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BRMC Interview Amsterdam 2010
You might call it deja-vu. Same place, same venue, same people, meaning Peter Hayes and me, but two years and one album (Beat the Devil’s Tattoo) later I’m back at the Paradiso in Amsterdam having returned on my mission to talk to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But it’s nothing like deja-vu at all. This being my third interview with Peter some might say all good things come in threes, and talking about BRMC this even adds more meaning to this figure of speech, remembering their kind of side-project that led people off the usual BRMC-paths in the form of the instrumental album The Effects of 333.The night before saw a spectacular show at Paris’ Bataclan featuring an after-show acoustic session by Robert, including another round of covering Pulp’s Common People and only after that (this time) some string breaking. You can feel that the band is in a really good mood playing some of the nicest venues around Europe and there is a whiff of great expectations in the air, due to remembering the last BRMC gig at the Paradiso. People who saw that show as well will know what I’m talking about.Peter is just being his lovely self again, taking his time to answer my questions thoughtfully and elaborately. Additionally, he starts joking around about me not being satisfied with him instead of Robert sitting in front of me answering my questions again, and goes to get the man himself, but we’ll get to that... First things first.Now, first of all, thanks for finally recording 1:51. You got a lot of people happy by doing that, especially on the forum, I can tell. And for playing it live in Cologne as well.(smiles) Yeah.So, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo... Another rather old song which is on it is Evol, right? That’s been around for some ages. So why did you decide to put this one on the album? Hadn’t you finished with it yet in a way?Hadn’t finished with the song?Yeah, not meaning that you hadn’t finished writing it, but rather that you weren’t ready to leave it as it was.Yeah, the version of it that was done, the same as the version of 1:51... There’s a version of 1:51, there’s a version of Awake, there’s a version of White Palms... (pause) A song called Sunk, a version of Seasons, things like that... They’re just a bunch of demos, really. Aaand... we weren’t particularly happy with the drum sound on some of those and, you know, thought things could be a little bit better. But, this is a shot really, you just try. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.One of the songs that seems to be very popular with people is Aya. I’ve got the impression that it’s one of the favourites of many people. I’ve actually read the wildest speculations about it. So one thing was that somebody said it’s about death. Can you maybe just give me an idea what the idea behind it is, what the inspiration for it was?(jokingly) You want me to ruin the mystery of it, huh?Noo, noo... Maybe just a small hint. Maybe to get people think about it even more...Phew... (pause) Well, it’s all in the words. Really. You know. I guess it sums it up in the last line, really, what it’s about. The last line of the last verse. “She’s the faithful silence that visits all.” (very long pause)You’ll leave it like that, okay.(laughs) Hm, yeah.Somebody told me that they maybe heard you play it in Hamburg during soundcheck, not the last show around, but the one before that...Like, Aya?Yeah, so rumour has it that you maybe wrote the song in Hamburg.Oh, during soundcheck. I’m not sure... The lick was floating around for a long time. The chord progressions. And the “reckless lover with bloodstained hands” that had been around for a while, didn’t have anything else, didn’t have the chords, didn’t have any other words, really. But, yeah, it ended up being kind of... yeah, for a whole tour, I’m not sure where it started, but basically a whole tour this was... I’d get my guitar sounds with that song.Another one, Half-State... I always feel like it’s a beautiful, massive monster of a song, if I may just put it into these words. And there seems to be like a huge story behind it. Is there maybe something you can tell me about it?You know, most of the album was born out of jams. And then it slowly pieced together within the jams, you know. We’d come up with parts as far as what’s gonna become of chords and stuff like that. That one ... that one just kind of came and then there was very little of discussion about it. It just kind of laid itself out there. And we figured we might as well let it be what it is, ‘cause it was a lot of fun playing it. It just felt right to leave it, leave it be, you know. There was lots of discussion about cutting it down...So the original version was something like 30 minutes long?Oh yeah, more like hours long... Yeah, I mean as far as the story in it... I can’t remember if it was first called 38 Special or if it was called Pale Green. And, well, you know, I guess Talking To Angels was another thought. Talking to your dead loved-ones, stuff like that.The great thing about it is that it’s about ten minutes long and it feels like two, so maybe you should really get out the long version. Someday.