From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
I've known Larry Durica for several years as the drummer in Floorian. Like many musicians, Larry has been in numerous bands, mostly in Cleveland, Athens and Columbus, Ohio, most of which he says barely got out of the basement or garage. I first clued in to the breadth of Larry's musical interests and capabilities when he gave me the first Vernon Dent album in 2005. Vernon Dent has been an on again, off again project for Larry since 1998. The first participants were musicians he collaborated with in Cleveland, and once in Columbus his comrades in Floorian, among others, jumped in to add their voices.
With the release of the second Vernon Dent album this year, titled Louder, I listened closely to both albums. And as I was featuring Floorian this issue it made sense to put some much deserved spotlight on Larry as well. What follows is a review of the two Vernon Dent albums, followed by an interview with Larry.
The Vernon Dent - s/t (2005)
The self-titled Vernon Dent album includes 7 tracks, all in the 8-15 minute range, with a balance of instrumental jamming and song. The first 7 minutes of the 15 minute Alluvion consists of beautiful drifting freeform space excursion, slowly developing soundscapes, and is somewhat orchestral in parts. But at the 7 minute mark it transitions to a melodic piece, beginning with a liquid guitar melody and peaceful but intense phased guitar chords. The same theme settles into a repetitive pattern but the volume and pace gradually increase. You can just feel the explosion coming. And sure enough it does in the last few minutes. A nice slow, drugged feel, yet almost like an anthem in the power of its finale. Colours could easily stand on its own as a solo singer-songwriter guitar tune. But the music is augmented by crashing guitars and keyboards that give this accessible song a spaced out psychedelic edge. And as the song ends there is a full three minutes of quietly drifting outro soundscapes. Benevolence is similar in that we've got a song-spacescape combination, with the song revealing itself as the track progresses. Then near the 5 minute mark it's like a Pink Floyd tune with liquid psychedelic guitars, but also searing acidic chords and licks, and a spaced out ambience surrounding the song. Very cool and excellent guitar work on this song. Ambivalence starts off as an intense space rocker, kicking off hot 'n heavy right out of the chute with crashing guitars, high pitched keys and alien electronics. But after two minutes it draws back into a cosmic space journey, with a steady sound-wave beam, melodic guitar that is so slow and ethereal it adds to the ambience, and an edgy bit of almost static-like sound. Things are slowly but ever changing throughout this piece, with the guitar melody becoming more crisp and clear and you can hear faint vocals in the background. Idiotocracy is a ripping acidic psych rocker which in its first few minutes before the vocals kick in reminds me of Pink Floyd's Obscured By Clouds. And for the next few minutes we're treated to an acidically twisted psychedelic rocker. Around the 6 minute mark things briefly quiet down, but not for long as the band soon launches into a smoldering firestorm of spaced out rocking intensity. Roelf's Sigh and Martropolis both stand out as being a bit different from the rest of the album. The former features spaced out keyboard melody and ambience. It's got an early 70s sound, perhaps due to the equipment used. Sparse and nicely meditative. Martropolis is similar in its use of sparse keyboards and spaced out ambience with a 70s sound. But in this case there's a bit more going on. We're far deeper in freaky space and the music includes ethereal vocals that have a drugged, almost Gregorian Chant-like quality.
