Formerly in the sadly underknown Desert City Soundtrack, Cory Gray’s current endeavor is Carcrashlander. This is a band so good that even I can forgive their love of Randy Newman. Their self-titled debut came out earlier this year on Parks and Records. I got the chance to talk with Cory about the past, present and future (and the piano versus the guitar).
RnRnMN: How has the response been to the new album?
CG: People at least usually say thanks when I give them a copy. The campfire stamp seems to delight my fellow camper friends, although it’s hardly the kind of music to play around a campfire. Last time I tried to take a piano camping I had to leave it in the woods.
RnRnMN: Do you see Carcrashlander as a progression form what you did in Desert City Soundtrack or as an entirely different part of who you are as an artist?
CG: There’s a Chinese proverb that says you can be cautious about the future but not about the past. I just sold el vaño, the DCS Econoline. It was a very sentimental moment, but I needed a new ride.
RnRnMN: How is working on this project different that projects you’ve done in the past?
CG: The band members I have currently seem to all come from such completely different musical backgrounds that when I bring a song to the group it’s like dropping a twig in the gutter during a rainstorm. It’s anybody’s guess where it will end up.
RnRnMN: If you had to place Carcrashlander in a musical tradition, what would it be?
CG: Myspace says we’re healing/easy listening. I would be tempted to doubt the sincerity of that categorization, but that would require me to doubt Myspace, which is getting into some seriously dangerous territory.
RnRnMN: Is the piano really a good substitute for the guitar? I mean, it’s rock n roll after all.
CG: Is it? rock and what? And we got a guitar, shit.
RnRnMN: The album strikes me as one that is even better at the right time of day or in the right season. If you had to suggest the right time and place for the album, what would it be?
CG: If and when it grows would probably depend when you planted it, and what the conditions of the soil are like.
RnRnMN: What’s coming up for Carcrashlander over the next year?
CG: After some western states shows through October, I think it will be time to make another record.
RnRnMN: Pick your favorite from each pair:
Beatles versus Rolling Stones:
Hüsker Dü versus the Pixies:
CG: The Pixies
Randy Newman versus Bruce Springsteen:
CG: Randy Newman singing Nebraska
Mike Patton versus John Zorn:
CG: John Zorn