Sunday, 20 June 2010

INTERVIEW WITH SPINDRIFT


Paris, June 1st 2010.

Lady Godiva met up with Kirkpatrick Thomas at La Java for an interview and it kinda felt like we were in a saloon. The west is the best!

LG: So, what was your inspiration for making The Legend Of God’s Gun?

KP: Once Upon A Time In The West…

LG: The movie?

KP: Yeah

LG: The visuals of it? The spirit? The whole thing?

KP: The whole thing.

LG: Did you see that movie as a kid and did it have an impact on you?

KP: No, I didn’t see that movie until I left Delaware to move to California!

Check one two, Jack Parsons, come in!

LG: Is that Gram Parsons’s brother?

KP: Naaah, you could say Jack Parsons or John Whiteside Parsons from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, member of California Institute Of Technology. Basically, he grew up experimenting with rockets with the suicide team.

LG : What’s the suicide team?

KP: They were the team that basically developed the jet, the rocket, out of Pasadena, California, right next to Glendale, where I live. They had to go out to the desert to blow things up and had to do all this and they were looked at as weirdos at the time. People who did rockets wanted to go to the moon and were into science-fiction, they couldn’t get funding and created the jet. You would think of magic, black magic and the power of Aleister Crowley.

He created the modern day nuclear missile.

LG: OMG!

KP: Crazy shit!

LG: Back to Once Upon A Time In The West, what was it that struck you about that movie?

KP: The score (by Ennio Morricone), the first twenty minutes of that movie just found it all for me. That whole feel: spooky, desert, not quite at home…

Before that, I was a huge fan of The Doors, if you take, like, someone who is obsessed with The Doors and model the whole band after The Doors, then all of a sudden, being in Delaware : “I gotta get the hell out of here! I’m moving to the west!”.

I’ve been incorporating the western sound into the Doors sound, that’s what happened. And it’s pretty cool, with a more eerie backward sound, like Riders On The Storm.

LG: Which is probably their best tune.

KP: Whenever I write songs, oh yeah, they really nailed it with that…it’s one of the best songs ever! Next to “White Wedding” (a Billy Idol’s song).

LG: Speaking of The Doors, have you seen When You’re Strange? Is it a good documentary?

KP: Yes, there’s really good footage in there which hasn’t really been previously released and it shot actually really well. It almost looks like they made a new movie.

LG: That’s what Ray Manzarek was saying, some people were saying. Who’s this young actor, he looks so much like Jim Morrison and he was like: it’s him!

KP: They shot Highway, An American Pastoral (directed by Jim's pal Paul Ferrara) and then there’s the film they shot, some pieces of it. They never finished it. A lot of rare footage.

As far as starting Spindrift, when Oliver Stone’s movie The Doors came out, I was listening to a lot of different music back then and then the movie came out and that’s when I really got into the psychedelic music.

LG: What stuff were you into back then?

KP: I was more into progressive rock, punk rock, heavy metal…hearing about the Doors and watching that movie changed everything, we were jamming in some band at the time and when we saw that movie, we said: let’s start a new band! Kinda like this, basically.

LG: Is Jim Morrison a kind of “role model “ to you?

KP: No, he is dead. The only difference between me and Jim Morrison is that I’m still alive.

LG: Right! Have you visited his grave in Paris at le Père Lachaise?

KP: No, I gotta go! Maybe I’ll do a few more shots of absynthe.

LG: You know, rumor has it that there’s some weird cult going on there at night.

KP: Oh yeah?

LG: Yeah, the cult of Allan Kardec (who’s regarded as the official founder of spiritism). A guy who supposedly died with a hard on, there’s a statue of him there.

KP: Do people still desecrate his grave?

LG: There was a big controversy in the 90s cos part of his tombstone had been removed and nobody really knew what happened, so they moved his spot in the cemetery and now there’s always a guard watching over his grave now.

KP: Wow, so he’s even got a guard now.

LG: But you know, there was another controversy that his remains had been shipped back to the States cos his family demanded it, but it’s wrong, his remains are still there.

It would be pretty ludicrous to go to his grave if his remains weren’t there anymore, right?!

KP: You know the story! That totally relates to something with Spindrift now, which is that we’ve been writing songs in the room where Gram Parsons died, where he overdosed, in the Joshua Tree Inn. Luke Dawson, our pedalsteel player, is the innkeeper and lived in that room.

No kidding!

So, we got Luke in the band and we’ve been going to the Joshua Tree inn and writing songs there and I swear to god there’s the spookiest thing going on there. There used to be a shooting gallery there, that’s where people injected heroine.

LG: What did he OD on?

KP: It was an overdose of heroin, he died in the room where Luke stays right now and then they revived him, he got back up and walked in the room number 8 and then he never woke up after that. They found his body. The quirky thing is, the story you were saying about the remains is you know the story about Gram Parsons’ death and his body?

LG: I don’t know what happened…

KP: Once they found out he died, his parents (well, his relatives, his parents had passed away) said you have to ship his body back to ...I can’t remember where (Florida). Gram Parsons had told his friends: “If I ever die, I wanna be buried in Joshua Tree, California, in the park.”

