Black Mountain started in Canada after Black Sabbath, Black Floyd and the Velvet Blackerground broke up. They are currently finishing an arena tour with Coldplay, after which Coldplay will break up. Keyboard player Jeremy Schmidt speaks from a motel parking lot in Blythe.
What’s the most meaningful human contact you’ve had with Coldplay?
They’re pretty insular people. We don’t see them much. We’ve met them very briefly, like a ‘Hello, how are you?’ thing.
But otherwise you never see them? That’s weird. Like Howard Hughes.
It’d be kind of neat if they would hang out, so we could get to know each other.
We’re not sad–just surprised! Well, not totally surprised. They’re a pretty big band–they got plenty of shit they have to wade through on a daily basis. When we did shows on the east coast, they’d fly back to New York every night to a hotel. And on the west coast, they fly back to San Francisco.
Maybe at your last show they’ll jump out of your dressing room and go ‘Surprise!’ and all hug you.
They did leave us champagne on the first night.
Which isn’t even alcohol to a band like you.
It just goes down like water. We didn’t finish it all in one night. I will say about liquor consumption: we’ve had a better rider than we had at club shows. We requested a bottle of southeastern Australian wine–any southeastern Australian wine, nothing too specific–and Bombay gin, which we’ve gotten every night, Jameson’s Irish whiskey, and tons of beer. We stockpiled tons of spirits in the van. We have a whole cooler full of gin and Jameson’s. We haven’t been able to drink all the liquor we’ve been given. Which is nice for a change. There’s your liquor story.
I heard you recorded your album in a fallout shelter while you were all on drugs.
The drink and drug rumors are really flying, eh?
Clear them up: maybe you barely use green tea and cough drops.
Well, we’re not fiends.
Yeah, not like Coldplay.
Um… but our album was probably more recorded in a sober state than an altered state. I was pretty straight during it. Usually a few drinks just helps when you play live.
One per ten thousand people?
That’d be two or three drinks. One drink per thousand people.
Not your crowd?
Not our scene. We’re craving more the club shows–playing for an audience not killing 45 minutes before their heroes come on.
I’ve never even heard Coldplay–are they heroic?
Less experimental than Radiohead, less boorish than Oasis. I don’t mean to make them sound totally generic–they suit the amphitheatre vibe.
You sound like you’ve never really heard them either.
No, I worked in a record store, so I heard more Coldplay than I wanted to.
I bet your family is proud, though.
It washes well with the parents. The straight world can really appreciate that one. Same with work: ‘Oh, I see–OK, this is a real thing you need time off for.’
Success must be so bittersweet.
It’s as fun as it is perverse.
Did you hear about Bob Moog?
I heard five minutes ago. At our next show, I’ll really go nuts on the Moog for Bob. Play an extra pile of burbles and shit.
Set it on fire.
It’s getting a little too hard to get another one for cheap. Maybe we can borrow Coldplay’s.