washingtonpost.com: Hi, folks. Dean Wareham, the lead singer of Luna, is online today. Send in your questions, and let's get going....
Washington:: Hi Luna, I love your music! Just wondering: Did you have any qualms about some songs being used in CK One ads a while back?
Luna: Qualms...yes I did have qualms. Putting songs in commercials is not my favorite thing to do, but we all have to make a living. I have turned down other opportunities (like appearing in a GAP ad) because I didn't want to lend my entire being to the GAP way of life... but then this year a Galaxie 500 song was used in an Acura commercial, which saved me from having to go out and get a day job.
Chris, DC: thanks for playing down here in d.c. so often. . .my question is which venue do you prefer: black cat or 9:30. . .i think i preferred the black cat venue as more cozy than 9:30 (plus, it's easier to get to the bar). . .
Luna: The 9:30 Club is one of the very best in the country. I have lost count of how many times I have played there, but it is also nice to let people see you in a different environment once in a while, don't you think?
Bethesda, MD: Looking back, what was the one song that makes you say "what the heck was I think?"
Luna: I don't like "The Creeps" on our Pup Tent album. The lyrics are okay, but the overall vibe of the song gives me the creeps today.
Arlington, Va.: How did you guys meet? Do you ever go off and do your own solo stuff?
Luna: I met Sean through an advertisement I placed in the Village Voice. I met our drummer Lee through Sean (they both studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts). Lee was studying percussion, Sean was studying acting. Our new bassist Britta Phillips was recommended to us by our guitar technician. Sean and Lee have a side project, tentatively title "The Weeds Of Eden", which they are working pretty hard on these days.
Virginia: Has anything changed now that you have Britta in the band? ie, I notice she gets ALOT of the audiences attention.
Luna: I like having a woman in the band. It changes our live show in a way that is hard to define -- less of a macho four guy thing (not that Luna is particularly macho to begin with). And her playing and singing are both excellent -- the transition has been much easier than we anticipated.
nova: do you enjoy the dentyne gum the 'gum fairies' bring or would you like another kind?
Luna: When I buy gum I usually go for Trident, so that's one possible option. Or Stimorol, which is a European gum I think.
Tampa, Florida: Plan on coming to Fla anytime soon, you skipped us the last couple of tours?
Luna: Sorry we haven't been to Florida. It's not on the way to anywhere, is it? Maybe we'll try to get down there this winter.
Washington DC: Hey Luna -- I'm a huge fan of Galaxie 500 and Luna. I think my favorite Luna-ish show was seeing Dean and Sean play at the Bowlie festival in England last spring. I was wondering if you have plans to release any other records/singles on Arlington's Teenbeat Records. Personally, I think what Elektra did to you was the best thing that could've happened. They're such a terrible label these days. Just like Caroline. See you tomorrow!
Luna: Teenbeat have now relocated to Massachusetts. We're not sure who will be releasing the next Luna CD. Glad you enjoyed Sean and my accoustic performance in England. We only did a handful of shows that way.
Tampa, Florida: I can recall two peel sessions galaxie 500 did, are there any plans for those to surface?
Luna: I suggest you send a letter to Damon & Naomi about that. There were some very interesting things on those sessions, including a cover of the Sex Pistols' "Submission".
Washington, DC: Has there been a noticeable change in the band's profile (high or low) or commercial success due to the two late night talk show appearances?
Luna: The answer is no. We watched the soundscan charts the week after those TV appearance and there was little change.
Tampa, Florida: How has touring been for the new album? What has the response been like.. with britta in the line up, will you be playing bonnie & clyde? How were your experiences touring with the VU?
Luna: Touring the States has been great. It is the one part of our musical lives where we are in complete control, and the audiences get larger every tour. Yes we have been playing Bonnie and Clyde, with Britta doing the Brigitte Bardot part. Touring with the VU was surreal. I had to pinch myself.
Arlington, VA: What Luna song represents your finest moment as a group?
Luna: I'm very partial to "Moon Palace" on the Penthouse CD. It has a lovely 12-string guitar solo by Tom Verlaine of Television.
Norwood, MA: With the departure of Justin and having a new record label, is a new sound in the future and are there any plans to go back in the studio to record a new album?
