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Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

What Strange Prizes These Battles Bring

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October 8th, 2008


  1. UPDATES. I am copying & pasting from Tumblr, but here are the highlights for all y'all livejournalers.

    Din din din dinner tonight?
    Roasted eggplant slices.
    Topped with leftover italian-sausage marinara sauce from Pasta Night earlier this week.
    Plus lots of cheese!

    Oh hi it's me!

    LAist: Ray Bradbury at The LA Film School Tonight
    We’ve actually managed to accomplish several household tasks the past few weekends that have the added benefit of being psychically cleansing:
    recycling*, taking shit to Goodwill, cleaning out the fridge, organizing a more efficient laundry system, etc etc
    and I’ve at least been doing yoga at an impressively regular interval, which provides some intellectual novelty as it firms my thighs (I know what a mudra is, as well as the exact spot in which energy flows in and out of my butt).
    I’ve discovered a funny thing about action, then: that using energy quickly creates more energy. Or maybe practicing a state of active busy-ness makes you more apt to maintain a state of active busy-ness.

    *We practice ninja recyling, an unusual but efficient method that works well for those who drink lots of beer. Our apartment building doesn’t have a recycling bin, so we drop ours under cover of night at the neighborhood recycling hut, where we hope the next day some bum will pick our shit up and make enough money to buy himself another six-pack.

    1. Loading...
      They Fucking Forgot My Birthday
      by Molly Lambert
      "There is this optimistic myth often perpetuated by the media that women are less shallow than men. And it bothers me because honestly, we’re not. Just like boys, most girls would rather project ideals onto a beautiful blank template than deal with an actual average human being. And then when we find out the hot guy is, you know, not really that smart or interesting we still find ways to convince ourselves he must just be secretly rilly deep.
      "TV examples are Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life and Daniel Desario from Freaks and Geeks. You know they’re out of your reach, that they’re probably kind of stupid, but who cares? They’re just so cute! You could probably make Brian Krakow or Nick Andopolis your actual boyfriend but that’s so attainable and boring. Plus those guys are both needy and stalkerish."
      Zach is so weird.
      via laist.com

So yeah, that's what I've been doing!!!

July 29th, 2008


OKAY actual proof of my Joan Holloway moment today.

OKAY actual proof of my Joan Holloway moment today.

July 3rd, 2008



You guys,

you think it's all sunshine and roses and happy suburban life over here for me, but really it's tough as nails and demoralizing to the soul. I'm starting to circulate in the outskirts of the BLOGOSPHERE, the real one, the one that's replacing the newspapers and not being run by Rupert Murdoch, and I'm terrified as fuck because I'm still not a good enough writer. Not yet, but I'm not.

My editor tells me to "write like Carrie," and not like Pitchfork or the alt-weekly-hipster-Cobra-terror-sunglasses-fuckery-bullshit blogs & mags, but it's hard. I've had a few opportunities come my way re: OTHER WORK (that's not LAist or the Day Gig) but I have managed to massively fuck those things up and possibly destroy some networking contacts through my own laziness.

And it's not laziness, mind you, it's fear -- fear that what I say is not FUCKERYBULLSHIT enough, I'm not a Gawker, I'm not a Lit Mag Editor, I'm not a Grad Student anymore.

Woah! Did I just say writing is hard? Did I just say the journalism/literary world is TOUGH SHIT? Did I just say that??


So I am grappling. I am trying to deal with it by doing something honestly creative and challenging, which is working on a piece for This Recording, the best culture/literary/pop blog on the internet, and a piece of Internet Tomfoolery that truly reflects the kind of Stuff I Like To Read and Think About.

SO that's good. And hell, I went to a good concert the other night, and I'm working on other productive, self-helpy things like Saving Money for a Vacation and Being Fit and whatever. And sigh_gone is coming to visit! And we're going to track whitnail down and scoop him up and love each other as much as we possibly can! And I get to spend time with my parents tomorrow! And I'm going to a great party (for which I will COOK COOK COOK) on Saturday! And I have a nice dude to spend time with right now, which is what I think I'll do now.

June 27th, 2008


Phew, blogging three places at once is tough. For instant updates, you should really be checking

But I'll try to summarize.


To commemorate, I have boughten LOTS OF Werner Herzog DVDs, including the Kinski box set which has up until now shamefully been absent from my library.

