Peter Holmstrom

The Dandy Warhols / Pete International Airport / Walls of Dada interview by Jarett Cole

Peter Holmstom of the Dandy Warhols

Interview by Jarett Cole

Peter Holmstrom hangs out for an hour and talks about EVERYTHING! Life under quarantine, Pete International Airport, Walls Of Dada, working on Jason Adams’ [aka Jsun Atoms of The Upsidedown / Daydream Machine / Mother Mariposa] solo record, The Dandy Warhols and their postponed show with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra (which was supposed to take place on May 21st 2020 – The date this interview took place), some of the story behind the Dandy’s pandemic release ‘Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone‘ (available on Bandcamp), his signature effects pedals (by Malekko Heavy Industry Corporation), his favorite guitars (spoiler alert: they’re Saul Koll originals), favorite guitar players, favorite songs by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, thoughts on DIG!, memories of Genesis P. Orridge, and so much more! The second half of the interview is based on responses to the question, “If you could ask Pete one question, what would it be?’ that was posted to ‘The Dandy Warhols Fan Page’ group on Facebook. Here’s what Peter had to say:

This is my studio, this is where I work, where I am everyday.

How have you been dealing with this quarantine and all this craziness?

It’s not that much different for me, it’s like I pretty much spent most of my time hiding out inside anyway so the only difference is I only go grocery shopping once a week and I do it for my parents. And I’m not getting enough exercise. But I’ve actually been really productive. That seems to be working out alright…I kind of got lucky, I was really inspired to start working on a bunch of things right when this started…I had just come out of a very non-productive streak.

What kind of stuff have you been working on?

Been doing a lot of work on the new PIA record, a couple of Dandys tracks have been floating around, those seem to move slow, so we’ll see. I’m helping Jason Adams with his record – his sort of solo record, not solo record? So far it’s just me and him. He brings in songs and we put them together. The project I have with Chris Olley from Six By Seven is called Walls of Dada, we started record number three. So yeah, kind of all over the place.

About exactly a year ago, I saw you guys [the Dandys] at the Fillmore and you were on your 25th anniversary tour, and yeah, a year later things are much different – and you guys pretty much tour every year so it must feel weird to not be on the road and to not be playing shows.

Yeah, there’s all sorts of things that aren’t happening now. Today actually we were supposed to be playing with the Portland Symphony, or the Oregon Symphony – sorry – and we had a whole hour and a half set of our music scored for an orchestra. The sort of mock-up with a digital orchestra just sounded amazing. So that’s a little frustrating that hasn’t happened but we’ll get there, hopefully. Hopefully it will be next year.

We scheduled this and then I realized that show was supposed to happen on – on today – how did that come about and what was the process like for figuring out which songs you wanted to make orchestral?

It came about from the guy that does front of house for us and helps us a lot with a bunch of production stuff, just things like that. Chris Berkstrom – or ‘Mango’ as we call him. He runs a sound company in town that brings in the PA for the symphony every time they work with somebody who’s coming through town. He was wearing one of our shirts and somebody involved was like, “Hey, we should work with them!” and he was like, ‘I can put that together!’ – So yeah, just started talking.

Picking the songs, the conductor and the guy who ended up scoring it, they picked a lot of the songs, but we definitely told them that we’d kind of like to do some of more of the ones that we don’t play live all the time, cause there’s a lot that just – you know, 25 years in there’s a lot of songs that you don’t do, so the set was going to have a lot of songs that we don’t do all the time, and the versions of them were going to be radically different.

A couple of examples? Can you give us a spoiler alert on a little bit of the setlist? It’s ok if you can’t…

Naaaaaaaaah I don’t wan’t to. I mean I’ve already posted some sheet music from Nietzsche, so that’s one of them. That’s the first one I heard the mock-up of and it’s just mind-blowing how cool that song’s going to be. The different levels and layers of added instrumentation are just so cool.

How long were you guys rehearsing for it?

We were supposed to have started rehearsals, we had a bunch scheduled in April because we had those shows in New York that got cancelled so Brent [DeBoer] was going to be out for that. So we had like a week of rehearsals then and then we were going to have rehearsals in May with a couple of shows to get warmed up. You know, little shows, because playing live is very different than rehearsing. So we had a bunch of stuff planned but it never happened.

That kind of leads into a question I wanted to ask you just about playing live, are there any songs that you’ve always wanted to play live that you haven’t, maybe because the rest of the band didn’t want to…?

