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LEVITATION 2016 CANCELED

Levitation - Logo by Justin Jackley - Liquid light courtesy of Drippy Eye Projections.

On Thursday, April 28th, just after 5 pm the news began to spread like wild fire – LEVITATION CANCELED!  Less than 24 hours before the Austin festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) in its ninth year was set to begin and it was over.  Thousands of people that were on their way to Austin or had already arrived received the news like a punch to the stomach.  Thousands of people from all over the world that had driven, hitch-hiked, walked or flown hundreds to thousands of miles to see this amazing line-up now found themselves in quite a predicament.  The festival was canceled.  Not delayed.  Not postponed.  It was full on canceled and tickets would be refunded in a month or so.  The official reason for the cancelation was due to “dangerous weather conditions”.  In anticipation of a series of thunder storms expected Friday evening, Travis County Officials and promoters of Levitation made the decision that the festival must be canceled and Carson Creek Ranch, which crews had been working around the clock to set up all week, would have to be evacuated and all stages, equipment, and tents would have to be removed.  What this meant was that even if the weather cleared up for Saturday and Sunday, which it did, the event could not go on as scheduled because a week worth of work had been disassembled and could not be put back together in time and still do the festival justice – not to mention that the ranch had become a mud pit by Saturday morning.  Anton Newcombe eloquently summed up the situation on his prolific Twitter account: “This is just depressing – nobody wanted to play this years @LEVITATION more than me – I wanted to see @Dungen& @slowdiveband #bummer”

Thursday night’s pre-parties to be held at three different venues located in a two block radius in downtown Austin still went on as planned – although it was no longer “free with Levitation wristband” as these were set to be refunded.  I hadn’t planned on attending any of these shows but as it appeared like this may have been my only opportunity to see any part of Levitation (at the time), I dropped everything and headed downtown.  Pre-party bands included The Golden Dawn Arkestra, Night Beats, Hollow Trees, Ringo Deathstarr, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Mystic Braves, and many others.  One of the highlights for me was seeing Burger Records’ Death Valley Girls play at Barracuda.  The Death Valley Girls are a Los Angeles based psych-punk-bubble-gum-surf-goth band that looked like a cross between the Bride of Count Chocula (complete with black pleather capes) and Warpaint.  They put on an energetic show with catchy punk chords, reverby goodness, and shrieked vocals.  The lead singer, Bonnie Bloomgarden, repeatedly invoked the power of Seitan [the delicious wheat gluten meat substitute so popular with the vegan community] for six or seven minutes before beginning to play and then again for two or three minutes between each song.  Hailing Seitan, blaming Seitan for canceling the festival, and accusing an old man in a sailor cap for bringing Seitan with him and thus causing the cancelation of the concert.  She also informed us that she lives on a diet consisting entirely of Seitan, tequila, and weed.  She reminded us in her baby-doll-occult voice that “We are not concert.  You are all concert.  We are not concert but you are concert.  Open your homes for concert.  Seitan!” as well as an assortment of other indecipherable stream of consciousness musings.  It was a fun smoky night wrapped in beautiful light projections with frantic arrhythmic dancing and closed-eye head nodding.  Although, the uncertainty and doubt of the future of the weekend hung dankly overly the crowd like an ominous rain cloud – much like the very literal ominous clouds that hung grimly over the city for most of Thursday and Friday.

Musicians and fans alike found themselves drenched in disappointment which grew into feelings that ranged from optimistic acceptance to annoyance to outright rage – as clearly evident on social media where people were openly hostile and highly insulting to the festival, the promoters, and even some bands.  In an attempt to alleviate the situation, many bands quickly managed to book shows at local indoor venues selling tickets for $5 to $10 each under the guise of some sort of “flood relief fund”.  The sale of tickets to these shows that were held in various low occupancy clubs around Austin bogged down internet servers and were reportedly sold out in minutes.  Some of these tickets were bought by Levitators that were relieved that they would at least get to see a couple of the bands they came so far to see.  The rest of the tickets seemed to go to scalpers that turned around and price gouged the hell out of these tickets for anywhere from $30 to $100 more than face value (actually, I see one Animal Collective ticket for $200 on craigslist!).  This further enraged the masses that didn’t even have a fair chance to get into their favorite shows.  Many people spent the evenings listening from sidewalks, peeking through the slats of fences, or climbing trees and construction equipment trying to catch a glimpse of the performers.  Many performers did not even attempt make things right and play even one show – they simply picked up their paycheck and went home.  Brian Wilson, that was scheduled to play the entirety of his 50-year-old magnum opus, Pet Sounds, was nowhere to be seen or heard from – not in person nor on social media.  Sunday headliners Ween posted on facebook and twitter “We are sad to report that LEVITATION has been cancelled. Please visit http://levitation-austin.com/  for more...” and seemingly left town as well.  Flying Lotus and other electronic and “non-psychedelic” performers disappeared with little or no comment to fans…

Levitation Canceled?!

In spite of all the disappointment at the festivals cancellation, we should really honor those musicians that stuck around to perform for their fans.  Even though the shows were spread all over Austin and difficult to get into and completely impossible to see all of them – we should appreciate those musicians that stayed in town and didn’t abandon a sinking ship.  Notable groups that threw together last minute shows include APF veterans The Brian Jonestown Massacre playing with Slowdive, Dungen with Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, The Black Angels and Allah Las, Asteroid #4 and Federale, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard played several shows with various bands, and the Doom-tastic showcase consisting of Boris, SunnO))), and Sleep playing at the Mohawk on Saturday night (the only show that I regret missing).

In the midst of Levitation cancellation and the succeeding make-up shows popping up around Austin, Swedish rockers Dungen took the time to have fika [the traditional Swedish coffee break] with It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine and discuss the festival, life, and psych before having to rush off to perform live on the radio for KUTX.  I met with Dungen (pronounced doong-yen) at a local coffee shop with a flask of whiskey to take the edge off and allay my anxieties of conducting my first interview ever.  Dungen, made up of front man and multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes, guitarist Reine Fiske, Mattias Gustavsson on bass, and drummer Johan Holmegardwere all equally as down-to-earth and friendly as they are talented musicians.  I was honored to sit down and talk with them while they were in Austin.

Dungen.

We are here with Dungen in Austin, Texas on what should be the first day of the Levitation Festival. Thank you guys for meeting up with me.

For sure.  

So, the festival is canceled.  Huge bummer and disappointment for everyone involved.  All this rain we are getting! [it is not raining]

Since we got here, we’ve seen no rain.  A few drops an hour ago.  I don’t know if it’s been decided yet but I think we play Empire [Control Room] tonight with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.  It’s going to be nice.  I feel like we need to be thinking positive.  

Dungen playing Empire Control Room.

With the cancellation of the festival, are there any specific bands that you are disappointed to miss?

It would have been nice to see Brian Wilson. And Brian Jonestown Massacre. And Melody's Echo Chamber.

Are you willing to return to next year’s festival if you are available to do so and Levitation sends an invite?

Of course! I keep reading all these comments by frustrated ticket holders blaming the people behind Levitation for this situation. It's just silly! Had they not cancelled, the same people would be accusing them for putting people at risk by NOT cancelling, as they had been swimming around in their tents. I've even read people demanding they should have had a fully formed plan B. They have obviously never arranged anything of this size and complexity themselves and should just shut the fuck up. Levitation rules!

Are you guys just in town for Levitation or are you making other stops around the US?

No, we have a tour.  We begin with this but we landed in LA yesterday.  We had to wait 5 hours waiting for the flight to get us over here.  Stockholm to LA was 11 hours then we waited at the airport for 5 hours.  Then we sat on the plane to take us here another 3 hours.  So, we slept for like 1 hour each.  Yesterday we heard Levitation was canceled and said – okay, we can stay in LA for three days and continue from there.  But we convinced ourselves to go here.  

What other cities will you be visiting while you are here?

Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle… [also Minneapolis, Madison, and Chicago]

The first album of yours I heard was “Ta DetLugnt” – a really great psychedelic album!  The cover artwork is also really nice and very fitting.  Who created it and have they done any other artwork for you?

That cover is old Swedish folk art. It was put together by Stefan Kery of our old record label Subliminal sounds. He also put together the cover for the album 4.

You guys were part of Levitation France not too long ago.  How was that?

It was great!  We met Anton from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Melody’s Echo Chamber.  They are friends of ours.  It’s cool that festival is concentrating on that kind of music.

Overall, it seems to be going well for the festival.  They are spreading.  They are also doing the Levitation Vancouver up in Canada.  It seems like they are really starting to diversify in the acts that they include as well.

Yeah, they only have so many psych bands if they are going to have a continuing festival.  Over five or six years you are going to have to do the same lineup again.  

That’s true.  They are already in a lot of repeats but that can be a good thing also.

What is psych anyway?

That’s a good question.  You guys have an answer for that?

Early Pink Floyd.  That’s like the creator of psych.  The godfather.  It could be anything actually.
Yeah, it’s a Smurf word.  “Let’s go psych in the forest.  But I want to psych in the river!”
And there’s different things.  Like psychedelic pop, or psychedelic rock, or psychedelic jazz, psychedelic bebop or whatever you wanted.  It’s not like a music style itself, it’s like a way to play music.  

Do you guys categorize yourselves as psych, or psych jazz, or something else?

Depending on… well, people want to know what it is and as human beings want to know what it is that they have and what they get but if you have to explain it I would definitely define it as more psychedelic music rather than… I don’t know, it depends on who you are talking to.
It’s spiritual music – that’s psychedelic music isn’t it?  

You mentioned Pink Floyd.  What are some other big influences on you guys musically?

So many.  I mean there were bands that were around in the ‘60s and bands from the ‘90s. We don’t sound like bands from the ‘60s but there was this lineage.   We were all big record nerds.  Check out our Spotify lists that we do when we travel.  It would take like every song that we pass around and have everything from jazz, to electronic, and Disney soundtracks.  Different moods and different music.  But it’s definitely apparent the psych tradition.  Sometimes it’s this amazing Swedish psych stuff that came out in the late ‘60s that are one of the cornerstones of this band.  I go into scratching and turntable-ism.  And then Johan you are a jazz freak.  I love many different genres.  But it’s mostly what mood I am in and you know sometimes you get tired and you say “can you please feed me with some new music?”  Bibio!  Bibio was a thing that I never heard and I don’t know about music that is quite new but that’s really mind blowing - Bibio’s “Dye the Water Green”.  Many records.  Together we have enough records to fill a record store.  

In Sweden right now, are people mostly buying vinyl or are CDs still around?

No CDs.  Young people buy vinyl and download.  I remember when the sort of death was coming to the vinyl market.  Those were the happy days when you could buy super great albums so cheap.  I remember one day I bought the whole Tom Waits catalogue just walking around and paid maybe $5 each back when nobody wanted the vinyl stuff.  I love those days.  But vinyl would never go away.  It’s like books.  Nobody will ever stop buying books.  Like having an old amazing album that sort of changed you’re your whole perspective on music and to have that original pressing.  Like when you record in digital and you have files and you can work for three days and the computer says “file not found”.  Where is the recording?!

I love the fact that all of the vocals are in Swedish.  As someone that doesn’t speak/understand Swedish I still find it a beautiful language and love listening to it.  I may be missing the meaning in lyrics but I still appreciate it for the sound and the way it fits with the music.  A lot of bands tend to sing in English – I suppose someone convinced them it was more “marketable” to the masses.  Have you always stuck with singing mostly in Swedish and has anybody ever tried to convince you to have more English songs?

Yes, the Dungen music will most likely always be sung in Swedish. And yes, every now and then people tell us to start making music in English. They are all English speaking of course. We have never got that request from any Asians, Europeans or Latin Americans. You figure that out yourself.

Your eighth album “AllasSak” came out last year on Kemado Records / Mexican Summer.  Do you have any plans for your next album or are you focusing on touring, family, or something else?

Yes, we have a number of albums in the works. We will just have to see if our label will be able to keep up with us. 

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with us.  I hope you still enjoy your time in Austin even though it didn’t go as planned.  Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Take it easy, but take it. 

