Interview with John McBain

From Japanese website
by Hitomi I

Hitomi: How did you feel Japanese GS music? We were astonished that you covered GS song in Japanese! The singles was so genius that you covered GS songs. Why did you cover it?

John: I’ve always felt that GS stuff was more out of control than US or UK garage/psych. They always had the best fuzztones and weren’t afraid to use them. The production was light years beyond anything else I ever heard from that era.

Hitomi: I passed your cover version 45 to original singer of “Sandy”, he was surprised about it, and he dug the song.  Do you love fuzz sound?

John: To say that I love fuzz is a gross understatement. I’m a particular fan of the Music Machine fuzz tone. Its a sound that I’ve been trying to emulate. I especially loved the way that they used fuzztone almost like a horn section. The fuzzbox that I used on “Brotherhood of Electric is a homemade device that I borrowed from Steve Turner from Mudhoney. It was given to him by a Japanese fan. It sounds a lot like the classic Golden Cups tone. I think that its called a “Mudhoney Fuzz”. Its the best one I’ve heard yet. Reminds me of a cross between a Univox Superfuzz and a Mosrite Fuzzrite.

Hitomi: The single was so genius that you covered GS songs. It is one of my fave. You understands the teenage innocence of those songs, especially with the vocals. And the guitar solos are really good too. I wish you would cover more GS.

John: I would love to do some more GS songs. Maybe for the Japanese version of our new record.

Hitomi: It’s nice! Which GS band or song do you like?

John: Of all the GS bands that I’ve heard, I would have to pick the Golden Cups as my favorite. I can clearly remember finding “Hey Joe” on a Pebbles record, having my mind blown by the sheer terror of their version, running to my friend Dave Wyndorfs house to play it for him, and in the end, laughing out loud at the amount of fuzz and distortion on every instrument and wishing that we could be so cool. I still can’t get enough of the fuzz bass solo. To me, punk rock begins with GS.

Hitomi: After being in so much more “heavy” bands, why did the Wellwater Conspiracy choose to do such “Teenage Innocence” songs like “Sandy”? Why the band members did something so much more basic with Wellwater Conspiracy than all their old bands (sound garden, monster magnet..)?

John: I realize that our sound was unexpected, considering the bands that we previously played in. It would have been easy to put together a “heavy” band, but we had both done it for too long. Garage/psych was and always will be my favorite music, so WWC is a loving tribute to the bands, music, and overall sound of rock and pop music of that era. Once again, the key word here is innocence. Its a point in music history that we may never see again. On our new record we once again continue to pay tribute to the garage era, but we also touch on the early seventies hard rock/prog movement as well. Besides, this kind of music is universal, simple, and so much fun to play.

Hitomi: Why did you add bonus tracks AKKA RAGA (Shocking Blue) and LATE NIGHT (Syd Barret) to Japanese CD?

John: We put Acka Raga and the Barrett song on the Japanese cd because they requested some bonus tracks. We had nothing left to give them, so I got together with Matt Cameron and Josh Homme (ex-Kyuss) and recorded the Barrett song. After we finished I put the Shocking Blue record on and figured that Acka Raga would be a perfect addition to the record. I’ve always considered Shocking Blue’s “At Home” to be perhaps the best psych/pop record ever. Beautifully recorded. Incredible vocals, stunning songwriting, and mind blowing musicianship. This record never fails to blow me away.

Hitomi: Thank you.