The Chain Letter Interviews Pt.II

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Jack Ladder, CMJ

In part two of our CMJ Chain Letter Interview series, we met the raucous Mokaad crowd at bandleader Gabe Garzón-Montano’s apartment in Prospect Heights, then traveled back into Manhattan to meet a very solemn and solitary Jack Ladder (aka Tim Rogers) for a few words outside of his gig at the Delancey. Jack’s big question landed on Psychic Twin as we chomped on Guaco-Tacos, sipped sweet margaritas, and shared laughs outside of a Mexican joint shortly before their show at Pianos. Through it all, we talked a hell of a lot about wizard sex.

How does the chain work? Each band gave us three questions to ask the next band, who proposed their own for the following band, and so on. Follow the chain to its final link with Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Calvin Love, and Heliotropes on Tuesday, and see the origins of Beach Day’s witchy questions for Mokaad in Thursday’s edition.


No small crowd, Mokaad’s eleven-piece funk band started to form in 2008 at SUNY Purchase. “There was no funky shit there,” Gabe says. “It was either the club or the barnyard, and we wanted to go somewhere in-between.” In-between for now is Gabe’s Brooklyn back patio with some brutal dogs, big guffaws, and a band of friends whose passion for making music overflows into many other projects.

In the many bands you all play in, where does Mokaad fit in?

Zach Koeber: Every group you play in has a different function in your life and a different way you relate to it musically. With Mokaad, it’s really an amazing experience being onstage with this many like-minded people playing this music, and I just get into the vibe when I’m playing. The music is so memorized in my mind that it’s a non-conscious state, and to be able to play funk for these people and see people dancing…it’s a whole energy thing. We give the crowd energy and they feed it back to us.

Spencer Murphy: And this project is very much the result of and continues because of friendship and love between all of us, having gone through all kinds of different shit with one another. And I think that really comes out in the music.

Most of you went to college together…what’s one of your best college stories?

Le’Asha Julius: So George [Ross] doesn’t go to school with us, but he’s always up at Purchase. One time, George comes up to Purchase and decides he wants to make everyone some pancakes. So he cooks these delicious, golden, just beautiful pancakes. There were, like, forty of them…FORTY PANCAKES FOR THE WHOLE BAND! We’re sitting there, looking at these, like, ‘we want some of those.” So we take a bite, and our mouths start fizzing and sizzling and shit. We had these cocaine pancakes…he put too much baking soda in it, that’s what that was.

George Ross: In my defense, on the back of the Bisquick box they have these things called ‘Melt in Your Mouth Pancakes.’ And it said two teaspoons – no, tablespoons of baking soda in it, and…I fucked up. It tasted terrible, it was like chalk, and I apologize.

If zombies attacked you, what weapon would you choose?

Zach: I would probably attack zombies with a rifle loaded with hollow points. Direct head shot.

Kevin Jacobi: I would probably use a baseball bat because it’s the only weapon I’m familiar with.

Dominic Missana: I would just make sure I have a huge blunt and some holy water.

George: I’ll use my words. I’ll talk you through.

Le’Asha: It depends on how many zombies there are. If there’s just a couple, if I’m not in the city, then I’ll use a crossbow. If I’m in the city…[shakes head].

David Frazier Jr: Zombies, it’s straight shotguns and holy water, you already know.

Spencer: I do not believe in violence of any kind, even against zombies.

Twilight or Vampire Diaries?

Brandon Lewis: I don’t know, I can’t even answer that question…neither?

Zach: Neither, and I would say True Blood would trump them all.

George: Whatever I can catch.

Le’Asha: Hugh Jackman…Van Helsing.

David: Wow, this is hard. This is really hard. Um…I’m gonna go with Twilight.

Spencer: I do not believe in vampires of any kind.

Would you rather have sex with Voldemort or Dumbledore?

Zach: I would say Dumbledore. I’m more of a giver.

Kevin: Voldemort doesn’t really have a nose, so I would agree.

Gabe: Yeah, Voldemort probably doesn’t have a dick either, so that would be easy.

Dominic: I choose to abstain from sex with mythical or fictional creatures.

George: I mean, I feel like I can get different experiences from both. I feel like they both have different things to offer. I’d just try to get them both, maybe at once, maybe at separate times.

Le’Asha: Well, everybody knows I have a thing for old white men, so I would choose Dumbledore.

David: I can’t get down with the sex with the wizards, I’m sorry. I can’t get with the program.

Spencer: If either of them had the power to turn into Hermione Granger, then I would be extremely interested in either.

What questions do you want to ask the next band?

What inspires you?
Al Green or Marvin Gaye, and why?
Where do you see yourself in the future?

Jack Ladder

The Australian and extremely tall Tim Rogers, who goes by the alias Jack Ladder, darkened the door outside of his show at The Delancey to dream about open space and better days. Our eyes were easily drawn to the first bright thing we saw.