(laughs) Hm, yeah, I think I got it on tape somewhere...Now, what happened to The Knife or A Fine Way To Lose, which were floating around during the last tour? They didn’t make it on the album but can we maybe expect something like a Beat The Devil’s Tattoo sessions EP or something like that?Yeah, we’re debating it at the moment... Well, not really “debating” it, but I guess trying to find some time to put it together. Erm, a lot of it... Which song did you say? A Fine Way To Lose?Yeah, and The Knife was another one, I think.Yeah, The Knife, The Absent... There’s a song called Being Good, there’s a song called Fuck Off... Jungle Fuck Off. There’s a bunch. I’m not sure what we’re gonna do. There’s also kind of versions of songs and some of them are instrumental. We wouldn’t sell that, most likely, but we have instrumental versions of everything and we might just be putting them up on the website, you know, the songs as they are. But as soon as you think of ? away you get another thing, which is nice. I don’t know about a sessions thing. There’s a couple of that we were really kind of hoping to hold on to for the next album, because we put a lot of time into them.And, it’s great that they’re special when they’re like that, you know. I like it when they become more special when they are separated out of the album somehow. So we’re still debating which ones are gonna be there, I mean, as they’re all special, you know, to us. (laughs) So it’s always a little bit of a strange thing to have people think that they’re more special than the other ones. It’s a little bit of a strange feeling.It’s kind of like, okay, you’re picking out these other ones that people will assume are more special somehow. Some people will assume that they’re less as they didn’t make it, other people will assume that, because they didn’t make the album, they’re better.Yeah, but, isn’t it like that you just have to see which songs fit together? I mean, if you feel like the song doesn’t belong on the album you’ll just see what else you can do to it?Yeah, it kind of works like that. I mean, the songs... When you’re getting an album together you get in a mood and you... There were like four songs coming out in the same day and they sound pretty similar. So you maybe put all the words into one and the other ones you work on a little more, but to us that doesn’t really make an interesting album, you know, when they sound that similar. So that’s why we end up with some pieces left over.So you used to play a lot of acoustic songs during the shows on the last tour for example. But is it like you don’t feel like playing them at the moment? ‘Cause, if there’s been one doing acoustic songs on this tour it’s been Robert. So people seem to be missing it a bit...(surprised) Oh, really? I haven’t heard that. That’s the first time I’ve heard it.Really? I’ve heard it a couple of times by now. It’s my fourth show on the tour today and every time somebody’s going “When’s Peter going to do some acoustic songs???”Yeah, yeah... Hm... Naa... I hadn’t planned it because nobody’s brought it up. Nobody’s really said too much about it and I figured if no one’s really missing it...Well, there you go, you know now!(laughs) Well, you know, I enjoy talking to people after shows and maybe they’d feel like they’d be rude if they asked me. Maybe I’m not being quite fair to that. Well, I know Robert would like to take a break and sit backstage and have a drink of water while I’m playing acoustic. (laughs) He misses it! He misses having a break, but...Well, on the other side, along with that, I haven’t... Hm, yeah... (pause) I’ll leave it like that.Well, you still got some shows coming up so maybe you can do it then.Yeah, maybe... I... (pause)(conspiratorially) Or play outside tonight maybe? You never know...Hm, yeah... mabye. I haven’t done it in a while. Maybe.The time has come!(laughs) The time has come to get out of my depression.Maybe we can find you a Metro station again later on for you to play there.Yeah, maybe I gotta get out of my brain a little more... You go through phases, you know what I mean?Yeah, sure.I mean, the last two albums, I couldn’t put down an acoustic guitar, you know, there it was constantly backstage, it was constantly, constantly, constantly writing. And playing acoustic. And... I’m just having fun being loud right now. (laughs)Well, sometimes you feel like doing this, sometimes you feel like doing that. It’s up to yooouuu...