Meg: That's a funny question to ask me. I'm an extreme idealist. And as much as I'd like to say I'm entirely happy, I'm never 100% happy with anything that exists on Earth. What I see and hear in my head is a thousand times better than anything that could ever be.
Jared: But you've got to have some dissatisfaction with your art.
Meg: Everything that I'm going to be doing next is going to be better. Even the Beatbox Soapbox tour is better. Everything coming up is better. Though I'd like to work with other people's voices. I'm kind of sick of my own. That's my flatmate's voice on "Sweet Thing." I told her to talk into the microphone and I just took her story, chopped it up, and stuck it in a song.
Jeff: So who's Jenny B? [One of the credited voices on "Deeper" from Piece and Love.]
Meg: Jenny Bellstar. She was on the last Pigface tour. You know how she sang the vocal to that? We didn't even have headphones. It was just coming out of my speakers. She was lying on my bed and said, "Meg, I've got an idea!" And I was, "Wait, I'll get a level. Let me get you some headphones." And she said, "I can't wait. I've got an idea now!" And I was thinking okay, fine. And we did it and it turned out alright. [Piece and Love] was recorded completely differently than the way everyone else records an album. It wasn't linear at all. It was done completely spontaneously. I'd be working on something and someone would come in--like my drunken flatmate or Jenny would pop over or Steve [Crittall] would say, "This would be great with guitar." And we'd add some guitar.
Mark: What are you going to do tonight, Jared?
Jared: The first song I'm doing has music by Martin King and the piece is something I wrote for the most recent issue of Gargoyle. There are all sorts of great people in this issue. Richard Hell. John Cooper Clarke. I'm doing that which is not on the album. And we'll be selling those at the show for a really great price. And it's full of brilliance. Maja is a brilliant woman. She really is.
Meg: In fact...
[There is some scuffling noises on the tape at this point.]
Meg: Nothing. Nothing. You heard nothing.
Jared: But I'm really happy about it. Maja and I are really happy together. This is it. This is the last relationship of my life and it's completely different from any relationship that I've ever been in.
Meg: She's real nice. I approve. I really like her.
Jared: She's quite something. She's very much a challenging equal. She's intellectually stimulated, extremely well-read, extremely well-educated. She's Nick Cave's publisher and released all of Leonard Cohen's books in England. She'll go into contract negotiations with a teddy bear, which is her big thing. They're everywhere. Her house is full of them. And she stows them away in my stuff. She'll go into contract negotiations with one under her arm and sit it down on the table. They'll be thinking "Right, pushover" and she'll steal right in. She'll come out with a great deal.
Jeff: What is a soapbox?
Meg: In London there is this place called Speakers' Corner. In the old days, they used to put up--literally--a soap box and people who had an opinion could get up and tell their opinion. Orators. And they'd interact with the people in their immediate audience. Of course, that means we're very opinionated.
Jeff: Well, we couldn't tell that. [Cries of derision all around]
Jared: [The tour concept] was originally even more low-tech than it is now. It was going to just be us and a beat box. Much more storytelling. Soapboxing.
Jeff: Okay, this is hypothetical. You wake up tomorrow and you're dead. The Grim Reaper is standing there and he says, "Come on, Meg. Come on, Jared. Let's go." And you start to walk out. And you're at home so you've got your entire CD collection there.
Mark: Though in your case, Jared, you're in your storage unit in East Harlem.
Jeff: And you're on your way and the Reaper turns and says, "Okay, grab five recordings from your collection. Only five and these five are going to be with you in the netherworld for all eternity."
Jared: Piece of cake. Go ahead, Meg.
Meg: Kate Bush, The Dreaming. White Noise: An Electric Storm, by David Vorhaus. Uh, go on, Jared. I'm going to think a bit about the rest.
Meg: Ooh, I want that one, too.
Mark: Okay, so you'll have adjoining cells in Hell. You'll be able to share.
