, psychedelics, and narcotics) could be removed? Not that they are good for everyone, nor even that most people need not be careful, but can’t we at least admit that the larger society has benefited from some people, artists, sacrificing themselves to Dionysus? Isn’t it true that a good amount of the world’s art, music, and literature has benefited? Or, at the least, can we admit that there is still some ambiguity to the matter: drugs are not equally beneficial or harmful to each and every person. Some years ago Andrew Weil, author of The Natural Mind and then Director of Harvard Medical Center, was being interviewed on C-SPAN about the drug problem in the United States. He suggested that the bulk of “the problem” is that in the U.S. it is very hard to talk about drugs without people thinking you are advowwcating them. He furthered this claim by asking, “Do you know how much the U.S. spent last year on ‘the War on Drugs,’ the ‘Just Say No’ program, increased law enforcement, prison sentencing, etc.?” Over 50 million was the answer (and this was many years ago). On the other hand, he asked, “Do you know how much the U.S. spent last year studying people who regularly use drugs and who are not negatively impacted?” “Zero,” he said, “we’re not interested in that question.”

Illustration by David Dodde

If you really want to know what gets under my skin about the movie Forrest Gump, begin by comparing it to the movie to It’s a Wonderful Life. Now, It’s a Wonderful Life is a good movie. In it, a man learns that genuine heroism, the heroism that really matters, is the everyday interaction and mundane impact all of us have on the world around us. The heroism need not be fantastical, and that is precisely the point. If I were a musician, or a well-trained, hard-working athlete, or a well-disciplined soldier, I’d be a little insulted at the idea that some rube, a guy who literally does not even know what is going on, can do my job better than I can. We are supposed to believe that a guy who is so out of it, that he makes a touchdown, and then runs right out of the stadium is going to be a good football player? The kinds of spatial arrangement capacities associated with rifle assembly are often correlated with higher intelligence, and running, I think we all know, is largely a mental exercise. Are we supposed to believe the idea that Forrest should be in the same context as John Lennon? Well, admittedly, Forrest does teach Elvis how to dance his signature pelvic shimmy. The movie should have been a cartoon. This is not a hero, nor does it help people see how everyday simple persons can make real and important differences. On the contrary, it tells us the only kinds of heroism that count are the ones that are, literally, outside the reach of the common person. By overdrawing the sense that we need an impact recognized by the masses, the movie covers over the real meaning of heroism. Few things in this world are more needed than everyday people who, by small acts, make the world a more wonderful, magical, and humane place.


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“SMILE” the brand new full-length studio album

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smile

from the masters of darkness and light... The Boris brush paints deeply intense blistering psychedlia, mammoth hooks, innovative songwriting, and a reinvention of dark heaviness. Features collaborative guests: Michio Kurihara (Ghost, White Heaven) & Stephen O’Malley (sunnO))), KTL)

...you put up your umbrella, and SMILE! will be available on CD/2xLP and download (iTunes etc.) sunn92



WIDE-EYED NO.1 APRIL 2008