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Friday, March 2, 2012
An actor must interpret life, and in order to do so must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet.
Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done.
Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have.
But you can't show some far off idyllic conception of behavior if you want the kids to come and see the picture. You've got to show what it's really like, and try to reach them on their own grounds.
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.
I also became close to nature, and am now able to appreciate the beauty with which this world is endowed.
I think the one thing this picture shows that's new is the psychological disproportion of the kids' demands on the parents. Parents are often at fault, but the kids have some work to do, too.
I want to be a Texan 24 hours a day.
If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he's dead, then maybe he was a great man.
Only the gentle are ever really strong.
Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn't hiss or boo me.
The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.
The only greatness for man is immortality.
There is no way to be truly great in this world. We are all impaled on the crook of conditioning.
To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty; to interpret it his problem; and to express it his dedication.
To me, acting is the most logical way for people's neuroses to manifest themselves, in this great need we all have to express ourselves.
To my way of thinking, an actor's course is set even before he's out of the cradle.
Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow yourself to be opinionated.
When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn't acting. It's following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Q and A with Rocker Gerard Way
Interview by James Wigney
Sunday Herald Sun January 1 2012
GERARD Way formed My Chemical Romance
just over 10 years ago in response to the September
11 terrorists attacks.
In the decade since, the band have become one of the most passionately followed groups in the world, with their growing stature reflected in their ever more prominent positions on the bill at the Big Day Out. The last time the band toured these shores was in 2007 on the back of The Black Parade concept album, a critical and commercial hit with some dark themes that made for intense shows, over-the-top fan reactions and almost spelt the end of the band. The follow-up, last year's Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys - another concept album, this time set in post-Apocalyptic California - was a much more upbeat affair bringing the band a new lease on life.
> You have done the Big Day Out a few times before already - what are your memories?
My favourite two festivals have always been the Big Day Out and Summersonic in Japan. The Big Day Out is a little more fun because it lasts longer. It's like an abbreviated version of the Warped tour because you get to play with the same people every day, which is really fun. Normal festivals can be kind of alienating because you are only there for a day - you have to rush all your gear on and you can't build up a rhythm.
> What can we expect from the Big Day Out sets and the side shows?
We don't actually know yet, which is exciting. We feel like we are in a bit of a transitional period so I don't know where we will be mentally by then. We will have been playing together and working together for a while by that point and exploring new sounds so I don't even know what kind of band it's going to be by the time it gets there.
> Your last album, Danger Days, has been out for a year now - what was it like touring that album as opposed to The Black Parade?
It has had pluses and minuses for all different reasons. It was definitely more fun, but it had its own challenges. You didn't have to worry about putting on the costume and doing the same show every night - that was the best part. You could get out there and change with what the audience was feeling, change song-structures at the last minute. That was really cool because we'd never really got to do that before.
> Audiences reacted so viscerally to The Black Parade at the time. Were they a little less intense and emotionally engaged this time around?
The Black Parade was something that really requested that you engage with it in a very heavy way so that probably had a lot to do with that. Danger Days was really up to the participants in the audience, but they really took to it. So it felt like two really different energies - but there was always a lot of it.
> The Black Parade album and tour was a very tough and intense time for you personally and the band - how do you reflect on that with the benefit of hindsight?
Immediately afterwards I had a lot of negative energy towards it. But as the years passed and I grew up a little more, I realised that was really hard, but it was also an amazing time. It was something really special and something that nobody else was really doing at the time. There is something to be said for that and it's never going to be easy when you are doing it.
> You have often said that album was misconstrued - how so?
In a million ways. It was seen as a very pro self-harm, dark album, when it was quite the opposite. It took about 2 1/2 years before people started writing about it as something that was very positive. It was disheartening at the time, but not so much afterwards.
> It looked like there was a time back then when the band might split - how are things now between you all?
The band's really good. The only reason any of those things happened within the band was because there was lower communication the longer we were out on tour - because everyone was so wiped out all the time and dealing with certain things because of the record. It's much different now and we know we will never allow ourselves to be in a situation like that again.
> US broadcaster Glenn Beck called your song Sing "propaganda" after it appeared on Glee last year - what did you make of that whole palaver?
Well aside from misquoting lyrics and using the word propaganda - I don't really know what he meant by that of what it's propaganda for - that was exactly what our intention was, to irritate people like him. So he was on the mark with a lot of it. It just finally confirmed everything I felt about the song when it finally got out there in a much more palatable way for pop culture. It was doing the damage I wanted it to - at least he was paying attention to the fact that I was talking to him and people like him. So we said yes to it being on Glee for that very reason. I think that show pushes the right buttons and gets under the right people's skin.
