Saints Of Ruin hail from San Francisco, California, and they are an INCREDIBLE Gothic band, with superstardom to be had, all over them. Their downright ass-kicking talents---musically and vocally, are a combination of sinful seductiveness, beautifully raw, and dazzlingly inventive stories to name a few, for the ears to indulge in. Their super sexy attitudes only entice the want of more…and with their warm and friendly personalities---laced in intelligence, compassion, and humor, not only are Saints Of Ruin fantastic to listen to, but also had made quite an impression on me though their interview responses. Please check out Saints Of Ruin, and read, for yourselves, what all the darkly riveting commotion is about. And without a blink of dark doubt, check out their new album “Fairytale”. I just LOVE this band! (;
Grave Concerns: Dark and enticingly enchanting greetings Ruby, Tommy, John Paul, and Michael, it’s so incredible to have this opportunity with you, here at the grave, how are you all doing?
Grave Concerns: 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, and/or are currently taking on?
Ruby: I've loved music ever since I can remember. I would sing along with anything I heard, and my first career ambition was to be a backup singer. Vocal harmonies have always enchanted me. I learned to sing in public school choir. Then I discovered my voice was too pretty for punk rock. So I picked up the Bass guitar. I've played music ever since. Then I rediscovered singing Lead Vocals in Gothic music, and it has filled my soul.
Grave Concerns: And we’re ALL so glad you did! Talent shouldn’t go to waste.
Grave Concerns: I’m so excited to review your album “Fairytale”…I can feel it crawling all over my skin, about how good it’s going to be---your two songs posted “Labyrinth” and “Inside My Head” are slamming-hot!
Which songs on the new album were the most difficult for you to write and perform; how about the one you’re most proud of?
Tommy: They were quite easily written. Sometimes real life just comes out of the guitar and of my head. I love them all, but I'd say I'm most proud of Labyrinth. There's something strong and enticing about it.
Ruby: All those songs were written in the same period of time. It was a time of rich emotion and romance. We're thrilled that this collection of songs is finished.
Grave Concerns: 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?
Tommy: Ruby and I wrote all the words and music together.
Ruby: Sometimes we went back and forth about the intro of a song or the arrangement of song parts, but it was never a roadblock.
Tommy: It was really a lot of fun.
Grave Concerns: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about following your musical dreams?
Tommy: Do what you believe in. Stop at nothing. Be who you are, always.
Ruby: And you'll have no regrets.
Grave Concerns: Excellent answers! And yes, “be who you are”…that’s so vitally important.
Grave Concerns: What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions about your style of music? Have you’ve been able to sway those who once weren’t to keen on it; or do you just let it roll, and continue to do what you love? And what is it about the Gothic/Industrial/Powerpop scene that is so appealing to you?
Ruby: Well, it's a big misconception that traditional Rock instruments don't belong in Goth music. There's room for all instrumentation, depending on the song. I believe the substance of the song is as important as it's style.
Tommy: We love incorporating rock and pop styles into gothic Industrial music. I really love how H I M and 69 Eyes and Lacoina Coil all do that as well.
Grave Concerns: Toward the end of last year, you played Live at House of Voodoo---how was it? Have any tasty stories or fond memories to share? BTW…INCREDIABLE pictures of you all---gorgeous, and breathtaking!
Tommy: Thanks. We seem to photograph pretty well. We all really love going to the House Of Voodoo. It's a monthly Goth club. We felt very honored when they asked us to play their biggest night of the year: Their annual Deathmas Ball. It was a total blast!! All the people involved in HOV are pretty great. DJ Voodoo, DJ Mischief, DJ Pergatory and of course DJ Rayne. Love those people.
Grave Concerns: You’re very welcome. You all sure to photograph well! (: That’s so awesome---so glad to hear.
Grave Concerns: You recently performed at Annie’s Social Club, in San Francisco. How did that go? Please share some memorable moments from that night too. And do you have any plans to come to Boston, MA? Sure you do! (;
Ruby: Annies was interesting because it's mainly a Rock bar. People watched our whole show and we got a very warm reception from an audience outside of our Goth world. It's rewarding to win over a new crowd.
Tommy: Annies is such a fun place. We look forward to playing there again. I am sure we'll come to Boston. Maybe you can hook us up with a good Goth club. I could visit my sister.
Grave Concerns: That would be so fantastic if you came to Boston---let me know, and I’ll check out some places for you to go. Shout out to the sis---very cool! (;
Grave Concerns: Back to the pics up on your MySpace photo page---I don’t know where the bloody gravestone to begin! The photos are so GOOD, so HOT, so STEAMY, so NAUGHTY…truly awesome pics guys---who took them? I will say that one of my favorites is under “SOR Live” and it’s the last one, on the last row---well, it was the last one---not anymore! I love that pic of you all! (;
Ruby: The promo shoot and album cover shoot were photographed by Candi McCart. We told her we wanted a mysterious and romantic old world scene. So she scouted locations that worked perfectly. All, right here in San Francisco. Our live shots are from several talented friends. Cheyla Blaze, Mike Condie, Albert Iamele and more. It's all about timing, lighting and a killer wardrobe. We all love to dress to kill.
