"SEBADOH: WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE"
Sebadoh at this point and time are: Lou Barlow and Jason Lowenstein. We start
off by asking about the departure of Sebadoh co-founder Eric Gaffney....
JASON: Eric developed a drinking problem and eventually we had to tell
him to cool it down because you can't spend your whole life covering for other
people! Eventually...shit, I dunno. Lou, youre more involved with the second
part of this.
LOU: Yeh, Eric's gone. We don't know if he's ever gonna play with us again. We have no idea - it's up to him.
CM: He's all the way over in Portland, Oregon, right?
LOU: Only a couple thousand miles away.
CM: Yeh, nothing insurmountable. Did he give you a reason?
LOU: He took off and didn't tell us but I just think he really needed to leave Northampton and needed a real change but unfortunately, he chose two weeks before our tour. Jason and I figured out something to do but we'd rather play with Eric.
CM: Let's talk about the band you were once in. Have you settled your accounts with J Mascis?
LOU: No, not at all.
CM: I had read in the Rollerderby interview that J still owes you money and SST owes him money!
LOU: Yeh, but SST pays him but he doesn't pay me.
CM: You said he pays you when he gets guilty consciences about it.
LOU: Yeh, well, he apparently hasn't felt very guilty recently. I don't know - it'll work itself out eventually.
CM: Did you hear any of the new LP?
CM: What did you think?
LOU: I thought there were three really good songs on it but it didn't occur to me that they were good songs until I had them pounded into my brain after I heard them seven or eight times on the radio. I think it's emasculated for the 'most part.
CM: What does "Sebadoh" mean?
CM: A friend of mine from Pittsburgh said it had to be an anagram for something and he came up with "Headsob."
LOU: No. Eric came up with the anagram "0 Hades" but he didn't use the letter "B" so it's not a true anagram but "Hades" is there somewhere so it's like "Hades B.0."
CM: You recently released the "Gimme Indie Rock" EP and you were in an honest-to-god studio. What was that like?
LOU: It was easy.
JASON: It was like finally getting a chance to say something to the crowd that would be most responsive. Working with Paul Kolderie, working on a song that was absolute genius!!...I've run out of sarcastic comments! (laughs)
CM: How's the EP doing?
LOU: I don't know - it's supposed to be huge. It's a monster novelty-rock classic. Who kno a if it will actually becomes that?
CM: On the insert in the EP it says "Lou takes...'
LOU: '.. . Sole responsibility or the lyrics.'. Eric, didn't want to have any involvement in the lyrics because I mention names and stuff.
CM: Why did you redo 'Ride The darker Wave"?
LOU: To do it electrically. Just to rock it out. That's the core of what we've been doing recently as an electric outfit. It seemed to fit with "Indie Rock" thematically.
CM: Is this a proper tour you'r on?
LOU: Yeh, two weeks. We're going as far south as Charlotte, North carolina, as far west as Minneapolis and Columbia, MD.
CM: Do you think it will be dif icult to do as a two-piece?
LOU: No. It might be freaky the first few days but we really have no choice but to love it . We like it anyway. It's something we've never done and no one's ever seen us do it, thats the good thing about it. We would rather be with Eric but we couldn't cancel the whole tour.
CM: Is this the first show tonight?
CM: you haven't been on the road in a long time.
LOU: Two years. Exactly two years. I'm looking forward to it. Jason's never been on the road and he's a fun guy and I'm ar OK guy. We'll go out and meet alot of people. We're supposed to play with Fugazi - I've never seen Fugazi.
CM: That'll be cool - Beat Happening tour with them quite often.
LOU: yeh, I get to meet Ian Mac Kaye.
CM: Are you going to do "Minor Threat?"
LOU: No but we're doing "Reject" by the Necros.
CM: Jason, how did you get involved with this band?
JASON: A few years ago I went to Main Street Records (in Northampton, MA), saw the tape with the naked woman on it and bought it just for the "breast value", I think. This is the original tape of "The Freed Man." After six months I met Eric. Kinda weaseled my way in to the situation until Lou was offically out of Dinosaur and Eric came up with the idea to put together a band. And I said I'll do anything - I can play a little bit of every instrument so whatever you need I'll do it."
CM: So what do you do in your spare time when you're not on the road as Sebadoh? I know Lou' lives at home with his girlfriend - does she support you?
