Category: Interviews Page 1 of 3

Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive

Return to Never: Revisiting Early His Name Is Alive

During the past year that took so many things away from us, including the catharsis of live music, I’ve increasingly relied on listening to LPs in their entirety, rather than my iPod on shuffle. 

All the Mirrors in the House: Early Recordings 1986-1990 (Disciples), the first of 3 volumes revisiting His Name Is Alive’s earliest cassette experiments, hit a perfect chord for me during this bizarre stasis-time we’re all trapped in; songs like “Piano Rev” feel unstuck in time and fathomless (a very now feeling). But it’s hopeful, too — it reminds me of standing at the edge of Lake Michigan at night for the first time. I just remember this vast, inky black inland sea with no edges, extending as far as the eye could see. It was awesome and transfixing, like staring into deep space. 

From Los Angeles to the Haçienda: The Ballad of Kickboy + Philomena

Philomena and Claude

There is no shortage of charisma (positive and negative) in Decline of Western Civilization — X, Alice Bag Band, the Germs, Black Flag Mach 1.0. But the segment where a certain Claude Bessy — Slash editor, raconteur extraordinaire, Catholic Discipline ringleader — holds court is different; even the hardcore punks look like poseurs next to Claude’s poetically splenetic rants.

Claude, whose poison pen reviews in Slash were signed with the unassailable pseudonym, “Kickboy Face,” is a profane French chain-smoker who is utterly contemptuous of any kind of hipster canonization of punk or any other music form. When “Decline” director Penelope Spheeris asks, “Does Kickboy have a lot of enemies?,” he practically spits out his reply: “I should hope so, otherwise I am wasting my fucking time.”

Video still (cropped)

‘Cut, Paste, Bleach, Tape + Love’: Designer Chris Bigg Shares His Inspiration for Piroshka

Video still

When Lush called it quits after a brief but successful 2015-16 reunion, the big question was: Would vocalist/guitarist Miki Berenyi keep playing music? (She left music almost completely after Lush drummer Chris Acland’s unexpected suicide in 1997.)

The answer arrived late in September 2018, when the following message appeared on Lush’s Instagram page: “Miki has a new band! Follow @piroshkaband on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!”

The band’s first official Tweet included a photo of 4 familiar faces (provided one is well-versed in the history of 4AD, shoegaze and Britpop) and the text, “Welcome to Piroshka — Mick, Moose, Miki and Justin. We’ve all been in bands before, y’know.” (Roll call: Mick Conroy from Modern English, one of the first bands on Lush’s label 4AD — and a great friend of Acland’s; Moose, aka KJ McKillop from jagged psych-melancholists Moose; and Elastica drummer Justin Welch, who played drums for Lush’s reunion EP and gigs.)

Piroshka press photo (Bella Union)

Piroshka video still (artwork by Mali Andersen)

But don’t call them a supergroup. And don’t pull the inevitable band algebra to try to figure out the resulting sound — you know, “Piroshka equals Band X + Band Y squared – the square root of P…” Given the weight of their collective histories, the new band seems determined to keep the music relaxed, informal and not weighed down by previous critical responses.

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