Jeff: That's right. You've got to maximize your choices.
Meg: Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy. Let's see, what era? '50s, '60s...it's got to be something that I'll want to listen to over and over and over and over again.
Mark: Because you will be.
photo by mark teppo
Jared: Hopefully they'll just be piping in samba music all the time.
Meg: Oh, Motown. Greatest Hits. And um...oh! One last one.
Jared: Yeah, which one of James Brown's?
Meg: What have I got? I've got rock music. I've got Kate Bush. I got the Motown. One more. What do I really want? [Thinks about her final answer some more]
Jeff: Come on, Meg. This tape cost $4.99. [Everyone laughs]
Meg: I'm thinking. I'm thinking.
Jeff: [In his best radio announcer voice] "The pressure is on. Meg cannot think of the fifth album to take into death with her."
Meg: I can't decide. There are too many to choose from.
Jeff: Now we know who is the better decision maker because Jared just rattled his right off.
Mark: So, let me distract Meg for a minute. Why The Dreaming?
Meg: Ah, fucking hell. Production-wise, I just love that album. Kate Bush, before anyone else, started using vocal effects--different effects--within the same song. I do that. Other people were doing it, but really subtly. Kate just did it right over the top. [sits up] Okay, fifth album: The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits. [With some reflection] Hmm, I should have taken Swan Lake. I used to listen to that over and over as a kid.
Jeff: What about Depeche Mode?
Meg: No. I like those things. But if it is going to be five that you're going to listen to over and over again, there's got to be elements that you discover over time as you listen to them. They've got to be complex and intelligent albums. Hang on. Can I get rid of the Beach Boys? Though, production-wise...maybe I should go with Mozart or something...
Jared: Well, I've got two classical albums that you can borrow. And Chopin's Nocturnes is really peaceful. And complex.
Meg: Okay, okay. I'll keep the Beach Boys.
Jared: Which will be great to relax to after too much Electric Storm or too much Iggy and the Stooges and Funhouse.
Meg: Okay, so the Beach Boys is a double album and the Motown is a double album. And can I bring some musical instruments? 'Cause I'm going to be very bored even with those five.
photo by mark teppo
Jeff: Well, we've talked with the Reaper and he's bringing along a raspberry iMac. And ProTools.
Meg: I don't want ProTools.
Mark: No? Little expansion board, lots of hard drive space?
Meg: Okay, I admit it. I do want ProTools.
Jared: Come on, if the Reaper's bringing it, you don't have to pay for it with anything but your life. Get it fully tricked out.
Jeff: He's going to give you Logic. And Photoshop.
Mark: Jeff, you know there's already a full design studio down there. Don't you know. Totally equipped. Though you can't get into it. That's the nature of Hell.
Jeff: And there's a Linotronic Hell Scanner right there. And I can't use it.
Jared: I wrote a short story about a guy who gets killed by a bus and, as he's lying there in the gutter with his life seeping out, he gets asked to make the choice where he wants to go because it is not pre-determined. He says, "Well, I want to go to Hell because all the greatest artists and musicians are probably down there."
Meg: [Singing] "If there's a Rock 'n' Roll Heaven..."
Jared: And so he goes to Hell.
Meg: "...then you know they've got a Hell of a band."
Jared: This guy is walking down a hall in Hell. He realizes that the typewriter sounds that he is hearing is coming from Dylan Thomas' room. And he goes in there to talk to him and Thomas just stonewalls him. "I'm stuck on this passage and I cannot get it right. I've been doing this for centuries. I can't get it right. I don't have the time to talk to you or any interest in doing so, anyway. Go harass T. S. Eliot or Jimi Hendrix, but leave me alone." So, the guy goes off and finds Hendrix and Hendrix is stuck trying to write the chorus of "The Best Song Ever Written." Hendrix won't talk to him either. That guy's Hell is that he can't talk to any of the people that he's always wanted to.
photo by mark teppo