LCE: Well, is there any parallel between the ...Play 9 record and The
Compulsive Gamblers (Greg and Jack's former band) "Church Goin'" Ep?
Greg: (Laughs) That was one of the themes of the Gamblers, you know, the
self destructive gambler, these people who just can't fix their lives
and just fuck up at every turn. They need to do something. So that was
the idea for "Church Goin'", but it wasn't fully realized until ...
LCE: You found Jeeezus!
Greg: Yeah. But actually since you bring that up I've thought, and this
is really why the band ended - the ...Play 9 record sounded more like a
Gamblers record than an Oblivians record. I'm not sure Eric was happy
with the direction of the band cause he has more of a punk rock
aesthetic, but it was a good finale.
LCE: Plus you're working up to your days as a crooner when you hit your
Greg: Exactly (laughs).
LCE: I'm tryin' to slide there myself (more laughter). You got to think
Greg: Yeah. I'm gonna be old , I got two kids, I don't want to be the
bad guy. I want to be the respectable entertainer (laughs). But, you
know, what everyone thinks of as the rock n' roll lifestyle or whatever,
just losin' it all the time, never being in control or whatever, people
like that never get anything done. It's not fun.
LCE: What's your favorite Oblivians record?
Greg: Well, I like the ...Play 9 record the most, but probably cause
it's the most recent and it came off so well.
Jack: I don't really listen to them but I'm going to have to say my solo
record is the better of the whole lot (laughs). I don't know, for me
personally I like certain songs that I think came out really well in the
studio. Some of the songs kind of got better as we played them more. If
I was going to recommend an album to someone who'd never heard the
Oblivians I'd recommend Popular Favorites.
Eric: I think for songs that just hold up I would say "Soul Food" is
really great. Maybe because I can kind of hear us making it up as we go
along, you know, the interplay and dynamics. Also the record just sounds
so messed up, I really like that. Songs like "Blew My Cool" and "Nigger
Rich" that we played the whole time we were playing just stick in my
LCE: Tell me about where you have toured in the last few years?
Eric: Well we were lucky enough to be on Crypt so we went to Germany and
Holland and Spain and Italy, England, Sweden, and all over the U.S. We
weren't complete Keith Moon lunatics so we didn't drive any limos into
empty swimming pools or anything. There was one sold out show in Sweden
where when we arrived there was just a line out the door and the street
was mobbed with people on a Saturday night. So we were like finally
we're gonna have a really crazy show. They were all dancing to Techno
stuff which is pretty common in Europe but after the band we were
touring with The Revelators went on all but about 15 people left, so I
guess they weren't there to see us (laughs). Those are the kind of
nights I remember. We got to go to Japan too, and going to such a
different culture and playing rock n' roll is kind of like taking
something you know and putting it in a completely different context.
They play with their amps feeding back on ten, just howling, and it
doesn't bother the audiences at all.You really had to work to play there
cause usually you just do a 30 minute set so it's really short but
intense. We played with Guitar Wolf who put on a great show and we had
to pull out all the stops for their audience. Those were great times.
Jack: The states to both coasts a couple of times, Toronto, Europe three
times, mostly Holland, Germany, France and Spain.
Greg: We've done two tours of Europe and Two tours of Japan. In Europe
we went everywhere the last time.Places like Slovania, crazy dangerous
places no American rock band should be. Anybody that wants to read about
our first tour should read the Oblivians / Country Teasers Tour Diary
which Eric printed in an issue of Wipe Out, his fanzine. The Country
Teasers were this band from Scotland that were really great and the
funniest guys. The diary tells of their debauchery and all the bad
things that happened because of it. There was one night in Amsterdam
when we had left this pub and everyone rides bikes there and someone had
lent two of the guys bikes. They got goin' down this hill and didn't
realize that the bikes were crank wheel bicycles where you pedal
backwards to brake. We could hear them shouting looking for the hand
brakes cause they were headed for the canal and they were just building
up speed. They couldn't stop so they hit the rail and flew into the
canal. It was really bad. It was incredible just to watch them hurt
LCE: What have you been listening to lately?
Jack: Just Snake Hips (laughs). I bought the first two J. Geils albums
the other day and I like side two of the first album, it's some good
70's rock. They do some cool covers on side two. I'm not crazy about it
but it's pretty good for something to check out for a dollar. That and
Duke Ellington, but I'm not really amazed by anything now, I need some
Eric: Well I just put out a record I really like, The Retards record
(Teenage Hate on Goner Records). They're kind of Oblivians influenced I
guess. The main songwriter is this 18 year old kid thats got punk rock
smarts. I've listened to it millions of times throughout the production
of it and I still think it's a great record. That and a lot of the stuff
on the Fat Possum label.
Greg: Awhile ago I picked up the first Moon Mulligan album on King and
this album Little Black Egg by the Night Crawlers on Cap.
LCE: And all the readers out there can find that at Blockbusters?
Greg: You'll never find this record. "Little Black Egg" was a hit in the
mid sixties but it's just an amazing album. Great hooks, kind of like
low budget Byrds, you know, good pop songs but they never made it.
Greg: Yeah, they failed. It was the only album they did but it's so
perfect. It's really affected the way I've been writing lately getting
me to write more pop stuff in that genre. But when you think about it
most of the music you wind up buying is stuff you know you like so it's
great to just find something that blows you away. It's a rare thing.
LCE: How would you describe for someone what it's like to be a musician in
Memphis at the end of the 90's?
Eric: (Laughs) Nah, I was never a musician, you know, it was just kind
of a fluke. I was lucky enough to hook up with Jack and Greg. They are
musicians they can come up with all kinds of stuff and I was the one who
kept it basic and primitive.You can make things happen in Memphis but
your really not gonna get out of the certain audience that goes to hear
this trashy kind of music, I mean the music here has always been the
same - ignored but appreciated somewhere else. You got to do it if you
want to and if its fun for you but not expect much beyond that.
Greg: Just sufferin' all the time. Just tryin' to get that one shot and
always missin'. Now that I've had a little taste of success I'll just
Jack: Well I'm living in a basement now and it's alright. I've got a
dehumidifier down there. I guess WEVL (Memphis' independent community
radio station) makes Memphis interesting, I mean theres all kinds of
record stores everywhere and Cats or Blockbuster has tons of records but
you can't buy 'em all. If you just listen to WEVL it puts things in
LCE: Yeah cause you hear so many different styles of music you'd never
hear on commercial stations.
LCE: Do you have any future plans?
Eric: Just tryin' to put out records and a band, sort of, with Jay from
the Retards and Louie from The Royal Pendletons thats called the Bad
Times.We just got together and recorded a few songs we're not sure what
we'll do with.
Jack: I'm in limbo. I do have a new record in the making... probably an
EP that's a mix mash of things I've done in last few years. The working
title or name right now is The Peeps.
Greg: I'd like to do another record with the Tip Tops. There are bunch
of songs we've played live that aren't on the first record.
LCE: The first time I saw you guys at the Antenna I thought, this is
perfect. You were playing through a big cheap stereo rig and Jack was
pounding on a floor tom, it was just so simple and energetic - the way
rock is supposed to be.
Eric: Yeah, I didn't have an amp! But yeah, it was appropriate. Those
were the best times, when we didn't know what was going on. Kind of what
dragged us down was we became a real touring band and that was never the
point or what we started out to do. You know, things change.
Oblivians Select Discography:
Jack Oblivian: American Slang Sympathy For The Record Industry CD
Greg Oblivian & The Tip Tops: Head Shop Sympathy For The Record Industry
Rock N' Roll Holiday (live) Negro Lp 17 Cum Shots (live VPRO Amsterdam
Radio Broadcast) Lp
Eric's Wipe Out
- Soul Food Crypt CD/Lp
- Popular Favorites Crypt CD/Lp
- ...Play 9 With Mr.Quintron Crypt CD/Lp
- Sympathy Sessions Sympathy For The Record Industry CD/2 x10"
- Strong Come On Crypt 7"
- Sunday You Need Love Crypt 7"
- Call The Shots Goner 7"
- Static Party In The Red 7''
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