Self present part three!!!I love you, Amoeba Music.

Self present part three!!!

I love you, Amoeba Music.

Self Birfday Present, Part Deux!!!

Self Birfday Present, Part Deux!!!

BIRFDAY PRESENT!!! I gave myself the gift of Werner in this, my 28th year of triumphant existence.“When I think of birthdays I think of only DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, fornication and copulation. I do not see celebration, I do not see cake. I see a sugary overload of commercialism and Hallmark tomfoolery.” **Yeah I made that up.

BIRFDAY PRESENT!!! I gave myself the gift of Werner in this, my 28th year of triumphant existence.

“When I think of birthdays I think of only DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, fornication and copulation. I do not see celebration, I do not see cake. I see a sugary overload of commercialism and Hallmark tomfoolery.” *

*Yeah I made that up.

See this guy?

He's pretty much amazing, and took me to dinner at La Cachette and stuffed me full of foie gras and gave me the best birthday present ever known to me, with which I have been taking pictures.

At school:

Cody (and my Serenity poster, natch)

Joseph, he of the neverending great conversations about "Lost" and "The Wire." We have good taste in television.

The equipment room is getting relocated to the parking lot across from the Building Two admin offices. Weird! but convenient, I guess? Look we are all in disarray:

All of our lighting is like that around school.  You should see me in my office; I am bathed in a warm 30's-era Norma Desmond glow.

Anyway, then I went to the cemetery.

and hung out with Johnny Ramone.

People put stuff in his hands, like guitar picks and dollar bills and roaches.


June 16th, 2008

Beers + Sushi =


my boyfriend has been gone for just over 24 hours and already I am blogging way too much, listening to Liz Phair, and having ANIMATED conversations with the people in my head about the virtues of raw milk.

Anyway, I'm over your drama about this song, it's still pretty fuckin incredible even when you are an old married lady like me. Also, ha ha, Dave Matthews likes chick music! Dave Matthews and John Cusack totally look alike! Hahahaha!

Anyway I am now about to embark upon a "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" marathon, CLEARLY I SHOULD NOT BE LEFT ALONE.

holy depression party

not a good day.

missing my honey.

depression all around, really.

gonna take a drive, come back home, crawl into bed, try not to die of the Valley heat, maybe cry a while.

Stan Winston died; I went to his star on the Walk of Fame to get some pix.

I was appropriately dressed.

June 15th, 2008

We went to the Zoo!

Went to the Beastly Ball last night for LAist press duties -- what a chore, walking around the zoo on a beautiful summer evening, enjoying all manner of catered delicacies and free-flowing wine.

I want a snake REALLY BADLY now.

More to come over at LAist soon.

June 13th, 2008

I am alive


And I love you all.

June 6th, 2008

Just in case you were interested in being a stalker!!

Woah, dudes, June is totally where it’s at for me, something about the birthday month and serendipity.

- 6/4: Private Menu Tasting at home of an L.A. caterer, Binks Catering

- 6/6: End of Year Party for Harvard-Westlake: Lobster Fest!!!! (Also it is MATT VILLINES'S BIRTHDAY, go to the Golden Gopher and compliment him on his epic moustache.)

- 6/7: Erotica LA (if the boyfriend lets me go) to interview Sasha Grey

- 6/11: Screening of new Herzog film, Encounters at the End of the World, at the Nuart!

- 6/12: Exposure Industry Screening at the Film School

- 6/14: Beastly Ball, charity gala at the L.A. Zoo

- 6/15: Home for Father’s Day

- 6/18: Opening of Art Show 2008 (graffiti artist MBW’s L.A. gallery show)

- 6/21 GET XPOSED, the Los Angeles Film School’s monthly open house (ok so this is actually work)

- 6/21: Possible birthday dinner with the parents at Hungry Cat

- 6/24 The Mae Shi @ The Smell

- 6/27: MY TWENTY-EIGHTH BIRTHDAY!!!! Dinner at La Cachette with the Lover Bunny

p.s. Oz, stick a dick up your butt, I do get out of the house sometimes.

June 3rd, 2008

Sad Steps

I was thinking real hard this morning about this poem; about youth and the things that fall out all about us. 
I can't help but revisit Larkin again and again, especially how the first line begins in the body, but then rises
up to the eternal, the heavenly, so quickly and so well.

