Unextraordinary Gentleman, hail from the smiling sunshine of Los Angeles, California, and they are a fabulous band---fresh, fun, talented---VERY; and so original, that it kills me how cool they are. Their music is flavored in many genres including post punk, minimalist, synthpop and experimental, but what makes them so sensational is how their love of literary Victorian fantasy is incorporated into all aspects of the band. Treat yourselves to learning more about Unextraordinary Gentleman in their interview; like a good night out---ahh, so enjoyable--- and so memorable. Such a privilege this interview was.
Dark Greetings Malcom, Jennifer, and Richard, what a fabulous and amazing opportunity to have you here at the grave, how are you all doing?
Malcom: Warm and fuzzy. Thanks for asking!
J.Frances: Thrilled to be here!
Grave Concerns: You’re VERY welcome---so glad to hear that! (:
When did you first discover that music was what you wanted to pursue? And while you were waiting for that to happen, what other jobs did you have?
Malcom: I first discovered music was what I wanted to pursue listening to KJET, a radio station that briefly existed in the Seattle area at the far right of the A.M. Dial. There were no disc jockeys, often no signal, and even when you could actually get the station to come in, everything was drenched in static. Sounds great, right? The selections played, though, were all things I had never heard the likes of of before: Concrete Blonde, Sinead O'Connor, New Model Army; the kind of thing that would be tagged “alternative” a couple of years later.
I quickly switched to listening to certain hours on Green River Community College's radio station but my appreciation of music beyond the likes of Paula Abdul and AC/DC kept on strong, the eventual outcome of which was my trying it my own little self.
Richard: I played trumpet for a year or so in junior high school band class, but my musical ‘awakening’ didn’t happened until I graduated high school. I got a CD player for my graduation present and it got me into a music collecting mood. That led to working at a local music/video store, where the mix of musical tastes from the employees turned me on to music that wasn’t accessible before, like Ministry, Concrete Blonde, Skinny Puppy, The Pixies, etc. Soon after that, I wanted to be involved in making it, not just sitting around listening to it. So I ran out and bought a bass guitar, which was the instrument I was most interested in, and started my life as a musician. So far I haven’t made any money at being in a band, at least not enough to quit my day job.
J.Frances: I have always loved music and performing since I was a child. I was in a few bands in high school and wanted to be a total rock star! Then college happened, starting a career…I do image retouching for a major studio in Hollywood…but then the bug bit me again and I started my band Demonika and the Darklings. I met Richard along the way and was excited when he asked me to be a part of his and Malcom’s project. Still have to keep the day job though (which I love) to support my music habit.
As team collaborators, what have been the most difficult compromises to been made, regarding lyrics and music? How do you move forward, when something you’d really wanted to be considered, is not mutually felt?
Malcom: I think we have been extremely lucky in Unextraordinary Gentlemen as there has never been any personal disputes or matters of ‘artistic differences’ so I guess the biggest compromises, at least as the lyricist, have been having to cut away words (or change them entirely) to better fit the overall presentation we are trying to offer as a group. This is rarely difficult, though, as I have done some of my best work forced to write within the boundaries of our 19th Century fiction-scape.
Richard: The band is collaboration in the end, but Malcom’s in charge of the lyrics/vocals and fleshing out the world in which we’ve set it in, I’m more or less in charge of the musical side of things, with help from Jennifer. We give each other feedback as the process goes along. So far we’ve been on the same page so there hasn’t been any drama or heavy compromises. We’ve kind of set up rules for ourselves to remain sounding like ‘us’.
J.Frances: I let Richard and Malcom make all the tough and final decisions. I trust them. I add my 2 cents in when needed but there haven’t been any real conflicts. We’re all 3 on the same page musically which is fun and we all feed off of each other when creating a song. We’re all pretty easy going.
Grave Concerns: So classy and beautiful said---I can sense the connection you all have toward one another---such respect.
Your band name is so very cool sounding---how did you come up with it?
Richard: It’s a self deprecating nod to Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, a graphic novel that inspired the band, or at least inspired me to start a band like this. We were going to call it “Time Bandits” (based after the Terry Gilliam movie), but that name was already taken.
Your EP, “5 Tales From God-Only Knows” is so wondrous---the songs “Open Arms, Empty Air, “Black Iron Road”, “Mr. Soot’s Little Black Book”, “Skeleton Goes To Town”, and “Ants Under Glass” (a biggie of a favorite)--- have incredibly fantastic melodies; haunting, lively, and rich in stories. Thus, bringing me to my questions below…quite fascinating is this---“The Unextraordinary Encyclopedia”, how did you all get involved with this? You have more to be discovered, for the encyclopedia to be complete? Can it be complete?
Malcom: Ha ha! No, I don't believe Kris Gray of the Museum of Information will ever restore every page of the Encyclopedia. There are indeed many other places to explore and characters to introduce. Not to mention continuing some stories already in progress. Stay tuned!
Grave Concerns: Sounds intriguing---looking forward to it!
The live videos you have up on your MySpace profile (YouTube) for “Mr. Soot’s Little Black Book” and “Skeleton Goes To Town” are GREAT! It’s wonderful to have live moments captured, so that fans will be able to get a feel of how the performances were.
Malcom: We hope to have more moments like these captured in the future in order to tease reluctant would-be attendees with the fun they are missing.
