Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad Dreams and Halloween: A Conversation with Eerie Von

By indrid13

The subject of my newest interview needs little introduction. Eerie Von is a true legend in the horror punk and dark rock world. From his early role as Misfit’s photographer, to his days playing bass with Samhain and Danzig, and his current solo endeavors in music and art, there is little Eerie has not accomplished creatively. And now, as he is set to release Misery Obscura, a detailed account in photos and prose about his amazing career, I had the honor of interviewing this incredible artist!

(All photos in the interview are courtesy of  Eerie Von)

I cannot wait for your book, Misery Obscura to be released! The opportunity to see the most vital period of dark rock and punk, through the eyes of someone that experienced it first hand, will be fascinating! Can you tell our readers a little more about the book?

Eerie: I've always been the guy who saves everything, so since High School, that's what I did. I'm a collector. So I had a lot of photos, and clippings, and just stupid stuff, from my whole life.
I do regret not taking my camera with me on the Samhain tours but, it was my Dad's camera, and I was afraid it would get stolen; but all thru the Danzig years, when someone would say "Why you shooting that, or why are you saving that?" I'd say "It's for the Book" I couldn't get all the stuff I wanted in there, since I had a designer, and an editor to contend with, but there's a lot of great photos, and I'm told my recollections of
those times, are a good read.  It's definately a book I think every fan is gonna wanna have, and look at, over and over.

One of my (and I’m sure many other’s) favorite photos of yours is the famous photo of the Misfits, almost completely in silhouette, standing in the mouth of a cave. It makes the viewer feel completely trapped and helpless, with four menacing monsters coming to destroy them! Can you detail that photo shoot for us?

Eerie: I tell the story, again in the book, I love that shot too. Glenn was considering it for the cover of "Walk Among Us" because on the contact sheet he wrote "Possible cover" That would have been kool. I was just a kid, and didn't know what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes, but I liked spooky shit too, so I knew what they might like, and I got some good shots I think. Those guys were fun to be around, and we had a good time, whenever we all got together.

What would you consider the single most defining moment of your time with Samhain and Danzig?

Eerie: I can't say there is a single defining moment exactly, but favorite moments maybe, like the first time I heard Glenn singing the song "Samhain" in the studio, or playing the Stardust to 2000 people in L.A., Doing those great Ritz shows in New York. Man I loved playing there. As far as Danzig goes, there were a lot of great moments, like playing those big festivals, for 100,000 people in Europe, doing the Beacon Theater, and Univeresal Amphitheater, but I think playing for 13,000 people on Halloween night, at Irvine Meadows in 92 was a great thrill, because, there were bigger bands who couldn't put that amount of people in there for a regular show, but we could.

Your first three solo releases (Uneasy Listening, The Blood and the Body, and Bad Dream No.13) were amazingly ominous soundscapes. Can you describe the recording process you used to create the albums?

Eerie: Every record you make is different. Different people, different studio, different time in your life, so there's no formula for me. I like the way the records come out differently, and sound the way they do, because of where I'm at at that point in time. They're like a snapshot of that moment.

"Uneasy Listening" was done on a tight budget, in the tiny studio, where the Samhain records were done, with a good friend. I had a few basic song ideas, but Mike Morance, (the Evil genius) had no clue what we were gonna wind up with.
I wanted to make a Horror movie soundtrack to a film I had in my mind. Each song, tells it's own story that only the listener knows.

"The Blood and the Body" was recorded in a walk in closet, in a one-room apartment in L.A. with an accoustic guitar, a distortion box, and a casio keyboard from Toys R Us. Since I was in Los Angeles, I was in a Doors kinda mood, and altering my consciousness a bit. I think I was trying to capture a dark romantic spooky vibe.

"Bad Dream" was recorded in the Dark, in my House in Florida, in my Toy Room, surrounded by skulls, and masks, Black lights, and most of my collection of spooky shit. I was in a weird place, but played real drums, and made tape loops, and at least had a Bass, as well. That one was a theme record. The songs are the soundtrack to the life of a psycho killer type, as well as the songs, he hears in his head.

Can you tell us a little about what the style and tone was to be for your lost album, The Bastard Blues?

Eerie: It was gonna be sort of like "Exile on Main Street" by the Stones, only spooky, lots of Bluesy stuff. It was my first all Digital recording, and I worked on it for a year before my hard drive crashed. I have basic tracks on a cassette, so the songs might be reworked, and used at some point down the road. I think the new record, would be less of a surprise, if I had finished it, and put it out.

After that, I did the "Spidercider" record, which is all Punk stuff. I think I was pissed off, and all the songs I was writing were like the ones I wrote in High School, so I figured, why not put it out? I was kinda pretending to be someone else, when I sang the songs, because I couldn't really figure out how I wanted to sound.
It's got some good songs on it too.

Can you tell our readers a little about your new album, Kinda Country?

Eerie: I write all types of songs. I don't say "Oh you can't do that" I just let them happen. All my stuff has darkness, or a bluesy feel; so I'm never gonna write, about rainbows, and fuzzy bunnies. This batch of songs I had, some from as far back as 1996, had more of a Country feel to them. That's why it's called "Kinda Country" because that's how I'd describe it. I've been writing songs for like 20 something years, and have folders full of them. I just decided to put them all on one record, and put it out. I have no idea what the next one will be like.

Your Fiend Art series of paintings is absolutely incredible as well. My personal favorites are Halloween Night #1 and Cats and Pumpkins. They immediately bring me back to crisp, cold Halloween nights, when the only thing that mattered was what horror films were going to be on TV, and how much candy I could consume without giving myself diabetes. What is the creative process like in the creation of these works?

Eerie: I have a few different styles, abstract, cartoon, regular portrait stuff, whatever I feel like. Much like the songs, I just let the paintings happen, unless someone wants a portrait of Karloff, or Lugosi or Elvis, then I try to make it look like them. I like the Halloween paintings, because they remind me of the candy bags, and trick or treat sacks we used to have when I was a child. A lot of that classic style Halloween Art isn't used on stuff anymore, so I like to do it, now and then. My favorite stuff is the abstract shit that just pops out of my head.

Do you find any one creative discipline more rewarding than another?

Eerie: I can actually almost pay the bills with the paintings, something I can't do with the music, so that's rewarding, but there's nothing like writing a good song. Knowing it came out the way you heard it in your head, and that it's better than the last one. I love that. I enjoy painting a great deal. I don't have to think about anything, I just let it happen. That's a nice thing to have going on.

Do you have any final message for our readers?

Eerie: Just want to say "Thank You" as always to anyone who has checked out my Music, or Fiend Art, and those who have supported my efforts, these last 26 years. I hope to go back on the road, and come see each and every one of you, real soon.

Please visit http://www.eerievon.blogsopt.com/, www.myspace.com/eerievonart, and
 eerievon777@aol.com to see and hear more from the legendary Eerie Von!!

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