Monday, February 18, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH DEX ROMWEBER

Dex Romweber: Elvis reincarnated.

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Who are you wearing?

Who am I wearing? What does that mean?

It's a red carpet question!

Who am I wearing?

Who's your designer?

Who's my designer? Are you talking about my clothes? Or anything? Psychological clothes? I mean, who am I wearing. Huh. I would say at the moment I'm wearing the dark side of my experiences on earth and trying to get them to flow out of my body so that the beast within me is not tyrannical.

Is that you in the blue?

A woman lost, me in isolation, longing and contentment in misery.

What song have you always wanted to cover?

'Alone and Forsaken' by Hank Williams.

Any plans to do it?

I've done it when I was younger but I haven't played it lately. When I was growing up I suffered from this Hank Williams syndrome, which means that you just crash and burn and destroy in the midst of a somewhat creative life, but I had to get away from the Hank Williams syndrome. Or try to. So you know, with Hank I have a little bit of trepidation because he reminds me of things that I've done that wasn't really the right thing to do, man.

Do you think that young rock n rollers will suffer from the Dex Romweber syndrome?

Yeah, but I'm influenced by a lot of things, you know. I mean, being on the earth you pick up on a lot of things. I think I'm concerned now with my own development, as a person. Which includes psychological study.

Besides you, who does the best version of 'Love Letters'?

I wouldn't really know, but I think the original version, Ketty Lester's, is the best. I found the original 45 at a local thrift store after I was haunted by the tune for a couple of weeks. And then some friends were over and I had a crowded living room, and I had to reach over this chair to get the 45 to play it for them, and I tripped over the chair and smashed the 45 to pieces, which was a real drag. 

What's the best way to piss off Sara?

I think when I become too selfish in my playing. I think when I become too obsessed with the self, I think she wishes I would back off a bit.

What do you think she'll say when we ask her what's the best way to piss you off?

I have no idea what she's gonna say. I really don't.

Elvis, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, Little Richard or Richie Valens?

Who would I pick? Well, that's a pretty hard question. But you know what? I'm a huge Elvis fan. I'm tempted to say Elvis but my life has been a little bit more like Gene, and Gene is a little bit more low level and gut level. I'm such a huge Elvis fan but I'm gonna go with Gene, because everyone would choose Elvis. Or some people would.

Free association. Flat Duo Jets?

Mayhem, trouble, fun, terror, breakage, delinquency, spontaneity and hurt.

Let's Active.

I really like them, a lot. I really like Mitch's songwriting and I thought Sara played with them great. I really was blown away every time I saw them.

Snatches of Pink.

I just kept my eyes on Sara for some reason. I think she has a presence that makes you want to look at her. I thought they were a good band and they did the Chitlin circuit and I think they experienced rock n roll at a low level and a high level. They lived it, you know.

North Carolina.

I think of the terrain. I am always fascinated by the Southern woods, and forgive me, I sound like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but the Southern moon and the rural south...this is the land I've grown up on and I have an affinity with it. This might not be the best place for me to live but I live out in the country so I'm able to stay away from the drama of the town.

New York.

The first time I went to New York I was 15 and I was still smoking weed then, and I was blown away by the city. I felt such an affinity there. I've been there so many times since then, and experienced so much strange shit there. For sure, I saw a lot of weird shit. I've been ripped off there, I've been almost homeless there, I have experienced nights of utter debaucery and drunkenness and sexscapades, which I'm not too proud of. It's lost a lot of its mystery to me by now but I still dig it. It's just that the traffic is a motherfucking bitch and just getting in and out of there to play a gig is the source of real trouble sometimes.

Other than the Flat Duo Japs, what's the best name for a Flat Duo Jets cover band?

It was a Japanese band. They were called the Jap Duo Jets. And there's another one down in South America or Mexico.

Have you ever seen any of them play?

Nah. I'm surprised they even exist.

Which band were you most excited to play with at Norton Fest?

What the DJ was playing. For sure, man. I had stepped out when the 5 6 7 8's were playing but my sister was raving about them. I didn't catch a lot of the other bands. I was off doing some other things but what the DJ was playing was cool as hell.

If you could have one of your songs in a commercial for anything, what kind of commercial would you pick?

Some sort of low level wine or whiskey in some sort of dark night club that was very jazzy and lascivious with big-breasted go-go dancers and a sort of a low level rock n roll party that was doing a thing for a drink.

What show are you the most proud of being on: The Cutting Edge, 120 Minutes or David Letterman?

The Cutting Edge.

What's the worst place you ever stayed on tour?

Man, that's a good question. Where was it? God, we've stayed in some fucked up places sometimes. I can give you a description of it: very very hot, unshowered, unbathed, unshaven, poor diet, too many cigarettes, no privacy, perhaps a slight hangover and a horrible tinge of madness.

Who started playing music first, you or Sara?

It's hard to remember but I think we were both hitting it at the same time. I know I picked up the guitar at 11 and I'm really not sure what Sara was doing but it wasn't long before she was. Sara naturally fell into the drums.

What's the one question you think we should ask her when we interview her?

I don't know, because Sara is a private person. She'll talk to me but a lot of what she does, I don't know, and a lot of what I do, she doesn't know. But, you know, I'm not sure - I don't want to offend her. Lord knows I've done that enough. I would ask her what is her idea of a really good day.

Do you still live in the Mausoleum?

The Mausoleum burned down in 1986 and it almost killed my best friend. We were on drugs and it's a very strange story surrounding it all. I had a friend who had a sister and I had a very heavy crush on her sister. She was an older woman, a different, strange kind of woman. I had this horrible crush on her and they lived a block away, and I asked her to have a date with me that night, the night the Mausoleum burned down. I was coming over all the time and being a general nuisance, and she called the date off. She said, 'Look, I cannot do this, you're too fucking weird." She didn't say that, but I was just too clingy in my effort to date her, and she called the night off. So that night, me and my friends had some acid and we bought a bunch of beers. We didn't have any weed, which we wished we did, and we took it all day and stayed up all night drinking and tripping. My best friend crashed all drunk on my bed, and I left a candle burning, and then me and his girlfriend went for a walk in the early morning, while on LSD. We were maybe a half mile from the Maus when something told me to return pronto back to the Maus, and we walked back in the woods and through the street, and we saw flames coming from behind the house, and I thought someone was burning leaves although the flames were really high. And I came back and the entire Mausoleum was in flames and my friend was in there, and there was no way to get in. The fire had already come up to the door. I tried to open a window but it was all broken and cracked, the glass had already broken and the smoke was so hot that I couldn't even open the window. I was in shock. I ran into my mom's house and I tried to dial the fire department but I couldn't dial the phone. The bathroom door was closed and suddenly my friend came out with his hair singed, and he said he had barely gotten out alive. He woke up and the room was completely on fire. I was flipping out, and I kept saying, "I can't believe you're alive," over and over again. Later, the fire department arrived and just with their hoses, gorged the whole place and tore all the gothic furniture, all my records, tons of gothic stuff. My friend and his girlfriend stood in shock. And my sister came out and she thought that we all burned alive and she was hysterically upset, crying - it was a big scene. It could have been worse. So, the Maus went up in '86 and that was just a turning point in my life.

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Links:

Dex Romweber Duo on Facebook

Flat Duo Jets on Facebook

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