Yeah I guess the one that I’ve always wanted to play is Nothing off of the first record. It’s one that was written – or – the writing process was completed while we were recording that record, so it just never got played live. It’s more complex – the arrangement, than a lot of our other songs so it would have required more of like just memorization as opposed to just being able to being able to get up and play, and just the way we rehearse songs that just doesn’t fly. So yeah, It would be nice to do that one at some point.

Right, I’ve always wanted to hear Valerie Yum live but I’m pretty sure I never will.

(laughs) Yeah, I mean there’s a lot of songs that are just studio creations that there’s kind of no way to really do without completely re-approaching the song…they tend to just never happen as opposed to the ones that are easy to do.

I saw that you posted that you missed touring – what do you miss about it in particular, or where do you miss going?

I miss going to Europe and Australia. Anywhere that’s not here. I’ve spent most of my life in the United States so I prefer going elsewhere, though I’d be happy doing a tour in the U.S. But really just playing music and traveling are my favorite things to do so I’m not really getting to play music that much. By myself is fine but it’s kind of meant to be for an audience. The interaction with somebody listening is really great. You know, just because we’ve been a touring band for twenty-five years, I have friends all over the world and I don’t get to see them that often.

How are you guys staying in touch – do you have Zoom meetings with the band, do you talk on the phone, do you collaborate?

Just phone calls at the moment – or texts. There’s some file sharing going on but not a lot. Trying to wrap up a few little projects and get them out so people have new things to listen to, I guess before we dive into the next record. Though that’s definitely been started.

Where are you with the next record?

There’s two songs which are pretty complete and then a bunch of ideas  – so things aren’t too far along.

You guys put out this four hour – ambient, Tafelmuzik, record? Would you call it a record? How would you describe it?

I don’t know, to me it was a failed attempt at something else. I was really pushing for the band to try and use different instruments to try and record or come up with ideas and it sort of just turned into this long, meandering, I don’t know – ambient thing that wasn’t – it wasn’t a proper record. It’s perfect for background music, and I don’t know, for me it’s a little frustrating because it’s not what I wanted it to be, but it’s still a cool thing.

What did you want it to be?

I wanted it to be a record, like a proper release – to have songs, things to be developed into songs. I don’t even remember initially why I started – what my headspace was or whatever but I had set up our whole stage with drum machines and keyboards for everybody and then just tried to get people interested in doing something different.

(talking about the cover photo of Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone) Where was the picture taken?

That was taken by Jared [Artaud] from the Vacant Lots at the Ace Theatre –  Theatre at the Ace – in L.A., a year ago when we were on tour. He told me to go sit out there because it reminded him of a Dylan photo I think.

You being the only person on the cover, is that sort of a nod that it was a Pete project?

Nope not at all. It maybe started as my idea, it definitely was not my project. I think it’s just that I’m alone and that sort of fits into the title.

Right, so this is the second time that you’ve been the sole person on the cover of a Dandys album, and I did ask – do you have the jacket? Do you still have the jacket from Thirteen Tales?

I do yeah,

It is anywhere nearby?

Yeah, I dug it out.

(holds up the jacket)

That’s super cool.

There ya go, yeah. It got more patches – cause the photo that Brent took that ended up on the cover, I think he took it in Spain when we were on tour in like ’98, and then, you know, it was an old jacket when I got it and it just kept getting more holes and I kept putting more patches on it.

Is it retired? Something that you ever break out anymore?

Um, yeah, it’s retired. (laughs) I can’t wear that anymore. For one, it’s got the rebel flag on the front. I can’t wear that. That’s a little odd these days. Back then it was just like pop art or Southern Rock to me, I didn’t really even think about it that much.

Can you talk a little bit about Pete International Airport?

Yeah, it started just because I had a bunch of riffs and ideas that Courtney [Taylor-Taylor] wasn’t interested into turning into songs and I had some of them floating around for years, for like literally ten plus years. So I just started turning them into something, turning them into songs, and ended up just getting some other friends to play drums and a couple people to play keys and whatever I could get, and then Jason Adams helped write lyrics and sang on all of them – on the first record. But the initial idea was that it was going to have different people sing on it, but Jason was the only one that really stepped up. There’s actually a song that I gave to Robert [Turner] from Black Rebel [Motorcycle Club] that was supposed to have been on that record that ended up on the second record cause it just took him a long time to finish.