Richard: The videos that are up now are from our first two shows ever, warts and all. They’ve been invaluable tools for us as visual feedback to see what the audience is seeing since we obviously can’t watch ourselves playing. I’m glad people like ‘em.
J. Frances: My long-time friend Monique Nobo shot those for us so we’d have some quick and dirty footage for fans and future-fans to see what they’re in for if they come see us live. Malcom is so expressive on stage and really brings the songs to life!
Grave Concerns: Great stuff my friends---so much fun to watch! (: Well done.
You attended, back in January, The Edwardian Ball Weekend in San Francisco---how amazing of an experience was that? Please share more about what went on there. There’s going to be one held this November, in Los Angeles, California too?
Malcom: It was a fantastic experience, of course. San Francisco is a beautiful city and the opportunity to play the Edwardian Ball Weekend went well beyond my personal expectations of the sort of thing Unextraordinary Gentlemen would be doing at this juncture of our 21st Century incarnation. Honestly I was a bit overwhelmed by the alternate universe Justin and his team of experts and artists created and was in a bit of a daze the whole weekend.
There is going to be a Los Angeles version coming this November and I plan on being there.
Richard: I felt very lucky to be apart of it, it was a lot of fun. Events like these are great since everyone’s dressed up and looking their best. Nobody’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt, so you get transported into another place and time for a little while. There was a lot to see and do with all the musical acts, people watching, performance art, fashion shows, art installations, photography, etc.“ A lot of talented people were brought together. And “The World’s Faire” theme for the Friday night that we played was perfect for us with our mechanical nature. We would very much like to work with them again.
J.Frances: Wow. It was incredible. One of the highlights of my music career. What a beautiful venue; The Great American Music Hall. The people who organized it and the audience were all so wonderful.
Tell us about “Frozen Mood”, off of your upcoming EP? When will that be available? What also will be the inspirations for the songs?
Malcom: Well, we are influenced quite a lot by Victorian fantasy fiction. “Ants Under Glass” is dedicated to H.G. Wells and “Frozen Mood” is the first of our songs dealing with all things Jules Verne. It concerns the inner monologue of one Captain Nobody and his struggle to quell his lust for vengeance. Sound familiar? As far as the next EP is concerned, we hope to record in late Spring or early Summer if budget allows. So buy a T-shirt, everybody! (laughs) The themes will be similar to “5 Tales” but we plan to take a little more time with this one and one should hopefully hear how we have improved musically. We will introduce some new characters such as the Filth Pilgrims and Captain Nobody and our old friend Clive the Barker will continue to give us an aural walking tour of God-Only-Knows. There's also a song about drinking sang by ghosts and the sequel to Ants Under Glass, called Ever After. Good stuff.
Richard: “Frozen Mood” is probably our most experimental song. It started out as a loop that I made up, goofing around with knobs on the synthesizer, and then I added heavily effected drums. It sounded pretty cold with a lot of forward momentum. We thought it would be cool to write a song about “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”, but not in an obvious way. It’s based on the mindset of the captain, his thoughts and feelings, what’s driving him, etc. Not so much about the actually storyline, like “Well there’s this submarine, and then this and that happened…. And then a squid came, and then his island blew up”, etc. If you didn’t know it was inspired by the book, you could interpret it your own way or can just relate to the emotions the character is going through overall.
This next batch of songs are a little more groovy than the last album, so it might be a bit different, but it’s hard to say until we go in and record and mix. Or possibly change them up again. We’ve played all but one live since last year, so the songs are ‘old’ to us and to the regulars that come out to see our gigs. We are going to see if we can work in a live cello on a song or two.
Grave Concerns: Wow! I am so excited by all of this---can only imagine the creativity brewing inside yourselves. How fantastic---I wish you so well on that musical journey---looking forward to the final outcome. (:
When it comes to writing new material, which do you feel comes first in the creative process---the lyrics or the music, or doesn’t it matter?
Malcom: I'm always writing new lyrics, even if they're only scraps and these have been used close to the beginning of the new song process but usually it's a bass line from Richard that we jump from and expand and refine.
Richard: I’m always writing little incomplete music ideas on the computer and saving them in a folder. Later, Malcom will sift through his lyric book and find something that’s suitable for one of them, and then he’ll work on a vocal line. Then I’ll use that to flesh out the song more so we’ll have something to jam on as a band during practice. At this point, each of us inspires one another to make the song better, for example, Jennifer will play something on her violin absentmindedly during a practice break and I’ll like it a lot and we work it into the song. After a few practices, we’ll try it out at gigs, but they don’t end up being really finalized until we sit down and record it ‘officially’. Sometimes things just pop up from jamming in practice, like our song “Chaser” and “The End Again”.
Where will your next shows be held? Will you come to Boston, MA?
Malcom: At the time of this interview we have a gig coming up at The Starlight on the 13th of June in Downey, CA. We would love to come to Boston, MA! It's simply a question of when, where and, as ever, saving up so we don't have to turn around in Iowa or some such thing.
Richard: One can check out our website and MySpace page for the most up-to-date info on our live shows. We are looking into the feasibility of playing outside of California at some point; I don’t know how realistic a tour is, but maybe some one-off festivals.
J. Frances: Too bad it costs so much to travel and get the band around. I wish we could play EVERYWHERE!
Grave Concerns: I understand---and hopefully one day soon that’ll all change…for the better. Would LOVE to see you---keeping the faith. (:
You’ve been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?
