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INTERVIEWS THE BAD PLUS|
A LIFE OF IT'S OWNWhen was the last time listening to a CD made you feel cool? It happens to ROCKWIRED all of the time but THE BAD PLUS' latest release SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY caught us by surprise. One listen does it. It's an exhilarating roller coaster ride through every emotion possible and get this; THE BAD PLUS does it without saying a word.
REID ANDERSON OF THE BAD PLUS
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT
THEIR CD SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
WHAT BROUGHT THE BAND TOGETHER
AND HAVING THE AUDIENCE BECOME A PART OF THE MUSIC
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
"ROCK STARS OF THE JAZZ WORLD!" announces the band's press release. It's all true. THE BAD PLUS are a jazz trio with the urgency and fury of a rock band. There's no easy listening here. This is a captivating listen. Just give tracks like ANTHEM FOR THE EARNEST, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACKWARDS and O.G. (ORIGINAL GENTLEMEN) a listen.Also added tot he mix of stirring compositions is a rather funky interpretation of CHARIOTS OF FIRE.
From all out funky to just plain unhinged and from smooth to to unnerving, THE BAD PLUS (pianist, ETHAN IVERSON, bassist REID ANDERSON, and drummer DAVE KING) have something going on. They set to music what can't be said with words or even pictures. Good shit!
ROCKWIRED had the opportunity to speak with bassist REID ANDERSON over the phone. Here is how it went.
You guys are going all over the place with THE BAD PLUS. How hellacious is it?
Well you know, there's some traveling involved. We're trying to keep the touring as humane as possible but at the end of the day, we are always aware that we are lucky to be able to have the chance to play our music. When it comes down to the performance, that's what it's all about. That's really what we look forward to everyday.
How did THE BAD PLUS get started? How did it begin for you guys?
We've all known each other for a long time but we didn't form the band until early 2001. I get these dates mixed up but we've been together for about six years and we were doing our own different projects and occassionally involved with each other but we really just liked what each other did and decided that we'd join forces.
Your press release mentions a CD that's coming out in 2007.
Yeah, we've just finished recording our new CD.
Can you tell us anything about it.
Um, well!!! (Pause)
Oh rock stars of the jazz world!!!
I don't know how much I should reveal. We feel that it's a natural part of the evolution of the band.
Good answer! What do you want a person to walk away with after hearing the music?
I want people to walk away feeling like they were part of it. 'We play music that spans a range. Sometimes it's accessible and sometimes, it's avant-garde, but everything we do, we do with the spirit of "we like this music and you're going to like it to." I'd like for people to feel like they were included in on the performance of the music and challenged as well.
Aside from piano bass and drums, what do you feel that each of you sort of brings to the table?
We all kind of meet at our interest in jazz and we are jazz musicians at heart. The three of us have our own passions musically. ETHAN (IVERSON on piano) is very passionate about classical music, especially contemporary classical music and also has this encyclopedic knowledge of jazz history and DAVID (KING on drums) has a real comprehensive knowledge of jazz, and rock and world music and I'm pretty passionate about pop music and electronic music. We all have our different interests and it's not just musical. It's like a cultural thing. We all come from the midwest and we all share a certain kind of outlook on life and a sense of humor and an interest in films and so forth. It's sort of a broad overall aesthetic that brings us together.
Explain, if it's explainable, the creative process. What happens when the three of you get into a room and whip out a song?
The important thing about the creative process for us is that there is a basic trust and a mutual respect at the very base of it. With all of our music, we each write individually and bring the music to the band. But then everyone will have ideas about it and how to approach it. It inevitably takes on a life of it's own. Thats the sound of the three of us. We all feel really fortunate that everyone has that level of trust that shows that everyone is going make the right decision on where to take the music. The heart of this band was and still is a place where the three of us can truly be ourselves and be individuals within the group context.