Not bad for a librarian.

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.

Four o'clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There's something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate -
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

June 2nd, 2008

Watch this hilarious and TOTALLY family-friendly comedy short featuring Ulysses S. Grant and ME as a disgruntled girlfriend!

May 25th, 2008


I'm back on the fiction project again,
position yourselves eagerly at a Tumblr near you.

Oh hai what's up. In the background of this picture is that chick who was the "Gusher" who had a threesome with David Duchovny and Harry from SATC on that one episode of "Californication," y'all know what I'm talking about.


A pound of fish eggs and the BIGGEST CRACKER YOU'VE EVER SEEN.

For those of you who have not seen me in a while, I have bangs again and I am a little skinnier and I have really cute new shorts and I have not washed my bathroom mirrors in a long time.

Et voila.

If anybody can find Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" in this picture I will pay you a dollar because how the fuck am I supposed to find the book I'm looking for in this mess:

But sometimes our bookshelves have a wicked atheist sense of humor!!!!!!

Anyway so I bought some new ones, I am planning on parking myself in the hot tub tomorrow when I get home to Simi and shutting the world up and just reading for like five hours while my dad makes ribs.

This is not my boyfriend when he wakes up in the morning but you can seriously hardly tell the difference:

May 21st, 2008


Yeah, I'm cool.

Went to a concert, Lykke Li, BUY HER SHIT it is awesome.

I am in a total Swedish Frame of Mind lately, meatballs and lingonberries and adorable female pop singers. I want to put my face in a bowl of herring right now. FYI, Ikea has really great deals on lumpfish roe, I am buying ten jars this weekend!


Austin, do you still read this? If so, hi to you and Adam. You guys should come visit me at the film school! It will fill you with longing and regret, so fun!!!!

What I do all day: get to work way earlier than everybody. Check emails. Spend  too much time checking blogs, emails, and Tumblr. Figure out my calling strategy for the day. (Did I mention I spend like 4 hours every day on the phone?) Talk to all my ADORABLE AWESOME TALENTED STUDENTS!!! (No really I love love love love love love the students here, they are why my job is fun and awesome.) This includes distributing candy, watching short films, reading scripts, and distributing more candy. Make calls. Go to the equipment room (where all the toys are located), shoot the shit with my A/V Tech homies. Make more calls. Play music really loudly. Make some other calls. Shoot the shit with my Admissions homies. OMG CALLS!

Ok sorry gotta get back to being awesome.

May 13th, 2008



Two from Duffy's book "Rapture:"


Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head.
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell.

Falling in love
is glamorous hell: the crouched, parched heart
like a tiger, ready to kill; a flame’s fierce licks under the skin.
into my life, larger than life, you strolled in.

I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone’s face, from the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me

as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are
on the bed, like gift, like a touchable dream.


I want to call you thou, the sound
of the shape of the start
of a kiss — like this, thou —
and to say, after, I love,
thou, I love, thou I love, not
I love you.

Because I so do —
as we say now — I want to say
thee, I adore, I adore thee,
and to know in my lips
the syntax of love resides,
and to gaze in thine eyes.

Love’s language starts, stops, starts;
the right words flowing or clotting in the heart

May 9th, 2008


Possibly one of the most incredibly moving & beautiful sequences ever to end a film.

Where the pictures at?

Oh darlings!

I don't know what to say. I want to say beautiful things but I have no mind for them anymore. I want to give the blood of my womb and the sweat of my brow and the jointwork of my fingers to something, but I simply cannot fathom how this (livejournal) audience receives anything I ever say anymore.

In short, I believe you are either too much in love with me or you are too disgusted with me to ever ever ever say anything to me every again.

You know how every second of your existence is swallowed up either by self-doubt or by a too-finely-tuned sense of irony? Or by an all-too-objective distance from Self, Sense, Vocation?

(Yes I do know, what do you mean?)

I mean: I want to say beautiful things but I have no audience for them anymore. And anyway, who wants to hear about somebody who is "satisfied," or "happy" with their place in life; who among you wants to know of joy or accomplishment or what rewards come from concerted effort?

