Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Auckland alt.rock band Villainy scored a major coup for the cover of their debut album Mode Set Clear -- see below -- they had the famous Storm Thorgerson (renown for his Pink Floyd album artwork) design it. And how did that come about?
They just asked.
The contents however are at some distance from Floyd's tripped out moods. Villainy deliver a very focused fire-storm of tough-minded and blistering rock which has seen them open for the likes of Incubus and Seether.
Their debut albm was also produced by Tom Larkin, Shihad's drummer, and came on the back of their successful single Alligator Skin.
Wrapped up by Thorgerson, Mode Set Clear looks set to throw them right into the mainframe of New Zealand's loud and heroic rock. Time then for the band's singer/guitarist Neill Fraser to answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
Show Must Go On – by Queen. I remember my parents had bought the Greatest Hits record and once I got past the kid friendly fun of Radio Gaga I was really struck by this track. Something about a recently dead man singing about his legacy in during his dying days, heavy stuff.
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
Freddy (as above) and Michael Jackson. Real stars those guys.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Lennon / Nirvana / Madonna / Jackson.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
Something still deep within the industry, too much heart and souled poured in there to let it go to waste.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
My pick of our tracks would be Paradise Lost and More Than You Can Do – two equally diverse songs. People know us as a hard rock band, these tracks take quite a different path. Songs by others – Heavy Metal by White Rabbits. Pretty new track but incredibly addicitve. Recalls recent Radiohead without being a pastishe.
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?
I have a setlist from when the Mars Volta played the St James Theatre back around 2007. It’s complete with pieces of the stage still stuck to the gaffer. I think it was one of the final shows before the theatre closed so it’s got symbolism beyond the show (which was phenomenal) in that.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
I can’t recall any. Most of the lit I read is older fiction. I’ll delve into Scar Tissue or something like that when I need some sobering.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)
Cliched by probably Kurt Cobain. He’s so shrouded in mystique. Was he genius or was he just a punk rocker out of his depth? I’d probably just play some guitar and join him in some pained howls.
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
Requiem for a Dream, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Naked Lunch.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Grizzly Bear / Shields. Lives up to the hype.
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 . . .
Billie Jean. Enough said.
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
The Mars Volta, upside down man on a tree image from Frances The Mute. Great, great image.
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
Jack Skeleton, sweet character that one. Will probably never happen because its done a million times over (how about some originality?!).
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
Writing and recording another couple of records and playing the shit out of them to anyone that will listen.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
It’s our debut.
It must be our best.
Let’s just hope it’s not our Ten.