The Untamed Youth Interview Themselves
Mother of the Month
This Month:
Joey Ramones Mom

Life After Oblivian;
An Interview with
The Oblivians

The Botswanas
Go Español

Making Up With
The Donnas

General Smith
Record Reviews

This Ain't
The Partridge Family
Pure Rubbish

60 Second

Officer Friendly


Table of
Life After Oblivian

page 2

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 50's.

Greg: Exactly (laughs).

LCE: I'm tryin' to slide there myself (more laughter). You got to think ahead.

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 head.

LCE: Tell me about where you have toured in the last few years?

Oblivians 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 themselves.

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 inspiration.

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.

LCE: Naw.

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 keep missin'.

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 perspective.

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:
  • 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''
Jack Oblivian: American Slang Sympathy For The Record Industry CD Greg Oblivian & The Tip Tops: Head Shop Sympathy For The Record Industry CD Bootlegs: Rock N' Roll Holiday (live) Negro Lp 17 Cum Shots (live VPRO Amsterdam Radio Broadcast) Lp Fanzines: Eric's Wipe Out

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