Green on Red Interview with Dan Stuart
Thanks a lot for taking your time to talk about your band. What can you tell me about your influences? You must be a huge psych fan and since we are psychedelic magazine I would like if you could choose some of the most obscure albums that had impact on your band.
In Tucson we lived at a party house called Serfer Hollow. We had a neighbor named Richard Calling Eagle who was in the American Native Church and he would give us very fresh peyote. We would take that then listen to everything from Count Five to Pere Ubu. But we loved this one record by The Id… it had songs like “The Rake” and “Boil The Kettle Mother”. We thought they were from Chicago but they were really a bunch of LA studio musicians fucking around… still dig it though. I’m not a huge psychedelic fan per se, I love it all. I am very much a product of being 8 years old in 1969 and to me the “psychedelic” sound is just normal. completely normal. I grew up on it…
You began in 1979 as The Serfers. How did you come together as The Serfers?
You know back then you just did it. We were friends, Van Christian, Jack Waterson, Chris Cacavas. We got a gig and I needed an amp so I threw a brick through a store window to get one. Punk rock.
What was the scene back then?
Very innocent and very fun. One thing about punk in the 70’s is you could sound like anything… you didn’t need to be a guitar band.
Your first release is from 1981, an EP called Two Bibles, a year later you released another EP called just Green on Red. What can you tell me about this two releases?
Well the first one was very ephemeral, the cover we got out of the trash behind a print shop. It was cut on borrowed equipment at Doug Moody’s old 16 track studio on Vine in LA. We pressed a couple hundred and I got a letter a few months later from a college radio station in Cleveland who had made it #1. That night my girlfriend gave me a blow job, better than a Grammy! The next one, the “Down There” EP was basically our set at that time and we cut and mixed it in a couple of days. This English rockabilly cat engineered and did a fab job… it’s got a sound.
Gravity Talks is your first LP from 1983. It’s a blend of neo-country, garage and psychedelic-rock. What do you remember from recording and producing this LP?
Drinking a lot of vodka with the producer Chris D. The engineer was Pat Burnette from the famous music family of Johnny and Rocky and he was going through a nasty divorce. Between songs, he would pick up a guitar and play just the saddest songs. Next door these Iranian refugees were cutting super cool weirdness for the diaspora market… talk about psychedelic. So there you have the two influences. Ha!
Gas Food Lodging was your next release from 1985. Your sound changed a bit. What can you say about that? I also dig the cover artwork very much!
It was nothing calculated, if you keep playing you eventually get around to blues and country as a matter of course. Having Chuck Prophet join the band certainly helped in both departments. The cover was a black & white photo I took on the road but the record company ruined it with the whole rising sun bullshit. At least it was better than the Gravity Talks cover… terribly pretentious crap. I still hate Slash records… what a waste.
Same year you had project called Danny & Dusty and you released amazing LP called The Lost Weekend. Members of Green On Red, Long Ryders and Dream Syndicate made this album together, right?
Yeah we got together and hammered it out in a few days… nice little studio on Western with the very underrated Paul Cutler producing. Steve Wynn AKA Dusty had put out the Down There EP as well… he’s always had my back.
As the years went by you released a couple of great albums. The Killer Inside Me, Here Come the Snakes, This Time Around, Scapegoats and your last for couple of years Too Much Fun. Would you like to share a few words about this releases and also if you could tell us what happened next after the Too Much Fun?
Some of the records worked and some didn’t but it was always an adventure. “Killer” was the last record with the “real” Green on Red, the rest I did with Chuck. Long story that and pretty shameful on my part. After “Too Much Fun” Chuck went on his merry way and I played a lot of golf which was much healthier than the drugs I’d been doing… cheaper too. I did a solo record in 95 then stopped playing until 2005 when we all got back together before anyone else died. We had lost Alex MacNicol a few years before… we miss you Big Dog.
If we go back a little I’ve forgotten to ask you, why did you choose the name Green On Red?
It was a song I had written. Belinda Carlisle from the Go-Go’s was the secretary for this creepy booking agent and she suggested we change our name due to all the Orange County surf punk bands flooding Hollywood at the time. Very dubious decision on my part.
In 1995 you released a solo album called Can O’ Worms. In September 2005, the band reformed and you played a one-off show as part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Club Congress in Tucson. This was followed up by a show in London on 10 January 2006. How was it to play again live?
It ain’t like riding a bike but nothing really changes… we’re closer than brothers really.
Danny & Dusty produced Cast Iron Soul album in 2007. Would you like to say a word or two about this?
That was a deep record, kinda went over folks head. We’re proud of it. Loved working with the Richmond boys…
What are you doing these days?
Last year or so, myself and the producer JD Foster formed The Slummers and put out a record and toured some. I’m in the middle of a solo record right now with shows in Italy in July. I’m playing some of the early trippy stuff like Death & Angels… holds up pretty good I think if I can remember the words.
What are some of your future plans?
Just to wake up interested. That’s the key. Oaxaca makes it easy…
Thank you so much for taking your time. Would you like to add something else?
Yeah, remember the loves never stops…
*photo by Marcel Pullen Some Kinda Itch
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
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