With your respective schedules, how do you manage a Band like WALKING PAPERS ?
A : We are all over the place like a litter of kittens. It’s hard to keep us in the same box. Someone is always off chasing a ball of yarn or licking their own fur. When we can get together, we do and we make the most of it.
You are the main composer in WP, and this second album was recorded before that of Staticland, why is it released so late?
A : Politics. We made the album and when we were finished the Guns n Roses bomb got dropped on us. At the moment we didn’t know exactly what that would look like so we delayed the release and Ben and I made the Staticland record to stay busy. Duff is identified as the bass player of Guns N Roses. I’m happy for his continued success and for the happiness that the Guns n roses time machine provides for their audience. I truly am, but these are my songs, they are living things that deserve to be played and as they do they grow and change. I want to see that happen and share that evolution with the people intersted.
What’s your typical songwriting process like?
A : It’s more like I’m leaving an ear open for a song to build a nest in. I just wait for an idea to arrive and I entertain it. Sometimes it’s an easy puzzle, other times it takes a bit of effort. It truly is my favorite thing to do. Making the time is harder than writing the songs.
Do you have a favorit song on this album ? (personally I really like « Death On The Lips »)
A : Death on the Lips is my favorite at the moment also. But I think Red & White is a true masterpiece. I’ve just spent more time with it than Death on the Lips. Death on the Lips embodies everything I’ve always my perfect song would but it doesn’t sound anything like I imagined that ould sound like where Red & White is a clear example of how my colaboration with Benjamin Anderson can produce grander results than either of us can produce on our own.
You have a long history of friendship with Benjamin Anderson with whom you have collaborated in several bands. Is a benefit or something complicated to manage for a band like WP?
A : It’s definetly a benefit and one of the most rewarding relationships in my life. We are beyond friends at this point. We are closer to an old married couple. We hardly talk because we already know what the other is going to say and it’s usually sarcastic and inappropriate. The best part of our relationship is when we are communicating with others because we can assist eachother in a pretty good comedy routine!
How does the audience react to this second album?
A : Some people break out in rashes, some people get nauseous, some people run naked through traffic! Just kidding! so far the response has been outstanding. People seem to like it even more than the first record. The reviews have been positive and the response at the shows for the new songs has been better than ever !
Who is Jeff Angell? Is music an outlet for your emotions?
A : Jeff Angell is a kid that was raised like a weed and music provided the support for him that he was missing at home. Now that I am an adult I feel I owe it to music to reciprocate the energy it gave me. It’s a world I can escape to and there I can live vicariously through the charcters in the songs. It’s therapy, a distraction and meditation. I’m a better person having known it.
I reviewed the two albums of WP, and your Staticland solo album, and I always find this melancholy in your vocal approach (Like the song « Red And White »). Are you melancholic?
A : I’m a recovering melancholic ! I don’t know. I think my songs are charcter studies and for a protagonist to develop character they need a dilemma. The charcters in my songs are being challenged and I see a beauty in them responding. A life without struggle isn’t worth living. So maybe for me a song without some sadness isn’t worht singing.
What kind of relationship do you have with the French public ?
A : I have a parisian penpal that I corespond with regularly and I’ve made a few friends there that I keep in touch with and that I look forward to seeing everytime I visit.
I saw you with WP (In Petit Bain & Hellfest) and Stactiland (at Le Klub) in concert, and it was two very different sets. With Staticland it was very intimate in a very small room. Do you have à preference to play?
A : Professionally, I prefer the bigger shows. Personally, I like a small sweaty club where the sound is ricochetteing off the walls and the audience is close enough that they become part of the band. All of a musician’s life is anticpating the glory of being on some huge stage. I’ve been there, and it is fantastic but until one get’s there they don’t really know that it is not as feral or as passionate as the intimate ones. They always sound better and the connection with the audience is always better. There is no hiding behind production. It’s rock n roll with teeth.
Can we expect to have a next Staticland album?
A : I’ll be making more albums. What they are called is just a matter of how to get the music to as many people as possible. I think if anyone listens to any record I’ve made, regardless if it was Post Stardom Depression, The Missionary Position, Walking Papers or Staticland, It’s all one body of work. I set out to define a sound for myself and it is a common thread that runs through all of those records. It was that sound that made these huge rock stars want to play with me in the first place. When they did they validated that sound and brought it to their audience. They also elevated it with their contributions. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant but it really is my soul and the people I’ve played with have just been adding flesh to it. Except maybe Ben he’s posessed me at times. So sometimes it’s him.
What does it mean to be Jeff Angell?
A : Man, you ask some tough questions ! Above all I’m a father, when I had my daughters they showed me the blueprints to the universe. Beyond that I don’t know because it changes with the seasons of my life. I used to be angry with the world, now i’m frustrated. I hope that as I age I’ll just accept it and only see the beauty in the chaos. It coresponds to your earlier question. I think I’m writing these songs trying to figure out what it means to be Jeff Angell and that has been my life’s work.