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Is Adam Green’s life a veritable oyster of the rocker life?  Just spy into his baby, the eye candy and Dada poem of a “blogge” known as The Lake Room, and it seems as if his whim-filled days are lived to the fullest alongside not-so-under-the-radar friends like The Shining Twins and Har Mar Superstar, usually while touring and rescuing random, cute strangers.

If The Lake Room could be seen as the picturesque, even privileged outtakes of a life that is less than ordinary, then Minor Love, his newest album, is the musical form of that artistic release.  It’s a diary of break ups, eccentric characters and unpredictable shake ups.  While being a thoroughly modern, mostly personal album of Green’s observations at the fringe, at some points, it also plays out as a mockup of Lou Reed and Richard Hell for this generation.

When chatting with Green, you have to expect an odyssey of a conversation built on tangential ideas.  We started out talking about one of Green’s many possible pet projects, a technology site for teens, then veered off into Minor Love territory that swirled around everything from scorpions to German fame, Elvis and addictive blogging.

On your new album, the “Castles and Tassels” lyrics really stood out to me.  Did you take your time writing that song or did you just come up with it off the top of your head?
Oh!  I did actually.  I spent a little bit of time with Har Mar (Superstar) in the desert.  We rented a place at a golf resort, just ‘cuz we thought we could focus.  If we rented a place like that, where you’re supposed to play golf, we wouldn’t, and we’re not going to do anything like that, so we just took separate rooms and wrote a bunch of stuff.  He worked on a screenplay.  I just sat out on the deck and wrote songs.  I came up with stuff there like ‘Don’t Call Me Uncle’ and ‘Castles and Tassels.’  We were trying to write a lot of folky stuff while looking at cactuses or lizards running by me… there were a lot of lizards.  And a lot of praying mantises, which really freaked me out.  A lot of them are really big.  At night, they would start to congregate on the porch.  Then I would start to get a little paranoid about scorpions.

Was this imaginary paranoia or due to a run-in with one?
Actually, I spent last New Year’s in Mexico.  I was rooming in my friend David.  He woke up in the middle of the night and there was a scorpion on his belly. He killed it with my Keds.

I hear they’re quite rampant there.
Yeah, you sort of mention it to the people at the hotel and they’re kind of like, ‘Well, what can you do?  They’re everywhere.’

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How did the raw sounding song “Aw Shucks” come about?
I kind of wanted to write a sequel to ‘NYC’s Like a Graveyard’ (Moldy Peaches), so it was kind of like a challenge to recreate that kind of sound.  I even tried to find my old amp, which was broken, but I think I just ended up using some crummy amp that I got from Guitar Center for $75.  I’m always really impressed how those tiny amps sound on recordings.  You can’t tell.  You can turn a Marshall stack up to like, 11, and it wouldn’t sound as crazy as a practice amp that’s turned up loud.  I actually spent a long time on that song.  I couldn’t figure out how to approach it, so I came at it from every different angle. I finally decided that the best way to do it was with really quiet singing and have the music just be really obnoxious and loud.  I was thinking about playing the drums through the drum machine but I ended up playing real drums.  I think we put it through all kinds of effects.  That song’s probably the most inspired by Los Angeles.  So instead of ‘NYC’s Like a Graveyard,’ it’s like Los Angeles is like a graveyard.

You wrote the whole album when you were out in L.A.?
I probably wrote 40 percent of the record over there.  I was over there for three or four weeks, but I lived in the studio so I didn’t have anything else to think about.

Did you come out of the cave for some air every so often?
Not really.  Just the porch.  There’s this really awful pizza place, so I ordered from there a lot.  Also, we were across the street from Vivid Videos so there was a good pornography presence.  When I would get tacos, there were porn people in the taco place.

Did that color your lyrics at all?
I don’t think so.  Though I’ve been saying a lot lately that I do feel that recording the record in L.A. made me assert myself more as a New Yorker.