The guys from Dungen were also kind enough to put my wife and myself on the guest list of the extremely sold out and highly coveted show they were playing with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats at Empire Control Room.  I had already accepted the fact that I would not be able to see any more shows and was just satisfied that I got to interview them earlier that day when I got the email that said my name was on the list.  We immediately rushed downtown to the crowded sidewalk covered in fans with tickets and many more without tickets.  Dungen put on an amazing set of melodic psychedelia touching on tracks from their whole catalogue including their latest album “AllasSak” and their 2004 album “Ta detlugnt” – notably playing the instantly recognizable opening track “Panda”.  The stage was placed in a swelteringly hot cloud of humidity in the back of the venue.  The crowd did their best to ignore the heat and dance to the beat while dripping with sweat – their own and that of others.  Dungen was followed by headliners Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats blaring out heavy riffs to a grateful crowd of lucky ticket holders.  The British band flew a long way to play one show at Levitation and then fly back to Europe to tour Spain and Greece in May.  It’s really a shame that they had to play such a small venue and thousands of people did not get to see them perform.  I hope that we were able to return the energy and enthusiasm that the Deadbeats deserved for their solid performance.  They will continue touring Europe until they return to the US in August for the Psycho Fest in Las Vegas.

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

By Saturday morning and through great acts of perseverance and many emails, texts, and phone calls, I was able to re-arrange an interview with the legendary musician and artist Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.  I was actually scheduled to interview him at the festival Friday but that was canceled along with the festivities.  To my great honor, Anton’s manager Ted Garner told me that of the nine interviews scheduled for Friday that I am the only person who persistently followed up and made it happen.  I showed up at BJM’s hotel around 11:30 am with a bag full of Torchy’s Tacos and a face full of anxiety with star-struck eyes.  Anton invited me onto the tour bus (BussieMcBusface the big black tour bus!) and I handed out tacos to the band members and crew.  I was more than happy to see Joel Gion’s smiling face and he was glad that the taco delivery boy had arrived.  Anton beckoned me to a private room in the back of the bus where I would nervously attempt to conduct an interview with a man that I greatly admire and fear all at the same time…


Here we are with Anton Newcombe from The Brian Jonestown Massacre.  How are you, man?

I’m okay.  A little tired from last night.  

Let’s talk about the festival first of all and how it kind of came off the tracks.

It’s Travis County.  Why would they have a back-up plan when you are organizing a festival?  Why would you have a back-up plan to book every single venue in the whole city and go “oh, we don’t need it but we just spent $200,000 renting all these clubs out just in case it rained”?  It doesn’t make sense.  So, their back-up plan was as good as it could be.   You know, have insurance and roll with the punches.  

Where do you guys go from here?  You are heading to New Orleans next?

Yeah, I think we leave at some time later today.

You going to around the city a little bit first?

Well, I’ve been all these places before.  I don’t know.  No, we just roll in.  What it’s like is… I mean you can look on a map.  Basically, you travel… there’s travel time.  You go and you set up, and you sound check, and… [commotion in the hallway] will you shut that door?  I’m doing an interview!  Then you play and it takes a little while to put everything away then you drive to the next place and then you just repeat that endlessly.  There’s not so much time to go fucking around.  

Are there any bands that you regret not getting to see?  I know we were talking about Dungen.  You said you are a fan of their work.

Well, I like them as people too.  But they are amazing.  I watched them, we played with them not too long ago at Levitation France.  Well, Tess Parks.  I have another band with Tess Parks.  Tess and I played with those guys and that was great.  So, they’re amazing.  Every time I’ve seen them they are absolutely amazing and I love the people.  But I wanted to hang out with the Black Angels and, of course, I saw Slowdive last night.  They were absolutely amazing.  They were like five times better than the last time I saw them.  I’ve seen those guys since they came to America in ’91 when I first met them.  They were great.  Although, they said that they met me in ’91 in LA.  They are wrong because I was in San Francisco so that would have been impossible.  

Must have been some other Anton.  

No, they’re just mixed up kids.

I wanted to ask you about the last track on “Give it Back” – “Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request”.  Who is the guy ranting out a fire and brimstone type sermon on there?  Is that John Hagee?

I’m going to have to think about that.  The last track on this [gesturing to the album I’m holding]… I don’t know but the thing about that… That’s mistitled because that one is called “Enrique’s Dream”.  It’s a piece of art.  So, I’ll have to tell them that that’s wrong.

Is this a weird version that I have or something?  

That’s on a label but mistakes happen.  It’s like Ricky [Maymi] that plays guitar in the group was like “Listen, man.  If you go and make one more recording and the band’s not on it – we are all quitting.”  I said, “You have to come up to the studio then cause that’s where I write the music while I’m recording.  You have to come up and wait ‘til it’s your time.”  So, he did.  He came out and he fell asleep so I recorded his face snoring and then built this whole soundscape.  You have your lens cap on.

[Note:  Yes, I was taking photos of Anton Newcombe with a lens cap on my camera!  I am not a photographer.  I am barely a writer.  I took a few awful photos but enough to draw from.  Hopefully, my illustration speaks for itself and captures the essence of Anton]

Haha.  How professional of me…

So, he’s snoring and I recorded a preacher sort of ranting through a tremolo with these drones going on and… but I liked it.  It’s cool.  And the shit that he’s saying is out of control.  He’s like “Run like an Olympian!  Never been short of breath!  And only Jesus knows where the last diamond mine will be found!”  What are you fucking talking about?  He actually says that.  “And only Jesus knows where the last diamond mine will be found.”  Fuckin’ who cares where the last diamond mine will be found?  They have more diamonds than they could ever use.  They hide them in a fuckin’ hole just to raise the price.  It was cool, the mic was running directly into a Fender Vibrato horn going “bah bahbahbah!” and it was just like “merpmerpmerpmerp!”  and I was playing it so loud just coming from a little black and white tv that they had in the recording studio all the way across.  It was really a textural piece and I was doing all those drones just doing the knobs and in the other room of the studio Ricky was sleeping and I had all these microphones around his face and he’s just going “[snoring noise]” and I’m just mixing them.  So, I just thought it was funny the juxtaposition of somebody snoring and… 

How long have you been in Berlin now?

Since 2007.

Did you have to get citizenship or anything?

No.  Just… I am an artist of a certain level.  I have lawyers and all that shit.  Fill out the papers.  I can basically live anywhere or do anything I want to do.

Do you feel it’s easier there as far as Germans kind of keeping to themselves?

That’s cool in that they are also really civil.  Kind of like with that preacher and now imagine a whole society with that kind of whole fuckin’ gorilla on your back and you can’t even breathe kind of consciousness.  From all the mother fuckers down at 711 getting Big Gulps down to everything you are going to see everywhere down to advertisements and all the people on the streets and you know, you don’t have a problem with old ladies walking their dogs or whatever and you know, you open up the door for somebody behind you and all that stuff feels great you know when you go out camping with your friends or whatever and you have a good time but it’s everything else that just destroys your mind.  From Kim Kardashian down to some fuckin B2 stealth bomber morphing into an American flag when you just hear what happened on the news today.  You know?  And it’s just all this bullshit that you don’t need and not having to deal with that is great.  And then the spillage of that and whatever they are talking about.  Like, I don’t know.  Some Bavarian apple juice mixed with sparkling water that you are not even going to get because you don’t know what they are mumbling on about and if two people are talking about how refreshing it is on the train and it’s just gobbledygook to you so… I love all that and it’s the history.  It’s the fast forward history like they spend a billion on the arts in Berlin alone every year and why do you think they do that?

Well, it’s important to society.

Do you know why it’s important to society?  Because if you don’t think about the future of Germany you are going to think about the past.  You are going to think about pushing old ladies into the gas ovens and all kinds of shit.  Now you are not trying to hide that but it’s what are we about as a society?  Are we about moving forward or are we about that?  

So, it’s a lot like Krautrock and those musicians trying to separate themselves from the past and this German history.  To forge a new identity.  

