slow magazine the revolution will be photocopied
     

slow #2/summer 1998

So to New Radiant Storm King, then. Slackish indie rock from the USA of A. Earlier this year they released a bunch of their melodies on an album called Singular – No Article – maybe a bit petulant about always being called Storm Kings. There is at, element of truth in the bitchy rumour that I only agreed to this interview to impress their press girl (and who wouldn't?), proven by the fact I prepared no questions and had to rely on what we like to call the Indie Band Pool Challenge, which basically means indulging in the cheap vodka and shooting the breeze over the baize (well, felt) in Fat Pauly's here in Norwich. In the red corner your home team was myself and Ian from, erm, powerpop sensations Massey, up against Peyton Pinkerton and the cigar-chomping Garrett Fontes. What are you waiting for? Rack 'em up!

New Radiant Storm King is: Matt Hunter, Garrett Fontes, Peyton Pinkerton.

Tell some secrets to the tape recorder while we're playing.
Garrett: Regardless of what I say you guys can write whatever the hell you want of course.
That's a really lazy fanzine technique.
G: It's alright. You actually reminded me of my day job: I'm a journalist so I know all your fucking tricks, man.
General journalism, or...
G: No – financial journalism.
Well I'm an accountant.
G: Ah, there you go. I know all your fucking tricks – on both fronts – the accountant and the fanzine part.
Done many albums then?
This is our fifth record, our first to be exclusively released over here. The other four made it over here in a somewhat sparing fashion, mostly through imports, but this is the first one to have an official release, an official push over here.

Are we playing with American foul rules – two shots and all that?
G: We don't play the two shots. I don't care, I could go either way. I'm just used to larger balls and larger pockets, as you can imagine.

Any hot tips for the American stock market?
G: Well, the Dow you know lost 400 points this past week, bit by bit. Yesterday it was at almost 9,200 and it's dropped back down now to 8,800, so sell!! There's a bit of advice for you. Hey, you wanna play?
Peyton:Well man, there ain't numbers on the balls, I just don't know what to do. Is there any special rule?
G: Whack 'em.

How long has the band been on the go?
In one form or another for over eight years. We formed in March of 1990 and we’ve gone through a couple of line-up changes. Nice shot Peyton!
It’s one of ours!
G: It doesn't matter, it was a very attractive shot. Like I was saying, our first album came out in 1993, much belatedly. It would've come out in 1991 but stuff happened, so it's probably for the best that it didn't come out. So what are you into?
Well, we like country music.
G: Such as?
Wilco, Scud Mountain Boys, Jim White, Josh Rouse...
G: Oh sure, the Scuds. Not all country music is the same, as you must know. We're yellow right? And we're fucked also.
P: Scud Mountain Boys are from our town. They broke up of course. but there's another band now.
You should've sat us down before telling us that. So there's a new band?
P: Yeah, the Pernice Brothers. I play guitar, and it's this guy Thorn from the Lilys and the drummer from the Lilys, Aaron Sperske, but it's not country really, it's more like orchestral pop. I guess it's still like Scud songs but instead of country tinges it more like AM radio pop.
You'd only really call them country-tinged wouldn't you?
P: Except for the lap-steel, pedal-steel stuff.
G: Yeah, they really had nothing to do with country music aside from the accoutrements. (meanwhile. on the pool table...) There is smoke' And where there is smoke there is motherfuckin’ fire!

Are you still doing Silver Jews stuff?
P: No, we just did that one record (The Natural Bridge), I think more for David to prove that he didn't need the Pavement guys to make records and stuff, but he's gone back with Malkmus – they're in the studio right now. It wasn't really like being in a band as members, we just did the session, practised like three times and then recorded it. It was definitely a good experience.

G: So what else is happening over here these days?
Hip hop revival.
G: Hip hop revival? I hope it's not that shit I hear on the radio. I've gotta admit I like that Spice Girls tune, that's a winner.
The Motown one?
G: That's it exactly! It's got that James Jamerson bassline, that's exactly what it is. But it's not a bad song.
You'd have to describe it as joyful wouldn't you?
G: It's not the first word that would've come to mind but sure, why not?
And the first would be?
G: Pre-digested. I heard Pulp recently and I really did not go for that much at all.

