Dzjenghis Khan interview
The Dzjenghis Khan self-titled debut album was released in 2007 by the dutch independent label Motorwolf. The San Francisco based band Dzjenghis Khan featured bassist Carson Binks (also in Wild Eyes and Saviours), drummer Tommy Tomson and guitarist Lane Rider. Heavy Psych Sounds Records recently reissued their album. Dzjenghis Khan was one of the first bands to bring back the underground “psych sound”.
A few years ago we interviewed Carson Binks about Wild Eyes (interview here) and he told us a story about hearing Blue Cheer. That opened a whole new world! What else do you consider to be first real exposure to music?
My first memories of music are the sounds I heard as a child in the back of my parents’ car. I distinctly remember being in a car seat and it was an AM station so probably 1050 CHUM. This was in Toronto, probably 1979. The first artist that comes to mind is Marvin Gaye but it could’ve been any of the top 50 hits of the day.
Were you in any bands before Dzjenghis Khan? Did you record anything?
Before Dzjenghis Khan I was in several bands. The first one to release anything was called the Deadly Snakes. I played saxophone on the first LP and their first couple singles. After that was the notorious Killer Elite who only released one technical difficulty plagued single. After that band dissolved I moved to SF and formed Parchment Farm while joining Appreciation, each of whom released two EP’s before vanishing.
Can you elaborate the formation of Dzjenghis Khan?
As far as the band’s formation goes I’m not the one to ask as I wasn’t the original bass player. All I know is that Jesse was a roadie for Annihilation Time during the recording of II by Guy Tavares. After seeing Orange Sunshine (interview here), Jesse wanted to form yet another singing drummer power trio in the tradition of Sir Lord Baltimore, Highway Robbery (interview here), the Carpenters, etc.
How did you all originally meet?
As far as I can remember I met Jesse through Chris Labreche who played drums in Parchment Farm as they were both from San Diego.
How did you decide to use the name “Dzjenghis Khan”?
We were originally Genghis Khan but there were like a few dozen Genghis Khans so we switched to the Dutch spelling in honour of our home on Causuariestraat.
You lived in Hague for awhile and Guy Tavares of Motorwolf produced your albums.
Well I don’t know much about the formation of the band but I do remember the first time I saw them play. Jesse counted in the first song and immediately dropped his drumsticks. It went downhill from there. Amid the ensuing chaos I decided they needed me in the band and a few months later I was. That lineup is on the Prehistoric Rock cassette. We then traded guitarists with SF rockers Apache and got Lane Rider in exchange for Mark Abboud. Guy Tavares offered to record us and release it on his Motorwolf label. At the time he lived in one of the last real squats in the Hague where we could stay for free so we decided that instead of flying to Europe to record, flying back, then returning to tour on it we’d save airfare by just staying in the Hague during the interim. Unfortunately we had no way of making money besides playing tiny shows in the area during those months so we got quite familiar with the bottom shelf offerings at the Albert Heijn supermarket, especially Euroshopper beer which, praise Allah, is no longer available. The deposit on the crate and bottles was actually more expensive than the beer itself if that’s any indicator as to its quality. That being said you could walk in with two crates as empty as your pockets and leave with a full one. Pretty good deal eh? Foul stuff though. The recording itself was rather uneventful besides the presence of Guy who talks nonstop but I’ve never found annoying since everything he says is fascinating.
Who did the cover artwork?
Jesse did the artwork for all of the Dzjenghis Khan releases.
How about Prehistoric Rock – Live In San Francisco, released by Who Can You Trust? Records?
I can’t recall much about the Prehistoric Rock tape. I only listened to it once and was left wondering why Christian wanted to release something so sloppy. Guess I better give it another chance.
– Klemen Breznikar