Ed Wilcox Talks INC 2013 and Temple of Bon Matin: "The Loudest Band to Ever Play CBGBs"
|Ed Wilcox: He trippy, mane.|
He has kept time for ensembles rooted in comfortably familiar North American idioms, like jazz and blues-based stompin'. And he's also been part of innumerable improvisational outfits that righteously annihilate the boundaries between avant-garde expression and rock 'n' roll passion.
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While having collaborated with an incredible roster of players that includes free-jazz luminaries such as Arthur Doyle and Marshall Allen, and underground DIY freaks like Miami's own one-man guitar armada, Rat Bastard, Wilcox's main outlet the past two decades has been the manically eclectic and super-cult Temple of Bon Matin.
Now since we're just two days away from the tenth anniversary of the International Noise Conference, we here at Crossfade shot Ed some questions to find out, like, what's up.
Crossfade: Do you stand by your frozen-in-time website's assertion that TOBM was the loudest band to ever play CBGBs?
Ed Wilcox: We played CBGBs a bunch, one night we finished and the sound guy said "Louise (Parnassa, the booker) loves you guys. But you are so loud. You are the loudest band that play CBs." I asked him, "Louder than Liveskull?" Yup. "Louder than Blind Idiot God?" Yup. "Louder than Blitzspear?"
"Yup, you guys are the LOUDEST!" And we still are. I think there is a misconception that we've softened. No. You've seen me, I still scare the hell out of kids a third my age. However, there are some beautiful tunes on some of our albums. Just like Faust play a tune with a jackhammer and then go into a lovely acoustic number. I always wanted our albums to take people on a fun little mental vacation.
Is TOBM synonymous with Ed Wilcox? Or do you consider the lineup more fluid?
Right now, most of the shows (not all) have been solo. But only because Lora Bloom, who has been in the band for about 10 years, is too busy with work to tour a lot. I still play with Vinnie Paternostro and Eric Bailies and John Price a lot. They have all been in and out of the band for years. We love each other like brothers. We fight like brothers, but I love those guys for sure. Also, I tour a lot. Sometimes the other guys can't. And, right now, I'm having a hard time finding a bass player. I want to go for that Miles mid-70s, Pete Cosey-era, dark jungle sound. Can't find a bass player who owns a wahwah pedal. But I can still do a solo thing, and get that Exuma / Dr John the Night Tripper feel. And it's still loud!
Could there ever be a show without you?
I wish stupid Temple of Bon Matin could do a gig without me, I could watch football.
Jazz, rock, noise: What came first for you?
Jazz, rock, noise? None of them came first. I grew up in the South in the '60s. It was Jimmy Webb all the way baby! Glen Campbell, Conway Twitty, George Jones. All the songs that just made you want to get divorced. Later, living in Glasgow in the early seventies it was Glam. I still have Noddy Holder sideburns and a Slade tatto. Of course, as a teenager it was all the prog stuff, King Crimson to Public Image. But as a wannabe drummer it was jazz and a lot of world music.
Beyond bands and genres and stuff, my greatest love is the simple sound of percussion. Asian music has the best: tablas, gamelans, Japanese taiko, etc.
I know people rarely hear drummers speak this way, but it's the sound of my instrument that is most important. Miles Davis went through so many changes, but his sound was the same. He just put himself in different surroundings. Although, I'm more of an Ornette man than a Miles guy. Also, I am doing more and more singing, and sometimes it's hard to sing and play like Keith Moon. But I try. And now that I'm talking about Keith Moon, well, I love Moonie. And I also love Milford Graves. You know Arthur Doyle says I play like Milford Graves and Sunny Murray at the same time. If you compare Milford's shattering of drumming traditions, they are very similar to Keith Moon's. Who pushed first and who pushed harder?