Tommy: I'm loving that you find our photos Naughty. I LOVE that!!!!
Grave Concerns: (; There’s more “naughty” to me than I look! Again, you guys are HOT! Keep it coming! And congratulations to ALL whom put this together for you guys.
Grave Concerns: 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?
Tommy: MySpace is the best place to get music out to people. We have DJs in many countries playing our music already. Just by finding each other on MySpace. The friends we have on there are really great fans to have. They all love what we do. There are several countries in particular that stand out. England has been really good for us. We actually have a song featured on a compilation CD that comes with an issue of Alternative Magazine. Which is a UK magazine. That will out in April. Finland Rules, of course. Mexico and Puerto Rico are also amazing, and there are many more.
Grave Concerns: Have you thought how hot some department store mannequins look? And then you think...I’d like to see them wearing a different dress, or shirt, or a brighter-colored scarf?
Ruby: I never go to department stores. There are few shops in this area worth going to. I shop when I travel and I love to shop on line. I would never wear most fashion that I see advertised.
Grave Concerns: Your band name is very cool---how did you come up with it?
Ruby: I wanted a name that would reflect a feeling of regeneration. I knew it had to be the good that results from destruction. Tommy came up with Saints Of Ruin from my influence.
Tommy: yeah, Ruby had like three really cool ideas for names, and I just took them apart and added a little and Viola...The Saints Of Ruin were born.
Grave Concerns: 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 yourselves more drawn toward?
Ruby: My natal chart is fairly balanced, but I gravitate towards Air.
Michael: Water. Like the ocean, we expand and contract. Where the warm and cool waters meet, from every direction, there is always energy.
Grave Concerns: You’ve been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?
Ruby: Our dear friend Squeeze referred to us as "Poppy Goth" -Love that!
Grave Concerns: “Poppy Goth” I like it!
Grave Concerns: 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?
Tommy: I actually prefer pizza without cheese. Being from NYC, I eat it the 'right' way: folded in half. Damn, I miss New York pizza!
Michael: Everything at once.
Grave Concerns: How many gumballs can you chew at once?
Ruby: Probably 10- I don't know. But I love little Trident White gum. I challenge myself to make as many rapid-fire succession of snaps and pops as possible.
Grave Concerns: Yeah---my kind of gum gal! (:
Grave Concerns: Jolly Rancher candies are pretty yummy--- such pretty colors too---have a flavor you really like?
Tommy: I'd much rather be chewing on some Gummy Bears.
Grave Concerns: LOVE the watermelon, Michael! Well, Tommy, I didn’t ask about Gummy Bears did I?
Grave Concerns: Have you chewed pencils before; maybe squeeze the silvertip with you back teeth to push up the eraser? I find that the No. 2 works quite easily.
Michael: I prefer writing in blood.
Grave Concerns: I like that one a lot…but whose blood?
Grave Concerns: Here’s another game I like to call “Would You Rather”…
1. Play on top of the Empire State Building, or in Madison Square Garden?
2. Visit Stonehenge or the Pyramids?
3. Go to a casino or a strip club?
4. Mud wrestle or be covered in melted Gummy Bears?
5. Be a human fudgesicle, Popsicle, or hot-fudge sundae?
Tommy: Madison Square Gardens hands-down. I'd love to visit both, but Pyramids. I'd lose less money in a Casino! I'm going with Gummy Bears for sure. A hot fudge sundae in a strip club. Yeah, that's cool.
Ruby: I like to be seen, so Madison Square Gardens for sure.
Michael: Empire State Building, the pyramids, a casino, gummy bears and a popsicle.
Grave Concerns: VERY, VERY, NICE! (: Now I want to go on vacation---and eat!
Grave Concerns: You’ve written a musical---what’s it about, and whom do you want to star in the lead roles?
Tommy: It's about addiction. It would feature Christopher Walken, Johnny Depp, Juliette Louis, Ruby Ruin and in the starring role, Cookie Monster. He has a serious cookie addiction!
Ruby: Ha! Yeah, I'd do an opera about the Norse Gods. I want to play Freya.
Michael: It's about being seduced by a ghost. I don't know who she is, but I've seen her in my dreams.
Grave Concerns: I’d go to ALL of them----you’re all so fun, fresh, and wacky—I love it!
Grave Concerns: You’re in the process of designing your own night club…what’s it called, where is it located, and how does it look on the inside?
Ruby: I often fantasize about that. I don't want to give the name away because I just might do it!
Tommy: Yeah, Mike did.
Michael: It's called Retox Lounge. It's in San Francisco, and it looks like a vampire's lair.
Grave Concerns: I’m sooooooooooo there---and you said the dark word---vampire…I need a shower now!
