Interview: Crippled Black Phoenix

neonliberal meets…: Crippled Black Phoenix: to the main article

Here the full Q&A List,  Justin Greaves did about the vinyl-release of Night Raider and
The Resurrectionists
, the forthcoming tour and existing as a band in times like these.

Thanks again, Mr. Greaves!

The Best place to keep in touch with the Band is the The Crippled Black Phoenix Board.
Buy their music at the Bandcamp, or visit them on Facebook.

neonliberal: It takes a long time to release „Night Raider / The Resurrectionists“ on vinyl after it’s first release on CD. What is taking so long – to bring the record out in the way it was always meant to be?

  • Justin Greaves: There was always meant to be a vinyl version, yes, but the ideas kept changing. The original idea was to put out a version of 200 Tons of Bad Luck on vinyl but with a 10” along with it, so you would get the unreleased songs and the whole thing would be something a bit different from the CD versions. Typically this did not happen and all I can say is that it wasn’t the bands decision. So the whole thing gets left for a while, then when the CDs start selling and I, Vigilante proved popular, then the idea of vinyl came up again, this time it was for the whole two albums to be released with all the extra tracks included, that was last year and since then it’s just been a matter of getting it mastered and the artwork put together which has taken a longer time than We’d like, having said that, I’m happy that the two double albums are being released with all the songs included. It’s just frustrating how long things can take, in an ideal world these albums would have been released at the same time as the CDs two years ago.

In the Booklet (at least those in the 2 Disc CD Version) the album is titled in different way´s; on the front it´s „The Ressurectionists“, in the credits „The Resurrectionists“.  A mistake or is there a deeper meaning?

  • That was a total mistake, the text was hand written and no one realized the mistake before it was too late and the CDs were manufactured. Very annoying but there was nothing we could do. We have changed it now though, the proper spelling is “The Resurrectionists”.

„200 Tons of Bad Luck“ was released as kind of a „Best of“ the two records: Were you happy with that?

  • Well, It was a compromise. I agreed to the release of 200 Tons of Bad Luck in order to get the full two album box set version released. The whole idea came from the label who though people wouldn’t buy a two CD box, and they probably right in some ways but I think we’ve now proved that that just wasn’t the case, the box set sold out straight away. The only thing I’m not happy about is how confusing it all became, that wasn’t intentional at all, I’ve always stood by the two albums and how they were supposed to be originally, I don’t endorse 200 Tons of Bad Luck, but I can appreciate the reasons behind it, the album just doesn’t make sense to me, the songs are not in context and the dynamics are all wrong.

You once said, Night Raider“ & „The Resurrectioniststook care of the second and third part of the triology that started with the first record „A Love of Shared Disaster“. Can you tell us a little bit about the background of the trilogy?

  • The three albums covered a lot of personal subjects, thing that pestered my mind for years and I needed to get out, looking back, I presumed it would take me at least three attempts at achieving the aim. By the time I was writing for Night Raider I was starting to think about other subjects so I knew then the first three albums were going to be similar in subject and atmosphere and anything after that might start to change slightly. I’m not sure if that has become true, but I do think the “trilogy” does seem now to represent a certain time in my life where the songs reflect that. But who knows?.. the next album might be more of the same, the trouble is that I never really know until it’s done what exactly it all means, I just know it needs to get out of my head. So I guess basically the trilogy deals with subjects that are introverted and more about the personal experiences. I hope it all makes sense, it does to me anyway.

Speaking about the background: It was said that you dreamt a lot of the music/lyrics for the record?

  • There are a couple things that have been the result of dreams, the song “Along Where The Wind Blows” is one, it’s the only time I’ve ever remembered a tune when I’ve woken up, I had the melody and most of the words so I managed to write it all down before I forgot.  The other things are the Night Raider and Mr Martin, the Night Raider was a huge retarded guy in the toilets in a hospital trying to keep me in, he had a bad haircut and a track suit. Mr Martin has only made a brief appearance in the Crippled Black Phoenix albums, actually in the artwork, but there is going to be a new song all about him, so as you’ll find out, he is a reoccurring character in my bad dreams.

The quotes in the songs: How do you select them, what do they mean to you?

  • If you mean the spoken word sample stuff, basically if they work and they say something about the subject of the song then they get used, they’re never used just for the sake of it. So they do always mean something to me or they mean something to the song, in that way they select themselves. Sometimes I’ll be watching a film or hearing a story and the song will spring to mind so it just kind of fits. There are a lot of references to the subject matter outside of just the lyrics, there are the samples sometimes used and also the words printed in the booklets, that is what spells out the story of the song.

The records were released almost two years ago. You once said, the songs were even older than that. How does it feel, dealing with the release of records written so long ago? And what has changed for the band Crippled Black Phoenix since back then?