Luna: I don't think there will be a radical departure or new sound for Luna. I did buy a sequencer recently with lots of "beats" and stuff in it, but I haven't learned how to use it yet. We certainly plan to make another record, either this fall or maybe in January.
Arlington, VA: Do you as a group want to be really "big" and all that goes along with that? And how do you get bigger?
Luna: I don't lie awake at night dreaming of being a huge rockstar -- it seems like an infantile fantasy to me. But of course I would be happy if Luna accidentally had a gold record. It would make everyone's lives a little easier.
Andy, London, UK: I saw Thursday a couple of weeks back, and found the film to be, on the whole, pretty distasteful, but nice to hear Luna though = how did you get involved? and did you like the film?
Luna: This film "Thursday" played at the Toronto Film Festival. Roger Ebert described it as "despicable". The truth is that we did it for the money, but I like some of the music that we did. Sometimes you do things for not the most noble reasons, and the artistic outcome is unpredictable. Did you know that Mark Rothko embarked on arguably his greatest period as a painter after being commissioned to do some works for a restaurant?
Washington DC: This is so lame, and I can't believe I'm doing this, but can you please play "Slash Your Tires" and/or "Indian Summer" tomorrow night? Your pick. Oh, and your tour diary on fuzzywuzzy.com is so much fun to read. Sorry about your gross DC hotel experience last time.
Luna: We won't be doing "Slash Your Tires" but maybe "Indian Summer".
Washington DC: What new records have you bought lately, Dean? Anything you can recommend?
Luna: I like an EP by the Japanese band MINI -- the EP is called Cubismografico. And the new album by the British band BROADCAST. And the most recent PAPAS FRITAS record.
washignton, dc: dean, do you always bum cigarettes off of people, or is it just the shows i've been to?
Luna: I never bum cigarettes from strangers. I'm too timid. But sometimes people offer me a cigarette. That's probably what you saw.
DC: The foreign songs seem to be a real theme, French on Penthouse, German on Days of our Nights, etc. What languages do you speak, or do you just have to learn the lyrics for the songs?
Luna: I speak German (not so well), and French (even worse). I lived in Germany for nine months in 1986.
Arlington, VA: Is there a song you enjoy playing live more than any other? 23 minutes in Brussels?
Luna: Right now I am enjoying playing "Bonnie and Clyde" and "4th of July". It changes. I'm a bit tired of playing "California".
Detroit, Michigan: How do you guys do internationally, I have a friend in France that listened to my CD and loved it!
Luna: We are popular in Spain, France, Japan. Not so popular in Belgium.
At my day job, waiting for Acura to call.: I was at your last 9:30 show, and after the show people were swarming for your autographs. You seemed surprised that people would rather have your autograph than talk to you. How are you doing with your success and fame?
Luna: What fame? I have no difficulty walking down the street, believe me. There are glamorous moments in my life, and humbling ones also.
Arlington, VA: Waht's your take on the MP3/Napster/CD copying brouhaha? You worried?
Luna: I have yet to download an MP3 from the internet. Did you know that the sound quality is not as good as an LP? That's the sad part. I went to a party at a dorm room at UMass, and the students had Napster hooked up. I'm not worried yet. They thought that the home taping on cassettes was going to destroy the music business but it didn't happen.
Alexandria, VA: Two things, when will we get some truth in advertising and get an actual 23 minute long "23 minutes in Brussels?" Also, perhaps you saw the string on the Galaxie 500 newsgroup regarding cover songs. For fun people were thinking of suggestions for covers. How about "Girls Just Want to Have Fun?" It seems it's seems to be ripe for the Luna taking.
Luna: 23 Minutes in Brussels was a minute longer when we recorded it, but the chopped up the guitar solo and it improved the song. I think you would be bored if we played it for 23 Minutes. I want to cover "Beautiful Stranger" by Madonna, but Sean won't have it.
Washington, D.C.: do you enjoy making videos? and are you then disapointed at the lack of showings of the video, like the chinatown video, for example.
Luna: Making videos is not my favorite thing to do. So much pressure is put upon them, and many different people get involved. It can become the focus of the label's anxieties about the entire record. But I like the "Chinatown" video, and the "Season of the Witch" video. I also don't like to see lots of money spent on something that will only air three times late on a Sunday night.