> You ended up using that song to raise money for victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami - how did that happen?
We have always had a really strong connection with Japan and Ray (Toro, guitarist) was really inspired to do something. He noticed that kids were using the song in a really positive way to talk about what was going on. So he came up with some arrangements and everyone donated their time and played on it for free. It raised some money, which was really cool.
> You guys are doing your damndest to keep the concept album alive in this age of iTunes and downloading singles - what's the appeal for you there?
It's just our personal taste - it's the way I like to listen to albums. All of my favourite albums have this incredible amount of conceptual glue to them even if they are not telling a story. Even something like Iggy Pop's Lust For Life or The Idiot have an energy that is like a concept to me so it's just a preference.
> You are into the second decade of the band's life now - how do you reflect on the journey of the first 10 years?
I have learned a lot about what we are and I think it took a long time to realise. It's almost impossible to compare the band to other bands you loved in terms of the trajectory or the path they took. So I have really come to the understanding that our band is one of a kind. There is no reference for when we are stuck and no escape route if we are in trouble.
> You formed the band as a reaction to the September 11 attacks - how did the 10th anniversary of that day affect you?
We were playing a show and it felt really good to be doing that. I think what I said that night was that it was really good to be doing something creative and positive 10 years later from something that started from something completely negative. That's how I have always felt about the band. I have moved past it and grown as a person and I think a lot of other people have, too. Things are different, things change - but I don't live in fear any more.
> How far advanced are you with the next album?
We were writing so much material on the road that we have a lot to sift through and we are just about to get together and start doing that. It's going to be the first time we are playing shows still with material from our previous albums while working on new stuff.
credit to Herald Sun
Quotes of Gerard Way
“If you look in the mirror and don't like what you see,
you can find out first hand what it's like to be me.”
“If for one minute you think you're better than a sixteen year old girl
in a Green Day t-shirt, you are sorely mistaken. Remember the first time
you went to a show and saw your favorite band.
You wore their shirt, and sang every word.
You didn't know anything about scene politics, haircuts,
or what was cool. All you knew was that this music made you feel different
from anyone you shared a locker with.
Someone finally understood you. This is what music is about.”
― Gerard Way
“Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise
from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself
to become a new person.”
― Gerard Way
“I'm not psycho...I just like psychotic things.”
― Gerard Way
“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.”
― Gerard Way
Be yourself, don't take anything from anyone, and never let them take you alive.”
― Gerard Way
“Yeah, obviously we use vampires as a metaphor for something else,
something deeper than just the supernatural. But there's just something about
the bloodsucking walking dead, that can say so much to people.
There are really so many people trying to get control
over you on a daily basis and steal your soul in some way,
take a part of you..”
― Gerard Way
“Making a record is a lot like surgery without an anesthetic.
You first have to cut yourself up the middle.
Then you have to rip out every single organ, every single
part and lay them on a table. You then need to examine the parts,
and the reality of the situation hits you.
You find yourself saying things like "I didn't know
that part was so ugly." Or "I better get a professional opinion about that."
You go to bed hollow and then back into the operating room the next day. . .
facing every fear, every disgusting thing you hate about yourself.
Then you pop it all back in, sew yourself shut and perform. . .
you perform like your life depended on it----
and in those perfect moments you find beauty you never
knew existed. You find yourself and you friends all over again,
you find something to fight for, something to love.
Something to show the world.”
― Gerard Way
“I went to school in drag, in art school and my day was completely different
because everybody thought I was a chick. You should see me as a chick.
So I went as a girl, as like an experiment and it worked really
well and everyone was really nice to me but I couldn't talk obviously...
you know train conductors were really cool to me on
my commute...HA! I looked hot as a chick!”
― Gerard Way
“You're going to come across a lot of shitty bands,
and a lot of shitty people. And if anyone of those people call you names
beacause of what you look like or they don't accept you for who you are,
I want you to look right at that motherf*****, stick up your middle finger, and scream F*** YOU!”
― Gerard Way
“Hey, girls, you're beautiful. Don't look at those stupid magazines
with sticklike models. Eat healthy and exercise. That's all.
Don't let anyone tell you you're not good enough.
You're good enough, you are too good. Love your family with all your heart
and listen to it. You are gorgeous, whether you're a size 4 or 14.
It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, as long as
you're a good person, as long as you respect others. I know it's been told
hundreds of times before, but it's true. Hey, girls, you are beautiful.”