So the first record, the record behind me, came out in 2010 – and the incarnation of the band included Plucky from the Warlocks (and many others) and Colin from Brian Jonestown and who else?

Jason was the singer on that and we had a number of different drummers over the years – over the year. That form of the band existed for less than a year. It was a pretty cool band but I don’t know, I wasn’t used to being a band leader and I don’t know that I really handled it all that well.

And then it took you another seven years to make another record?

Well I wasn’t planning on EVER making another record for it, I just couldn’t picture having another band, and making another record without having another band didn’t make any sense to me. Then Jason Adams and I started doing these little acoustic shows that were like half covers and half PIA songs and then all of a sudden he’s talking me into doing some more recording…I always have tons of little licks and guitar bits and ideas that I can turn into songs. I just have to sit down and do it.

What’s exciting about it – or different than the Dandys, like when you’re playing shows…do you enjoy being in smaller clubs?

Not necessarily. My favorite-sized venues are usually Fillmore-size or old theaters, stuff like that. Just they way they look, the way they feel. Small clubs are fine too but the reason I like doing PIA is to just have complete control over start to finish, the whole process. There’s some collaboration going on but ultimately I make the decisions of how it’s going to sound and what instrumentation and all of that. I mean it’s tons of work, it’s crazy amounts of work, but it’s also very artistically satisfying.

Yeah I saw you guys a couple of years ago and was looking forward to seeing you again, you were going to play a few shows leading up to Desert Stars…?

Yeah, that just got cancelled, again, so it’s not happening in September anymore. I’m waiting to hear the reschedule – the RE-reschedule. I know Tommy [Dietrich]’s talked to me about doing a streaming performance and having a virtual festival, or trying to do something like that.

Right, it doesn’t really seem like shows are going to be happening in the very foreseeable future, from what I can tell.

Yeah, it looks a little grim.

What do you think the future of performing is going to be like – what do you think of these drive-in concerts?

We’ll see! The problem is it’s only going to be big shows so once again the little guys get screwed and the alternative and independent music is going to suffer. All of the independent venues are probably going to disappear, which leaves just Live Nation and all that nonsense.

Yeah I worry about them eating up all the clubs.

Oh everything, absolutely. And it’s the same thing with small mom and pop stores of any kind. The companies that are doing alright now are like Walmart and Amazon and all that shit, and everything else is just going to suffer.

Yeah we’re going to wake up to everything being a Fillmore and a Chipotle I think.


…I don’t know if you wanted to talk about Black Book Guitars…Were you working for the guitar store? Or what were you doing over there?

Yeah, I was just working there. I was just out one night at a show and bumped into the owner, Nate [Fasold], and I hadn’t been to his shop yet. I just happened to say something like, “Oh my wife thinks I should open a guitar shop,” and he goes, “Well do you want to work at one and just try it out?” (laughs) And I’m like, “Yeah why not?” That was before the latest version of PIA had come together so I had time and I was just like, “Ok, I like guitars, and it’s just an excuse to hang out at a guitar shop.” So I did that and instantly found out that I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did…I learned a lot. It was really cool. Saw a lot of guitars I never ever thought I’d ever see.

…You posted a lot of cool guitars!

It’s funny, working there kind of cured me of my desire to have everything. Now I look around and think I’ve got too much and I keep trying to figure out what I can let go of – but no, I’m too attached to all of them.

I feel like every guitar player has like one that got away…(somewhat rambling story about my pawned and lost ’68 Fender Coronado II) Do you have one of those? A guitar that you sold or lost or was stolen that still haunts you?

I’ve sold a few things and you always regret it a little bit but I don’t know, I mean I don’t need any of the ones that are gone, so that’s fine. There’s definitely some that I didn’t get that I wish I had. Just mainly cause I didn’t know what they were at the time or just wasn’t into those guitars at the time. I’m really kicking myself that I didn’t get more Jazzmasters and Jaguars when they were a lot cheaper, cause those are the guitars I go to more often these days. But I have one of each and that’s great, I really don’t need more…but, you know (laughs)

It looks like you have a pretty good collection behind you

I’ve got plenty. I don’t need any more. But my new problem is there’s a local builder named Saul Koll – the two that I have of his are back there. They’re the ones that I play the most live these days and they’re just so good, they’re so comfortable, and I know it’s a personal thing how you feel about a guitar but everybody I know that’s played one thinks the same thing.

