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Hidden Sleaze
Finally I'd got to meet Dean Wareham and Sean Eden of Luna in a place most appropriate for this band: At the Chelsea (in Cologne, though - but nobody's perfect.). Dean Wareham of Luna is a movie-star nowadays. "I've got a role in a movie now", he mentions after being asked about his contribution for the soundtrack of "I Shot Andy Warhol". There he got to play "Season Of The Witch" - by Donovan of all recording artists. What happened there?
"Well, they wanted us to play "Sunshine Superman" - also of Donovan. But we said "No Way!", because "Season" is the better song - plus we had it already recorded. Har, har. Jewel got to play "Sunshine". Did he like the movie? "Yes I did, I thought it was very good.". I told him that I had my problems with it because it had strong performances but problems with coherency. Sean agreed. (He did this quite often during the interview). "Well that's got to do with the fact that the director is a documentary filmer", Dean explained. But what about this movie thing? "Oh, it's a movie by a director called Noah ???. He did a movie called "Kicking And Screaming" (which is - in my opinion - not very good. Sean agreed and Dean opposed). I've got four lines in it. I'm not Bon Jovi, not that ambitious." I asked him, whether he had seen the latest Bon Jovi-Video of "Midnight In Chelsea". "Yeah it's silly, isn't it? He did it with a huge financial backing and a huge crew. It's so ridiculous." So what was it like standing before the camera? "It was pretty cool. I've got to kiss Justine Bateman, do you know who she is?" Well, I've got to admit, that at first I mixed her up with Justine Frischman, because earlier on we talked about the planned Blondie-Tribute, for which as well Elastica as Luna had recorded and which sadly has fallen apart by now. But of course: Justine is Michael J. Fox's little sister on "Family Ties". "You know, after the movie was done they had a little money left and they did a second movie, like with "Smoke" and "Blue In The Face", you know, where they really let go. And I was in that, too. Hopefully they are going to be released, you should check them out."

Definitely. You hardly get the chance to speak to a bona fide movie actor over here. Dean wanted to know the reason for that and I told him that every movie over here was dubbed and nobody really cared for movies as a cultural thing and that actors didn't even bother to come over here apart from Tom Cruise every once in a year to speak for 15 minutes to about 150 journalists simultaneously which led to a discussion about Scientology and which led even further away from Luna's latest record, "Pup Tent". What on earth is a "Pup Tent"? Dean smiled crookedly. "Well, I didn't know that before, but a Pup Tent is a little tent for two persons or so. But it's a sexual innuendo mostly." Which means that Pup-Tent is something one does with one's pants occasionally without using one's hands when confronted with a "Fuzzy Wuzzy" - another Luna-title. "Well that's when - let's see - when you're with a girl, and you would know that tonight's the night, if you know what I mean, and so you get to see her Fuzzy Wuzzy." As it seems, there's a lot of hidden sleaze on Luna's new record. Like with the "Penthouse"- reference of the last album. "Yeah - Penthouse", explained Sean, "it's a thing, a theme - we're continuing. A certain Leitmotiv". Well, apart from doing all kinds of stuff for the likes of Beavis and Butthead (Huh, huh), "Pup Tent" offers some music as well. As usual with Luna it's lush and streamlined - more spacy than the last one, however. Is there a real theme perhaps running through this album? "It's hard for me to tell", says Dean, "You know?" No. "Well, by the end of the week I will be able to tell, perhaps. I haven't really thought about it." Well it's not necessarily a musical thing. But there's this distorted telephone voice on some of the tracks, which I found really annoying. I told them, that I didn't like Neil Young's "Trans" for the same reasons. What was the reason here? "Well we worked really hard on this record", said Dean, "harder than ever before. It took a long time. We had a producer for the first time who was interested in making the sound thicker and psychedelic. It's a magic trick, you know." Not really. And the distorted voices? "Well I don't know. Maybe it's something to hide behind. Maybe if you feel that your vocal doesn't sound that great you'd do something else with it." Okay - but for a whole song, three times on one record? Couldn't they have emphasised certain passages instead? "That's what Sean thinks." Sean came to my aid: "That's correct. There's a problem I had. It was the producer's choice in a way - and I don't know. We wanted to mix things up a little bit." Which they did. "But like with Pup Tent - it was recorded with me lying on a couch, playing with a toy robot. It makes the whole thing different, you know."
Not that Luna needed stuff like that. For someone who delivers near perfect guitar-pop Dean employs a great amount of uncertainty about his own abilities. In my opinion on this record there was nothing to hide lyrically or vocally. "Well the lyrics are okay", admits Dean, "we supplied a lyric sheet this time - in Europe only." And in Japan? "And in Japan. I always supply the lyrics for Japan." In Japan it is customary for the record company to phonetically trying to extract lyrics from the records which don't supply them, then have them translated into Japanese and give them to journalists, which then base their interviews on those. The results are thus somewhat puzzling. "Yeah, I bought a copy of Velvet's banana-album there once. And the lyrics were - whew - a whole new experience." Luna's lyrics on Pup-Tent are not that puzzling though. "No, it is - you might have your theme there - all about the night after the party and then some more. The night after that, if you will. It's nothing special, though." Plus loads of Fuzzy Wuzzy. There are some beautiful lines, though, like: "I don't mind if you keep some secrets from me, but don't try to keep them from yourself." Still: Lyrics is the harder part of Dean's work. The music comes comparatively easy. On this record, it goes down very smoothly - without exaggerated orgies in sound. "But there are some 7 minute-tracks on Pup-Tent", insists Sean. Well, yes, but they don't feel that way. The new drummer, Lee Wall, makes for a less playful approach but apart from that, nothing has really changed. Not even their attitude towards acoustic music. "It's not our thing", explains Dean, "the Tindersticks asked Sean and me to open for them acoustically. But we refused. We did some Radio Shows but that's as far as it goes." So what about touring with the band? Will they go as a headliner. "Probably. The tour with Edwyn Collins was okay - apart from the fact that you couldn't find our records in the shops." That was due to the strange marketing concepts of their former record company, WEA. With Beggars Banquet this will most likely not be a problem because they depend on selling records. So watch out for Luna in the fall and check your Pup Tents.

[Erstveröffentlichung im Baby Talk-Fanzine #11, August 1997]

Interview: -Ullrich Maurer-
Fotos: -Ullrich Maurer-

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