― Gerard Way
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
"A baby-faced assassin with a Gibson as his weapon of choice, fronting a trio with a madman drummer who goes by J. Explosive, making music that sounds like trouble — vintage psych-blues with ragged riffs styled from Hendrix and dire vocals straight outta Scott Walker. Five minutes into his riveting sets, you’ve forgotten there’s any other John Carpenter.""A baby-faced assassin with a Gibson as his weapon of choice, fronting a trio with a madman drummer who goes by J. Explosive, making music that sounds like trouble — vintage psych-blues with ragged riffs styled from Hendrix and dire vocals straight outta Scott Walker. Five minutes into his riveting sets, you’ve forgotten there’s any other John Carpenter." KEVIN BRONSON'S BUZZ BANDS http://buzzbands.la/
"YOU WILL BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND SOMETHING AS MAJESTIC AS 'SEASONS' THIS YEAR...HE IS WRITING FUTURE CLASSICS FOR THE WORLD". (TooCoolToDieBlog)
ALAN MCGEE OF CREATION RECORDS ON JOHN CARPENTER
"WHEN YOU HEAR THE RAINY GRANDEUR OF JOHN CARPENTER, YOU'LL BE LEFT IN SHOCK; HIS VOICE IS A TRANSPLANTED and TRANS-ATLANTIC EVOCATION OF SCOTT WALKER, COLIN BLUNSTONE, and IAN McCULLOCH;
His debut single ‘Seasons’ is a solid gold bit of rainy grandeur. The spooky post-punk is a sweeping technicolor treat, John’s musical language of another planet of pure musical whimsy, does the impossible task of incorporating all of your favourite cult heros, no matter how diverse, in the architecture of his pop music. His set is cinematic. And somehow he evokes cabaret of Walker’s earlier records and Antony and the Johnsons sadder moments of despair (all with the basement, scruffy street punk attitude and charm). It’s ace." - Alan McGee/PepsiMaxcast.com
NEW REVIEW OF "FAIRY TALES FORGOTTEN", from the L.A. RECORD:
A BRIEF BIO OF JOHN CARPENTER DESCRIBES HIS MUSIC AS "NIGHTCLUB ROCK 'N' ROLL," WHICH COULD BE MISLEADING IF YOU DON'T PICTURE THE RIGHT KIND OF NIGHTCLUB. LISTENING TO HIS UNSETTLING NEW ALBUM, "FAIRY TALES FORGOTTEN", THE SETTING UNFOLDS LIKE SO: YOU SEE A SEEDY DIVE TUCKED AWAY IN SOME INDUSTRIAL PART OF TOWN. IT'S DIMLY LIT, WITH CHAIN-SMOKED CAMELS DOING THE JOB OF A FOG MACHINE. BUT ON A TINY STAGE IN THE BACK CORNER, JOHN CARPENTER AND HIS DRUMMER, WHO HUMBLY GOES BY THE NAME J. EXPLOSIVE, ARE BREWING SOMETHING SINISTER. THE SONGS ARE BLEAK AND EVEN SPOOKY AT TIMES. WHAT KEEPS IT ALL INTRIGUING IS CARPENTER'S VOICE - THEATRICAL WITHOUT BEING OVER-THE-TOP, SOMETIMES A MENACING BARITONE, OTHER TIMES A ROARING FALSETTO. CARPENTER OCCASIONALLY ENGAGES HIS GUITAR IN BOUTS OF WILD SHREDDING, NOTABLY TOWARD THE END OF THE SLOW-BURN BLUES EPIC "THE CAPTAIN." THE OVERALL SOUND IS SOMETHING LIKE A DOWN-TEMPO GUN CLUB OR AN OFF-KILTER JEFF BUCKLEY. PERHAPS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ON THE ALBUM IS IN THE TITLE TRACK. AFTER A TYPICALLY CREEPY OPENING, THE SONG SWEEPS YOU INTO A TENDER, ALMOST TRIUMPHANT CHORUS THAT RECALLS THE RONETTES' "BE MY BABY." THEN IT SUDDENLY SPITS YOU BACK INTO THE SHADOWS. - THOMAS McMAHON
Sunday, January 22, 2012
'Not the Old guy who makes creepy movies; this is the Young creep that maks old sounding music; this one is early Alice Cooper meets the best parts of the White Album' ~ Deathglam
LA Record; Interview from 2010..
