Gobloots is a Mexian-American named Alex. He is kind of from California, he is kind of from Oregon, and he is definitely one of the finest songwriters I have ever come across. Whether it be heartbreaking tales about a coach's inappropriate relationship with his students, poignant lesbian love songs, or just capturing what it feels like to get shit faced and lost, in a world that seems filled with the shit faced and lost, Gobloots does it better than most. He's Dylan meets Oberst, sharing a joint and a 40, discussing the post-MTV world until the early morning.
To accompany your reading, here is his song 'Steel Reserve Shotgun', which is just one of the many ace songs that was included on The Gobloots Mix Tape.
Desert Island Top 5 albums (i.e. you can only have 5 albums to listen to and yes, there is a cd player and unlimited batteries on the island).
Dang. This might be the first time I've been asked this question. It'll definitely be the first time I answer it. I've sort of dreaded it out of fear of what I might choose, what I might leave out. Who knows what high school me might have chosen. Something embarrassing, I'm sure. I'm also sure this list will change with time. More or less here is a list of my top five favorite records of my early twenties. Who knows when I'll end up on a desert island. If it's anytime soon, then this is probably what I'd take to tide me over until I have to press a button every 108 minutes to save the world and fight smoke monsters. Cos' if there are unlimited batteries like you say there are, then this island must be pretty special. God, I miss LOST. Anyway...
In no particular order...
- The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic
- The Weakerthans - Left & Leaving
- Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
- Bob Dylan - Desire
- Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
You seem to have done your fair share of travelling. Give me your best travel story.
My first hour in Mississippi, we end up in Gautier, MS. Hometown for my then tourmate David. We got there at about 2AM. By this time, David 's ex--girlfriend from high school says she wants to pick him up for some late night drinking/catching up. We had just pulled in after a horrible set at a restaurant/bar in Mobile, Alabama and were camping out at David's mother's house. Fine woman. Does a hell of a jitterbug. Anyway...David extends an open invitation to anyone interested. The only ones intrigued were myself and my tourmate Aaron. David's ex is a stripper these days. She came in an old auctioned police car with her stripper friend. The only bar left open at 3 in the morning was called the Watering Hole. And karaoke was about to begin. We were greeted by a drunk, posturing alpha male prick. We got past him, yet didn't know he'd find his way back in our storyline. Karaoke in Mississippi at 3 in the morning is interesting. Some of it was good. It wasn't until a young lad with two broken legs and crutches made his way to the stage to perform his rendition of Eminem's "My Name Is." He started out strong. Enter the alpha male prick. As the young lad tried to pay attention to the lyrics on the screen, the alpha male droops and swings about, two inches away from him. Talk about getting in someone's personal space. It was annoying from where we were. And as a performer who's dealt with assholes like that, let me tell you, it feels patronizing and its aggravating.
Then it happened. The young lad screams "Fuck the lyrics!" and proceeds to freestyle diss the bejesus out of this asshole. It was one of those special unrecorded, once in a lifetime moments that resonate only through one's mind and the stories to be told. It was amazing. It was skillful and mean. And he did it through the entire remainder of the song. He dropped the mic to roaring applause and turned back to his seat at the bar. The posturing drunk pushes him face first into the jukebox. What ensued was doctors can call a "karaoke-related bar brawl." Both sides of the bar started raging towards each other. We viewed this happening from an island table in the middle of it all. One man was arrested for pulling out a knife. One woman suffered a bloody head after a beer bottle soared through the air and met its fate on her head. It was quite amazing. They never did finish karaoke. Instead the DJ employed an Ipod playlist to close out the evening. After a few more drinks and the strippers danced and taunted dirty old men, we took our leave. My first night in Mississippi.
What are your biggest musical inspirations (or things that inspire your writing)?
Random curiosities and ruminations. Hypochondria. Bad choices. Deities. Death, of course. I'm sure you've noticed a good deal of my songs are born of a curiosity and fear for death and the unknown. All the things that could have been, and were best left as dreams and ideas. A few years back, it was mostly being a recluse and television junkie. A good deal of my older songs had these weird ideas, and were masked with allusions to television shows and childhood monuments such as "I Love Lucy," and professional wrestlers. I could be saying something very personal from this very vulnerable place, but you'll hear something about Hulk Hogan somewhere in there. My crutches have since changed. I guess my crutches in general are one of my biggest musical inspirations. The other is just a desire to give a voice to the voices and music in my head.
