Since Junebug Spade experiments with rock music, we experimented with the interview, turning it into a vinyl scavenger hunt. They played a good hand.
Directed by Sundance-approved Oklahoma filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, the video for metro-based experimental rock quartet Junebug Spade’s “Under the Gun” shows guitarist and vocalist Peter Seay II playing in a variety of unusual locations: a Laundromat, a junk store, a room lined with mattresses and various front steps.
So when I told Seay that we’d be meeting at Guestroom Records’ Oklahoma City location for an interview, it must not have fazed him.
He brought along bassist Kyle Mayfield — formerly a member of Corban Eldra and Uglysuit, and current member of O Fidelis — who probably wasn’t surprised, either, seeing as we nearly won a Bison Witches Bar & Deli trivia contest the last time I interviewed him, as part of O Fidelis.
But the location wasn’t the only curveball: “So,” I said, “when I ask a question, you guys are only going to answer in the form of albums.”
“I was going to do that anyway,” Seay said.
“Good! Here’s your first question: Where are you from, musically or otherwise?” “Well, I’m from —” “No, no. Go get an album to answer it.”
“Oh,” Seay and Mayfield said simultaneously. They both scurried off into the rows at Guestroom to find an appropriate answer. Mayfield raised Broken Social Scene’s “You Forgot It in People” and beckoned me over.
“I’m English and Canadian,” he said, “and this is one of my favorite bands of all time. Favorite albums of all time. Changed my life.”
He put it back down, then turned back to the stacks, where Seay was searching fruitlessly.
“It’s not here right now,” he said, “but Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’ is where I’m from. That album is in my blood. That album is everything that made me say, “That’s what I want to do.”
He turned and spotted something on the wall, then gestured wildly toward it.
“Oh, my God, there’s the other album right there!” Seay said, rushing over to Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main St.,” which was on display on the back wall. “This is like the midpoint. ‘Definitely Maybe’ is the beginning, and this is the middle. This is like where I’m from as far as music.
“So what’s one of your hobbies that has nothing to do with music?” I asked.
Seay glanced south at a copy of Van Halen’s “Diver Down.”
“Scuba diving is my … I wish I could say that. I got this, I got this,” he said, ambling off and soon returning. “I got this. Right here. ‘Paul’s Boutique’ by Beastie Boys. I like to junk-shop. I’ve actually been to Paul’s Boutique on the Lower East Side. That’s the first record I bought, in ’86, when I was a kid. Tells you how old I am.”
He put it back, as I threw out my next question: “What’s a funny Junebug Spade story you’ve got?” They both spread out to look for things. Using an Elliott Smith record as his starting point, Mayfield told a rambling tale that includes two costumed Beetlejuices and Luke Wilson’s character from “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
Mayfield and Seay then collaborated in looking for a disc with a lamp on the cover, but found nothing.
“Good album right here: Cypress Hill, ‘Black Sunday.’ ‘Hits from a Bong’ is a great song,” Seay said. “That’s ridiculous, because I’ve mentioned two albums that sample a bong.
He kept rummaging, and eventually held up a copy of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” pointing to its iconic cover art of a nude infant swimming toward paper currency.
“I’ve been in so many shitty bands.
I played for a dollar once. We signed it,” he said. “It is signed and framed. I have been that baby going for that dollar.”
Mayfield laughed at a find in the CD racks.
“We should answer ‘Creed’ for the next question, no matter what it is,” he said.
“Whom do you admire, performance-wise?” I asked.
Mayfield held up “Weathered” by Creed. Seay headed to the vinyl section at the back of the store and pointed to a Velvet Underground record.
“They had a creative live performance,” he said. “We’re starting to use projectors, like they did. Just simple ideas, nothing over-the-top.”
As Mayfield started to talk about The Non and The Appleseed Cast, Seay was thumbing through at a stack of CDs way off in a corner.
“Sweet!” he said. “We’ve sold some CDs!” I asked my final question: “What’s something you want to buy?” “You mean something I’m gonna buy that I shouldn’t?” Seay said. “Brian Eno, ‘Here Come the Warm Jets.’ He’s very influential to a lot of people. Lot of people cover it. It’s an album that a lot of people overlook. But I’m not buying that because it’s the Japanese version!” “Probably ‘Brothers’ by The Black Keys,” said Mayfield.
Game over, I shook hands with both Spade members, and headed out to my car to play my own purchase from Guestroom. (“Graceland.” Paul Simon.)