|Interview Magazine,2/94||Inrockuptibles, 9/94||OOR, Hollland, 8/94|
|MTV's, 10/1/95||Arte 02/95||Slapper's, Spring 1995|
|Inside Edge||New Jersey Beat||SOMA|
MTV's 120 Minutes,
Jeff Buckley and his bass player Mick Grondahl.
MTV: Can you just talk briefly, I mean with your father, and mother
was actually a classical pianist and...
Jeff: Yeah, I was basically raised by my mother. Me, my little brother and she. I was raised by my mother's side of the family and there was music all the time. And my grandmother, she had this acoustic guitar, this gut string, in her closet. And I found it and I claimed it for my own. And that's how I started playing. But I really didn't start playing, really getting proficient until I was about thirteen, and that was about when I got my first electric guitar. Electric guitar. You know how that goes. An electric guitar comes into a kid's life, it'll just... the potential is like to take him away forever. And that's what happened.
MTV: And that's about when you started your first songs, at thirteen?
MTV: Were you in bands growing up...
Jeff: All the time. (MTV: In high school?) All the time. Somehow, you know? We moved, moved around a lot, so it was always, constantly settling down and picking up. So if I got anything happening, it ah, you know, had to leave it.
MTV: And then you moved to Hollywood?
Jeff: I let my mom move on when I was about seventeen. And I uh stayed where I was and finished high school and then I went to Los Angeles. Lived in Hollywood.
MTV: And how many, where you in bands then? Is that when you started...
Jeff: No, just basically scuffled around. And I was in projects, just trying to keep afloat. Little home recording sessions for friends and stuff like that. When I met Mickey is basically the first really good band I'd ever been in. Ever.
MTV: And this is really the first, 'cause you, you were solo for
such a long time.
Jeff: I went solo in order to get somebody like Mickey to come around. I found Matt. And I had always known Michael, the guitar player. It all came together like three weeks before the recording of Grace. About three weeks?
Mick: Three to six weeks.
Jeff: Three to six weeks.
Mick: Not much.
Jeff: So basically I came in like a whirlwind and ruined their lives. For the better, I think?
Jeff: But since it's like ruining your life for the better, that's what I did.
MTV: So did, did you know before going into record that, that you
Jeff: I knew, I knew when I was doing the solo shows I knew that I wanted a band, but I just didn't want pickup musicians and didn't want a transient situation, you know? I had enough of those. I wanted to find an ultimate, at least one ultimate in my life and somedays I would you know meld with. And I knew, I knew Mickey was right, we were right the first night we jammed. It was about two o'clock in the morning and we had to play very quietly and, and he was very melodic and very strong. And so I knew. And when Matty, when me and Mick and Matt got together, the drummer, the very first night we made up the music to Dream Brother. Everything that we played, me and Mickey threw at Matty, Matty ah helped turn it into and arrangement. So yeah I mean, if you can get that in a drummer, you're set. Besides that, he's very handsome.
MTV: Um, how did Andy Wallace come into the mix?
Jeff: I'm not sure, I just met him, in an office at the label and we just started talking about, I don't know I was really into this Hillbilly album and I was playing Sun Ra and mondo movie music.
Mick: Oh yeah.
Jeff: And I was saying I wanted to do things old style. Just like you know the band in a room, a bunch of mikes, no overdubs. It didn't turn out that way because we weren't very strong. We weren't as strong as we are now as a band. So we had to do things differently. But he was, he was just very into it. And he was going to be the engineer and the producer and the mixer. Very, very insular, very tight operation. And it was great.
MTV: Were you familiar with the work he has done before...
Jeff: Oh yeah, sure, sure.
MTV: And what do you think he brought to the record, more than say
if you had someone else?
Jeff: Andy Wallace brought focus. And ah where like where when sometimes Matty couldn't get a direction from me because I was in a mood, he would go to Andy. And, any producer is there as an identity, as an idea. You know, an idea person, and he was and he was very receptive to a lot of things. Basically a lot of the ideas on the album are mine, but his input sort of kept me grounded and kept us sort of thinking and talking amongst ourselves about what, how we wanted to do it. And that's, that's half the song right there.
