Q&A: An Interview With Adam Merrin Of The 88
By Staff on September 27, 2010
We caught up with The 88 fresh off their tour supporting ex-Kinks frontman Ray Davies. See what the guys had to say about the tour, living in Highland Park, and the process of writing their latest self-titled album. Check it out!
Adam Merrin of The 88
Sept 26, 2010
You're fresh off the tour run, having supported the ex-Kinks frontman Ray Davies - any good stories there?
Adam Merrin: They were some of the most memorable shows we have played. Not only were the audiences extremely receptive to our opening set, they went crazy when we came back on stage to play Kinks songs with him. We got to play “Dead End Street”, “Celluloid Heroes”, “You Really Got Me,” and a bunch of others. We could tell Ray was having a great time. He would play the guitar behind his head and jump really high in the air at the end of certain songs. The whole tour was very surreal.
What were some surprises that arose from the tour?
One night when Keith was playing the guitar solo for “You Really Got Me” he just collapsed on the stage. He was right in front of me when it happened. One second he was rocking out, and the next second, he was finishing the solo on his knees. After the song, Ray came over and asked if he was ok, and I guess he was fine cause he ended up finishing the set. It turned out he was a little under the weather, and had some dizziness. But it was definitely pretty scary for a minute.
Your fourth self-titled album was essentially brought to life after what are dubbed the Highland Park sessions. Can you tell us more about this experience?
We rehearse a few times a week in this crappy little space in Highland Park. We were getting together just for fun with no intentions of making a new album. I have this handheld recorder that we would record every rehearsal with. Some of the songs would end up being around 30 minutes and would have all these insane parts. It was so much fun being able to play whatever the hell you wanted without any pressure. After a few times of doing this, we realized we had a handful of good ideas, so we decided to start working out all the arrangements and then booked some time at a recording studio. We found Grandmaster Records in Hollywood and really hit it off with the engineer, Andrew Alekel.
How does it feel like being an impressionable band in the Indie world, putting a place like Highland Park on the map?
Highland Park is an up and coming area. I lived there for 6 years before moving to Eagle Rock. But it’s a great place. It’s quieter than Los Feliz and Silverlake which I like, but still relatively close to everything. And I love being close to South Pasadena. I would say to bands that are spending too much money on their rehearsal space that you could definitely accomplish great work that is done in a smaller and cheaper space. It worked for us! Our place is a complete s#*%hole.
Plenty of up and coming artists are being seen with a few remixes by notable DJs of their latest singles, this being a part of the experience of having a new release. With the fourth album out, filled with wonderful power-pop goodness, are you all considering collaborating with another artist for a remix?
We haven’t thought about it, but now that you mention it, we’re open for anything. So if anyone reading this wants to do one, let us know!
Besides getting to tour with Ray Davies, what would you say was the most surprising or ridiculously insane thing that has happened to the band since around the time of SXSW this past March?
Recording with Ray Davies at Konk Studios in Muswell Hill. Not only did we get to record our own version of “David Watts” with him, but he also asked us to be the backing band on “Till The End Of The Day” that Alex Chilton sang right before he passed away. And we also got to be the backing band on a version of “A Long Way From Home” that Lucinda Williams sang. We just heard the final mixes and all 3 came out great. I hear the record comes out Nov 1 in the UK, and we’re still waiting to find out the US release date. When we do, we will definitely let you know!