What kind of specs do you give him?

(laughs) I wanted essentially a baritone, and he had just posted a picture of a guitar that he had made for somebody else – I think it was somebody else – and it had the kind of pickups I was interested in at the moment and I was like, ‘I want THAT, but I want it black and I want a baritone,’ and that was pretty much the only specs I gave him.

And you also have a signature pedal…

I can’t really take a lot of credit for that. I had an idea. Josh [Holley], the owner of Malekko [Heavy Industry Corporation], who’s a good friend of mine, he goes, “Let’s do a signature pedal for you, what do you want?” and at that point I was just frustrated that everybody’s signature pedal was some fuzz or some version of a tube screamer – just something not really all that interesting, and there was an effect – one of the patches on an Eventide harmonizer that we had at our studio, it’s called Random Stutter, and I just always thought that was a cool effect and I had used it on a remix and I tried to use it on a bunch of other things and I just said, “I want a pedal that does that!” And they came up with the Charlie Foxtrot. I named it and did the artwork but besides the idea, all the hard work was theirs, that’s on them.

Are there any others in the works or was that it?

No there’s another one, it’s all ready to go. There’s just nobody powder-coating the boxes at the moment, so just waiting on that. But yeah there’s another one, it’s called the Polyamerator. It’s kind of the same thing. I came up with an idea and they turned it into something that’s just way more– and it’s really, really cool. The Idea was just that I wanted an arpeggiator pedal, something where you could pick the three notes that followed your initial note and it just turned into something so damn cool.

Do you worry that not touring regularly right now, you’ll lose some of your notes on how to make some of those sounds? I watched a YouTube thing with you where it’s just like you going through your rack and all your pedals and your board and I was just thinking, “Wow that’s a lot to keep track of!” Do you actually have notes or is it just something where you just dial it in and kind of instinctually know what you’re supposed to do for each song?

These days I have a controller that changes all the things – it turns on and off all the pedals when they’re supposed to be turned off – on and off, so it’s relatively easy. It’s just a matter of getting all of those settings back in the right spot. The problem is I keep trying to improve on my pedal board design – make it smaller, more compact, lighter weight, so I’m constantly tearing it apart…So there is no pedal board at the moment. As soon as we have to start doing shows again I’ll have to rebuild it. Who knows what my ideas will be at that time. It could be dramatically different, which means that I have a lot more learning to do.

It’s the time for that, right? You might be reborn after the Coronavirus with a whole new sound.

It’s quite possible…I haven’t really been spending a lot of time messing around with pedals though. It’s more like getting ideas into the computer and creating songs out of them, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of just like tweaking.

What’s the song-writing process like with the Dandys, or when you’re writing a song how do you know when a song is for one of your projects or a Dandy Warhols future project?

Generally the stuff I come up with is not for the Dandys. Every once in a while there is something which is sort of undeniably – ok, I’ll give that a shot – but since I have to convince one of those guys to write lyrics and sing on something, they have to like it too, so a lot of the stuff doesn’t get picked. As far as stuff that they bring in, generally it gets to a certain point where it needs Zia and me to play on it and we add our things and it slowly turns into a song.

How’s the process different with Pete International Airport?

Generally that starts with some chord change that I’ve come up with on an acoustic, something that’s interesting enough to me to want to start recording and start a new session, find some drum beats, just start building. I’ll do as much as I can and get frustrated and not go back to that session for years, and every once in a while I’ll go back, check on it, see if it’s interesting or not.  I’ve literally got…fifty, seventy sessions of started songs. Most of them are garbage. But there’s always like some little gem that I’ll go, “Oh! Hey! That’s alright!” and it’ll all of a sudden be on the next record.

The current band – it’s Daniel, Tara, Jason, and yourself?


And they all live on the East Coast?

Yeah they’re all in Brooklyn. It’s a little difficult but at least there’s only one person that’s flying across the country… To go rehearse or work on stuff. But I mean recording these days is all on a computer. You don’t need a studio. It’s easy to do stuff so it’s what we do, it’s how we work.

How did you get hooked up with all of them originally?

Daniel I’ve known for years. I had my first sort of post – or first side project – a band outside of the Dandys – with him. I think we first started writing songs in like 2003. Jason Russo I met when the Rebel Drones played with his band [Hopewell] in Portland, and I liked their show…I had them open for the Dandys on part of a tour after that and we always just stayed in touch, and then when it came to asking people to sing on the last PIA record I asked him, and he ended up doing two.

