BIG BUSINESS: I ATE FIFTY EGGS!
L.A. RECORD alums Jared Warren and Coady Willis relocated Big Business to Los Angeles partly because the Melvins wanted to absorb them and partly because they were tired of being cold during the winter. Their new album Here Come The Waterworks (produced by Phil Ek) will be out in March on Hydra Head. They speak over Nicky D’s pizza after earnestly discussing Anna Nicole Smith as cats mate somewhere outside in the alley.
What albums did you bring in to show Phil Ek when you worked on the new record?
Jared Warren (bass/vocals): We talked about doing that. It seems like a good idea. A lot of the things I like, I wish you could convey in professional sounding recordings—the sounds you get off really crappy box recordings. The weird growl of things.
Coady Willis (drums): A weird shitty mic totally overloaded.
J: Some of my favorite bass sounds are from box recordings—with a shitty mic that sounds so big and distant. And there’s that sheen of shit over it you have to remove.
C: Some of the drum sounds—hit a cymbal and it sounds like steam exploding out of a boiler. So obviously buried so far in the red.
J: Like you shattered a soundwave!
What are your favorite bootleg recordings?
J: I’m a big fan of live records. I know I’m in the minority—most people hate those. But my favorite bands—their live albums are in my top three favorite of every album they released. Creedence, Sabbath, Zeppelin—all these bands have great live records. There’s a saying in radio—’You can hear a smile on the radio!’—and it sounds like shit but it’s true!
C: On that Zeppelin box set, they start with ‘Immigrant Song,’ and everything kicks in—you can tell that if you were there in that arena, it’s so loud that you couldn’t believe it.
When you joined the Melvins, were there any questions you’d always wanted to ask them?
C: One early on was the rumor that the trilogy—The Bootlicker, The Crybaby and The Maggot—were all named after famous bass players. And they said no.
Do more people ask the Melvins about Big Business or Big Business about the Melvins?
J: They probably get interviewed more. I guess people ask them, ‘So how’d you hook up with these nobodies?’ And then they ask us, “How’d you hook up with these legends? Who the fuck do you think you are?’ Not in so many words, but that’s the gist of it.
What’s it like being in both bands at once?
J: It was hard last summer when we were getting ready to record the Melvins and Big Business—we’d try and do two practices in a day.
C: I passed out once becayse I didn’t have enough potassium. I had to eat like fifty bananas.
J: And I ate fifty eggs—they said it couldn’t be done, but I did it! But it could be really hard to be in Melvins mode and then switch. For the Melvins we were trying to learn the back catalogue, and for us, we were actually writing songs. It’s really easy for music critics to compare us to the Melvins. I wanna make the distinction—we’re a separate band with a separate sound, and I won’t deny we’re influenced by the Melvins, but I think if you listen to the music with…
…with an actual ear?
J: You can tell the difference.
C: We never wanted to stop being an autonomous band—I think the whole situation is good for everybody. It helps us and the Melvins get a totally new thing.
J: Fresh hot young faces.
Are there any guitarists lost out in the hills that you’d like to go find? Randy Holden?
C: K.K. Downing.
J: We’d need a mind reader.
C: I was just talking about high art and low art with a friend—when you start out as a kid, you can make genius stuff happen because you don’t know any of the rules. You don’t know what’s right or wrong and it’s great. But it only gets you by for so long. Certain people can pull it off, but once you learn the right way and the wrong way, you’re fucked.
You have to learn all of it.
C: Or you’re screwed. You can’t be sort of educated. You either know nothing and it’s genius or you have to be really really good!
J: There’s something unique about every person’s mistakes.
What’s the best idea you have yet to try?
C: One of our favorite albums we listen to on tour most consistently is probably the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle. It’s so melodic and grandiose and psychedelic and awesome—definitely one of my ten desert island records, and I’d love to do something like that some day. To have such command of my skills that I could apply it so something like that.
You’re still kind of a new band.
C: We’re still shakin’ the tree—still diving in and finding the monkey, to quote Guns ‘n’ Roses. I don’t know if it was Slash or Axl but I think there’s a quote from when they kicked Izzy out of the band—he didn’t have the dive-in-and-find-the-monkey attitude. And we don’t wanna lose that ever.
BIG BUSINESS PLAYS FRIDAY WITH DARKER MY LOVE, GRIS GRIS AND BAD DUDES WITH DJS ZACH AND CHAD FROM SMALL TOWN TALK, DADDY KEV AND THE DUBLAB SOUNDSYSTEM AT THE SIXTH STREET GALLERY, 1269 6TH ST., LOS ANGELES. 8 PM / $5 / ALL AGES. WWW.LARECORD.COM.