Santa Monica, CA: Dean, how close have you gotten to writing the perfect pop song and which one do you think was closest?
Luna: I remember talking to the big producer Steve Lillywhite who said it is impossible for a band to write that perfect pop song, that it's actually the producer's job. I liked that. Ummm... I like "Moon Palace".
Washington: Does selling your music for commercials ever help album sales?
Luna: I don't have an answer to this question. I know that Nick Drake has seen a surge in sales due to "Pink Moon" being used in a Volkswagen commercial.
Andy, London, UK: I read somewhere that you came close to becoming part of Mercury Rev after Galaxie 500 split. Any truth? and, given their recent success, any regrets?
Luna: No truth to this rumour (note I used the British spelling). I spent a weekend with them recording "Car Wash Hair" and that was enough. I love their new record, and I know it's really big in Europe, but the truth is that Luna are actually bigger here in the States.
Washington DC: Dean: did you happen to see the Women-Seeking-Men in today's City Paper (p. 110) with the text: "I'm looking for a guy who really likes Luna" what do you think about this?
Luna: She sounds like a very attractive and interesting woman.
Arlington, Va: A follow up on the video question. Would you ever consider releasing a compilation of the videos for sale?
Luna: Yes but we would need to get permission from Elektra....
WDC: You are a native New Zealander. Do you like living in America? What do you miss about your native land?
Luna: Weetabix. Honey. My grandparents. New Zealand is a beautiful country but I am happy living in New York City.
the office, DC: Thanks for taking time to answer questions like this. Funny to hear you think that the 9:30 (new) is one of the best venues to play. Did you ever play the old one? As a specator I enjoy the new 9:30, great views from the balcony or real in you face on the floor.
Luna: I played the old club a bunch of times. There were live rats in the dressing rooms.
DC: And you're number 1 in Poland. Ha ha ha.
Luna: I am pretty sure we are not Number One in Poland.
DC: Hi Dean. First, thanks for doing this "chat." I hope you're enjoying it. Who does the design work for the albums? Every record has a different "look" to it. The first couple were sort of spare and minimal...the next two have just been really different. Is that done on purpose?
Luna: Lunapark, Bewitched and The Days Of Our Nights were all designed by my friend Laurie Henzel. Laurie also publishes a magazine called BUST. Penthouse and Pup Tent were designed by Frank Olinsky. He invented the MTV logo.
DC: Though I like both bands, do you envision a time when an article will mention Luna without mentioning Galaxie 500? Do you ever get tired of the "ex-Galaxie 500" label that always seems to be attached to things written about you?
Luna: It doesn't upset me. Rock critics have to fill up the column with something.
Washington, DC: What compelled you to play Galaxy 500's Fourth of July at your last show here (Black Cat)? I requested that song about 4-5 years ago (9:30 Club)and you utterly refused. Do you have a baby now? If so, how is that affecting your music (if at all)?
Luna: Maybe we didn't know the song at the time? Yes I have a baby, one year old. I am not going to write songs about him on the next record... time is precious now.
lynda, vienna: hey, i have the LUNA 2000 calendar hanging right up here in my cube and it says tomorrow 7/7/91 is the anniversary of when you cut 'car wash hair' with mercury rev. btw, i love the calendar, what a great idea.
Luna: That reminds me I need to bring calendars to sell at the show in DC. Though it is now July...
Arlington, Va.: You hear a lot of people say that creative music is dead. What's your take? Are the Britney Spears of the world taking over?
Luna: There is all kinds of great music being made all over the world by all kinds of people. I guess the entertainment business is dominated by the tastes of teenagers at the moment, but who cares? No one can force you to listen to Britney Spears.
Washington, DC: What is your favorite album of all time?
Luna: CRAZY RHYTHMS by the Feelies.
Washington: In reference to the earlier request for tomorrow's concert, do you guys have setlists prepared well in advance--as well as knowing what encores you will play? Has it then been fairly dumb of me to keep yelling out obscure songs from various Luna EP's (like "No Regrets" or "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel" or "Everybody's Talking") during concerts?
Luna: It's not dumb. But yes we have the set list all written out, and at this point wouldn't be able to play "No Regrets" -- I dont' know the words.
Luna: It seems my time is up. I have to go attend to some important Luna business.... thanks for your questions....