What inspired the remix album?

Probably Primal Scream’s Echo Deck – which is sort of their dub remix of Vanishing Point, which was a really big record for me. I just liked that idea. I’ve always liked remixes, you know the ones that aren’t just a fucking dance beat. It’s like something that really takes something farther, or just takes one aspect of the song and just makes that the focus. I’ve been doing remixes for people for years and just wanted other people to do remixes of these songs. And not necessarily people that do remixes – just get other peoples’ interpretations of the songs. So yeah, it came together. There’s some amazing stuff on it too, just fantastic versions.

And it’s just being released now?

Yeah, I mean it’s been available for a year but it’s going to have a physical release really soon.A couple of minutes ago I got a pile of texts from Mike Nesbitt [of Little Cloud Records] who’s putting it out – or some aspect of the release. So yeah, all of the details are coming together. It’s a little harder these days to get everything in one place at the right time but we’re making it work.

I posted on the Dandy Warhols Fan Group [on Facebook] – (shown on screen: “If you could ask Pete one question what would it be?”)

(Reading) What strings does he use?


Well there’s – somebody answered it – most of it.  I use Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms on pretty much everything, except the Bass VI which I have the Gabriel Tenorio strings. Just whatever I ended up with on that originally I have to have custom made now.

(Reading) Favorite strain of weed?

Yeah I don’t smoke grass. That’s everybody else in the band.

If I’m not mistaken, you’ve been sober for a long time. Is that something that you talk about or what to talk about?

I quit drinking first, back in ’97 right when Come Down came out, and I was just going to quit for a year. It’s an agreement I made with my girlfriend at the time to get her to move back in, cause I..I was headed down –  I was a super fun drunk, let’s put it that way, and enjoyed being a super fun drunk. But then after a year of being sober I just kind of liked myself better, I lost a bunch of weight, felt better all around – was definitely more productive, most focused on things that were a little bit more important. I had to face some of the things that I was avoiding and so that was definitely an improvement. Quitting everything else came later, slowly – but quit smoking, quit doing drugs. Still say I’ll do mushrooms or acid but I don’t know, I just don’t have the time! But I don’t know, maybe one day.

Do you have any sort of practice, spiritual practice or otherwise, that’s helped you through this time (or any time)?

Music. I used to do a lot of Yoga, now I do a little bit of Yoga, but music is really kind of the thing I do the most of that I think is spiritual as well as work.

(Reading) So again, want to smoke, want to light this bowl, can you hook me up with Zia?)


(Reading) Do you like effects pedals?

Yes. (laughs)

What guitar he likes best and favorite BJM song just cause I’d like to know.

Favorite guitar is definitely my Saul Koll Super Cub. There’s just something about the shape, just everything about it is just perfect. It’s really thin, it’s light weight, it’s well-balanced, it plays really well, it sounds really good. And it looks really, really cool. So that’s favorite guitar.

Favorite Jonestown song – I’m gonna have to look it up. It’s off an album that came out a couple of years back.

Do you get sick of talking about the Brian Jonestown Massacre?

Um, no. I just hope that one day I can talk about it enough that the whole like rivalry bullshit will go away, but it won’t – Oh, the record is called ‘Don’t Get Lost’. I suppose things like Servo, Anemone is amazing. There’s so many good ones. But I really like the Don’t Get Lost record…It’s really inspiring because I think I was in the process of finishing my record, or getting close to mixing or something when I heard that and it’s part of the reason that I approached Anton about releasing my record. Just because I thought it would fit in kind of a little bit more with what he was doing.

I was going to try and avoid you know, DIG! and BJM altogether just cause – you know – just cause

(laughs) There’s no avoiding it, it’s kind of whatever. It’s just one of those things.

I don’t know how to say it but I guess I was surprised at the kind of response that it got. People really just reacted to it and it became like this modern rock ‘n roll classic

Yeah, I mean it’s a good story and if I wasn’t part of it I would probably like it a lot better. But I know it didn’t happen in that order that Ondi [Timoner] used. You know, footage of stuff to create a story that makes a good movie – or an entertaining movie. There’s a lot of interesting backstage behind the scenes stuff but I really wish there was more about music. Both us and Jonestown thought it was going to be about music, not the rivalry – the (air quotes) ‘made up rivalry’.

