I finally met Jimmy Way, Chris Duarte’s drummer for the last year now, when the band came back to Colorado for some gigs in December of '98. Jimmy’s brought electronic effects into the live shows and has helped set up Chris and John with musician-friendly computers. His goal is to have the band thinking in a remixing style and to be able to record anything, anywhere, anytime. The brains behind this idea is a piece of equipment, more like a portable studio, called a Kurzweil. It’s fully-loaded with a ton of remixing software and Jimmy is ready to take it out for a spin!

Music in general has influenced me. I have to give everyone I’ve ever listened to credit - and half the time I didn’t even know who they were. I’ve always been more attracted to songs and songwriting. I haven’t really been into drummers, except perhaps Billy Cobham. He came to my school, in Houston, and did a clinic. I also like Neil Peart of Rush. He kind of brought jazz into rock and roll, sort of refined jazz stuff down into heavy rock and roll. Loud, articulate playing. Real loud rock drama. I met some good jazz drummers and was fortunate to be exposed to a lot of roots music. I listened to a lot of rock and techno. That’s what I played in different bands. I tried to collect as much music as possible, but I had to seek out the harder-to-find stuff I was interested in. I like “theme” albums. John and I were talking the other night about stuff with big themes. Stuff like Pink Floyd. Beatles, too. Not so much for themes but how the songs all go together. Like “Rubber Soul”. That album made a big impression on me.

I like some of the new music out there. It’s real exciting because it’s drums! The Chemical Brothers, the way they process drum and bass music. A lot is the beat and the way they manipulate sounds. Crystal Method, Fat Boy Slim just produced a new Beastie Boys single with cool drums. The Beastie Boys are my age and I think they’ve really captured the sound of the youth of today. It’s a different way of thinking about music. They didn’t learn instruments first, they started with the left-brain way of constructing music. Then they went back and learned some instruments, half-assed but it worked! Their beats are so phat! They’ll take a drum beat and just compress the shit out of it - “Thonk!” - “Pank!” - nail it to the floor! Do stuff to audio that most engineers steer away from. I like that aspect of it. And also the perspective a DJ brings, too. When you’re playing, you’re busy doing everything. When you listen to it, it’s a different objectivity.


Let’s see...Tungsten Coil from Detroit, some stuff when they were in Austin. I played several years with Doug Kershaw. His music is a lot like Chris. It would change, go off on tangents and stuff. He was liable to do anything without telling you. He’d give you two pick-up notes, maybe one sometimes! You’d be holding a drink and he would start! The drink would go flying! I wanted to try out some electronics in Doug Kershaw but the Kurzweil would’ve been destroyed! We flew everywhere and the airlines would’ve lost it or broken it for sure.

A Kurzweil. It’s about two years old. It’s a beast! It’s considered the serious piece of gear as far as sound design and stuff. It’s got $16,000 worth of the most bad-ass software in it. It’s got pitch shifting, acid, beat construction. I can’t wait to see what everyone does with it! I want to incorporate it with rehearsing, try this, try that. I’ve been working at it, ten minutes here, ten minutes there. Setting levels, distance from amps programmed in, mikes and stuff. We’ve got most of it done, it’s just gettin’ ready. With electronics, there’s so many ways to do things. It’s a constructive form of escapism. I enjoy the spirit of recording, so why not use it? It has a lot to do with grabbing the moment and having stuff set up, everyone’s levels set up automatically, so you can go, “Hey! Let’s do this! 1-2-3-ready!” We can make sound designs and trigger them live. Like NASA or something! It’s better than any video game or the internet. It’s a whole panel of stuff with knobs to twist! There’s effects processors in there that look just like foot pedals. Fuzz box, big muff pedal on it, looks just like it. You could set up interfaces to where you have the foot pedal trigger it. I want to have organic mixes that people mess with and dream on. A lot of copies that go in different directions. See what happens when awesome guitar and bass playing fit into that kind of thing. It hasn’t been done yet. I enjoy the spontaneity of it and want to preserve that. Every day I try to do something towards that goal, taping some stuff, chiseling at it. I’ve always liked spontaneity and Chris and John’s attitudes are amazing! It’s an honor to play with Chris and John. I’ve been experimenting a lot of different ways with the live stuff. “Thrill Is Gone” has some effects. I’ve been doing some stuff on “Walls,” a swirly effect. I can even sample stuff as I’m playing and then play it back. With drum pads there’s a one-second lag time before it discerns what you just played. There’s still things about it I don’t understand. The other day we were doing some things with bottles at the house. That was a whole wide world of wild weirdness in itself!


When you joined the group, did you have charts or tapes to listen to - or did they just throw you to the wolves?
They gave me some tapes. I didn’t have any of Chris’s music lying around! I’d seen him play a few times and heard some singles. We haven’t had a formal rehearsal, where we just jam. We’ve talked stuff out on the road. I don’t know until two seconds before the song what he’s gonna’ play! I’m learnin’ his hand signals, but I don’t have the key signatures down yet. He has other ones, too, kind of like a third base coach!


It’s in the works. It’s been hard finding time, but soon. I’d like us to try a variety of things. Make different versions of the new songs we’ve been doing. “The Metaphor Song” is one I really want to mess with. I can hear a lot of things in it I want to play.


Oh man! I know two computer experts, one works for the CIA and the other one builds computer systems. They say run for the hills!!! The government already has these contingency plans. They say a lot of things will mess up, and not just on the 1st, problems with power that will affect other things, looting and stuff. The Kurzweil doesn’t have the date in it, so it doesn’t know and it doesn’t care. It’s got a Pong machine in it! They probably put it in there because it took up like 10k or something!