The Blog That Celebrates Itself
The Acceleration of Time with The Luck of Eden Hall – An Interview
(Translated from Portuguese)
If I could sum up the hearing of the future album of The Luck of Eden Hall , The Acceleration of Time to be released on June 1 I would just say that it is nothing less than ” Forever Changes ” of our times.
Psychedelia is the key word of the album, but there is special additives in the album course , oitentistas touches lead us to a certain post punk brushed in gleaming shades , yes , post punk without being grim but with a subtle gray touch blending a dangerous psychedelia .
Pay attention and save the date, first day of June , you definitely need to give the pleasure of hearing Acceleration of Time. Trust TBTCI .
***** Interview with The Luck of Eden Hall ******
Q: Hello Gregory. First congratulations on the new album, it’s really brilliant, what is your analysis after concluding The Acceleration of Time?
Curvey: This has been a couple years in the making. The music for Blown to Kingdom Come and A Man of Conservative Style were written in 2014, right after I finished recording guitar tracks for my friend Tim Ferguson and The Red Plastic Buddha’s album Songs For Mara. Lofgren and I had talked about focusing on a concept for the next album and he suggested a cool idea about time and how it feels like it’s speeding up as you grow older, so we kept that in mind while writing for the album.
Q: Are you happy with the result?
Curvey: Absolutely! A track won’t make it on to one of our albums unless I really love it. If I start skipping over a track when I’m listening to premixes, it usually gets placed in a dark forgotten corner somewhere.
Q: How was the process of creating The Acceleration?
Curvey: Long, that’s for sure. At one point I thought we had all the songs for the record wrapped up, but the whole thing seemed to be lacking angst. I felt it was a bit too laid back. A few unexpected life changes juiced up my emotional batteries, so I decided to put the album to the side and create some music for art’s sake, plus I needed to expel some anger and sadness. What I ended up with was three of the extended tracks on the album, Channel 50 Creature Feature, Another High Speed Blowout, and White Caps in The Wind. When I inserted these new tracks into the album the whole thing seemed complete. These songs weren’t intended to be a part of the project, but when placed between the existing tracks Lofgren and I felt they made the package better, and we both liked the juxtaposition of psych/pop and prog.
Q: What are the main differences between The Acceleration and Victoria Moon?
Curvey: Most of the songs on Victorian Moon were written with my live band in mind. I wanted to be able to play the songs live. I didn’t hold myself to that restriction when recording The Acceleration of Time.
Q: What were the influences for creating the new album?
Curvey: Lyrically the songs are about anything relating to time, for the most part. They don’t tell a story in the rock opera sense, but they are all related. Musically, when I’m composing I try to limit myself to four core instruments; guitar, bass, Mellotron/keyboards, drums. I do this for continuity and because I really like the combination that has become The Luck of Eden Hall, although you may hear a different instrument here and there for embellishment, because I like to use whatever’s around for inspiration. For instance I played my daughter’s clarinet on A Man of Conservative Style and some old iron skillets on White Caps in The Wind.
Q: What are your plans for 2016?
Curvey: This year is shaping up nicely for releases. The Acceleration of Time double album will be released this June by Headspin Records in two choices; 180 gram white or black vinyl, all housed in a gate-fold sleeve. Plus I’m hand making one hundred limited edition pop-up CDs that will only be available on our Bandcamp page. June will also see the release of my song The End of The Lane on Mega Dodo Records as part of their Singles of the Month Club. The song was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s book Ocean at The End of The Lane, and Mr. Gaiman generously made a drawing for the cover art. Later in November Fruits de Mer Records will release our Live At The Cromlech LP (which is still hush hush by the way) and we’re talking about a 3-D or an embossed cover, which will be really cool. We recorded the tracks for the album live in MWNCI Studios, Wales, while on our 2015 UK Tour. Lofgren and I will be preforming acoustically at The 14th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival in Wales on August 7th, and I hope to book a show in London as well. We may have a special guest or two join us for these performances, so stay tuned. Lastly, I’m working on another film soundtrack for Dreaming Tree Films called Traveling Without Moving, starring Steve Guttenberg, which is supposed to premier at the White House Science Fair this April. Lots of work to be done yet. Thank you Renato!
