<center>Joel Gion</center>

Joel Gion

I’m really jazzed these days, am just finishing up tracking my new solo album. My last record was recorded entirely in my apartment by myself which was a fun project but this new one is next next next level.

The new record was recorded at Revolver Studios in Portland, and The Committee To Keep Music Evil in Los Angeles. It kind of turned out to be an all star album, I’ve got Collin Hegna, Matt Hollywood, Dan Allaire, and Rob Campanella from BJM on it, plus ex-members Miranda Lee Richards and Plucky plus Pete Holstrom from the Dandy Warhols as well. It’s been a lot of fun and I don’t want to stop.

Looking back, the fondest memories I have are the ones you can’t remember the next day, a good one I remember is my first gig with the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Back in the early 1990’s, Anton and I were just casual acquaintances, in those days there was a big scene here in San Francisco with loads of different characters in Shoegaze and 60’s type bands. One day he asked me if I wanted to “play maracas or something” because BJM were playing a show in the basement of my apartment for my room mates birthday.

Well, during the show those amps and gear blew the power circuit and all the guitars cut out mid song leaving just my maracas and the drums. Someone would flip the electricity breaker back on and everything would come blasting back on still at the right point in the song cause nobody had stopped playing. It kept happening and it would be like all wall of guitars and then sporadically cut to nothing but darkness and tribal beat then BANG lights up and five guitars blaring then back and forth like 5 times during the song. I saw some lighter fluid on a shelf and lit my maracas on fire and shit so it was maraca torches in the darkness.

The band manager had filmed the show so the next day Anton watched it and invited me to the next one and then I just kept showing up after that.

I got tired of being considered a dude who has just been playing a tambourine all these years, though, so I wanted to put something out where I wrote, played, and recorded everything myself without help or even feedback from anyone. The only person to hear any of the music before I self—released it was some guy at the pressing plant who mastered it. There are a couple of wonky moments on it but over all the experiment worked pretty well.

My ordinary day routine would normally be getting up and working on a tune, and then cruising my scooter to North Beach, just tripping around. I’m up and down those hills in the famous “Bullitt” car chase scene almost on a daily basis.

I think that whole garage revival thing is fantastic. I do miss the fashion side a bit. I’m more of a “The clothes I wear represent who I am” sect. One of my favorite bands from here in San Francisco are Thee Oh Sees, but they’re vibe is more dirty socks than Chelsea Boots.

Nowadays, I'm really into some of the newer bands I like are The Black Angels, The Cosmonauts, and The Crystal Stilts. A lot of the Pysch and Garage stuff going on these days is quite good. Some of us party less and some of us don’t party at all but that hasn’t really changed us as people.

On tour I still have a hangover and beers with breakfast every morning but I don’t stay up for 3 days in a row or anything like that anymore. Ironically, it’s turned out to be a good thing. We don’t argue on stage as much which leaves us a lot more time to play songs. We play for 3 hours straight every night. 

For now, I'm going to start shopping my new record out to labels soon in hopes of getting it out before midyear.

Published: In Print Issue Nº 01—2013
Interview by Vice Lesley, Thinkbabymusic Collective
Photography © Andreas Turau