Grave Concerns: Do you have more clothes that you can wash/dry at home, or do you take them to the cleaners?
Ruby: Oh, please. More than a squadron of maids could handle.
Grave Concerns: LOL!
Grave Concerns: What is your drink of choice? And what are some of your favorite foods?
Michael: Whiskey and anything spicy.
Ruby: A perfect Manhattan is a lovely treat, but more often I drink ales, Jack on the rocks or pinot noir.
For food, chocolate all the way. I am a bit indulgent.
Grave Concerns: If your 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?
Ruby: Forever is a sliver of an epic novel yet to be written.
Tommy: All For You is about true love. It would make a great chick flick.
Michael: Inside My Head. Christina from Lacuna Coil and Ville
Valo from HIM.
Grave Concerns: Great ideas---get going! Chick flick, Tommy---that’s very Goth of you. I’ll believe, when I see it…lol!
Grave Concerns: 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?
Tommy: I can only give examples: Sisters of Mercy 'This Corrosion' is a total classic. 69 Eyes song 'Lost Boys' is a real good song, just not a classic. Right now I am just enjoying the creative bliss, but I wouldn't be surprised if years from now Labyrinth was, dare I say, a classic.
Ruby: I think classic songs stand the test of time by creating strong hooks, memorable words and avoid trendy fads. We do strive to make songs that paint pictures, have emotional resonance and are epic in scope. I hope that one day that even one would be considered a classic.
Grave Concerns: This time around you’ve created a beautiful and darkly provocative “Virtual Reality Game”---what’s this one about? And can you tell us two of the characters names?
Michael: It's about past lives and lost love. Rose and Lance.
Grave Concerns: If you drink coffee and/or tea, how do you take it?
Ruby: In the morning I like black tea with milk and sugar. Just a bit.
Michael: Like my lovers, sweet and creamy...
Grave Concerns: Bloody spirits flying all over the house---how do you, Ruby, handle these guys? (; “sweet and creamy”…go take a nap…alone Michael!
Grave Concerns: Did you ever get a bad haircut? If so, what did you do about it?
Tommy: Executed the stylist. Never happened again.
Ruby: Cut it shorter and colored it intensely bright red.
Michael: Shaved my head for the next five years.
Grave Concerns: So, Tommy…you’re the one I read about in the paper; red hair, Ruby, is sooooooooo good; bald is sexy Michael!
Grave Concerns: After you put your foot inside of the shoe, do you tie it, or wait until you have the other shoe on?
Michael: Tie it first, of course.
Grave Concerns: I do the latter…(:
Grave Concerns: 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?
Tommy: Do you want a long rant?
Ruby: Somebody- please stop him! May the animals inherit the earth! Blessed are the vegetarians!
Tommy: Yeah, don't get me started.
Michael: Arrogance. Especially when it is not justified.
Grave Concerns: I’m a vegetarian---I’m so there with you Ruby! Since I was in High school---Hop aboard that train too Michael, I’m right beside you; We’ll put Tommy in the baggage section---he didn’t say anything---I think he had something to say…but his time was UP!
Grave Concerns: What then, on the other hand, does the human race do to make you feel simply proud and amazed by?
Ruby: Art and music are one of the only redeeming qualities possessed by humankind. That and the capacity for love-deep, true love. I do believe in that.
Michael: Love, lust, desire, passion, animal magnetism, the things that keep us rooted in our humanity.
Tommy: I like rabbits.
Grave Concerns: Strong answers my friends---Tommy is a bit special eh? That’s OK…I like rabbits too.
Grave Concerns: 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?
Ruby: Both myself and John have been involved in the AIDS Lifecycle for many years. It is a 7-day ride from San Francisco to LA that raises funds and awareness to fight AIDS and HIV. We are all pretty passionate about it and plan to continue our involvement including playing benefit shows.
That is so WONDERFUL!
Grave Concerns: I’m thinking of a number from 0 to 1,534. What it is? I’ll tell you what mine is, when I post your interview.
Michael: It's not Zero, as zero does not exist, so it must be 1,534. Otherwise, why are you being so specific?
Ruby: 777. Can't wait to see where this is going...
Grave Concerns: You’re ALL WRONG! Hey zero exists---didn’t you ever hear the song “Saved by Zero” by The Fixx? (; I’m being challenging…my number: 913.
Grave Concerns: A car wash is a fun place to go through...has it ever crossed your minds to go through one…without a car?
Ruby: Absolutely! I went through a simulated 'human car wash' at Burning Man recently. We have all been there several times.
Grave Concerns: Hook me up!
Grave Concerns: What comes first in your creative process of song making? Do you hear the melodies or feel the lyrics? Or do you go back and forth?
Tommy: For me, 90% of the time I hear the melodies; the lyrics come later.
Ruby: Me too, but I often have just one line of lyrics to work with. And more often than not, I dream the melodies. I have to drag myself out of bed to write them down before they fade away. I suppose I am lucky in the long run. I dreamed Next World and another new one we are working on.