The Blog That Celebrates Itself
The Dayz of Purple and Orange
The Luck of Eden Hall – Tour and Interview with Greg Curvey
Chicago’s The Luck of Eden Hall have been a mainstay of the pop-psych scene for many years now, treating listeners to some pearls of shimmering psych with tinges of prog. Many listeners will be aware of them through their successful association with Fruits de Mer, having provided some cracking tunes, and Curvey supplying the artwork for the upcoming ‘Side Effects’ boxset
Surprisingly TLoEH have only toured the UK once in the 25 or so years of their existence, but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign (to raise funds for airfare, lodging and rentals) that is to be rectified in the coming days, with the band undertaking a tour on July 30 @ 12 Bar Club, London England. The full dates are:
July 30 @ 12 Bar Club, London England
Aug 1 @ The Rocking Chair, Sheffield England
Aug 2 @ Radfest, Wales
Aug 3, 4, 5 @ MWNCI Studios Wales, recording a live album for Fruits de Mer Records
Aug 6 @ Bannerman’s, Edinburgh Scotland
Aug 7 @ Nice n’ Sleazys, Glasgow Scotland
Aug 8 @ The Magnet, Liverpool England
Aug 9 @ 13th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival, Cardigan, Wales
Aug 11 @ The Half Moon, A Seance At Syd’s book release show, London
AS if this wasn’t enough the band have a new single, in collaboration with author Neil Gaiman, based on his best selling novel ‘The Ocean At The End Of The Lane’. There is a Kickstarter campaign ongoing in order to fund it’s production and release, and there are some great perks for contributors. The campaign can be found at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1353737515/neil-gaiman-and-the-luck-of-eden-halls-7single
I recently had the honour of catching up with Greg Curvey via email.
Q: Hi Greg…..Thanks very much for taking some time for this. How are you doing?
Curvey: A bit frazzled getting everything in order for our tour, but all is fantastic.
Q: First of all, congratulations on a successful Kickstarter campaign. How did you find the process?
Curvey: Kickstarter campaigns can be a bit overwhelming, but we’ve found it to be a great way to sell our merchandise and raise a lot of money in a short period of time.
Q: Affirming in that people obviously wanted you to tour over here, or frustrating that you had to undertake it at all?
Curvey: Not frustrating at all. I’m filled with gratitude and looking forward to playing for you all again.
Q: More and more bands are using Kickstarter or similar, is this a result of the hegemony of the major labels making it difficult for smaller labels to release good products.
Curvey: Once again, it’s just a great way to conduct a mass sale to raise money to be able to fund another project. We work with two fabulous labels in Europe, Fruits de Mer and Headspin. Both are a vital part of our team and have helped TLoEH tremendously.
Q: The new single is a collaboration with Neil Gaiman, inspired by his novel ‘Ocean at the end of the lane’….how did this come about?
Curvey: I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s book The Ocean at the End of The Lane, and was inspired to write a song. I’ve done a few film soundtracks recently and sort of utilized that same creative space to bring this story to life musically. I was very happy with the end result and decided to approach Mr. Gaiman, through a mutual friend, to see if he might be interested in collaborating on the project by creating a drawing representing his awesome story for the cover of our 7″ single. To my amazement he agreed, and I’m truly honored.
Q: Chicago has a thriving psych/neo-psych scene, and I know you have worked with The Red Plastic Buddha (on the ‘Songs For Mara’ LP), it would appear, at least from the outside, to have a real community spirit about it..is there a lot of jamming and ‘cross pollination’?
Curvey: I love Tim Ferguson. He’s one in a million. I’m sure there is quite a bit of cross pollinating going on. Sometimes Lofgren and I play in Umbra and the Volcan Siege, our keyboardist Jim Licka’s band.
