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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 only the bands third gig after a decades-long hiatus 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 Bands gigs.

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

SL: Its more pre-production right now. The actual rehearsals dont 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: Its just a band that I started with my girlfriend, Charlotte. Its a record that we are going to be putting out this year if all goes well. For me, its just really fun being in a band. Its fun having someone to collaborate with, and its just been really inspired. Its a new project that Im 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: Its not just women; its everyone I know. I never really work with strangers. Every time I put a band together its 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. Thats 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 its a pretty liberal city. I think its the kind of people who get my moms thing and appreciate her.

Its a good place for her to go, and it is for me too. Ive always had really good shows in San Francisco and Ive 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 didnt consider who your parents were when they signed you.

SL: Thats true. I met the Beastie Boys [the labels 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 havent 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 wouldnt say Ive 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 cant 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 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 couldnt 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 wasnt 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. Thats 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 Im 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 cant really do that. Its too difficult.

There are things that I like 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


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