Michael: Neither. The melodies or the lyrics. Rhythm comes first and everything else falls into place.
Ruby: Spoken like a true drummer.
Grave Concerns: What would be a cool name for a fashion designer?
Ruby: I once had a friend who named her design line "Trash-Chic." That was clever.
Tommy: How about 'Rod Holder'? He designs underwear.
Michael: Sweet Death.
Grave concerns: Most of those were very good! (;
Grave Concerns: What is sexy in your eyes?
John: Passionate creative focus, and the faith and tenacity to follow where it leads.
Ruby: Self-confidence. Mmmm.
Grave Concerns: Nice answers---I really like how you put yours down John.
Grave Concerns: When are your birthdays?
John: Late July, full-on Leo territory.
Ruby: Mine is in June, Tommy's is in September.
Grave Concerns: Mine is in June too, Ruby---the 16th.
Grave Concerns: Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the
1. The blood moon rose over the sleepy village
John: a creaking gate and the sighing wind masked the sound of footsteps approaching beneath an open window...
2. His foot got stuck, and there was a loud
John: cough from beside him that caught his attention. A young woman with short black spiky hair gazed at him with poorly concealed bemusement. “Dude, looks like you're pretty stuck there. Now what should I do with you?" she said.
3. Dancing only with him, suddenly gave me
John: the realization that I'd had way too much to drink. But he was cute, so what the hell, I kept dancing.
4. The shutters swung open
John: and there was Julie Andrews, singing about super-this, fragi-that, and expialidocious-the-other-thing, and I thought, "Damn, that girl has some serious parasol skills."
5. Why must he keep
John: trying to get me to eat the frickin' green eggs and ham? I do not like them. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am!
6. A note slipped under my door
John: I couldn't bear to read it because I already knew what it would say. "It's over." That was all. Two words brought my entire world crumbling down and I gasped for breath huddled there on the floor like an abandoned child.
7. It's really foolish to even think this
John: music can ever change someone's life in any meaningful way. Out of the millions of songs floating around our planet, what are the odds that one of ours will claw its way through our disposable culture to truly speak to some kindred soul out there? To give them courage when they feel defeated, or hope when they feel utterly cynical, or just to make them realize that there are others of us out here that feel defeated and cynical but at least we broken toys can stick together through these fucked-up times. Music has always been there for me when I've felt utterly alone, and that's why I'm trying to return the favor, but sometimes it does seem pretty foolish, indeed.
Grave Concerns: John, BRILLIANT and MOVING answers---WOW! I’m so impressed. So, so, good. Funny too---nice!
Grave Concerns: You've been asked to be immortalized in Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in New York; do you accept?
John: Only if someday when they retire the exhibit I can melt my own face like that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. That was so freakin' cool it scarred me for life.
Ruby: Ha! That's great. Well, if that is as close as I can get to immortality, it works for me.
Tommy: Isn't there already a statue of me there?
Grave Concerns: Awesome scene---love that movie! Tommy is very into himself…eh?
Grave Concerns: Name three things about your band mates they probably haven't heard you say about them before?
John: I think Tommy would be an awesome Dad. He'd be like, "how soon can we get him his first tattoo? Six is old enough, right?"
Mike seems like he's all about the fast cars, sexy ladies and partying til dawn, but that's just to hide how smart he really is.
Ruby, what can I say? She's a goddess and we are her disciples. But she already knows that. What I haven't ever told her straight out is how much I respect and admire her for how much she's sacrificed to spend her life making music. She's taken the hard road and made the tough choices, and that stubborn determination is really inspiring to me.
Grave Concerns: Ahhh, such GREAT answers John! Really touching and humorous.
Grave Concerns: Do you have any food allergies?
John: Only if it has penicillin growing on it.
Tommy: I'm allergic to being hungry!
Grave Concerns: Did you ever play Spin the Bottle or Strip Poker? Did you cheat to win? (;
John: Yes, I played both in high school. I was lucky, I didn't cheat at Spin the Bottle, but I never had to kiss anyone I didn't want to. I didn't cheat at Strip Poker either, but one of my friends always cheated to *lose*, so inevitably he would end up buck-naked while all the girls were still mostly dressed. Damn you, Milo...!
Grave Concerns: Any fetishes?
John: Well, every performer is an exhibitionist, so that hardly counts. I live in San Francisco in the 21st century, what even qualifies as a fetish anymore? I mean, if people do it in the street in broad daylight and don't get arrested and nobody is offended, I don't think that can still be a fetish. And really, in this city I've seen just about everything
you can imagine out in public with no shame and no condemnation, and that's frankly one of the more beautiful things I can think of. Ok, I can see you think I'm being evasive, so how about this: I was kind of turned on the other night when I was sitting on the couch watching The Daily Show and one of my cats started licking my pajamas. Now you're sorry you asked, aren't you?!