Q: The forthcoming Fruits de Mer ‘Side Effects’ box set has some truly stunning artwork by your good self. Do you have a background in art / design? and with which does your heart truly lay…music or art?
Curvey: My heart definitely belongs in the music camp, but I’ve been drawing and playing music my entire life. Unfortunately I make a lot more money drawing and painting. It’s my day job, if you will.
Q: The band has had a long and productive association with Fruits de Mer, how did this come about?
Curvey: I was approached by Keith’s old partner in crime Andy Braken, about covering a song for the A Phase We’re Going Through LP. It was a lot of fun and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Q: Where did the name ‘The Luck Of Eden Hall’ originate?
Curvey: I came across this tale of a middle eastern vessel that faeries and elves put a spell on in an occult dictionary I’d picked up at a used book store, and it was a perfect fit. Later I discovered the vessel had been inspiring artists for a couple hundred years.
Q: TLoEH have been an entity for some 26 years now….did you set out to be a ‘psychedelic band’ or was it more of a natural evolution?
Curvey: Popped psychedelic rock and rollisms is what I’ve been calling it since our inception. You can hear it in “Secret Garden,” one of the tracks off our 1989 release on Sound Cloud.
Q: How has the psychedelic scene changed in that time? and how has the band evolved?
Curvey: I’m not quite sure how the scene has changed. I try to steer clear. And one of the key elements in the evolution of our sound has been the addition of James and his giant Mellotron.
Q: What or who have been your own influences artistically?
Curvey: Life and all of it’s experiences. Painful crushing events like the passing if my Mom, beautiful events like the birth of my daughter, science fiction and classic horror.
Q: What are the dynamics of the band and the recording process? Does everyone have a ‘job’ or is more of a collaborative exercise?
Curvey: Generally, Lofgren and I both bring songs to the table for a new album and see what ones work together. Sometimes all of the parts are flushed out, sometimes we help each other out, then bring the demos to rehearsal for the band.
Q: Of which of your records are you most proud? My personal fave is the ‘Victoria Moon’ album…a lovely mix of shimmering pop psych and prog.
Curvey: Thank you, I’m glad you like it. I put a lot of time into the production of that record and I’m very proud if it. When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep has a special place in my heart as well.
Q: It’s good to see you back in Blighty, this is your second UK tour, what are your memories of the first? Did you enjoy it?
Curvey: Yes, I enjoyed it very much! The last tour was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had, and the reception you folks gave us was outstanding.
Q: What’s in the pipeline for TLoEH?
Curvey: Finishing up our next album The Acceleration of Time is my top priority after finishing this tour, along with making our The End of the Lane Kickstarter campaign a success. Then I’ve been asked by Dreaming Tree Films to create another film soundtrack for a new Sci-fi film they’re shooting. It’s about time travel and string theory.
Many thanks for your time Greg and all the best for the new single and the tour.
Curvey: It’s been a pleasure!
The Dayz of Purple and Orange
The Muffin Junkee Interview
Muffin Junkee 23 – The Luck of Eden Hall
Greg Curvey, the Legendary Guitarist and Singer Songwriter, from one of Chicago’s Greatest Psychedelic Bands The Luck of Eden Hall sits down with Muffin Junkee Pod host Jay Daniels for a series of intriguing interviews about the Music of The Luck of Eden Hall!
Part one: Greg enjoys some extraordinary Muffins and Tea with Jay along the way as he discusses The Luck of Eden Hall’s future album and other musical projects such as the Fruits De Mer Side Effects album and projects with Headspin Records as well as creating the Theme for a TV show (The Moochie Kalala Detectives Club) and other mind blowing Luck Of Eden Hall gigs that are ahead in the near future and much more!
Part two: Greg also has an interesting experience in the Muffin Junkee Kitchen during the Podcast! And of course your going to be treated to some amazing The Luck of Eden Hall songs during this podcast!
The Luck of Eden Hall Podcast Set List:
1. Women Rule the World (The Luck of Eden Hall rendition from Powell Saint John compilation being put together by Wild Al Hotchkiss!)
2. Moochie Kalala Detective’s Club Theme – The Luck of Eden Hall
3. Sassafras Overcoat – The Luck of Eden Hall
4. Velvet and Corduroy – The Luck of Eden Hall
5. The Happiness Vending Machine -The Luck of Eden Hall
6. Arthropoda Lepidoptera – The Luck of Eden Hall
7. Drunk Like Shakesphere on Love – The Luck of Eden Hall
8. Dandy Horse – The Luck of Eden Hall
*Music for Kitchen Sequence by Greg Curvey (Spoken Audio for this sequence by Greg Curvey and Jay Daniels ) Special thanks to Greg for representing The Luck of Eden Hall Also special thanks to the rest of the band (Mark Lofgren, Carlos Mendoza and Jim Licka ) And thank you Keith Jones from Fruits De Mer Records and Johan at Headspin Records and to The Luck of Eden Hall for allowing this music to be played on this Podcast. If you love The Luck of Eden Hall and this Podcast please check out a special video by The Luck of Eden Hall at this Link as well : (To view it copy and paste the following link : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1353737515/the-luck-of-eden-hall-2015-uk-tour-the-acceleratio/widget/video.html
Muffin Junkee Theme by Paul Worsley
Goldmine Magazine Interview
Living with The Luck of Eden Hall – 25 Years of Chicago’s Finest
Remember when ten years was a long time for a band to be around? When the Stones hit that milestone in 1972-73, there was a serious flurry of “when you gonna quit?”s from writers and fans who simply couldn’t conceive that a simple rock’n’roll band could erode that deeply into adulthood. Even the music’s most dedicated acolytes had a dim bulb flickering at the back of their minds, saying “okay, now it’s time to grow up.”
But there was something lurking that was even more alien than the idea of grown-ups playing rock’n’roll for the kids. It was the idea of them playing rock’n’roll for other grown-ups. Followed by the even more sobering realization that, if you remember the Stones passing their tenth birthday… or even their twentieth… then the chances are that you are actually one of those grown-ups.
Or not. The fact that even the surviving punk rockers are all now on a collision course with sixty proved that age has absolutely nothing to do with anything; and besides, it’s not like it feels forty years ago, is it?
Numbers-wise, we are further in time from the release of Goat’s Head Soup (1973) than it was from the death of Robert Johnson (1938); and that 80s fashion resurgence that is percolating around our college towns is akin to the mid-1970s enjoying a Glen Miller revival.
By the ticking of my clock, something utterly prehistoric this way comes.
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Luck of Eden Hall. A band whose name will be familiar if you’ve heard of them, but may be a little less so if you haven’t. Recent years have seen them make regular appearances on the Fruits de Mer label, and that’s probably raised their profile as high as anything else they’ve done… particularly in the UK and Europe.
In the US, on the other hand, a quarter century of gigging, of well-received indy releases, and some absolutely spellbinding music has rendered them among the best-kept secrets that you were probably aware of. Lately, the Luck of Eden Hall have been working with Dreaming Tree Films, providing music for their new children’s television program Moochie Kalala Detectives Club. This spring just past brought their first Greatest Hits album via the impossible-to-recommend-too-highly Active Listener net label, and which was indeed stuffed with their greatest hits, while this month sees them take on the Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction” for the latest Fruits de Mer extravagance.
Elsewhere, the two part Butterfly Revolutions album was among the most shimmering highlights of 2011; and Victoria Moon was a jewel late last year. Alligators Eat Gumdrops was definitely a contender for Most Prosaic Imagery in an LP Title for 2012, and prior to all that, the discography just piles up the treasures.
