The Red Plastic Buddha interview with Tim Ferguson
1. Hi guys! How are you? Would you mind presenting yourself to our readers?
Hello Klemen – we’re The Red Plastic Buddha, a neo psychedelic band from Chicago. The band is: Timothy Ferguson, bass and lead vocals – Dav Kling, drums and percussion – Pamela Richardson, guitar and vocals – Dr. Eric Ahlgren, keyboards and vocals – Carter O’Brien, lead guitar. Currently, Dav is on the injured reserve list (broken wrist) and our friend Myron Katz is helping out on drums while we play shows.
2. When was The Red Plastic Buddha born?
We first came about in 2005, but we’ve been reborn several times. Rebirth happens every time someone leaves the group and a new member comes to take their place. We’re currently on the fourth incarnation of The Red Plastic Buddha.
3. What does inspire you the most?
Probably the same things that inspire other artists. Love. Beauty. Social injustice. The quest for understanding. The great mysteries of existence. Penguins. Especially penguins.
4. You have two albums out. The first one is called Sunflower Sessions. What can you tell us about your debut?
It seems that it happened a long time ago in another place and time. We were so young then and life has changed so much. The band was a dream and there were all the usual pressures. Listening to it now, I hear a rawer version of who we are today. More garagie, a dirtier psychedelic experience. I hear myself fumbling around in the dark, but I hear a band that is definitely pulling in the same direction. We did some good work, but I’ve learned a lot since then. Records are moments in time. This was the original Red Plastic Buddha.
5. You also have a brand new album out called All Out Revolution. I would like if you could present your new album?
All Out Revolution takes its name from an Anton Newcombe quote. He was talking about psychedelic music being a revolution, and it got me thinking about the meaning of the word.
People are always talking about political and social revolutions and there is this tendency to romanticize them. Revolutions tend to be driven by economic inequities and they usually lead to only exchange, not real change. One pack of assholes is exchanged for another. Eventually, power corrupts and the creeps rise to the top again.
Political revolutions are messy. Lots of innocent people get killed. I prefer to quote Lennon over Lenin – ‘if you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you brother is you’ll have to wait.’
In the end, the problem of revolution, ANY revolution, is that we keep replacing broken parts with broken parts. PEOPLE are the problem. We’re all a mess. We are motivated by our own selfish insecurities, wants, desires, prejudices, and a collective lack of understanding. Eventually, every revolution is doomed to fail because of that.
I think that the only way out is a spiritual evolution. We must put aside, collectively and individually, the tyranny of our own egos. But it’s not something you can legislate, nor impose upon others forcibly. It has to be done by individual conscious choice and requires a conscious daily effort. It’s the middle path.
All Out Revolution is about the quest for the middle path. We must break from the absolutism of dark and light, right and wrong, on and off. Certainty is the path of fools and is the result of a decision making process that is flawed by our limited ability to understand. Absolutism/ certainty, leads to superiority of ego that in turn allows us to judge others and justify any evil. The middle path embraces uncertainty and the moderation of ego; it stays the hand of action and leads to introspection and understanding.
There’s no devil that causes us to do evil. We CHOOSE to steal. To cheat. To lie. To kill. We can do any manner of moral gymnastics to justify our own personal evils, but in our hearts, we know we are doing wrong (at least, if we are worthy of the gift of free will). If we are to survive as a species, we’re going to have to put aside the moral transference called religion and take responsibility for our own actions and in so doing, our own salvation.
But I don’t see it happening.
6. Are you doing any touring?
We tour in the region we’re from, the Midwest of the United States. Going beyond that right now is financially impractical. We don’t have a megalithic corporation behind us, and we run our own record label (Space Cat Records). It takes money to tour, and that’s not something we have a lot of. For now, money goes into recording and promoting. Perhaps we’ll get to the point where we can put our lives on hold and go on the road for longer periods, but for now we walk the path before us.
7. What are some of your future plans?
With the new label, we have no shortage of things to do, projects, etc. We will be re-mixing and mastering our first record and releasing all our material on vinyl as a series of split 12” 45’s with bands we have relationships with. We hope to grow the awareness of the Chicago psych scene, because there are so many talented bands here now. A rising tide lifts all boats, you know?
We hope to get back in the studio by next spring. We’re working on new material now and the new band is sounding good. Pam’s taking on a slew of new effects and transforming herself as a guitarist. Eric and Brian are really fitting in and getting more and more comfortable. Dav and I are growing into the new lineup as well.
New opportunities seem to manifest all the time, festivals, etc. We’ve got a bunch of videos in the works. Technology is making promoting a very fun process. Lots of new people are listening to our music and I seem to be doing a lot of interviews these days.
I purposely try not to make too many long-term plans, as you never know how things are going to change from day to day. I take things as they come, and the band has adopted a similar tack. It works for us. We’re a very flexible unit.
8. Thank you for your time. Would you like to add something else, perhaps?
Just to please check out our music. If you like us, please let us know. Share us with your friends. Support our label and the artists we represent. Love each other and quit acting like an asshole.
Thanks for having us, Klemen. Peace of the Buddha unto you.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
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