Very few, I suspect. So then I don't know what to tell you, because I can never ever ever speak of my discontents. I can't talk about work (coworkers are reading!), I can't talk about love (lover is reading!), I can't talk about friends (friends are reading!), I can't talk about writing (other writers are reading!) in any true fashion.

So, simply, maybe this is heading towards a friends-only forum??? Which is altogether besides the point, because the readers I write for are the ones who aren't even my friends to begin with.

But to change things/minds/moments altogether: and to speak of those things we cannot name!

1) I am in the most passionate love/hate relationship with my job right now. Everything is changing, nothing is staying the same. Just keep checking our website for the latest updates. Most of which contain the unspoken statement: "GOOD FUCKING LUCK GETTING A STUDENT LOAN HAHAHAH SUCKERS!!!"

I am altogether always all for change, which is coming fast and furious and without mercy. I am also altogether always for the kids I meet here, the kids who drop by my office to shake my hand and compliment me on my music and eat my candy and sit in my chairs and talk to me about everywhere they've ever been, the places they lived before they lived here: Kansas City, Dubai, Iraq, Baltimore, Iceland, Colombia, Oxnard. If you said "hey carrie where do you want to go when you die and go to heaven," I'd say film school, and I'd say this school for sure. I love love love this place but I hate how hard it is for these kids to get here. But good lord above do they make it worth my time when they're here.

What am I obsessed with right now? Oh lord, you know, the usual:

Dan Simmons
Not eating carbs
video games
Getting skinny (er)
Looking at pictures of hot dogs and mac n' cheese.

April 21st, 2008


In exactly two days I will have reached my one year anniversary of blogging for LAist.

In that time, I have:

Interviewed Olivia Munn
Interviewed Junot Diaz
Received a free Nintendo DS
Gotten on the front page of Digg with a post about getting Facebook-hacked
Been entertained by a few other media job offers
Gotten a few free meals
Attended some wicked cool events
Pimped out my Sylvia Beach projects (Honor Student, Mitchbag, Mae Shi)
Met a lot of people
Made a lot of friends

Which overall is pretty good for a gig you don't get paid for. And yeah -- meeting Olivia Munn was definitely the coolest. I mean:

Hot & hilarious, you can't get better than that.

Although the "making friends" thing and the Nintendo DS are also pretty awesome.

HAHAHA JAY KAY! Friends are the best, hrmmrm.

No, you know what, I take that back: the best thing was being able to write about L.A., duh.

April 20th, 2008



I am embarking on Two Projects today:

Bombay Sliders with Garlic Curry Sauce (nom nom nom)

And reading good sci-fi

(I'm going to write a sci-fi novel, I've decided; I'll start out with some short stories and move on to the big stuff once I decide major questions like "aliens or no aliens?" "robots, ninjas, or pirates?" "maybe robots ninjas and pirates?", etc.

Friday night was fun; I even remember a lot of it.

April 17th, 2008

On D.R. Adams Films Inc.

Hey, you know who's the craziest fuckin mofo on the entire internet?


He has a blog, if you haven't heard.

I kind of love it. It's cheesy to like Ryan Adams, right? I think that's the latest. Well doesn't change the crazy. Here he is dying his hair:

I mean.

Okay now back to my regularly scheduled programming of being a totally cheesy stalkerish weirdo. And cooking dinner.

April 16th, 2008

The Mae Shi Versus Orochon Ramen. All photos by Carrie Meathrell

So I think The Mae Shi are robots.

I know, I know – they look like your typical cute-as-shit L.A. indie band, but start talking about the Book of Revelations and cybernetic intelligence with them, and you’ll start to get this funny inhuman feeling. And they’re certainly not clunky, "Forbidden Planet!" style robots, but super smooth Cylons, like something out of a Dan Simmons novel: they look just like us. But the shit they’re saying? "Basically supercomputers are being built and we’re going to have to deal with that in the next ten years. It's a part of evolution. The singularity is already happening, is the argument." See? Robots. Totally.

The new album, Hlllyh, does nothing to dispel this alien sensation. It's both post-apocalyptic and post-modern, almost as if the sentient Moravec-machines from the sci-fi novel Ilium managed to download Black Flag, Klaus Schultze, OC punk rock, and Talmudic commentaries, devise a mathematical equation from it all, process it through ProTools and Melodyne, and then spit back out a hyperactive 21st century punk rock concept album about a vengeful Christ reaping the world for souls.

