Graves, Devon (Dead Soul Tribe) (September 2004)

Within The Branches Of The January Tree - An Interview With Dead Soul Tribe's Devon Graves

Deadsoul Tribe - The January TreeDevon Graves, the ex-Psychotic Waltz vocalist (there known as Buddy Lackey), sees his newest project, Dead Soul Tribe, release its third album, The January Tree, over a two year span, beginning with 2002's self-titled debut and then last year's A Murder Of Crows . Joshua Turner spoke with Graves the end of last month.

Joshua notes, "He called earlier than expected. I had just walked in from a jog when the phone rung. As a result, the conversation had begun before I got a chance to get setup. As we began to talk, I got everything setup. This is where the recording begun.

Devon Graves: I'm out here at this like, uh, I live in this small town in Vienna and, and right in the summertime in the town center they, this, ... oh, all the people come and play games and, and eat food and stuff, so I had to go find some quiet place to come and make a phone call.

Joshua Turner: That's cool. Hang on a second, let me look up your questions. I had in the schedule to actually talk to you at noon, but that's okay.

DG: I don't know what time it is out there. I got this thing that says Sunday at 6 PM. That's my time. And over there, I, I don't even know what state you're in.

JT: Yeah, I'm actually in the Midwest of the United States.

DG: Aha. I'm from Southern California.

JT: Oh, okay. But, you're six hours off, you are saying?

DG: Well, we're like 9 hours off from California.

JT: So, where are you at right now?

DG: Uh, Austria.

JT: Okay. Are you guys touring right now?

DG: No, I live here.

JT: Oh, you live there, okay.

DG: Yeah, yeah, I'm, we're going on tour next week. [referring to the just ended tour with Threshold -ed.]

JT: Okay, so what's the tour going to cover?

DG: Um, just Europe. This side of the hemisphere.

JT: Ok. Just to get started, I was wondering how did you come up with Dead Soul Tribe for the name of your band?

DG: Um, like did you forget it? [he laughs then I laugh] No, I was really trying to describe the music, you know.

JT: Okay.

DG: And... the first thing, I wanted the word "Tribe" in the name. I knew this was what I wanted the first thing and I wanted to reflect the tribal kind of atmosphere that we try to create, um, with our... our drum rhythms revolve more around the beating of tom drums as opposed to the kick and snare stuff, just the normal metal ware, you know, and I, I really like this kind of dark foreboding atmosphere and, um, so over this we kind of made this, this form of music, which I call tribal metal and, uh, we, we work in these, as I said, these kind of tribal rhythms and I use this kind of morbid chord structure and these kind of melancholic sounding melodies, so I thought like Dead Soul lends itself to describe this a little further, so Dead Soul Tribe was the only way I could really describe the music.

JT: How did you actually meet your bandmates?

DG: Just coincidence, you know. However people meet people, you know. The first thing I was looking for was a drummer and he came to me by word of mouth after I was already auditioning somebody else. Actually, I auditioned this bassist and this drummer -- not the guys I'm playing with -- and decided that I would play with these guys, and as we were leaving this practice room that we rented, these new people were coming in and Adel, our-- my drummer was one of these people and the bass player who was with me said, now really that guy plays the drums, that guy is the guy that, that, man, this guy really plays and I said, "well Carl, why is he here?" [he laughs] So after some time, you know, working with this drummer, this little trio we had going, I was left scratching my head, you know, going, "man I don't know. Its not really got the conviction I'm looking for and I think that it comes down to the drumming." I said "Carl man, you know this guy, um, lets see if we can find him and lets give him a try" and about a year later we did that and I've been happy ever since with him and then, you know, people just kind of go, "oh, I hear you're looking for a guitar player," you know, and then say what about this guy and show me a photograph and say, "oh, it looks really cool, you know, put me in touch and?" um, it's just kind of things like that.

Really hard to find players here and I'm, I'm not really looking for guys that are like these lickity-split musicians, you know, that, that sit in their room and practice for 7 hours or study at the musical institutes or anything, you know. I'm just looking for people that on first sight you can see that they have this vibe that would? you can see them on stage. You can see them doing their thing. You can see them as part of what you want to do and secondly they've got to have this, this personality to back it up, you know. I notice that people's personality comes out in their playing, you know.