(laughs)I mean, you’re not like a jukebox, so people come and tell you what to play.Well, I don’t mind that too much. It’s always fun when somebody likes to hear something, I like to get people what they like. I don’t mind that at all. Within reason... (laughs)Ha, good to know! If I may just say something then: I haven’t heard Evol played live yet. So if you could fit that in tonight?Oh yeah, shit, we haven’t done that.Yeah, you know, I figured out that you played it a lot in the UK and I talked to one of my English friends and went “What? They played Evol live?!” And she went “Yeah, it’s a given!”. But as soon as you guys come to Germany it’s not on the setlist anymore... But I guess that’s kind of my personal problem, not yours...Well, there’s two things that are going on on this tour. Aya, and Evol and Red Eyes, those are the three songs I sing really low on. And, I’ve just discovered that if you go for about half an hour, 45 minutes yelling, you know, then it’s really hard to sing low. (laughs) So we had Aya at the end of the set for a while, going on with all the yelling and almost screaming at one point and then it gets to Evol and my voice is gone by then, if it’s down the set. And so then it just became that we would go and move Aya up so that I could sing it and put Red Eyes there so that I could get through the rest of it and everything else is more in my range. As far as natural range, you know, it’s kind of my morning voice (laughs). You know what I mean?So meaning you don’t have to put too much effort into singing it.Well, you mean the ones like Evol? No, I mean the other ones are yelling, that’s a different kind of effort. So Evol was the one that kind of lost in the battle between the three, because we couldn’t really put them all at the top of the set, we didn’t feel like, we didn’t feel it would...Yeah, you still have a lot of shows coming up so you have to look after your voice, sure.Ah, yeah, either way...Now, even though Beat The Devil’s Tattoo is the recent album, I haven’t finished with The Effects of 333 yet, in a way, because this was kind of a side-project and it got quite diverse reactions because it’s quite different to other things you’ve done. Can you maybe give me some info about its coming into being? Because, there was not so much said about it. And was this rather like your thing or were you both working on it? Why did you feel you had to do this?(long pause) Me and Rob worked on it together. More so on a couple of them than other ones. He was helping me really kinda taming it down for people to... because when it started out, the songs were up to 45 minutes long. And Rob was like the voice of reason going on “This is not gonna fucking work.” (laughs) So, he was, like I said the voice of reason, he was standing outside of it a little bit and, you know, I knew what was going on and what I... You know, there’s actually parts and things that happened and, you know, you gotta listen for it. I mean, it’s subtle and I guess it can be called useless at the same time...It started out me and Rob just being fans of instrumental music and we’re both always talking about how we can’t sleep at night. And, you know, at one time we both realized we had these collections of music that would help get us to sleep. It just started out like that and we wanted to see if there was a sound that was kind of soothing or something, or, you know, maybe some kind of ocean sound or whatever the fuck, you know. Like, how it starts out, that’s all it is, it’s a couple of microphones pointed out the window. And then it just kind of grew from there. It was 15, 20 tracks, different synthesizer, keyboard stuff going on.And, you know, it’s a poem, I guess that might be obvious, as far as the way it’s read as song titles. The title itself was just a funny personal thing that... I’m not sure if it was explained, it might have been explained... I think people got it. I really liked how some people really got into the paranoia trip of it, because that’s where it came from. It started from there. It goes into some interesting places as far as, yeah... (laughs)Well, I can’t listen to it. It freaks me out. Well, some tracks are excluded from this, but some of them are like... really disturbing in a way. But I think that’s maybe just my personal background or some things going on in my mind when I listen to it.Yeah, I mean, that’s interesting. That’s part of the... I hate to say that’s part of the hopes (laughs), in a way. Some people don’t get that at all, you know. It’s like “Whatever, doesn’t make sense!” Of course, that’s gonna happen. But the hopes was that certain songs would, and it happened to me, certain songs would make me go to sleep. And then I’d wake up, two songs in, and whatever the next one was that came on like (making funny noise sound) and just “What the fuck?!” (laughs) just like “I don’t like that, that’s awful!”