WARNING: *Really* long
This morning Früvous joined Michaela Majoun in the WXPN studio for an hour (okay, it turned out to be more like an hour and a quarter, but whatever :). I write this as I relisten to the thing on tape (I'd be happy to offer a trade, but it's really bad. I mean, really bad. Like taped from my little stereo thing that I got in sixth grade). This is kind of stream-of-radio, but I'm trying :).
I turn XPN on around 8AM, and Michaela is giving teasers about the interview every few minutes, talking about how they were coming to the studio after having played a show at "The Ballroom in Ocean City, Maryland." :). Ah well - she's still the best :). She eventually announces their arrival in the studio and plays "I Need a Miracle" by the Dead and something by the Beatles (forgive me for not remembering which :).
She opens the interview by playing the studio version of "Splatter, Splatter," then introduces the guys and right off the bat mentions that it must be humiliating to have the album come out in America before it comes out in Canada.
Jian announced that it is a depressing day in that Lamar Alexander (his second choice after Malcom Forbes) has dropped out of the Republican race. He also clues us in to the fact that Canadians are allowed to vote in primaries and that while he didn't personally take the straw poll, he certainly took it personally.
"Noted Republicans and Canadians Moxy Früvous join us today . . ." --Michaela
Michaela thanks them for eschewing sleep to be on the radio to which Murray responds "You assume we're not sleeping now."
Discussion of how much fun the OC show was, how great Trout Fishing in America is and how glad they were that Ezra and Keith actually knew the words and the bass fills to "Brown Eyed Girl." I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but "Brown Eyed Girl" featured Ezra on Murray's Fender, Murray on guitar and Mike on tambourine :). Talk of the members-only show at the Point, the folk fest, and the Keswick.
Website talk! Evidently, Michaela found out about the interview from the website, Murray finds out about the tour schedule from the fans, and Jian finds out about the tour dates from Michaela's reading of the website. This was followed by lots of technology jokes ("the screens have color now!" "Is that DOS?")
Michaela inquires about Thornhill (the place) in rehearsal for the interview tonight. Jian makes the erroneous statement that none of them were born in Thornhill - they only spent their teens there. Turns out that Dave and Murray were born *and* raised there ("the flower of Thornhill"). Jian was born in London, England. (For the record, though it wasn't mentioned, Mike was born in Michigan, making him the only band member who could potentially be President :). They discuss Thornlea, their high school, and hanging out together in the theater department there (this wasn't where Früvous was formed, but where the "germs of Früvous congealed"). Michaela makes the erroneous statment that they hadn't met in Thornhill, and they admonish her for not researching on the website enough. Alas, Thornhill in its current state is very different from what the band remembers (none of them live there anymore and it's expanded significantly). For the real Thornhill-as-the-band-remembers-it experience, don't go there - just buy the album. Or borrow it. Or steal it. That last one is hard now 'cause of the metal chips they put in.
Michaela describes the album as "not out in Canada yet, but out here in the United States." "Have you been selling it that way all week?" asked Jian. Michaela mentions that it's not right that their t-shirts cost mroe than their CDs, and Jian says that they learned it from Dave Matthews :). Then they launch into a fantastic acoustic (shaker and guitar) version of "Half as Much" with nifty hand claps in lieu of drums. For so damn early in the morning, they sound awesome.
*Side note: They were on time. In OC the night before, Jian had asked my friend Carlos and I when we thought they should leave to get to Penn by 8:45. I guess our answer of "7:00 at the latest" worked :).
Michaela again pushes the fact that they're doing this on no sleep.
She terms "Splatter, Splatter" this year's "Michigan Mitilia" and asks what inspired it. Apparently, "Michigan Militia"'s success inspired it - recapturing old glory, so to speak. "Actually, we're hoping it's this year's 'King of Spain.'" Mike clears it up by saying that his fifteen-year-old step-daughter's horror movie habit inspired it, and that he and his wife can't stomach the graphic violence, though the production quality is excellent. Jian says that it was actually his fifteen-year-old girlfriend who brings him to the movies. "And you and her mother are horrified," says Dave.
Some chatter about how they were in the country just after the Dalai Lama ("Have you noticed that Dave and the Dalai Lama are never seen in the same place?") Michaela baits Jian's politics habit. He launches into a slightly-bumbling discussion of Hillary bashing. At one point he says "Where can you find a better . . . wife figure. No." Evidently, he really admires her; according to him, she has the best politics in the country. They sing a few impromptu bars of a song called "Lay Off Hillary" with Michaela adding background vocals (BTW, Jian - her name is Kate Pierson :). o/~ Lay off Hillary . . . she's no Liddy . . . o/~ What is it with these guys and hand-claps lately :).
They do the first of a series of talk-radio take-offs by pretending to take a phone call from George from Trenton who is disgusted that these damn Canadians are talking about politics, that Jian is running off at the mouth, that he hates Hillary and Lamar Alexander, and that he wants them to bring back Beth Orton - she was very entertaining. "Let's get back to the album," says Michaela. "Oh, you're no fun anymore. All business now," says Jian. Rick from Upper Merion Township called next from his CB unit. He wanted to talk about the album and how it was produced by Don Dixon.
This started a barrage of compliments on Don Dixon.
Look what you people have done :):
Jian discusses how some of the "really big" fans of the band don't want to say that "Thornhill" is a great album. He compares it to his love for David Bowie, and how it would be tough for Bowie to make a new album that could replace "Low" or "Lodger" as his favorite. He commented that a lot of people think it was Don Dixon that "wrecked" the band ("What happened to that 'I Love My Boss' song?!"), and that it wasn't valid.