JT: Yeah.

DG: And so if you want somebody that's really right for the band, for the kind of music you want to make or the kind of vibe you want to create, you got to meet people that carry this vibe with them wherever they go. Whether they're playing music or whatever and when you pick people based on personality, you end up with a band that ends up being really good friends with you, you know, because, because we mesh as friends, you know. We like each other with or without the musical instruments and we laugh and have a really good time with or without playing, and so it just makes touring in a band just that much, that much richer, you know.

Deadsoul TribeJT: Yeah, that's cool. So, before we get on to your latest album, I want to talk briefly about you're the album that you came out with last year, A Murder of Crows. Could you explain what that one is about?

DG: Oh good god. Yeah, I could. It's about almost... The January Tree is almost a continuation of this kind of way of thinking. I bring my thinking with me wherever I go and sometimes it, [he laughs] sometimes it makes me pay a lot of attention to details that are around me, kind of reading the omens in the things that you just walk by... walk by things that people might normally ignore. I'm... I kind of am looking for these little signs, you know, and this came down to me, seeing these dead crows like in two different instances. I saw these crows hanging on wires and it almost looked like they were placed there intentionally, you know. Two different times, two actual times spread apart and the distance in miles was also in quite aways, but I, I don't know if, for example, this one crow crashed into a wire and just died there hanging, but it looked like it was crucified, you know. And this other crow, the first one I saw actually just looked like it was sitting on a perch, but I noticed that it was there for too many days, you know. [he laughs] These things still... a crow when it's been dead for awhile kind of looks the same as if it is living, you know. It doesn't show the signs of decay. Anyway, I start ... you start getting these ideas like, what, is somebody catching these things and hanging them up on the wire like some sort of witchcraft or something? And it gave me this really penetrating, um, emotion that I couldn't really put my finger on, but it really made me think, and it really made me think about this image, and there's an old legend about the, the crow carries the souls of the dead to the world beyond, you know, and this made me think like, what happens to the souls that these birds were carrying, you know? They didn't make the journey, and then in looking at our world, it made me realize where this all fits and why this image affected me so much. It's, it's that, you know, six inches beneath this concrete there is, uh, the world that was ancient, you know, the world that was created for us. You could call it Eden if you want to, but it's not something that's far away from us. It's right beneath our feet. We just buried it. We cut it down and we buried it and, you know, when you look at the way the world was created for us, it was just nothing, but beauty. Just nothing, but miracle after miracle after miracle in nature and this world is much, much, much, much better than the one that we built in its place, because the old world gave to us. We would give to the world and the world would give back. Now the world that we made only takes from us, you know. Anything we get from this world, it doesn't give to us. It, it will sell to us, but it will not give to us, and, and, um, basically, that's one part of paradise that is missing is the part that we buried over.

The other part and the more important part of paradise that is lost is the paradise that resides within each one of us. That we are not allowing to come to the fore. The reason that this place is so, so, so bad is because of all these things that we can't control. All these things going on around us. It's, it's because of us. It's because we have not opened our hearts to love. Everything we do everything we do in our lives is in motivation for profit, you know. And more recently, we've got these motivations of revenge. These motivations for hate. These motivations of anger, you know, that are... that are basically what we as individuals are bringing into the world when we walk and when we wake up in the day and walk into the world. We're bringing these motivations with us and that is the very thing that is wrong with the world, because if we... if we walk this earth with the motivation of love, this world would be a very different place and what I'm really saying by this world being created this was supposed to be paradise. You can forget about heaven being beyond death. Heaven being something that you can earn once this life is over. Once you give up everything in this life that you die and go to heaven and are rewarded. When you see the signs. When you see the world that was created, you can see that heaven was supposed to be here and we're the ones standing in our own way. And what I'm really saying is that the crows that were to carry our souls to heaven, metaphorically speaking of coming here to live on earth to be in paradise. The crows so to speak that were to bring us here did not make the journey, it's as if they were murdered and the bad thing is that they were murdered by the souls that they had been carrying.

JT: Interesting? So, one song in particular that I am kind of interested in talking about is a song that I've actually heard quite a bit and it's called "Some Things You Can't Return."

DG: Oh yeah.

JT: I'm wondering if you can explain to me what that particular song is about?

DG: It's about the effect you have on other people's lives. It's kind of this an extension of what I'm talking about. You know, when you walk into another person's home, when you walk out into the street around the strangers, you must be conscious of what it is you bring to people, because you have an influence. You have an effect. Everything affects everything else and, and if you leave bad memory with a person, that's like leaving the stain, leaving this shadow and this is... these are the things that people cannot return back to you, you know. If you leave a ... if you come into my home and you leave a bad memory in this home, I can't give it back next time you come. I can't have you take it away with you, you know. It's always there and this is how we affect each other's lives. This is something that we have to, have to keep in mind.

JT: Okay. I'm going to have to go back to this album again after listening to all of this and sit down with those lyrics, because there is a lot of meaning I may have missed. I may have gotten the gist of it, but I think you enlightened me quite a bit more.

DG: Well, you know, it's kind of... if we continued to talk about The January Tree, it's almost like part 2. It's almost like the conclusion of this... of this philosophy, and the thing is that you won't really hear all of these details in the lyrics. You won't hear all of these examples and you certainly won't hear all of these conclusions. All I'm doing is pointing at the evidence that the crow is dead, you know. What I mean and the thing, an example of why, because a lot of people glamorize the world that we live in. They glamorize the city and technology and, and think that this direction is the promised land, and what I'm saying is in this direction is just going further and further away from the promised land that was already here to begin with.

JT: Okay. I'm just wondering if we can continue on talking about The January Tree cause what I got out of that is it's kind of about hopelessness, but it's also about hope as well.

DG: Oh man, you got it. Man, you got it exactly, exactly. Dude, dude, you totally have it. What this tree is, this tree represents the answer. You know, when I say a murder of crows and I say okay these crows taking us to heaven do not make the journey. Now, okay, I've left you there, now what? That we're fucked? No. The answer is that we are not fucked, but we have to... we have to look for how to fix this and when you... when you look at the world and the state that it's in, you say we're fucked. What... What can I do? I'm so small and the, the chemical companies, and the army and the president and all the bullshit going on is so big. What can I do? And, it is the same as looking at this tree in winter. This tree that looks dead, it looks hopeless. And you say what, what can one do to make this from dead to living? And... and this is where the answer lies. That... that it is not for you or not for me to make one... to wave our hands and make one big act that's gonna fix all of this or for like some messiah to come and make it all right. The thing is that we have to do it ourselves and, and the tree has the answer. That the way the tree goes from this ... well not dead, but it is sleeping. Like the world is not dead, but it is sleeping and the people of the world are sleeping. We're walking in this state of hypnosis. In this illusion of what life is really about when we go collect all this money. We can collect and buy all these things we can afford and think that this is the amount of our life. This is, this is an illusion. This is a dream, you know. Look at this tree and how this tree goes from dead to living is exactly how the world can fix itself. The tree does not [undergo] one huge miracle and is one day green and living. It is a patient, humble process of one leaf. Just one leaf awakening. Just one, and if this tree is entirely dead-looking, but has one green leaf, you know this tree is not dead. This tree is alive. One leaf awakens, but then another and another and another and another and they each just do this simple humble tiny act of existing, of awakening and soon one by one by one becomes a thousand by a thousand by a thousand and this tree is green and flourishing and living again.

And, it's the same as the... the situation of the world. I cannot change George Bush's policies and I cannot change the opinion of the militant Muslims and I cannot change the opinion of god, all the other people who disagree with other people. I cannot change. I cannot tell the ocean to stop making the waves, but what I can do is, I, myself, can awaken. I can awaken into this life first of all... first of all by appreciating the potential of what being alive means and you cannot put a dollar value on this. There is not a job I could get. There is not enough money I could earn in this life that can equal the fact that I exist, and then we realize that all these stupid little things we are searching for in our lives, all these things that we are trying to gain, all these things that are keeping us from our happiness, they, they are nothing compared to what we have already been given, to what we already have. That we're these human beings put in this world that is at least so potentially breathtakingly beautiful and here we are and it is up to us. Where do we go from here? It is up to us and so what does it take to make this place paradise? Well I, I think I know the answer. That the answer cannot be our motivation for profit as we're trying in capitalism, you know. This is the idea, but the motivation of profit, the motivation of anger, the motivation of greed is not going to make this place paradise. The Bush administration or any following administration that decides to try to bomb our way into their paradise is also going to meet with the same failure.

The only way we can have paradise is for us to... us to be the paradise. The grid is part of paradise. It's contained within you. It's contained within me, contained within our ability to love one another, contained within our ability to feel joy, to feel happiness, and if I walk this earth everyday and every action I made was made with the motivation of love, and believe me love can find its way into everything you do. If this was your motivation, if this was the motivation of every human being on the planet, problem solved. We... could you imagine what it would be like here if everybody you met, their motivation was love? It would be a completely different place and this is the potential that resides within each and every human being. This is the thing. This is the decision. Just one little decision is the decision keeping us from paradise. Ourselves and we each need to stop trying to fix one another. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to bring the love with us, and believe me, when you bring love... believe me, love will only be the return.

JT: Wow! That's a real creative and thoughtful concept you have there and it's not very typical to hear this kind of thought process in music nowadays.

DG: In rock music especially.

JT: Especially, yeah. [I laugh] Just to shift gears away from Dead Soul Tribe, you were also involved in Ayreon's Human Equation right?

DG: Aha.

JT: I'm wondering if you can explain your role and just how you got involved in that project.

DG: He just sent me an email and said, "hey, my name is Arjen Lucassen and I have this band called Ayreon" and he told me a little about it and said, "I'm making the new album and I really like your singing and I would think you would be perfect to play this role of the emotion Agony and so what do you think?" and then I said, "Well, I don't know. Send me a CD. If the music is right, you know, then it sounds like fun and..." so he sent me a CD and I could certainly hear that this was extremely high-quality music. This guy was working with just the best musicians and even though he sent me Electric Castle and The Dream Sequencer and... it wasn't really 100% for me, you know the music really for me, but I could see that it was tremendous quality and I thought this is something good to get involved with, so I, I agreed and then he sent me the demos for The Human Equation and he made these demos on his own... really, really well-made demos where he's...[singing] the vocal lines and he only sent me the songs with my part and if he would have just sent me this? I would have accepted with no reservation. I would have accepted right away, 'cause this really was music for me. This... this new album that he made isn't such... oh, I don't know how to describe it, but I can tell you that the new album is very much... I don't know, like Pink Floyd's The Wall or something, you know. Really, really non-pretentious, really good-sounding quality music and I thought, shit yeah! I'd love to sing on this stuff and so I... I... and you hear the things I'm talking about love and about the solutions to the earth and... and then I have to play the role of Agony, so I have to be the devil's advocate to my own normal thinking process, but in doing so I actually really embrace this motivation of agony, and in fact, I start to talk to him about the lyrics and start to say, "look if I'm really Agony now, I understand what it is I'm trying to do to this guy. I'm trying to convince him that... that I am the only emotion that has ever been with him the whole time in his whole life and that he needs me more than he needs love. I am stronger than love, because I'm the only one that has not forgotten him" and so Arjen's trying to say to me, "wow, you really are Agony aren't you?" [we both laugh] and so it was a really fun process and it was a tremendous two-way respect going and, um, the guy is just wonderful and just a really, really good producer and really down-to-earth, really funny, really fun, real relaxed and we just had a great time. I spent three days at his studio working and it was just the most fun I ever had in a recording session.

JT: You've got some very diverse qualities as a musician and I just wanted you to explain some of your musical influences a little bit.

DG: Ahem. Well, I come from the old school, you know. I'm thirty-eight years old. I'm the younger brother of the hard rock British first generation heavy metal audience, you know. I'm talking about Led Zeppelin, the first albums by Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, and David Bowie, you know. Then my older brother and my older sisters were the generation of this music and it just filtered down to me and so this became my, my taste and, and as you know, each and every one of those bands are very different from one another. That's what I thought was so good about that time, you know. The late sixties, the early seventies there were so many bands that were so good. Almost every band that you can mention was not only really, really good, but nothing like one another, you know. And... and that was all called rock, rock music, and you could have been David Bowie. You could have been Black Sabbath. You could have been Frank Zappa. It doesn't matter. You were called rock music and that was the world of music that I wanted to belong to. This is what I wanted to be part of, you know. And I guess the sad thing is, by the time I got into it, that world didn't exist anymore. It was all categorized and mechanized, you know. And...and I guess the big, big powers-that-be bought out all the record companies and saw to it that all of the meaning was cleansed from music, so that there would be no more evolution headed by music, you know. In the Vietnam era, all the people that were against Vietnam would have been just completely alienated had it not been for the musical movement, and with the music of the time, all those people were completely united into one cause and I think that was a little bit dangerous for the ... political powers-that- be and the powers that go a little bit beyond those political powers. The powers that are taking the world [in] the direction it is. The same powers that are making something called MTV and something called ClearChannel and buying up all the... the radio stations, so that they can control the media even more, you know. They're buying up all the record companies and they want to be sure that whatever it is you consume, they have approved for your consumption, you know. Stuff that's harmless, stuff that will not get people thinking, stuff that will not create an uprise. In fact, stuff that might have us at each others throats, you know, like Marilyn Manson is fine as long as the parents disagree with the kid and the kid disagrees with the parents, and the rappers disagree with this kid and... and everybody is kind of against each other with music. That's fine, you know, even if it means that there's guns in the street and violence and crime. That's all fine. What we can't have is everybody agreeing and everybody saying, hey something is going on around here and I think change needs to come. [he laughs] And I... I say, well, look with this mentality, I'm sure I will never be on a major label. I'm sure I will never be a big pop star and I'm sure I'll probably never grace the screen of MTV, because I'm not playing that game. But what it is I'm doing? I really feel a lot of conviction in what I'm doing and I think it is something that the world needs and whoever there is willing to listen, you know, what I'm doing is out there and I'm just trying to bring back into rock music both on records and on the stage what was once there, but has been missing for far too long.

JT: I'd just like to talk about your current musical tastes. What would be the last CD that you bought or had in rotation quite a bit?

I got really into Tool. I think that Tool is a really good band and there's not a lot of music out today that I really like that much, but out of the bands that I like, I really like them a lot and Tool is one... they are probably the last album I bought. I think I bought, um, Aenima. When it was a new album, I bought that... um, but I like Rob Zombie a lot and Nine Inch Nails quite a bit and, uh, I like Marilyn Manson a lot and, uh, a lot of these really modern heavy bands. I... I like that kind of music and it's kind of nice, too, that there is something out there nowadays that speaks to me again, and because, you know, when I started getting on the scene in the eighties, the end of the eighties, there was just nothing going on that I related to, you know. A lot of good players, but just the music, I couldn't relate to, you know. When Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were the big bands, I could appreciate it, but I just didn't like it that much. It didn't move my spirit. It didn't teach me anything. It didn't make me... uh, question things about life or come to new conclusions and ... or at the very least it didn't make me just really feel something under my skin and I think the first bands to come around and start to do that again I would say would be Nirvana. I liked Nirvana quite a bit, but I really liked Soundgarden and Jane's Addiction and, uh, I liked Rage Against The Machine a lot, but especially when they made their first album, and Tori Amos.

JT: Kind of along the same lines, what's the last concert that you attended as a fan?

DG: Oh, A Perfect Circle. That was a good show, too. I saw both Tool concerts for the Lateralus album and I liked that quite a bit. And I think I liked... though I liked Tool's music more than A Perfect Circle, I think I liked the A Perfect Circle concert a little more.

JT: I have a question I like to ask people. Typically, they either have an easy time or they have a very difficult time, but I'm wondering if you can recall any Spinal Tap moments with your band, just recording, on tour, live, whatever?

DG: [he starts laughing] I watched Spinal Tap just last night man, [I laugh] just last night and... and I watched it... my friend sent me this DVD and I watched it with the audio commentary from the band. Oh my god, I haven't laughed so hard.

JT: This is almost a Spinal Tap moment.

