What is your full name?
Do you have any aliases?
Can’t reveal due to witness protection.
If you had an alias what might it be?
What bands are you actively involved with?
Clouds Taste Satanic.
What was the first instrument that you played?
Piano. Hated the lessons and quit, later regretted quitting.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
The Beatles Hey Jude album on cassette. Wish I still had that cassette.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
Half A Chicken.
Tell me about the genesis of Clouds Taste Satanic.
I was playing Post-Rock style guitar in a band called Gatos de Sensi and discovered Sunn O))) and Sleep, then went back and started listening to my 90’s Earth records and it dawned on me that down-tuned distorted guitar with 20 minute songs based on a few riffs with no vocals was where I wanted to die with my guitar.
What inspired the name Clouds Taste Satanic?
The Flaming Lips record Clouds Taste Metallic. Although that would also have been a great name for a metal band, I wanted something a little more Satan-like and also didn’t want to get mistaken for a Flaming Lips cover band.
Talk about the process of deciding what songs to cover whenever you are doing a covers album.
It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. There were tons of songs we all loved and were considering but finding ones that were not totally dependent on the vocal lines to make them great in the first place was difficult. We all made suggestions and we all had to agree on the songs to do but compromise was necessary for songs we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen ourselves. That being said, we were all happy with the final choices and are constantly hearing songs we would like to cover in the future. Some suggestions elicit familiar groans.
How long did it take to finalize all the track selections and actually record the album?
About 9 months. We were still making final choices a month before the recording. My initial list of 10 songs got reduced to 4 that were actually recorded. Democracy.
You guys are very consistent in the quantity and quality of your output. What’s the key to that?
Preparation and work. By the time a record comes out, the initial concept for the album and song writing started at least a year and a half before. Writing takes at least 6 months before the band starts working on the songs as a group and the concept of the album has been formulated and reformulated all along the way. The recording process as well as the actual physical release of the vinyl is also planned and ordered well in advance. It’s a complicated process that requires a great deal of thinking ahead but it makes for better records. Planning for the next record started last summer and it probably won’t come out until 2022.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
Black Sabbath 1973, strictly for the coke.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
Hundreds. How about “Thumb” by Kyuss.
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Godspeed You! Black Emperor and any band or musician that pushes boundaries in their songwriting and song presentation. Anyone that breaks away from the cliché of what a song is supposed to look like and sound like in order to be successful.
Non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of.
“Victim Of Love” by The Eagles. Big regret that that didn’t make it on to Cloud Covered.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
None. Is that sad?
(Leave the questions to me amigo!)
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
Lucky 13 in Brooklyn. Great stage, great sound, pole dancers on the bar and Hot Dogs if you’re feeling really bold.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Setting up our stage lighting and smoke and hoping everything works when it’s supposed to.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
Drinking on a weeknight.
What is your least favorite thing about touring?
Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?
Austin, Chicago, LA and Pittsburgh. Not necessarily in that order.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?
They are all weird.
The year is 1997.
Where are you at and what are you listening to?
Brooklyn NY listening to Fu Manchu.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Pick a lane that you love and stick to it like glue until the day you die.
What is an absolute band killer?
Pelican. They’ve been around forever and most people take them for granted but they are consistently amazing, at least on record.
Tell me two things that people need to absolutely know about New York.
Everyone who lives here is from somewhere else and it’s better and worse than you expect it to be.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
24 Hours. That’s why my email is ZeroDirt@aol.com.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I have a fondness for Unicorns.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
It’s my only podcast.
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Unicorns don’t sleep. They hang out on T-shirts being awesome.
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
Pink Floyd – Animals.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
“Ballin’ and Shot Callin’ – A Player’s Life”
What is your favorite song by Lady Ga Ga?
“Poker Face” because she stutters like Roger Daltrey in “My Generation.”
Beastie Boys or Run D.M.C. (if you had to choose)?
Beastie Boys because I’m charming and dashing and rental car crashing.
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
I could not live in a world where I was forced to choose.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Pancakes because like Unicorns, they are awesome.
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
Star Wars because it has a better villain and I always root for the bad guy.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
Since you mentioned it, a Doobie Brothers shirt with a bird on it. Come to think of it, the bird looks like an eagle which makes no sense since it’s not an Eagles t-shirt although the bird might be smoking a joint which would make sense. I also like my Bongripper shirt but that has a goat.
Jesus, how many questions are there?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter Thompson.
(Uhh… stay in your lane… I’m asking the questions here!)
Pulp Fiction or The Big Lebowski depending on mood.
Husker Du – Zen Arcade.
Huuuuuuge thanks to Steve for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. Clouds Taste Satanic consistently impress and that is no small feat. Please check out their latest offering Cloud Covered.. if for no other reason than the vinyl choices are freaking amazing!
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)