Is there a story behind the flowers you’re carrying?

I just went to the shop down the road. I went for a walk. I wanted something that was a little brighter, since I am a bit drab today. It’s nice to have a prop – something to sing to. To distract the crowd.

You said CMJ’s not really your vibe. Where do you prefer to play?

Just, like, a more interesting space or a beautiful theater where the sound is reverberating in a pleasant way and your voice can sound natural and not shrill. Often when places are kind of empty, they sound better to me. It’d be nice to have my own theater and people could just come and see me, and I could do, like, a matinee.

Where would you like to have that theater?

Probably at my home in the Blue Mountains, like a bed and breakfast, but then I’d perform during it. If I had some dinner, that’d be nice. I know I sound like an asshole saying this right now since I was just onstage looking like a turkey, getting angry, but you know, living and playing in bars just gets me down.

Do you like playing outdoor shows?

Not necessarily outdoors. Just like a barn with the roof off or ruins or something. An amphitheater. An amphitheater is good. I would like to play where people are looking down at me because I’m kind of getting really tired of being onstage and looking down at people, looking like a freak and people staring at my knees.

What inspires you?

Um…[long pause] water.

Al Green or Marvin Gaye, and why?

Marvin Gaye. I much prefer the tonality of his voice, and he’s an exceptional musician. I like his story more than Al Green’s story. His father shot him. Marvin Gaye’s father was a minister…maybe that’s why they asked the question. Because Al Green was a minister, and Marvin Gaye’s father was a minister who shot his son.

Where do you see yourself in the future?


What questions do you want to ask the next band?

[Long pause] What is the meaning of life? I think that’s enough of a question, right? I don’t need to give you more…

Psychic Twin

Psychic Twin is fracking awesome. As the band wrapped up their first album and shot back and forth from the Midwest to Manhattan on a whirlwind tour schedule, we got sucked into a salt-rimmed vortex that covered health care, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and books about horses.

Tell us more about the story you wrote when you were small.

Erin Fein: I wrote a story called ‘Corporal.’ It was about a horse who was my best friend – that’s pretty much it. That was the big one. I went to a young authors thing for it, and I remember thinking when I was little, ‘I’m going to be a writer.’ And then it never really happened…it could still happen. It could be a really big-budget movie, Seabiscuit-style. When I was a kid, I read this book called Little Vic. It was about a boy and this horse, and he has a really rough life, and the horse kind of saves him. It’s really old, and meant for kids who are eight or nine – a big book, but a simple story. And I wrote ‘Corporal’ off of it.

You have to start somewhere. Originality is overrated.

E: I think it’s overrated too. I think the best thing you can do is try to emulate what you love, and inevitably, you won’t be able to, and that will be what you do.

Who do you emulate in your music?

E: There are influences I have, but to me it’s more like an idea. At least in my mind, what we’re doing sounds like how I felt when I was twelve, except I think I’ve become a little more sophisticated. [Laughs]

What is the meaning of life?

E: Oh my god. Let me think about how I want to answer this. I have two options: I could either say some complete bullshit, or I could try to give you a real answer…I’m going to try that. I don’t know the meaning of life, and I don’t think we’re meant to know the meaning of life…also, it’s 42, apparently.

I’m going to go ahead and recycle this question…would you rather have sex with Voldemort or Dumbledore?

E: Honestly, Voldemort for me. [Laughs]

So you’re into the bad boys?

E: That might be partly what it’s about, but let’s take a look at both of them, okay? Voldemort doesn’t have a nose, that’s weird. Dumbledore is really old. Voldemort seems like he’d pack more of a punch in the sack. He’d be rough. You’d probably die. But maybe you’d have the most intense, angry, evil orgasm before it happened.

He probably shouts ‘Avada Kedavra’ as he climaxes.

E: Right? Right when you’re having the best time. But at least you go out on a high note. Dumbledore…I just think he’s past his prime in that way. Maybe not, he’s such a powerful wizard.

Jonny Sommer: He might be able to have sex with you without actually having sex with you.

E: He’s sexing you with his mind.

What questions do you want to ask the next band?

Would you rather vote for Obama and have to have sex with Mitt Romney or vote for Mitt Romney and have to have sex with Obama?
Rainbow Bright or Strawberry Shortcake?
Where is the worst bathroom on tour?

I have to know about your Barack vs. Romney question. How would you answer?

J: Romney might get a lot of votes. [All laugh]

E: No, I would stand by Barack, of course. And I think that most people you would talk to would answer the same way, but you can tell anyone that doesn’t that we don’t ever want to talk to them. I think it’s appropriate that there should be some political discussion right now amongst our age demographic. Got to always think about your demographic – I guess. I don’t even know what that means.