How are you coping with having to listen to Magoo every night?
P: Pretty good, I don't mind 'em. It's been a blessing, they're all nice guys. We've played with bands that promoters think we sound like and we get up there and it's just nothing. I think we have more in common with this band than a lot of the bands we'd get stuck with in the States. I guess that sort of question threw out your opinion of the band as well.
G: (missing his shot) Damn. that hurt! Actually Peyton, that was your shot I just took. You would've got it though. This one you can nail. Your finest hour... ooh, not quite!
Did you think we'd be any good when we suggested this game? (after lots of pissing around with the black) Finish it off, it's getting embarrassing.
G: This is the downside of pool here. I wasn't thinking of the aerodynamics of the room when I made that shot.
P: I didn't realise it was gonna be an interview kinda thing too, but what better way to get an interview than this? (Finally, after about three days) Bam! Straight in.

What did you find to do in Norwich today?
P: This is a nice town. My grandmother's family is from here, we're going back hundreds of years. There's a church around here where a bunch of them are buried, so I have to make time tomorrow to take some photos – the "yank coming home" kinda thing – as cliched as it is, it's still very exciting. When we were in Scotland, I knew that my family was from a town called Pinkerton in Scotland and we just happened to randomly drive by this little sign for it, so we had to pile out of the van and take a picture. The best thing there was like a horse farm and they had this big sign that said Pinkerton Stud – so there I am standing next to it. My family's pretty Anglophilic, every Christmas we have like toad in the hole and Yorkshire pudding, plum pudding. Once in a blue moon if we can we'll get some bangers from a specialist shop or something. They're very into it.
Part of my family is from Canada, and my parents went out there and came back with loads of photos of them posing next to signs with Ivany on so I know exactly what you mean there.
P: Where in Canada?
St. John's, Newfoundland.
P: It's beautiful out there. Kinda bleak, but beautiful. We got up kinda late today but I feel like we still had a pretty good four, we did the cathedral, and just walking around and being here is exciting. It's kinda cool coming here as a band – you're tourists but you're also doing stuff, so people seem to be a little more receptive.
How have the shows been?
P: Leeds was the roughest night. I think it was the first time we got like anti-American shit, but then you meet nice people and you forget about it. Actually what prefaced it was we were walking through the town and a paddy-wagon or prisoner van stopped at the lights and there was this pounding, pounding on the windows – like condensed rage or something – it really scared the hell out of us I have to say. You just don't get that, you know, guys sticking their asses on the window, some really scary looking guys beckoning to us, it sort of set us off a little bit. And the bouncer at the club was really rude to us. Everyone else has been really nice, in contrast.
A few miles from here you get some anti-American stuff going on because of all the air bases around.
P: I love my country as much as anyone, but American politics are certainly not representative of the majority. I'm really pissed about that nuclear waste thing in Scotland. We wouldn't have heard about it in the States at all. It seems like the English people and the Scottish people don't really want it and Tony Blair is doing it to appease Clinton; it seems like everyone's accusing him of sucking up to Clinton anyway. We have our fair share of nuclear waste facilities in America, so it's something we're used to.
Springfield! Do you go for The Simpsons or South Park?
P: The popularity of The Simpsons I don't think will be equalled. South Park is fucked up. It's funny, but I wonder what people from other countries think when they see that, those little talking Santa Claus shits and things like that. We're enjoying that heavily but I think with The Simpsons you could sit down with your six-year-old daughter – she would enjoy it on one level, you would enjoy it on another – you'd both laugh and then go and have dinner. South Park comes on and children should not really watch it. It's pretty clever, pushing the boundaries and all that, but bathroom humour is bathroom humour, but it’s intelligently done.
Well, thanks for your time, and next time we'll nail you to that pool table!

 

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