Goon Moon is a collaboration between Jeordie White (current Nine Inch Nails touring member, formerly ‘Twiggy Ramirez’ of Marilyn Manson) and Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality, producer for such bands as Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age). Rounded out by drummer Zach Hill, the group had it’s first release, “Got a Brand New Egg Layin” in 2005. After going back to spend time with their various other projects, Goon Moon found the time to re-group put together a sophomore release, “Licker’s Last Leg.” The following the transcription of a phone interview we did with Jeordie.
I read that some of the material on the new CD dates back to before the release of “I Got a Brand New Egg Layin’ Machine” – was this the case?
Jeordie : “Some of it was done at the same time as the first release, some of the same sessions. We pulled from those sessions, and added new material. So yeah, some of it was recorded prior to the first release.”
How did you choose what tracks would be used for that first release?
Jeordie : “On the first record, we wanted to showcase Zack’s drumming a little more. The stuff we had from him wasn’t structured like a normal song, it was more like little freak-out jams that we did. And we wanted to also put out something that would confuse people, that didn’t sound like either of our bands. We just wanted to do something different, and have fun with it.’
What made you decide that the time was right to put out a follow-up? Was it just a matter of when your schedules opened up?
Jeordie : “Yeah, it was just a timing issue. We didn’t want to put it out close to the first one, as we wanted to let that sit. Chris went off and did the Queens Of The Stone Age tour, and I did the Nine Inch Nails thing, so it was just when we had an open window to finish it up and put it out.”
How much of an influence do your other projects have on the music of Goon Moon?
Jeordie : “You pull influences from everywhere, but I don’t think anything in Goon Moon is inspired by Nine Inch Nails, or Marilyn Manson, or Perfect Circle. But I had something to do with it [so there is a connection]. We tried to think out of the box, not writing to anyone’s expectations but our own.”
What is the creative process like within the band? Would you say that you have particular rolls in terms of how you write?
Jeordie : “It’s different on every song. Some I’d bring to the table, some Chris would, and some we’d do at the same time. It’s all a definite collaboration. For each song, we’d just think of something different. In a traditional band, you’re committed to how a certain drummer plays, or how a bassist plays, and you’re committed to a sound and what people expect from you. You don’t want to disappoint your audience, so you kind of put out the same music to cater to them in order to have a career. But with Goon Moon, there are no real rules, and no boundaries. Just whatever we are into at that moment.”
How did you and Chris initially come to start working together?
Jeordie : “When I stopped working with Marilyn Manson, Chris and I were introduced to each other. We just started hanging out, listening to music and playing together, and then recording some songs. Both our schedules are pretty full, so whenever we had the opportunity we’d make music. We just did it for fun, not as a job or with any thought of going on tour or anything like that. We just wanted to make music, and Goon Moon came out of that. Now it’s turned into something that is generating some interest in order for us to go on tour and play some shows. That’s we’re at right now.”
Are you thinking about/working on Goon Moon music while you’re involved with other projects? Or is it something you only do when you have blocks of time you can dedicate to it?
Jeordie : “It’s whenever we have the opportunity to make music, we just go for it. If I feel like working on it when I’m on tour, I will. It’s mostly just a studio thing.”
Do you plan on doing any touring as Goon Moon?
Jeordie : “We hope to. We’re just waiting for some time. Probably in the fall we’ll do some shows. We’re trying to do the right thing to get it set up correctly and be prepared for it. I’d say in October, maybe.”
What are your thoughts on the way the Internet has evolved, both as a promotional tool and a means to distribute music?
Jeordie : “I think it makes more music available to more people. More people can find out about bands. I still go to record stores and buy vinyl, that’s still part of my life. But there’s a whole generation of people that it’s not, they just go on the Internet and download it, whether they pay for it or not. Its definitely brings music to more people, and the whole point is for your music to be heard. For that, the Internet is a great tool. You can either fight it, or be a part of it. Anyone who argues with it is just stuck in the past, and shooting themselves in the foot. Again, you can use it to your advantage, or whine about it, and I prefer to use it.”
Do you think that online music distribution is pushing the focus away from albums, and back to singles?
Jeordie : “I think that if you put out a record that is worth listening to AS a record, then people will. But people are making records based on singles, trying to get their song into the new ‘Fantastic Four’ or ‘Spiderman’ movie. It’s not that you have to make a ‘concept record.’ It doesn’t have to be “The Wall,” but something that you listen to from beginning to end, like “Dark Side Of The Moon.” If people present their music like that, instead of just a collection of singles, then people would look at it as a whole and buy the whole record. But it seems like we’re almost back in the 50’s and 60’s with 45s, which people were buying until the Beatles came along and made the album an ALBUM. I think it will all turn around. As computer processors get bigger and faster, and the music is able to sound better and not be so compressed as mp3, I think people will get back into hifi. Instead of listening on an iPod or crappy computer speakers, they will go back to listening on a nice stereo. Hopefully, because that is what I like.”
As a musician, how have you been affected/benefited by advances in musical technology, such as affordable digital multitrack recording?
Jeordie : “That’s what it boils down to. If people aren’t buying records, then you need to make them for cheaper. The big record executives with the huge expense accounts have got to disappear. Because that’s where all the money that people are spending is going anyway, to the record companies. There’s no reason why someone in an office should be making all the money from an artist’s intellectual property. And then again, you don’t need to spend that much money on an album anymore. People who own the studios and are charging a thousand dollars a day or more to use their studio, that’s got to disappear. So what’s going to happen is the people who make the money are going to be the people actually making the records. The engineers, who are slaving in the studios, need to be paid, and the artists who are coming up with the music need to get paid. Those are the people who should be benefiting from the album, not all the middlemen.
“There’s going to be a lot of bedroom bands, like this Goon Moon record was made in bedrooms, not studios. And it sounds, to me, just as good as any other records that people spend tons of money on. I like the way cheap records sound, too. The White Stripes records sound better than the Linkin Park records, and the White Strips probably paid $20,000 for their new album while Linkin Park spent probably close to a million. The end result is product, and one is shitty, one is good. That’s why bands you grow up with, usually their first few records are better than their later ones. It’s because they get bloated budgets and they spend too much money on dinners and ridiculous studio budgets. When they were limited to a confined budget and space to work with, they used it to their advantage. Even early Beatles records, when they only had four tracks to work with. You just make it work.”
Would you say that technology like Pro Tools has had any effect on your actual creative process?
Jeordie : “Using Pro Tools, it’s easier to make a records in your bedroom, as opposed to using tape in a studio, which is harder to edit. There’s a way to use it and a way to abuse it. We never fix out of tune vocals, for example, because that’s not what Goon Moon is about, it’s supposed to sound raw and real. But we might say ‘let’s not sing that chorus again’ and copy it. And the fact that there’s only three of us playing at a time; there’s a lot of overdubs. But that’s not Pro-Tools. On The Goon Moon records, there’s nothing that we do with Pro Tools that you couldn’t do with tape.”
Do you see yourself continuing to do things like tour with Nine Inch Nails, or would you like to focus on your own music in the future?
Jeordie : “I’m happy to make music and pay the bills, basically. I definitely would like to do more Goon Moon music. I’m getting to the point now where I’m putting it out for free on You Tube, rather than waiting. Though I do like there to be a product. I’m thinking that eventually, I’d like to only put out vinyl, and then have a coupon included for a digital download. With records you have something to look at, and that’s the only thing I miss with the digital downloads – not having a product to hold onto.”