DG: I think that every moment is a Spinal Tap moment, you know. It's really not a glamorous profession that we're in and ... I can't really recall anything specific, but I gotta tell you, I don't take this thing seriously. As far as... uh, what it means to be in a band, in other words, I don't think that gives me any special privilege above anybody else. It doesn't make me any more valuable of a person than anybody else. I don't really subscribe to this rockstar mentality like I... I deserve some special treatment, but, um, I, I take everything that goes with this in some sense of humor and ... I, I think that every moment is a Spinal Tap moment and when it stops being that way it will stop being fun and when it stops being fun is when I'm out.

JT: I want to talk about some of your favorites. If you can't think of one just tell me some of the top ones, but what would you say is your favorite band?

DG: My favorite band. You know my biggest idol is Jimi Hendrix and I don't know if that means that I listen to his music more or whatever or how my pace changed over the years, how I get influenced by things, and when all is said and done it always comes back to that guy. I don't really know why, because he doesn't have... every single song he makes I'm not that nuts about. It's just something about him that I don't know how to explain it, but it just... the sight of the guy moves me and... and he's been my favorite since I started playing and it's still that way today.

JT: Along the same lines, what would you say is your favorite album?

DG: The first ones that come to mind, it's always these two. I would say either Jethro Tull's Aqualung or Pink Floyd's The Wall.

JT: Yeah, I like both of those quite a bit as well. I would also like to ask some non-music-related questions. I'm wondering what would you say is your favorite movie.

DG: Oh, wow, this is the... oh man, goddamn, this is so tough, but I would say my first, the first one that comes to my mind would be True Romance. You know this film?

JT: Yeah, I've seen it.

DG: This one I really like, but man there are so many good movies like K-Pax, you know. My favorite films usually don't require such a big budget, but just this excellent, excellent story idea like for example, The Big Lebowski. You know, I mean, whoever thought of this idea as a film, I swear to god is a genius, you know. You... you could have made that film without all those weird dream sequences, that probably cost the most money. Somebody could have made this film on almost no budget. Like a Blair Witch Project budget and it would have been just as good, because it is just the ideas behind the writing are so phenomenal. I really like films like that and that's why I like K-Pax so much. I mean, any, [he laughs] any film where, uh, where Kevin Spacey is interrogated, I love it.

JT: Yeah and there is a few of those out there, too. I'm thinking just as a recommendation, just based off some of the things you told me, you might like a movie called Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and it is a movie starring Lawrence Fishburne that was on HBO.

DG: Oh, really? An HBO film?

JT: Yeah, so look that one up.

DG: We don't have HBO out here.

JT: You can rent it. That might be something that might be your cup of tea.

DG: I'll remember, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned.

JT: Another favorite question, what would you say is your favorite book?

DG: Um, well... man, there, there are these books that have made big impressions on me all for different reasons and... and to be really quite serious I would say the book Endostopia written by Vladimir McVeigh... but this is something to do with my own personal life and something to do with my belief system, you know, that it really shook the foundation of my world and really kind of woke me up to what life is all about and if you want to talk about reading for entertainment... um, then I would say Noone Here Gets Out Alive or The Hammer of the Gods.

JT: Okay.

DG: I like reading these books about rock stars of the past. I like those stories.

JT: Okay. And I just like to sort of finish sometimes with kind of a quirky question, but it helps me identify with the artist specifically, and I'm wondering, do you have any pets?

DG: Yeah, I have two cats. They came with me from the US. I got them from the animal shelter when I lived my last few years in California and, um, so at the time then I had three cats. I also bought this one from somebody. I had these three cats that practically you could get them for free and, uh, this was my family, and then when I moved to... uh, Europe here, I had to pay to get them all over and to get everything worked out. About a thousand dollars to bring these cats just to live with me, but I still, I still have... I gave the male away cause he was a big asshole to the other two cats, so I gave him away to my ex-wife's mother, but I still have the two females, which are just... yeah, these are my babies and I have now, now that I moved here, I have an aquarium again. I was always into aquariums and... the aquariums over here are really expensive. In the states, it's much, much, much more affordable to have a really nice big aquarium, but I finally found this one store here that's... it's equivalent to Home Depot, but it's got really, really good aquariums and they're still a little expensive, but much less expensive than elsewhere and they had a good selection of fish, so I got these African Sicklets now and I stepped back. I was into salt water aquariums before I moved out, and out here there is not a lot of good saltwater fish to choose from, so I have my cats and I have a really big nice aquarium.

JT: Okay. And actually that's probably the longest answer I've ever gotten to that 'cause typically it's often that musicians don't have pets. They find this question weird, but I just see this as a way to identify with people.

DG: Oh my god, you know, when I... when I was living here and then the marriage that brought me here had failed, then I spent a year alone and I tell you what if it wasn't for those cats, I... I, hey man, there were moments where those were my only reasons for living, because [I laugh] who would feed them, you know?

JT: Exactly.

DG: You know, I really love, I love all animals. I really have an affection for animals, but, um, cats are my favorite. [mine, too -cat lovin' ed.]

JT: That's pretty much all the questions I have, but I wanted to give you a chance to say anything that you'd like to say to your fans at this time.

DG: Well, yeah, yeah, here's something: HELLO, Hello, hello. [he says it like an echo and we laugh] That's about all I got.

JT: Okay and I wish you a lot of luck. You're putting out very creative music and it's nice to see a musician out there that's really thoughtful, who's perceptive, and wants to share all these ideas with their fans.

DG: Well, I appreciated you, too man, and... and doing interviews is really the only way that I can come out and say what I think is my message in my music, but I can never come out and say it in the music. You know what I mean, 'cause you have to make the words rhyme and you've gotta have a certain tempo and a certain... there's gotta be a flow to the lyrics and sometimes that doesn't allow for you to just come out and say what you want to say, you know. You have to kind of phrase it creatively and sometimes the message just doesn't come through that way and... so... but I know the message is there and it gives me the ability to sing what I'm singing with conviction, but I think that it is just very important for me to just come out and talk about it. When I say, okay, The January Tree means this and I start talking about the awakening one by one and I'm, then I'm able to say what I mean by awakening. I think if anybody is to get anything out of what I am doing lyrically, other than just entertainment, I think that by me having this platform to talk about it that I think it really, um, allows me to bring it forward and say what's going on here.

JT: I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and I'm happy that I gave you a chance to speak out. You speak very eloquently, which is not something that you hear quite a bit from musicians. They're typically not great at interviews.

DG: I hear that a lot, but, but I don't know who you must be interviewing or what you must be talking to them about, but I think that, you know, what I do in life it goes really far beyond music. What it is that attracts me to life doesn't have that much to do with music and music just happens to be a way of expressing and music means a lot, really a lot, but music is not, um, the meaning of life, you know. Music is just a gift on top of a gift and, and so when I drag this real life stuff into my music and I? I try to just put some meaning into it, some reason for it into being, you know... it's kind of like so much music out there is really well-made, really well-produced good-sounding music to me is often like, um, a vessel that is sitting up on the shelf carved to, perfection, but containing nothing and the... like I told you before, the world of music that I came from, this vessel was not empty. This, this music meant something and it actually affected people's lives. People like me whose lives were affected, it really has a value beyond entertainment and like I said I'm just trying to bring that back. I hope that it's possible.

JT: I hope it's possible, too, and it's actually a very good day outside here today, so now after talking to you, I feel obligated to go outside and look at the birds and the trees.

DG: You should do that.

JT: Yeah, and see what I can pick up on.

DG: Be sure to do that. Yeah, look up at the sky, look up at the stars and think wow, I'm lucky to be alive. Breathe in and breathe out and you exist. Life is not as complicated as we make it seem.

JT: Yeah, and I can hear children in the background over there [they could be heard during the entire interview, in the background] . You've got a festival yourself to get back to as well.

DG: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do.

JT: Just enjoy the rest of your weekend and good luck on the rest of your projects. I really look forward to seeing what you can come out with.

DG: Alright man, thanks a lot.

JT: Yeah, thank you.

Look for Dead Soul Tribe to tour this November and December, though at press time dates had not yet been confirmed.

Dead Soul Tribe (2002)
A Murder Of Crows (2003)
The January Tree (2004)
The Dead Word (2005)
A Lullabye For The Devil (2007)

Added: September 19th 2004
Interviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner

Artist website:
Hits: 1673
Language: english

[ Back to Interviews Index | Post Comment ]