Albums When The Clock Starts to Wake Up We Go To Sleep (2009) and Subterrene (2006)… 1993’s CD debut Belladonna Marmalade, cassette-onlys Corner Of The Sky, Under The Sea and Cuckoo Flower. Singles “Hook Line and Sinker,” “She Comes In Colors” and “Crystal Ship.” A 1997 Curvey solo album, Par Crone. A break up in the late 1990s, a reunion in 2003.
“Playing music can be realized in many ways and visualized as many different things,” explains Curvey. “I prefer to think of it as painting with sound. Crispy high end is sharp focus and muffled lows are distant. You can place sounds in the sonic spectrum by paying attention to things like that.
“It took a long time for me to discover, which I did while recording When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep. That album was the point when we hit our current stride. Since Alligators Eat Gumdrops was released, I feel the music has become even more focused as we go along and now I’m really enjoying myself when I compose by limiting the instrumentation to what can be recreated by the four of us on stage. Some embellishments appear, but for the most part what you hear on record is what you will hear live. The Luck of Eden Hall has found its luck. Carlos Mendoza’s drumming is top notch and magical Jim Licka’s Mellotron playing is priceless.”
It’s been one helluva career, then, pocked throughout by highlights. “I remember being in a shopping mall and hearing one of our songs playing over the sound system, just itching to grab someone and tell them ‘Hey, that’s my band’,” laughs Curvey. “Or getting one of our videos placed in a New Line Cinema film, or being on the cover of CMJ….”
And it all began…
It was 1989-or-so. What was big in 1989? Love and Rockets were having a hit with “So Alive.” The Cure were storming the charts with “Love Song.” The Cult were big and bold and dressed in leather. Yes, the American charts were undergoing a Gothic insurgence the size of Texas. What better time could there possibly have been for the Michigan trio of Greg Curvey (vocals, guitar), Mark Lofgren (bass, vocals) and original drummer Bruce Zimmerman to cast nostalgic eyes back to the age of psychedelia?
Actually, that was not a facetious remark, as Curvey recalls. “One night after finishing up a set on a tiny little back room stage at the Avalon nightclub in Chicago, a lad by the name of John Hachtel approached me and asked if he could use the Luck of Eden Hall for his recording class project, which meant free studio time. That was a big deal in the days before digital home studios were available. We immediately hit it off with Johnny, and those sessions along with a few tracks Lofgren and I had recorded at home on my four-track became our first album, Corner Of The Sky.”
A run of two hundred cassettes later, the Luck of Eden Hall had a sell out on their hands.
The band members were already veterans of the local scene, coming together via a meeting of Curvey’s Chicago band Midwest, and Lofgren’s Kalamazoo-based Murder of Crows in Kalamazoo. The new band’s name, incidentally, was borrowed from a omeehat legendary, and Edgar Allen Poe-related glass-drinking cup in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Not the most obvious source for a band to take its name from, but clearly one whose juju has persisted. According to Curvey, symphonies and poems were written about the vessel in the 19th Century, and now the vessel’ writing songs in the 21st. What goes around….
Musically, it was Curvey’s Aunt Sue’s record collection that set his own ears off on the journey they’ve taken, although his teens and early adulthood (there’s that concept again) allowed him to add Alice Cooper, King Crimson, Genesis, the Damned, Husker Du and the Psychedelic Furs to the bedrock Monkees and Stones.
The eighties’ own attempt at a sych revival, spearheaded by the likes of the Church, Dream Syndicate, Robyn Hitchcock et al, did not pass them by either, but neither did life in the Chicago clubs. Another early Curvey project saw him working with Stephen George, one half of the original Ministry, while the early 1990s saw the Luck of Eden Hall play a number of shows with Material Issue… remember “Valerie Loves Me”? Gosh, that was a great record.
Curvey continues. “Growing up, listening to music on records was the best. And like every other musician out there we dreamed of having our music released on a record (cassettes just didn’t cut it!), so when the Luck of Eden Hall was approached by Mike Potential to release a single on his Limited Potential record label it was nothing less than a dream come true.