Grave Concerns: I’m never sorry about the questions asked---only the answers given! (; Pajamas…how Brady Bunch of you!
Grave Concerns: 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 make up the phrase describing the transformation of a man/woman into a vampire. But only with these letters...TRWPJKAGSBCMI.
John: RROFL...WTF? OMG. OMFG! O. O. Ohhhh. ILU!
Grave Concerns: That’ll work---thanks! (:
Grave Concerns: 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?
John: Low mist blows across a dusky Celtic moor as I approach the formidable bluff before me. Climbing a narrow trail along the perimeter cliff wall, the haloed lights of the surrounding village dim and vanish into the deepening grey. From above, the waxing moon illuminates a notch ahead, through which I pass into a small grove of sheltering trees. I have a sudden recognition that I am not alone, though there is no sound or movement but the breeze sighing restlessly. I feel my way through the dense branches and emerge into a circular clearing, drained of color by the cold lunar glow. At my feet a cairn of stones marks the beginning of a pathway, formed by concentric arcs of carefully placed rocks, worn smooth no doubt by the nearby river and carried here by hand who knows how many centuries ago. The walls thus formed stand no higher than my shin, so that I can see at the center a pale black tetrahedral obelisk, like a finger pointing to the heavens, or a sword. For a second I consider striding directly across the circle to investigate, but the mere thought causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up and a chill shiver to ripple through my body. So with a quick intake of breath and an unexpected sense of calm I take a step forward, knowing full well that now there can be no turning back.
Ruby: John must read even more H.P. Lovecraft than I! If I could create a labyrinth it would certainly be meant to be walked under moonlight. Tall rocks crawling with vines and mosses, fountains and reflective pools at every intersection... Aah, one of my favorite fantasies.
Grave Concerns: Very lovely Ruby---I especially like the images of “reflective pools”…but John, lately, you’re like the black horse---you’re pulling out all these AMAZINGLLY poetic answers---you’re killing me---I LOVE it! Truly beautiful how you described the above.
Grave Concerns: If you could pick a choreographer for your next music
video, who would it be, and why?
John: Debra Brown. She's done choreography for most of the Cirque du Soleil shows, which I find to be among the most stunning pinnacles of coordinated movement I've ever seen. Judith Jamison, artistic director for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, would also be amazing to work with, because the way she integrates dance and music is so exceptional, balancing equal parts exuberance and pathos with such muscular vulnerability. It's those artists that manage to hold two opposing principles in hand simultaneously and make them seem like long-lost twins that I find genuinely intriguing and most compelling.
Grave Concerns: Fabulous answer---and yes, it’s so magnificent what they can do with their bodies in some of the beautiful, and incredible fascinating ways---such an art. I’m a klutz.
Grave Concerns: You've been invited to a masquerade ball, what do your costumes look like? And when each of you walked in, you heard different music being played, and who did you see looking intently at you--perhaps even through you? What do you think that means to you?
John: Do you remember what the God-King Xerxes was wearing in the movie "300"? Kind of a plate-mail jock strap, chains draped elegantly from a variety of piercings across his ripped physique, accessorized by a shimmering black cape like a night of stars. I'd totally strut in wearing that outfit, and every head turns in my direction. The house orchestra strikes up Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man", every guy in the room seethes with barely concealed envy, and every woman feels her pulse quickening and forgets to breathe for a second. Looking intently at me is my sweetheart and God-Queen Nora, resplendent and drop-dead sexy in her black leather corset and platform boots, and as I take her hand the clock starts ticking again and the world resumes turning as it had a few moments before. What does it mean to me? I love that attention of the spotlight, but only on my own terms when I'm in performance mode. If I ever get so famous I'm recognized out of that context, it will be very difficult for me, as I'm basically quite a private person.
Grave Concerns: WOW! Did I already say WOW!? I salute you, John.
Grave Concerns: Do you hit your snooze alarm? How many times if you do?
Ruby: If I must use an alarm (eew), I hit snooze incessantly.
Tommy: I NEVER use an alarm.
John: I usually wake up to music, and have made a few mixes specifically for that purpose, balancing gentle and motivating tunes to get me out of bed with the least amount of agony. I usually don't silence it completely, most often letting it slowly tug me through the veil of unconsciousness into concrete reality so that a few songs in I'm feeling able to face the day with something approximating a positive attitude. Have I mentioned I'm not at all a morning person? I usually get my best work done from midnight until 3 AM when everyone else is asleep and I finally
have absolute focus and no distractions, so my concept of morning isn't quite in sync with the rest of the world.
Grave Concerns: I hit the snooze alarm a few times…when I HAVE to get up…other than that, I get up when I WANT TO! I too wake up to music, and I’m a night owl---it’s 2:33 now.
Grave Concerns: Do you like the smell of Scotch Tape?
Tommy: I prefer Sharpies.
