DFW Music News

Chelsea Light Moving Does Not Play Sonic Youth Songs, a.k.a. Cover Songs

For drummer John Moloney, joining Chelsea Light Moving was a dream come true. He had already been a backup musician on a couple of solo efforts from Thurston Moore; and when the legendary guitarist from Sonic Youth asked Moloney to be involved with a new band, the drummer never hesitated. Judging by the Chelsea Light Moving's fanstastic debut album, Moloney's quick decision was a good one. The band headlines the main stage at 35 Denton this Sunday.

Speaking from his home in North Hampton, Massachusetts and battling what he described as a savage hangover, Moloney was kind enough to talk with DC9 about what it's like playing in a band with an indie rock legend and how he's looking forward to playing Texas.

Before joining Chelsea Light Moving, you played in Six Organs of Admittance. That's a great band as well.

Yes, I played in the backup band for three tours. That was with Ben Chasny. It was just for a couple of years, but it was cool.

You played on Thurston Moore's solo efforts. What's the difference between being that and being in a band with him?

The biggest difference? I don't know. Now, it's a band. Now, it's slightly different. I don't think it would be a band if we all didn't get along really well. That part has been great.

Is it intimidating playing with a guitarist who is so highly regarded?

It's an honor to play with Thurston, but he is still a regular dude. We all are. He's a good guitar player; that is for sure.

What's the songwriting process like? Does Moore bring in songs already completed?

It depends on the song. The first track, "Heavenmetal," that is me and Thurston working it out. Almost everything is a live take. There were a few overdubs, but there were a lot of live takes. Some of the songs were built in rehearsal and some he brought in and were built over time. It wasn't stressful at all. It's working with a genius, a mix master.

It's interesting that the sound is not that far removed from Moore's work with Sonic Youth.

Of course it doesn't. I mean Lee Renaldo's guitar playing sounds the same no matter what the project. Those guys have distinct personalities in the way that they play. That's why Sonic Youth was an amazing band. The tuning of the guitar kind of just makes that sound.

How did you first meet Moore?

I met him back in the late 90's just doing the same gigs together and drinking at the same bars. He put out a record of one of the bands I was in. We became really friendly after that.

How does it go from hanging out together to him asking you to be in the band?

We were just hanging together all of the time. We live in the same small town. We run into each other all of the time. We jammed together all of the time and he just asked me to do it. I was already in the last band he was working with. It became pretty easy.

Have you played Texas before?

Yes, I have personally with other bands and I was with Thurston when he played Austin in 2011. I love coming to Texas. I look forward to the warm weather. I really like Denton. I've had a good time every time I've been there.

Is this band a long term thing?

I definitely think it is going to be a long term thing. Perhaps, it won't be the only thing. It's going to be a functioning band for a while.

What would happen if Sonic Youth decided to get back together?

I would be psyched to go to those gigs.

How has the audience reaction been so far?

It's insane because they don't know what to expect. You show up for a gig and you don't know what you are going to get. You might get improve psychosis or you might get songs. We are heavily into it. There are a couple of songs that we stretch out and do some stuff, but those tend to me songs from Thurston's solo albums. We are going to play the new album and a couple of songs not on the album that we just wrote. We play some deep cuts off Thurston's solo albums. It's totally electric. We are not even bringing any acoustic guitars unless Thurston puts one in the van today. We are about to leave in an hour.

Do members of the audience yell out for Sonic Youth songs?

Yes, of course, they do. Why wouldn't they? Wouldn't you? They are always calling for "Teenage Riot" and that kind of stuff. It's cool.

Does Moore get angry about it?

No, he just says that we don't do covers.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers