According to a recent press release: “It was 30 years ago that JESTERS OF DESTINY’s Fun At The Funeral debut was released on the short-lived Metal Blade subsidiary, Dimension Records. A year later, they released the all-covers record In A Nostalgic Mood, after which the band was unceremoniously hacked from the Metal Blade stable and, unable to land another deal for their third album, No Laughing Matter, they quietly disappeared, with all the main participants going on to other pursuits.” With their latest disc dropping April 7, we were able to grab 10 Quick Ones from Jesters Of Destiny’s Bruce Duff regarding the new single and much more…
1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?
It’s called The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown, a 30-year follow-up to Fun at the Funeral, our debut slab of gleeful gloom that critics tagged Alternative Metal. Gotta call it something, right? Like before, it’s hard and loud, you can decide if it’s metal. Pretty melodic in the vocals, we still like singing and that’s where the pop element comes in. You know, for the girls. Lots of synths, too, and various treated sounds and effects for the psyche fans, of which we are! Ray’s guitar tones will definitely give Ty Segall and John Dwyer a run for their fuzz pedals. The album, like most that you listen to more that once, has a lot of layers and surprises, instrumentally and vocally. The CD version has even more weirdness, and closes with the same loop we closed the first album with, only this time it’s two of the same loops playing slightly out of phase until they go way out of time. We stole that from minimalist composer Steve Reich. And you can also hear a sample from “Attack of the Jesters” from Fun in the song “My Card, Sir.” There are references to previous Jesters’ material in the new lyrics throughout for the die-hards.
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
For me, I was a little kid, at a friend’s 10th birthday party. At the end of the party he called a few of us that had been pals since kindergarten into the house and pulled out this department store electric guitar and an ancient (then, even) amplifier. He sat down and began playing like he was on TV, like a pro. My mind was destroyed. I told him that day I was going to get a guitar and that we had to have a band. He hooked me up with his guitar teacher. We played together all the way thru high school.
3. Who would be your main five musical influences?
At this moment—Sabbath, Crimson, Cooper, Residents, Damned.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?
Someone who sells jillions of records but moves around genre-wise, to draw attention to us. Maybe Miley Cyrus. The Flaming Lip did. The Weeknd would be cool. I think he could get heavy.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
It’s hard to describe your own music. My favourite description of us in the press was “Black Sabbath crossed with the Electric Prunes.” That works for me.
6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Screwing up something beyond belief and having everyone just shake their head and go, ‘well, he is a musician.’
7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?
We order out, Ray makes the drinks, we don’t own acoustic guitars.
8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?
Dunno, what are the hours? Being a host at the Rainbow.
9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”? If so, please tell us about that.
Oddly, I’m pretty content with my life in the trenches. I always did what I wanted to do and made the music I wanted to make. If it failed, OK, it was still what I wanted. I unfortunately can’t say the same about my personal life.
10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?
Wow, that would mean I’d have to be someone else and that I’d probably be dead now or my friends would be dead. How about the Who Live at Leeds, which is the best live album ever recorded, and it would mean I’d be John Entwistle, the best bassist of any style to ever live.
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