Monday, December 13, 2010

Interview with Brett Netson - Built to Spill/Caustic Resin

This makes me very happy. Brett Netson is the founding member, guitarist, and creative force behind Caustic Resin, one of my favorite bands of all time. He is also a full-time member of Built to Spill, and has toured with Mark Lanegan's band. I first met Brett in Athens Georgia on the last Caustic Resin tour. He was elbow deep in their van's engine but he still took the time to get Matt, myself, and our wives into the show for free. During that show he broke a string during one of the songs and changed it while he played. Try doing that sometime. Anyway, he has always been very cool to me and I am honored to have him on the page this week. Enjoy.

                                                                          All live photos by Carl Hamilton
1 – I like the handmade amp/cab you use (see below). I have never seen anyone with a rig like that. Can you talk a little about that amp?

Tweed deluxe circuit with 6L6 power tubes. English made vintage 30's. Speaker cab is wood from 100 year old house. Head box made in friends auto shop as fast as possible. Had the plan in my head for a long time.

2 – I know you have been touring a lot with Built to Spill, what are some of the coolest gigs you have done lately?

On a boat in the Hudson river NYC.

3 – What else is going on? Are you still doing Reversion?

Just recorded in a real studio. Finally.

4 – You once told me about playing in a band with your two kids. Can you talk about that?

It's like Caustic Resin but folkier. Like Crazy Horse/Mark lanegan ish. Bands have chemistry and with yr own kids its pretty deep. Not totally easy but very rewarding.

5 – What is your favorite unknown band?

Out here in the west I would say USX.
But um ... Cober, Wolvserpent, Helvetia.

6 – Are you still building hot rods, or any other cool machines?

My BB Chevelle has sat in the driveway all sad for a couple years. I've gotten more into motorcycles. 70"s 2 stroke flat track style bikes. Real wrapped up in gardening, hunting homesteading type shit. And government issue guns.WWI,II .45's. Cop shotguns,pistols etc.

7 – Who is your favorite guitar player of all time?


Yr gonna get five.
Joh Lee Hooker, Jimi, Ben Keith, Neil Young, Randy Rhodes.

8 – I noticed you are using a new mustang-style guitar body, but it looks like you have the neck from your old strat. Is that the case?

Yeah, it's a Jazzmaster body my friend Carl Hamilton made.
68 Tele Bigsby. Lindy Fralin pick-ups. Stripped the chrome with muriatic acid and a battery charger.

9 – I remember you had found a really nice old BC Rich Warlock when you came through NC that time, and you said you had always wanted one. What inspired your interest in pointy, metal style guitars?

Not just the shape but the whole handcrafted look that the early BC Rico ones had. I started my life with the guitar as metalhead in Jr high. Of the BOC,Iron Maiden,Deep Purple,Rush variety.

                                   (Brett back in the Caustic Resin days/by Pixie Merrick)

10 – What is your favorite weapon?

Fast Car-Torque wrench.
Pit Bull.
Can of carb cleaner.
WWI Colt 1911.

11 – You are from Idaho, a place with tons of Native American/tribal history. Have you had much contact with people from that culture? And if so, has it been an influence on your music.

Natives that I have hung with seem to have had a really rough time connecting with their heritage. Just like the most of us in the west. All I know is that most of my joy in music comes from the hypnotic nature of the Great Basin/Snake River and nature in general. All the stories and evidence of the Shoshoni/Sheepeaters are huge in my understanding of this area (Boise, Idaho/Great Basin). Been here my whole life and was introduced to nature here, then music. The Shoshoni have their pow-wow's and I have been to them and gotten a lot out of it, but as a dirty, white and culturally feral creature, I am hoping to be a part of some new heritage of open human animals of all past cultures. Really good rock bands serve the same purpose as healers right? Rock and Roll has given us all a great reference point to start from perhaps. If we can keep it real that is.
12 – In recent years, you and some of your friends have done some really cool video/film stuff. Can you talk about that?

Satire/absurdism. Kinda off color.

Technology now allows us to make these things cheaply. They are really just done to help all involved get this shit out of our heads so we can sleep at night & to stir up the hive mind. They are usually made real fast and can end up pissing people off and confusing us and others. Just like music.

13 – Who fights the good fight?

Buffalo Field Campaign. And all wildlife.

Question for Savage Throat:

What is a southerners perception of the west?
(not at all a trick question)
Sure man, I have always been fascinated by the American west. I guess it started when I was little, seeing it in books and movies. Westerns on tv. My wife and I took a trip out to the 4-corners area about 8 years ago, and it was everything I hoped it would be. We got to ride horses into Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and I we took another ride through Monument Valley in Utah. I remember that there were skeletons everywhere, almost covering the ground. Sheep and cow bones mostly, but so many it was kind of hard to tell. I got to see a good bit of Navajo, Hopi, and Ute territory. We even went through the Apache reservation, which - other than Detroit or Memphis - is the roughest place I have ever been. The whole place was alien to me. The light is different, the air smelled foreign. The horses were different, same with the dogs and pretty much every other animal. I spent a good bit of time looking at the rocks, the dirt, the plants. I took it all in because I wanted to remember it. I hope I can get back out there sometime, I would love to see the Rockies. Steve from Neurosis lives in Idaho and one time we were talking on the phone and a moose walked through his yard. He says it is really wild out there. Yeah man, glad you love your home like I love mine. Good stuff Brett.
Nate - USX

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