“You Gotta Let Us Be Humans”: Cedric Bixler-Zavala on At the Drive-In’s New Album

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Would you say it’s a political record or simply a reaction to the times?
I think it’s a reaction to the times. It’s done what I’ve always done. I’ve called myself the court jester of the band. I’ll give you a bunch of fucking riddles and they’re not always going to be so immediately-in-front-of-your-face. There’s going to be a lot of word associations, there’s going to be a lot of combinations of words that will paint images that will come back to haunt you later and [you’ll] go, “Maybe he means this or maybe he doesn’t mean that.”

To this day, I still think about what an “ecto-mimed bison” could be [from The Mars Volta’s “The Haunt of Roulette Dares”].
[Laughs] I mean, I can break that down for you, but it’d be so stupid! It’s the ghost of something extinct haunting you, you know? And now that I say that, like, why didn’t I just say it that way? No, I’m not going to say it that way! I’ve had a grip of art school teachers invalidate me as a kid. If I don’t say it like I say it, it’s like coloring within the lines.

When did the band decide to write new music? You were shutting down rumors until last January’s announcement about a new tour and new music.
We just wanted to make sure that it came out right, we wanted to make sure that everyone was down to do it, and we wanted to make sure that it didn’t come off half-cocked. It takes a lot of planning to do something that you hadn’t done together in 17 years. You’re figuring out if it can be done, you’re figuring out what does the band remember that they liked, what are we trying to say, what are we trying to do, and it takes time — since 2012 actually! Some of those songs from 2012 ended up on the record. It’s a human quality that people perceive which, naively and romantically, I think that’s what people like about the band. We’re not pushing spacebars and we’re not a Las Vegas act. If we have a bad show, you’re going to see it. If we have a bad song, you’re going to fucking hear it — but you gotta let us be humans.

Read more at LA Weekly Music.

Two Bands = Two Interviews: Enjambre and Rodrigo y Gabriela

It’s only the second week of the new year and already there have been a number of huge announcements/developments in the music world. Goldenvoice announced the Coachella 2012 lineup, a little-known rock group reunited, and Remezcla published two of my interviews:

Q&A: Enjambre, One more Album before the End of the World

Was the music scene going off there during that time?

Luis: Oh yeah, it still is. There’s a scene for anything. It’s the biggest city in the world and there’s all kinds of people so…we got there and people, when we got on stage, we were opening for this well-known band called San Pascualito Rey and everyone was yelling “Pascual! Pascual!” They wanted us to get off the stage and at the end of our set, they were yelling “Otra! Otra!” Going from “get off the stage” to asking for an encore was really interesting and everywhere we would play, it would be like that. People didn’t really know who we were but they started liking it. We’re like “well, if we keep doing this for a longer period of time then we can build it up and probably do this for a little longer.”

Julian: Also, we’re a band that sings in Spanish.

Rafa: The main music industry is still in Mexico City. Even Spanish or Argentine artists always want to go to Mexico and work their way out of there. It makes total sense for us to be there right now. It’s like for movies, it’d be Hollywood or for theater, it’s New York.

Enjambre at Indie 103.1's Sala De Espera program

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Q&A: Rodrigo Y Gabriela Reinvent Old Favorites With Area 52

It’s refreshing to hear these songs we already know, and suddenly there‘s a sitar solo in the middle. It’s like, “Whoa, what is this?!”

Exactly, I had to! I wasn’t going to play them the same. No way. It was a very different process for both of us to play the solos. I come from the rock side so I normally make the solos and then, once I nail them, I record them. For this album, it was very much on the spot. I was with my engineer and we had already gone to Cuba and had all the background music so it was literally playing around and saying, “Ok, I like this take here.” It was pretty much like that. That’s why I don’t even remember what I did but I listened to it and I really liked it.

Yeah, the introduction to “Anuman” is totally different.

I hope people understand that this is not our new direction but, I think it’s an interesting enough project to support, play a few shows with and we hope people enjoy it as much as we did. When I listen to the album now, for me, it’s like a different band. It’s not like listening to my own albums because I don’t even do that. I don’t go back and listen to the new albums because I’m very judgmental with what we did and I want to change things here and there. For this album, I can just go back, relax and listen to it. There are so many things going on and so many musicians on there that I’m not focused on what I’m doing so I really enjoy listening to it, which is a good thing.

Henry Rollins turns 50: A Brief Guide to Kicking Ass at Everything in Life

Henry Rollins has hit the point in every artist’s/icon’s career where his name becomes an adjective. His contributions to music, politics and entertainment are many and could fill up a multi-volume book. Considering this vast and intimidating mountain of work, I present below a (very) brief summary of his life for those who are just now getting acquainted and want to know what all the fuss is about.

Henry Rollins. Photo by Shawn Mortensen

Continue reading “Henry Rollins turns 50: A Brief Guide to Kicking Ass at Everything in Life”