Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stephen Malkmus says "Guns N' Roses More Important than Nirvana"

I heard you were just in U2’s studio doing an LA Guns song?

That’s true, I don’t know how that got out. It’s not U2’s studio, but it’s a place they recorded recently. Some of their gear was lying around there supposedly. I don’t know what the deal was with the studio, it was kind of a cryptic place — that was the only thing cryptic was that U2 had been there.

Do you have kind of an obsession with LA Guns? I heard that you almost named your new album LA Guns, too. What is it about that band?

Like the videos and the rocking on the cars and the Sunset Strip and the will to power. If you have the will to power to make it on the strip you can make it, even with very few songs. You can just, like, evoke the Sunset Strip lifestyle and just be it and you are it, you know? I guess Juliana Hatfield said it perfectly: “Become what you are.” LA Guns embody that, you know? It’s just pretty amazing. You have to watch a lot their videos and look at their cover art and just stare at it. But don’t listen... So I was saying, I just stare at the covers while I look at the videos, just turn the sound down. It’s just LA. Tracii Guns was there when Guns N' Roses were founded. He met Axl Rose on the strip. He was just walking by the Whiskey or something, a couple of strippers on each of their arms. Or they bumped into each other, maybe at Guitar Center. I’m not really sure, but anyway, they were like “you’re guns, I’m roses.” And that’s how the band was made. And Guns N' Roses, obviously, is a much more important band than Nirvana in music history. Everyone is championing this band Nirvana, who is just like a pale imitation of Guns N Roses, really.

Do you really believe that?

Yes, absolutely. I do believe it. And I know that Guns N' Roses are much better than Nirvana, there’s no doubt about that. But I can name like 700 bands that were better than Nirvana that were from that year. So.

Are you not a Nirvana fan?

No, I love ‘em. I just think that LA Guns are there at ground zero at this very important time that we used to celebrate. And now people sort of make fun of people, they make fun of David Lee Roth and the party times and the good times. I was there in the ‘80s—I was there to experience it. That’s why I named the title LA Guns [the actual album title is Mirror Traffic].

But it doesn’t seem like you strive for the overkill and the grandeur of that era.

I know, but it was different times, you know? We were all just after — all we wanted, all of us, just wanted drugs and girls and money. There’s different ways to get there. Stand-up comedians do it one way. And in the ‘90s it was a different game. There was the rise of the indie girl. To get her, you could not play Guns N' Roses music. Not to mention the fact that there was also the rise of boob jobs, which I am not a fan of. And so indie girls were the way to go, so we made music to cater to them.

Read the full interview here:

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