Malcom: One word! Erm...(long pause)...(continued silence)...a NEW word, you say? Ah...(prolonged absence of dialogue)...(frustrated furrowing of brow)...argh! I guess...Anachroiconic. Oh god, that's a horrible word! Do over! Do over!
Grave Concerns: (; Nice try there gentlemen! Nice delivery too, Malcom!
What do think makes your music stand out among other artists in your field?
Malcom: Without a guitar or live drums we still usually manage to sound and perform on a pretty visceral and organic level. I don't make the sound guy drench me in vocal effects and I've noticed that if a venue starts out that way, they scale back a few songs in, which is incredibly flattering, actually. I sometimes joke that, instrumentally, we are the polar opposite of the White Stripes.
Richard: Having a violin player instantly makes us stand out among the traditional rock band format (guitar/bass/drums/vocals). As well as having a mixture of live instruments with a backing track provided by The Indifference Engine of synthetic and sampled instruments. We are trying to capture the sound of man and machine, mixed with theater and the classical, but on a pub or music parlor band level. More quiet and intimate than loud and arena rockin’.
I love pulling off the cheese on pizza…eating that up first, then the slices of pizza itself, finishing off with the crust…LOVE the crust! How about yourselves?
Malcom: Depends on the pizza. That's the safe answer, I know but it's true AND it covers most of the euphemisms that spring to mind.
J.Frances: I just love pizza…with peppers…the spicier the better.
Grave Concerns: I could go for some pizza now. Spicy is GOOD!
Most difficult songs, and most rewarding ones on “5 Tales From God-Only-Knows”?
Malcom: “The Skeleton Goes To Town” and “Ants Under Glass” both went through a battery of changes both in music and lyrics and were almost scrapped on more than one occasion! Luckily, it was just a matter of diligence and patience. Inspiration eventually struck and we rolled along from there. “Skeleton” is one of my favorite songs to sing and “Ants Under Glass” is probably the most polished sounding track on “5 Tales...”
Richard: Difficult song: “Skeleton Goes To Town”. Trying to finish it off was tough, I don’t know if I’m happy with some of the drum parts at certain points near the end (I couldn’t figure out anything better at the time). Also it took a while to figure something out that was interesting on the jam section for the bass and violin. It ended up pretty cool overall, though, and it’s a lot of fun to play live. Most rewarding: “Ants Under Glass”. It has a lot of stuff going on, but still remains pretty simple. It’s one of our more grand tunes. It had its troubled moments, but I think it turned out the best, recording-wise.
J. Frances: Open Arms Empty Air is so beautiful in its simplicity. The hardest for me on the EP is Ants Under Glass but I love playing them all!
You have five balloons you got at the park...orange, green, purple, red, and black. Two of them slipped through your fingers…which ones?
Malcom: The middle finger and thumb.
J. Frances: The ones I wasn’t holding on to tight enough…bummer.
You’ve just created a jigsaw puzzle…how many pieces does it have, and what will the final picture be of?
Malcom: It's a gray-scale companion piece to my friend Howard Hallis' “Picture Of Everything” depicting everything in the unnamed parallel universe of our Encyclopedia and all things pertaining to it; influences, persons involved, etcetera and so on unto Infinity. There are 5 pieces. Easy. How's that for an elaborate response? Seriously though, check out Howardhallis.com.
Grave Concerns: I did---awesome! (:
Being a member of MySpace, how has it helped, or hindered your musical endeavors? And which countries do you feel have embraced your music the most?
Malcom: Complainers disperse! MySpace has been incredibly helpful for us as a band. The network of friends, fans, bands, artists and business-end personae we have discovered and utilized through the site has been one of the biggest building blocks for Unextraordinary Gentlemen, transforming this fun little hobby of dress up and make music into something much more exciting and forward-thinking. Yep.
Richard: MySpace has really been a boon for bands like us. It’s helped in that it’s a free way for the entire internet connected, music lovin’ world to have access to us. It’s hindered me in that sometimes I end up spending too much time on it that could have went into making music, heh. Particular countries that embraced us most, hmm….... probably Spain, Poland, UK, Germany, U.S. and parts of Australia… but we’ve attracted fans everywhere.
You found a penny on the ground; do you pick it up?
Richard: Pennies are so mistreated.
J.Frances: Sometimes…if I don’t have too many in my wallet and if it’s heads up.
You were born with eyes that weren’t human---what do they look like?
Malcom: Like Abe Sapien's in Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics.
Richard: An owl’s because I don’t see so well anymore.
J.Frances: Probably cat eyes.
Grave Concerns: Oh, I’m sorry Richard. ): An owl’s would be lovely then.
If you were to write a short story or a novel based on one of your songs, which one would it be? And if it was to be adapted to the silver screen, who would be your leading actor and actress?
Malcom: That sets us up for a pretentious response, doesn't it? I plan on writing more and more about most, if not all of the songs and the short form of the lyrics are helping flesh out my embryonic ideas nicely. It's hard to pick one song because they don't tend to be “throwaway” lyrics. All but two of the songs on “5 Tales...” for example concern the town of God-Only-Knows and the characters therein. The cast of the movie version of “5 Tales” would include the likes of Harry Dean Stanton and Tilda Swinton, with cameos by Nick Cave and James Spader and a special creature performance by Doug Jones. Ha! I have no idea. It would be directed by Terry Gilliam, though. That's a given.