The Vernon Dent - Louder (2010)
Five years after the first Vernon Dent, Larry has released the new album, Louder. The credits show a similar lineup of participating musicians and the music features a comparable combination of song and freeform jamming. And with the exception of a couple shorter and more tightly structured songs, the tracks stretch out into the 9 - 15 minute range. Ulterior begins with light vocals against a steady drone, though a cool groove soon kicks in creating a trippy rocking vibe. The intensity builds slowly and things get pretty spaced out as the music evolves, but despite the volume and intensity, the song maintains an easy paced drugged feel. There's some excellent melodic guitar licks too, especially the tripped out whining lead at the end. A solid psychedelic rocker with a cool jamming feel. Think Tank is a cool grooving space rocker with a stoned vibe, a thudding rhythmic pulse and spaced out psych guitar leads. Guitar lovers will tune right into this song. The 15 minute Pagoda is the mega-improv track of the set. The music starts off with a slowly grooving rhythm, accompanied by pulsating cosmic guitar licks. Lots of varied sounds throughout the track, and while the atmosphere is easy paced and peaceful there's actually a lot going on. We've got soundscapes, ambience, guitar and keyboard effects, all against the driving rhythmic flow. At one point it sounds like a flying saucer hovering overhead. This instrumental is all about jamming and deep space exploration, very much like classic jamming Kosmiche Krautrock. In fact, I told Larry that if I played this on my radio show and announced that it was some lost German album from 1971, no one would doubt it was true. Fake Patriot and Why are the two tracks that are more clearly defined as songs, though there's no shortage of jamming on either. In fact, Fake Patriot is probably the most accessible "song" I've heard yet on either album. It's barely over four minutes, but the guitars keep things firmly psychedelic and there's plenty of room for jamming and lots of cool and often searing guitar leads throughout. And I like the marching rhythmic feel which matches the song's subject matter. Why is similar in its song focus, but includes bubbling, pulsating, and sometimes screaming psych guitar.
Aural Innovations (AI): I did a Google search on Vernon Dent and came up with your Myspace page and loads of other links about a character actor from old movies named Vernon Dent who was particularly known for playing in Three Stooges shorts.
Larry Durica: I must confess I'm a die-hard Three Stooges fan. Why I picked his name? When I see the credits his name stuck out with me, and I think he's one of the better supporting actors on the show. My favorite ones are where he plays… it was during WWII, and just before, but making fun of Hitler. The Three Stooges were the first to do that. Vernon Dent always played the Nazi. Of course he did a horrible German accent. But it's part of the kitsch. I always thought that was great. I guess ultimately it comes down to I don't want to take things too seriously. I'm definitely not pretentious about my music. So ultimately it's just an inside joke.
AI: I interviewed you in 2003 as part of the first Floorian interview and you never mentioned The Vernon Dent. So I assumed it started after that. But then I looked at your Myspace page and it says that it's been in existence in one form or another since 1998.
Larry: Really? I never mentioned it in the Floorian interview? Well The Vernon Dent was dormant at that time for sure. And it was always an on again, off again thing. It started off in the late 1990s, working with Ted Flynn from Scarcity of Tanks. We were in the band Jones. And Andy Davis, the lead singer of Jones, wanted to take us in more of a traditional singer-songwriter direction. More structured, disciplined songwriting. And part of me and part of Ted were thinking no, we want to be more experimental. But Andy was writing some great songs. So we let him take control of the band because his songwriting was so great and he had a great backup band. So the experimental years of Jones were over. The space rock years were over. But no big deal. We had another outlet. We started The Vernon Dent. It was the bass player from Jones, Ryan Jaenke, and Ted Flynn.
AI: So they were part of what you would call the original 1998 Vernon Dent?
Larry: Right. It didn't have a name at that time. But I do remember having conversations with those two guys saying, it's really cool what we're doing with Jones now, but I still have that space rock itch in me, and I think we should get together and do more experimental music. That started in 1998. And there were a couple of different sessions. I don't remember the exact order of them but one was at Ryan's house. One of the tracks on there is called Painting Ryan's Dining Room. Just kind of painting with sound… using the room as a tapestry and painting off of it. There was that session, which was a little bit more acoustic. I played a drum set. Ryan switched from electric bass to upright bass. What a bitch it was to mic that upright bass. And Ted had all kinds of weird… I don't know what you'd call them. They were homemade stringed instruments. He couldn't keep them in tune. So a lot of what you hear on that 1998-99 recording sounds like mandolins out of tune. Or dulcimers that are out of tune.
AI: I haven't listened to the recordings from that era you gave me yet but does it have a kind of dissonance to it?