Absolutely.  But it’s like the whole society is like that but a lot of the society is like that too.  But it’s like people are really serious about the Neo-Nazis and shit that those people get their ass kicked so the police have to protect them and not because they like them.  But it’s crazier than America when those rallies happen.  But it’s fucking crazy because people will fight to the death against the police, you know, like with poles trying to get these guys because it’s like rubbing shit on them.  It’s so easy to look at the Germans and say “The Germans are Nazis.  They hate Jews.” And the people that are just born in Germany are going “Well, I’m not a Nazi and I don’t hate Jews.”  You know?  So, it’s kind of just one of those situations where people are that offended.  Equally as offended and outraged as… in a different way as people that lost families and human potential from the actual atrocities of the holocaust and it’s a different kind of anchor around your neck that you can never get away from because you wonder what it would be like if you had those extra 114 people in your family and those roots and the way that they travel.  Germany doesn’t have time to deal with all that stuff.  They are just really efficient in a civil society.  I love it.  There’s just that energy of going forward that is never going to go away.

I wanted to ask you about Nonni [Jón Sæmundur from the Dead Skeletons] and your relationship with him.  He’s done a lot of album covers for you.  How long have you been working together?

2007 or a little bit before that.  It’s a weird twisted story how it all works.  Ryan’s sort of “baby momma”, my other guitar player.  Ryan didn’t know any of these people.  The guys in Singapore Sling and these other groups were only talking about my band for years.  Elsa kind of got pissed at him and said “I’m just going to fly the guy over hear because I’m sick of hearing about it.”  So, she sends me an invitation and we all start talking and I get free tickets to go over there and then I start making friends with everybody and Elsa worked for Nonni at that time and then so I meet Nonni and then I’m talking to Nonni and I’m like “We gotta get you into music and the music will sell your shirts, you see, because people just want the shirts.”  

So, you are talking pre-Dead Skeletons?

Yeah.  Actually, I named the Dead Skeletons.  Before that, he’s on my record and he didn’t play music.  He’s not specifically a musician or a singer.  So, we were all high and I was tripping in the studio recording and I tried to get his wife Siga to sing but she was too shy.  And then there was a poet there, Samar Marcus (?), and our friend Bjarki (?), somebody owed Bjarki a lot of money for some naughtiness and he’s screaming into the phone in Icelandic “Mother fucker, give me my money and go back to hell!”  And Samar Marcus is like a Marky Smith type guy from Iceland if you cross him with Chuck Bukowski.  So, I’m making this song and Nonni is trying to sing and I was like sing this Nonni “Fucking devil give me my money and go back to hell!”  So, Nonni is just singing that over and over again and the music is all crazy.

Is he singing it in Icelandic?

Yeah, so then we did a couple songs and then Will [Caruthers] was playing with me and Will and Ryan came over and they made this really great stuff.  And Aslan and Rick [Carlson Van Kriedt] from Singapore Sling and Will went over there filling in on bass and then that became their project.  And then I was like “Dude, you should call your band the Dead Skeletons.”

And thus it was born?

Yeah.  But my wife swears that she made it up.  She can think that.  Well, it’s true.  We were talking and I bounce ideas off people really quickly so it becomes a blur.  

I was watching some video chats between you and Nonni.  Cool stuff.  Just talking about whatever and smoking cigarettes.

Oh yeah.  We are best friends.  We are like family.

Tell me a little about the latest album – “Musique de Film Imaginé.”  It’s very different and really shows your diversity as a musician.

There’s stuff after that though.  Lots of shit.  I did two Eps.  One is called “+ -“ [Plus Minus] and it’s got the song “Reconstruction” which is like if you can imagine the slowest swing going back and forth in the world with like a spaghetti western guitar line all at Neil Young tempo and then another relentlessly… and there’s three songs.  And on the digital there’s four.  Then there’s the little “Pish” EP thing.  It’s a mini-record and has seven songs.  Now on the sixth I have “Fingertips” in English and French.  The French version is amazing.  I think they only just leaked that on the radio.  It’s so good.  For a song from 1990 it basically just blew everybody away for the genre in France.  But then I recorded a whole record called “Third World Pyramid” the singles for it and then a double record called “Don’t Get Lost”.  All that stuff is coming out right now the rest of the year.  They’re nuts.  Like really crazy.  

You didn’t just come over for Levitation.  You guys are doing a whole tour?

All of North America and then we go to Europe.  Do half of Europe and then take a break.  The rest of Europe.  Scandinavia and all that shit.  Take a little break.  Do South America and maybe Mexico.  Then it just keeps going.  In the winter we had just done Australia and New Zealand.  [Visit thebrianjonestownmassacre.com for all 53 dates currently announced.]