  • I just don’t listen to the records, if I did then it would probably trouble me that some of these older songs are getting released now. I don’t thing have really changed that much, I just like to try to move forward. I do absolutely stand by everything we’ve recorded though, so these albums need to be released with conviction. In fact sometimes I feel like getting back to some of the older songs and doing them again with all the knowledge and experience I have now that I didn’t have at the time they were recorded, but we’ll never do that because those old song represent where i was when I wrote them and I believe things should be left alone. So it’s a double edged sword releasing albums that are getting old, it’s good to see them on vinyl but I’ve moved forward and the band as a whole have moved forward too. The biggest goal right now is to get a new full album recorded because with every album it gets a little better and that’s what I think about.

The vinyl releases of „Night Raider“ & „The Resurrectionists“ contain a lot of bonus tracks. Can you tell a little bit about them?

  • Because the albums are both doubles with four sides each, there was space to put some unreleased songs on there too, I just thought it would be good to hear those extra tracks on vinyl and it would be the only opportunity to do that. We played with an idea of releasing the albums with 10” or 7” singles included with the extra tracks on, but then we went with the double album format. I think it’s good for the fans who buy our stuff to get a version that’s different from the original CD version, and if we’re going to do something different then I’d feel like it’s a bit of a rip-off if the records had just the same songs or less songs, it’s just a case of giving the fan more for their money.

„Physical (You’re so)“, „A MouthfuI of Secrets“ and „The Ballad of Richard Greyson“ were listed two years ago on the scheduled Vinyl Version of 200 Tons of Bad Luck,which has never been released. Any plans on that?

  • Not now, that was the original idea of the vinyl version, it was my way of making the album something different, but it was basically forgotten about by the label. There was also some issues with artwork, basically it was a stupid to believe in something that was promised would happen and it really pissed me off when people know about the album but then it never happens and I don’t have the answers why. I’m just pleased they’re now getting released on vinyl, especially “Physical” because that’s my favourite cover that we’ve done.

It looks like the vinyl release has got a new artwork. Why?

  • Very simple, the guy who did the original artwork sent the invoice for the label to pay and the label refused to pay him, so he kept the files for the 12” format. We could have tried to change what we had but that wouldn’t be right, so it was best to do something new. I don’t have anything to say about the situation because I did everything I could to get it resolved, it’s down to the label and the artist to sort out. It started to drag on so long, I got fed up with the band suffering because of deals we didn’t have control over. So, again, it’s a matter of moving forward and to be honest, I do like the fact it’s new artwork on the albums because it’s treated more like a different release, and essentially that’s what they are because it’s been so long since the CDs came out. After all this, I’d like to point out that if i had my way, the vinyl would come out alongside the CD, the artist would be paid and the original artwork would be used. I’m pretty sick of defending things that are the result of the “business”, I won’t name names, but i’m sure everyone can understand what i’m saying.

You´re going on Tour in Europe pretty soon: Chipper´s not in the band on this tour, some of the dates are not fixed yet…..How are you guys dealing with these kind of troubles?

  • It is very annoying and frustrating. It’s a real shame Chipper couldn’t tour with us this time, she is still part of the band but we needed to find someone to fill in for this tour, which we did and Chrissie is now playing violin for us and it’s working out great so far. The date still being unconfirmed is down to the booking agents and promoters, we decided to tour back in October last year and it’s not good when we get to within weeks of the tour starting and we still have holes in the dates. We don’t have management so it’s difficult to deal with, but I believe that problems are just the pregnant mothers of solutions, so I battle onwards and I’m not about to let anything stop us however difficult things get, I’ve worked too hard and put too much of myself into this band to let things bring us down now, so I just hope it all works out, that’ all I can do, it’s too late now and we can’t cancel the tour.

The trouble to find venues to play and stuff like that: I always had the feeling that Crippled Black Phoenix simply doesn´t get the appreciation (or the attention, or the whatever you wanna call it) the band deserves. Am I wrong, or can the music business sometimes get a little bit frustrating?

