Austin, Texas based alt rockers Ringo Deathstarr are on tour in Tokyo – Katie Clare caught up with them to talk about their favourite albums.
You could not wish to meet three more affable people than Ringo Deathstarr’s Elliot Frazier, Alex Gehring and Daniel Coburn – the band’s friendliness is not the only reason we’re most smitten with Ringo Deathstarr: First they love playing live and actually do so for a large percentage of the year. Secondly, they’ve birthed three vivacious, engaging, and alluring albums plus two equally honey-sweetened EP’s that bring big grins and warm fuzzy feelings every play. After enjoying a great show at Tokyo’s O-Nest during their Japan Spring Tour we caught up with the trio after the show who indulged us our question ‘What are your Top Ten Albums?’ Sharing out the choosing duties they pick albums that mean something personally to them.
Elliot: The Lassie Foundation – Pacifico (1999, Shogun Sounds)
I was 18 and had Napster which allowed me to discover music that I couldn’t get at the CD store in my home town. The Lassie Foundation was one of the bands that introduced me to a sound that I liked so much that I started my own band: Ringo Deathstarr. The guitar player of Lassie Foundation Jeff Schroeder eventually joined The Smashing Pumpkins and he picked us to open for them, that’s how we met The Smashing Pumpkins.
Elliot: Starflyer 59 – Silver (1983 Tooth & Nail Records)
Starflyer 59 was a completely different sound to everything my friends were listening to, I lived in a shitty small town and everyone just loved Pearl Jam and Nirvana, who are awesome, but everyone just listened to Pearl Jam, Nirvana and The Dave Matthews Band. Starflyer 59 was completely different and it really struck a chord with me.
Elliot: Sonic Youth – EVOL (1986 SST Records)
When I heard the Sonic Youth song Star Power, I quit playing drums and started playing guitar because the guitar sounds so awesome. Went right out bought my first Fender Jaguar and started tuning it different to the standard.
Daniel: Devo – Duty Now For The Future (1979 Warner Bros)
It was Devo‘s second studio album, it’s pretty weird. It was pretty early in their career when there were more guitars rather than synthesizers. I really like all the songs on there it is pretty dark and weird sounding, most people don’t know it but seriously give it a listen, I particularly recommend the song S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain).
Daniel: Ween – The Pod (1991 Shimmy Disc)
“It is like the most fucked up Ween album, you have to be sniffing paper thinner to be listening to it; I think that’s the rule anyway. I really got into the band when I was in college, weird at first but all really great songs and just a really good band.”
Daniel: Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire (1996 Epic Records)
An album I listened to in 7th Grade and I remember listening to it I my house and I didn’t want my parents to hear them saying ‘fuck’ so I’d play it turned right down, it was pretty scary because my dad would have been mad. That reminds me of the first CD I bought ….” And Daniel’s next Top Ten choice.
Daniel: Foo Fighters – The Colour & The Shape (1997 Roswell/Capitol)
So on the Foo Fighters The Colour And The Shape there was one song that said ‘fuck’ on it just one time. I was pretty scared because my mum told me she was going to listen to it and make sure it was okay for me to listen too. So I tried to scratch the CD so that – that one song wouldn’t play, but it didn’t really work I ended up fucking up the CD and she never even listened to it anyway – so it never really mattered.
Alex: The Beach Boys – Wild Honey (1967 Capitol)
It really is awesome and right now it is also a special album for me and my boyfriend. It was one of the first Beach Boys albums I heard that was a little bit different from their classic family friendly Beach Boys sound and really opened my world to The Beach Boys. After I heard that album I really looked into their past – the whole story, watched all the documentaries and now I am totally obsessed.
Alex: Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll (1988 4AD) Heaven or Las Vegas (1990 4AD)
It has to be a tie; I love them both so much. These Cocteau Twins albums remind me a lot of the music that my mum would play when I was little. The music has a way of connecting you with memories and it makes me super nostalgic, and so whenever I hear them I think about summers with my mum – which is really special.
Alex: Dinosaur Jr – You’re Living All Over Me (1987 SST Records)
One of the first tapes I ever had was Dinosaur Jr‘s Fossils and the majority of those tracks are on You’re Living. I use to play that so much in my car; I have a really old car with just a tape player. I still have that car and I still listen to that tape all the time. It reminds of being young, driving around screaming to all my favourite songs, I can’t even decide my favourite one I love them all. In A Jar is one of my absolute top favourites and Poledo is amazing. I love it.
Thank you Ringo Deathstarr for your time, the sharing of memories and the music ~ come back soon. Also thank you to Vinyl Junkie for your patience and kind assistance.
All words by Katie Clare. More work by Katie Clare on Louder Than War can be found here.