Is it stressful touring so much?

I enjoy it but, you know, I have a three-year-old.  So, that’s very difficult for me.  Like right now I’m sacrificing doing a phone call to him to talk to you.  So, whenever we get done that’s what I’ll be doing.  

Hell yeah, man.  I won’t keep you much longer.  His name is Wolfgang, right?

Yeah, he’s cool.  And then I have a 14-year-old son named Hermann.  

I was watching one of your Twitter videos yesterday of you and Joel hanging out before the show…

Talking shit…

Yeah, talking shit about nobody showing up for the gig [joking – far more people showed up than could possibly fit in the venue] and you said that you could have been home baking a cake.  Do you really like baking cakes?

Yeah.  Cupcakes especially.  

What’s your favorite kind of cake to bake?

Carrot cake!  But I make them where it’s like crack, you know?  It’s like so fucking out of control.  Do you know what I mean?  You know when you find some recipe online and it’s like “I’ll try that.”  And then you just tweak it a little bit.  I made them for my kid’s pre-school and it’s like “kids can’t have that.  What is this?”  It’s just so much.  

Well, I’ll let us wrap this up.  Thanks again for taking some time out of your busy schedule for me.  Is there anything you’d like to say to readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Well, they should check out the Soundcarriers.  It’s one of my favorite bands.  And the French band Limiñanas is great.  Limiñanas is amazing but on a fun level La Femme are funnier than shit and very good.  You know?  And I really like… if you want to see somebody really rip, I put out this 10” by a guy named Little Barrie on his side project called Cobra Lamps.  

Thanks so much, Anton.  Have a good tour!

As the weekend wraps up, some of us saw some great shows and some of us got the shaft.  I can’t help but feel bad for all the people that traveled from faraway lands and saw few or even none of the big name bands that they spent so much money to see.  (Cheers to the drunken, bearded, Scottish guy that I met but couldn’t really understand that had no choice but to watch Uncle Acid perform through a tiny slit in a wooden fence.)  That’s right, some people had to take off from work, hire baby-sitters/dog-sitters/house-sitters, buy plane tickets, hotels, et cetera.  As a native Texan myself, I understand the concern that resulted in the festival being canceled.  The problem with Texas (one of many), is that the ground is so dry that it can’t even properly soak up water.  The slightest amount of rain rushes to rivers and water levels rise drastically – sometimes in minutes (that’s a “flash flood”, kids).  In the past year, Texas experienced two serious floods that destroyed many homes and killed a handful of people.  Sure, the people booked to camp on site were upset to be displaced but they would have been a lot more upset to be swept away in their sleeping-bag/body-bags in the middle of the night.  In fact, at least five people lost their lives to drowning in East Texas in the early morning on Saturday.  The real issue is the way that the situation was handled.  There is no reason that the entire festival should have been canceled!  Friday could have been canceled or moved to other LARGER venues – for ticket holders, not for just anybody looking to delve into the fine art of scalping tickets to tourists.  Saturday and Sunday could have continued with a stripped down set at the Ranch (albeit in mud – it wouldn’t be the first year we partied in mud).  We could have dealt with fewer speakers and less décor.  Just give us bands, water, and toilets.  Some of the bands would have certainly dropped out anyway, but at least the ones that stayed would have been all in one place.  A few friendly words of advice to The Reverb Appreciation Society and Levitation: Move the festival to October when the Texas weather is crisp and cool and dry.  Stop trying to diversify the genres included – we don’t need the ACL crowd coming out for some electronic dance music.  Stick with psychedelic and doom/drone bands and bring back Austin Psych Fest.


Written and Illustrated by
Justin Jackley
May 2016

Article by Justin Jackley/2016
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2016

2 comments:

Katie said...

Thoughtful interviews! You summed up the pain of many, my friend and I traveled from NY and struggled to get into shows (although we were able to catch Dungen!). I hope the next Levitation/Psych Fest is scheduled during a less rainy season. I would love to come again without the same stress I endured this weekend.

Василий Шабанов said...

cool story about song with ricky