“We went back into the studio with Johnny Hachtel to record two tracks for the single. Mike acquiesced to my request of being the seventh release. My Mom was a huge James Bond fan when I was growing up and being seventh made the catalog number LimP007, making Smashing Pumpkins’ first single LimP006.” (It’s a great label to collect, too, home also to early waxings-and-otherwise by Rustbucket, Screeching Weasel, the Poster Children and the Lookouts.)
The single was launched at a special gig, with Material Issue again on the bill, and cellist Robin Crawford onstage as well, and Curvey recalls, “for our grand finale we did a psych rock version of ‘I Am The Walrus.’ Robin did a fabulous job covering all of the orchestral parts on cello, and I remember turning around and seeing Jim Ellison and Mike Zelenko’s heads poking through the back stage curtain. When they saw I was looking they smiled and gave me a big thumbs up. Made my heart swell. Some of the nicest fellows you could ever meet. RIP brother Jim.”
By the early 1990s, the band was regularly touring, crammed together into a van in the days before cellphones, Sat Nav and Google maps. With all the joys and pleasures that that entails. The day en route to St Louis, when a gust of wind ripping through the open windows of the van snatched away the single piece of paper on which the band’s directions, crucial phone numbers, hotel details, everything, were written. Or the night they played the Booby Hatch, a bar in a little town called Bessemer, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The fact that they’d been booked to entertain the hordes attending the first day of deer-hunting season probably didn’t cross anyone’s mind. Until…
“The house was completely packed with camouflage and bright orange. While we were performing some woman kept shoving little pieces of ripped napkin into Lofgren’s face with Bob Seger or Ted Nugent scribbled on them and about three quarters of the way through our set, a hair pulling fight broke out between two local women, who ripped at each other until they crashed into a mirrored wall. Top-notch entertainment. When the commotion subsided we broke into a long psychedelic blues jam to appease the hunters. I may have grunted a few times like Bob Seger too.”
The Luck of Eden Hall made their Fruits de Mer debut on the A Phase We’ve Been Through and Roqueting Through Space compilation albums, although it was their appearance on Fruits de Mer’s The White EP, that opened a lot of that label’s lovers’ ears to them.
Curvey explains, “My first all time favorite album was The Beatles’ White album. I mean it covers the gamut doesn’t it? I was turned on to some of the songs in elementary school while at camp, where our guitar-playing counselor had all of the boys serenade the girl’s cabin with a rendition of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.’ Well, when Keith Jones, the wonderful mastermind behind Fruits de Mer Records, asked us to try for a spot on the FdM White EP, I was thrilled! It was hard to choose which song to do, but we settled on ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey,’ and on the final pressing we were incredibly honored to share a side with the Pretty Things.”
Riding the impetus that exploded out of there, and the band’s other Fruits de Mer escapades, the Luck of Eden Hall moved into what truly should be described as their purple patch. “In 2011 we recorded and released Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1 & 2 on two separate CDs, with the hope that a label would pick it up and re-release it on vinyl. That dream came true in 2013 when Johan Visser at Clearspot International contacted me with his idea of creating a brand new label called Headspin Records.
“Butterfly Revolutions was chosen to be the first release on the label. Two 180 gram colored vinyl LPs housed in a very high quality gate-fold sleeve. It was a glorious way to bare our very first published work. Truly one of the Luck of Eden Hall’s proudest moments! They’ve recently followed it up with a beautiful pressing of Victoria Moon, which is doing so well they’ve decided to release a seven-inch single including ‘The Happine$$ Vending Machine’ and another song from our next album.”
So, twenty-five years and it’s still a thrill. There’s probably not many careers that can guarantee that, but maybe that’s another reason why bands go on so long these days, and why we the listeners keep up with them as well. It’s not about rock’n’roll making you feel young, or stuff like that. It’s about still being able to have fun, all these decades after we first were told that that was something that stopped at the end of your teens.
