Kill the Band
-Jimmy Interview II-


Jimmy Gnecco Interview II
Conducted and written by
Mike Mastroianni


My second interview with Jimmy Gnecco took place after Ours debut Connecticut gig in Hartford on Oct 9th 2001 on the back of the tour bus. Also present and participating were Eve, Lori and Erin. Special thanks to Eve for transcribing and editing the interview.
Mike: Name a song you wished you had written?
Jimmy: Quicksand by "David Bowie" or "The Man Who Sold the World"

M: Name your favorite album of all time?
J: Actung Baby (U2)

M: Favorite song of all time?
J: Wanna know something strange? For the longest time it was "Baker Street" by Jerry Rafferty. I used to love that song and I still love the original version.

M: What's your favorite city or club to play?
J:  Undoubtedly is Boston.  But there are a lot of other places where we've come to really really love: Dallas.  Seattle is really cool.  I always love, now for other reasons because I have this thing- I love going to Toronto to play because I feel that, regardless of if it's packed every time that we play.  I always feel like there's potential there.  An optimism that I feel about people there about music.  If there's not people there, it's just because they haven't heard it yet and I feel like we have our work cut out for us there.  I feel like somebody there has to do some sort of work to get our music to people through Canada.  And the reason I start to get excited about it is because before we started to tour I was watching MuchMusic a lot and I just felt a much cooler presence from people in Canada and much more open to things and different kinds of music.  Dave loves Montreal.  Arizona oddly enough has been really good as well.  There have been a lot of places that have been surprisingly good, but Boston is definitely at the top.  There's something special about the people in Boston.  I don't know if it's because of all the Berklee students in that area.  All the intent in all the songs, everything that hits me that I feel that should translate, always translates to the people in Boston.

M: How do you feel about Napster?
J:  At this point I'm really happy about Napster.  This is a hypocritical comment.  We don't sell enough records for me to ever care about it.  We didn't make Distorted Lullabies to sell millions of records.   When we started playing again after stopping, the main reason to play was-  During that time of not playing, there were so many things that I reached out to to make me feel better, and I felt that if we could somehow do that, if we could make a record that made us feel like being alive, as miserable as people might think our record is and think that I'm a miserable person- I'm not.  As far as Napster goes, to spread the word to everybody- we need that, we really need that.  If we were selling a million records and we were recouped with the record company and we were actually making money and then say if because of Napster we just lost a half a million sales on top of that which basically would mean maybe a million dollars for me, I might have a different outlook on it.  So, I don't want to sit here and say that I wouldn't, but we don't think about it in those terms in the first place.  So, at this point, it's only a good thing for us.

M:  Do you know what Distorted Lullabies has sold?
J:  I think it's right now around 70,000-75,000.

M: Did you manage to secure a deal overseas when you were over there?
J:  What happens with us overseas is that- We have a deal worldwide but after we leave the United States, even in Canada, it goes over to Universal Records, and they distribute it.  It's kind of a weird thing.  Dreamworks doesn't stay over here and say "You have to work this band."  We have to go over and basically prove it to all those people as well. So, when we get over there, hopefully we'll touch them in a way that they feel that they want to help rather than telling them you have to help.  So, that was the goal.  And that's why we went to Europe a few weeks ago was to try to secure all that.  To build allies really.  People seem to be excited about it.  I have faith in it all, so I don't worry about it all that much.

M:  Tell us what happened in Europe.
J:  We were supposed to go over and play maybe about ten shows, but we ended up playing one show in Spain.  We landed in Spain right as the first plane hit the towers, so we were actually on the plane while it was happening.  Then we landed [in this], basically this beautiful place- it was like paradise.  It was like if you were to die and you were in a place that you think heaven would be like [this would be it.] We were in Malaga.  It was so beautiful that it was surreal to believe that anything that dark could actually happen at home.  It made it a little bit hard to play.  We played for twenty minutes.  So we flew over there, spent about $15,000 and played for twenty minutes.  It was interesting though.  We played in this little place Elton John had played in.  We played and this guy from the  Fine Young Cannibals played.  It felt a little trivial and self-important to go over there and play and make it about some product.  So, right before we played, I just talked for a while and said "I feel a little stupid playing tonight, but we've come all the way over here.  Basically tonight we play with a broken heart in hopes that everyone back home is safe."  At that point we hadn't even been able to contact anybody.  So, I was a little worried.  That's what happened for us in Europe.  Then we had to fly into London to get a direct flight back to the states.  So, we went to London and were stuck there for about five days, and then we came home.

M:  How did that pets article in the Alternative Press come about?
J:  I got this call to do it and I don't do things like that.  I kind of thought that is was stupid.  Missy, my manager said that Perry Farrell is going to do it and some other cool people are going to do it.  It still didn't make it better.  It still was stupid to me.  That's why I made a joke out of it, and I had every pet in my family come over.  The four yorkies are mine.  They just had puppies.  The great dane was mine.  I got a yorkie, and I lived above a studio, and there were guys going in and out all day long and they used to laugh at me. "Nice dog.  That's not a dog."  During the time of recording the record, we had so much time of doing nothing that I just spent a lot of time by myself drinking coffee.  And I would go to the mall because they had this coffee machine that I loved.  And I would get all jacked up on coffee and I would go buy pets.  I was like "I have to have it.  I have to have it.  Look at it.  It's just calling me."  So, I bought a yorkie to begin with, and then fell in love with this great dane and I had to have it.  And I got it, got it home and I realized that it was too big to fit in my apartment.  Literally, the cage took up an entire room.  We lost an entire room in the apartment- a much-needed room.  It was basically at that point, choose between being able to live in the apartment or having a great dane.  So, basically I had to give it to my brother.  And you know Jackalope.  Jackalope lives with us on the bus.  But yeah, I did think that it was stupid.