.The last song on that one kind of sums up the theory behind it. And When Was Better. That was what kind of started the whole process, actually, that song. That was the start of that idea, which was, I took the radio transmission of JFK’s assassination, which is about 45 minutes long. You know, just people talking on the radio about what happened. I took that and cut it up and then with that I took all these old time radio shows, 1940s, 30s, 60s, I don’t know actually if it goes back to the 30s or not, but... The idea was, you know, a lot of people are always like “Times were better then...” and I find it interesting that, you know, now it’s on TV, it’s visual and all this stuff. But, back when there was no TV they were talking about murder and killings and child abductions and rape and all that stuff. It was your imagination giving you all that stuff, too, which is almost a bit more creepy. (laughs) That could almost be the route of a lot of this, you know, people’s backlash against TV and technology and bladibla. But that right there, when you’re left to your imagination, which is worse, your imagination when somebody’s talking to you about a murder? Your imagination picturing how this is done, you know. Instead of it being fed to you by TV.So you’ve turned down various possibilities of selling your music for commercial reasons throughout the years. I think the funniest thing I’ve ever read was that some mayonnaise ad should have been underlined by Spead Your Love. But why did you decide to give your song to the soundtrack of New Moon? Which is quite a commercial thing, I think, all this Twilight hype.I didn’t know what New Moon was (laughs). I didn’t know what Twilight was. The discussion was happening for kind of a long time. I think there were three or four different possibilities showing up and some folks said “Well, you know, if you’re gonna go for those...”. I don’t really have a problem with movies and TV. I don’t have too much of a problem with it. Erm. Kinda. (laughs) You know? One, if they ask, that’s respectful. They ask: lovely. If they don’t ask that obviously doesn’t sit well. But if they ask that goes a long fucking way, you know. Although TV commercials ask and that doesn’t go that far either, you know. (laughs) But we’ve done those.I don’t see it as a... People take it as trying to get something out of it, but I just don’t see it that way. With certain things I just don’t see it that way. We didn’t see it that way with New Moon. It was like “Great, if they like it they like it, if they don’t then they don’t”.So, you didn’t actually see the movie and you didn’t hear your song in that scene?No, I saw the song and scene and I saw the movie. We didn’t make the song for the movie. It was already made.Which is funny, because it fits so well. If you know the books and the movies you know how it fits...Yeah, I can see that, I can see why they picked it. But it’s not talking about it. Well, I guess in a way it is kind of talking a little bit about that stuff. But it’s more of a... natural born. (laughs)Not about somebody who lives for hundreds of years...Yeeaaahh.So you’re not secret Twilight fans, okay.Oooooh... (laughs) sorry, I don’t mind it. You know, it scared the fuck out of me when I saw the trailers running, I was like “Oh my God...”, like “What have we done?” when I saw the wolf-thing, the werewolf-thing, I was like “What is this CGI stuff?”...Yeah, and that muscular guy...Yeah, that was cool, all right, the chicks dig that, I’m cool with that. (laughs) I can understand why people would like that. Not my thing, but that doesn’t matter. But him turning into a werewolf, I saw that on TV going “What?”, but that was a big selling point and everything... But I saw the movie and I was like “Aaah” and somehow it didn’t bother me, it made sense. A story’s a story, huh?So the funny thing really is that your songs reappear in vampire movies and shows.(laughs) Yeah!Now, we had Twilight, but there was also that appearance of Red Eyes and Tears on True Blood and what about the other one, the new one that’s really kind of high-school drama...The Vampire Diaries or something like that?Yeah, exactly!Yeah, I heard about that one, but actually I don’t know where it came from. I don’t really remember getting asked about that. That’s what happens, too.They already played two of your songs on the show! You should probably try to find out why they didn’t ask you then.Yeah, I could do that. But time goes by... and like I said, the TV stuff doesn’t bug me too much as long as... Because... there’s more than just one thing going on. We’re not trying to seclude ourselves from the