Larry: Oh yeah. Not all the tracks though. The sessions done at Ryan's have a distinct sound and you can hear that dining room in Cleveland that we recorded in. It has a very distinct atmosphere to it. There were three songs recorded at Ryan's house - Creedence Beerbottle Survival, Painting Ryan's Dining Room, and another which I couldn't fit on here because I couldn't get more than 74 minutes on it. I can't remember the name of that, it's still on cassette. But I remember it being the weakest of all the tracks. But anyway, then we recorded in my basement. I lived in Avon Lake at the time and we recorded the tracks Pulse of the Local Group, Are You Sirius?, Nightmares and Glue, and Song to Subdue Dave Wyndorf. Pulse of the Local Group was pretty much just me and Ted. He had a Korg keyboard, I don't know the model, but it looked like a little mad scientist setup. He had a keyboard, a very short one, and then a 45 or so degree angle board with knobs and a little patch bay and stuff. It was the strangest keyboard. Anyway, he played that and I just played along to it as if he was the loop. And then we added guitar, Rhodes piano, and then I played bass as well. Are You Sirius? was… it almost should have been Part 1 and Part 2, but at the time I didn't know how to do a space separator in the tracks. But there's a definite distinction between Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is like freeform garage-jazz. Ted on guitar and me on drums, and a guy named Joe on bass who after that session Ted never brought over again. But probably the most exciting track on the album. Nightmares and Glue, that was Ted doing his spoken word while playing the Rhodes piano. I was playing… just coloring with drums. Andy, the lead singer with Jones was on that song playing guitar riffs, even though he felt totally lost because he's not into that. He called it noise for noise sake. Road Rage Cluster was another one where Ted was playing something on the Korg that was looping and I was playing to it. And I had a friend of mine named Roelf Tornebene… very eccentric dude but he plays a mean saxophone. I had him overdub a saxophone, and I think I did some other various overdubs on that as well. And then Song To Subdue Dave Wyndorf was me and Ted. The original improvisation was just me on drums and him on guitar, and I think I added keyboards and a bass guitar at a later date. And I thought, man that sounds like Monster Magnet. There's really no vocals on this. There's Nightmares and Glue with spoken word. It's quite funny with Ted doing the spoken word on that. That one is all improvisation. There was no preconception whatsoever. It was just all for the moment. So there are moments where it tests the patience of the listener but I think for the most part it's all got its charm.
AI: You can meander in really good ways.
Larry: And I think we did too. I definitely cut out what I thought was crap from those sessions.
AI: So the first official Vernon Dent, the self-titled album from 2005, you were in Floorian at this time. Did you just decide to revive The Vernon Dent? How did this come about?
Larry: Well I did the Vernon Dent thing up in the Cleveland area and then decided to move to Columbus to work with my friends in Madison Skyway. There were good moments and bad moments. And then I just decided to do my own thing. That's when I thought, well, there's that Vernon Dent project, which was the one project that was always my own personal creative outlet. So I revived it and started working on it in 2003 or so, while at the same time working with Floorian. I think I met them in 2000 or early 2001. And we started working together in 2001. But I always had plenty of time to go back and start doing stuff with my own project Vernon Dent.
AI: The credits are pretty clear on the new CD, Louder. But I don't know who's on the first CD from 2005. I see most of the Floorian guys and Jim Krupar on Louder. Who's on the 2005 album? The same personnel or different?
Larry: The personnel kind of overlaps. I think any drums on this album are done by me. The first track, Alluvion, it's almost a Madison Skyway song. It sounds like what Madison Skyway sounded like at their best. The first 7 minutes is freeform noise in G. And then the second 7 or so minutes is quintessential Madison Skyway.
AI: In my review notes I described it as freeform soundscapey, almost orchestral in parts, and then it blasts off into this jamming, drugged out psych song.
Larry: I did overdub some guitars, but the basic live tracks for the second half, when they were recorded they were recorded live with me on drums, Alex Lee Mason on guitar and Jim Krupar on bass. Colours is mostly me. I conceived the first half of that, the main folky song part of it… actually I played guitar and vocals first to a click-track and then went back and added drums. And I had Ryan from Jones come down one weekend and visit and he plays a great bass on that song. So he put that down on the first half of that song. The second half is more of just a drifting kind of afterthought with me on Rhodes piano and all the instruments. Ambivalence was at first going to be a prototype of the song Benevolence.
