Date: Fri, 23 May 1997
Subject: News from the Chicago Interview
As I posted the other day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn at the House of Blues here in Chicago. Here's some of what I found out. Now, this isn't going to be quotes because I don't have a copy of the interview yet (the bloke that runs the TV show, Brian, has it) and then after the interview proper I asked Robyn if I could just ask some questions. He was very keen to answer stuff, but this wasn't on tape AT ALL, so we'll never have real quotes on it.
That said, here's the scoop...
Aside from the Demme film project which will have a few new songs on it, Robyn is going to stay in Seattle after this leg of the tour and record new songs for the next album. When asked if these would be demos, he said, "Demos always come out better then the final "studio" version, so no, they won't be demos- they'll be what ends up on the album." He also suggested that this project would include other players like Peter Buck and Scott McCaughy. In his words (somewhat), "It's going to be a bunch of "men"standing up on their hind legs and banging out some "rawk" tunes. Very much a testosterone injected undertaking."
This concept came off as being very vague and open to change (remember the "sit around a table with a microphone in a bowl of fruit" idea behind Respect?), but it sounds great, doesn't it?
Robyn seems to really enjoy playing off of other musicians, doesn't he? I base this on his level of animation when Denni and Tim joined him on stage. I think that with disbanding the Egyptians he still finds the need to bounce ideas off of people, but now it isn't the same people. I find this approach VERY refreshing and hope that he continues to pull in new folks to play with here and there.
Q: Did you have a hand in editing Storefront Hitchcock?
A: Yes. He and Michelle "waded" through all of the footage and "vetoed" things they didn't like and "lobbied" for things they did like. Then Jonathan had his say. In the end, some songs Robyn wanted in got left out due to Jonathan looking at songs from a "visual" angle instead of a musical angle. Robyn didn't seem too offended by this- simply a comment. I didn't get a straight answer as to whether or not the whole film was "in the can" yet, but reading between the lines it seemed as if it was or at least conceptually mapped out to the fullest.
Q: Has he heard the live version of "Chinese Bone" by Suzanne Vega and the Dead?
A: Yes. His impression is that Suzanne and Phil Lesh were the only ones who really knew the song, and that the rest of the band were off somewhere else. He has no idea how they came to do the song. He also expressed sadness at Jerry's passing and said they had discussed doing something together musically, but now he's dead. Bob Wier, on the other hand, has been in contact with Robyn and they may do something at some time, but nothing is set.
Q: What happened with the Fantagraphics comic project?
A: He wrote the story and then decided he should illustrate it but never got around to it. He said he probably should do it, but that he probably won't.
Q: There's a rumor you've been asked to do a song for a Nick Drake tribute.
A: Yeah, but it hasn't come to be. He also wasn't sure what song he'd do, but he thought it would be cool to do one. He also mentioned that he had done three Incredible String Band covers for a proposed tribute album, but that he was the only one interested or who had heard of them!
Q: Who do you prefer- Ray Davies or Brian Wilson?
A: Davies, obviously. Andy and Morris were the Wilson fans, and Robyn never quite understood it.
A few observational notes:
1) Robyn ordered food while we spoke. When it arrived, he offered me some of his calamari. How do you say no to eating SQUID with Robyn??? :)
2) He asked Tim, "How are the prawns?" How do you choke down the goofy Bevis and Butthead" snicker??? <Heh, heh... he said "prawns"... heh, heh>
3) He asked if I was a part of Fegmaniax, and I admitted being guity. I told him that of the several newsgroups I'm on, this one had little to no, "Robyn rocks" comments like most others and that we have lots of discussions that aren't about him. He seemed to like that about us and said, "Oh, good- so you develop relationships and find other things to discuss." He seemed happy that we find other stuff to relate to each other about, that our interests are varried, and that we have opinions about things other then him. He also said he is NOT on-line and that he will be the last one to do so because he is afraid of computers, but he's glad it exists and that folks are exchanging ideas.
God, I'm going to think of LOTS more of these later. If you all want to hear them I'll post them, but I don't want to bore you with a ton of, "Oh yeah, and this" types of posts.
That's all for now. I'll transcribe the interview when I get it if there is interest. Sorry I couldn't get to all of the questions sent in, but 1) I didn't get them all in time (there were some good ones too, damn it!) and 2) there simply wasn't enough time to get them all in. It was a very informal conversation after the camera was turned off, and that was part of the fun of it.
Also sorry I didn't give credit to those who provided the questions, but I deleted them after writing them down (stupid me). You all deserve credit for them, so step up and take it- and the rest of you Fegs allow folks to do so without feeling "creepy" OK?
I love you guys <choke, sob>. This really is a great list we should all be proud of.
Blinking On And Off,
P.S. Robyn is one of the friendliest guys you could care to meet. A total pleasure and very comfortable to talk to. It makes you glad you're a fan.
P.P.S. Robyn rocks! ;)
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