sebadoh and suchlike
articles - bang your head on the punk rock -- it's fucking champion, summer 1993
Late last year Sebadoh played a gig at Manchester Boardwalk after doing a heroic number of interviews. Last but not least came this one so with no further bullshit here it is...

I started out asking a few questions about the photos on the "Rocking the Forest" sleeve... "Dope Club" is a private joke according to Jason who's maybe too drugged to elucidate. "I smoke dope," sniggers Eric. "So do I," admits Lou.

Sidetracked by drugs already Lou is at pains to point out that they don't smoke pot habitually. "It can make you lazy and alienate you from people around you and sometimes makes you paranoid." Eric and Jason tell the tale of how they took acid and did the hippy things with guitars in the forest, Eric warns of the dangers of driving on acid and taking opium and not being able to stand up. Lou went on a three day acid binge on one tour and was tripping on stage in a club with a big grain elevator outside which everyone knew was going to explode while they were playing: "I was yelling 'We're all gonna die'. I was really over the top and forceful about it. You have a lot of power standing up on stage and I don't normally use it but 'cos I was on acid I guess I thought that I should."

The pictures of a happy couple horsing about in trees with shotguns on the back of the sleeve turn out to be "Sebadoh vs. Helmet" cover boy Bob Fay's parents when they were first married. "Bob filled in for Eric when he went to San Francisco for a couple of months," Lou explains, "and 'Mind-Meld' was a song Bob had written during the tour as his mother was dying while we were touring and every night it became more obvious we were doing it for his mother. When we put it on the record she died and he wanted to put the pictures on."

I got a bit confused over all the Bobs floating around the periphery of the Sebadoh universe, the other Bob, Mr. Weston, used to be in a band who seemed to have lain dormant for too long, Volcano Suns. "They broke up," Lou breaks the bad news, "They did it for so long and never really became press darlings like Sebadoh." To cap it all it turns out Salem 66, or as Sebadoh style 'em Slayem 666, decided to call it a day too and Eric reckons one of them now works in a strip club...

Still on the subject of other bands, it seems to me Sebadoh are the band to cover these days, with Superchunk and Bettie Serveert paying them homage. Lou's not so happy about it though: "Whenever I hear a Sebadoh cover I think, "Oh my god, leave it alone, we'll do it!" 'cos we have more of an idea what to do with it!"

The singing bunny! Jason looks bemused at the mention of the hero of the first Sebadoh record. "I don't exactly remember what the singing bunny is," admits Lou sheepishly, "some delusion I had when I was little. If it dropped out of the sky tonight while we were playing that'd be really awesome, but nothing supernatural's happened yet while we've been playing."

Staying with the supernatural, I questioned them about UFO sightings: "I think you know if you see one and I haven't," Eric draws a blank. "I thought I did when I was little, but my parents said it was a low flying 'plane," says Lou, "There were four of us outside at the picnic table and we ran in going, 'There's a UFO outside'. I think we were waiting for the UFO's to come and take us away for some time after that." Jason thought he saw one too when he was young, a strange series of lights in the sky but there was no one around to verify it for him. There was a movie they saw not too long ago too, as Lou relates it: "It was about this guy who was an alien and he admitted himself to a mental institution. He had all the proof that he was an alien but people wouldn't believe him: 'So you don't believe I'm an alien, this proves that humans are limited, they limit themselves with stupidity and we've come from another planet to save you from your stupidity."

But is time speeding up as is thought by a certain popular fanzine editof? Or is it just the aging process taking its toll? Lou considers: "You become more adjusted to the horror of being alive, the rush of sensation. When you're little you can be sitting around waiting for your mother to give you a cookie and it seems like three years, 'I wanna cookie so bad' and it takes forever to get there. Today I needed to piss real bad and that was the longest five minutes I've experienced in a very long time. You'd have to ask someone who was terminally ill about that."

Eric and Jason both live in fear of death, but before that happens, I wondered if there were any unrealised ambitions as far as the band went... "There's the songs that haven't been written," ponders Eric, "I'd like to obtain a lot of different instruments to work with besides guitar/bass/drums, get a nice place to live and have a studio with a piano."