Aliens. They’re definitely aliens. Alien robot rock gods. They're playing Spaceland this Friday night at 8:30pm with PRE, if you want to study the evidence for yourself.

Point is, I needed to devise a Turing Test, and where better to do it than Orochon Ramen? This fabled ramen joint, located in a down-at-the-heels Japanese plaza in Little Tokyo, is home to the reputed Special #2, a bowl of fire so intense it has sent countless Yelpers mewling back to their cushy internet cuddle-fests. Orochon takes polaroids of any hapless soul who manages the heroic feat of finishing a bowl of this Liquid Death within thirty minutes.

The Mae Shi at Orochon Ramen

So I figured, if I could feed the Mae Shi the Special #2 and they survived -- nay, if they managed to continue making music despite the fires burning in their collective bellies, well -- they had to be robots. Or aliens. Sexy hard-rocking alien robots. Or whatever.

“A lot of [the album] is referencing Revelations,” drummer/singer/producer Brad Breeck explains. “That song 'Pwned' is like an apocryphal chapter – but it’s sci-fi, what could happen in the Bible if aliens got involved!” The record has a frantic energy to it that’s closer to the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament than the lambs and lovin’ of the New:

he said burn em up salt the earth
do it fast make it hurt
forget about salvation
they’ve got a new destination
he said melt the ice crush the stone
peel the skin grind the bone
here’s a new sensation it’s called destiny manifest

Breeck, a twenty-something In N’ Out enthusiast who cites “Goonies” and Britney Spears as major inspirations, continues. “What would things be like if the Revelation happened in Genesis, before the covenant had been fulfilled and Christ had come? The apocalypse would have been just pure reaping of souls, it wouldn’t have been this like grand entrance that we’re told about in Revelation, it would have been like ‘I don’t give a shit, you’re done!’ That song’s about the cheapness of this creation, how little value it could have to a creator who could just make another Creation, like, 'you guys are just raw materials for my next project!'”

Jeff Byron and Jon Gray test the spicy waters of the Special #2

LAist: That sounds like a sci-fi novel to me.
Brad: The nature of the Old Testament god is kind of sci-fi.
Bill: That song in particular really captures the fury of that idea of the manic street preacher, the crazy guy on the street who’s preaching these apocalyptic messages, with this fury. And he’s totally wrong, but he gets your attention, though, makes you feel a certain way.
Jeff: Do souls die in the apocalypse too or just the world? I always thought of the apocalypse as just skeletons flying around, but maybe I’m getting that confused with Harry Potter.
The Mae Shi: You can upload souls to computers! There’s all kinds of stuff being done, sans mathematics, that leaps logic. Like Melodyne, direct note access. Basically supercomputers are being built and we’re going to have to deal with that in the next ten years.

Can you explain what this has to do with your new record?
Brad: Oh, it’s all about inventing a new language, speaking without vowels, cause we don’t need it, we can understand each other anyway, we’re just quickening the process. I actually just made that up right now.

They do that a lot – make shit up on the fly, toss jokes around like hacky sacks, pull off totally insane flights of rhetoric that can’t even remotely be represented on a page. It’s the kind of thing that happens in a family, albeit a family that seems to accumulate and slough off members at varying intervals.

Bill Gray (bass/vocals) and Jonathan Gray (vocals/keyboards) are cousins. Tim Byron, who co-founded the band, has left touring duties to pursue law school, although he will “parachute in once in a while to say "what's up?"’ He is brother to Jeff Byron (guitars/computers/vocals), who’s homies from way back in the day with Breeck and Ezra Buchla, their recently departed singer. (Corey Fogel, the craziest dude you’ll never meet, was also at one time a major player.) They’ve all “attended The University of Life at one time or another, among various other well respected institutions of higher learning,” although new drummer/photoshop expert Jacob Cooper confesses to attending “one month of community college, I think it was called LOL college.”