I haven’t seen it for years… sometime around when it was released I think was the last time that I saw it. I just don’t want my memories to be co-opted by that film, because that happens so easily, like your memories just become the film and it’s not that – it’s not that way. It’s not supposed to be that way.

Both of you guys [both bands] I think benefited a lot, I mean in some ways, maybe in other ways not so much.

We suffered at first, for sure. I mean ultimately having a film that you’re in can only bring people to – or bring you to their attention, so I think it’s definitely good in that sense, but the fact that most people who seem to – it seems that most people who watch it feel like they have to pick one band or the other to like. They can’t like both bands. And there’s just some absurd, absurd things that have happened because of that. We played a Paris psych festival a few years ago and some people – Jonestown wasn’t playing it – but some people decided to hang a banner off the balcony that says, ‘We Like Jonestown Better’ – (shrugs) – Great! You’re entitled to like that, why do you feel like you have to share? Just some really weird stuff – but whatever.

Do you guys ever talk about touring together or is that like, too cheesy?

So it really comes down to money, and the problem is that we both kind of have the same audience, so if we join up together to do a show we’re both playing to the same amount of people that we normally would play to, and splitting the same amount of money that we would normally just get for ourselves. So it just doesn’t make financial sense unfortunately. I’d love to play shows with them, I think that would be a great thing to do but unfortunately it just doesn’t make sense for either one of us. We keep trying to, there’s always talk of doing something. There was some ideas of doing some stuff in Australia a few years – god maybe it was only a year ago we were talking about it – I don’t know, not that long ago, but it comes up all the time.

I’m sure it does, but that makes sense.

Yeah, it’s a shame because it’s like – it would be great. We played shows in the past, it was so much fun.

It seems like it – that would be a fun show.


Well, I’m going to go back to the questions here

(Reading) How awesome is it to be you, all the time, but especially on stage?

That’s the only time it’s really awesome to be me.


(Reading) How many times a day do you pick up four leaf clovers while just walking around?


I haven’t found any this year but I find them quite often.

Here’s a good one – (Reading) Rick Smith asks who plays more lead on the songs: him or Courtney?

It started Courtney would do most of the leads and then it started switching that I would play a lot of the leads even if he played them on the record I would end up playing them live so he could just focus on singing and now I do most of them live I guess, I don’t know, we don’t have a lot of leads (laughs)

Do you have a favorite lead or favorite song to play?

Mohammed is the one I always say. It’s just one of the ones that – I don’t know, it’s just really – it’s pretty and it’s kind of dark. It’s cool, I like playing I Love You and Holding Me Up too, live, just cause they’re the ones that have more of a free-form ending, which is when we get to experiment and try new things – and sometimes fail horribly but it’s exciting.

Yeah those are my favorite Dandy Warhol show moments, also the last couple of years Pope Reverend Jim – that looks like it’s a lot of fun to play – you do that twangy thing –

(laughs) Yeah, the Duane Eddy trick…We stopped doing that and I can’t remember why, but that was definitely fun.

Ok I think there are a few more – if you’re up for ‘em


(Reading) How do you turn yourself invisible?

(Reading) Magic hats!


Oh yeah, is there any story with – you do like hats.


Anything to say about your hats?

No. I just like hats. It’s all stuff to hide behind on stage pretty much. It’s either hair or hats, sunglasses, whatever it takes.

(Reading) Which guitar players are your favorites?

To you like what makes a great guitar player?

That’s a tricky one. My favorite guitar players aren’t the guys who can play super fast. Most of them tend not to. It was always Keith Richards and David Gilmore, you know, kind of the first people. And then it was more sonically experimental stuff like, I don’t know, Daniel Ash and Jesus and Mary Chain, Kevin Shields, that kind of stuff, where it was more about sound as opposed to chops – and Peter Hayes is one of my favorites. He’s kind of that perfect combination of traditional rock and then effects.

(Reading) If he offers guitar lessons

do you ever give guitar lessons?


I am giving one person guitar lessons and that’s enough. I’m not a teacher. I’m absolutely not a guitar teacher. I barely know what I’m doing let alone how to express it in a way to tell somebody else. But I am giving one person guitar lessons.

Do you have any tips on if someone is wanting to learn guitar, get better at guitar, where to start – or what to focus on – theory, or I don’t know, anything

I think it’s different for everybody. You have to find what it is you want to do and learn something that keeps you doing it. Cause it’s not easy, at first, but you don’t have to know a lot for it to be something that’s incredibly satisfying. But it’s essentially – I don’t know, there’s some technique stuff that I could teach somebody…But it’s going to be up to  whoever it is to figure out what it is that makes them want to keep on learning.

