By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Well, I grew up in Okinawa and Taiwan and England, so I've always been pretty close to the ocean wherever I've lived. The only time I felt landlocked was when I lived for three years in Ohio. So it's really not just that I live in this city by the ocean, but I've always lived by the ocean my whole life. My dad was a marine engineer. He built ships.
You've made records with Mark Isham, Peter Buck, Steve Shelley, Kid Congo Powers.... Who else are you hoping to work with?
I'd make a record with anybody if they asked! Well, no, that's not true.
Um, you're right. I could not. She's a powerhouse of talent. Or is it breasts? [Laughs.] Sure -- I'd do it!
Are you disappointed that your records haven't sold in huge quantities and that record labels like Virgin and Warner Bros. have dumped you when the records haven't done well?
It's always been this dialogue with American Music Club and myself: Do you make a record for hundreds of millions of people, or do you make a record for your own heart? Britney, of course, would argue that you make a record for your heart.
I never understood the relationship with commercialism. I mean, I always preferred Rimbaud to the Archies when I was young. I remember someone saying, "Mark, you just don't have anything to say to the twelve-year-olds." And that's absolutely true. Even when I was twelve, I didn't want to be twelve. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an old man! [Laughs.] I never really had that mass-appeal perspective. I mean, I wanted to be a success, but I never pictured....
What are you listening to these days?
Let me take a look at my collection ... uh, right now, pretty much a lot of Aphex Twin. That new Godspeed You Black Emperor. I'm into music that's about ascension. I was offered a chance to tour with this punk-rock band -- it would have been a weird match -- and I turned it down. I don't want to say who it was. But they had a lyric in one of their songs that went, "The heart is just a muscle."
Wow. That's virtually the antithesis of what you've been saying all these years.
That's exactly right! It's a demolition of what I'm trying to do. The song was trying to tell a girl: "Stop it. Don't think that you can feel anything with your heart." I was like, "Oh, man -- I'd hate to be your girlfriend. Shit." Because I want music to be about ascension, you know. John Coltrane had it right; it's about spirit. But of course, he was a miserable human being.