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Noise Pop

It's Poppin' in 2010

Fresh off two sold-out gigs in New York with his mother in the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, Sean Lennon is playing double duty at the Noise Pop Festival with the iconic group and his own band, The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger. The Plastic Ono band performs February 23rd at the Fox Theater ó only the bandís third gig after a decades-long hiatus ó and GOASTT follows at the Independent on February 24th. Lennon spoke with SF Station from the kitchen in his New York apartment between rehearsals and preparations for the Plastic Ono Bandís gigs.

SFS: Have the rehearsals been intense for the Plastic Ono Band?

SL: Itís more pre-production right now. The actual rehearsals donít start until tomorrow, and then we have four rehearsals. But I have been rehearsing for the GOASTT show.

SFS: Not as many people know about that group. What you are doing with that project?

SL: Itís just a band that I started with my girlfriend, Charlotte. Itís a record that we are going to be putting out this year if all goes well. For me, itís just really fun being in a band. Itís fun having someone to collaborate with, and itís just been really inspired. Itís a new project that Iím really excited about.

SFS: You have a history of working with women you are in relationships with. Does that seem like a natural progression for you?

SL: Itís not just women; itís everyone I know. I never really work with strangers. Every time I put a band together itís always with friends and people that I know well. In general, I think I just feel more comfortable working with people that I know in a friendly way. Thatís really what it comes down too.

SFS: You are doing a couple of shows in New York with the Plastic Ono band and then you are coming out to San Francisco. Why did you pick this city?

SL: I think the main reason is we were asked by Noise Pop. But also, San Francisco is a really good place for music. For my mom, I think she has a lot of love there, and itís a pretty liberal city. I think itís the kind of people who get my momís thing and appreciate her.

Itís a good place for her to go, and it is for me too. Iíve always had really good shows in San Francisco and Iíve always had a great time. It could be the most beautiful city in America because of the architecture, the ocean and the trees.

SFS: Your parents have always been a reference point for you during your music career. Have your thoughts on that changed since you started your career? When you signed your first record deal with Grand Royal you were grateful that they didnít consider who your parents were when they signed you.

SL: Thatís true. I met the Beastie Boys [the labelís founders] through close friends of mine and we became friends in an organic way. They heard what I was doing and offered to help me put out my record like they had done with many of their friends. It was really organic in that way.

I havenít really changed in the way I think about my relationship with people I work with. I like to work with people that I meet organically and naturally. They want to work with me because we have a real connection, not because they are projecting some fantasy about my parents onto me. I wouldnít say Iíve changed in that way at all.

SFS: You had a local collaboration with Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Dan the Automator a few years back. How did you get involved with that?

I canít remember how I met Dan, but he is really cool and talented. I was a huge fan of what he did with Kool Keith and Dr. Octagon and Sex Style. He asked me to sing on some stuff ó Handsome Boy Modeling School and then Deltron 3000. He was just someone who I was a huge fan of and he reached out and asked me to do some vocals.

When I record on the Handsome Boy Modeling School record, I was in Australia on tour and couldnít even be in the same room with him. He sent me a DAT, which is the format that we used in those days, and I just recorded my vocal and sent it back to him. It was kind of a mail-order collaboration.

SFS: Before Pro Tools and emailed tracks?

SL: It wasnít before Pro Tools, but it was definitely before emailing songs was happening. I recorded on this big clunky thing that I would carry around with me; it was like a VCR. Thatís probably why it sounds kind of grungy.

SFS: Do you pay a lot of attention to the gear you use when you record for yourself?

SL: I definitely error on the side of older gear, but Iím not adverse to modern things entirely. If I lived in an ideal world, I would probably record everything on Ampex eight-track machines, but I canít really do that. Itís too difficult.

There are things that I like ó a lot of boutique effects petals that are mind-blowingly great. I general, the old gear tends to be better because there was a lot more hand-made stuff, whereas everything now is stamped out by robots.

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band performs February 23rd at the Fox Theater. Tickets are $39.50. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. GOASTT performs at the Independent on February 24th. Tickets are $20. Doors are at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.
~Matt Crawford


FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

Rogue Wave, Febuary 24th @ Bottom of The Hill
These indie-rocker are locals, but that shouldn't dissuade you from seeing one of Noise Pop's slickest and refined veteran groups.

P Star Rising, February 24th @ Roxie Theater
Priscilla is a 9 year old rapper known as P-star. P Star Rising guides along the story of a girl not just growing up, but learning the business at the same time.

The Dodos & Magik*Magik Orchestra, Feburary 25th @ Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco's indie sensation The Dodos team up with 26 members of the Magik*Magik Orchestra for an event that, needless to say, should be spectacular.

Atlas Sounds, Febrauary 26th @ Great American Music Hall
Bradford Cox, lead singer for Deerhunter, as Atlas Sounds treads over psychedelic forests, experimenting with electronic noises, in ambient wind that ushers us to a world few will ever know.

Wallpaper, February 26th @ Slims
Already known for their remixes, Wallpaper turns pop music on it's head with songs like "BootyTweet," and "I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted." Looking for a pop party? Go see Wallpaper and the fun won't stop.

Pop 'N Shop, February 27th @ The Verdi Club
It's almost spring time! Get fitted with some new gear at The Verdi Club, as Pop 'N Shop will feature over 40 Bay Area designers and artists.

We Were Promised Jetpacks, February 27th @ Slims
Packed with energy, grit, and soul, this Scottish band is Europe's answer to Kings of Leon. With one of the biggest buzzes entering the festival, We Were Promised Jetpacks are a must-see before they take off.

The Secret to a Happy Ending, February 28th @ ATA
The story of the Drive-By-Truckers might appear from their music as dark and dreary, but their performances combine a wonderfully wicked combination of whiskey and hell. Documenting their lives on the road, discover a different road of life.

Magnetic Fields, March 1st @ Herbst Theater
Amazing songwriter, staple of indie rock, sexy vocals, are just a few ways to describe the Magnetic Fields ó and only a few of the many reasons to see this show.

~David Johnson-Igra