MTV: So what do, how do you feel about all the acclaim that's, you've
received recently? Ever critic has put you on the map, on the...
Jeff: It's a moveable feast. Let's see what happens next year. But I'm happy, I'm you know, I'm pleased. It a, it get, I don't know. Critical acclaim is really something you really can't look at as something as a, as a, um...
Mick: A measure.
Jeff: Yeah you can't measure yourself against critics. They ah, they have a very different experience of music than a normal person. They, they have a stack of CDs on their desk in order to criticize it. And in order to put it into a picture that they know will make good copy and all that stuff. But they've been pretty genuine. And then of course some people totally hate my guts. So I expected that. It doesn't matter though.
MTV: Do you feel a lot of pressure that in order, playing a show,
that you might have to live up to what people have heard?
Jeff: No. No. People who come to see us know from experiencing us that, you know, we're just all what we are when we come up on stage. It's very immediate. If I'm feeling low energy, the band will take low energy from me and we'll have a low energy concert. But the whole show will be low energy. Or if we're really up, the whole thing will be tight. It's, um, you know, it's music. It's always changing. You can't expect... you can't impose a structure on it. You do it's will and it sort of does your will. It's an exchange.
MTV: How would you describe your music. I mean I think it's very
Jeff: It's just music. Yeah, just typical white boy guitar rock basically. Just stuff we love put into the mix.
Mick: I never can find the words. It's pretty diverse.
Jeff: What was it you said?
Mick: Initially somewhere between Billie Holiday and Led Zeppelin.
Jeff: Yeah, sort of like you know Smiths and Bad Brains.
MTV: Was Led Zeppelin an influence for...
Jeff: Lot's of things were an influence. Critics picked up on the Zeppelin influence but that's all I heard when I was five, Zeppelin II. Apparently, according to Spin, they're not alternative music, but I would beg to differ. But there were other, there were other things that come through. We like all kinds of bands. All kinds of experiences with music. Not just guitar rock, you know. It could be the Birthday Party it could be Esquivel. We love them both.
MTV: What about Leonard Cohen?
Jeff: Yeah. But, the reason I did Hallelujah was because of the song and not because of Leonard. But ah, I can't help but admire him, can you? You can't help but admire him, he's amazing.
MTV: Do you know whether he's, he's heard it?
Jeff: I hope he never hears it.
Jeff: Cause, um, I don't know. It sounds more like, to me, it sounds more like a boy singing it. I have a version the night we recorded Surreal I laid down one last version of Hallelujah and I was so wiped out and tired I forgot it was on the reel and I wanted to put it on and it sounded more like man singing it. I think, I don't know. I've a changing response to that song every time we play it. But I hope it does him justice. Cause that's the thing about Leonard's songs is that they can go many different ways, places. That's the cool thing about any song. Best songs have really strong legs and they can find themselves in all kinds of situations.
MTV: I see you didn't put lyrics into the CD at all. Do you not like
talking about what songs mean?
Jeff: Yeah, because it's, the, the experience of the songs is stronger if you have your own, if, if they just fall into your own experience. If you divine what the meaning of the song is for you, your experience is much stronger. And also, they don't look all that impressive on the page in my esteem.
MTV: What do you think about video making?
Jeff: Video making. It's ah, as a concern, it's brand new. Although the form isn't new. But ah, I don't know. Video making isn't so bad. It's the stream it gets put into. You know, you put your video, you get your video on a channel and it's like commercials going by. I never feel in love with anybody or starting necking to a TV showing a song. It's more like, it's definitely a promotional device. Like there's you, there's Eddie Vedder, there's toothpaste, there's pimple cream, there's Nirvana, there's Weezer. You know it's just not, it can be fun sometimes but it can get endless. The best thing is the gig. The best thing is the album. But visuals can be fun, you know.
MTV: Did you ever want to experiment with, with them more than...
Jeff: Yeah. Oh we are actually.
MTV: What's, what's your next video selected?
Jeff: Apparently, since we just gave up the album to people in radio stations to sort of just play what they wanted and not shove a single down their throat they like, Last Goodbye. So that seems the logical choice.