AI: When we were trading emails a couple weeks ago you said, "I think after one more structured, accessible CD like Louder, I'm going to go back to the noise/space rock. It's much easier and I spend less time agonizing over mixing errors, as I do with Louder. To me, Ambivalence struck me as one of the most abstract songs on either album. Its drifty, it's psychedelic, but it's very freeform soundscapey as well. Though it's interesting that it starts off with this 2 minute heavy rock bit. It's almost like it's going to be a structured heavy rock song. And that's cool. But Colours is a song. So you've got some of that on the first album too. And Benevolence starts off kind of soundscapey, but the song part reveals itself as the track progresses. So there's a clear difference between Louder and the first album, but there is structured stuff on the first album too.
Larry: Yeah. I kept it somewhat freeform, but not unfocused. And I was starting to experiment with singer-songwriter stuff. But of course I didn't want it to sound like James Taylor or anything like that. So it's kind of like drowning in the ambient abyss. There are little moments of structure mixed in with the more freeform noisy sound.
AI: Was this album recorded over a shorter period? Longer period?
Larry: That's a good question I don't remember exactly. I think I started some of this around 2003.
AI: So it was all while you were in Floorian.
Larry: Yeah. And it was the result of hours and hours of stuff that is mixed down but only I will listen to. I won't let anybody else listen to it because it was all over the place.
AI: That doesn't surprise me, especially if there's a lot of improvisation involved. So you played the one Vernon Dent show… last year?
Larry: Actually that was December 2008.
AI: Were there any live shows here?
Larry: No. I do want to play Columbus, but I don't want to try and get into Skullys or any of those mainstream hipster venues. In fact, it's the hipster crowd that I could care less about. I'd rather turn on other musicians. If I could get a gig at a place like Skylab that would be great.
AI: After you and Floorian did that show together I was thinking you guys should do more double-headers. You've got all the people you need for both bands.
Larry: Yeah, and it made perfect sense to do that when we finally got around to setting up that gig in Cleveland. We would have done it sooner. The thing was though, with Vernon Dent becoming slightly more of a vocal band I didn't want to sit on the drums and sing lead vocals.
AI: How did you handle that at the Cleveland show?
Larry: Well it kind of takes us off to a side note. After Alex Lee Mason and I left Floorian in the summer of 2005 we were just kind of floating in space. So I finished overdubbing and mixing down the album, and then we started a project called The Karma Bombs. Definitely a more straight ahead 80s sound but with heavy guitars. Kind of a Jesus and Mary Chain with Guided By Voices. And we ran into a drummer named Joe Campbell. After Karma Bombs sort of fizzled, and it fizzled because Joe had to leave and spend more time with his family, and our second guitarist had to leave. I actually played bass in Karma Bombs. After that fizzled we were kind of spinning our wheels. And then I got Vernon Dent up and going again in summer 2008. I thought, well, I'm going to sing in Vernon Dent. And I'm going to take some of these songs that I've got in my head and be the lead singer, play guitar, and see if Joe could come back in and play, and he said, yeah I can come over and play some drums. And I got Jim Krupar to come in and play bass. We were at first just a 3-piece. And I thought this is going to be the leaner meaner version of Vernon Dent. It's going to be like the Stooges… just raw. And it was for that first demo. But you know that phrase be careful what you wish for? Well, I was getting together with the guys calling it The Vernon Dent again. And just to be certain I had enough personnel, I called everybody thinking at least a few would not be able to make it. As it turned out, for at least 2 of the three main sessions, just about everybody was available. We actually had a 6 piece for the session in August. Previous to that was a 5 piece on July 11, 2008. And we had this other guy, Carlos, come in and do some percussion. And man that was a cool session. We wrote Ulterior that night. I gave everybody that was part of that song songwriting credit. Fake Patriot was from the June session of 2008, which was just the 3-piece. So was Think Tank. The only song that was completely mine is the last track, Why. It's very Brian Jonestown Massacre sounding. And it's actually the oddball on the album because it's not as spacey and trippy in my personal opinion.
AI: I know what you mean. But to me, Fake Patriot and Why are somewhat similar because they're both shorter, more precisely song-oriented, but at the same time I think they're both firmly psychedelic. So they're shorter songs but they really jam out too.
Larry: Yeah, they're more structured, more disciplined. As a whole the album is, except for maybe Pagoda, which was an all out stream of consciousness jam. I think I went back and had to do some cosmetic repairs on things but we didn't overdub.