John: I don't think I'd say I like the scent of Scotch Tape, per se, but it definitely has a kind of ineffable familiarity, a nostalgia I can't quite place my finger on, like the combination of certain cleaning products and kitchen herbs that suddenly remind me of my first girlfriend's house, and an unbidden rush of complicated feelings suddenly washes over me with great fondness.
Grave Concerns: It reminds me of Christmas time---wrapping presents as a child. Tommy…there you go again…OK, so you PREFER Sharpies…fine! What scent then…hmmm?
Grave Concerns: What funky-dark, macabre stuff do you all have in your homes, things that you won't get in trouble for mentioning?
Tommy: I have skulls in every room.
John: Well, other than the corpses in the basement lab, which I think are so common these days as to not even be worth mentioning, and the bondage dungeon beneath the secret trapdoor under the stairs, there's Nora's requisite black cat (named Mayhem for those keeping score), skull dishware in all shapes and sizes, a Nightmare Before Christmas fireplace set, more candles than you can shake a torch at, and some epic cobwebs woven about the front gate because spiders just seem to follow me wherever I go. I think my favorite piece, though, is a hand-painted portrait of Emily the Strange and alpha-kitty Mystery in an antique Victorian mirror frame, made by Emily co-founder Buzz Parker, which we got at her 13th birthday party here in San Francisco. You can buy the limited-edition serigraph reproduction from their Web site, but we have the one and only original hanging over our mantle like a proud ancestor. Totally wicked.
Grave Concerns: Pretty much what I pictured…lol! Very, very, cool! I love the Victorian era.
Grave Concerns: I love flea markets, and antique stores? Anyone like
doing that too?
John: Only in Europe. For some reason, American flea markets and antique shops seem totally lame by comparison. But in Edinburgh, London, Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, Moscow, or any other cities I've been that have more than two hundred years of history, that stuff is incredibly cool. Go figure.
Tommy: I really like the ones in London, particularly Camden.
Grave Concerns: I’d die to go to London! But I’m afraid to fly---maybe that’s the only way I’m going to be able to go to London---die going there. Unless, you know of some super-powerful drugs? Just JOKING...no, I’m not. (;
Grave Concerns: Would you perform on SNL if asked? If so, which two
songs would you perform? Would you also like to perform in a skit?
John: Hell yes! Even though I haven't watched it regularly in ages, SNL was such an influence during my teenage years I would be proud to honor that legacy. If it was up to me, we'd perform "Labyrinth" because I think it's our catchiest song, and "End of Days" because it has a much darker edge, addresses our feelings of helplessness witnessing our country being driven towards a cliff for the past seven years, and is simply my favorite we've written so far. I'd love to perform in a skit -- I did my share of improv theatre when I was younger, so I completely dig that art form.
Ruby: I agree completely. I'd like to do a skit involving a cowbell or lack thereof.
Tommy: As long as our green room had cookies and whiskey. No skits for me, though.
Grave Concerns: Sounds Good---I hope it happens…I really do.
Grave Concerns: What time is it right now? What did you do 2hrs. and 17 minutes ago?
John: It's 1 PM on a Saturday. At 10:43 AM I was eating breakfast with my sweetheart and our two cats outside in the sunshine. My favorite way to start any day. Ok, well, maybe my second favorite way to start the day, depending on whether you consider the day started when you wake up or only after you get out of bed. Anyway, let's just say at 10:43 AM I was feeling pretty content and leave it at that, mmkay?
Grave Concerns: Ahhh…I get it…very sweet too. (:
Grave Concerns: Have you ever had too much to drink; called in sick the next day, saying you have the "stomach bug"?
Tommy: I love my whiskey and my ale, but sometimes they don't love me. That doesn't really affect my morning because I just stay in bed until the afternoon.
Ruby: I often have too much to drink. Sometimes, it's good for the soul.
John: I've only had too much to drink once, back in college, on purpose, because I think you should try everything once just to know what it feels like and so you can relate to other people and their experiences. But once was certainly enough. I've never called in sick from too much partying because I don't get hung over and can function fine on remarkably little sleep, but I've definitely taken sick days because I spent all night working on some musical project of my own and by the time the sun comes up I just can't face the idea of going to the office and having to interact with other people. So I guess you could say I've called in "misanthropic"!
Grave Concerns: Good answers…solid answers…Hey, Tommy, you actually made sense---NICE! (;
Grave Concerns: Favorite holiday, color, number and symbol?
Tommy: Christmas, Red. 7. Star.
Ruby: It's always been All Hallow's Eve. Silver. Also 7. I've always been attracted to the crescent moon.
John: Samhain. Black. 13. Utterly predictable so far, but entirely true. I can't quite describe my favorite symbol in words, but it encircles the ring I wear every day, a Moebius infinity, interconnected sine waves without beginning or end, the pulse, dance, and voice of the cosmos.
Grave Concerns: Do you believe in ESP and ghosts or other
Tommy: I totally believe in ghosts and the supernatural.
