The Icarus Line
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December 19, 2009

My interview with The Icarus Line – February 2008

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Here is my interview which I conducted with Joe from The Icarus Line circa 04 February 2008.

What does the word “Friend” mean to you, a word so wrongfully abused?

To me there are several different levels of friendship. Some friends would break their back for you. Some friends would sell you out for a cigarette.

Living in LA, have you ever bumped into the “other camp” and what does it feel like?

Any camp besides my own is the other camp. I guess I bump into them all the time.

Do you still remain civil by exchanging greetings and tokens of friendship, or is the atmosphere somewhat more hostile?

If you are referring to past members of my group then I would have to tell you that once someone is done garnishing the artistic rewards of playing in this group they are usually slightly put off that they no longer have a resource of enlightened musicianship. As far as relationships it differs from case to case. Like most friendships, most people feel unhappy when their contributions are no longer considered valuable. It’s painful to realize you have nothing to offer a situation.

Looking back over the course of your musical career, what would you say have been your greatest achievements and most memorable moments?

Every time I complete a new record it is my greatest musical achievement. Most memorable moments would be smoking weed with Kevein Shields and talking about our families or singing Johnny Thunders tunes backstage with Evan Dando or receiving accolades from Mojo on all the records we make. Most importantly last night watching a new tune Amputation come together in rehearsal. It was magic.

Do you have any major regrets and if you could, would you change anything?


When can we start seeing you again in popular media (such as Kerrang and MTV) and what is your view on these commercial avenues that act to expose artists in a manner which may be considered to be exploitative and for their own gain?

How would I know? It’s not up to me.

What do you think of alternative forms of media which promote DIY ideals such as the internet and social networking systems?

I think it’s all great. We try to take advantage of it when we’re in a good mood.

How do you think these forms of communication have impacted on you, both as a band and as artists?

They allow the fans to have more of a direct correspondence which can be positive.

Who is the principle song-writer of your band?

I have written every stitch of music for better or worse since the beginning of the band. From drums to guitar sounds it’s all me with some exceptions from Mike Musmanno, Don Devore and Alvin Deguzman. 90 percent of everything you hear on our records is written by me. I’ve never been comfortable with collaborations. The compromise never seems worth it. On the other hand, in this newest line up of the band I have assembled a group of musicians who don’t need thing spelled out for them. They can take things to where the need to be very quickly and for that I am grateful. They are the best band I have ever had and I respect each one of them very much. It makes my role so much easier and more enjoyable. They aren’t a backing band because the hold more responsibility to our sound than ever but in a traditional sense that people think of ..a bunch of guys coming up with ideas in a room together…it’s never been that way. no matter what anyone wants to claim.

With that being said, the live experiance is a whole other thing. Our live shows are completely open to improvisation. The way we set the songs up leave miles of room for my musicians to have free expression and that where my current line up shines bright. Past incarnations have had the same opprotunities but until now do i feel have they been fully realized. i have a shit hot live band with people who you have never heard of but will know about for years to come. I rely on undiscovered talent. the underdog. fuck “supergroups” or poaching. had anyone heard of eddie hazel? no i don’t think so. had anyone heard of bootsy? naw. my gang is a gang of real underdogs that can out play and are cooler than anyone out there. 2008 will show that….

What inspires you and how do you get motivated in order to write a song?

I am inspired by everything in my life. I need no motivation, this is what I am.

With everyone proclaiming the “death of the record label industry”, what is your stance on record labels and do you think bands still need one?

It would be nice to not need one and the way things are going artists wont rely on them for much longer.

Having played in venues of varying sizes over the last few years, what are your preferences in terms of the kind of venue that you like to play?

Any venue that treats us well and does their best to make playing live is an enjoyable experience.

What is the most useful advice you would ever impart to a young band?

Find your sound. Listen to many different kinds of music. Be educated on the good shit.

Which bands are you listening to at the moment and are there any bands touring the LA toilet circuit that have caught your eye over the last few months?

Entrance, Devenra, Giant Drag, Hot Tramps, Ariel Pink

For the purpose of this interview, can you please describe to us as to what are the best and worst parts of touring. And do you have any plans of re-visiting the UK any time soon?

Best part: playing live. Worst part: Being away from your loved ones.
We will be in the UK this summer.

Which country on the whole has been a touring highlight for you and are there any touring stories you would like to tell us about?

My favorites are Italy and Spain from a tourist perspective, from a playing perspective nothing beats a good show in new york city or london.

What are your plans for 2008 and what can we expect from your new material?

2008 will bring a new record and more touring with an extended line up. Expect the same amount of evolution that you would from any of the records. This is the most exciting song writing I have ever done. As always, we will be previewing new tunes a shows before we record them.

Will it be released any time soon and are there any tentative plans for alternative forms of band media to be gracing our shelves in the foreseeable future (i.e. DVDs etc)?

Two separate DVDs are in production. The first is a short film/performance video which is done just needs final touches.

The second is a documentary on the making of Black Lives that is somewhere in the middle of production. These will both be available sometime soon. Screening will be announced in the coming months.

With your profile reaching legendary status amongst the underground fraternity, how does it feel to be recognized in the streets and what’s the best fan experience you’ve ever had?

It’s an honor to join the ranks of artists with uncompromising visions. Anytime I meet someone who life is enhanced by The Icarus Line I feel blessed.

Conversely, what’s the worst fan experience you’ve ever had?

Don’t know.

Do you still get heckled at gigs and do security still assault and beat up on you?

Things happen but we try not to focus too much on negative energy right now. We have a serious job to do with all the bad music out there today.

What do you think of music inspired video-games (such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero) and will you ever consider doing a Slash style appearance should the opportunity ever present itself?

We are on the new Tony Hawk.

What are your top 5 video-games ever and why?

Metal Slugs
Street Fighter
Tony Hawk
and Tetris

… Because they are a good waste of time. Alvins top 5 would most likely look much different.

Now that Joe and Alvin are the only two original members left, will you ever consider reuniting with the “original” lineup of The Icarus Line again?

Why would we? We only get better.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the original members and why do you think the band’s lineup has always remained so unstable?

I keep in touch with few. It’s a gang either you are in or you are out. Hence all the crying from the sidelines. This is a real rock n roll band, nothing is stable. It’s an intense experience being in The Icarus Line…. not for everyone.

With a new year underway, what goals do you wish to achieve and what would you like to accomplish with your band?

I would be nice to consistently put out records that are regarded as classics.

Have you heard the new Jubilee stuff and what do you think of it?

I have heard it. Doesn’t really match up to the pedigree of standards that I hold to consider something listenable.

Thankfully, it pretty much points out that aaron had little contribution to my group. Good luck to him.

Why do you think your sound has changed so drastically over the years and how do you think this bodes for the future for your band and the expectations which both you and your fans have of your work?

My sound will change and my attitude will remain,if the expect good music then they will be satisfied.

In years to come, what would you most like to be remembered for and if all this ended tomorrow, what would you do?

I would like to be remembered for the legacy of songs I created. The sounds I invented. If it all ended tomorrow I would most likely be dead.

Any last words?

bye bye

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