Friday, March 13, 2009

Superdrag: Still Cooler Than I Could Ever Hope to Be

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 11:06 AM

click to enlarge Rise and shine, and give Tom your glory, glory.
  • Rise and shine, and give Tom your glory, glory.

If you were unaware, I like Superdrag. A lot. But I'm not from here--I've never worked in the same office as John Davis and I've never bro'd out with Don Coffey--their "rock star mystique" has never really faded or shifted in my eyes. So I jumped at the chance to conduct an email interview with John, but somewhere in the course of prepping it, I choked. Actually, I choked the second I opened up the promo photo and found Tom Pappas' head taking up my entire screen. This is a band that was always larger than life to me and now they were bigger than my monitor--all before I had guzzled my first mug o' joe. It was pretty intense.

Watch me stammer and yammer in ones and zeros after the jump. I get totally pwned.

Nashville Cream: How does it feel to have a new Superdrag record ready to go? It sounds like you guys had a blast making it.

John Davis: Man, we had a great time. Having to wait two or three months in between recording sessions got a little bit maddening, but that's the price you pay for having to do it guerrilla-style. It was totally worth it. I'm proud to be able to present a new album of Superdrag music. I really hope people will give it a fair shake.

Cream: How was recording at Lake Fever? Did they hook you up with any Dippin' Dots? Whenever I stop by there they always talk about Dippin' Dots but they never deliver.

Davis: That is a professional operation, front-to-back. No Dippin' Dots, though.

Cream: I was surprised by how punk rock the new record is--I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. Did you guys make a conscience decision to punk it up? What was in the tape deck on the way to the sessions?

Davis: I was mostly listening to music from the Impulse! label; John Coltrane, of course, but also records by Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Alice Coltrane. Lots of "New Thing"-era stuff from the "energy" players. Music that often descends or ascends into total chaos seems to have the opposite effect on me spiritually---kind of a "peace bomb" effect. I was listening to a lot of that music at the time. We never made it official policy to "punk it up" or anything. In a sense, I kind of moved forward with some of the ideas from my last album, ARIGATO! I have no desire to play slower and quieter just because we're getting older. I guess I want to do the opposite. Across the board, I think we just wrote a bunch of songs we wanted to hear. That's probably a good approach.

Cream: When I had stopped by Lake Fever on the first day of tracking last winter, your family was there and the session felt more like a backyard BBQ with high school buddies than the making of a killer rock record. How is father/adulthood affecting Superdrag? The topic seems to pop up in the lyrics, but you never reach mushy Music Row levels of overt paternalism. Was that a conscience descision?

Davis: In every conceivable way. I'll leave the mushy Music Row paternalism to the experts.

Cream: This totally off topic, but you're friends with Nick Raskulinecz - do you think you can score us a copy of the lost Slack album he recorded? Seriously, you might be our only hope of getting a copy.

Davis: I've never even heard the whole thing, but Nick played me a couple of the tracks in 2006 and I was pretty much floored by how great they were. As far as getting a copy goes, I think you might be SOL.

Make sure to check out the video for "Aspartame", as it totally backs up my "punk as fuck" theory, even if my hypothetical causation was way off. (For some reason the embed code won't work, so check it over at SPIN.)

Also, for old times sake, here's the video for "Destination Ursa Major" cuz it rules:

Superdrag play the Exit/In on Saturday. I'll be the dude embarassing himself in the front row, singing along with the songs nobody else has heard yet. See ya there.

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