John Carpenter grew up in a cancer cluster and makes music happily compatible with films by the guy who made the name famous enough to rate a flight upgrade. He leads a three-piece band with one member named ‘J. Explosive’ and they cast three shadows pointing back at Iggy Pop, Scott Walker and Roxy Music. He used to play guitar in America’s most electrifying electric gospel band and conducts himself with the good manners and ferocious focus of an old-time fighter ace. He speaks now at the Brite Spot. This interview by Chris Ziegler.
When you were growing up in New Jersey, what were you more afraid of—the Jersey Devil, mafia hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski or the entire city of Newark?
Well there’s a fourth you’re leaving out, and that’s the water supply. Remember the cancer cluster of ’94-’95? A lot of people were getting cancer—supposedly from the tap water. Turns out the medical waste processors—the people who take all your dirty syringes—were supposed to care of it but they ended up dumping it in the drinking water. There was a made-for-TV movie about it.
So is it fair to say you were raised on toxic waste?
You could say that—that’s why I’m so small. I’m a late bloomer. I always wondered why that was.
What’s the latest-blooming thing about you? What took you the longest to figure out?
Probably being comfortable in my own skin. You try a lot of things. You try to find it in God or you try to find it in drugs—you try to find it in love. You just don’t have any choice after a while. You either do figure it out or you blow your head off. It’s the only way you can have effective relationships with people. You have to spend a lot of time alone, I think.
What would you say to teenage John Carpenter as you grabbed him by the collar and shook him?
I would have released recordings earlier. But I didn’t have a mind about it. I had no idea what that was. I was just really enjoying learning how to play guitar and finding that and starting to write songs and experiment. I did a lot of noisy things in the beginning—like strange compositions. I wrote some pretty interesting things, but none of them were really songs. They were more little pieces of music here and there. And then I started singing a little bit. My friends and I had bands growing up and we started covering songs. We listened to all the Velvet Underground stuff and Hendrix. But at some point you just want to write your own music. You get sick of playing other people’s music—like everyone else. But you do learn a lot.
Did you ever have a musical mentor?
My best friend was a really great painter growing up and we were into the same music. We turned each other on to different things. He really taught me what art was all about and I taught him about music. We sort of bonded in that way and we grew up together. That’s not necessarily a mentor.
What did he teach you about art?
You have to really commit to it, and if you don’t and you wanna do it, you’re just making excuses for your life. You’re always making excuses.
What single guitar chord is most likely to send a churchful of Baptists into a frenzy?
C Major—without a doubt! The reverend would always say to me, ‘John, send me off!’ That meant hit the C chord! RINGGGGGGG! ‘Lorrrrd!’ And then he would instantly start sweating. How much passion do you have to have to break into a sweat on the first note? Before the song even begins the guy is drenched! That was my first job—really cool for a guy playing guitar. I walked into this Baptist church and they did not expect to see me. They were all in their seventies and they had been at it a long time. I guess one of their guitar players passed away and they were looking for somebody. I took a shot and they liked the way I played and they started teaching me the ceremonies and the whole bit and we went out there and we did it. It opened up a whole world of American music to me. Because when you start playing guitar, you learn the blues—that’s what most kids do. When you’re 13, it’s do-able and it’s a very rich world to get involved in. The gospel world is another part of that. You’d do a riff … It was kind of like a dirty kind of bluesy gospel. I don’t even know what new gospel sounds like, but it’s a lot more musically complicated than what we were playing. What we were playing was almost like blues.
Did you step into the one Baptist gospel combo in America that was actually playing rock ‘n’ roll?
Probably. It sounds a lot like old church hymns slowed down—it’s very simple music. To answer your question, you’d jam on a riff for a while because people would be going nuts. He’d be doing his thing and you’d have to give him some room to move around and get into it. You’d be working yourself into a state. It taught me how to get my strength up. I switched over to bass a couple times but I mostly played guitar. The music director was stone deaf—and tone deaf—and we’d always argue whether the guitar was in tune or not. It was unbelievable. He was teaching me this one chord change and I was playing it and I know I was playing it right and he kept on saying, ‘No, goddammit!’ And I know now it was just cuz I wasn’t swinging right—I wasn’t in the pocket. That was a good lesson.
What do you think of the relationship between ecstasy and music?
You mean taking it? No, I mean, that’s exactly what it should be—what else are you doing there if you’re not trying to find something? It’s a window into something if it’s done right; if it’s not bullshit. For deeper matters. For tougher matters to describe.
How did you get a standing gig at a fetish shop? And what did you spend the gift certificates on?