“We’ve been at this for twenty-five years,” Curvey concludes, “and the experience that has touched me the most was seeing fans sing along to our songs while we were in the UK. Up to this point, the Luck of Eden Hall has been a homegrown, hands on, do it yourself business, and I’ve realized just how important it is for an artist’s viability to keep the fire stoked. My current wish is to keep releasing quality work and with a little luck, pick up a management organization to cover some of the business end, like booking shows. In any case, to know that people are really listening to the songs we’re composing ,and taking them to heart makes all of this work worthwhile. So a big THANK YOU to all of our fans! Sincerely.”
Dave Thompson (UK), October 22, 2014
– See more at: http://www.goldminemag.com/news/artist-news/living-luck-eden-hall-25-years-chicagos-finest#sthash.IDstnybm.dpuf
Shindig! Magazine #42
July 28th, 2014
The Luck of Eden Hall Interview
Q: Well, big year this year – you’re celebrating a quarter of a century together. Just for folks who are newcomers to your music, can you remind us where the name came from and also briefly how you got together? Had you been in other bands before?
Curvey: The band is named after the illustrious glass-drinking cup on display at the V&A. Years later I discovered that symphonies and poems were written about it in the 19th Century, and of it’s family ties to Edgar Allen Poe, which has made the name even cooler for me. In the early 80’s my good friend Bruce Zimmerman and I had a band called Midwest in Chicago and Mark Lofgren had a band called Murder of Crows in Kalamazoo. Both bands were creating music in the same vein and I really liked the songs Mark wrote so I employed a little black magic to coax him into moving to Chicago and joining forces with Zimmerman and myself. Prior to that I was fortunate to work with Doug Chamberlin (Scarlet Architect) and Stephen George (Ministry) on a project, I had a band with Wayne Wells (Static X) called WestHouse and got to know the infamous producer Iain Burgess (who produced loads of bands including Ministry, Naked Raygun, Green and TLoEH’s first studio project).
Q: People hear all sorts of sounds in the music – there’s obviously a wealth of originality and innovation here, but are you able to point to any musical influences, muses who inspired or pointed the way?
Curvey: My first inspirations were The Monkees and The Rolling Stones, passed on to me from my wonderful Aunt Sue’s record collection. Alice Cooper and The Beatles were next. Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and Prog Rock knocked me out in my teens. XTC, The Psychedelic Furs, Husker Du and The Damned…I’m picking out bands that blew me away here, but I’m really influenced by many, many things and love a good melody. We were all into The Church, Dream Syndicate and the 80’s psych revival when TLoEH formed. My sweet Mother’s tormented later years, my lovely daughter and life’s maddening experiences are generally my muse, though sometimes I turn to literature and current events. I had heard a story on the radio about the woman whose cells are used in laboratories all over the world and it inspired Henrietta Lacks a Smile. She died of cancer in the 1950’s but her cells live on. Most of the lyrics in Sitting Bull were inspired by Native American speeches. I’m currently working on a track inspired by a Neil Gaimen story. Sometimes different instruments are my muses as the sitar was with the song Bangalore, the bass for She’s Using All The Colors, and the piano for High Heeled Flippers. When Lofgren and I wrote Metropolis we each had a different idea for the vocal melody. He had started his lyrics and told me the theme he was writing about and I went into another room and wrote lyrics to my own melody. He recorded his tracks separately from mine and when we played them back together it was unexpected and very magical. When I compose songs on my own I always write the music before the lyrics and in the early days I would mumble into the microphone while making a song demo, then go back and try to figure out what I said, as if I was listening to a finished song. Some turned out better than others. Now when I write I really like to create pictures or tell a story. I like to play with words, creating double meanings, and vague images that leave the listener in charge of their own interpretation.
Q: So when you first teamed up in 1989, what was your main idea? Did you have a particular vision beforehand of what the band should sound like or what the songs were going to be about? Or did you just jam and fool around, and then find a characteristic concept/ideology/sound emerging over time?
