【Interview】Paul Chastain (The Small Square, Velvet Crush)

この胸アツな3ショット!!! Startripといえば、Paul Chastain!というわけで、もはや恒例ともいえる近況報告インタビューです。Startrip webzineは、インディーロック系の情報サイトという名目で運営しておりますが、その一方で、ポールさん応援サイト、ファンサイト的な面も多分にあります。インタビュー時期は4月後半、公開まで多少のタイムラグができてしまい申し訳なかったですが、その分内容は濃いかと。ずっと気になっていたVCの話も登場しますよ!それでは、お楽しみください。
宝塚にいるよ。去年の夏に約40回ほどのマシュー・スウィートのUSツアーが終わって10月に戻ってきた。これまでの中で最も多くプレイしたツアーだったよ。それと並行してウィスコンシン州にあるジョン・リチャードソンのスタジオでThe Small Squareの新作の作業も進めた。ジョンと僕は、いくつかのレコーディングを開始していて、どの曲もそれぞれいろんな段階まで仕上げてるよこの時の滞在では2曲(”Tilt”、”The Hourglass”)をミックスまで済ませることができた。
Q. Konnitiwa! Where are you now? What have you been doing recently?
I am in Takarazuka. I returned in October after the last of the Matthew Sweet shows. We played about 40 shows last summer in the US. That is the most shows we have done for a long time. I also we to John Richardson’s studio in Wisconsin and did some more work on recordings for The Small Square LP.  John and I have several recordings started and all in various stages of completion. On this trip we were working on mixes for 2 songs, Tilt and The Hourglass.

僕がアメリカに帰国する度に集まってセッションしているよ。これまで2、3回はあったかな。近くに住んでいる何人かのミュージシャンも呼んでね。その中の1曲が Open Up”。初期のバージョンはジャパン・ツアーでもプレイした。この曲には、Shoesのメンバー(ジョン・マーフィー、ゲイリー・クレーべ、ジェフ・マーフィー)が、バッキング・ボーカルで参加してるんだ。快く引き受けてくれたので、僕らはすぐに3人が住むウィスコンシン州ケノーシャに車を走らせた。ゲイリーのスタジオに皆で集まって歌入れをしたんだけど、ゲイリーはリードギターも弾いてくれたんだ!最高だよ!!
Q. I hear that you already started recording. Do the recording proceed smoothly? Could you tell us about the current status?
We have done a few sessions so far. Each time I return to the States we get together. On one session we played with a few other musicians live in the studio. One of these songs was a song called Open Up. (We played an early version of this on our Japan tour). We asked our friends Shoes (John Murphy, Gary Klebe, Jeff Murphy)
if they would sing on this song. They agreed so John and I drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin where they all live. Gary has a studio so we met the Shoe boys there. They did backing vocals and Gary did a lead guitar part, also. So cool!

Q. About when will it be released?
I was planning on a May EP release but am now pushing back the date to fall. Maybe we can do a full LP by then with Japan dates to coincide.

Q. Congratulations on the success of the tour with Matthew. How does it feel when you look back?
It was little like old times. We used to do lots of dates like last year. It was tiring, though. More than it used to be but everything is now a days!

さっき言ったように、マシューのツアーは約40回のショーがあったんだけど、トミー・キーンがすべてのオープニングを務めてくれてね。トミーと過ごした日々は、かつてVelvet CrushのTSTGツアーで100回ほど一緒にプレイした頃のことを思い出させてくれた。昨年の夏は本当に忘れられない夏になった。トミーと一緒にかけがえのない時間を過ごせたから。彼はいつだって僕らの気分を盛り上げてくれた。まさに生粋のロッカーだよ。特に覚えているのは、VC結成の地ロードアイランド州でプレイしたとき、リック、トミーと僕でジェフリー・アンダーヒルの家を訪ねたんだ。僕らは即興でVCの曲をセッションした。これまでのすべてが吹っ飛ぶくらい楽しかった!近い将来、この4人で必ず一緒にプレイすることになると確信した瞬間だったよ。
Q. Do you have any  episodes at the time of this tour?
As I mentioned, we did about forty shows with Matthews last year. Tommy Keene opened all the dates. Spending time with Tommy reminded me of the nearly one hundred Velvet Crush shows that Tommy did with us during the Teenage Symphonies touring. It was great having him along with us last summer. He had a way of lifting everyone’s spirits. Such a rock road warrior. One highlight was when we played in Rhode Island (where VC formed) Ric, Tommy and I went to visit Jeffrey Underhill’s house. We had an unplanned VC jam session. Blasting through some of the old numbers was great fun. We knew then that we wanted to try to do some playing in the near future.VC2018-2
可能性は大いにあるよ!5月にマシューのショーの為にまたアメリカに行くんだけど、滞在中にジョンとTSSの作業を進めようと思ってる。それと同時に、リック、ジェフリーとVelvet Crush再始動へ向けたリハーサルを行うつもりだよ。ツアーも考えてるからね。アメリカ、スペイン、そして…もちろん日本!!
Q. How are the chances of a Velvet Crush restart? What is VC for you?
Chances are good! I will have to go to the US in May for some Matthew Sweet shows. While I am there, I will also get together with John and we will work on more TSS music. Also while I am back in the states I will be rehearsing with Ric and Jeffrey for phase one of Velvet Crush, revisited! We plan to do some touring in the US, Japan, Spain.
For me, VC is a part of who I am. Though the band has not been active for several years I always play VC songs when ever I perform. I think the audience would be disappointed if I did not. We hoped to create something that was timeless and classic. Jeffrey, Ric and I definitely have a special bond. We are all really excited about hitting the stage together again. No plans to record, so far but I think we will start thinking in that direction during the rehearsal process.

難しい質問だね。その日その時によって答えが変わると思うけど最近はVCの最初の2枚のアルバムの曲の練習を兼ねて歌ったりベースを弾いたりしてるんだ。だから「今日」のお気に入りは、”Ash & Earth”、”Window to the World”、”Time Wraps Around You”(”Window~”と”Time~”はジェフリー、リックとの共作)だね。最近の曲から選ぶとすると…”Five Nine Song”(TSSの1stアルバム収録)と、次作に収録予定の “Tilt”。1曲だけじゃなくてゴメンね。
Q. Out of all the songs that you have written, what is your most favorite?
A difficult question and one that would have a different answer on a different day. Recently I have been practicing playing bass and singing VC songs mostly from the first two records. So my favs today would include Ash & Earth, Window to the World and Time Wraps Around You (the latter two are co-writes with Jeffrey and Ric). Two pics from more recent songs would be Five Nine Song (TSS first record) and from the forthcoming album a song called Tilt. That’s more than one, I know – sorry.

Q. What was the proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?
Hmmm, I am proud of the work we did. In particular working with Matthew Sweet and then Mitch Easter to create the first two records. We were beside ourselves when we played through a few Byrds songs with Roger McGuinn. He and his band were always such an inspiration to the Crush.Paulーー長年にわたり、あなたを創作へと駆り立てる原動力は何ですか?
Q.  What is the motivation that you fuel the spark of imagination for a long time?
Life, love, loss, music, the unknown. My wife, Yatsuka, always makes me feel like anything is possible.

前の質問でも触れたけど、トミーはTSSGのツアー・メンバーだったんだ。その年、トミーと僕らは100回ほどのショーでプレイしたんだ。僕は元々トミーのファンだったんだけど、一緒にリハーサルに入るようになって、より深く知ることができた。本当の彼を。ふざけあったこととか音楽のこととか、あふれるほど思い出は尽きない。彼は偉大なプレーヤーでありシンガーであり、そしてかけがえのない友人だった。僕らは皆、トミーが僕らのバンド仲間であり友人であったことを光栄に思っている。彼はとても人懐こくて愛らしい男で、彼が初来日したThe Small Squareのツアーや、その後のトミー・キーン・グループのジャパン・ツアーでも、日本のファンともすぐに仲良くなっていたね。そして、日本のファンの皆も、偉大なアーティストだということを肌で感じてもらえたと思う。VCの再結成も彼なしでは考えられなかったから、なかなか気持ちの整理がつかなかった。初めから、トミーを含めた4人での再結成だと思っていたからね。今でも埋められない穴が心にぽっかりと空いたままだよ。
Q It’s really sad about Tommy. I suppose you have a lot of wonderful memories. What is he to you?
As I touched on in previous questions, TK was a member of the VC live line-up for a major portion of the Teenage Symphonies touring. He played close to 100 shows with us during that year. I had seen and was a fan of Tommy but it wasn’t until the rehearsals began that I began to get to know him. My memories of him are mostly small moments of silliness or musical moments and are too numerous to go into, I think. I will say that he was a great player, singer and friend and my band and I are honored to have called him our pal and bandmate. As some of the Japanese fans found out when he was here first with The Small Square and then with the TK group, he was a lovable guy, an instant friend and a great artist. We (the VC) have had a hard time getting past his loss as we prepare to reunite the band. Tommy was involved form the beginning of talks about the reunion and there is now an hole which seems impossible to fill.

Q. Please tell me your plans from now on.
We have some VC reunion touring to plan and get started with and I am going to do a Small Square tour in Japan again this year. A new Small Square record will be completed this summer.

コンニチハ!ずっと応援してくれて、ありがとう。近い将来、The Small SquareとVelvet Crushのツアーで会えるのを楽しみにしているよ。ヨロシクオネガイシマス。
Q. Would you please provide some message to the fans in Japan?
Konnichi wa to my dear fans. Thank you for your support for all these years. I hope to see many of you when I hit the road once again with The Small Square and Velvet Crush in the near future! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!