Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sound and Vision: My Interview with The Weather Underground

(Photo by Andy Tenille)

What do you get when you mix a cool band of four from the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles with a cool interviewer, a big couch, and a very people-friendly dog? Why a fun interview between myself and Harley Prechtel-Cortez, Ryan Kirkpatrick, Diego Guerrero, and Soichi Bagley of The Weather Underground of course.

However, I'm not sure that "interview" is the right word for it. I mean, ok, following their show here in Washington, DC I asked them questions about their band and they gave answers. But in reality it was more a friendly discussion amongst five people (and one ham of a dog) in the wee small hours of the morning about, well, everything: from the reason for Prechtel-Cortez's hyphenated and long last name to commentary on Los Angeles and its music scene; from a modern-day movie casting of “The Sun Also Rises” to who ranks higher, the Rolling Stones or The Who. It’s laid back, it’s a little sloppy in the camera work (this being the first time I used Mac’s iSight feature as a camcorder), it includes a dog’s obsession with a squeaky toy...and it's a charming laugh-riot. These are definitely four guys you'd want at your next dinner party.

The best part is that you truly get a feel for the personalities of each of these musicians. Razor-sharp smart and utterly hilarious, they’re a band of guys who are talented and serious artists but also incredibly grounded-no stereotypical haughty LA rock band here. They’re as tight off-stage as they are on, and it’s obvious they aren’t friends just because they’re in the same band; they’re friends because of who they are and the kinetic energy they share with each other. It’s a camaraderie that was wonderfully refreshing to witness.

The Weather Underground Interview, Part 1

The Weather Underground Interview, Part 2

The Weather Underground was generous enough to provide me with a currently unreleased track that they often end their shows with called "Leap Into the Void." This version, with Prechtel-Cortez alone on piano, is "a sort of minimalist Spiritualized gospel style version, the kind of stuff i'm usually a big sucker for," Prechtel-Cortez said.

Leap Into the Void (unreleased piano-gospel version)-The Weather Underground

Read my interview with The Weather Underground's Harley Prechtel-Cortez here.

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