John Lee Spider launch Queen Bee at Upside, The Arena on Friday.
John Lee Spider serve up a tasty musical puzzle. Take your basic rock mixture and add in grindcore, free jazz, hip-hop, cinema, literature, a touch of the avant-garde and pretty much anything else you can find lying around. Mix well, sit back, and wonder what the hell it is you’ve created. After a long hiatus, the band are finally releasing their awesome Queen Bee disc. If you’ve been fortunate, you may well have tracked down one of the burnt copies that circulated a year or so back, if not, be you’re in for a treat. If you’re idea of fun sounds like one of John Zorn’s nightmares… Vocal Centrepoint Lance took some time to answer a few questions via email.
I was under the mistaken impression the band had split... What’s the official line?
“No, we never officially split, we just took a year and a half off, basically because we can. It's a trick that a lot of bands should learn- at that point where you're about to strangle each other, break up amongst tears and ongoing unrealistic bad feelings about each other- take a breath, step back and think about what it is that makes you work as a team. Relax, travel, spend time with loved ones, whatever it may be. If you're still a real band, in the purest sense, you'll be fine. Fuck everybody's rumours and expectations, do it when it feels right. For us, now is that time.”
Ummm, why so long to release the disc?
“The disc has been mastered and completed for two years now, and it's now seeing the light of day through our friend Pete Rohweter's label Delectable Records. The honest answer is that on a business level we're inept and lazy. Combine that with this kind of knee-jerk distrust of industry people, and there you have it. Our friends had CD burns of it, and we've got such a retarded vision that that seemed fine to us. I am very happy that that people fortunate enough not to be in our close social circle will now be able to listen to the Spider without having to suffer our obnoxious live shows.”
Can you define the essence of JLS, or is the whole point of the exercise to not be able to?
“Taking such a long break, and stepping back from things allows you some perspective on things, and I think the essence of the band is hedonism. Through all of the adventures we've been through together, the core essence of this band is to have a sense of the ridiculous. As musicians we are there to entertain, and anyone who thinks they're purging demons or changing the world or getting even with their parents/society blah blah blah should take the time to consider the field they're operating in. We're not writing books or performing surgery here. To me, John Lee Spider is like a lowbrow venting of energy and joy. All of my favourite bands, from the Misfits to Emperor to Public Enemy have made me laugh out loud with glee the first time I heard them.”
Stan Lee and John Romita Sr worked on the original Spider Man comics. Is the band name a reference? What’s your take on the upcoming Spider Man flick?
“Interesting. Mark Thompson and I are both shocking comic nerds and I'd never noticed that. No, the band name isn't related to Spidey. It's actually far too vulgar and brutal to go into in the world of polite street press journalism. Sam Raimi, one of the most dynamic film directors of all time, making the true Spider Man flick is simply a match made in heaven. The more hype the better! Of course, it won't match the genius of Temura Morrison head butting Obi Wan Kenobi, but what possibly could?”