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Getting the Drift

The Eyes unwind

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In April of this year, a relatively unknown little entity calling themselves Eyes Adrift rolled into town. Mind you, the members of said band weren't unknown. There's Curt Kirkwood, known for his body of work with the Meat Puppets. There's Bud Gaugh, the former drummer for Sublime. And then there's bass player Krist Novoselic, whose bearded face is now plastered everywhere due to the new, long-awaited greatest hits record from his former band, Nirvana. (Krist is especially evident in Rolling Stone, who seems to have no qualms in running a Nirvana-related article every couple of weeks -- Courtney Love just farted! -- but inexplicably gives the new Eyes record two stars and Justin Timberlake four.)

I digress. While the band was in town last time around, I was able to do a same-day, last-second, post-show interview from the band's stately coach, part of which would appear in a Big National Music Magazine. Only about a quarter of the Q and A ever made it in, mostly because of "space issues." (Uh-huh.)

Which is a shame, a conclusion you will no doubt concur with after reviewing this page's savory verbiage.

The band was, um (how to say?), unwinding at the time of the interview, so answers don't necessarily follow the questions preceding them. As such, the below is more of an "omnibus on the bus" -- a snapshot, if you will -- of the trio's state of mind at the time, showcasing a band just starting to get its feet wet in the touring waters while preparing for the inevitable deluge ahead.

Curt Kirkwood, on bands they all agree on: "We all like Poison Idea. We were telling Poison Idea stories earlier. If you're really about music, there's not a lot not to like about good music. Liking music's kind of a given. With good music, the boundaries are pretty few and far between when you get down to it. We don't have to find common ground to play out. We play our own shit. We don't pursue ideas with the band. We stay within the realm of our own meager talents, whereas most other musicians are far, far beyond us technically and conceptually. We know that, and we're on our knees to them."

Krist Novoselic: "It was just a rock show, didn't you think? There's no schtick, really."

Kirkwood, on writing with Novoselic: "You know, it hasn't (been hard), really. We all three work together, really. From my perception, I usually write about the same thing. A sort of variation on the same thing kind of fits my singing, really. I don't get outside of that too much. I'm pretty limited. I'm pretty much a one trick pony. Like one of those chickens -- you just put a dime in there."

Bud Gaugh, referring to running joke about my actual name: "Tim, since we can't call you Teddy, do you mind if we dress you up in one? I know you're not the President, but we have the presidential suite, and that's close enough for us."

Kirkwood: "Imagine the pain of being called Teddy your whole life. It's like being called Scooter."

Novoselic: "I hope you're recording this! It's just like grassroots music. The tickets are around $10 to $12. We're meeting people, people that have a lot of (other) options. They can watch a "major motion picture," or they can stay at home and watch TV. People come out, we play for "em, and try to give them a good quality show. It's a straight-ahead rock show -- no puking blood. We started in the Northwest in like February and went down through the Southwest. People come out and don't know what to expect. They kind of know what to expect -- we've all had our own things -- but most people are coming out for the curiosity factor. It's been received really well. No schtick. Rock and roll music.

Kirkwood, sort of laughing: "We don't have anything to prove, either. The world's pathetic. It's a hateful, wretched, fucking pathetic place and I piss on it."

Gaugh: "Hear, hear." (Note: The following is transcribed word for word. I didn't quite understand it either, but was afraid to ask.) "The audience can feel the implied regret of the tantrum that I pulled last time I was in Charlotte, when I pulled off my own phallus and threw it at the cocktail waitress."

Kirkwood: "We just listened to "Detachable Penis.' What a funny fucking name."

Me: "That was King Missile."

Kirkwood: "King Missile! "Detachable Penis.' "Penis' is a funny thing. But not as powerful as "cunt.'"

Me again: "Do you still get requests for songs from your former bands?"

Gaugh: "Twat did you say, I cunt hear you." (general laughter.)

Novoselic: "Nobody's done that, have you noticed that? Nobody goes "Plateau' or "Smells Like Teen Spirit.' I think people get it: that what we're doing is original and new. That would be the worst thing that we could do, to go out there and play "Plateau." We're not schticking anything like that. That's our draw -- what we've done -- but when you come to the show, it stands on its own. It's just real genuine rock and roll music."

Me, warming/sobering up: "Can you tell when the audience ceases to see you as an all-star conglomeration and starts to just feel the music?"

Kirkwood: "About three songs and you can tell we start to bring "em in. We do a little sleight of hand and start playing that Gilberto shit, which kind of gets into the flight thing. We play it about the same time every set. People start to see it. They're seeing that little girl, disinterred, doing ballet up above the stage. Doing pirouettes in the air above the stage!"

Novoselic, burying face in hands: "Oh, no."

Kirkwood: "What's the point if it doesn't get to that? We didn't ever consider digging into the past. It didn't dawn on us. It wasn't us. It's not like we choke on it or anything, we just don't do it. It's not painful or anything. It's a big thrill to find something you think might be able to fuckin' distract yourself from the people constantly coming out of the woodwork shouting stuff about what they think you are. It's so counter-why-you-did-it-in-the-beginning."

Gaugh: "Everything so far has been DIY. We did the recording, we funded the last tour and this tour on our own. This is all done for us, by us, for you guys...and for us. Everything we played tonight we've recorded already."

Novoselic, on whether or not the band's given thought to what the album might do in the marketplace: "You never know. McDonald's sells a lot of hamburgers, but it's not the best restaurant in town, you know? You can really set yourself up for disappointment with that sort of thing. We don't fit in the music world very well. I can't tell you the last time I went to a mall. I live a really strange existence. People tell me, "Oh, Nirvana's on TV all the time.' Which I'm sort of in the dark about. I don't have a TV, so I can't watch it. I live this weird life. I live in the woods. I just kind of build my own world."

Kirkwood, giggling: "That's so...sublime."

Gaugh: (audibly groans.)

Contact Tim Davis at timothy.davis@cln.com

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