But the band now is already working on a follow-up to this year's Hlllyh, a new EP with the brand-new lineup that will hopefully lead into another record this summer. (Read Pitchfork's rave review of Hlllyh here.) They played an inhuman number of shows at this year's SXSW (eighteen in six days), and describe the Austin experience thusly: "SXSW is a city in Austin, where it's all music all the time. It’s a different dimension, where lots of scantily clad underage girls are puking all over up in the street and people are trying to sell you Dentyne Ice even though they’re giving it away for free other places. And the girls get mad at you cause they’re hotter than you. And lots of sun. See, normally Austin doesn’t have that much sun, but it comes out when you’re really hungover. Obviously we were drunk all the time."

You guys have had a lot of “staff changes” over the past year or so. How does that affect the writing process?
It’s actually very interesting. For the last record, there was one staff change. It’s really broken down into everybody does what they can, and a lot of times, if you feel up to it, you volunteer for a project, and if you’re not up to it, somebody else volunteers you for it. There are certain tasks for sure: if there’s a bass part that nobody really volunteers for, Bill has to play it. If there’s a guitar part that nobody volunteers for, Jeff plays it. It’s a default system. We have our default positions, but everybody does their own thing too – every record has been done very differently. This new EP, we had a formulated way of doing it, but it’s always going to be different every time.

This record seems to have a certain conceptual tightness and concrete theme, a calculated structure. Obviously you were thinking about how it should be listened to as a whole.
The shape of the record came after we had everything. We knew from the beginning that we were going to make a record with this theme, with this big narrative, but the actual shape of the record came after we had all the pieces together. Some were added really late in the game to try to fill in a hole – it was a long process of making puzzle pieces and putting them in place.

One of the interesting puzzle pieces is the track “Kingdom Come”, which is its own epic journey in the middle of two fantastic, accessible songs, “Run To Your Grave” and “I Get (Almost) Everything I Want.” You guys are known for these short intense songs, then you bring in this 12 minute long dance track, right in the middle of the record!
At some point we decided we wanted to make a dance track, then at some point it became about trying to trick people into making this really long journey away from the record. Or, if they don’t want to take the journey, they’re forced to get up and turn over the record. You think of a vinyl record, Abbey Road has side A and side B. It was just an idea.

When we first wrote that 12 minute long song, it was actually 23 minutes or whatever, and our record label made us shorten it, which is completely arbitrary and stupid -- I mean, if you’re really going to take the journey, and it’s that different from the rest of the record, you could make it five hours long – you either take the journey or not.

Now it’s the new iPod generation, people really do just listen to one song off a record, they listen to their music on shuffle – that’s something we just have to deal with. But, part of the art of the thing is the way the record is organized, people still do really care about that. But then again it’s also a challenge to us to think that people might be listening to things in a different way.

Bill Gray and Brad Breeck contemplate Orochon's famed ramen

The ramen arrives, in a hapless shuffle of orders and utensils. Jeff, who had specifically requested “spicy food” for our interview, had inquired if perhaps “Special #2” could be prepared even hotter – “like Special #5? We’ve eaten whole habaneros before,” he tells me conspiratorially. Twice.

The management declines to adjust the menu, and The Mae Shi must be content with #2. Jeff inspects the broth, which is almost maroon, and thick with chile particles. “It doesn’t look that hot.” Robots! And in fact, both he and Jonathan (the three others decline to go #2, as does this reporter, who hangs her head in shame) finish their bowls in the allotted time, despite simultaneous consumption of beer and near-constant complaint over the sheer volume of the soup. I am impressed. Jeff leans in and shrugs his shoulders. “It really wasn’t that bad.” The others point out politely that Jon is dripping with sweat. Bill, who hasn’t even subjected his palate to the spice assault, is already craving a cigarette after these collective gastronomical efforts.

Perhaps they weren’t aliens after all. I still wasn’t convinced.

It’s funny to me that people often describe you as “ADD Rock”.
Mae Shi: We’ve played those songs so many times, I don’t think anyone with ADD could actually pay attention to playing the songs over and over as many times as we have.

We made this rule that we really don’t really follow, but for a long time it was really true: that we could never repeat anything more than once. In a normal song you hear the same thing five times, and there’s no reason to do that. The history of 20th century classical music has proven that is the case. Form is overrated. Especially on a record like “Terrorbird,” some people were saying “oh your songs are so short. They’re great, but they’re so short.” Well, listen to them again! There’s just as much information or more than there is in a regular song. The Minutemen made some of the best records ever out of very short songs.

