Ours Go To 11: Wooden Shjips

by | Oct 23, 2009 | MUSIC

There’s a scene in the classic mocku-rockumentary Spinal Tap wherein Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnell is showing the documentary-maker around his impressive stash of equipment. After going through several of his dozens of guitars, Nigel heads for a Marshall amp, explaining the band’s edge over other bands. “The numbers all go to 11,” he says, to the confusion of his interviewer. When queried as to why the band didn’t just make 10 louder and have their equipment go to 10 like everyone else’s, Nigel blankly stares and replies with the incomparable line “These go to 11.”

It is this philosophy, somewhat ridiculous, but very singular, that was the rational for this interview series. That and the fact that there are 11 questions, of course.

I love, love, love, love, love Wooden Shjips.

There’s a scene in the classic mocku-rockumentary Spinal Tap wherein Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnell is showing the documentary-maker around his impressive stash of equipment. After going through several of his dozens of guitars, Nigel heads for a Marshall amp, explaining the band’s edge over other bands. “The numbers all go to 11,” he says, to the confusion of his interviewer. When queried as to why the band didn’t just make 10 louder and have their equipment go to 10 like everyone else’s, Nigel blankly stares and replies with the incomparable line “These go to 11.”

It is this philosophy, somewhat ridiculous, but very singular, that was the rational for this interview series. That and the fact that there are 11 questions, of course.

I love, love, love, love, love Wooden Shjips. The San Fran foursome manages to put out some of the most expansive, befuddling, intoxicating, confounding, ear-splitting, mind-bending, spectacular noise around. Heavily entrenched in the glorious swirl of psychedelia gone by, the Shjips are far from mere shills for the good ole days. They turn psych rock on its head, and the results are verily delightful. As great as they are on record, seeing them live is not to be missed. As luck would have it, Wooden Shjips will be bringing their insanity to The Red & The Black in DC on Sunday, 10/25. I’ll be there, you should be too.

Ripley Johnson, ringleader of the Shjips, has become victim the second. Check it out.

Megan Petty: How would you describe your music?

Ripley Johnson: Trance-rock

What’s been your favorite show of this tour (or, since this one has just started, the last one) and how come?

We played a birthday party in the wilds of Estonia, out in a field, next to a stream. Everyone was already completely out of their minds when we arrived in the afternoon. It was a crazy night.

What was the last record you bought?

Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy.

Favorite obscure holiday?

Samhain.

‘Tis better to give that to receive’: agree or disagree?

I think there’s merit to the Wiccan Rule of Three, that what you put out into the world comes back three times.

Photobucket

What’s your favorite Wooden Shjips song?

“Shrinking Moon for You,” mostly because it was our first recording.

Please describe, for those of us who did not have the pleasure of attending, the Frisco Freakout.

The Frisco Freakout is an annual music fest that I co-organize with a friend. It’s a benefit for an arts group here called Creativity Explored. This year we had ten bands, including Sun Araw, Barn Owl, Magic Lantern, Citay. Liquorball with Steve Mackay from the Stooges. Powell St. John and the Aliens, with Bill Miller from the legendary Cold Sun on electric autoharp.

Who’s your favorite Rolling Stone?

Keith Richards.

What does a breakfast of champions consist of?

I’m partial to a Mexican breakfast: beans, eggs, fresh tortillas, fresh juice.

If you could have done the score for one film, what would it have been?

Cockfighter.

Please finish the joke: a priest, a rabbi, and a voodoo shaman walk into a bar…

..and the leprechaun says “is this some kind of joke?”

Matt Ringer

Matt Ringer

A meat popsicle.




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