LOU: yeh, she's currently supporting me while I'm waiting fo money from mysterious sources. (laughs)
JASON: I just work on my 'VW bus - every minute of my spare time.
CM What are you driving for the tour?
JASON: We have a rental car that's exactly' the same make as Lou's car anyway.
L0U: It's really funny.. but my car wouldn't have made it anyway.
CM: So you're the road crew and everything.
LOU: Yeh, but we don't have that much stuff.
CM: What are you taking on tour with you?
JASON: We just have a bass amp which has a Radio Shack P.A. head and a little Roland amp for Lou. Basically that's it and we stamp on tambourines.
CM: Where do you live in Boston?
LOU: Somerville. It's outside Boston - a real residential area outside Boston. It's densely packed with two and three- family homes. It's OK, I really don't go out such. It's safe. Some people call it "Slummerville" but I think it's OK.
CM: you've got a new Lp in the works? What's its title?
LOU: "Sebadoh III". The cover's a very blurred black and white photograph. It's one of the first photographs Eric ever took when he was little.
CM: What type of music can we expect from it?
LOU: Every type that we're capable of playing but not like, "Well, here's our funk song and here's our folk song." It's just every facet of our power is exercised to its fullest on the record.
CM: Is it going to be really short songs like the last two LPs?
LOU: No, the songs are two and three minutes long. There's one that's seven-and-a-half minutes long. The songs are a lot longer. We all contribute songs to it. There's a lot of electric stuff - a lot of 4-track stuff. It's a really balanced LP. This one is truly a group effort.
CM: Mow well did the other two LPs sell?
LOU: Not too well. The CD sold almost 2,000 copies.
CM: On the first Lp, who's that yelling about "I think everybody in the world should be in a band"?
LOU: It was a really young, 13 or 14 year old punk rock kid and Eric was interviewing him because Eric used to have a hardcore fanzine called "Withdr~ awl" and was interviewing this kid who was expounding all this hardcore optimism.
CM: And who answered him "Yeh, that'd be wicked"?
LOU: That was another kid from the band. And those guys fought in Panama. They eventually hated hardcore, started listening to Hank Williams Jr. and joined the Marines., SO that's a pretty good punk rock story.
CM: Who's the kid doing "The Louie Barlow Show"?
LOU: That's me when I wam really, really little - 8 or 9. When I lived in Michigan.
CM: Who's the old woman yelling at you on the second side of "The Freed Man"?
LOU:- I used to he an orderly at a nursing home and I taped everybody and she's this woman who hated me - just hated me! And I used to tape her.
CM: That's where you recorded the piece in the middle of "In A Jar", right?
LOU: Yeh, that was a guy who was being washed in a swirling bath and was senile so he was Convinced he was dying so he was screaming so I exploited it to its fullest and put it in a song.
CM: You've done a lot of work before in nursing homes. Does that take a lot of patience?
LOU: Yeh. It seemed like it was the most interesting job I could get and I hate working so I figured if I had to work, I'd work an interesting job. A job that tests my limits and that's the job I took. I would work in a nursing home until Dinosaur went on tour and then I'd quit and then get another job until we went on tour again and then I'd quit so I never had the prospect of working that job for the rest of my life which I don't think I could ever do.
CM: It must have been an intense, demanding job.
LOU: Yeh, I don't know if I could do -it again. It's depressing. A lot of Alzheimer's disease patients which is the scariest disease - it's just really horrible. It's pretty dismal.
CM: Did it make you contemplate you own life?
LOU: Of course! You couldn't walk in there without Contemplating your own mortality.
CM: DO you get a lot of mail?
LOU: I've been getting a lot of mail. (laughs) No one else sees it 'cause I get it!
CM: What types of mail?
LOU: Mostly all guys. Some people attack this religious angle. Some people are just obviously only motivated by love of Dinosaur. It's interesting. I get a lot of good mail.
CM: Do you get girls sending their underpants to Jason?
LOU: No. No one knows about him yet, that's the beauty of our third LP.
CM: Do you get people telling you the story of their lives?
LOU: Some do. That's kinds scary. Just recently since I did that Rollerderby interview, people have been writing me, "Oh, so nobody writes you! Well, here, I'll write you!" My volume of mail picked up by about three times. I don't know how long I'm gonna keep up constant correspondence with people because it gets overwhelming. Hopefully the third LP will spawn a whole group of people to write us. But mostly the mail's been sent to me and it's been people who were really into Dinosaur Jr. who were also into Sebadoh.
