Monday, January 23, 2006


Shellac are my favourite band. And I liked them first. Hailing from Chicago, their roots are legendary and their sound is pretty unique. I liked Shellac of North America before/quicker than I liked my best friends. Formed on an informal basis in 1993, Shellac are so good, the tightest band I have ever seen and the most pokerfaced and comically intense outfit going. Its no surprise really as their pedigree is faultless. The lineup of Steve Albini (velocity), Bob Weston (mass) and Todd Trainor (time) is a genuine unit, not just the latest tool/vehicle/version of Mr Big Black/Rapeman’s backing band. Weston’s past can be traced back to Volcano Suns and Brick Layer Cake whereas homeboy Todd Trainor is previously a Rifle Sport and Breaking Circus number (if nothing, these three know how to name bands). Albini’s trademarks are awkward time changes, thundering baselines, screaming guitar and frantic vocals. Oft copies/imitated but never near matched, Freewheelin’ Bob Weston graciously took the time to get it in the butt with my Qs:

NP - Hi how are you? What are you currently up to?
Bob - Puttering around the house.
NP - What do you make of the music climate (dare I say industry) circa 2002?
Bob- I don't know. I'm not really involved with the music industry. I buy records that I like and listen to them. I play music that I like in a band. I go see bands that I like play at bars.
NP - Ignoring that the industry is swallowing it to become another sales tool, do you think Napster provides (provided) a good service? What do you think of the MP3 format?
Bob- Napster/music on the interlink is good for one thing: listening booth. But then when you hear something you like, you go and buy the real thing at the store. The audio quality of an MP3 is terrible. Up until the minidisc and the mp3, the history of music delivery was a history where the quality of each new format was better sounding than the one before. Now, two of the newest formats actually sound worse than the previous format (CD). Why would anyone stand for that?
NP - How are plans/preparations going for All Tomorrows Parties 2002?
Bob - We each have 50-100 bands we want to invite. We've tried to narrow it to the 30, but it's difficult. Now, we're making phone calls and inviting the 30.
NP - Did you attend All Tomorrows Parties 2001? Any good?
Bob- I went. I had a great time. Standout sets by The Ex, Television and Yo La Tengo.
NP - What is/was it like playing at the Knitting Factory in New York?
Bob- Fine.
NP - How much would you say a sense of humour effects the enjoyment of Shellac's music?
Bob- We write and play with a sense of humor or absurdity. Hopefully, some listeners will pick up on that and enjoy the music in the spirit it was written. Lots of folks seem to think that we're angry and mean people.
NP - What is the band's biggest flaw?
Bob- Steve and Bob not having as good a fashion sense as Todd.
NP - At The Drive In. What are they about?
Bob- Never heard them.
NP - What are your current listening/reading/viewing tastes that you are enjoying?
Bob- West Wing, "The Man With the Golden Arm" - Nelson Algren, "The Spectrum Between" - David Grubbs, "Complete Monkees Headquarters Sessions boxed set" - The Monkees,
NP - I've heard that you recorded "The Futurist" album for a Montreal dance troupe called Lalala Human Steps. Who are they?
Bob- They're a modern dance troupe from Montreal.
NP - Wouldn't it feel great just to kick "nu metal"'s sorry arse?
Bob - We do every day.
NP - The movie Sex And The Single Girl. All the girls in it want to meet Bob Weston. What's that about?
Bob- I've been meaning to see that. My friend, Sue Miller, keeps telling me to rent it.
NP - What's the fascination of/with igniting stuff?
Bob- Fire good.
NP - What is the most embarrassing thing you have done whilst drunk?
Bob- Make an ass of myself at a dinner party.
NP – What do you think of WWF wrestling?
Bob – I have no thoughts about it one way or another.
NP – You old cynic you. No opinion on the subversive/homoerotic theory?
Bob – Cynic? No. I simply don’t spend any time thinking about pro wrestling one way or another.
NP – Any plans for Christmas?
Bob – New Orleans to see the wife’s parents.
NP - Tell me a joke.
Bob- What's the difference between an onion and a hippie? Nobody cries when you slice a hippie.
NP – Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
Bob – Why?
NP – Because it was dead. Bob, how's the cat?
Bob- Which one?
NP - Anything else?
Bob- Hang up and drive. Red light means stop - yellow means stop if you can safely.


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