AI: Going back to your comment about getting away from the more structured music, is Pagoda representative of what you mean by that?
Larry: That's more of what I want to get to but even more noise and soundscapes. Songs without actual pulses. Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Throbbing Gristle too…
AI: That's similar to comments you made when I first interviewed you for the 2003 Floorian article. You talked about discovering artists like Brian Eno, Steve Roach, and Robert Rich, and even Throbbing Gristle and stuff like that. To me Steve Roach and Robert Rich might be here, with Brian Eno just over a to the left of them, while Throbbing Gristle are in a different ballpark, yet still understandable why someone would be influenced by all of them.
Larry: Yeah. The early Throbbing Gristle is basically just a bunch of performance artists who didn't know what the hell they were doing. And I mean that in a good way: they were pioneers. But they evolved into more of a Kraftwerk type sound. My influences are all over the place. My senior year in high school my two favorite albums were King Crimson's Islands and New Order's Power, Corruptions & Lies. They're such polar opposites. But at the same time I found this common ground. It wasn't busy and in your face and mainstream. It was kind of pulling me off in a corner… join us in this dark corner. And that's what those two albums have in common for me.
AI: Were you into any of the early Krautrock bands?
Larry: I was a late bloomer on a lot of stuff. When I moved down here to Columbus around 2000 I ran into a co-worker named Mark Robinson and he turned me on to Brian Eno. I could probably sit here and name bands for hours. I don't remember what got me into Steve Roach. Oh, MSNBC, they would have those radio stations that you could listen to for free for a while. I listened to the ambient one and that's where I saw Robert Rich and Steve Roach. What a great idea that was for turning people on to music. You can classify it as New Age I guess but to me there's something a bit more going on. I've been going through a retro phase where I've been listening to a lot of Gram Parsons… more singer-songwriter stuff right now.
AI: I think somebody who is listening to Gram Parsons and at the same time saying they want to get away from structured music and back into more improvisational music, you're going to take that with you. Nobody will hear it. But you're still going to somehow take that with you.
Larry: Right. Well I have a somewhat Gram Parsons-esque country song that I've written. I don't know exactly what to do with it. But there's also the concept of song deconstruction. Where instead of making it a straight ahead song you disassemble it on tape or whatever. Wilco is really good at that. They take a song and just kind of spill it out on to the floor. But they experimented with song deconstruction as I call it. You're taping a straight ahead song but you're kind of ripping it apart as it goes along. Kind of pulling on the thread. It's hard to describe. But there's got to be a way for me to pull that off. I don't know what that is yet. I guess you could say my vision as an artist isn't 20-20 as to what's coming and I'm still trying to figure it out. But to me that's exciting.
AI: I remembered the comment you made in 2003 about these various artists and was thinking about that while I was listening to the Vernon Dent albums.
Larry: I'm not saying I want a total loss of beat or pulse. Zoviet France… I only own one CD by them. It's probably the most accessible one you can actually find in the store. There's a pulse, but it's definitely not something you'd call songs in any sense of the word. They're a very interesting band. I want to find some more of their stuff. But I love writing songs. I listen to such a multitude of artists. It's just a lot easier to do the noise thing because it's all improvisation. It's experimental, it's exciting, and best of all it can be done in such a shorter time period, whereas I started recording Louder in summer 2008 and I finally finished mixing it down before the holidays in 2009. It shouldn't have to take that long.
AI: Not to get overly deep into it, but I think I'm hearing two things from you. On the one hand you're saying that the freeform improvisations are easier, but in the same breath expressing how exciting it is.
Larry: Yes, I definitely find it more exciting. Because it's all in the moment. However, the drummer, Joe, from that CD, he's more of a structured guy. And that's typical of drummers. They're just like that. But I said, hey Joe, what do you think of playing more freeform, and he just wasn't really into it. So if I did freeform it would probably be mostly me and one or two other people. And I'd be on a multitude of instruments - drums, guitar and whatever. As for the more structured stuff, I'd bring Joe into it. And I'm working with him right now. We have some demos. The songwriting is actually more cohesive than what's on Louder. And it's probably going to be more structured than what's on Louder. But once I get done with it I want to loosen the shackles of… when you write more structured songs you almost have to have a good production… you've got to show everybody here's the chords, and here's the buildup to the second chorus, whereas with improvisation it's all everybody feeding off each other. And it's not just four guys in a room making noise. You're paying attention to what's going on around you. That's the only kind of improvisation I've ever been into. It's never about just making noise. It has to be about a unit taking a song somewhere. You're road-mapping. You're telling a story.