SEBADOH c/o 74 Glenwood Road; Somerville, MA 02145
(This address is long since vacated and is only included for
CM: What do you think when you're playing?
LOU: Well, I enjoy playing music. I'd like to do this for the rest of my life. I figure when everybody hates it to go on from there. It works out airight. I'm never disillusioned by it. I have a good time - I think Jason has a good time.
CM: (to Jason): What do you think of when you play out? Do you think, "Wow, Lou Barlow! This is my big chance for fame and fortune and girls and blowjobs!!I"
JASON: Well, that's why I joined the band.
CM: Do you guys involve yourself with a lot of twisted sex?
JASON: Only when we're with Chuck Ondras! He'll inspire anybody to party and have sex with animals and whatever. He introduced me to the drug scene in the Village when we first played New York. Pretty interesting - he narrated the whole scene as we went out to try to score. I'd never seen that before! It was pretty fun.
(Talk turns to the virtues of various New Zealand bands and how great the second Slint LP is)
CM: What did you think about Murph and J auditioning for a bassist via MTV's "120 Minutes"?
LOU: Sort of pathetic but sort of perfect. I think it's kinda funny. They look kinda dopey and fat on TV (laughs). They always have been, they always will be! They'll just get bald and fat and be musicians. That's their whole trip!
CM: Did they ever find anyone?
LOU: Yeh, they did! I think Jason met his...
JASON: I think the whole thing was kind of a dirty trick because they advertised on TV with this fax number and they ended up taking someone they kinda knew anyway! They took a friend of Megan's, right?
LOU: Did they?
JASON: So all these young hopefuls from Kansas hopping in their cars and driving to New York City for an audition and they had found someone anyway! I wish they had taken me but they got someone who's taller.
LOU: There was a rumor that Jason was gonna try out for Dinosaur - that was pretty funny. (laughter)
CM: Speaking of "120 Minutes", is Sebedoh going to work on a video for the new LP?
LOU: (laughing) I don't think so!
JASON: Only if Jim (unintelligible) will do it.
LOU: If we had some sort of budget!. You can't get anything from Homestead. But they paid for the new LP and stuff. We only spent $1300 on the new LP for 23 songs, 63 minutes - just CD and cassette. No vinyl. They're just not doing vinyl because our last IP sold only 400 copies on vinyl. vinyl is dead for Sebsdoh. I don't really care. I have a CO player but music is music, no matter what form it comes on.
CM: Are there any covers on this LP?
LOU: Yeh, there's two. "Wonderful, wonderful" by Johnny Mathis and...
JASON:...and "Sickles and Hammers" by the Minutemen.
CM: If you had a dime for every time you were asked why you were thrown out of Dinosaur, how rich would you be?
LOU: I would have probably... $56. No, actually, probably less than that! Probably more like $10 because no one's really asked me that much.
JASON: I ask him everv day' (laughs)
CM: Any European tours planned?
LOU: We might go to Europe with Bastro but I don't know if that's gonna go through but if it does, Eric will mIraculously come to his senses and play with us again or we'll find somebody else to do something.
CM: What are some countries you'd like to play?
LOU: Russia, I guess.
CM: How about South America? Brazil?
JASON: El Salvador!! I'd like to do some gigs in El Salvador!
LOU: We'll be at the next "Rock in Rio festival!
CM: You'd be on the same bill with Sepultura!
LOU: "Simple Tuna"?
CM: Sepultura - they're the Brazilian equivalent of Slayer!
LOU: They're from Brazil? There was this band from Brazil that was on one of the Maximum Rock 'n' Roll hardcore compilations.
LOU: No, Olho Seco! (sings) "Nada! Nada! Nada!" Ovoom, dvoom, dvoom. "Nada! Nada! Medal" Ovoom, dvooa, dvoo.! I thought that was really hot.
CM: Yeh, they're one of the original hardcore bands from Brazil.
LOU: But no indie band tours there and we're in the basement of indie bands!!
CM: Besides your girlfriend, who's your ideal woman?
LOU:Wow, I don't know...(flustered)...Jason!
JASON: And Lou's my ideal dog! (laughter all around)