But for this record we decided we would do chorus and verse. Cause it’s really fun! It’s an effective tool! If you’re reading a book, you’re not going to read it back and forth, back and forth. It’s all linear, it’s all – what if you read a book, that went: “she went to bed. She pulled the covers up over her head. She went to bed. She pulled the covers up over her head.”

Bill: But think about it, we are a very visual society. I mean, I think Mark E. Smith had it right, when he said repetition the whole point of the musical agenda – all you have to do is repeat something and you have a song.

We embrace that with all the electronic music that we make. People always talk about – “Oh if it’s a good song, this is the structure it has to follow.” And that’s totally not true – structure makes it easier to understand a song, but it doesn’t make it good. What if they made all the houses in the suburbs the same? Wait, they do! You know?

Run to your Grave is a super hit song though, dudes.
Brad wrote it. It was the song that started this record. It was either that or a song with the working title “System of a Down.” Brad came to us and said “Run To Your Grave,” and we were like “ehhhh….I don’t know, it doesn’t really sound like us,” but in the end it was kind of validating – we can make a record without Ezra. It was hard to even think about how we were going to make a record without Ezra, and this was one song where it was like – “Brad can sing it!” We tried to find another person to sing the song, we all tried singing it together, but then it just worked.

And then you got everybody in the world to be in the video.
We never do anything ourselves as a band, we’ve always relied on other people, we put out a DVD of friends making music videos for us, and how much we’ve relied on friends. We’re gonna keep doing videos, we have so many ideas for crazy videos.

Bill: The ideal situation though if we had time and the resources I think it would be way better if we made all the videos ourselves because I feel it would be more cohesive. I always get bummed with other people doing our videos for us. Because – well, and this is something our old bassist Tim came up with. It’s that this band is a vehicle for everything else we want to do – like if I want to design a t-shirt or make a website or make a video, I'm going to use the band to accomplish those things.

Jeff: Or paint my car.
Jacob: Or go to college. Or finally learn English! [They go on one of their skittering jokes again.]
Bill: I feel like we’re letting that idea down if we don’t do things ourselves.

Jeff: We make music using any means necessary – if we only have the means to do a certain thing, we’re going to. I always think that iMovie is a perfectly good way to edit a film. If you’re good at using it, why not? If all you have is a camera phone, then why not make a video using that? If that’s all that you have, but you still have all the ideas there, why not make the most of it?

Jon: Everybody that I know I could pretty much say I met through music. Almost all of my friends I met through a friend and even that initial friend I met through music. Even Bill, he’s my cousin but I still feel like he’s my music friend, cause that’s where we bonded. Even as kids, we didn’t like each other, you know, he thought I smelled and he hated me. It was like a forced visit at his house -- our moms made us hang out.
Bill: I was a bigger dick then.
Jon: Then we played music together, he started playing guitar and he found out I played guitar, and from there --
Bill: Jon taught me how to rip. We fell in love through music. If it weren’t for music we would have killed each other.
Jon: If it weren’t for music you would have stayed weird and I would have stayed weird. Oh wait a second --

What makes playing in LA different?
We love LA. It’s a love-hate. It’s a shitty place to live, you can’t get food stamps like you could if you were living in San Francisco or Portland, but there are so many opportunities. The best part is being a band in Los Angeles. Nobody likes to go to shows in LA except for a select group of people, and those people are really fun. They’re all up on stage while we’re playing.

Do the kids dance?
Well, hell, we’re gonna boogie down. We’re gonna have a real Mae Shi hoedown!

2008-04-02-049.jpgThe Mae Shi with a Japanese aerospace hero.

When we emerge from the restaurant, it’s started to rain. For a moment, they stop being machines and turn into real boys, taking turns sliding over slick pavement into the street. There’s a statue of some Japanese aerospace dignitary outside of the courtyard that becomes a prop for an impromptu photo shoot. These guys fall into camera-ready positions almost too easily -- and suddenly I notice that there's a rocket ship attached to the statue they’re standing under. Of course! Robot aliens! This is where they parked the thing!

Jeff says, “Come on guys, it’s time to go make music.” They climb into their ship, and just like that, no more bodies, only souls.

The Mae Shi are playing Spaceland on Friday at 8:30pm with PRE if you wanna hitch a ride. Buy tickets here.

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