AI: One of the things that struck me on both Vernon Dent CDs is the guitar work. Does Alex Lee Mason do all the lead guitar on both CDs?
Larry: No. Mention some solos you like. He plays most of the lead guitar solos.
AI: Like Benevolence from the first album.
Larry: There are actually three different guitarists on Benevolence. Lee plays the arpeggio, because I can't do an arpeggio to save my life. And he had to do it for 8 minutes or however long that song is. Todd Fisher of Floorian plays the guitar that comes in for the last 4 minutes or so. And that's kind of arpeggiated as well. And it gets noisy at the end. And then the guitar solo on that song - that's me.
AI: Idiotocracy is another one with really good guitar.
Larry: That's me on guitar solo. That's the track to me where I always think that its way too indulgent. And it was recorded poorly.
AI: Well I'm a child of the 70s and I eat that indulgent stuff up. But let's go back to the show in Cleveland where Vernon Dent performed. Was it something you prepared for, with a setlist of songs from the albums?
Larry: Oh yeah. It was sometime in the early fall or late summer of 2008. And The Vernon Dent was finally this cohesive unit with songs. But not enough for a full set. We didn't want to play Pagoda because that was improvisation and I thought how are we ever going to pull that one off live. There were a lot of happy accidents on that song, so we had to leave that one off. Doing the other four songs from that CD wasn't enough to do a set. So I thought let's rehash some of the old songs from the 2005 CD. And my attitude has always been, this does not need to sound just like the album. Talk about painful to try and reinterpret these songs. So I said you know what, it's a new interpretation for 2008. It doesn't have to sound just like the CD. If the songs are good enough they should withstand a reinterpretation. So at that show we did Colours, though not the second spacey half. We did the first half of Ambivalence. We did them a little different. But they were still very cool. Very good songs. So I asked Joe and Jim, are you guys available to do a show and they said yes. I said I want to make it in Cleveland because Columbus, let's face it, we're going to put all this effort into it and nobody will show up. And I thought what the hell, it would make so much sense economically, and ergonomically, to have Floorian and The Vernon Dent do a double bill, and maybe get some third band from Cleveland that draws a crowd to play. And the first band I thought of was The Volta Sound. So I contacted a couple different clubs and Ted Flynn suggested I call Scott at Bela Dubby. And the guy was totally into it. It's a coffeehouse, so it's not a big place. But it was still crowded for a small coffeehouse. And it was good to hear a crowd response that was more than obligatory clapping. They actually enjoyed what they were hearing. I was happy. The Vernon Dent at that point had been about 10 years old as a project and it finally made its way out to play in front of an audience. And it was a decent experience.
AI: So that was the first and only time you ever performed live as The Vernon Dent?
AI: Do you do all the vocals on both CDs?
Larry: Yeah. I think I might have some backing vocal help from Alex Lee Mason on some songs from the 2005 release. And in the future I hope to incorporate more backing vocals.
AI: I've got a question about the first CD. Roelf's Sigh and Martropolis stand out as somewhat different on the album. My notes for Roelf's Sigh describe spaced out keyboard melody and ambience, but it's got this early 70s sound…
Larry: Like early Tangerine Dream?
AI: Yeah. And Martropolis is similar but there's more freakier stuff going on, and ethereal vocals that have an almost Gregorian chant like quality.
Larry: That reminds me, that's Alex Lee Mason singing lead on that song. Through a space echo which I was manipulating as he sang live.
AI: Interesting. I was wondering if those were solo pieces.