rest of the world, really. (laughs) That’s not what this is about. So getting music out there is great. How it’s been heard, yeah, can be questioned. We question it when it’s a TV commercial selling a product.Yeah, it’s a kind of conditioning so that you either always think of the song when you see the product or the other way round.Yeah, that is a little dangerous so we’ve tried to dodge that when it’s come up and we’ve found ways that make ourselves feel more comfortable doing it.And we also have people to pay back, which is the sad truth of it. But it’s like anybody else’s life. It’s as if we’d had a huge student loan (laughs), you know what I mean? And we’ve got the bank coming after us, all the fucking time, like everybody else. And the bank happens to be Virgin Records, RCA, Ireland Records, Echo... (laughs) happens to be every single record company we ever signed to. And so, when one of those comes up... you know, that’s their game, that’s their thing. They want their dough back. And it’s kinda “All right, go, take it.”, it’s understandable.So as long as you can more or less identify with something or as long as it doesn’t bug you, as you say, it’s okay?Well, it came down to that a lot of that money doesn’t come to us. It goes straight to paying back what we owe a record company as a band. So whatever money comes from those things...There were some news on your website that were quite unbelievable, the story of your equipment being stolen. Do you have any news on it?It was put up on the website to try to help our friend Michael. The majority of it was his stuff. I lost one guitar. And compared to what he had in there, it’s nothing. (laughs) I enjoyed that guitar, I fell in love with it when I got it, but he had things that he was saving for retirement, basically. Or to hand down to Robert, you know, being his son and all...So nothing could be done yet?No, not at all... No idea, if they’re sitting on it or if they’re trying to ship it out of state, you know, or repaint them or...Unfortunately they don’t seem to be stupid enough to put it on Ebay or something.Yeah, we were looking all over on there and on registers, pawn shops and stuff like that, but nothing. I don’t know, I guess we kind of gave up...And what about this Miley-Cyrus-movie incident? Has anything be done about that one? Or is it a lost case?Well, it was already on and out when we found out. And it was really more an issue, once again, “Just ask”. (laughs) It’s a strange thing that... It was actually our publishers’ fault. And it’s not really their fault, which is the other thing about it, it’s not really their fault, it’s what they do. (laughs)So was there something like a flaw in the contract?No, it’s not a flaw, I guess that’s how they’ve done it, we just never knew about it and our manager never thought it’d really come up. And the point of having a publishing company is to have kind of this back-up, if anything does show up they at least tell you and go “Well, you do have a say in this somewhat”. But the publishers nowadays don’t even give you that right anymore. We’re just lucky enough to have a good relationship with our publishing company. So they ask us, even though they don’t legally have to. They can give it to anything they fucking want.That’s a strange situation.It’s a fucking drag. (laughs)You’re just walking somewhere and you hear your own song and you don’t know where it comes from. And in a Miley Cyrus movie!Yeah, I mean, really, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter that much, you just wish a little more respect. Well, I guess it’s meant respectful, probably, it’s meant as like “Hey, I like your music, so I’m gonna put it in my movie”. A French dude came up to me and he goes “My whole movie has got your music all over it” and I kinda looked down and went “Erm... thanks?” (laughs) “I guess?” (laughs) You know, I... He went like “Yeah, I got Harvey Keitel” and he started dropping all these names and I went “Really? And you don’t ask?” Like, but I bet you ask them if they want a cup of coffee or something, you ask them if they’re doing okay. Just show a little respect in that way, just a little effort. And I know it’s not personal, but it’s not how everybody does it. What I basically wanna be getting at is...Just ask...Yeah, it’s not... It’d be a real drag if it was something like Spread Your Love with Miracle Whip, that would be embarrassing. You can picture that. Yeah, and Whatever Happened To My Rock n Roll with the new car, you can picture it, ladidadida... But it would even be more embarrassing if it was something, you know, Clean Coal, you know what I mean, like an ad for Clean Coal.What’s that?Ah, that’s a big thing over in the US, they’re trying to somehow tell people that coal is green. (laughs) I don’t know if it is, so maybe