I was playing in a band and I was moving around a lot—I moved from Jersey to New York and then I headed up to Providence, Rhode Island. There was a pretty heavy noise scene up there not too long ago and they have a pretty good rock scene—they still do. It was cheaper to live and I got some friends up there and we got a band together—Mercy Beat. And we fell apart like any band does, but we played at one of the local fetish shop’s S&M shows. This was purely based on the sound. There was nothing weird going on. And they asked me to come back and do this gig at their shop and I did it for a few hours at a club and I did it pretty regularly. And people would come in and price the new fall wares. ‘Hey, how’re you doing? There’s some crackers and cheese.’
So what did you do with the gift certificates?
I didn’t do anything with them. I gave one of them away. I bought a nice pack of rubbers—what else do you want? Everything in there looks like it’s gonna hurt.
That’s the point.
Who spends money on that? Life’s hard enough.
Alan McGee said you write big tunes—what do you think he was talking about?
Maybe they have a lot of weight to them because there’s not a lot of instruments on the recording? Keys, bass, guitar, drums, vocals, not a lot of double tracking … The vocals are pretty straight and there’s not a lot of harmonies, so you can’t be talking about it arrangement-wise, but maybe because they have weight to them.
Is that something that you want?
I do. If it’s lean and weighty that means you’ve done well with your work. An ‘I would’ve written less if I had more time’ kinda thing.
You said that you don’t feel that anything in music is ever really lost—what did you mean?
It’s never lost. Everything is like a pitch to the next person. You listen to music and you’re very deeply touched by someone’s music and that’s inevitably gonna come out in what you do. And you take it and you put it through your own grinder and in that way people move on through other people. That’s how memories are passed—that’s how ideas are passed. It’s how information was passed along for a long time. You’ve got to make people understand as much as possible while you’re still around.
What are you trying to make them understand?
I don’t know I have anything to say necessarily. I just want to make people happy. Why do people make anything? It seems kind of silly to try to sell your feelings. You can almost think it down to nothing. You can reason it away. Why make anything? Are you trying to tap into something in yourself? That’s an adventure unto itself. To say that you’re doing something big and heavy with art is to say that people who don’t do art don’t do anything heavy—which is bullshit. Everybody finds what they’re after—that window to something in their own way. Like we were talking about in the beginning. Some people drink themselves to death and some people put all their energy into their children. Some people play guitar.
What’s something thing that scares you and excites you at the same time?
I’m not scared right now. I’m going through a period where I’m very focused. I have another 20 or 25 songs that I’ve gotta get ready to record. I just want to keep it going cuz you never know what’s gonna happen. Keeping a band together is such a delicate thing. I’ve been through a million bass players and key players and drummers and then Joe A.—J. Explosive and I—hooked up in 2005 and he stuck. If you’re looking for a band, you’re the songwriter and you can probably sing your songs—so don’t go looking for a singer! Start doing your tunes and book shows. Do shows alone. Eventually, like a piano player will come out of the woodwork. Then you find a drummer and the three of you start playing. Sometimes you get it together or somebody leaves—it moves around like that and then you’re back to not having anybody again. That’s happened to me many times in my life and it’s been a delicate balance. We’re the best version of the band right now. Jeff Phillips on bass—the toughest, coolest bass player we’ve had. If you actually stop doing it then you didn’t want it to begin with. Everybody wants different things out of it but I don’t think it’s any reason to quit. Because the songs are the songs—you learn more if you just keep playing. There’s always gonna be ups and downs—it’s never gonna end. Look at the Beatles—how long did they last? Eight years? Nothing lasts. That’s why you put out different albums because sometimes you’re in a slump. Then you get a piano player and you get to write new songs just with that arrangement—it challenges you to write different kinds of music. In that way it should be encouraging enough. It should be exciting enough for people who want to write music. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck. It’s very discouraging. It seems like things take forever—but I guess if time is urgent, things do take forever.
Have you ever thought about booking a show with Abe Vigoda just to screw with people?
I would do it in a second, and we should get Rainer Maria too.
Did you really get a flight upgrade just for being named John Carpenter?
I did. I was coming back from Jamaica with some friends of mine who got married—they asked me to play some songs and I’d never been to Jamaica. There was a wretched delay and I got called to the front. The lady was like, ‘Mr. Carpenter, we have an upgrade for you.’ And looked at me like she knew.
JOHN CARPENTER’S FAIRY TALES FORGOTTEN IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM MYSPACE.COM/JOHNNYCARPENTER
JOHN CARPENTER AT L.A. RECORD 100 CLOSING PARTY ON SAT., JULY 31 AT 6TH ST. WAREHOUSE, 1269 E. 6TH ST, DOWNTOWN.