John: Call it magic, spirit, neuroscience, quantum physics, or emergent synergistic manifestation, there is definitely more to our reality than we can perceive or understand. I can make a convincing argument that music itself doesn't even exist in any tangible sense, and yet it is felt it in some fundamentally universal way across history and culture and geography and species like no other phenomenon I can think of. How is that possible? Magic. Spirit. I honestly can't even begin to explain it. So if the thing I've spent most of my life trying to figure out in some fundamental essence is still so entirely elusive to my grasp, then how can I not believe there are untold layers of other dimensions and perspectives interwoven with our own that we can only occasionally glimpse in liminal zones, altered states, and extreme conditions that push us outside familiar perceptual boundaries? One of the things I love about humanity is that we take these things we can't comprehend and we create stories around them, that tell us as much about who we are, as individuals and societies groping for meaning amid the daily struggle to survive, as about whatever initiated the story in the first place. What's more interesting, the notion of lightning as a bolt from Zeus punishing us for our hubris, or as a release of energy between positively charged ions in the atmosphere violently seeking ground for electrical equilibrium? The scientific explanation obviously has explicative and predictive function in a way that the Olympian one doesn't, but the myth tells us a lot more about what it was like to live at the dawn of civilization. Of course music is just another way to shape and share these stories in a form that's memorable and has real emotional resonance, and at some level isn't forced to choose between the artificial dichotomy of real versus imagined. I can have my technology and my mythology right there in the same song without conflict.
Grave Concerns: I’m just going to smile…(:
Grave Concerns: Have any of you had your fortunes read? How about
other types of readings?
Ruby: Not as frequently as I'd like, but I love to read the Tarot for my friends.
John: I've had my Tarot read a few times, and they've always turned up kind of nonspecifically dramatic. Great success, powerful unknowns, epic love, profound uncertainty, which is interesting because I try to live a fairly humble, peaceful, contemplative life. But that's not entirely surprising, either. I often feel like I'm treading the boundary between opposite poles, finding balance in the tension of paradox. There's tremendous power at that crux, because in many respects you're in charge of crafting your own destiny, but it can also feel terrifyingly unstable, as small steps can lead to enormous consequences, which is a lot of responsibility to make the right decisions with confidence and commitment.
Grave Concerns: Has anyone bitten their tongue, or lip recently? I
have. I bit my bottom lip---it hurt, but you know what made it feel better? Sucking it---yeah, I'm a glutton for pain. It's just one of those
things I can't seem not to do, when it happens. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Tommy: I bite my bottom lip constantly.
Ruby: He has a perpetual scab on the lower left side. He's so violent!
John: I haven't nibbled on myself lately, but I do have a habit of licking my own wounds. I've actually always thought it made it hurt less, and I kinda like the taste of blood...
Grave Concerns: I like that you bite your lip Tommy…(;
Grave Concerns: If you were to plant a tree to symbolize something
special in your life, where would that tree be planted, and what kind
John: Nora and I planted a Meyer lemon tree in our back yard last autumn to symbolize putting down roots in our new home together, which was definitely a special and meaningful occasion. (And Meyer lemons are tasty!) If I were to think beyond the personal to a global symbol, though, I would choose a ceiba, the sacred Mayan tree that connects the sky, earth, and underworld. I would plant it a few yards away from the Washington Monument in D.C., to offset the manmade stone tower representing political might with a natural, living equal representing ecological harmony. Eventually the canopy of sheltering leaves would reach over just to touch the peak of the monument, demonstrating the principle of cooperative coexistence between humanity and our environment. What can I say, I spent a lot of years in Berkeley...!
Grave Concerns: 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?
John: Hmm. You ask the tough questions. First, midnight blue, that pigment a while after sunset when night is crawling down towards the horizon but the last rays of daylight are still holding it at bay, and in between is the most amazing shade commingling blue and black that is impossible to create any other way. Second, hematite, because it would be so unnatural and unsettling but breathtaking and captivating at the same time. Third, and this may be bending the rules, I'd like to see a rich, warm metallic copper, which is a gorgeous hue unto itself, but then I'd like it to oxide gradually over the course of three months, filaments of that hard acrid green growing like cracks in the firmament until it transformed into the immortal color we know so well enshrouding Lady Liberty. Finally, it has to be blood red, because, what could be more unholy and badass than a blood red sky? (With due acknowledgement to early U2, of course.)
Ruby: The sky already turns so many colors. I do a great deal of stargazing and watching the colors change. I always wish they would last. One of my favorites was growing up in the Midwest and seeing the sky turn green just before a tornado. Sooo eerie!
Grave Concerns: Thanks! Like you’re having any problems answering them, John! Oh God, that must have been so eerie Ruby---beautiful though, in a terrifying way.
Grave Concerns: If you could have a movie director direct your next
video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?
Tommy: It would be Tim Burton. I love everything he's done- especially how dark he makes things in his films. Ooh, he'd be perfect for End of Days.