I shouldn’t be talking about it too much, but it’s like Clean Coal Technology, how to burn coal cleanly or something like that. So, you know, if you take your music and put it into something like that where it’s actually destroying stuff and hurting things, you know. Or Join The Army! That kind of deal.Whoa. Okay, something that points into an ideological direction...Yeah, that’s a bit more... Yeah, that’d be much more annoying. (laughs)Okay, now, talking about money, in a way, there’s one guy on the forum, called Leigh, who has a great idea. Have you considered recording the audio of your shows, like doing your own bootlegs so to say, and selling them post-gig?Right after the gig?Yeah, right after the gig. So, for example, you could have something like small black BRMC-USB-sticks and then put the recording on there and sell it to people after the gig. I mean, you’d need some computers maybe to make this up, but...Yeah, I’ve heard of bands doing that, there’s a company that goes out and it was brought up to us at some point. And I don’t know what happened but we ended up being a little more, ah... (pause) It ended up being a little more complicated than we thought it was gonna be. I mean, basically, unless you have somebody that is, aahh... I guess they have somebody to mix it for you, you know, so while you’re playing someone mixes it and then somebody bounces it down and then, I’m guessing, the band would listen to it? I guess? And say “Cool.”, you know, “You mixed it right, sounds good.” Or have opinions about, like, “My amp wasn’t on for that.”, you know, but if a guy doesn’t know the band and he can’t catch that stuff... We have kind of a more complicated thing than... but, you know, it’s just music, it’s not that complicated. But I couldn’t imagine coming off stage after a show and walking into the back of a truck and okaying the set I just did. Like listening back to it and going “Yeah, cool, good job mixing it”. I don’t wanna hear it back again right then. (laughs) I wanna take a break.But I can understand that. I guess it would be fine if it’s somebody that you trust and who really knows the band, you know what I mean? So hopefully that happens.Yeah, it’d be cool because a lot of people do bootlegs of your shows anyway and a lot of people download them and with these extended versions you’ve been playing of some songs, Sympathetic Noose of Six Barrel Shotgun for instance, it’d be awesome to have them kind of properly recorded at home and listen to that exact show again.I understand that, absolutely, I’d love to be able to do that. It’s probably a trial and error, I would imagine. You know, you get these folks in and they can do the recording and you work with them for a couple of shows and until you get it right. And then you get on a roll with it. Yeah, maybe. I don’t know where they come from. I believe it was a couple of specific companies that were doing it.Yeah, think about it, maybe there’s some money hidden there... and it’d be great for people.Yeah, maybe. I remember a lot of my friends used to have Grateful Dead tapes. You know, the experience was the whole thing. You couldn’t ever go there with them if you hadn’t ever gone to the show, you know. But they were reliving really specific things. Like there you at least get to relive that, too. But I understand that. I’m into that.So you’ve got another UK tour coming up in winter, are there any other dates coming up in Europe, for example countries you haven’t played yet on this tour, or anything else?Yeah, we’re doing Spain, St. Petersburg, Moscow, erm... Portugal, I believe... a festival. Yeah, a festival in France, there’s a couple of possible club things going on around the same time, too. Going back through, shoot... Bologna, Italy. Oh, yeah, yeah, doing... where was that? Erm, yeah, yeah, two more places in Germany, Dresden and Frankfurt.Oh! When’s that coming up?Around the same time, like June, July, August, September, something like that.Ah, in summer already!Yeah, I think so. No! July is New Zealand, Australia, Japan. So it’d be August, September, something like that.This is where I’m finished with my catalogue of relevant-for-the-whole-band and Peter-specific questions and some side remark of mine, like “Ah, ok, these other questions were for Robert” results in Peter joking around that I should probably ask for Robert specifically the next time so that I would “get a different voice finally”. After asking for the possibility of taking a picture for the magazine I find Peter bustling around, calling for Leah and Robert to take a photo and pulling my leg by rubbing it in to Robert that I supposedly had wanted to talk to him and not to Peter instead. So, after a short photo session on the Paradiso’s patio, directly located at the Prinsengracht, I finally find myself