SPINDRIFT: JUST ONCE IN THE NUTS
Spindrift wrote the soundtrack for their hallucinogenic western The Legend Of God’s Gun and then starred with friends in the film (directed by Mike Bruce) that followed. They also put together this weekend’s Clean Air Clean Stars festival. Pictured members Dave Koenig, Henry Evans, Julie Patterson and Marcos Diableros weren’t present for an interview at the Reno Room.
Jason ‘Plucky’ Anchondo (drums/noise): If it’s a small gig, we do it acoustic.
Kirpatrick Thomas (guitar/songwriter): None of our own songs—old folk and blues. Cowboy songs and Lightnin’ Hopkins. A little do-si-do and squaredancing.
J: The way the band is—years ago, he was doing merch for us in Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I was living with Frankie from Jonestown at the time, and that’s how I met him. He never talked to us on tour and never said anything. He was kind of scaring people from the merch table—he just smiled at them and wouldn’t talk.
K: Doing the same thing I’m doing now.
J: He came over to the apartment one time super-late and brought beer and pizza and said, ‘I got this thing—I wanna do psychedelic spaghetti-western shit.’ So the three of us got together to jam it out and our first show—with like twenty people in the band—was at a warehouse on Third in 2002. Then we got a little more serious and we got really serious when I got back from last time the Warlocks went out.
K: The band has been going on for fifteen years, so you could really say it’s been serious for a long time. But you could also publish a book called How Plucky Saved Spindrift.
J: Are you being serious?
K: I’m serious.
How did Plucky save Spindrift?
K: He likes to move quick, and he won’t do something if it gets any slack on it. That’s just the way the guy’s brain works.
J: Like I do speed, but I don’t do speed.
That’s what we call a work ethic.
J: I got the work ethic but I don’t got a job! When I got back from Warlocks, I said, ‘Fuck it, man, we got good songs—we can do something with them.’ Everybody started putting in their part. We went to SXSW and did like seven shows in 24 hours.
Did your arms burst at the joints?
J: We headlined the Amoeba party and they had all the bands playing forever. We were on at four in the morning. I went to sleep in the van and woke up and we were playing for a huge group of people. And we played with Charlie Louvin! He played at like 1 AM—went up and did, ‘Ahhhhhhhh like the Christiannnnnnnn life!’ It was probably one of the best things in the world. Here’s a guy we cover when we play acoustic! I told him and he shook my hand—said ‘thank you’ and gave me the grandpa nod, like, ‘I’m just gonna agree with you because I can’t hear shit!’
K: And then we played a pizza parlor.
And got paid in pizza?
J: Pizza and beer. He still does delivery—hot and fresh to your door since 1994.
Have you ever been fucked with?
K: I’m surprised I’m still alive and I still have a car.
You should do flower delivery.
K: There’s probably things of more value I could deliver. I know all the roads around the whole Hollywood area—every little back road and nook and cranny and every hidden mansion where all kinds of people live. The best is Mt. Washington—that’s where I live now. I’m roommates with Crooked Cowboy. We live in a huge haunted-looking barn—we got haystacks in the yard.
Did you ever feel in danger on your trips into the desert?
J: It felt like going home.
K: The desert is an inhospitable place. It’s not to be fucked with. A lot of city folk go out to the desert to have a good time and trip out and next thing you know, you’re getting mauled by wolves! Or stepping on cactus and it’s going through your feet and you’re wondering what went wrong? ‘Why am I getting raped by this methhead?’ Don’t fuck with the desert—it’ll fuck with you! I wanna tell people—stay hydrated and bring sunblock and don’t spend too much time in the heat.
J: And don’t be dumb—I had a friend get bit in the nuts by a rattlesnake. It happened twice!
Twice in the nuts?
J: No, just once in the nuts. I grew up in Pasadena and this kid lived above the school, and we’d go hop over the fence and there were always rattlesnakes. So the first time, he hopped over and landed and got bit on the hand by a fucking rattlesnake. And a year later, the same fucking kid hopped over the same fence and landed in pretty much the same spot and there was a snake between his legs, and it jumped up and bit him in the fucking crotch. He survived both times, though I’m sure his nuts swelled up like a watermelon.
Where do you get such affection for the desert?
K: From spending most of my life on the eastern seaboard. When I moved here six years ago, I was amazed how big the sky is.
