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Five Stupid Questions: Trevor Dunn

Posted by Sara / October 13, 2005

So, Trevor Dunn is one of the main reasons I wanted to play bass. I can't play for shit, but that's not entirely his fault. Just listening to his flying fingers on any Mr. Bungle or Fantomas album whisks me back to those stoned teenage days in Stratford, Ontario. How à propos that my high school sweetheart should be opening for Dunn's avante garde jazz duo in Montreal.

From his home in NYC, Dunn was nice enough to answer our Five Stupid Questions, plus a few more.

SF:I was at the Fantomas/Melt Banana show in New Orleans last year, and at the end of it there was this huge group of fans lined up to ask all sorts of obscure and specific technical questions about your songs. A visit to reveals that this is nothing new. Why do you think this happens? Does it bother you?

TD: It doesn't bother me so much. It's been happening for a while. I think a lot of the audience for those bands, for lack of a better word and with all due respect, are total geeks. A lot of them are musicians, and upwords of 80-85% are young males... I guess I would rather answer technical questions than [ones about my clothes].

SF: What are you reading right now?

TD: I'm tying to read a few different books at once, and not having much luck. I just bought the biography of Oliver Reed, and I'm reading a book called Against Nature by Joris Karl Huysmans.

SF: Have you been to Montreal before? What do you think of it?

TD: Yeah, I was up there with Fantomas last year. I like Montreal. Good seafood. We played an old theatre that I guess was haunted, which I didn't know until after.

SF: What can people expect from this show?

TD: It's kind of the opposite end of the specturm, musically. It's a duo, really kind of exposed instrumentation. A lot of it tends to be quiet, although that's not always the case.

Five Stupid Questions

Do I sound fat in these pants?
TD: [laughs] No, you don't. You sound great.

Besides "Free Bird," what's the stupidest thing anyone has ever yelled from the crowd?
TD: We get a lot of stuff, especially in Fantomas. That's a good question. The things that stand out to me the most are not the stupid things but the most interesting... Every once in a while I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. A couple of good ones: "When's soundcheck over?" "Play the rest of the song!" Once somebody yelled out "Compelling!" really loud, which I liked. But I in no way condone heckling.

Where are you sleeping the night of your show?
TD: Probably in a Super 8, where life is great... You know what to expect, no surprises. If we're lucky, we might be able to upgade, but we're not making a lot of money on this tour, so we try to live within our means.

What shows are you planning to see in the near future?
TD: Oh man, I wish I could go see more shows. Willie Nelson is playing in New York in November, sometime around Thanksgiving I think. I've been a big fan for a long time, so I'd like to go to that show. I just missed something really good, there was a concert for two pianos [names a composer--somthing that starts with an M? I try not to draw attention to my ignorance].

How much money would it take for you to sell out? Is anyone buying?
TD: [laughs] That's a good question. I've been thinking lately about trying to write some pop music that would make me a lot of money. I guess it wouldn't take that much... If I could spend ten minutes writing one song that would make me a million dollars... I don't think there's anyting wrong with that. I don't know if anyone really sells out.

It's not as easy as it sounds though, you could spend a lot of time writing a song that you thought would be popular and it wouldn't. It's easy to write something that's difficult to play and impossible to understand... In answer to your other question, I dont know if anyone is buying, but that's not going to keep me from doing what I'm doing.

Sunday, October 16
Trevor Dunn & Shelley Burgon
Bobok Shaw/Fisher/Hammer/Fraser
Green Room/Salon Vert 3586 St. Laurent
8pm, 19+
$10 advance at Green Room, CD Esoterik, Oblique, Cheap Thrills & Atom Heart



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