According to a recent press release: “Where would heavy music be without singular visions and the lure of the willfully perverse? Formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2010, Ides Of Gemini have built a formidable and enigmatic reputation by stoutly refusing to conform to anyone else’s idea of what lurks in the shadows-with a sound that elegantly salutes the greats of the post-punk and proto-goth eras while simultaneously harnessing the oomph and clangor of underground metal. The ornate sparkle of something else, something irresistibly alien has long ensured that Ides Of Gemini have stood proudly alone, and yet their stately invective has clearly connected with the discerning masses.” We get J. BennettChelsey to answer our 10 Quick Ones about the new disc and 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?
Our newest album is called Women, and it comes out on Rise Above Records on April 28th. Why is it called Women? Because all of the songs are about women. We also have two new members in the band—Scott Batiste (drums) and Adam Murray (bass). They both played on the album and helped make the songs the indisputable masterpieces they are. Hidden nuggets? If you play the album backwards, you might hear a brief but titillating message from beyond the grave courtesy of the late, great ingénue Ingrid Pitt.
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?
When I first heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Def Leppard’s Pyromania, I knew that I was born to boogie. But I didn’t start playing guitar until I was a teenager and fell under the six-string spells of John Sykes, James Hetfield and John Christ. Too bad none of those licks rubbed off on me. Those guys can really play.
3. Who would be your main five musical influences?
Billy Ocean, Paula Abdul, Warren Zeevon, Edith Massey’s version of “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and the guy who wrote the “Mr. Ed” theme song.
4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?
Scatman Crothers. Sadly, he’s been dead for 30 years.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?
Ever see that movie The Hunger, starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve? That’s what we’re shooting for.
6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?
All the limos, groupies and exotic powders, obviously. Just kidding. I’ll let you know when I meet an actual 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?
Charlie whips up an excellent Chicken Kiev and braised endive, followed by key lime pie and assorted stinky cheeses for dessert. Mick usually has a bottle or three of Thunderbird on hand, and Keef is always badgering us to do an unplugged rendition of Motörhead’s “Orgasmatron,” but we never seem to find the time.
8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?
A musician who makes money.
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”?
In retrospect, that time we did the donkey show in Tijuana was a colossally bad idea. The donkey they brought in for the gig—Juan Carlos was his name, if I remember correctly—wasn’t quite right for us. We would’ve preferred a donkey that was a bit more… well, docile, I suppose.
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?
Old Dirty Bastard’s pre-millennial masterpiece Ni**a Please, for obvious reasons. What does it mean to me? You shouldn’t have to ask. It is the sound of freedom, my friend. FREEDOM.
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