NO AGE: DID THAT BOOK CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Randy Randall and Dean Spunt were the ex-Wives who started the new No Age at a gallery show last year. They have a stack of vinyl coming out on several simultaneous labels. Randy and Dean speak over vegan pizza at Damiano’s.
Who is Borgman Torst?
Randy Randall (guitar): We can’t talk about it.
Dean Spunt (drums): He’s a person who is very influential. We can use his wisdom but not say anything—but I will say Borgman has meant a lot to the No Age philosophy.
The New York Times said you’re a band that tries to do everything at once. What do you think?
R: I can only do one thing at a time—I learned that the hard way. The great thing about being a human being is that time only exists at once time. You can only do one thing at a time yet time moves very fast. If you can keep up with yourself, you get a lot done. Can you do more than one thing at a time?
Breathe and wear clothes?
D: I can.
R: As long as you’re where you want to be at the time you want to be there, you can’t worry about where you’ve been and where you’ll go. You do the best you can where you’re at.
So No Age lives in the moment.
R: It’s a goal. I don’t think anyone can actually do that. It’s a goal I would love to achieve. I’ve been trying to do it since I was 16 and I read Way Of The Peaceful Warrior—Lao Tzu.
D: Did that book change your life?
R: Fuck yeah. I stayed up til 4 AM three days in a row. I realized moments like—a ha! I walked home waiting for those moments to hit me. Or I imagined them. You can’t be in the way and aware of the way at the same time. Daoist philosophy—you are the way. If you can speak the way, you aren’t speaking the right name. At some point I realized I hit the way—but that was it. I couldn’t remember. Like tuning a guitar—the vibrations hit, then they go out. You have to enjoy the point when they’re there. That was a big thing for me in my teenage adolescence. Then I realized the world was bigger—the string never vibrates the same way again, and you’re never in the same body. The guitar got so much bigger—I never realized there were so many ways to tune it.
Does this help you relate when you’re substitute teaching?
R: It hurts it. I read too much into kids. It’s not fair because they have their own lives. Despite what I would want to see, it’s not fair. Not to be cliché but there really is no age. I relate more to fifty-year-old moms then I do to kids my own age sometimes. People in the older generation—like, ‘You know, I’ve been divorced three times—let’s think about this.’
D: As you get older, you go through more things that hurt more—there’s pain involved. And love involved. I feel musically and lyrically I’d like to convey that hurt and beautiful disgusting love and pain—all that kinds of stuff.
No Age seems much more personal than Wives.
D: Definitely. No Age is the exact music and idea and look me and Randy want. The exact thing we want to hear. Pain and all those things are beautiful emotions that humans get to feel, you know what I mean? I think Borgman Torst or us try and play up how good and how positive breaking up is—or getting hurt or people dying. Horrible things but we can feel it. In my head, it’s ultimately beautiful.
R: We’ve grown up to a place where you can have a feeling—not necessarily rebelling, but enjoying the people around you. There are more people to love than there are to hate—that’s a quote and a half!
You said in a Wives interview that you’d better love your own songs, since you’d have to play them hundreds of times.
D: And then Wives broke up. We were in Europe and had the conversation—‘Hey, do you like these songs?’ ‘I don’t know.’ So let’s write music we want to hear. Even going down to ‘here’s a chorus, here’s a bridge…’ Why the fuck do you need a bridge? It’s unimportant. In our lives it’s the same thing—why do anything unimportant? Get rid of the bridge and keep the beautiful part. My life right now is pretty much all I could ask for. It’s exactly what I want. You have to take those chances. If you don’t like your job, you have to quit. If you wanna make a painting, you have to. If you wanna play music, play as much as you can. It’s all about being scared and taking those chances. It all goes to what I said before—this music is the exact thing I want to hear. That’s how people should start thinking. Even our shirts—I made a shirt I thought I would wear. Or a bandanna. I want a bandanna.
Dogs want a bandanna.
D: If I make a shirt for people to buy, I’d better wear it. Weird ideas—not weird, but simple.
What’s the last thing you’d ever let No Age lose?
D: Being honest. And playing the music we want to play.
How did you recover after Wives broke up?
D: Randy stayed in his room for two weeks and recorded music and I didn’t talk to anybody or have anything to do with music at all.
R: If I didn’t play, I’d kill myself—I had to play every day. I set up the four-track and did like Tom Waits covers, everything I could think of. Every song I thought I ever wanted to play.
D: And after a month of that, we regrouped.
How did you two first meet?
D: Randy was in the Count and he freaked those dudes out. He bled and punched shit. I saw him play and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’
R: I’d buy things from Guitar Center and return them—I left the tags on everything because I knew I’d return it.
What from Wives did you bring into No Age?
D: Me and Randy. And nothing—actually, I’d say nothing.
R: The DNR. Jeremy was a huge part of Wives but I’m so glad to be done with that period. I feel I don’t need to hold to anything else from the past. I don’t talk about Wives—I walk about Wives as opposed to what we do now.
D: I hope this is the last interview we talk about Wives.
A clean break?
R: Let’s do that.
So what’s the first question we need to ask No Age?
R: How do we have fun?
NO AGE PLAYS SATURDAY WITH BARR, MARNIE STERN, ROBOTHOUSE: THE BAND, LTD. AND COLLAPSING OPPOSITES AT THE SMELL, 247 S. MAIN ST., LOS ANGELES. 9 PM / $5 / ALL AGES. WWW.THESMELL.ORG.