Thanks for posting this interview, Carl; very interesting. I just found
out that Red Krayola is playing here tomorrow/Sunday night, and I doubt
I can make it.
NP - Pere Ubu, New Picnic Time
On Saturday, August 5, 2006, at 07:51 PM, Carl Z. wrote:
> By way of Kevin's Pere Ubu query, Thompson was in the band at the time
> they recorded the discs he checked out. I prefer his work with The
> Red Krayola, and if I had more advance notice of their Friday gig in
> Pittsburgh I would have gone.
> A Conversation with The Red Krayola's Mayo Thompson
> Writer: ANDREW MCKEON
> The Red Krayola has managed to color in the gray areas between novelty
> and obscurity for longer than anyone can remember. Anyone, that is,
> but founder Mayo Thompson. It all began with a haphazard freak-out in
> Houston, Texas, during the salad days of psych-rock; 40 shape-shifting
> years later, Thompson's still charging at windmills to get the closest
> shave from that cutting edge. "There are some things you don't even
> know that you don't know," he says. So, for my sake, Thompson
> elaborated on the distinctive shape of the Lone Star state, the sexual
> politics of Rock Hudson's performance in Pillow Talk, and why The Red
> Krayola just released a new album called Introduction.
> With so many albums already, does The Red Krayola need an Introduction?
> I think that maybe we started in the middle of something or at the end
> of something. It might've been a good idea to cultivate a banal
> relationship to certain ideas, but it hasn't happened that way. We
> just finally got around to the idea of introducing ourselves, you
> know. We're working our way back towards the beginning.
> Some albums, like Coconut Hotel, weren't released until decades after
> their recording, really obscuring the idea of "target audience." Were
> these literally ahead of their time?
> There's no such thing. Being ahead of one's time implies that there's
> an intellectual environment and some kind of leading edge in thought.
> I mean, it's a very particular idea — particularly to those who think
> they're still on the leading edge.
> With its revolving membership, does The Red Krayola become each
> successive point of reference that you record and release?
> We call them records, you know, because when the band got together at
> a certain time and place, that was its shape. … It's like "What am I
> going to do today?" Hopefully not something just to be doing it or
> something I've done before, even though 99 percent of everyday life is
> repetition. One of my favorite films, philosophically speaking, is
> Groundhog Day.
> You produced The Fall's single, "How I Wrote 'Elastic Man,'" a song
> about a question with no answer, about fans of one song becoming the
> subject of another. Did Mark E. Smith enjoy making a subject of the
> Part of Mark Smith's problem, and I don't mean that in a negative
> light, is that his role is to regulate the people who are listening to
> him. He has to be careful, so the only way to manage that relationship
> without making himself and everybody else miserable is to keep the
> ground moving. You can see that Mark is consistently trying to keep
> alive the idea that you can express yourself without saying a thing.
> You can especially hear it in his song, "Repetition." It's such a
> great send-up, but you may not realize it until you have a
> Groundhog-type day.
> How does the term "outsider art" make you feel?
> Ugh. Weak in the knees. Like when you're talking about a guy like
> Henry Darger. That guy, everybody looks at him and thinks he's nuts.
> But, he was an insider. He was right in the middle of the action,
> right where it was all happening. … And I'm sure he appreciated it
> because he didn't think of himself as an outsider. He just thought of
> himself as an artist.
> The U.S. occupation of Iraq?
> I wish we had not gone to war there. My impression is that the
> government is trying to install a new world order and, I mean, I'm
> going to find a way to talk about it and force the issue with music on
> every record I make … I was thinking about that last night, about how
> George Bush and I are from the same generation. We grew up with the
> "sword of war" hanging over us and I think that this generation of
> young people is facing it with quite the same sort of vengeance that
> we had.
> Your new album closes with the line, "Everything we ever dreamed of is
> true." Is that why nightmares become daymares?
> I'm glad you can hear the two faces to that little story in there
> because there's a whole other meaning. See, the face value of a homily
> like "home sweet home" forgets about all the possible meanings of
> "home," "sweet" and "home." But, I like the ambiguities.
> Ever wanted to be known as someone who "needs no introduction"?
> [Laughs] No, but I suppose I always wanted to run with those people,
> in some sense.
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