M:  How did you get involved with Streetvirus?
J:  That was Missy, my manager.  It was one of her ideas.  And it sounded like a good idea.  Real people working for us- spreading the word.  How much more organic can you get than that?  Real people excited about music and telling their friends about it.  And we've met some great people because of it.  It's an amazing thing that people feel that strongly about something.

M:  Along those lines, all the fansites that have sprung up lately- what are your feelings on the fansites?
J:  I'll tell you this.  I have in my bag a notebook full of letters.  I wrote letters to everybody who did a website because there was this contest that I didn't know anything about, and then people told me about it afterwards, and I felt terrible.  I don't want people competing like that and feeling like they've lost.  I was pretty bent out of shape about that.  Well, I wrote letters to everybody, but in my lax way, I didn't mail them out.  I took all this time and wrote them long letters, but I never mailed them.

M:  What did you say to them?
J:  I wanted to let them know that I wasn't aware that there was a contest, and I didn't pick the winner.  And I wanted them to know that, that it had nothing to do with me thinking that one was better than the other, and that I appreciated it that they actually took the time to do that.  I told them to find me at shows and I'll put them on the list for the night, and anything else that I could do for them.  But I didn't mail them.  

M:  Yeah, I never got one.
J: It's right there. (laughing)

M:  Let's get to the next album.  What are the plans?
J:  Too early to really say.  I have some thoughts about producers.  I would actually like to do it in Montreal.  So we started to ask while we were there for different studios.  

M:  Any ideas on what the next album will sound like?
J:  I have a pretty good idea.  I want to fully make sure that people didn't misinterpret my concern or emotions for cynicism and being cynical.  I compensated a little bit in the songs, and really reached out to let people know that I'm much more open feeling.  I want to be a little bit more lighthearted about it and try a different way to make people feel good just in case the first attempt didn't work.  The music hasn't really changed at all.  There's still the same feeling about it that hopefully when you hear a song it kind of does that thing to you that you can't put your finger on.  It just gives you the chills.  I just recorded about fifteen songs that right now at this point do that to me.  So hopefully when it comes time to record them for real for the record they'll translate in that way, and people will feel the same way.  I'm really happy about a lot of the songs.

M:  Can we expect a balance of heavy songs and light acoustic songs like the first album?
J:  It'll kind of have the same feeling as far as that.  I imagine it will because there are a certain amount of rock songs that have an urgency to them.  At the same time, I wouldn't really be interested in doing twelve songs that were all like "Drowning."  I have swings just like everybody else, so that's why the record kind of does that.  I imagine that it will be as equal of a roller coaster.

M:  What would you be doing if you weren't in the music business?
J:  While growing up I always wanted to be a teacher or a doctor.  But I also wanted to be stuntman.  

M:  When did you get bit by the tattoo bug?
J:  Really young.  Before I even got any, maybe thirteen.  And then I started to get them when I was sixteen.

Eve: Where did "Distorted Lullabies" come from?  The title.
J:  That's a tough one.  The whole thought behind that through the entire record is that there's an element in the songs that basically sound like to me- I try my best and I did try through this record to really write beautiful parts, both singing and with all the instruments.  But there was an underlying fear and tension through the songs that I was aware of and I was actually creating.  As much as I wanted to make people feel good, I still wanted to point out a lot of the fears that I have.  And I wanted them to come through in the music, to kind of scare the hell out of people.  Maybe scare them into being nice.  To me, that's kind of what it meant.  Basically, there was a lot more beneath the surface.  And I hoped to create something that just kept giving to people the more that they listened to it.  I do everyday.  When I sing them, whatever goes on in the world, I realize their relevance and meaning more and more so much that I'm getting freaked out by myself.

E:  Are there any pre-show rituals?
J:  I think everybody has their own specific thing that they need to do.  I found that the best way for me to truly be able to give off that energy in the most focused, channeled way was to channel my thoughts and my feelings.  So I usually spend a lot of time breathing before we play- a lot of breathing exercises to get my head straight. I try to recommend that for certain people and there are certain people who will do it.  Kirke meditates a lot.  Race does it a little bit.  I don't know if he ever gets to the point where he's meditating, but he tries to at least relax himself.  And Anthony is pretty calm and focused.  

E:  Do you know what your plans are after this tour is finished?
J:  I don't know.  We're hoping in January to start recording.  So, maybe take December [off] and see a lot of people.  Then right after Christmas, get the hell out of dodge and get back to work.  

E:  Are you hoping to get the album out soon rather than another four years?
J:  Yeah.  The plan is spring. Tomorrow, I could go in the studio and within a month have another record easily done.  It's not always up to me.  A lot of it has to do with other people's schedules, agendas, moods, whether or not they want to give me the money to do it.  There's no reason why it should take any longer than [a month].  And if it does, just know that it's because of other reasons.


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