Graham Reid | | 6 min read
Jeff Kelly from Seattle has made some of the most eerily beautiful and economic psychedelic pop-rock with his long-running band Green Pajamas although his reputation travels below the radar and usually by word of mouth between loyal fans.
Kelly/Green Pajamas have released a couple of dozen albums since 1984 (which includes the handsome box set of home recordings Melancholy Sun), and Kelly has a few solo albums to his name as well as the Gothic and poetic project Goblin Market with Laura Weller.
Elsewhere tells you all this because it is likely many readers will never have a heard a note by JK/GP, unless they read this article.
So when we learned Green Pajamas had a new album out it was time to post a track From the Vaults (here) and ask Jeff to respond to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire. We picked a good time too because the new album is left turn from that mid Sixties psychedelic style into dark country music (yep, it's called Green Pajamas Country! see review here) and as expected he's as accomplished there as in his in delivering that paisley pop.
He's also informative and interesting in his answers as you may see.
The first piece of music which really
affected you was . . .
Probably She Loves You. I remember
riding my bike up the block one sunny summer day and that song going
through my head. Must have been about six years old maybe. First
time things got fairly profound though was around the Yesterday and
Today album. That was it for me…
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role
models in music were . . .
Again, The Beatles. But I also loved Paul Revere and the Raiders! They were on an American show call Where The Action Is, which my sister watched all the time. Along with Paul McCartney, she was in love with Mark Lindsay. I later found out that he was wearing a wig the whole time!
And then, of course, The Rolling Stones. And the Monkees and everybody else, really.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana,
Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
They all made good songs. I don’t have a preference to anybody in that regard. Or any thoughts on who is cooler. Apples and oranges: who was cooler – Lennon singing Strawberry Fields or Mick singing Jumping Jack Flash? All that shit was cool. There’s no one thing…
Not so impressed with Lady Gaga and I don’t know Jay-Z’s music. I appreciate most everything though (save some of the horrible modern country bullshit and death-metal which I don’t quite get. And Christian pop.) There really is room for all of it. My daughters listen to Korean pop! Which is great. I love the French-pop girl, Alizee… And Zazie!!
If music was denied you, your other
career choice would be . . .
A novelist probably. Writing historical mysteries perhaps? Nothing fancy – I mean I know I can’t write like Donna Tartt or Joyce Carol Oates. Can’t imagine! Maybe I would be more Stephen King’s caliber…not to imply he hasn’t written some good stuff, it’s just that everybody says I look like him. My kindly wife thinks I’m more of a ‘Harrison Ford type.’ And when I was young and thin, my mouth kinda resembled David Bowie’s, which was good… Once in a while it’s: “You look just like Neil Young!”
The three songs (yours, or by others)
you would love everyone to hear are . . .
My god, these kind of questions are so hard.
Right now, maybe it might be: Joan of Arc by Leonard Cohen. My late father-in-law called it “the perfect song.” I Am the Walrus by The Beatles. One of the queerest, most perfectly fucked up things ever etched into a vinyl 45 RPM record. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen by Gustav Mahler. Anne Sofie von Otter did a very beautiful recording of this…
Any interesting, valuable or just plain
strange musical memorabilia at home?
I’ve got the infamous stand-up promo display for the Rolling Stones album Black and Blue. It’s a sexy girl in bondage, straddling the album cover, smiling an evil smile. It did not go over well when they stuck it on a billboard in Los Angeles! I’ve got autographed records from Robert Fripp, Bow Wow Wow, Charlotte Gainbourg, Andy M. Stewart and Triona Ni Dhonnaill.
Got Kirsty MacColl’s autograph on a promo picture one night after her gig here too. I need to look for that and take care of it…
The best book on music or musicians you
have read is . . .
I loved The Song Is You, a book about the recordings of Frank Sinatra written by Will Friedwald.
But it depends on what you’re into at the time, doesn’t it? I love The Rough Guide to Opera as well and The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. But, as far as a “book” book, probably the Sinatra one…although the Miles Davis autobiography and “Nick Drake,” by Patrick Humphries were great too!
If you could get on stage with anyone
it would be . . . (And you would play?)
I would be thrilled to be playing guitar on stage with Kate Bush. Or tambourine or anything!
The three films you'd insist anybody
watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Another extremely hard question as I have so very many favorite films… Maybe: The Spirit of the Beehive, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Susperia.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought
was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, by Miles Davis which is fantastic CD box-set. Listening to it right now. Last vinyl I got was the brilliant Grey Oceans by CocoRosie. Just downloaded Withershins by Smoosh, which is very, very pretty. Extraordinary really…
One song, royalties for life, never
have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which
wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . .
I have to say, nothing would really embarrass me if I could make some dough with it. First thing that comes to mind is Ode to Billy Joe …
The poster, album cover or piece of art
could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
If we take my wife Susanne’s art out of the equation, probably Bea Beatrix by Dante Rossetti or the album cover of Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch. There were so many great Blue Note LP sleeves…
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it
is of . . .
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's
all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
An old farm house in Yorkshire, near/on Haworth Moor and the low heathery hills that stretch out for miles. I would have a modest recording studio my wife would would have a good studio to paint in and we’d have a bunch of mangy sheep. We might go down to London two or three times a month via train, for a bit of culture….
And finally, in the nature of press
conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best
Because it’s new. Newest is always the best for an artist!