Come’s Thalia Zedek and Morphine’s Mark Sandman take come’s Gently, Down The Stream For A Spin
DRIVE, SHE SAID
Thalia: We were just in Spain for like a month.
Mark: For what? Touring?
Thalia: Yeah, touring. It was great. We had like eight or nine shows in four and a half weeks. It was this crazy thing 'cause we were like in a movie, and we were also part of this traveling film festival. So the first week we were there, we were in Madrid.
Thalia: It was so fuckin' nice. And then we went all over Spain. Barcelona and then Bilbao. We saw the new Guggenheim. It was pretty amazing. We played all over. It was the kind of tour of Spain that you could only get if a Spanish promoter was booking it. Because originally, they were going to film in all these locations. Because the film is kind of about, like, rock, but not really. But it's about a promoter, and a lot of this stuff takes place in clubs and stuff, so it's really expensive to rent. So we were traveling in the film festival, and simultaneously they were making a movie. They shot us for like a week. Our part isn't that big in it. It's about this promoter. We played the American band that comes over, a band called "Come." At first I was like, "Change the names and stuff," but then by the time we were filming it, it was like, "I don't give a shit." It was totally a crazy no-budget production.
Mark: You could change it to "Venga." There are probably some other dirtier words you could use. "Venga." That's not a bad name.
Mark: I can't think of what the Spanish word for "come" is.
Thalia: [in exaggerated Spanish voice] I love the Colme!
Thalia: We were hanging out with a lot of Spanish people. The movie was half Spanish, half English, so the leading man was Spanish. It takes place in Spain, but there were a lot of Americans involved. So when he was dealing with Americans, he'd speak in English, but the rest of it's going to be in Spanish, so it's kind of a bizarre mix of New York and Madrid people.
Mark: There was this movie that asked me to do a bit part in it, kind of silly, looking for love in the classifieds. It all takes place in Boston. I guess I would have done it, but I would have had to pay a couple thousand dollars to join the union or something and they were only paying $500, so I passed. But anyways, I was reading in the paper just now that someone just bought the movie for six million dollars just this week. I never would have guessed.
Thalia: Wow. What's it called?
Mark: It's called Next Up Wonderland. Reading it, it just seemed like an advertisement for Boston. "Shoot your film in Boston. Look at all the scenic sights we have." I had no idea it was like a real film, entered in festivals. I can never tell from the script that it's going to be good.
Thalia: We did songs in so many horrible movies. And then you just feel bad because you know someone spent like years, because I have a lot of friends who do film. I know how expensive it is, and how people spend years on something that sucks, and then they know it sucks but they have to do something with it because they have invested so much in it. I usually say "sure" when people ask me for a song, because usually I know the movie isn't going to get played anywhere, even And it's kind of like, why stand in their way? They have so many obstacles as it is.
Mark: You know that movie Spanking The Monkey? Our guy got this call that they want to use four or five songs for a low budget movie about incest. They wouldn't let us sec a rough-cut or a script. They said it was really tasteful — it's kind of a black comedy — and we figured, well, no one will see it. But it didn't work out like that. But it wasn't a bad movie. Did you see it?
Thalia: I never saw it. Are we taping this? Should we tape it?
Mark: ...I love wine. And maybe I'll take you up on that.
Thalia: So are you going to do your next record with Paul [Kolderie] and Sean [Slade]?
Mark: It looks like it. I hope so. I want to record a lot of it at my house. We've got kind of a big space. It sounds better than most studios. Lots of wood, wood floors, wood ceilings. Soft. Then we'll take it and mix it somewhere else. Maybe bring in a bunch of real equipment, 24 tracks...
Thalia: Is your studio in Cambridge?
Mark: Yeah. I like to record at home.
Thalia: Yeah, I do too. I always wanted to, and we haven't really done anything in town except for this record.
(Tape stops. Thalia puts Come's new CD, Gently, Doum The Stream, on the stereo.]
Thalia: Your car stereo probably sounds better than this.
Mark: [responding to music] That pretty much like an Egyptian kind of thing?
Thalia: Yeah, it's sort of like that. I don't know what this is.
Mark: Gently, Down The Stream. I like that.
Thalia: It's the urination analogy, sort of. This copy's been sounding really weird to me. Do you think that's too loud?
Mark: No, it sounds good.
Thalia: But I've played this particular one for people before, and it sounds weird.
Mark: You mean this CD? This pressing?
Mark: I don't know, they should be the same, but nobody really knows how it works anymore. Everybody just pokes at buttons. If they can hear something, they figure it's okay. Nobody knows what bits are, they just throw these terms around... I like this. I hear more words than your other records.
Thalia: Yeah, it's like... cool. It's weird. There is this one song... Chris [Brokaw, Come's other guitarist] is playing piano and I'm playing clarinet. It's got some different stuff on it, some heavy stuff. And lighter stuff. Do you guys write in the studio?
Mark: We try not to. We try to just get in there and record it, bur we do a lot of writing in my home studio. Just playing along with it, fooling around with it, on eight- track. Sometimes those things end up on the albums. All the albums have eight tracks from my house on them. So you never know. You can't tell though, on the albums. You don't go "Oh, they put a home recording on the album." It doesn't sound like that.
Thalia: Yeah. There's one song on here that was pretty much a jam, you know, and it was pretty improvised. It had different pans bur we didn't know when it was going to switch. We just kind of knew. We were like, "Let's record it and see how it comes out," and it came out pretty good. It's called "A Jam Blues."
Mark: What's the cover look like?
Thalia: I've got it around here somewhere... This is a photo this Boston artist took during this hurricane. I think it was like Revere or something.
Mark: I like it. This is around here? These houses?
Thalia: Yeah, it was all on the same day. Like that, that first shot was in Revere beach.
Mark: What was this kid doing? Just running around?
Thalia: He was running away from the wave. It was during a hurricane. That was actually the wave.
Mark: Who did the package?
Thalia: Actually, Chris saw it at an art show.
Mark: No, but who did the design?
Thalia: Oh, my brother.
Thalia: Dan Zedek.
Mark: All in the family, huh?
Thalia: Yeah. It was kind of like, you know, people you can rely on in an emergency. We've got these photos and we need a cover in like four days... Actually, this was pretty improvised too. Not Chris's part, bur the clarinet part.
Mark: How did you happen to play clarinet? Did you take lessons when you were a kid?
Thalia: Yeah, I've played since I was young. A lot of people I know play clarinet just kind of by chance, but I actually really wanted to play clarinet.
Mark: Yeah? That happens to some people.
Thalia: I lived in New England when I was like nine. I had this really weird teacher and all we ever did was music there. It was like a normal class, but she was just real eccentric. So we would learn these operas and all this weird-type stuff. I remember once, this student that had graduated came in and played her clarinet and I really liked the sound of it.
Mark: I played the trombone.
Thalia: Really? I love the trombone.
Mark: I suddenly realized, just last year — I don't know why it took me so long — but the trombone is a slide, baritone instrument, and now I play a slide, baritone instrument in a band... That was a nice song.
Thalia: This is the last song, the abbreviated version.
Mark: Before I go, we should drive around the block and play it really loud in my car. I have really good sound.
Mark: Just for your own edification. Musicians have the worst stereos of any people I know. I don't know why that is. [laughing] I myself am included.
Come's new album. Gently, Down The Stream (Matador), was reviewed in the March issue.
Morphine's most recent album, Â Sides & Otherwise (Rykodisc), was reviewed in the December issue.