Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Lung interview with Brian Wafer (1994)
This is a long one for those that just want music just go straight to the bottom of the page and start downloading.
Dave White(the Lung singer guitarist was married to one of my high school teachers and Dave founded Palmerston North's underage venue/band practice space, The Stomach. Brian Wafer ran Ima-Hitt records(both a shop and a record label)in New Plymouth and brought a number of punk bands to New Zealand in the 90's. I saw Lung play, as both Lung and The Clear a number of times as they were a band from my hometown of Palmerston North. Screams from the Gutter blog gave their 1991 Cactii album a very positive review. This interview appeared in Raw Beat for the Malcontents #4 August 1994
Brian Wafer: Why are you back in New Zealand? The grimy details please.
Dave White: I'm back in NZ /cause I'm totally fucked and desperately need a rest..we've been on tour more or less constantly since the start on our NZ tour June last year, after which we did six months in Europe and then three intensive(played every night) months in the States.
The three of us all need a rest from each other since we've been stuck in each other's faces over the last year and no way we could escape. I guess everyone knows pretty well how to fuck off everyone else now and that happens easily when you're doing 20 hour drives between gigs.
I also had to end up here eventually to make sure the new record got released in good old NZ, the rights to which we've kept ourselves.
Brian Wafer: Tell us how the wandering band of minstrels fucked over the evil giant record company and why
Dave White: Restless, as you have correctly described them, turned out to be like Albini warns everyone about.... a normal money grabbing lawyer baiting, band hating bunch of rich cunts that sit in their fucking offices in Hollywood and decree which lucky group of noise-mongers will get paid this week seemingly at random.
Every so called independent record company in the States(and there are very few who truly are independent of the majors) sign bands for two reasons (a): They think the band will make them a shitload of money, or (b): They think the band will give them credibility in the eyes of the punk-rock press/punters/record buyers, which will mean people don't think their record company is full of shit, which means they sell more records overall and make a shitload of money!
Lung were signed for the second reason as we already had good reviews/college radio airplay from our own releases in the States and they were hoping to give their company more credibility by signing a NZ band, which unfortunately a 'cool' thing to be seen doing at the moment.
They made a fundamental error, however, in that they thought we'd be ever so impressed and grateful to be a part of their big fucking company that we'd just lay down and take all their bullshit that American bands put up with. Things like, not getting our visas in time(we missed out on the Ed Hall support tour because of this, not getting the tour support money promised, not getting the promotional shit promised etc etc.
Our booking agents, who were also our sub-label, Kevin and Todd at Rave(who tour Neurosis, Lungfish, Unsane and heaps of cool bands) eventually became so pissed off with Restlessleaving us kind of in the firing line. The worst thing was we signed for a five album deal and we didn't want to get our next four album releases tied up in some legal nightmare, so our only form of escape was to get ourselves dumped. So, at the Los Angeles show, we invited along all the wankers from the company, got hideously pissed and did the classic ssmash a few things, blow up the PA and play like total shit....the next day we had the letter we wanted and our first big signing was over.
Brian Wafer: Did you see any bands that totally inspired you, did you come across any band that would be better off under a wheel of a truck?
Dave White: Godheadsilo were the best, just a bass player and a drummer and they were louder than The Melvins, who I saw twice and had to be the second best show. Godheadsilo have an album called 'The Scientific Supercake LP' on the Kill Rock Superstars label which also releases The Unwound and Bikini Kill, it's an wesome record but nowhere near as full on as their live show which completely fucked me over.
A Japanese band called The Boredoms were fucking outrageous as well, two drummers, one of which plays for Kim Gordon's band Free Kitten. I bought their album after, but it sucked unfortunately. Ed Hall from Texas did a great show.
To list all the bands that were full of shit would take up your entire magazine but I guess the very worst would have to include King Missile whose corporate fucking management ,road crew, team gave us a few problems, the Supersuckers who sound like a very dull version of that horrible fucking Australian band The Johnnies live, and some rockers we had to play with in New York called Mindfunk...terminal boredom.
Brian Wafer: Who was the biggest arsehole you met on your travels and why?
The promoter at Twisters, a club in Richmond, Virginia. The only person to get away with ripping us off, but future tourers need not fear, he was dealt to later by someone who liked us and has since been fired. We met very few arseholes surprisingly enough, apart from the record company people who just can't help what they are I guess, most people were extremely friendly and helpful, whether you need an amp(we blew three) or something to smoke...
Brian Wafer: Who did you come across that deserves heaps of praise and pats on the back, why does this individual deserve this honour?
Dave White: James, our soundman in the States deserves huge amounts of praise. One night he'd be mixing on a huge PA where his biggest problem was fighting off the management for being too loud and the next he'd be hard-wiring a couple of guitar amps together to build a PA out of nothing in some fucked up small town. He became an expert ensuring the chemicals for a great show were in our bloodstream before each performance...like a mother I guess.
Brian Wafer : What is next for Lung?
Dave White: A few good record companies (including Trance in Austin, Texas) came to see us live once the word was out we'd been dumped by Restless and they're all keen to hear this tape we made on an 8-track in Muncie, Indiana at the end of the tour, but I can't say I'm in a hurry to rush into another 'deal'. We're gonna sit back and take our time this time round, I suppose we'll release it in NZ first, once all our legal hassles to get back the money we are owed are over and we've paid off the $US5000 debt still owing.
Brian Wafer: Can I have a poster from each gig that Lung played overseas?
We started collecting posters, but you know what happens, they end up trashed on the floor of the van, or as set lists, or to wipe up vomit, or to wipe off with....
Brain Wafer: What are the other members of Lung going to do while you are back in NZ?
Brent and Graeme are holed up in the states with all our equipment waiting for the start of the next tour which will probably happen around May, next year. Last I heard, they had jobs in different States, a long way apart.
DISCOGRAPHY: The Clear 12" EP (1989) Ode Records
The Clear: Live Stomach CD Yellow Bike 1990
Lung: Cactii CD Yellow Bike 1991
Two downloadable songs from Cactii can be found at Screams from the Gutter Lung: Paralysis 7" Yellow Bike 1993
Lung: Three heads on a plate Yellow Bike 1994
Download The Clear 1989 12" EP The 1989 12" is closer to the B-52s in sound than to the amrep records sound of the Cactii CD. However Why did we ever come to this place? appears on both this release and Live Stomach, though both versions differ soundwise due to the 89 band being a five piece.
Edit: A link to the Cactii and 3 heads on a plate CD are now in comments. Thanks to Old School Punk from Screams From The Gutter blog.