【Feature】letter from Paul Chastain (The Small Square、Velvet Crush)

paulchastain今夏、アメリカの良心的レーベルOmnivoreよりリリースされたVelvet Crushヴェルヴェット・クラッシュのアルバム「Pre-Teen Symphonies」、もうお聴きになれらた方も多いかと思います。(まだの人はSTARTRIPオンラインショップで!)
こちらの作品は、1994年に発売された「Teenage Symphonies To God」のデモ・トラック8曲+トミー・キーンが参加したシカゴでのライブ音源8曲をカップリングしたもの。どちらも初出ではないのですが、貴重音源を1枚にまとめリイシューされたことは、長年のファンだけでなく新しいファンのためにも非常に喜ばしいことだと思います。デモならではの荒々しさ、「TSTG」未収録曲、当時のエネルギッシュなライブなど、聴きどころ盛りだくさん。ぜひ「TSTG」と併せて持っていたいアルバムです。
このリリースを記念して、Paul Chastainからお手紙が届きました。「TSTG」の思い出や当時のこと、そして気になる近況や今後の展開について、STARTRIPだけに語ってくださいました。

もうだいぶ忘れてしまったけど、2ndアルバム「Teenage Symphonies To God」の準備期間は、かなり忙しかったな。日本とイギリスをツアーした後、アメリカ東海岸でライブを続けていたんだ。ニューヨークやニュージャージー州ホーボーケン、ペンシルバニア州フィラデルフィア、ワシントンD.C.、マサチューセッツ州ボストン、僕たちの拠点だったロードアイランド州プロビデンス。
It’s all a little blurred now. Velvet Crush, in the months leading up to recording Teenage Symphonies were keeping pretty busy. After some touring in Japan and England we continued playing regional shows around the East Coast. We would routinely do shows in places like New York City; Hoboken, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC, Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, our HQ.

この期間中、僕らはリハーサル・スペース(プロビデンスのレストラン食物供給会社の倉庫の小さい部屋)で、たくさんの時間を過ごした。 この建物、僕達の部屋以外はジャガイモがたくさん入った大きくて開きっぱなしの貯蔵コンテナでいっぱいだったんだ。
During this period, though, we spent a great deal of time in our rehearsal space, a small room in a restaurant food supply company’s warehouse in Providence. The building was usually filled (excepting our room) with enormous, open, storage containers filled to the brim with potatoes.
There we would put songs together, hash out arrangements and just rehearse the finished songs until they were almost second nature. The Crush was a collaborative endeavor and all three of us brought in songs or song bits, arrangement ideas, etc. We were very committed to the craft of being a band and kept ourselves busy with it.

I think it was sometime toward the end of the In The Presence of Greatness touring, while preparing to play some dates in England, at a rehearsal space in London we happened to run into a guy whose work we greatly admired. Mitch Easter was there working with the band Moose, getting ready to make a record with them. With our Creation Records deal in the works or maybe done by this time, we needed to find a producer to help us craft the new record. Mitch was definitely on our short list of people with whom we wanted to work and at that point perhaps fate had intervened. Plans were put in motion to get Mitch involved in this project.

TSTGの曲は、ファーストの時とは違って、たくさんのデモ録音をした。そのほとんどは、ボストンのQ ディヴィジョン・スタジオというところで、マイケル・デネーンのエンジニアリングで行われた。(マイケルは、後にミッチのスタジオで行われたアルバム・セッションで、素晴らしいメロトロンを弾いてくれた) それから、ボストンの親友、ジゴロ・アンツのデイヴ・ギブスとフィル・ハーレイがギターとコーラスでデモの録音に参加してくれたんだ。アレンジやその他ほとんどは、この時に出来上がったかな。のちにノース・カロライナでミッチと録音したものとほぼ同じだった。
Unlike the first record we did some extensive demo-ing of songs for TSTG. Mostly done in Boston at Q Division Studios with Michael Deneen (who would also later lend his Mellotron playing prowess to the album sessions at Mitch’s studio) engineering. Also called in were our Boston buddies, Dave Gibbs and Phil Hurley from Gigolo Aunts,  to do some lead guitar on the demos and background vocals on the demos. The arrangements and such were mostly the same as what we would later attempt with Mitch in North Carolina.

During last summer I toured with Matthew Sweet in the Midwest and East Coast of the US. We usually do some kind of playing every summer, if possible. With us, as always, was drum master Ric Menck and on his first Matthew Sweet tour, John Moremen on guitar. He also plays in The Orange Peels and other bands as well. He lives in San Francisco. It was fun to have him along.

The shows were all quite well attended. Sold out or just short of that every night. Highlights were Chicago at Park West where Material Reissue opened for us and New York at City Winery where we got to spend some time with our old friend and former MS band mate Ivan Julian. Ivan (a founding member of The Voidoids) has been battling cancer recently but is now recovering and doing well. It was so great to see him. We spent a lot of time together in the Ford Econoline van (and on stage) back in the 90s.
Matthew is currently mixing his new record so we hope to be doing some of the new songs next time we hit the road.

The Small Square(ザ・スモール・スクエア)のジャパン・ツアーから、もう1年が経つんだね!またツアーがしたいと思っている。誰か興味を持ってくれる人がいたら、ぜひ知らせてね!ジョンと僕は、夏に新曲をいくつかレコーディングしたよ。日本に戻ってきてからは毎日それらの曲に取り組んでいる。最初に完成した曲には、ゲストが何人か参加しているんだ。ジョンと僕プラス四人のミュージシャンでバンド演奏したものをそのまま16トラック2インチのテープに録音した。とっても楽しかった。昔のように、テープが回っているのを見るのはとても嬉しかった。こんな、昔のような録音がまたしたい!
It has already been a year since The Small Square Japan tour! We really want to do it again. Just looking for the right opportunity so if anyone is interested, let us know!. Meantime, John and I have started some new recordings over the summer. I have been working on them every day since I returned to Hyogo. The first song finished features several guest musicians. We tracked the whole ensemble (John and I plus four more musicians) live to 16 track 2″ tape. Really fun. Great for me to see the tape rolling again. I miss it!

A few days later John and I road tripped to Kenosha, Wisconsin to the home of Gary Klebe from Shoes. We asked Gary, John and Jeff (Shoes) if they would contribute backing vocals to this song. They agreed and proceeded to make up their parts and record them while we watched in Gary’s groovy basement studio. Gary also did an awesome lead guitar part for this song! Super cool!

当時のエピソード、そして、気になる新作のレコーディング(しかもゲストでShoesのゲイリー・クレーベ参加まで!)のことなど、とても興味深い内容だったかと思います。来年また大きなニュースがありそうですね!STARTRIPでは今後もThe Small Square、Velvet Crushなど、ポールさん関連のニュースを随時お届けしてまいります。

Translate »