May 18, 2006
Interview: Warn Defever
One of our favorite bands, His Name is Alive, is going out on their first full-length headlining tour in ten years! Isn’t that exciting? Yes, it is, even if you don’t know any better!! Trust us. So, what better time to check in on Mr. Warn Defever? He released a great record, Detrola, earlier this year, and he’s put together a red-hot live band, too!!! And, for your listening pleasure, we’ve included a number of some pretty good rarities from the past few years!!!!
"Every Rock, Every Stone, Every Body, Every Bone"(from The Emergency LP)
"Monday" (from Michigan's Finest cassette)
"Imperial (cover of Unrest song, featuring Mark and Bridget from Unrest!!! Found on The Emergency LP)
"Place" (from Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most)
"Moon Dance" (Van Morrison cover, found on When the Stars Refused to Shine)
(Also, you might want to check out the band's website, as there's a whole free CeeDee of experimental His Name is Alive goodness!)
When last we spoke, we closed with a discussion about Elvis Hitler reuniting—and then it happened! How was it?
Elvis Hitler was the band I joined when I was 16, the other guys in the band were older dudes. This was 1986. Twenty years later I talked everyone into doing a reunion concert!!! It was great!! I’d never seen so many motorcycles and hotrods outside a bar in Detroit before!!! it was a lot of fun, except when my brother (Elvis Hitler lead guitarist) kicked me in the stomach and I couldn't breathe for about five minutes during the song, "crush kill destroy" because I had unplugged his amp during his guitar solo!!! Really it was a lot of fun, oh yeah, and except for the mosh pit and the six people that got kicked out during the first song for starting fights.
It seems as if HNIA circa 2006 is much more of a live machine than ever before. Why is this? Is it because you've fallen in love with performing live and going on the road, or because you've formed a really excellent backing band?
I've been in the studio for five years nonstop without a breath of fresh air and its important to get out of the house sometimes. This is a lesson I've only recently learned in life.
You've also set up a new company, Silver Mountain. Considering that you've been on well-established labels for most of your career, does this company finally make you feel as if you have total control of His Name Is Alive and your destiny?
Having Sony/BMG as a distributor, you really wouldn't think it would be such a do-it-yourself type operation, but it really is. We've been working with little or no supervision for months now!!! Detrola is totally homemade. The front cover photo is a picture I took of the peak of Mount Everest in the Himalayas from a chartered aeroplane. I took the photo in 1999 when mini Polaroids first came out. I suspect that its the first ever mini Polaroid taken of Mount Everest, but I haven't contacted the Guinness book of world records yet.
Tell us a little bit about your live band.
On the DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE tour, Elliott is playing saxophone and piano, Andy FM is singing, Erik Hall is playing bass and bass mbira, and regular Dan is playing drums. Me and Andy are traveling by car with an electric thumb piano and an amp. Elliott, Erik and Dan play in a groop called NOMO, who is opening up us for every night, and they are traveling by van. We've had one rehearsal so far and I think there'll be many surprises this summer!!!!
One of the things I've noticed in recent photographs of you performing live is that your demeanor exudes happiness. I haven't seen a shot of you without you having less than a big, shining soul-warming smile. Considering the stress and the headaches of the past few years, do you feel a lot happier with life?
Enduring years of stress and economic hardships as professional musician has finally taken its toll on my mind and body, so I've turned to alcohol as a source of comfort.
As always, I'm sure you're very busy with different musical projects and experiments. What's cooking in your musical laboratory these days that we can look forward to?
I’ve still been recording other groups; recently I did some recordings with Michael Hurley and I made a kids album for Folkways with Liz and Dan from Ida.
Another reunion prediction: any chance of an ESP Summer reunion?
I put together a disc recently of all the songs from the CD, the EP, the 7", a couple outtakes and a couple live tracks and it sounded pretty sweet!!! ESP SUMMER COMPLETE RECORDINGS COMING SOON!!!
Wow! I can’t wait to hear that! Thanks, Warn!!!