Murray says that the members of the band are each fairly strong-willed and that Don Dixon was the first producer that the band didn't "steamroller" :). Jian comments that they had a great deal of trust in Don, and that, if anything, Dixon really brought out what the band likes about the band, and it was easy to give deference. I kind of infer from Jian's comments that Dixon cut down a bit on their legendary anal retentiveness and proved to them that the real spirit of Früvous gets kind of killed by too much tinkering. As an illustration, Jian also revealed that the vocal on "Sad Girl" was only the second take, and that he thought it was crap but that Don wanted to keep it - and Don was right :). With other producers, they would have insisted on recutting the vocals, but with Don, they put faith in his opinion.
"As a band, we're the best we've ever been." --Jian
Michaela responds that their hair is the best it's ever been, too :).
Michaela then plays the studio version of "Sad Girl," and refers to it as a "second-take wonder."
They talk about the Point show, and how though many people were disappointed, it's a special event. Dave says that they'll be playing songs from Harry Nilsson's "The Point." Jian says that the small venue is just one part of the band's new exclusionary policy, and that sometimes the best way to endear people to you is to act like you hate them, which is the direction they're going. It's tough love :).
Then Rick came back on his CB and bitched about the traffic in Philly.
"Where are you stuck, Rick?"
"Battlestar Galactica - what the hell do you care?!"
Dave talks about the studio in which the album was recorded (the Tragically Hip's Bathhouse), and, while describing a party scene, makes reference to Freshie, Canada's version of Kool-Aid. Mike likens the recording process to playing with the cool stuff that belongs to the brother of your best friend (or "friend that you use"). Jian knocks MP3s by saying that that was before you "e-mailed your copy of the 'White Album' to your friend." Michaela mentions that people might fall under the impression that the guys were cynical. "Oh, we're full of hope," said Murray. "I wouldn't say we're cynical. Bitter, maybe." They discuss the old stone house in which the studio is located and that they took turns cooking. Jack Ross (their manager) wanted to hire a chef to make them more ostentatious than they want to be, and they refused. I always get a kick out of Jian's "Jack-Ross-as-crusty-Southern-gentleman" voice :). Dave and Murray then played a chorus of "Pork Tenderloin." Dave then gave his own recipe for pork tenderloin.
Michaela gets a little garbled with tense shifts and Mike teases the Mass of Creation by Marty Haugen (musical interludes in the Eucharistic Prayer from the Catholic mass): "Christ *has* died, Christ *is* risen, Christ *will* come again . . ." "Are you comparing yourselves to Christ?" she asks.
Michaela then implores them to play another song. A strange coincidence in light of the recent earthquake in western Turkey, they play "Earhquakes" with banjo :).
"There's no place I'd rather be than in a room with Moxy Früvous." --Michaela
Michaela discerns the meaning of "Earthquakes": even with all the amazing things in the universe (the moon, the sun, earthquakes), we still get hung up on stupid things like appearances and sex.
Talk of the Fleadh - the mud, playing soccer with Hootie ("some may consider them a crap band, but boy can they play soccer"), unlimited Guinness, and eating one table over from Elvis Costello. Murray and Mike were sitting in the tent, eating and talking. Elvis walked in and they continued the conversation, but ceased to listen to anything the other was saying, taken with staring over at him. Murray liked San Francisco best, but Mike liked Boston - his wife was there :). Jian talks about getting bitched-out by Elvis after he bodily bumped into him and does a voice that sounds a lot like Billy Bragg's. In reality, Jian *had* bumped into him and gotten completely tongue-tied. Had it been Beth Orton, he says, he would have given her attitude. He then made a comment about Dave Matthews and had to retract it by saying that he really did like Dave Matthews - in fact, he knows a journalist in Toronto who had been come onto by Dave many times.
At that point, there were only a few minutes left, and Jian whined a bit about how they hadn't really gotten a chance to talk ("No, *she* hasn't gotten a chance to talk," said Murray). Michaela talked about the first time she met Joni Mitchell. Then they play "I Will Hold On." Jian screws up the lyrics :).
Michaela terms "When She Talks" Beach-Boys-esque.
Jian discusses how wonderful the fan base is, considering that their press coverage in America is virtually nil, to which Michaela replies that they're going to be on Conan. Jian hopes they'll suck so the whole thing won't snowball and they can just end their career. They discuss other artists who intro their songs the same way all the time. Jian slips and says "a**hole." Michaela says not to worry - they're so overtime, they're not on the air anymore. She talks about the impending tourist rush on Thornhill (the place). The band members don't live there anymore, which is good, seeing as how they each owe several hundred dollars in fines at the library there. Michaela mentions that they're not a "ferrago" which is the word of the day. They do an improv based on "word of the day" which consists mostly of clapping.
Then she gets them started on sports. Jian says that they were really big fans of the Blue Jays while they were doing well. Now that they've lost five in a row, though, the band is off the bandwagon. On to the Raptors :). Jian says that the Leafs beating the Flyers in the playoffs was the best thing that happened all year. Jian lets it slip that his favorite hockey team *ever* was the Broad Street Bullies - the 1970s Flyers. He just hates the current Flyers. Mike sings "When in Rome."
Jian mentions that XPN probably hates them now.
And then it was done :).
Sorry that was so long. Cool interview :).
Some other tidbits from the performance include: