Tag Archives: Riot Fest

Ep. #125: John Reis of Drive Like Jehu

John Reis is a fantastic guitarist and songwriter based in San Diego California. Over the past 25 years he has played in remarkable and influential bands like Pitchfork, Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Sultans, and the Night Marchers among others, and he also started a cool label called Swami Records. One of his most significant bands was Drive Like Jehu who stopped playing together shortly after releasing their second album, Yank Crime, in 1994. Earlier this week the band, including singer/guitarist Rick Froberg, bassist Mike Kennedy, and drummer Mark Trombino, announced they would be playing a single, free show at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park on August 31, accompanied by civic organist Dr. Carol Williams. Here, John and I talk about making pancakes, the comings and goings of the sun, why Drive Like Jehu is getting back together to play a single show, collaborating with the Spreckels Pipe Organ, how his friend Dang is on the board of directors for the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, sonic energy and jamming with Godzilla, how organs fit into the music of Drive Like Jehu, trash cans, how this reunion show has nothing to do with any historical landmarks beyond this organ, how Drive Like Jehu never ever broke up, the circumstantial reasons why Drive Like Jehu stopped playing together, why John thinks of himself mostly as a guitar player, how people seemed more stoked about the band after they went away, how Drive Like Jehu started after Pitchfork stopped playing together, Mike Kennedy and Mark Trombino’s band Night Soil Man, getting Rick to play with John, Mike, and Mark, having a small fanbase, the forthcoming Drive Like Jehu/Megadeth Megatour, playing with the organ, when Drive Like Jehu will actually practice together for the first time in 20 years, five songs in 30 minutes, no one knows what’s going to happen at this show, “Louie Louie,” never say never, turning people on with an organ, documenting this one Drive Like Jehu show, what’s up with new Hot Snakes songs and shows, when Rocket From the Crypt played Riot Fest in Toronto, the Rick Froberg Hot Snakes challenge, the John Reis Hot Snakes challenge, a Drive Like Jehu medley, the songs “Bullet Train to Vegas,” “Luau,” “Do You Compute,” and “Caress,” and then it was time to turn it off.

Related links: drive-like-jehu.com swamirecords.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #36: Lou Barlow

Lou Barlow is one of the most influential and inspiring figures in American underground rock music. A co-founder of the ever-vital Dinosaur Jr., Barlow went on to front the raw and powerful Sebadoh and its various offshoots, as well as the Folk Implosion, all of which led many to view him as a pioneer of no-frills, lo-fi recording and gritty, emotive, honest, punk rock songwriting. After some solo work, collaborating with others, and reuniting with Dinosaur Jr., Barlow began working with Jason Loewenstein and Bob D’Amico again and, if they ever really left, Sebadoh is now back with Defend Yourself, an excellent album out on Joyful Noise and their first in 14 years. The band’s upcoming tour includes November stops at Montreal’s Il Motore on Nov. 5, London’s Call the Office on Nov. 6, Hamilton’s Casbah on Nov. 7, and Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on Nov. 8. During our chat, Lou and I talked about seeing the Replacements and Iggy and the Stooges at Riot Fest recently, zombie bands, whether or not he’s actually a “pioneer,” the evolution of underground music, the joys of social media, the end of marriage, songwriting as a mnemonic device, Defend Yourself, why bands should do almost everything themselves, and more.

Related links: sebadoh.com joyfulnoiserecordings.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #26: James Williamson of Iggy and the Stooges

James Williamson is a legendary guitarist, best known for his role in the hugely influential proto-punk band, Iggy and the Stooges from Detroit, Michigan. 1973 saw the release of the band’s classic album, Raw Power, featuring a rather unprecedented combination of guitar pyrotechnics and sensitivity by Williamson that few had ever achieved up to that point. When the band broke up, Williamson worked a bit with Iggy Pop and on his own solo ventures before giving up music all together to pursue an electrical engineering degree at California State Polytechnic University and eventually a career in his field, working for Sony. In fact, on September 28 he will give the keynote talk at the C2SV Technology Conference and Music Festival in Silicon Valley and, in February, he’ll be inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame. After retiring from Sony in 2009 Williamson reunited with Iggy and the Stooges and, earlier this year, they released Ready to Die, their first album together under that moniker in 40 years. The band is part of the Riot Fest tour, which makes a stop in Toronto Sunday August 25. Here, Williamson discusses his engineering career, his guitar sound, working with Iggy Pop again, why The Weirdness might be weird, why he’s pleased with Ready to Die, and why the Replacements really shouldn’t be playing right after Iggy and the Stooges in Toronto.

Related links: iggyandthestoogesmusic.com fatpossum.com vishkhanna.com

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