By Jason Fierstein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
After jumping from band to band for years, Ed Ruscha, ex-Medicine guitarist and frontman for the LA psychedelic rock trio Maids of Gravity, found his musical style evolving. The harder punk element created in the past by Ruscha and fellow Maid Jim Putnam has shifted towards a sound with a more cosmic feel. But the noise stayed intact.
With the release of their self-titled debut album, the Maids breathe stream-of-consciousness, fuzzy guitar tones and mod grooves in a way only Ruscha could begin to describe. Comparisons have ranged from sounds similar to the weirdo-rocking Flaming Lips to Dinosaur Jr.-like guitar rock. The music is very elusive and, in a chat with the Wildcat, Ruscha seemed to be content with sticking to that label.
Wildcat: The albumÕs aura is one of a Õ70s retro-rock motif? Is that an accurate labeling of your music?
Ed Ruscha: Well, thatÕs one of many interpretations to the sound. It all filters in one end and comes out rock. A lot of the sounds were written on a four track for this album and there are the Beatles and Neil Young influences to the sound. I would say that they are more experimental sounds. ItÕs just rock. ThatÕs where it would fall under labels in the music store.
WC: How about the songwriting? Do you contribute most of the lyrics?
Ruscha: Yeah, I do most of the writing. IÕd say that the music is very organic and original. I have a soft spot for the song ŅMoonspiders.Ó Maybe it was the way it was written. ItÕs just got that natural feel. ŅOnly DreamingÓ was written and came together a while ago. ItÕs about being in one place in your life and then finding yourself not where you started.
WC: And did the studio (HydeÕs North Vine Studios, a Õ70s revival studio where such acts as War and the Jackson 5 have produced) contribute to the albumÕs feel?
Ruscha: The studio? The studio has a huge history. I saw it and was immediately like fuck Ń this is where I wanted to record the album! Usually they will gut old studios, but we wanted to record the album there. We liked the diamond-shaped faders and the Stevie Wonder mic and decided that the studio would be the place.
WC: Tell me a little bit about your inspiration for the songwriting and about the Ņcontrolled randomnessÓ that is incorporated into the tracks.
Ruscha: The inspiration comes stream-of-consciousness. It comes from the stuff that doesnÕt have any rationality. Obscure feelings come out with the songs. I guess IÕve never been the person to sing the clearest, in-your-face lyrics. Controlled randomness means letting stuff happen and keep doing stuff random. ItÕs about taking the album to the next dimension.
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