asking Robert some more questions.Well, I always write down some questions for everybody, so here’s the first one for you: A Long Way Down and Annabel Lee are quite piano-driven songs. Has the piano as an instrument become more important to you over the years or is is just, like, coincidence?Well, I can’t actually play piano. I learned, there was one song I tried to write, the song Promise on the Howl record and I used it just as a tool of songwriting. And so I learned how to play that one song (laughs), hm, well... and it was inspiring, like, I don’t know... It took me into a totally different direction on that instrument than if I had written it on guitar. So it’s kind of intrigued by it and then I kept writing the song Windows and the next one, and Annabel... I don’t know, it just brings out a different nature of, I don’t know, a feeling and... Someday I’ll learn how to play it. Right now I just know how to play my own songs, so I’m not really qualified. I wouldn’t call myself a pianist.It’s just like, when I think of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, it’s always guitars. And, if you’ve got this piano going on... I had the idea that, could you imagine ever getting sick of playing a bass guitar or a guitar?Erm, because it’s a guitar band?No, just because of having these piano songs as an alternative in a way. That you maybe have the need to do something different sometimes.Erm... (pause) I like fooling around with other instruments. But my first love is still the bass. (smiles almost romantically). So even though I sneak around behind its back, I still always come home to the bass and... (laughs) And it understands. It understands that, you know, we have an open relationship like that. But... (laughs).An open relationship, but you’re not gonna leave the bass for the piano?No, I’m not gonna leave it for the piano, even though the piano definitely knows how to show you a good time. (laughs) But, you know, your first love’s really much... that’s the one you stay with.There’s a song on the album that’s been floating around for some time called River Styx. I guess the title is taken from Greek mythology. What gave you the idea?When I was in junior high school, these were the books that I got into, like Homer, the Iliad and the Odysee. And I was really into Greek mythology, just, that was like the first books that, like, I don’t know... It seemed really... Erm, I don’t know... It inspired me to start reading, I guess. And it’s strange that I can think about it now and it’s not... Greek mythology, I think when you get older, has less and less... interest. It’s very like... it’s very appropriate for its time, the first written age of mind, you hear that? It seems to make life make sense for some reason. Then I got a bit older and it’s not as interesting to me, it’s not as deep, it doesn’t delve as deep as other things. But I like those stories, they’re just really good stories. So while songwriting I was thinking about that.Right. You played a cover song, I think in Berlin and yesterday night in Paris, Common People...(grins) Badly, very badly...Well, I wasn’t too close yesterday night, but what I heard was quite all right.(Laughs)So while you’re at covering Britpop songs anyway, may I ask you to cover an Oasis song next time maybe? Maybe tonight? (Here I go, making an effort to manipulate the guys again, but, hey, a girl can try...)(grins) Hm, I don’t know...And why Common People, anyway?I just thought it was hilarious. I broke a string, two strings in Berlin and that was the only thing that I knew it’d sound good with just a couple of strings, ‘cause it’s really simple. And then people said they had a good time so I played it again last night. But, yeah, erm... if my strings break again I’ll get back to Britpop, but until then... I don’t know. (pause)I go through phases of, like, trying to learn things from other songs, like, getting inside of someone else’s head. And until you actually really learn it and play it, you know... So you have brief moments of seeing the world through their eyes and I like that. But right now I need to go back into my own eyes, ‘cause, you know, it’s just a cycle. I think I won’t be doing covers for a while. And last night might have been the last of that. Erm... Which Oasis one would you want?One of my favourite ones is Talk Tonight, so you can do that easily on just acoustic guitar.Yeah... (thinks) Yeah, that is a pretty simple song. I really like to pick the ones that are particularly difficult, like... Common People’s got a lot of words, but, Visions of Johanna, Hattie Carrol - fucking ridiculous. But for some reason, if there’s not a big challenge, I don’t know. And Common People is just a challenge to see if I could do it with half-way strings. So it was a new challenge.
BRMC Interview (2010)