J: I lived here my whole life. My whole family is a bunch of old bikers—my grandfather was in the Sharks, and The Wild Ones is about when they went to the town of Hollister. So we used to go out to the desert a lot for dirtbike riding. Then K.P. moves out and got me back into going out there because he was so enamored with the entire way everything worked.
What’s your favorite ghost town?
K: Definitely Bodie. As soon as I went there, I was in love with it. It’s one of the greatest places. I really got inspired.
J: Going to those places is such a trip—like ‘what it used to be.’ Most ghost towns in California were for gold—they almost cursed themselves. That’s why they died out.
K: Towns that were born in such remote areas—people would only go there to rape the land, and once they were done, they were out.
J: It kind of shows how greedy people can be.
K: Our job is to fix what our parents fucked up.
J: Hence the reason we’re throwing the fest.
How fast did Clean Air Clean Stars come together?
J: Our friend Tommy Dietrich in Sky Parade had the idea, but he couldn’t get permits. Anyway, we moved it to Pappy and Harriet’s and I was like, ‘Fuck it, let’s go full bore,’ and we called up everybody. Got sponsors, got Mary Patton and Kelsey Eloise to help out and pooled shit together. Joe McGraw gave us the name and Tim Clark did the poster and most of the bands are friends. And all proceeds go to stopglobalwarming.org and Global Inheritance. I think a lot of older people are scared of change—change is scary, but change is good, and you gotta do shit to better your life. I’m not looking for Clear Air Clean Stars to be huge. All the proceeds to go the cause. It’s all volunteer work—all these bands and all these people. I think that’s righteous! I can die with a clean conscience now! Like the last seven years have been great—
J: –musically, for me personally. Politically it’s been the worst! I’m a kid of the Reagan years and this is the worst shit I’ve ever seen! I’ve never seen the dumbest person in the history of mankind get elected as the leader of one of the biggest countries in the world. It baffles my mind—George Bush, fuck you! You should put that in the caption!
How did filming The Legend Of God’s Gun in the desert with guns, horses and shrooms not end in catastrophe?
K: It was continuous catastrophe. I couldn’t believe how much shit went wrong. We got our camera confiscated. We did a lot of filming guerilla style. We didn’t have permits for brandishing guns or even shooting. We’d go into these ghost towns—some were actually movie ranches. It was a touchy situation.
J: I shot my scene in a lesbian porno room—some room where they film lesbian porn.
In a ghost town?
J: In a green-screen studio. We managed weird ways to make things work for free.
Was The Legend of God’s Gun a soundtrack before it was a movie?
K: Soundtrack then story concept then drawing up script and building on that, with the director saying we need a song for that or this, so we kept writing newer songs.
J: K.P. and I wrote the original soundtrack in the Jonestown studio—we had a case of beer and two bottles of Ancient Age and one mic for drums and one for guitar.
K: Lee Van Cleef was in a spaghetti western called God’s Gun, and this is The Legend Of God’s Gun. There are a lot of references but we fleshed it out with our own story. I had to handle a scorpion for one scene—that was really nerve-wracking.
Where did you get it?
J: Chinatown—they sell everything!
What are you going to do once the movie is out?
J: Focus on the music—God’s Gun is just a part of Spindrift.
K: At the same time, I’m always into soundtracks—I’d definitely score more films. I would do it if we were offered a budget.
J: I’d do a lot of shit if we were offered a budget! Can I plug a couple bands? You need to listen to this, children—Moon Upstairs’ Guarding The Golden Apple, you need to listen to Entrance but I’m sure you know, you need to listen to Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indian and Ocha La Rocha and keep your eye out for Magic Mirror—I think they’re gonna blow up within the year—and you need to get a fucking clue like Scooby Doo! Thank you and goodnight!
SPINDRIFT PLAYS SAT., JULY 7, AT DAY TWO OF THE CLEAN AIR CLEAN STARS FESTIVAL WITH ENTRANCE, THE MOON UPSTAIRS AND MANY MORE AT PAPPY AND HARRIET’S, 53688 PIONEERTOWN RD., PIONEERTOWN. SHOW STARTS SATURDAY AT 2 PM / $12 PER DAY OR $30 FOR ALL THREE DAYS. FOR COMPLETE LINE-UP AND MORE INFORMATION VISIT CLEANAIRCLEANSTARS.COM. SPINDRIFT WILL BE COMING OUT WITH A 12” IN SEPTEMBER ON VACANCY RECORDS.