Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Interview

Mannequin Republic were backstage at Splendour in the Grass and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were kind enough to sit down briefly to answer a few light questions.

Mannequin Republic: Thanks so much for taking time out today to have a little chat.
Robert Levon Been: No problems man. It’s a pleasure to be here in Australia

MR: Are you excited about playing to the crowds at Woodfordia?
RLB: Yeah man. It’s a real nice place. Kind of earthy and a bit hippie. I like it. The stages are pretty small compared to what we usually play in Europe or the US.
MR: Is there anyone you’re keen to see while you’re here?
RLB: Man we would love to see The Pixies but they play on the Sunday. I am actually curious to see the local talent. I got told to catch Washington and The Temper Trap. So I will be doing some detective work here. See if I can take back some Aussie music to show off to my friends back home.

MR: You guys seem to support a lot of bands such as Kings of Leon and others. Do you make it a habit of touring with bands you admire? And who are your musical influences?
RLB: I like those guys. We always had fun with Kings. They’re always drunk. I heard about the pigeon shit incident and laughed. I have a sneaking suspicion it was a spinal tap moment they pulled. I admire them because they have broken through in the USA. They have had to work hard for it.

As for my own influences. People assume Jesus and Mary Chain. I love them for sure but we are often compared to that great band and they never were an influecne for me.
I’ve admitted to liking a lot of heavy metal when I was in junior high, Metallica and Alice in Chains, but I’ve come a long way since then. Ride, The Stone Roses, The Verve. Richard Ashcroft should rock out man. I think the locals will be in for a real treat.

MR: Was music important to your growing up?
RLB: Not really. I used to just fuck around, smoke, skate with my friends. I stumbled across it pretty late. I had a brain snap I guess and wondered why the fuck i was just sitting around wasting myself away.

MR: Is the life of a touring musician what you thought it would be?
RLB: Yes and no. My Dad always warned me about pitfalls along the way. I sort of listened. When you’re so young you think you’re inviincible. YOu learn though. I guess touring is both good and hard. It’s life rolled into one hectic tour I guess.

What are your other non-musical passions?
RLB: Travel. Ive always wanted that and Im doing it now. Um….I know Peter (Hayes) loves darts. And we all love motorbikes.
MR: Do you have a favourite city?
RLB: I used to. But now i just settle anywhere. It’s part of my love for travel I guess. I used to just like one city and then shit talk the rest (laughs).

: OK just a few more pointless questions for you. Who would you like to see as President?
LBR: Without a doubt Ralph Nader. That guys is a champion. fighting a battle each and every election….a losing one but a great one.
MR: …and finally. What do you think you will take from your touring of Australia this time around?
RLB: Oh man. I hope every time we tour we get more fans. I like to think we will. And that’s the same as everywhere we tour. We have a great following here so hopefulyl we can put on a good show and the kids will love us for it. Hopefully we will be back again next year for a full tour.
MR: Oh really when?
RLB: Well if not January-February, then hopefully somewhere around your East Coast Bluesfest. I love that festival. I want to play at it.

Many thanks to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been for taking time out to chat. Their 2010 album Beat the Devil’s Tattoo is out now through the band’s own record label Abstract Dragon.

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