Grave Concerns: Fabulous! Plus, Harry Dean Stanton and James Spader (love him…what a speaking voice he has) are incredible! (:
What are some of your favorite TV show themes?
Malcom: Angelo Badlamenti's “Twin Peaks Theme” is still great. The various Doctor Who themes have only missed occasionally over the years. Up tempo picks include Hawaii Five-O and the Venture Brothers theme (go Thirlwell!). The opening to Angel was quite good. I really like silly stuff like Red Dwarf and Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law too.
Richard: Geez.... um.... The Simpsons, Futurama, Angel, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Sherlock Holmes (Granada TV version), The X-Files ... a lot of the stuff I grew up on in the 80s like The A-Team or Transformers/G.I. Joe...
J.Frances: Laverne and Shirley.
Grave Concerns: NICE! Such super answers. Doctor Who is a brilliant one too. I LOVE The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
How many gumballs can you chew at once?
Malcom: Almost as many as I fit into my mouth at one time.
J.Frances: A LOT!
Grave Concerns: (:
Have you ever had to perform CPR?
Malcom: No. I have done karaoke to CCR, though.
J.Frances: no, but I did like learning how to do it on those “Annie” dolls. They are really creepy and fascinating.
Grave Concerns: Yeah…very strange isn’t it? (:
What movie character’s name do you think is cool? And if you were to be cast in a movie, what cool name would you go by?
Malcom: Severus Snape and Lemony Snicket are nice but those were names in books before they got up there on the big screen.
I would use my own name if it were me.
Richard: Keyser Soze, Travis Bickle, Dr. Evil ....
Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the following:
1. He locked himself in the basement, for days he was…
Malcom: ...starving, subsisting only on small gray spiders.
2. The smoke billowed, the glass shattered, and…
Malcom: ...out she stepped; every soot-smudged, devil-may-care inch of her.
3. The red velvet robe opened…
Malcom: ...revealing a whirling sea of flesh where his torso should have been. The impossibly spinning guts resembled a whirlpool or hurricane of skin. Mesmerized by the endless undulations of fat and pink tissue, Drake could not turn away from this horror in the hall before him. The storm rumbled; the eye of the hurricane began to speak.
4. Inside of his great grandmother’s jewelry box was…
Malcom: ...absolutely nothing! Damn! Hannah had got here before him. Oh how he hated that sister of his.
5. The horses were spooked, the buggy toppled over, and…
Malcom: ...the small gas lantern inside the carriage exploded, blinding the young Penelope on her left side for the rest of her life.
6. He placed the serum into…
Malcom: ...his bottom. He was always putting things there.
7. At the top of stairs there’s a secret door, it lead…
Malcom: ...the Revolutionary Army of Hidden & Forgotten Panels and Barriers and one day...one day SOON, they will come unhinged and take to battle, my friends! Mark my words! The doors will close us! Take up your axes and bring them down before it's too late!
Grave Concerns: I love you Malcom---WOW! GREAT responses---amazing, in fact. (: I am inspired.
When are your birthdays?
Malcom: In January. I'm the middle gentleman. Malcom in the middle, as it were. (cough)
J.Frances: Richard and I are both Leos. Poor Malcom has to deal with us lions! No, we’re good kitties.
Grave Concerns: June 16th. Gemini…but I think I have WAY more than two-sides of my personality…lol! (:
What color are your living room walls?
Malcom: Pale green.
J.Frances: White. I have had no time to paint them. This music stuff keeps me pretty busy.
If you had the ability to change the color of the sky during the daylight hours to a color of your choice…once every 3 months, what four colors would you choose, and why?
Malcom: We always get this question, every interview and I am quite frankly tired of answering it. Hmph!
Grave Concerns: I tip my hat to you sir…nice copout…I mean answer my friend. (;
If you had the power to live the life of any character in a movie for one-week after the end credits rolled, who would you choose and why?
Malcom: Uh, oh.
Richard: I dunno, but I remember being pretty pumped up coming out of the original trilogy Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman (1989) when I was a kid/teenager.
When's the last time you washed your kitchen floors?
Richard: Oh, you’re supposed to wash them?
Grave Concerns: Hmmm, I’m pretty sure Richard. At least wipe up the spills…right? And…BUSTED Malcom! (:
If you were to plant a tree to symbolize something special in your life, where would that tree be planted, and what kind is it?
Malcom: It would be weeping willow and it would somehow magically grow in the New Mexico desert where my late aunt Lola lived. It would actually weep.
Richard: Redwood so it would be taller than me.
After you put your foot inside of the shoe, do you tie it, or wait until you have the other shoe on?
Malcom: I wait. Usually.
Richard: What do you mean? An African or a European swallow?
What’s in your bathroom’s medicine cabinet? And what color are your bathroom towels?
Malcom: Razor blades, aspirin, toothpaste, the usual suspects. The towels are currently green on the wall and maroon on the shower door.
A car wash is a fun place to go through...has it ever crossed your minds to go through one…without a car?
If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?
Malcom: “Open Arms, Empty Air” directed by Spike Jonez or Anton Corbijn. They got their start in the music video world anyhow.
Maybe “Ants Under Glass” by Darren Aronofsky or “Frozen Mood” by Sofia Coppola.
Richard: Terry Gilliam or Guillermo Del Toro, any song.
