~ Interview with Gerry Nestler (CIVIL DEFIANCE, PHILM) ~
Zum wundervollen Solo-Werk von Gerry Paul Nestler (siehe hier), der uns in der Vergangenheit in seinen Bandformationen CIVIL DEFIANCE oder PHILM bereits begeisterte, haben wir ein Interview geführt. Nachzulesen im englischen Originalwortlaut:
Are bands like CIVIL DEFIANCE and PHILM still frozen?
Well, as far as CIVIL DEFIANCE goes there isn’t anything definite that I can say is in the works yet. PHILM however has a brand new album that we’ve been waiting to release for a little while now.
Did Dave Lombardo can‘t find time to go on with you in PHLIM?
I don’t know about that being the reason for him not going on with PHILM. He decided to put an end to PHILM and Pancho and I decided to carry on without him. So it’s like a divorce with children to take care of. I’ve been involved with the responsibility of taking care of PHILM.
Your Facebook-Page of CIVIL DEFIANCE isn‘t also very active in the last years?
That would be because my focus has been mainly on PHILM and ´Mama’s Child´. CIVIL DEFIANCE is not active right now so there is nothing new to post about on Facebook.
CIVIL DEFIANCE never call it quits, or?
Well, CIVIL DEFIANCE never officially broke up – the band just sort of became dormant. Pretty soon after our tour of Europe in ’97, Juan Perez, the bass player, and I hooked up with Dave Lombardo in the original PHILM and that became the new focus at the time. I still go over some of the music frequently and have performed in rehearsal ´Man On Fire´, ´Death To The Clown´, ´Days of Rain´, ´Circus Of Fear´, ´Dead Flowers´, ´Swarm´, ´Under The Volcano´, ´God, Death & Audiotape´ and ´Dreams Die Fast´ with some local players in a studio a few years ago. The music still sounds so incredible and amazing to me.
In Germany you were very popular in the Underground, why didn‘t you get more attention even though you had a deal with Nuclear Blast at 2nd album?
The main problem was the group itself as the line-up that toured Germany fell apart and CIVIL DEFIANCE requires special players to function properly. And those are not easy to find. Also, we were not signed to Nuclear Blast directly but to Andy Siry’s Grind Syndicate Media label. So we weren’t a big priority for them and the deal with GSM/Nuclear Blast never yielded any more touring in Germany, even though ´Circus Of Fear´ had been even more critically successful than its predecessor, ´The Fishers For Souls´.
What were the best times with CIVIL DEFIANCE and what the most terrible?
The best times with CIVIL DEFIANCE would have to be when we started out at the Troubadour in Hollywood and the Sunset Strip was littered with band flyers and some very image conscious individuals. Showcasing for labels at Frank Zappa’s place, Joe’s Garage, and opening the show with ´A Dry White Season´ on the piano! All the ASCAP showcases we did at the Coconut Teaszer in Hollywood were great, and also the European tour with PSYCHOTIC WALTZ was meaningful. The most terrible times were when I was left struggling to keep on going with CIVIL DEFIANCE without a band after a hopeful major label record deal had collapsed in 1993.
When did you walk into a studio and began to write a piano-record?
The concept in doing an album for the music I was writing on the piano actually started during the „PHILM Noir“-period. We had performed as „PHILM Noir“ at the Stone in New York and on a Cruise ship in Brazil. The music of „PHILM Noir“ is improvisation set to titles performed on the piano, bass and drums. I wanted to venture into songwriting that would reflect what was missing from „PHILM Noir“ and all the other things I was involved with on the piano, but, more importantly, the dynamically soft but emotionally powerful qualities found with certain artists like Roberta Flack and others. I began to collect a series of melodies, rhythms, progressions, thoughts and feelings that eventually would become the album ´Mama’s Child´. April 17, 2016 was the date when I went in to Nest Recorders in Los Angeles to start recording.
Do you love the piano more than the guitar nowadays?
With the limited time I have available at the piano I choose to study and create. I will always love both instruments.
How fast get the other Boys into the project ?
Very quickly actually. Pancho Tomaselli obviously plays with me in PHILM so I didn’t have to look far for a bass player. I had met drummer Max MacVeety at the last PHILM show we did in Long Beach CA during a music festival that also included Chris Poland’s band OHM. This was in October of 2015. PHILM separated on November 9, 2015. I started recording ´Mama’s Child´ in April of 2016 in Los Angeles and I later recorded the woodwinds for the album with Evan Francis in New York. I had met Evan in Manhattan during a brief stay for the PHILM performance at ‘Metal Masters 4’ on September 10, 2012 at the Gramercy Theatre. I remembered that he was a busy composer, band leader and player in New York City, receiving ´Rising Star´ recognition in the Flute category during Downbeat Magazine’s 65th annual Critic’s Choice Poll of 2017.
Are you today in the mood for such music?
Yes, and other music, too. Even though metal was a big part of my life growing up I was always open to and interested in different kinds of music. I think that is reflected in my own music, going back to the CIVIL DEFIANCE albums.
Did you have old inspirations or some new for making this music?
Yes, artists like Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Ray Lucas, James Booker, Roosevelt Sykes, Gian Piero Reverberi, Nik Turner, Van Dyke Parks, Nino Tempo & April Stevens, Todd Rundgren, Joe Tex, Esther Phillips, Thievery Corporation, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Charles Kenny, Sanstierce, Betty Wright, Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Marchan, The Monkees, The Staples Singers, Lalo Shifrin, Sergio Mendes, Curtis Mayfield, Elton John, Laura Nyro, Paul Simon, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Eddie Cochran, The Mamas & The Papas, Carly Simon, John Lennon, Dr.John, Leon Russell, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Winter, David Cassidy, Kathryn Grayson, Jan & Dean, The Band, Ian Hunter, Jelly Roll Morton, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Freddie Hubbard, George Cables, Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Marvin Gaye, King Floyd, Johnny ´Guitar´ Watson, Artie Shaw, Woody Shaw, Bill Basie, Louis Armstrong, etc..
What makes the music of those old days so special?
Some of the truly great artists were still alive and the way we listened to music and how it was exposed to us was different. The T.A.M.I. Show (look it up on YouTube!). The „timbre“ found on musical recordings was much greater. The Big Bands! I heard these words given by the son of the late New York photojournalist Jerry Dantzic, Grayson Dantzic, during the opening reception speech for the exhibition given for his father’s work (‘Billie Holliday at Sugar Hill’ www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/books/jerry-dantzic-billie-holiday-at-sugar-hill-with-a-reflection-by-zadie-smith-hardcover) at the National Arts Club in Gramercy New York: „Life is short, Art is long“.
THE BEATLES are still a great influence to your music, or?
Yes, always an influence, especially George Harrison.
Do you can hear the ROLLING STONES or are you – as a BEATLES-Fan – a hater? 😉
Not a hater. I like listening to Brian Jones era Stones.
How can I get the new vinyl of ´Mama´s Child` to Germany without paying 25 dollars postage-fee, any distributors?
No European distributors yet, unfortunately. I am hopeful though that will change. Terrible that we are now at the point where postage to send vinyl overseas is higher than the vinyl itself!
Can we expect another record in this style?
Yes, I plan on continuing with more music where ´Mama’s Child´ now has a home.
….. or a small tour in Europe?
The future is ours to see, and I would love that! 🙂
What are your future plans with CIVIL DEFIANCE or PHILM?
Maybe some unreleased CIVIL DEFIANCE-music in the future. Definitely a new PHILM-album and shows by next year!