So, they’re shipping Gram Parson’s body back to his parents and his friends were like, you can’t do this. His friends (Phil Kaufman at least) go to the aiport, they basically take the limo that has the hearse and they steal the hearse that has his body, drive the hearse all the way back to Joshua Tree and they burn Gram Parsons’ body in the Joshua Tree at this one rock called Cat Rock and the funny thing is, they only got arrested for stealing the car. True story!

LG: Amazing story! Never heard it before!

KP: There’s a movie about it. I’ve never seen it, though.

LG: I love that fact is sometimes so unbelievable that it sounds like fiction.

KP: Well, to do this kind of shit, you gotta be pretty fucked up on drugs. These days, I don’t know… They don’t make them like they used to.

I mean, maybe they make them pretty good in Paris, I don’t know.

LG: No, this city is not very rock’n’roll, not like L.A, Austin or NYC, you know…

KP: What are some bands that are out of Paris?

LG: The best ones in France are not necessarily from Paris, in my opinion. My favorite French band is The Dead Mantra, from Le Mans.

KP: Cool, I’ll check them out.

LG: What bands do you feel the most akin to among current bands?

KP: There’s a pretty cool band called The Night Beats, they’re pretty neat. Crooked Cowboy & The Fresh Water Indians, Gram Rabbit, fucking great! They’re from Joshua Tree. They just put out their fourth record, they have a cult of the royal order or the rabbit and they’re desert space rock kind of stuff and Dan Kerrigan. It’s all really obscure but to me, it really needs to see the light of day.

KP: It’s been a good year for you because you had Appartment Bullshit. A Place To Bury Strangers, we call them apartment bullshit because one day, we were touring with them and we were reading an interview and the abbreviation was APTBS and our guitarist was like: what’s APTBS? Apartment bullshit?!!

You had BJM, BRMC. For us to make it to Europe is a miracle! It’s truly a dream that we had for a long time. We weren’t too sure how it was gonna happen. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club made it happen. They’re great guys, they write great songs. They have a great team, their production, their manager.

LG: What about the Dandies?

KP: The Dandies are awesome!

LG: Here, they are regarded as quite “mainstream”... to me, they are. They’re very radio-friendly.

KP: They write some good songs! Courtney is so good at writing a song. It makes me sick!

LG: Well, you’re not bad either! You’re not on the same page. He writes pop songs. You write cinematic music, there’s a hell of a difference. They both require different skills.

KP: I tried with older versions of Spindrift to do more pop-oriented material and it’s strange, you always kinda find your niche on what fits with you as an artist and sometimes it works with certain titles. You look at Picasso through his different phases of art, you could say: I’d be better at this stage or that stage or Van Gogh when he finally developed his craft, you know what made him the best. Every artist has a certain page.

Courtney writes pop songs very well. Maybe my thing is doing cinema, you know, because my idea of doing cinematic songs is that you can go anywhere with that.

I sing too when I write poetry.

LG: Because you can see the melody in words.

KP: Sometimes, you don’t need to talk about anything. There’s not enough instrumental work these days, sometimes there’s a good time to shut up. Instrumental stuff is the art of melody and the art of creating a song without lyrics.

LG: Yeah, you have to be really good to do without lyrics cos you must be able to squeeze all the metaphors and feelings into pure music.

KP: I mean, look at all the classical work, they’re all instrumental.

I mean, Morricone, you know! The Good, The Bad & the Ugly, the theme.

LG: It’s my dad’s favorite movie.

KP: It’s every dad’s favorite movie, that’s what’s so cool about it. What’s so cool about it, when we tour, when we go to play our music in weird cities, there can be young people or old people and they’ll still like what we do and they’ll say: oh yeah, I remember you in a movie… so it’s all good!

LG: What about your new material? Is there an evolution? Is it the same spirit?

KP: We’re more into genres of cult films like exploitation films, Bollywood, the big difference is that we changed the line up, so we’re writing new songs based on having new members and new instrumentation in the band. Currently, I can’t really say where it’s gonna go but I think it’s gonna go more atmospheric and spooky.

LG: Who’s your favorite director?

KP: Stanley Kubrick and Sergio Leone. I also like a guy called Carl Wieman, a Czech filmmaker who did early animation, he’s amazing! Very far ahead of his time.

LG: If you were to make a soundtrack for anyone, who would you pick, if you had to choose?

KP: It would be good to work with… I’ve already worked with Tarantino. We have a song in the movie Hell Ride. It’s a biker exploitation type movie that was directed by Larry Bishop and produced by Tarantino. They stuck Indian Run in there, which is great because the scene with Indian Run ends with Dennis Hopper. When I heard he died, I was like… the other night, we were in Stockholm and I said, ok, we’re playing Indian Run, the song with Dennis. Pop culture!

Sorry, I’ve had a blank. We’re working with Mike Bruce. He’s the legend of god’s gun. He’s working on his next movie called The Treasure Of The Black Jaguar.

LG: Very catchy name!

KP: We’re also working with a director named JF Williams. He’s like a really famous underground cult film maker.

LG: Finally, do you have a motto?

KP: Usually, we just say we come from the United States.

1 comment:

  1. this dudes inspiration to psych music was that shitty doors movie? geez...

    ReplyDelete