Saturday, March 20, 2010

AFI News HQ interviews Geoff Kresge: Part 2

Here is part two of my interview with Geoff Kresge. Many thanks to this amazing guy for answering all these great questions.

You can read part 1 here. Part 3 will be posted next Friday. He talks about his performance with AFI a couple of months ago, and more! Once again, if you like, please say thanks, as Geoff will read this entry!

P: You used to play live songs that were not released yet. Were songs like Don’t Make Me Ill, Half Empty Bottle and I Want To Get a Mohawk, which were played in 1994, supposed to be released on certain albums, but didn’t make it?

GK: Hmmm… All of the songs you mentioned did get released on ATASF. If you’re asking whether or not there were ever songs that we played live but never released, then yes, there are quite a few unreleased songs that did get played live. Some of those songs never got played more than once or twice, some got re-worked into other songs, some were recorded but never released… Probably somewhere around six or seven songs in all.

P: I mean, those songs were performed live before they were released on an LP/EP. The first time Don’t Make Me Ill or Half Empty Bottle appeared on an AFI release was on August 1995 on ATASF, indeed. But they were performed nearly 10 months before that at the record release show for This is Berkeley on December 1994. My question is, were these songs supposed to appear on a release that never happened, or were cut out, or you just played them because they were new but hadn’t had the chance to put them on a release yet?

GK: Oh, I see what you mean. “Half-Empty Bottle” was recorded for an EP that we were planning, before we signed with Wingnut Records. “Don’t Make Me Ill” was never recorded until the ATASF sessions though. I guess the most simple way to explain it is that before we did ATASF, there were a lot of songs that were performed live, but still unreleased. There were six songs recorded at that session and we had planned to release four of those songs on an EP. I believe the EP would have included “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”, “Half-Empty Bottle”, “I Wanna Get a Mohawk” and “Yürf Rendenmein”, although one of those may not be correct. I have the master for the EP, but without digging it up I wouldn’t be able to say for certain that the tracks are 100% correct.

P: What were some of your personal favorite songs to play live?

GK: Honestly, I can’t remember what my favorites were at that time, but probably whatever the newest songs we had at the moment were. Of course there were times when we would bring back a song that we hadn’t played in quite a while that ended up being a lot of fun once we brought it back too. If I think about it in present-day terms, I would guess that some of my favorites would have been “Theory of Revolution”, “Half-Empty Bottle”, “Yürf Rendenmein”, “Advances in Modern Technology” and “This Secret Ninja”. I do, however, clearly recall that my least favorites were “Perfect Fit” and “Soap Box Derby”, although they are perfectly good songs. They just weren’t much fun to play for some reason.

P: What songs did you used to play to do soundchecks?

GK: From what I can recall, the songs we soundchecked were sometimes songs that we felt needed to be rehearsed a bit more for whatever reason, but more commonly we would do songs that had vocal parts from Davey, Mark and myself, so the sound engineer could get the proper mix of the instruments and all of the vocals. There were also times that we used the soundchecks to work on new songs that hadn’t been released yet.

P: You said something that really interests me. You said: “under a different set of circumstances, Jade would have been on ATASF”. What’s the story behind this?

GK: That was in the Nitro Box Set liner notes, right? I pretty much covered that in one of my replies above, but again, it would be interesting to see what would’ve happened if Jade had joined us at that time. Things would have been quite different, I’m sure, but I guess we’ll never know.

P: From what you said in the Nitro Boxset, it seems that your favorite post-Geoff album is Black Sails. With Sing The Sorrow, Decemberunderground and Crash Love coming out after the Nitro Boxset’s release, do you still feel the same, or do you like one of the latter 3 records better than Black Sails?

GK: There are things I love on every album they’ve done, from Black Sails through Crash Love. The thing about it is that they are all a progression, from one album to the next, where new elements and influences come to light. It would be much more difficult to say which album is my favorite at this point, although I would lean more towards Crash Love at the moment, because I think that they kind of revisited some earlier influences this time around and made an awesome “rock” album.

P: How do you feel about AFI’s direction? Are you satisfied with AFI’s current sound?

GK: It’s cool. As I mentioned above, there are elements that they’ve incorporated into each new album that add to the sound of the band and I think everything they’ve done since Black Sails has been really cool. I always look forward to hearing what they come up with on each new album.

P: Unfortunately, AFI’s setlist only comprise songs from their major label releases, leaving ATASF, VPOY and SYMAOYE out, because Davey says he’s over those records. With you being on the first two, how do you feel about this?

GK: They do occasionally bring out an older song or two, but I would love to see them doing more of the older stuff and mixing it up a bit more. I know that the band is focused on what they’ve been doing over the last few albums, which I completely understand and that’s their right. With eight albums and well over 100 songs in their catalog, it would be hard to keep going back to the same old songs when they have so much great material to choose from. I don’t blame Davey and Adam for not wanting to play the songs from the first couple of albums. We played those songs over and over for several years, tour after tour, so I think it’s probably a lot more fun for them to play the newer songs that haven’t been played thousands of times!

P: How do you feel about ancient songs such as Nyquil, Self Pity, Don’t Make Me Ill and Half Empty Bottle being performed by AFI in 2010?

GK: I wouldn’t really call them “ancient” just yet, but I think it’s really cool. They have a lot of fans that aren’t familiar with anything before Sing the Sorrow, so I think it’s great that they’re doing some of the older songs again. Personally, I’d like to see them do three or four of those songs in every set, but the band has changed a lot over the last few albums and I understand that those songs don’t really “fit in” with the newer material in a live situation.

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