November 18, 2011
Interview: Deerhoof (part 2)
Here is part 2 of Rocksucker's interview with Deerhoof founder member/songwriter/drummer/producer/keyboardist/occasional singer and guitarist Greg Saunier
How was your Iceland show with Plastic Ono Band? Did Ringo make an appearance ?
No, not that I know of! He probably did guest on some performance within the last two years. Obviously Plastic Ono Band is going to be a big event, so the shows that they’ve set up over the last few years have been infrequent, each one a crazy bonanza, a total freak-out with guests coming on. When they played LA, Clapton showed up, Lady Gaga did a song: maybe Ringo played on that one. There weren’t too many celebrity appearances at the Iceland show. tUnE-yArDs came out and did a cover of a Yoko Ono song as a kind of encore, then Yoko came out and started singing with her. It was just so cool.
Sean Lennon was in the group too, Nels Cline from Wilco, Yuka Honda from Cibo Matto, two members of Cornelius and the bass player was Charlotte Kemp Muhl, a model for Maybelline. But I’m a huge celebrity of course so it was pretty much centered around me! Seriously though, I did have a really amazing Ringo-related experience. I had no idea how any of the songs went and neither did some of the other guys – there was this amazing trumpet player called CJ whom I’d never met before – so we had an eight-hour rehearsal on one day and a shorter rehearsal the next day. Yoko wasn’t there for it but she did turn up at the end of the eight-hour rehearsal to see if things were going okay. She walks in surrounded by three handlers who if they even heard Yoko sniffle would go running for boxes of tissues – it was just incredible! – and there was obviously a power struggle between her and Sean.
It’s a really amazing dynamic and it’s really funny. It’s like, Sean will have already planned and rehearsed something, he’ll tell her what it is and she’ll be like, yeah, but I think we should do it this other way. Then Sean’ll say, yeah, we could do that, but we haven’t rehearsed that and if we do it that way then it’s going to be harder for you to sing and you might blow out your voice. She’ll say “okay, okay, okay” and sort of acquiesces with Sean, which is really funny to see. Sean’s saying to her, “Don’t sing so hard, we don’t want you to blow out your voice; the show’s tomorrow so save your voice,” and all day he’s saying to us, “Guys, don’t turn up too loud, Yoko doesn’t like it when the band’s too loud, it kind of freaks her out and she can’t sing loud over all that noise. You’ll have to keep it under control and do something silent; you know, she’s really into silence, really into space.”
Then she gets there and she wants to run through a song called “Waiting For The D Train” which is just me, Sean playing guitar and Charlotte playing this bassline. There was another drummer there, Yuko from Cornelius, totally amazing, but she wasn’t playing on this song so it was just me. It’s really stripped down but we go into the song and I’m playing totally as hard as I can, sweating and putting every ounce of energy into playing completely wildly, not holding it down, not making it something easy to play along with, not taking any of the advice that was given to me! We get to the end and she’s just completely screamed her voice out, hasn’t followed the advice either. It was really intense and she was obviously really into it.http://jonnyabrams.blogspot.com/2011/11/interview-deerhoof-part-2.html