Dean Wareham Interview (March 2001)
JR: WHAT'S THE IDEA OF A LIVE ALBUM NOW? MAYBE IT'S TIME TO MAKE A LITTLE STOP AND LOOK BACK?
DW: When you are under contract to a record company, they own all your live recordings. So when we found ourselves temporarily without a record company here in the U.S., we quickly decided to record a live album on our own. Luna is a good live band, and very different live from in studio, so we thought it would be interesting to try to capture the live energy of the band.
PLANS FOR TOURING EUROPE/SPAIN?
If someone invites us to Spain, we will come. If someone invites us to Germany, we will say No.
APART FROM BEING ABLE TO PLAY "Bonnie and Clyde" IN LIVE AND FROM SATISFYING THE MALE AUDIENCE, WHAT HAS BRITTA BROUGHT TO LUNA?
Britta is an excellent bass player and sings beautifully and can play a few other instruments as well. And she has also brought some enthusiasm to the band -- sometimes a change of lineup can be a healthy thing for everyone's mental health.
WAS JUSTIN FAREWELL TRAUMATIC FOR THE BAND?
It was difficult at first. We briefly had another bassist before Britta joined. But ultimately I feel it has been good for us all, and we are all really enjoying playing shows right now.
WHERE DOES THE NAME "LUNA" COME FROM?
In the Woody Allen film "Sleeper", Diane Keaton plays a character called Luna, which is where we got the name. She sings a nice song "Rebels are we!"
IT SEEMS THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS CONCEIVED LUNA AS A BAND AND NOT AS A PERSONAL MUSIC PROJECT. DESPITE THAT YOU ARE NOW THE ONLY ORIGINAL MEMBER IN THE BAND. SO HOW DO YOU SEE LUNA THROUGH ALL THESE YEARS?
I am officially the only original member, but of course Sean has been in the band since 1993 -- the only thing he didn't play on was our very first album. And Luna is very much a cooperative effort. Everyone contributes musical ideas, and we make decisions together.
AND HOW DO YOU SEE THE GROUP'S FUTURE? I, AMONGST MANY OTHERS, CONSIDER LUNA AS ONE OF THOSE BANDS LIKELY TO EXPLODE COMERCIALLY IN ANY MOMENT (DEPENDING ON A FILM, ADS OR WHATEVER). DO YOU SHARE THAT OPINION?.<
Well it hasn't exploded commercially yet. I suppose it could happen, but it doesn't seem so likely to me. But I wouldn't trade places with the many bands that have had one big hit and then disappeared again. Even if you make a fortune with one big song on the radio, you still have to come back and do it again.
LOOKING BACK WHAT LUNA ALBUM YOU'D RECOMMEND FOR NEWCOMERS? WHICH'S YOU FAVOURITE OR WHICH DO YOU LISTEN TO MORE OFTEN?
I don't listen to my own records very often, but my favorite is Penthouse.
COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE PROCESS OF BEING SELECTED TO OPEN FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF VU? HOW WAS THAT? ANY GOSSIP YOU CAN TELL ABOUT THEM IN THAT TOUR?
We were picked by Lou Reed, who had heard our record and liked it. I don't really have any good gossip -- they all seemed to be getting along very well on that tour. It was all just very bizarre to me, the very idea that the Velvet Underground existed again, and I felt lucky to be able to watch so many shows from the side of the stage.
ARE YOU FED UP OF BEING CONSTANTLY RELATED TO VELVET UNDERGROUND AND TELEVISION SOUND?
Well I think it's all a bit silly. I've made 8 records of my own, and in my opinion no one really sounds like either the Velvet Underground or Television -- both of those bands sound completely unique to me. But we are a guitar band from New York City, and we have had Sterling Morrison and Tom Verlaine play on our records, so I can understand why the rock critics are confused.
I DON'T KNOW WHY BUT LUNA MUSIC SEEMS TO ME LIKE THE PERFECT SOUNDTRACK FOR NEW YORK. HOW IS LIVING THERE AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE WHICH YOU CAN'T FIND IN ANY CITY?
Living in New York is expensive. Manhattan is more and more a playground for the rich, but it is still a beautiful city, despite our "would-be fascist" mayor. I'm not saying he's a fascist, just that he dreams of being one.
HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF ACTING IN THE FILM "THIS LITTLE PIGGY"? WHAT CHARACTER DID YOU PLAY? HAS THE FILM BEEN RELEASED IN USA AND WHAT'S ABOUT?
Acting is hard work. I prefer making records. My character is an ex-junkie and credit-card thief, who's life is crumbling around him. The film has not yet been finished -- it is currently being edited, and then I am going to record some music for it. I don't know when it will actually be released.
YOU HAVE RECENTLY APPEARED IN A SINGLE FROM ANGEL CORPUS CHRISTI. COULD YOU TELL SOMETHING ABOUT THEM AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO THAT COLLABORATION?
I just saw Angel in San Francisco this weekend. She is a lovely person. I was introduced to her by Howard Thompson, who signed Suicide years ago, and also put out one of Angel's records, and worked at Elektra when we were there. Angel works at home on an 8-track ADAT tape machine, and I have the same machine in my house, so she sent me a few things to mix and add guitar to.
ANY MOVIES, MUSIC OR READING TIPS?
My favorite films this year are In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar-Wai, and Before Night Falls by Julian Schnabel. And right now I am reading Peter Guralnick's fantastic biography of Elvis Presley. I'm up to the part where Elvis takes LSD.