The Feelies’ Deliberate Speed
JPG: I see how you’re taking things slowly with scheduling dates now, was that type of cross country touring appealing for you at that point in your lives or was it something you grudgingly did because the record company or management want you on the road?
GM: Yeah…I think it was a little bit of that. But what made us feel that way is because we, basically, had covered the country on our own on tour for Only Life. So, it was kind of going back. Although, we knew we’d be seen by different people. We saw the value of it. So, we didn’t do it too grudgingly. It was a little bit of, it kind of felt a little bit like a grind, I guess. When you’re the opening band, you’re low on the totem pole, and a lot of people would come in after we were done playing.
JPG: Unless you are known commodity, the people showing up aren’t really there to see you while there’s a small percentage who are willing to give you a chance.
GM: Well, Lou’s audiences are notorious (slight laugh) for their mistreatment of opening bands. Having said that, we actually did pretty well. We were never booed.
JPG: I was going to say, Lou’s audience is likely to give him hell. I guess, it goes with the territory on both sides of the stage. I see a few dates listed on your website, are you doing any summer festivals? Have you been approached for that?
GM: We’ve had a lot of offers to play in Europe, but we’re really not that interested in traveling that far on a plane. We’re going to be doing an outdoor show in Brooklyn, Celebrate Brooklyn.
JPG: This kind of goes with having a serious mindset, I’ve always felt that an artist has to have some degree of arrogance in their makeup, kind of a ‘This should be heard’ or ‘This is great and I want it to be heard.’ Is that part of the Feelies mentality as well or is it less so because you aren’t putting out an album a year and touring nonstop and not promoting yourselves constantly on American Idol and Conan and all that?
GM: Well…I guess, you know, it’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I think, first and foremost, we do it for ourselves as a means of expression, But obviously it’s much more satisfying to reach people through the music. I think, irregardless, I did some albums with Wake Ooloo after the Feelies. I didn’t have a huge audience, obviously. I still did it and found enjoyment in it.
JPG: As an artist, you still had something to say. You still had something dancing in your head that you still wanted to get out…
GM: Yeah. Exactly. I can’t really see that stopping.
JPG: In regards to the reunion, it was the Fourth of July when you opened up for Sonic Youth…
GM: We did a few warm up shows prior to that. That was the big event, publicized one.
JPG: Now, at that point, were you considering a reunion or talking about it or did the Sonic Youth gig push you to finally go through with it?
GM: We actually started talking…Bill and I hadn’t spoken, it was probably almost 10 years. And then we had a business matter come up. Had a request for some licensing. Had to get in touch with him for that. Had a real nice conversation. I also found out that his son was going to school in Princeton. So, he’d make occasional trips up to Jersey. Basically, very low key, informally, ‘If you ever want to stop by to jam…I’m sure everybody would love to get together again.’ And then we’d have more and more requests for use of the songs. Requests for reissuing the back catalog. Requests to play shows. So, it was something we talked about since early 2002, I think.
But it was, really, Bill had some personal things he was dealing with at the time. His son was very ill. It seemed like something we knew we would do when the time was right. We were patient about it. I was able to do a solo record at that time. Played with all the other ex-Feelies including Anton [Fier] from the Crazy Rhythms record. It was really just a matter of timing. When Sonic Youth came, we wanted to make sure we had a 100 per cent focus on it. We knew we didn’t want it to be just about nostalgia. In order to avoid that you really have to write songs. To write songs, you’re thinking about recording. Making an album was really something talked about right from the start. Kind of a goal all along.
JPG: Does the technology of email and internet make it easier since Bill is down in Florida and everyone’s spread out around the country? Use that in advance of actually getting together.
GM: We don’t use Skype or anything. Some bands use technology to actually rehearse. We don’t do that. Bill drives up for that.
JPG: As far as song ideas…?
GM: We don’t send any mp3s either. Usually, just make a CD and mail it. It’s old school, yeah. The internet is a good tool for promotion and to keep touch with the fanbase.