  • Well, I think by some of my answers you can tell that I am very frustrated with the way the music business works. I think some of it may be due to me not being willing to compromise all the time, but I think “Why should I?”. Most of the problems we have is because too much money and attention is wasted on what shit the big labels put out or the music press tell people what the next big thing is. Crippled Black Phoenix is not a big popular band but we have the same issues and requirements that bigger bands have, we’re not kids anymore, the average age of the band now is around 40, there’s 8 of us in the band, we need our sound engineer and a driver (who sells our merch too), we can’t do it with less people but we can’t afford to use nightliner tour buses, we can’t afford to pay ourselves because everything is so expensive. So for a band like us it’s very difficult to go on tour and not lose money. I’m in two minds about all this, part of me thinks that, if we can’t do it properly and get paid then why do we do it? But then the other part of me thinks, why be defeated? Why not go on tour? We should overcome the problems and just get out there and play to some amazing crowds, after all, we’re music players, we’re a band and that’s what bands do… that is what we should do. When it comes to getting appreciated, I’m not so concerned about that, only in the respect that with attention comes other things that could make my life a little easier, I might even be able to pay my rent! I think people in general are snobs, there’s too many different tiny little cliques and exclusive scenes within music, everything is fractured into minute groups and there’s hardly any real-life networks left, so it’s a changed world for CBP to survive in, I’m not sure we fit in this new changed world, we’re not a trendy band and I guess that’s what it takes these days to get any help or any attention. If someone came along and found a way of us surviving then I’d be happy with that, because I’m not an attention seeker, I find it hard to go out and sell the band, and that’s not my job, I make the music and the “business” can go to hell.

You´re touring with The Master Musicians of Bukkake. I think, this could be a perfect match. Did you select the bands you´re going to play with?

  • We’re not actually touring with Master Musicians of Bukkake, but i think we have a couple of shows together. I’m really looking forward to them, I wish there was more actually. Sometime we select the support bands, but mostly we turn up to the venue to find out who is playing. I always like to choose the other bands if it’s possible, just because I have some good friends in great band who I would simply like to share the stage with, but then sometimes we discover some great bands by seeing them support us. The only downside to not choosing the supports is that we get lumped with the “Post-rock” thing and there’s a lot of shit out there I can tell you.

Any plans for future releases? You mentioned some projects (working on „Colston Hall in Bristol with the Emerald Ensemble Orchestra“, the second part of the „Jeffrey Lee Pierce Project“ and last but not least: the next full-length Crippled Black Phoenix album), are there any updates?

  • No updates just yet, we have recorded the song for the next Jeffrrey Lee Pierce album but it’s still a work in progress, there will be a “guest” vocalist on there but I can’t say too much about that just yet. We’re trying to get hold of the recordings of the Colston Hall show with the orchestra, I talked to Invada about releasing it, but now i just want to get the recorded files back and the video footage so we can do something with it. Fucking stupid if you ask me, there’s a bunch of files sat there from a great show that we as a band have never even heard, we just want to use them but they seem to have just disappeared and I don’t think I’m getting the whole truth why that is. As for the next Crippled Black Phoenix album, I have around 14 demos, another few new ideas churning in my head, I need to go and record it all soon otherwise I´ll go mad, but we’re in between labels right now and nothing has been sorted, there’s no one to release the next album just yet, there is a couple of offers but it all takes too long, another frustrating aspect of the music business. There is a new song we’re playing on tour though, so I guess that’s some progress.

You´re a lot of people in the band. Is there any time to work beside Crippled Black Phoenix? Any other Bands or Solo Stuff?

  • Basically everyone has their own projects outside of Crippled Black Phoenix apart from me, I think if you’re going to do something then you put everything in to it and do it properly, unfortunately I seem to be the only one who believes this. To me there is no time to do other things because I want to do more of Crippled Black Phoenix , but I do have the need to get back on the drums and do something else for a while, but I keep saying that and I never do it, simply because I can’t pull myself away from CBP. If someone were to say to me just come along and do some drumming and no thought is required, then maybe I would, but whatever happens, it would be nothing to do with Crippled Black Phoenix. To be honest, I get asked about the members solo projects or bands a lot, but i have nothing to say about it really, it’s nothing to do with me.

So, last but not least: „Night Raider“ & „The Resurrectionists“ are on sale. But I wonder where to buy them to benefit you – the band – the most.

  • Wait until our own official website is finished and live. We’ll have a shop on there, so that would be the best place by far, or if you insist on downloading, then go to our bandcamp page, don’t use itunes and don’t use those shitehawk free torrent thieving motherfuckers. Once upon a time music fans actually like to support their favourite bands. The Facebook page is the most updated at the moment, myspace doesn’t work anymore, but we do have a forum that hardly anyone knows about. We don’t have a good online presence, but we’re working on it.

Any thing left to say?:

  • This year might see some changes, but no matter how much i basically hate everything, i’m not about to give up.
    So expect more Crippled Black Phoenix action!

    Thanks for the chat.


neonliberal meets…: Crippled Black Phoenix: to the main article

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Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: Crippled Black Phoenix - Seite 2 - AMF 1. Mai 2011 […] […]

  2. Nils2. Mai 2011 Antworten
    I have to say that 200 tons… is the first cpb album i heard, and i loved it. Dynamics are wrong and bla bla bla is bullshit! You guys are awesome

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