This year has seen misty eyed memories about the 25th anniversaries of some seminal records. Pixies ‘C’mon Pilgrim’ and The Smiths ‘Strangeways Here We Come’ to name but two.
Throwing Muses landmark mini album ‘The Fat Skier’ had it’s anniversary without ceremony in July but withguitars Jamie Gambino wasn’t about to let such an innovative piece of music be uncelebrated. He interviewed Kristin Hersh to discuss her memories of ‘The Fat Skier’ and to find out about the brand new Throwing Muses album.
In Rat Girl / Paradoxical Undressing you discuss the recording of the first Throwing Muses record, do you also have fond memories of making The Fat Skier?
“We recorded the Fat Skier in Boston, at night, because our budget wouldn’t allow us to work during the day. Appolonia – a Prince chick, I believe – was working in our studio during the day, so her lyrics were sitting on a music stand in the vocal booth, divided into syllables that the engineers would auto-tune one at a time. Of course, we did entire vocal takes singing her lyrics instead of ours; we simply had to. They were fucking hilarious. We also held “rat races” leaning out the window and following rats down the alley. We each chose a rat and cheered our rat on as it collected food from the dumpsters and carried it home. When we left at the end of the session, we realized that the rats which looked about 6″ long from the 5th floor, must’ve been about 2 feet long on the ground. I personally don’t remember doing any actual work on this record.”
Who came up with the idea of Throwing Muses releasing a mini album?
“The idea was to have something to work on the road, as we hadn’t toured our debut album (I had a new baby when it was released in the UK and it was NEVER released in the US). Chains Changed we toured in England, but not here. Since this was our chance to tour a Warner Brothers release, we wanted to make a record as quickly as possible. We still believed Warner Brothers was gonna work our records ;)”
What was it like remastering tracks for Anthology, The Fat Skier is quite well represented with three tracks
“I gave Dave my absolute no’s and then let him choose among the rest. Dave is smarter than me.”
Soap And Water
What can you tell us about the new Throwing Muses album, does it have a release date?
“Spring or summer of 2013 – as soon as we raise funds for publicity. It has 32 or 33 tracks and is being released as a book (I guess, “published” as a book – you don’t “release” books, right?) Each song has an accompanying essay, but the tracks are not necessarily discrete; a bridge or an instrumental will appear elsewhere, some songs repeat with different production treatments, etc.”
You have also been recording a new solo album AND a 50 foot wave EP where do you find the time!?
“I don’t have a real job.”
You have a brand new project as well Outros when can we hear that? What will it be like?
Outros is more hypnotic and groovy than my other projects, though I plan on hiding that ;). Chris Brady and Rob Ahlers need to be afforded the chance to fly, so the material is less disjointed than what I usually write. I gotta say – even though I’m probably not allowed to say – it already sounds amazing. I’m a big fan of this band.”
Rat Girl / Paradoxical Undressing was fantastic, does your new book follow on from it at all?
“I’m writing a book that follows basically on the heels of Rat Girl and another that has nothing to do with anything.”
The Fat Skier; track by track discussion with Kristin Hersh
Garoux Des Larmes: The drumming on ‘Garoux Des Larmes’ is really frenetic, was that all Dave or did you write it that way?
“The time changes are brilliant, so different to anything I’d heard before!”Dave is usually playing on drums exactly what I’m playing on guitar. Whereas I have 6 strings and 10 fingers, though, Dave just has 2 arms, so he seems really hyper when he plays it.”
Pools In Eyes:
I think this is my favourite Tanya written Throwing Muses track. I find that the songs Tanya contributed to the albums seem to reflect the style of your song writing, is that purely coincidence?
“I have no idea. I just liked it when Tea wrote songs because I so enjoyed being able to play guitar without being anywhere near a microphone. Singing is goofy.”
Such a beautiful song, For me this was quite a departure from the material on the debut album. Was ‘A Feeling’ an example of your writing evolving or is it a side that we hadn’t heard before?
“If you read Rat Girl, you know that I don’t feel particularly in charge of the songs’ style. ‘A Feeling’ just wanted to sound spindly, so we let it. Leslie played that funny little violin part.”
Soap And Water: A great song that I find atypical of the early Throwing Muses ‘sound’, the lyrics mention The Dog House so I’m guessing there is an interesting story behind Soap And Water?
“Soap and Water is a post-Dog House song, but *just*. The recording is bizarre – you can’t hear the rhythm guitar that drives it. Mark Van Hecke wasn’t sure how to mix it in, so we just left it like that, but it sounds very different live.”
And A She Wolf After The War: the lyrical imagery is so intense! What is the song about?
“The wolf in Rat Girl. When I wrote the song, she disappeared.”
You Cage: this song has such fragility, is it just you playing on it?
“Me and Dave, right? Or are there no drums on that recording? I don’t listen to my own records… :)”
Soul Soldier: brilliant song, was this the original version that got shortened for the debut?
“The original was on the debut; we recorded this extended version to warrant shooting a video that used the $50,000 budget we were awarded by the American Film Institute for our Fish video. Mike Nesmith, the Monkee, gave us all that money. We couldn’t imagine how to spend it on a video unless that video was REALLY long.”
Why was it missed off ‘House Tornado’ when ‘The Fat Skier’ was put with that album?
“The Fat Skier is on House Tornado? I guess the extended Soul Soldier wasn’t included because it’s long and weird.”
Garoux Des Larmes