I couldn’t live in L.A., could you?
No.  I don’t even drive.  I get chauffeured around by somebody who doesn’t even want me there.  They don’t want to even do the job.  That’s why I try not to leave the studio.

Your next tour seems like it will be quite the full-on rock event.
I just always want to be Elvis.  I’ll never give it up.  I’m going to have to do a quiet section of the show, where I do some of these more somber songs.  It’s still going to be a rock show, for the most part.  I don’t like when I go to a band’s show and they only play stuff from their new album.  This is my sixth one, so if anything, it excites me to bring back something like ‘Rich Kids,’ that I don’t play a lot live.  When I was a kid going to concerts, I remember wishing people would play more obscure album tracks.  That’s what I’d like to work towards doing, especially when I do my own headlining shows.  Opening is a challenge since you have to convince people who don’t know you that you’re worth listening to.  I want to work in every song I’ve ever written somewhere.  [laughs]

A medley of sorts?
I’d like to.  I don’t know what to do.

Tell me about all your new videos, there seem to be quite a few for Minor Love.
There are so many videos, like eight so far.  I spent a lot of time with Dima Dubson.  He’s walking around with me doing everything.

How do you have time to keep up with your blog, the Lake Room, along with everything else?
For a while, I was thinking of making The Lake Room into a movie.  But it turns out, when you make a documentary, no one really wants to be in documentaries.  That’s the problem.  In general, people either want to be in them too badly, or not at all.

Especially the more famous of your friends, I suppose.  They don’t want to be exposed?
Yeah.  So The Lake Room can’t ever be a movie.  The Lake Room will just be what it is, by virtue of the fact that my iPhone is not so threatening to everyone in my life. I had stopped doing it for a bit, but then made the decision to restart The Lake Room.  It’s given me some kind of purpose in my life.

Like keeping a diary of your not-so-mundane life.
Yeah.  Sometimes when I’m doing it, it feels like a pain in the ass, but when I’m not doing it, I feel like I’m not living right.  There’s something missing.

Twitter just doesn’t fill the niche.
I know.  That’s funny.  I said that to my manager.  I told her, ‘I was writing a lot of stuff to people on twitter.’  She was like, ‘Yeah, well I think The Lake Room is a little more interesting than that.’

People like visual content and poetic collage. (I like how scenes from a random mid-tour truck stop diner can take on new meaning.)

Having written Minor Love, do you feel like you’ve grown as a musician?
Yeah, but every time I make an album, I’m always disappointed with the results commercially.  I’m always disappointed with what could have been, but then two or three miraculous things happen with it that I didn’t expect.  If anything, I’m waiting for the weird surprise that awaits me because I made this.

What was the weird surprise from the last album?
Oh, I don’t know… that they’re using one of the songs in the new Catherine Deneuve movie, that’s cool!  And I met Rodrigo (Amarante) from Little Joy because he heard it.  I had the experience of touring around with gospel singers for a year, which was really an interesting look into the life of a gospel singer.  I learned a lot of gospel songs too.

Happy to have those under your belt?
Yep.

How’s your German fame and fan base lately?
Well, it’s simmered down.  There was this one period of a couple of months where I couldn’t go out on the street there.  That was in 2005.  I was living there at the time, more or less, but in hotels.  I felt a little out of place.  I was involved in a serious relationship back home and didn’t really know what was going on.  I just felt like a specimen.  To have the full superstar experience for just a few months is an interesting thing though.  I remember walking up to some hotel counter and seeing some lady blush.  I was making ladies blush! –Madeline Virbasius/photos by Guy Eppel

www.adamgreen.net

 
  1. [...] Adam Green plays his NYC hometown at Bowery Ballroom, the last of his two final U.S. tour dates in support of his latest album, Minor Love.  Openers Dead Trees is also Green’s backing band.  The middle slot goes to Nickel Eye, solo project of The Strokes’ bassist Nikolai Fraiture. [...]