TIM FERGUSON w/ RED PLASTIC BUDDHA

Is the new one All Out Revolution next of kin to your debut, Sunflower Sessions, or are they birds of a different feather? All Out Revolution is certainly descended from Sunflower Sessions. Look at the nose. We’ve become better in the studio though, and I think we’ve all grown as individuals and musicians, so we’re bound to sound a bit different. It feels like evolution to me.

Which tracks from All Out Revolution are folks gravitating towards? One never knows about these things. Live, people have always responded well to Running on Empty and Star-Shaped Holes, probably because of all the vocal harmonies. Psych crowds seem to like King of the Underground and Waves. We’ve posted some things to various websites and Daisy Love is popular in India, of all places. It’s been fun for me because we’ve received great feedback on all the songs.

The Red Plastic Buddha has gone through a number of changes since forming in ’06, do you have it ‘together’ now? does that matter? Yeah, lots of changes. It’s weird, because we’re not a band that is at each other’s throat or anything like that. It’s just that life forces things. Careers, kids, stuff like that. Buddhism places a lot of emphasis on the idea of impermanence, and I think that it’s a good idea to just get comfortable with the concept of change. I’ve seen lots of bands break up since we originally formed, but we just keep going. We’re together, but together isn’t a static thing. It’s a process. BTW, our long time drummer Dav Kling will be getting a broken wrist operated on soon. Friends are already on board to fill the void, as always happens. We’re just people pulling together in every sense of the word and that seems to be our path. Dav will be back, but then something else will happen. The only thing certain in this life is change.

What is your favorite thing about RPB today? The people I play with. Despite all the personnel changes we’ve had, there’s been a consistency in the character of band members. Every person who has been part of this group has been intelligent, funny, committed and interesting. A lot of graduate levels, several black belts, business owners, writers, even a doctor. Not what you’d expect from a psychedelic rock band, are we? Everyone has given their all to the project and although the faces have changed, the people who make up this band keep it fun and fresh.

In terms of subject matter, do you see your stuff as light-hearted or serious? or both? Depends on the song, I guess. I try to be more open on the love songs and just write from a purely emotional/ impressionistic place. They don’t really make a lot of sense because I’m trying to write while riding a tilt-a-whirl. For me, those feel the most psychedelic of our songs, probably because I’m completely letting go. Mostly though, I’m pretty serious when it comes to writing lyrics. I can put myself through hell trying to get things right. I love language and try to insert multiple meanings into verses. Hopefully, that makes things interesting for the listener.

Bass parts were once so buoyant and such an integral element of the rock music of late 60’s and bluesy early 70’s, what happened? I still see lots of that style out there. I just don’t do much of it in this band. In the Chicago psych scene alone, bands like Great Society Mind Destroyers, Dark Fog, Rabble Rabble, Secret Colours, Plastic Crimewave Sound … the list goes on and on. All of these bands have excellent bass players that really hold down the bottom end and groove. But because my priority onstage is singing, I have to simplify things. But that leaves lots of room for the other Buddhas to play, so I guess that’s okay too.

We’ve got your feet to the fire, what is your personal, all-time favorite bass-line? Argh! Just one?!?! Boys and Girls by Blur, Damaged Goods by Gang of Four, Monday by The Jam. That’s probably not Bruce Foxton’s best, but he’s my bass hero and it’s really

What music were you listening to in high school, anything that surprises you as you look back?liked psych even then, but I was a big prog rocker too. I remember trying desperately to turn people on to bands like Van Der Graaf Generator and Eloy. I also had a fascination for what was called ‘space’ music, which later morphed into New Age (ahem). Then punk came along and it was good music for an angry young man. I think all those influences are still there, bubbling away below the surface.

What’s more fun for RPB, crafting tunes, recording, or playing live? They can all be wonderful, they can all be torture. Just depends. Some songs write themselves, some sit on your chest and punch you in the face. We had a BLAST recording All Out Revolution. Working with Brian Leach at Joyride was so much fun (such a kindred spirit). I’m not surprised he won a Grammy recently. Playing live can be a gas if you’re sharing a bill with people you dig and you’re in front of a cool crowd. This is the only job where people scream and shout for you when you have a good day.

You guys ever tempted to, ya know…..tune-in, tune-up, drop acid, play and press record? There’s this romanticized view of drugs in the world of music, but the idea that drugs make you more creative or open your mind to some inner truth is nonsense. If creativity or truth came in pill form, everyone would do it. There’s no easy path. If you’re creating as part of a group, you really need to communicate effectively, on many levels. Adding drugs to the mix only debilitates communication. You spend months or years developing a spiritual chemistry with other musicians, and it’s frightening just how quickly the other chemistry can destroy that.

Advertisements

SECRET COLOURS


1.0 How did Secret Colours come together as a band? We all grew up in the same town, pretty much.  I had a hand full of songs I had recorded but didn’t have a band to play them out, so I asked my friends if they would play them with me. Dylan and I had been jamming together since early high school. We met Dave and Justin later on in high school. Dave had played in other local bands and Justin hung around the crowd affiliated with Dave’s bands.  Once Dave left his previous band, he decided to start the band with me. About a month after the band started we brought Margaret in to play keys and sing backing vocals, to fill out our sound. – Tommy

2.0 How does the writing process work for you guys? Tommy usually brings in the structure and vocals of a new song. Earlier on in the band he wrote all of the songs, but now sometimes he’ll bring in just a chord progression and lyrics and we jam on it, as a group, until we get it where we like it.  We’ve progressed into a much more collaborative effort now.  We’re all finding our place in the band, and know how to compliment each other in the right ways. – Dave

3.0  If you had to pick a seminal influence for the band, who would it be? The Beatles.

4.0  What were your favorite bands growing up? The Beatles, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Blur, Gorillaz, Dandy Warhols, Spacemen 3, Stone Roses, Oasis.

5.0  Is Chicago a part of the bands sensibility? We love Chicago, we grew up with it, its our home. – Tommy

I think you can hear in our sound that we’re from Chicago, or at least not from the typical areas you’d find this style of music.  I think it’s evident we’re not from the West-Coast, or from Austin, or even from across the pond.  We’ve lived here our entire lives so I think there’s a certain quality to our music that reflects that Midwestern, dreary or droney sound. – Dave

6.0  How do Secret Colours approach playing live? We are pretty conventional as far as instrumentation. We are open to trying new things but we just can’t really afford to get theatrical, yet. – Tommy

7.0  How do you feel before shows? Depends on the show but for the most part exited. Its the most fun thing to do in the world. I used to vomit before every show but not so much any more. – Tommy

Drunk. – Dave

8.0  You have been singled-out as “a band to watch in 2011,” what are your plans for the new year? We have tons of shows to play as well as a few festivals. We are going to record a new full length album in the summer. – Tommy

Yea, we got invited to officially showcase SXSW this year, so we’ll be down there, and we’ll be playing a couple really exciting day parties as well.  This summer we’ll be bumming around Chicago recording, so we’ll probably stick close to home, but we’ve got some exciting shows already lined up for the summer time. – Dave

9.0  What’s your favorite SC song? Im not sure…it varies. I would have to say Love because it was the most collaborative song we did from our record. Plus its fun as hell to play live. – Tommy

You haven’t heard it yet! – Dave

10.0  Does a band have to get along well to succeed? Yes, unless you’re Oasis. When a band doesn’t get along it makes you feel like its pointless to keep going.