IRON LUNG INTERVIEW
1- Why did you decide to drop your stand-alone singer? Were you listening to alot of White Stripes and Death From Above Summer of '69 at the time? Or were you finding it difficult to coordinate 3 people as opposed to 2?
JW- Iron Lung has always been a two-peice. Shit, we never had a permanent stand-alone singer. We had a couple friends sing at shows here and there. Mike Cheese was the first and then August Alston. That's it really. Also, how dare you compare us to the white stripes! At least I can play the drums the way they are meant to be played...TOTAL DESTRUCTION.
2- One of the pitfalls of 2 piece bands is the inability to replicate studio sound in a live setting. Was this an initial concern of the band? What amp set-up/volume trickery to you employ to overcome such problems?
JW- We will never divulge the secret weapon's contents. You think we want all the other two-mans to have our sound. The real answer seekers will just have to look at pictures and try to guess.
3- Due to the catalogue of novelty two-piece bands that have clogged the underground in years past I, and many other avid listeners of the musical form approach two piece bands with a certain degree of trepidation. While I doubt IL has ever been viewed a novelty band, was it difficult to convey the legitimacy of IL to people (haters) in the infantile stages of the band?
JW- I can understand the trepidation whole-heartedly. I have it too. There is a lot of crap out there. A lot of crap. You know, we never had a problem being taken seriously. Even when I talked a lot on stage, the music was never light. People just know that this is real anger sound. We never tried to sell a gimmick.
4- What has shaped your sound over the years? The difference between the first ep and the last record is pretty significant. I hear alot of swans creeping in? Or maybe that is because i was born next to lake?
JW- There has always been the classic US hardcore/Rudimentary Peni/Swans influence in our songs. We are playing what seems natural given the times and music we listen to. Life has been a little rough lately so naturally the Swans aspect has crept in a bit more. Or maybe you were born next to a lake, who knows?
5- What provided the impetus for the exploration of medicine, illness (etc)? The detailed lyrics lead me to believe that one of you studies, or at the very least has some interest in the topic? Or are you guys just real big carcass fans?
JW- Who doesn't like Carcass? C'mon. Medicine and illness, particularly old practice, tools and machines, has always keenly interested me. It is tisted what people used to do to each other because they didn't know any better. Bleeding to cure a toothache at the barbershop is a good example. If you really think about it we haven't progressed that far in these 100's of years. When more conventional methods fail, we still perform trepanation to soothe pressure inside the skull. WOW.
6- The prison-related lyrics on the split with shank are very interesting. Is it a ‘’subtle’’ comment on the prison system, or a mere observation? Or both? Have you guys ever spent time in the cooler? Or is it merely hyperbole, like Tupac or something?
JW- Subtle comment. I spent some time in jail in my younger years but nothing serious.
7- What are your thoughts on what appears to be the re-bastardisation of power violence? Do you see the sudden influx of half-arsed, play fast bands as a blight upon the ''genre'' that you have populated for a number of years? Or do you simply believe that ''re-bastardisation of power violence'' is going to be the name of the next band that puts out a 7'' on 625?
JW- I think this re-bastardization you talk about is the same hogwash that is happening to all music these days. You really have to dig and think to come up with a band that has a wholly original sound and idea. Try it. Hurts, doesn't it? Got one? Nope, they sound like Yes playing No Comment. Got another? Nope, they are Negative Approach 2. Also, let's not talk shit on Max. He has always supported us. You are warned.
8- What was the catalyst for moving to seattle?
JW- Good people, record stores and vegan food.
9- I know you play in a number of bands. I'd image this affords you the opportunity to tour alot more than say, a band from war-torn bosnia? Are you able to live a frugal existence whilst touring constantly, or are you forced into jobs you hate to facilitate such exercises?
JW- I have two jobs right now. One that I hate and one that isn't so bad. Both give me time off to tour so I keep on working at these places. And yes, I live very frugally.
10- American touring bands are often quite well rehearsed. How much do you think the ability to tour endlessly, play countless shows per-week and having your own practice space influences this? With the vast-array of bands in the states, do you think competition and one-upmanship plays a big part in the quality of US touring bands?
JW- I think there is always competition here. If you are not the best then you have to be the coolest. If you aren't the coolest then you have to be the fastest etc... I really wish that touring and playing shows wasn't so easy here. Most of the new-comers don't even care about live shows any more. It is getting increasingly harder to be noticed and enjoyed because the fog of mediocrity is much thicker these days. Not to say that there isn't still a great show here and there, we just have to be more selective.
11- Alphabetical inconsistencies aside, do you file your godstomper records between your agothocles and unholy grave records? Please elaborate.
JW- I file my Donovan records between my Buffalo and Flower Travellin' Band records to be more precise.