Posted on January 15, 2010 - by Editor
Ara Babajian – drummer with The Slackers, Leftover Crack and Star Fucking Hipsters
Imelda: Which has been your most memorable gig of 2009 (both played and attended)?
Ara: The most memorable show I played in 2009 was with The Slackers at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. One of my drum heroes, DJ Bonebrake from the band X, was there. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous/paid so much attention to what I was doing.
The most memorable show I saw was The Jesus Lizard at Irving Plaza, NYC. They are real men. We are boys.
Imelda: What have been your favourite records of 2009?
Ara: My favourite records of 2009 were “Scrambles” by Bomb The Music Industry and “Christmas in the Heart” by Bob Dylan. “Scrambles” is literate, urgent, melodic and is attaining classic status as we speak. The Dylan Christmas record is just perverse. The musical equivalent of seeing an old man with his shirt off.
Imelda: Are there any newer bands you’d particularly recommend at the moment or that you’ll be watching the progress of in 2010?
Ara: New bands I’ll be watching in 2010: Bomb the Music Industry, The Forthrights (Brooklyn rocksteady), Red Baraat (a Punjabi Art Ensemble of Chicago-style band from Brooklyn), and the UK’s own The Skints. Most new bands are a thorough disappointment; too many “nice guys,” not enough total pricks.
Imelda: The Slackers are due to release a new album in the Spring – what can you tell us about this record? And when can we expect to hear new material from LoC and SFH?
Ara: The new Slackers record might be called The Great Rocksteady Swindle, or Cheated, or Mr. Tragedy. It will be released on Hellcat on April. We all wrote songs for it; recorded 30 tracks in two days in Berlin while on tour this past Fall. It’s pretty good. We’re finally starting to come to terms with our rampant narcissism and homo-erotic envy of one another. I think you can really hear that on this record. We were gonna call it The Idiot/s in honour of the whole Iggy/Bowie Berlin thing but it didn’t take.
There might be a new Star Fucking Hipsters record under the moniker Ska Fucking Hipsters in 2010. It’ll be ska super-groupish, which sounds horrible but really might be just okay.
Leftover Crack new material? We hate music too much to make it with any sort of regularity.
Imelda: All your bands have been over to Europe this year at least once – what touring plans do they have lined up for 2010?
Ara: The Slackers will be in the UK/Europe in May and August of 2010. May will be mostly clubs, August will be a lot of muddy fields and kids pissing on our gear.
SFH I’m not sure about as I haven’t actually toured with them ever due to scheduling conflicts. Could happen this next year however. Or maybe never. Ask the magic 8-ball. Or Sturgeon.
Leftover Crack. I haven’t gotten the memo yet. Maybe we’ll play England again “for the last time.”
Imelda: How will you be splitting your time between the three bands in the coming year – is it difficult to juggle them all?
Ara: I’ll be touring a lot with The Slackers to support the new record. The Slackers always schedule things about a year in advance so it’s easier to answer questions like this when it comes to them. However, SFH and Leftover Crack always whimsically decide to do things at the last minute. Sometimes I’ll get a call from Sturgeon at 3am with the details of my mission and the enemy’s physical characteristics. Then again, sometimes I’ll find out about a tour from the Leftover Crack web site. They’ll book tours before having the entire band intact. So, there’s usually time for me to harass my way on board.
Juggling three bands is easy so long as you have people to fill in for you while you’re away who aren’t after your job. Also, I like to think that stealing presents for my lead singers from truck stops round the world has kept me in good stead.
Imelda: Which five words would you use to describe 2009?
Ara: Incurable, Self-Important, Aged, Grasping, Doomed
Imelda: You’ve played on the same bill as many great bands – any left that you’d like to share a stage with this year?
Ara: I’ve shared the stage with some great bands, indeed. However, I’m tired of sharing the stage. I want my own stage from now on. And my own deli platter. Fuck sharing.
Imelda: As the decade draws to a close, which bands and albums have been most significant to you in the last ten years?
Ara: The bands and albums most significant to me have sure as fuck not been made in the past 10 years. I want it to be 1959 again at The Five Spot on the Bowery with Monk playing opposite Coltrane. That’s just the kind of jerk I am.
Imelda: Given the spate of reunions in recent times, is there any one particular band you’d like to see reform?
Ara: I’d like to see Husker Du reform. I’d pay any amount of money to hear it. Barring that, I’d like bands to reform less and break up more.
Imelda: What are your New Year’s Resolutions – personally and professionally?
Ara: Personal New Years Resolutions: time my cigarettes for optimal enjoyment, drink more and better red wine, eat less gyros and more seafood.
Professional resolutions: to not turn the beat around; to not play the wrong song on the set list; to not break my foot while climbing out of my luxury tour bus.
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