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vol 6 - issue 08 (apr 2004) :: interviews
LENNON
Interview by Monkeybe
Illustration by Sal Swayzo

A FEW YEARS AGO, MY BROTHER GAVE ME A CD TITLED 5:30 SATURDAY MORNING. I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY HOW GOOD IT WAS, AND WAS SURPRISED TO FIND OUT THAT THE ARTIST, LENNON, WAS ONLY 19 YEARS OLD WHEN IT WAS RECORDED. FAST FORWARD A FEW YEARS, AND SHE NOW HAS ANOTHER ALBUM-- CAREER SUICIDE-- UNDER HER BELT, A NEW DVD, AND A NEW CD ON THE WAY. AND SHE WAS NICE ENOUGH TO GIVE ME A FEW MINUTES OF HER TIME.

Monkeybe: How would you describe yourself and your music?

Lennon: Complicated, frustrating, self-destructive, and odd. As far as the music goes, pretty much the same thing.

M: How long have you played the piano?

L: Eighteen years.

M: What were you like growing up?

L: Exactly the same as I am now, but more cynical.

M: At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician?

L: Have I decided that yet?!? It was the first time I got on stage at the age of 15; I fell madly in love with playing live.

M: What were your favorite bands growing up, and what are your favorites right now?

L: I grew up on Barry Manilow and Frank Sinatra. Later on, I got hooked on Nine Inch Nails. My favorite bands now are Clutch, Ani DiFranco, and Glassjaw. Really, it's whatever I'm in the mood for.

M: We had the opportunity to check you guys out live at Kryptonite in Rockford, Illinois in December. You guys were great. Half the show was electric, half acoustic, which I thought was really cool. It worked together really well. Was the entire tour that way?

L: Actually, no. There was a miscommunication with the promoter, and he thought we were going to do an acoustic set, so the lineup was set up for one. We decided as a last minute decision to just do a mixture of both. I thought it worked out well in the end.

M: At that point, wasn't the guitar player still relatively new? I couldn't tell because you guys were unbelievably tight as a band.

L: I think he had only been with us for about a week at that point.

M: Have you found a bass player?

L: It wasn't really economically possible to take one out, but we do have a player we would normally use.

M: You have some really big things happening right now, one of them being a DVD coming out soon. Is it live stuff?

L: To be honest with you, there's actually not much live footage. Not much of the footage looked good. The DVD is more about the making of the first album, and the situations we all went through. It's definitely a behind-the-scenes kind of thing.

M: Is there a new album in the near future?

L: Yes. It's called I Am. We are currently working on a release date.

M: What's your favorite movie?

L: Six Degrees of Separation and The Razor's Edge.

M: One of my favorite songs on 5:30 Saturday Morning is "My Beautiful". When I saw you live you said that when a new album was released, "My Beautiful" would be the first single. Is that still the case?

L: Yes, it is. We redid the song with Travis Meeks from Days of the New. I am much happier with the new version.

M: Why the decision to rerelease that particular song?

L: I was never really happy with how the song came out on the first album. I actually refused to listen to 5:30... for the longest time because of that version.

M: The style change from 5:30 Saturday Morning to Career Suicide was really drastic, but you managed to pull off both easily. What will the next album be like?

L: The songs on Career Suicide shows everyone how the songs were originally written. I Am is back to being a heavy rock album, which I prefer much more.

M: If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?

L: Penguin.

M: I loved the photography used for the Career Suicide album sleeve. Who took those haunting carnival ride pictures?

L: A local photographer from here in Nashville.

M: When coming up with new material, do you have a particular ritual that you go through to get in the writing frame of mind, or is it just completely spontaneous?

L: It's completely on a whim. Too much thought means it's not meant to be said.

M: What inspires you?

L: My life and those around me. I write everything from experience.

M: Are you interested in politics?

L: Nope.

M: What's your opinion on current events?

L: Are things happening in the world?!? It's a good day for me if I know what month it is.

M: Are you excited about doing Warped Tour? Will it be a different crowd from the ones you've performed in front of in the past?

L: I'm really looking forward to this tour. We did a date for Warped a couple of years ago, but that was before they started really incorporating the heavy bands. I've played for all types of crowds, so nothing surprises me.

M: I think they'll really dig your live show. You have a wonderful stage presence. It would wear me out after the first two days; I'd be crying and complaining. What keeps you going day after day? I would think touring would wear on you.

L: Never. I love being on the road, and that's what keeps me going. Being home drives me fucking nuts.

M: So what are you into when you're not performing, playing, or touring?

L: Law & Order.

M: Are you into other types of self-expression, like painting, poetry, or photography?

L: I paint and sew when I can find the time. But my passion would have to be TV.

M: Robots. Love them or hate them?

L: I've never met one, so it wouldn't be fair for me to judge.

M: Where is the coolest place you've performed?

L: Either The Sloss Furnace in Alabama or The Eagle's Rave in Wisconsin. Fucking freaky, haunted places, but very cool.

M: If you could play anywhere with anyone, who and where would it be?

L: Nine Inch Nails, and anywhere would be fine with me.

M: What's the best book you've ever read?

L: The Fountainhead or The Razor's Edge.

M: Any bizarre stories from the road you would like to share?

L: Too many, too scary, and too illegal.

M: Do dogs have lips?

L: Izzy says no.

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