Monday, August 21, 2006

Hamilton Spectator: Interview Transcript

Hello... Just finished an online interview with James Tennant of the Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator. Below, the raw transcript. When Mr. Tennant's copy appears in print I'll repost for contrast.

To Live and Shave in L.A. will be performing at The Underground in Hamilton on September 3rd.


HS: Obviously there was a point, back perhaps as early as the 1970s, when you could have gone on to make “rock music.” Weren’t you in a band with Mike Stipe? Anyhow, you chose this route. Why were you more interested in experimentation than rockin’ out? Many people don’t get it (The number of times I’ve been asked why I like, I dunno, Otomo Yoshihide… How do you answer that?)

TS: From the age of ten I knew this - whatever "this" is - was my path.

Michael was a member of my earliest group, Boat Of. We existed in Athens, Georgia from late 1979 through the summer of 1983. Stipe ceased to be involved in any serious sense in late '81 (when REM began their ascendance).

I've always followed my instincts. Besides, rock had already been done, and quite successfully/dreadfully.

HS: There was a period when there were supposedly a dozen bands with similar names and/or tenuous relations with the original TLASILA. What exactly was up with THAT period?

TS: There were only seven clones of which I was aware: two TLASILA 2s, a 3, I Live in L.A., Born in East L.A., I Love L.A., and TLASILA 1975. The first T2 began as a prank, and the second T2 rushed to beat the first with a pair of homemade CD releases. The first T2 then embarked on a short tour to promote a bootleg recording of a TLASILA radio session from 1999. Afterwards, the homage/copycat floodgates opened. Born in East L.A. changed their name to "BIELA or Belial" and stuck around for a few years, if I'm not mistaken. For the rest, it was all over after a few months (or a handful of press releases).

Oddly enough, the aforementioned boot is set to receive a belated release early in 2007 on a Belgian label. We have embraced the album, and will consider it one of our own.

HS: Tell me about the latest incarnation of the group. How did you all come together? It seems to be a mix of friends, like-minded acquaintances etc…

TS: Yes, we're friends, like-minded pro bowlers. We share a similar aesthetic.

HS: We’ve got an audience here (the readership of this paper) who likely have no idea what in the world you’re doing. It isn’t “noise” per se. How would you describe the music to TLASILA to the average person?

TS: It's a synthesis of personalities, influences, and modes of expression, like any other collaborative ensemble. We prefer the audience determine what they're hearing. Taxonomic markers are redundant. Genre is obsolete.

HS: In an experimental ensemble such as yours how vastly different (or not) is the live venue vs. the studio? How much is improv? After you’ve recorded something does that become the “definitive” version of the “song” or do you even have “songs” in your opinion?

TS: We have songs... You'll hear at least a few of them during our tour.

"Horoscopo" is an intensive recapitulation and deformation of previously recorded material, spanning the length of our recording career (1991-2006); "Noon" was cut live in the studio. We neither cleave to nor abjure any tool - all paints, brushes and canvases are at any artist's disposal. Analogue, digital, remixed, burned direct to disc - it's ultimately tangential. Content is everything.

HS: You mentioned that Noon was about the climate of fear we live in, and you talked a bit about your personal connection to that fear. What was foremost on your mind as you made the album? Is there a ‘message’ per se, or was it more about simply capturing the musical equivalent of this fear?

TS: We represent that percentage of Americans who were dismayed and revulsed on the occasion of Bush's re-election. We wished to express this, and decry the oft-exploited and aggravated climate of fear, but without noxious hectoring and finger-pointing. It's method revulsion - we became Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Cheney, and expressed the rot from within...


Kudos to JT.

See you all later,


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To Live and Shave in L.A. 25th Anniversary Tour: Updated Poster

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