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Mr Tube.

IT'S CLEAR THAT Pall Jenkins cannot get enough. You probably know him best as frontman for The Black Heart Procession, but he also spends his time recording other bands in his studio (Stereo Disguise Recording Laboratories), as well as occasionally writing and recording stuff for his other band, Three Mile Pilot. Whereas Black Heart and Pilot are more on the darker side of things, Jenkins's latest project, Mr Tube and the Flying Objects, is all fun like a backyard barbeque--that is, a Latino backyard barbeque somewhere in SoCal drenched in cerveza, yerba, sol, y muchos colores. He broke it down over the phone.

You've been working on this project for a long time.

Yeah, it finally came together. Black Heart does stuff, and I record other bands. There was no real hurry. I had like 30-something ideas, just kinda tinkering with them. I had a bunch of people play on it, just took my time with it. I wanted the thing to develop naturally. It was the trickiest record I've ever mixed. There was a lot of work to it because the songs all started off in different ways, like jams. And then I'd have people perform some ideas that I had, and then I would re-do stuff and eventually piece things together. But there was always a skeleton underneath it all. So I would kinda build these songs as they went along until they kinda got to a point where I thought: "Okay, I think I can mix this."

It feels like a bro-down record.

It's a fun time. It goes in different places, some different styles and things going on, but the idea is this Latino/lowrider/Chicano-stoner music.

Yeah, that's true but it still keeps the same feel throughout, even though it does encompass several very different styles ...

Yeah, I like thematic things like that. I wanted something that was just kinda more fun, like things that happened by accident, and more jam ideas. Something more quirky really, where I didn't worry if something was funny. Coming from me, I think people expect a certain thing; I just appreciate all kinds of things and I wanted a format that was free to mutate stuff and experiment with things. That was kinda the idea. Things I couldn't get away with in Black Heart or something like that.

How'd it all come about?

Basically, I assembled a bunch of friends from around town in San Diego and Chula Vista. Originally how it started was through this guy, Mr Tube, who I met down in National City. He's this guy that owns a TV repair shop. I found out that he played music. He had all these old tapes from a band that he was in called Freddie Feelgood and the Real Good Feelings. He used to play shows in the '60s and '70s, and he had all these songs, but he'd never released any of it because he was in this political movement. It just wasn't about making money. It was like a jam band. He let me listen to his tapes, and they were like really long Latino/dub styles, really weird. I got into that, and he let me borrow his tapes and take little snippets. Well, I didn't take them, but I learned the riffs and the songs and ideas and built them up into more of a thing that I could play, record, and re-write now with different people. It was really happenstance, but this project was inspired by this music that he did. He also helped produce this record with me.

Did he perform on the record at all?

No, he's in a different frame of mind now. He doesn't play music anymore. It's part of his past.

I wasn't really clear if those details were a concocted story or not, if that was just a way to avoid the term "solo record."

It's kinda my solo project in a way, but at the same time, I didn't want to go out and perform by myself, go under my name. It has a different feel, too; it didn't feel like my solo record to me, even though it's very Pall oriented. But, people who know me, they could see it coming from me. Also, Freddie wrote some of it in a sense--some of the riffs, but more the mood and the vibe. I re-worked some of his lyrics, and took things I liked, developed them in a different way and maybe put them in a different key, or made up a different guitar part for something he had written. I gave him some credit with it because that's where it spawned a little bit. He was a part of it.

What's "The Object"?

The object is a thing I built in my backyard. It's made out of old metal pieces and wood and things. It has bike pedals and stuff. You pedal it and bang on it and it makes noise. It appears on the songs "Lost Days" and "In the Arms of Demons" and one more that I can't think of right now.

What's your favorite Mexican beer?

I like Pacifico and Negro Modelo a lot. Both of those are just two really good beers. I couldn't pick one over the other. It's a different-time-of-day beer kind of beer, each one of those.

Which one is which? Which one is the daytime beer?

The sun's out, you have some Pacificos. Then as the night rolls in, you wanna have something a little darker, you know? So you reach for a Negro Modelo.
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Author:Gray, Guy
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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