I’m giving you 13 letters to choose from, in any order; you only have to use 6 of them (you can use more if you want, but not less than 6) and you have to come up with a phrase about walking into the “House of Mirrors” at a carnival, and seeing an image other than yours. When you exit, you see your friends, you walk over to them, but they don’t know who you are. But only with these letters...SAKGYREPIBCZM.
Malcom: Since You Cannot Go Back Into Broken Mirrors Kindly Remove All Zoetic Essence, Please.
What are some of your hobbies?
Malcom: Looking up odd words, painting abstract nightmares, trying to find poetry in everyday things, that sort of thing.
Richard: Besides music, watching movies, reading books, surfing the ‘net...
J.Frances: gardening (growing stuff I can eat), swimming, music…
Grave Concerns: Sounds nice…all of it. I used to swim Jennifer…forgot how though…going to take swimming lessons, hopefully this summer.
You’re now all living the lives of characters in the board game “Clue". Who are you; who’s the murderer; where did the killing take place; what was the weapon of choice; and finally, who solved the crime? Find a private place to write down your answers, and then post them without the other members seeing them.
Malcom: I am Professor Plum. It was Colonel Mustard, In the Kitchen, With the Lead Pipe. Mrs. White solved the crime.
Richard: You know what’s sad, I’ve never seen that movie and I haven’t played the board game either.
Grave Concerns: That is sad…VERY.
Do you like the smell of Scotch Tape?
Malcom: No, but I do like the sound of pre-recorded bourbon.
J.Frances: I prefer the smell of paper. I love office supply stores.
Grave Concerns: LOVE the smell of paper too. (:
You’re having your music featured, on an episode of “Cold Case”. What’s the episode about?
Malcom: A departure for the series, the episode is entirely from the point of view of one of the recurring minor characters and it has nothing to do with unsolved crimes until the cliffhanger at the episode's finale.
Grave Concerns: I’m liking this…
If you had the chance to have any dream within your lifetime come true, what dream would that be? And this is actually a dream---you know the one that comes to you in your sleep. (:
Malcom: Oh, there are so many. It would probably be one of the superhero or super spy-based ones and there would definitely be epic intrigues across all of time and space afoot. This covers 80% of my favorite dreams. The other 20% have to do with good dreams that could actually happen in the real world anyway and fantasy visions of the erotic variety. Yes.
Richard: I dunno, probably one where you are in a different time and place. Definitely not the one where you are back in high school and you don’t know your locker combination or which classes you have at what time, or where they even are, and you are constantly behind on everything…
Grave Concerns: LOL! Good one Richard. Oh boy…the locker combination…bad flashbacks!
You have such wonderfully creative influences---please share some of their works, which you admire.
Malcom: One of my favorite things about reading interviews is finding out about new places, people, works of art, musicians, etc. With that in mind, I find my own tastes incredibly pedestrian. I'll make a short list anyhow, of things I currently think are relevant and quite nice: The The's “Dusk” (album), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' “Let Love In” (album), Relaxed Muscle's “A Heavy Night with Relaxed Muscle” (album), Francis Bacon's portraits (painter), van Gough's madness (painter), and much, much more!
Richard : Hmm… Siouxsie & The Banshees “Kaleidoscope”, Fad Gadget (Best Of), Yazoo (Best Of), Nick Cave “Murder Ballads”, Marc & The Mambas “The Torment & Toreros”, Tom Waits “Bone Machine”, Nitzer Ebb “Showtime”, The Cure “Seventeen Seconds”... all the great Victorian fantasy novels of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, etc.
Grave Concerns: Thanks for those guys! (:
OK. I’m going to tell you an embarrassing story. After you read mine, you have to tell your own. I recently spoke with my friend, and coworker about the awful crimes that have been going on; people killing and hurting each other, frankly disgusting stuff that we, as a human race, do to one another. I brought up the story of two people who met on a cruise and married. The husband feel overboard and was killed---the wife, a rich widow. Then it hit me…I was flashing back to an episode I had seen on CSI: Miami…yeah, I really don’t know where I was at that moment. We laughed, and she kindly reminded me that shows like that one, do take real life events and put them into their storylines. She’s such a sweetheart!
Malcom: Years ago, in another band, I used to dive off the stage. Once, when I was really sick and more than a little delirious, I went for it without really looking and hit the floor. Hard. It was funny at the time but I went to the hospital afterwards thinking I had broken a rib. It ended up being some displaced cartilage, of which evidence still exists. With my post performance sheen of sweat and adrenaline, paired with my wardrobe of torn jeans and thrift store tee shirt, the emergency roomies must have thought I was trying to score some hospital drugs or something.
Richard: I know I have a couple, but nothing’s coming to mind right now. Sorry?
Grave Concerns: Yikes, Malcom! That’s really awful. Good story though. (;
Have you ever received, or written a “Dear John” letter?
Have you ever dozed off in the shower?
Richard: Half asleep maybe.
As musicians, how does the music in movies affect you? And if you were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, which genre would that be in? Now let me take that question even further---actually backward; if you were to go back to the past, with your current music in hand, and were asked that same question, would any of your songs stand out as a good fit? If so, which song and movie would it have been?
Malcom: Music is vitally important in movies and I think any of our songs could fit into a soundtrack or at least the end credits of a film.
Richard: Music is huge for me in movies. If the soundtrack is awesome, then it can really elevate a mediocre movie. If the soundtrack sucks, the movie is dead to me. OK, that was a little over the top, but it can be true sometimes. A pet peeve of mine is on historical movies or costume dramas where they’ll create a soundtrack that’s not from the time period, for example, having a rock guitar soloing while a knight is riding off to the castle. It pulls me out of the movie unfortunately. Sometimes there’s an exception, like with Tangerine Dream’s version of “Legend”, which I know took a lot of flack for being a bunch of 80’s synthesizers over a fantasy setting, but it worked as it gave it an otherworldly vibe. Composing soundtracks… my favorite movies are usually genre stuff, so anything that’s touched with a bit of fantasy, sci-fi or alternate reality. And what do you mean “What if...?” we were to go back to the past?
Grave Concerns: Point taken Richard...so, so, sorry. (;
You’re on your way to a meeting. You’ve just spilt your coffee (or tea, or cocoa)…basically you’ve spilt something… (: on your light-colored shirt. What do you do?
Malcom: I actually am pretty vain about that sort of thing. If I couldn't cover it up somehow I would make a big deal out of explaining the situation immediately upon entering the meeting or try to get out of it if I could.
Richard: I mostly wear dark colored shirts…well, mostly.
J.Frances: Laugh and tell everyone at the meeting what happened so they know what a big dork I am!
Grave Concerns: I’m in that same dork boat as you Jennifer. (:
What kind of dishwashing liquid do you use?
Malcom: Palmolive Antibacterial.
J.Frances: Whatever is on sale.
What time is it right now? What did you do 7 hrs. and 11 minutes ago?
Malcom: It is now 12:32, Pacific Standard Time. 7 hours, 11 minutes ago I was in a very deep sleep.
Richard: My pocket watch seems to be stuck at 2…minutes…to miiiiidnight.
Grave Concerns: Hmmm, maybe that time means something…
I prefer my toilet paper to hang over, not under…how about you?
Malcom: I prefer it to hang under and used to be quite adamant about it.
Richard: I just like squeezing it.
J.Frances: Definitely over.
You’ve now created either a board game or video game…what is it about?
Malcom: It's about 11 dollars in most fine stores. Heh heh.
Grave Concerns: Good gravy Malcom! Heh heh…whatever!
Do you believe in ESP and ghosts or “other” unexplainable occurrences?
Malcom: I'd like to but “All signs point to NO”. I do believe there will always be things in the universe we simply do not understand. I certainly appreciate all manner of fantastic things and I do hope there is at least a little real magic somewhere out there.
J.Frances: Yes. There are so many things out there that we humans can’t even begin to understand.
Richard: I want to believe…
Have any of you had your fortunes read? How about other types of readings?
J.Frances: Yes. Demonika from my band Demonika and the Darklings reads tarot and she’s really accurate. She makes people cry! I haven’t had her read my future lately…I should check in and see what’s going to happen!
Richard: The Alamo…the basement!
Grave Concerns: Oooh sounds wonderful Jennifer! Hey if we ever meet, we can watch the movie Clue, play the board game, and get our fortunes read from Demonika! (:
You’ve been asked to be immortalized in Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum in New York; do you accept?
Malcom: Sure. Why not?
Richard: Who in the what now?
I’m smitten beyond words when it comes to vampires and the Victorian era---love them both so much. Do the dark creatures of the night appeal to any of you?
Malcom: Yes. I used to be obsessed with vampires and werewolves until was about 17 or 18. Now I'm drawn to similar fictions told in a way or style I've never seen before. I guess I've become a bit jaded as far as creatures of the night go.
Richard: Yeah, but I’m not really into the gory stuff, at least not anymore. Well, unless it has a lot of humor to it, like an Evil Dead movie. My speed these days is atmospheric horror, ghost stories, survival horror, vampire slayers and vampire detectives. I was deathly afraid of werewolves as a kid, especially thanks to “The Howling” and “An American Werewolf In London”.
Since nature is very precious to me, I tend to be drawn more toward the Earth element. Although each one has its own special attributes, together they are priceless. Which element do you see yourself more drawn toward?
Malcom: I have always been drawn to the earth and to a slightly lesser degree, water.
Richard: I would say Fire since I’m a Leo, but maybe Water since I love the ocean. But maybe even a bit of Earth since I’m rock steady. Steady rockin’ all night long…
Grave Concerns: I think you need a little bit of air in there too Richard…take a breath NOW my friend.
I’m a spider, and other good crawling and flying critter/creature saver to those whom happen to come into my home and at work. I’m the go-to-gal to set them free. What about yourself?
Malcom: I don't generally kill things but I do try and scoot things out of the apartment as soon as possible.
Richard: I used to have a rule that I would smash anything that was within ‘my home’, but I’ve soften in my old age and generally try and catch them to put them outside.
You’re in the supermarket---what isles do you frequent, which do you avoid?
Malcom: I used to frequent the snack aisles and now I try to avoid those! I find myself in the office supply areas a lot. Art and office supply stores are my favorites.
Richard: Frequent, organic foods. Avoid, Meat Dept.
J.Frances: I avoid the meat aisle…I’m a vegetarian.
Grave Concerns: Vegetarian too! (:
Are you into the creative art of illusions? If so, whom do you admire?
Malcom: I am and would like to learn at least five tricks...a couple of up-close tricks for parties and a few for the stage.
Grave Concerns: My dad and I are going to see David Copperfield in May. He’ll be in Boston, MA.
Do you remember the TV shows “Friday the 13th The Series”? I wish that one would come out on DVD! How about “Freddy’s Nightmares”? And another favorite is “Nightmare Café”…cool stuff! Of course HBO had their classic “Tales from the Crypt”. And do you remember Rona Jaffe’s “Mazes and Monsters” with Tom Hanks? Would you like to create your own TV horror/supernatural show or TV movie---but with a Victorian twist?
Malcom: That would be ideal, oh yes.
Richard: I remember all of those, but I don’t think I’ve watched all of ‘em. Yeah it would be great to have a show, like on the BBC or something with a big production art department.
Grave Concerns: BBC would be a terrific place to do that! I know I’d watch it! And I’d review it too. (:
I’m thinking of a number from 0 to 397. What it is? I’ll tell you what mine is, when I post your interview.
Malcom: With a seemingly random end number like that the obvious choice would be 396 or 297. So my pick is 61.
Richard: (hand to forehead) I predict........
Grave Concerns: Oh……..so…….close……301!
Vincent Price, Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Cushing, Anthony Perkins, Bela Lugosi, Bruce Campbell, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp---they are some of my all-time favorite horror/suspense movie actors of the past and present. Who are yours?
Malcom: I agree with Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Tony Perkins, Bruce Campbell, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp. I would add Crispin Glover, Christopher Walken, and Jack Nance to that list, among others.
Richard: Also agree with your list, but add Christian Bale, Viggo Mortensen, Christopher Lee, maybe Kurt Russell...
Grave Concerns: And I AGREE with yours Gentlemen.
What kinds of salad dressing do you like?
Malcom: I do NOT like creamy dressings. I prefer vinaigrettes, oil and vinegar, that lot.
J. Frances: oil & vinegar.
If you drink coffers and/or tea, how do you take it?
Malcom: I don't drink coffers although I suppose I could drink FROM one. I prefer my tea unsullied or with honey and milk.
Richard: Sugar and cream.
J. Frances: Lots of milk, cream, or soy milk in my coffee and tea.
Grave Concerns: Boy Malcom, you’re a nitpicker…lol! Thanks a lot! I’m going to get myself two large cups of coffers now. (;
What has been the most beautiful sunrise or sunset that you’ve seen?
Malcom: Hopefully I haven't seen it yet.
Richard: I’m usually indoors when both events happen.
Would you perform on SNL if asked? If so, which two songs would you perform? Would you also like to perform in a skit?
Malcom: Yes. I would like to perform “The Skeleton Goes To Town” and “Ant Under Glass”. Sketch appearances would be fine by me.
Richard: Yes, whatever they want and yeah as long as they have lines for me, I’m not good with the improv.
J.Frances: That would be fun! Hmmm…I’d like to play Skeleton Goes To Town and Ever After (it’s going to be on the next EP). Malcom should totally be in a skit!
Favorite holiday, color, number and symbol?
Malcom: New Year's Eve, chartreuse or similar shade of green, 44 and 32. As far as symbols, I like the radiation or biohazard symbols, despite their overuse and the eyewash symbol is cute. I enjoy the mystic eye in many forms.
Richard: Probably Christmas (in a non-religious way), green, 7 and some kind of Victorian flourish thing.
J.Frances: Halloween is my favorite, but Easter is the best for candy. Black is my favorite color because it goes with everything. 13 is my favorite number; it’s been very lucky for me. Not sure what my favorite symbol is….
Besides the obvious necessities of life, what are six things that you can’t be without?
Malcom: Hope, a decent writing tool, art, poetry, music, hot water.
Richard: Music, movies, books, a computer, laughter & more cowbell.
J.Frances: my friends & family, my garden, music, a swimming pool, my cats, and good health.
What is something about the human race that really gets you down…make you wonder…how could that person do that, act that way…say that?
Malcom: There are patterns of zealous intolerance from all corners that drive me absolutely batty.
Richard: Mainly intolerant people.
J.Frances: Gawd, there are so many things. They all seem to stem from ignorance, disrespect, and self-hate.
What then, on the other hand, does the human race do to make you feel simply proud and amazed by?
Malcom: We really do pull together for the common good when our backs are to the wall. We are capable of changing entire lives for the better by doing incredibly simple things and when we actually choose to it is truly an amazing and beautiful thing to witness.
Richard: Creativity. People who make other people feel good on some level.
J.Frances: That we’re even here is amazing!
Do you have tattoos or piercing?
J.Frances: Just 2 little tattoos on my ankle.
Grave Concerns: I have two. A black rose on my right shoulder blade, and a bracelet of pansies on my right wrist---I want to get another.
Shroud of mist creeping over the Wisteria. What’s the first visualization that came to you from seeing those words?
Malcom: I remembered the morning mist from when I lived in the Cascades up in Oregon. It was ferns and trees instead of Wistera but it was still quite a sight.
Richard: Mist seeping through some darkened trees.
J.Frances: Being near a castle in Germany and wandering about the grounds in a beautiful Victorian gown.
Grave Concerns: Such lovely images…LOVE them all. (: Oh, I just LOVE them! And castles are my favorite---incredible works of art.
OK. After reading below, see what you can come up with. Grab a dictionary. Close your eyes---keep them closed until the end. Open the dictionary. Spin your left index finger around 11 times, counter clockwise, then, reverse, and spin four times, drop your finger on a word. Now write a phrase, question, poem, whatever you like with that word. BUT…you only have 10 minutes to do this. Seriously 10 minutes. Get cracking! (;
Malcom: Clear-cut. Trees down and they don't make a sound. The saws scream for them. Battle cries. Man against Nature. Technology versus the Ancient Sentinels.
Richard: All I have here is a Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, can I use that instead?
Grave Concerns: Hmmm, let me think…you know what, I’m going to say…YES! Send me something, and I’ll post it…BUT you only have until Wednesday…no later then 8:30 PM my time of this week to get it in.
If you had the chance to travel back to the past, where would you go, and what would you want to leave as a reminder of time spent, as well as, something to take back with you?
Malcom: 1960s London seemed pretty swinging. I could be wrong. I'd like to find out. I would leave behind some lyrics and artwork and I would take a pair of sunglasses and some zipper boots.
Richard : Traveling through time? Ah ha.... heh..... well, that’s just absurd.......
Grave Concerns: Yeah, I didn’t think you’d take to fondly on that question Richard. (;
Tell us two things about yourselves that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Malcom: I am extremely sensitive to certain fabrics like silk and satin and it physically hurts me to touch them. I am the only non-vegetarian in Unextraordinary Gentlemen.
Richard: I flirted with a possible career in basketball and I don’t watch TV (maybe later on DVD if I’m interested enough in the show).
J.Frances: I took violin lessons from 3rd to 12th grade but rarely practiced. I sucked. Now I rehearse and play more than I ever have in all those years! Can’t think of anything else right now…
Grave Concerns: Thanks so much for sharing--- wow, basketball Richard… way to go Jennifer, and I’m sorry Malcom about the fabrics.
What is sexy in your eyes?
Malcom: I think my corneas are drop-dead gorgeous.
J.Frances: A great smile and laugh. Totally sexy!
You’ve been asked to design a mask to represent your greatest fear…what does it look like?
Malcom: I'm at a loss. My greatest fear is being falsely accused of a crime I didn't commit so I guess my mask would have the A-team logo on it somewhere.
Richard: Greatest fear…. I dunno, maybe being homeless or hurt really badly and permanently. I don’t know what mask that would be.
Grave Concerns: The A-team Malcom---very good…I’ll give you that.
Name three things about your band mates they probably haven’t heard you say about them before?
Malcom: Richard has single-handedly pulled my creativity out of the barren uncaring wasteland it was teetering toward by inviting me to sing for Unextraordinary Gentlemen. Jennifer is always smiling and is the most warm and positive person. I'm truly thankful to her for becoming a part of our family. Even though I don't really know all that much about her if anything bad ever happened to her it really would feel like it was happening to a sister or to my dearest friend in the world. Plus she has cool hair. That's three things, right?
Richard: Malcom’s a great lyricist with an excellent and unique voice, I feel very lucky to have him in the band. Oh and it would completely collapse if he left. Jennifer.... she’s brought more to the table than just her violin skills. I also feel very lucky to have her in the band; her seemingly eternal smile does pull us through the hardest of times. If we ever lost her I don't know what we would do... we'd probably move on, get another violinist, but there would be a 15 minute period there where I would just be inconsolable…. (tears).
J.Frances: 1. They are brilliant, 2. I’m glad they are as silly (if not more!) than I am and 3. they amaze me with every new song.
Grave Concerns: Beautiful…I so moved by your answers toward one another…LOVE the humor too…awesome, and again, so beautiful.
I love the intricate looks of Labyrinths, and the mysteriousness of what lies within them. If you were to create one, how would it look?
Richard: It would have a lot of twists and turns. Something you could really lose yourself in.
How do you differentiate a real good song, from a classic? In other words, what really makes a song stand out and last? And with your music, which song or songs do you feel have met that challenge, have come close to it, or are you currently just enjoying the creative bliss?
Malcom: We have abandoned a song or three, sure. Sometimes it was just a matter of it not sounding like what we're trying to do with Unextraordinary Gentlemen or sounding too much like another song. We actually have several unfinished ideas still waiting in the wings. The creative bliss is good though.
Richard: Classic songs, I would guess, would have reached and touched a lot of people. Good songs, not so much. We try not to write crap songs as they wouldn’t be very fun to play live. Plus the audience would be bored to tears.
If you were able to put on a concert for charity, which one/s would you be supporting, and which artists would you like to headline?
Richard: Any charity would be great as long as they were legit. It would be a blast to open for Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, New Model Army any band that influenced us.
Do you have any food allergies?
Malcom: I tell people I'm allergic to onions but I really just dislike them very, very, very much.
J.Frances: No, thank god. I love food!
If you were a curse, which one would you be, and why?
What would you like to say to your fans right now?
Malcom: We have bigger, if not brighter ideas lurking in the undergrowth and hope you will all stick with us as they slowly creep their way into our Unextraordinary lifestyle. A million thank-yous!
Richard: Thanks for supporting us, hope we don’t suck on our next batch of songs for ya.
J.Frances: Thank you! I hope you are having as much fun listening as we are making the music!
Anything else you care to share with us about yourselves and your awesomely cool music?
Richard: Always look on the bright side of life.
Malcom, Jennifer, and Richard, this has been an incredible opportunity---such a blast! We here at Grave Concerns, wish you so much happiness and wonderful success in your creative endeavors. Please keep in touch! Cheers!
For more information on Unextraordinary Gentlemen check out http://www.myspace.com/unextraordinarygentlemen and http://www.unextraordinarygentlemen.com/
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