Right. There are a lot of comments…


(Reading) Who are the guest singers?

Guest singers on the new PIA record? Well Jason Adams is singing on a couple, Daniel Sparks is probably singing on some. I’m expecting something from Jason Russo and Tara. Lisa, who sang on Senorita. Her band is the Dark Horses. She’s singing on one, possibly two. And then there’s a guy named Alexander Hackett, whose band is called Pang Attack. I’ve never met him but I really, really like his music. He’s got a great voice. He has finished one song for me already and possibly doing two more. Still hoping that Robert [BRMC] will sing on a song, I sent him one. And then there’s a bunch of stuff that I don’t have singers yet.

(Reading) Have you ever sliced your hand open doing the Boys Better [windmill]..


Um, yes. I used to injure myself all the time. At the beginning of every tour I would scrape a knuckle and it would bleed and then the next show I would peel that scab right off and it would just go on for like – until I don’t know, it would go on for about a week and then I wouldn’t hit my knuckles ever again. Now I don’t do it – I don’t hit my hand that often, but every once in a while I do. I still have blood all over – all over one guitar – from one of those accidents. (laughs)

But that – when we were doing Boys Better – like when we first were doing it, that part of the song, it was just like every show my movements got a little bit bigger until finally like one time it was like, ‘Oh! Holy shit, I just did the windmill!’ – It wasn’t something I was really planning on, it just happened. And then from that point on it just feels weird if I don’t do it.

(Reading) Do you want some tater tots cause I did he said no.

Does that mean anything to you? I don’t know what that means.


(Reading) Can I come to the Odditorium for a session please immediately. Do you, or have you been going to the Odditorium or is that stricyly quarantined?

No it’s just for me it’s so much easier to work here so I do pretty much all of my recording here. I haven’t needed to mix anything and I usually go down there to mix.  I don’t like mixing, but when I have to I go down there. More plug-ins, more gear. Better monitors.

I just wanted to throw out there – we’ve lost a lot of amazing people in the last couple of months. Aside from Little Richard there’s Genesis P. Orridge, David Roback [Mazzy Star], Florian Schnieder [Kraftwerk], and Dave Greenfield of the Stranglers and I was just wondering if you were particularly close with any of those people and if you had any stories about them.

Genesis is the only one of those people that I had met. He was an early – support – I don’t know, he liked what we were doing. He was excited about us and like hung around a little bit so we used to see him a bunch. The first time I met him we were doing a show in San Francisco with Jonestown. We were playing upstairs and Pigface was playing downstairs in the big room and I guess Genesis was a part of Pigface at that point-

I heard about that show! I heard he was floating around in the audience on like a big inflatable duck or something.

(laughs) Ok, I didn’t see the show so I have no idea – but I remember like after our show or something standing around, I think waiting for Jonestown to play and he came up to us and it was – I don’t know, he was frightening looking – to us. You know like dreadlocks and I don’t know, It felt like he had sharp teeth. But he was just so nice and friendly and completely awesome. Yeah, I had lost touch over the years…It seems like you can’t keep up with everybody

I guess for the future – you’re tentatively still playing shows with Pete International Airport in the Fall?

No, with Dandys in the fall. The PIA stuff, I don’t know when that’s happening again, yet. We’ll see. Trying to come up with some streaming ideas but I want to do something different  so I’m trying to figure out how I can do some programming, like modular drums and synth programming to play along to so it’s not just me with an acoustic guitar or something. Trying to do this in an interesting way.

Looking forward to seeing whatever comes out of your quarantine time.

Yeah, getting a lot closer with the next PIA record, the Jason Adams is going to be amazing, it’s super fun working on it. The new Walls of Dada, the few songs that we’ve got done are really cool. The Jason Adams record is not done yet but you should check out his other band, Mother Mariposa, or Daydream Machine, or the Upsidedown, those are all of his past bands. Mother Mariposa is still up and running. They’re all really cool.

Cool. Well I really appreciate you taking the time. Thank you so much for being here with me instead of with the Portland [Oregon] Symphony Orchestra –

Yeah, is what it is.

Thanks man…

Alright, nice one. Thank you.

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Ian Svenonius / Escape-Ism