Larry: Roelf's Sigh is basically Roelf Tornebene, the guy that plays saxophone on some of the 1998-99 stuff. And he helped out Jones from time to time too. Roelf had two keyboards at his house, he has tons of keyboards, and I didn't know what we were going to pull off that day. I just knew I wanted to do something with freeform keyboards. And so we both just plugged in and were both at times pulling it along, or pulling the other person along. You can hear an interaction between the two keyboards. It's just me and Roelf on keyboards. It's funny because whenever I hit the really high notes, I was kind of droning on some of those, he would take the headphone off his ear because he's concerned with protecting his eardrums. And he stuck to mostly low register stuff. So there's definitely a contrast between his and my keyboard. And then Martropolis, I think Todd Fisher wrote the keyboard line. But I didn't care for the way I originally captured it so I had it redone. And we had Bill Spiropolis, the keyboardist at the time in Floorian do that line. From there we went and added the vocals, which are Alex Lee Mason, and he sang through Floorian's space echo, and I just manipulated it. I haven't listened to that track for quite a while but I think there might be some guitar from me on there. There's this crying kind of call and response guitar.
AI: You've been with Floorian for a long time. How do you view your role within the band?
Larry: It may sound a little egotistical but I think I've had somewhat of an influence on what they do. Auravine, a song on What the Buzzing, I keep telling those guys to me it sounds like a Vernon Dent song. It should have been on one of my CDs, with me on guitar. I don't play drums on that. Auravine is the one we would start our shows with that had the weird kind of herky-jerky loop to it. And I would play guitar.
AI: Ok, that's the one where you were saying it's confusing for Floorian fans who have What the Buzzing and see you credited with guitar on that song, but you were in fact the new drummer in the band.
Larry: Right. I also wrote Why Are You Waiting For It for the band [ed. note - titled Waiting For It on the album.]. It was just one productive Saturday afternoon, the weather was perfect, I was in the right place mentally. I recorded this song to a click-track called Why Are You Waiting For It. It sounds more like Spacemen 3 and Floorian mixed together. And then of course they reinterpreted the song and I played 12-string guitar on their version of it. But that's on the Bomp reissue of What the Buzzing. There's a couple songs there where I played drums. I'd like to think I had somewhat of an influence on those guys, bringing more of the ambient side into it.
AI: You've been with them for a long time now. And you'd think everyone has brought at least something to the band that's had an impact.
Larry: I think so. And those guys are also very good friends now.
AI: You may be the drummer but you said you've also had opportunities to play other instruments in Floorian.
Larry: Yeah. I'm not on More Fiend. At the time I wasn't in the band. And they were using a really good drummer, Christian Volpe, from the band Aether. Technically he's a much more proficient drummer than me. And you can tell on the album, those are strong drums, that's not me playing those drums. I'm a sloppy drummer. I'll admit it. I'm from the school of Ringo Starr. That's how I play drums.
AI: It sure seems to work out well at the live shows.
Larry: Live, yes, it's a slightly different interpretation. But I think we pull it off and I still think I complement the songs. I think I put my flavor into them but I don't think I distract from what the original song is.
AI: There must be something personally satisfying for you about Floorian. You may have left for a while, but there's still that overall longevity.
Larry: Yes, I genuinely like working with Todd and John. We have some creative differences. But when I'm the drummer for Floorian, I'm their drummer. And it's a barter system. I play drums for them. I don't tell them how they should write their songs. And they come and help me on Vernon Dent. And I generally just let them go wild and crazy and do whatever they want.
AI: Any upcoming news you'd like to share?
Larry: Whatever the next CD is going to be it will probably be more structured, just because I've had song ideas on my head for years and I just want to get them out. That'll be out in 2011 or maybe 2012.
AI: I thought you said after Louder you wanted to go back to a more improvisational direction. Oh, that's right, you've got one more album of songs to get out there.
Larry: Yeah, but I'm thinking that maybe you can have that strict discipline, that structure, but still make it spacey and experimental. I struggle with that all the time. And also the songs on Louder vs. the newer ones… the newer ones are going to be a little bit more… the vocals will be there for sure but I'm hoping to put them more in the background. That's almost a vocal album. In fact, when we played that gig in Cleveland I remember thinking that I did not intend for me to be the front-man of this band. And that's what I became up there singing and playing lead guitar. I've never been about that. But yeah, after this next CD where I get these structured songs off my chest I just want to be able to go back to being more free with it. More experimental again.