As an outsider, I find America to be pretty fascinating; there seems to be equal levels of great and shit, brilliant and crazy, inspiring and discouraging. As someone who lives in the belly of the beast, what do you love about 'america' and what do you hate?
I've come to refer to touring as going into "The Great American Abyss." It's a circus. You're delighted, entertained, disgusted, dumbfounded, offended...sometimes all at the same time. Nederland, Colorado is home to a frozen dead old man in a barn in the mountains. It's a tourist attraction in the wintertime. I've moved on through the Bible belt and the South, where signs and billboards literally THREATEN you with spiritual harm in order to coerce you into subscribing to their God. My rule is never believe someone's pledge of undying love that ends in "...or else!" Think of the girl with the loving yet abusive boyfriend. She merely thinks "I don't want to die, so I'm not leaving." Strong-armed by the Lord, one may think "I know I'm going to die, I just don't wan't to get hurt after I die." Along the highways, images of cute toddlers clobber you, as if it they were giant mobsters pummeling your conscience into believing that abortion is murder. You can also discover small towns with big hearts. Flatlands, plains. Rolling hills. All that American shit that looked boring to me when I was a child. All that reminded me of cheap supermarket commercials. All those things aren't cheap anymore. They matter. You find bars you'll never forget. Some of them might change your life, given the right people and the right band were there. You find yourself dealing with police occasionally. I can only truly enjoy everything great and horrible about this country when touring, because you're moving along with it. You're enchanted and exhausted at the same time, rather than sitting back and watching.
Sitting back and just watching, it's depressing. We're inching closer and closer to the past and the future at the same time. We're witness to the bullshit, one-sidedness and oppression we read about, learned and were tested on as children as well as that of the far-off, far-fetched future in science-fiction books and movies. The government is corrupt and deaf to its people, the only difference between then and now, is that technology and progress made it possible for us to announce to the world on a machine that we're going out, or making soup. It's also made it possible to capture history and report it as it's being made or repeated. That's a plus, seeing as American media is pretty good at shamelessly bullshitting and sweeping things under the rug.
America can be something of a social network soap opera donkey variety show. Everyone's watching. Someone's getting fucked and someone is doing the fucking. There's some music during and in between. People are drinking and making jokes. People are losing, as well as benefitting or profiting. Everyone's enraged and titillated and entertained and intrigued and scarred and let down. They're throwing bibles at it, throwing money at it, while others demand their money back. They want to take it over, rewrite it. Make it a good show for all. All the while, the Lord God gained creator/producer credits sometime back in the 1700's. At the same time, some watch in pure astonishment at such an oddity. Some are watching and feel like they can never wash their eyes hard enough. Some can't help but appreciate the opportunity just to be party something so unique, so bizarre and depraved. I'd say I don't hate America. I'm not fond of its government, yet in love with a good deal of its citizens and its places. I'm fond of the things I hate about this country, if only for the fact that they intrigue me so by their existence. I'm the one watching good and evil breaking bread in pure astonishment. It's funny you call America a beast. America is kind of a bestial place.
You can take one book and one movie from the present and you can put it in a special time machine mail box that will send that book and movie back to your 16 year old self (and don't worry, the book and movie will not disappear if they are sent to a time before they existed - the time machine mail box has been specifically designed to deal with this situation).
What book and what movie would you send and why?
Book? That's a hard one. I haven't read many current books. A book I have read since and would give to my 16 year old self is Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country." It's a short read and enough that it would have turned me on to Kurt much sooner.
Movie? Synedoche, New York. It would have spoken to the self-involved artist in me.
Name one song you wish you had written instead of whoever actually wrote it.
The Spark That Bled by The Flaming Lips.
For reasons unexplained, amazing artists sometimes never get heard. Who deserve more love than they currently get?
I just recently got into a band that's been around forever called My Dad Is Dead. I don't know how well or lesser known it is, but I recommend it. Other than that it's bands and artists I've had the pleasure of playing and traveling with...look up Willy Tea Taylor, Tom Vandenavond, Soda Gardocki (& His Million Piece Band), The Calamity Cubes!, Beat Alice, Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy, Larry & His Flask, Nathan Moore
You can only have one thing for the rest of your life, which do you chose: cigarettes, coffee, wine, beer or ketchup?
Seeing as wine, beer and coffee make me want to smoke and I have a great indifference towards ketchup, the only logical choice would be cigarettes. I'm not living off of ketchup. If I kept the alcohol or coffee, I'd always want a cigarette to go with it. I'd just quit drinking and wait for lung cancer or emphysema to kick in.