John: Is Cecil B. DeMille allowed? No, has to be alive? Drat. Ok, tough call between Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott. I think Scott would have a better feel for our gritty dystopic material, but Jackson would find the thread of humor connecting dark depths with triumphant highs. The song would have to be "Labyrinth", because we've each spent so much time with it in our own ways that it's delved far into our imaginations and it would be very cathartic to express it visually. Ok, you know what, I'm going to go with Peter Jackson because our video needs a Balrog. Fuck yeah.
Ruby: Labyrinth needs a lush yet dangerous treatment. I often think of Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro.
Grave Concerns: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, Tim Burton---he should have been nominated for Sweeney Todd---he was so robbed! You know, I didn’t specify living or dead…so if you still want Cecil B. DeMille…you got it!
Grave Concerns: Do you believe in Karma?
Ruby: In the sense that we inevitably reap what we sow, definitely. I guess that's small-k karma. In the sense of Big-K (Circle-K?) Karma, that how we conduct this life influences how we're judged going into the next, then no. I think we have this one shot and when it's over, it's all over, so I try to make the best of each moment while I'm here.
Grave Concerns: 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 fell 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!
John: I'm pretty much in the other direction. Whenever somebody tries to connect what we're talking about with something on TV I'm at a complete loss. "Did you see that episode of 'Seinfeld' when...?" Uh, no, sorry. "Hey, that totally reminds me of this episode of 'The Sopranos'..."Ok, uh huh, sure. "How about that Super Bowl, what a classic!" Um, I'm glad that worked out for you... I don't listen to the radio, either, because whenever I turn it on it seems like I hear the same annoying songs that were playing a year ago when I last gave it a chance. So I watch movies, read Salon and Ars Technica online, and download Daily Show over BitTorrent, and that's pretty much my consumption of "mass media". I can't think of a specific embarrassing incident offhand, but I pretty regularly kill conversations where someone's making a cleverly incisive cultural allusion and I'm like, "Sorry, dude, I have no idea what you're talking about. How about this? Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about...your mother..."
Grave Concerns: I LOVE that question…so, so, nice. My mum would love it! Loving, kind, honest, faithful, funny, goofy, proud, hero, warm, protective, resilient, happy, trusting, friend…(:
Grave Concerns: 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 nine times,
counter clockwise, then, reverse, and spin seven 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! (;
John: Isoceraunic. "representing, having, or indicating equality in the frequency, intensity, or simultaneity of thunderstorms."
What's your tonic?
Hooked on Connick?
I prefer it supersonic,
But best by far
By air or car
From earth to star
In mighty millibar
The most psionic,
Here then gonic
Like thee Zionic,
Is when thunder rolls
Across our souls
And united we stand
Grave Concerns: LOL! WHAT? You’re so funny! Awesome! Hey, did you do this in 10 minutes or less? (;
Grave Concerns: What would you like to say to your fans right now?
Tommy: Being a fan myself, I know how it feels when you hear a song and it totally depicts what's going on in your life. That song becomes more important to you than anything. Certain bands become so important in so many aspects of your life, they're able to make almost anything feel better. I hope our fans find this through our music. We all care for our fans very much. They feel more like friends.
Ruby: Goth and industrial music has a certain inclusivity about it. I feel welcome in this scene and hope our fans feel the same sense of belonging when they hear our music.
John: We love you! No seriously, we do. Come on over, we'll bake you cookies. Other than that, I can whip out a few platitudes, tired and worn but with integrity like an old pair of jeans. Be true to your dreams, because nobody else will care unless you believe in them. Be good to each other out there, it's a cruel world and we need to huddle together for warmth. Don't hold back. Crank it up to 11. Embrace the voices in your head. Don't take yourself too seriously. I hope our music gives you a shove in the right direction, whatever that may be. Oh, and most importantly, don't take advice from musicians--we're all completely crazy.
Grave Concerns: Ahhh, so nicely said---your fans will love this! But since you’re all so crazy…basically, they should just skip this interview question...for the most part. (;
Grave Concerns: Anything else you care to share with us about
yourselves and your awesomely cool music?
Ruby: We are already burgeoning with new songs and ideas. We are looking forward to the next recording project and maybe more importantly a tour. We encourage our fans to let us know they'd like to have us and we will try to include your city on our route.
Tommy: We're all just honored to be in Grave Concerns Magazine and happy we gained you as a fan, Lynda. We can't wait till the record is released and reviewed by you guys.
John: Today is the first day of the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine...
Grave Concerns: (: An honor it truly has been.I'm SOOOOOOO looking forward to reviewing your album! (: And I hope, one day…heck, more than one day, to see you live too.
Grave Concerns: Ruby, Tommy, John Paul, and Michael, what a stellar
time this has been to meet you all----so, so, awesome! We here at Grave Concerns wish you marvelous success with your new album "Fairytale", and for all the artistic endeavors you seek. Please keep in touch! Dark cheers!
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