JJ Koczan of The Obelisk recently conducted an interview with Greg Anderson about the process of putting Goatsnake back together after nearly a decade of not playing with this lineup, his nervousness about the performance, and updates on SunnO))) and his Ascend project with Gentry Densley of Iceburn and Eagle Twin fame.
The Obelisk: Whose idea was the Goatsnake reunion?
GA: Another band that I’m involved with, called Thorr’s Hammer — which was actually Stephen O’Malley from SunnO))) and my first band together — we got asked to play a festival in Birmingham, England, last summer called Supersonic. The bass player for that group is out of the picture, we haven’t talked to him for (laughs) 10 years or whatever, so it was like, “Okay, if we’re gonna do a Thorr’s Hammer set, we need to find a bass player,” and the first person who came to mind was this guy Guy, who was a founding member of Goatsnake as well, and he was always a huge fan of Thorr’s Hammer, and actually helped fund Southern Lord to release the Thorr’s Hammer recordings. We asked him to take part in it, and he was living in Europe, and that made it a bit easier for travel and expenses and stuff like that – plus he’s a killer player.
We enlisted him to play in Thorr’s Hammer, and at that festival, the two guys that organize the Roadburn festival were in attendance, and they saw Guy and I hanging out and they said, “Hey, what are the chances of Goatsnake playing in the future?” Guy and I were like, “Yeah, why not?” We were having a great time playing music together again, and Goatsnake never officially broke up and there was never any real bad blood between any of the members, it was just kind of one of those things where members got busy doing other things, and it was just put on a lengthy hiatus.
Guy and I kicked around the idea, talked to the other founding members of the band, Pete and Greg, and everyone was real excited to try getting back together and playing music again. So that’s what we did. I really like the Roadburn festival, so it was an honor to be asked to play, and they asked us to headline, so it was a really great opportunity we couldn’t pass up, so we basically put a lot of work and effort into getting it together for that thing and played the fest.
The Obelisk: How was the set?
GA: It was awesome. It was really, really great. It exceeded my expectations. We worked really hard and rehearsed and spent a lot of time trying to get the tone right, making sure everything sounded as good as possible, but a lot of that shit just goes out the window when you play live (laughs), because there’s different forces at work. There’s adrenaline, there’s nerves, and my experience, honestly, Goatsnake, to me, was never a great live band. I didn’t really feel like we rehearsed enough, and I didn’t feel like we pulled off what we had recorded in a live setting, so I had that lingering in my mind.
And Goatsnake never played a lot of shows. We never played east of the Rockies, and we did some stuff overseas, but we never did anything extensive, and I always felt like Goatsnake always sounded better on record. I had that nagging at me in the back of my mind. This is for me personally, I think the other guys would say something different. This is my own personal scrutiny and analysis of what worked.
I was pretty nervous for this show, because I wanted to be good. Everyone put a lot of time and effort into it, and I know there was a lot of expectations and a lot of people were really excited to see it, people had traveled to see it and stuff. It was one of those nights where it was pretty magical. Everything really worked out well. The crowd was amazing. I thought everyone played really well and there wasn’t too many mistakes (laughs). It was just a really good vibe.
The other thing that was really daunting about the whole thing was the stage we played on was fucking humongous, and Goatsnake had never played on a stage that size. The other thing was the most people we had ever played to was probably about a thousand people, and that was one time. But we never played on a stage that big and we never headlined for sure. It was never these kind of expectations on us. I had some anxiety about it, but I thought it went off really, really well, and I was very pleased with it and the audience was amazing.
This entry was posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 8:31 am and is filed under 2010, Interviews, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.