Curvey: I do remember we were tired of the stand up hair, dress in black image that a lot of band’s were still doing in the late 80’s so we grew our hair, wore ripped jeans and flannel or paisley shirts to rebel. At first we played material that each of our previous bands had recorded, but the songs we wrote together were better suited to our new trio. We went in to CRC Studios with Iain Burgess and made a demo tape that made the rounds and one ended up in the hands of the owner of Roadrunner Records who called me up on the phone one day raving about it. It was pop psych stuff with lots of Cream influence that everyone else compared to REM. After the first year we added a cellist to embellish our songs and it was wonderful having another voice to compose for and the fans enjoyed it live, though the cello had a tough time competing with Marshall half stacks, but that was the nature of the beast. Zimmerman left the band right after the release of our first single, which killed my spirits, but we auditioned a new drummer and kept moving forward. Paul Healy played with us on what was to be the original Victoria Moon, recorded at Brad Wood’s (Veruca Salt, Liz Faire) studio but we hadn’t really gelled yet and I still thank Safreed at Limited Potential Records for destroying the tapes. When we recorded our second release, Under the Sea, we had been playing together for quite a while and the EP turned out great, making the cover of CMJ and getting a wonderful review in AP magazine. Then Healy left and was replaced by Joe Furlong. Joe was a natural fit and a pleasure to play with. We gigged all over the Midwest and went back into the studio to record Belladonna Marmalade with Dave Trumfio (Mekons, Wilco) and while it was a good album and an important learning experience for us, I was unable to achieve the sounds and psychedelic production I had in my head because we could not afford more studio time. We laid down the initial songs for Subterrene on my four-track tape machine, but the sound quality didn’t make the grade so we stopped. I saved the tracks and later dumped them into my digital home studio to work with. That album was another great learning experience, but in my opinion TLoEH sound didn’t really come together until we started recording When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep. That may seem odd, being that it was nearly 20 year’s after the band originally formed, but I guess I needed to have full control of the recording process to capture and create the sounds I envisioned. Studio engineers always seemed to be giving me grief about panning tracks hard right or left in a mix back in the 90’s and it takes lots of time and experimenting to create, effect and edit layers of sound. I really enjoy the process of finding a new sound and have used strings, horns, flutes, vintage synthesizers and anything else I can get my hands on to get it. As I said, in the early days we had a cellist in the band, but when I heard a real Mellotron I realized it was a sound I’d been dreaming of working with for years. When Carlos and Jim joined the group we hit our current stride. I had used Mellotron samples all over Subterrene and Clock and Jim was the missing link I had been looking for. We had also tried a saxophonist but it’s the dreamy spacey classic sounds that help take us out of the pop and more into the psych/prog, which has always been my vision. Popped Psychedelic Rock and roll. This is definitely the best line-up TLoEH has ever had!
Q: You’ve released numerous projects over the years on various labels and formats, some self-released, albums, singles, CD, cassette, vinyl and now downloads. Through all of this, how would you say The Luck of Eden Hall’s music has evolved? How far have you preserved the original concept, and in what ways have you changed or broken new ground?
Curvey: There’s a real good example of our early sound if you listen to the Under The Sea EP, which was mostly recorded live in a make shift studio with our friend John Hachtel. Classic three-piece psych pop rock band with a cello added. When we lost our cellist to Smashing Pumpkins after recording Belladonna Marmalade, I was used to writing songs with cello parts and didn’t really want to go back to being a three piece so we took a break. I also take a lot of time to make sure all of the tracks included on an album flow and work well together. Many tracks get put aside and a few get used later on different albums. It’s difficult for me to critique my own work, but if I get sick of a track it’s getting pulled, and I can still listen to every track on our last five releases without wincing. I wish I could go back and redo or cut a few tracks on Belladonna Marmalade because they really give me the willies.
Q: Victoria Moon was issued last September on download and limited edition CD and it garnered some rave reviews. I was wondering what you could tell me about it? How long did it take to write and track? And how do you see it when placed beside earlier work like, say, Subterrene, Alligators Eat Gumdrops or the Butterfly Revolutions pairing?
Curvey: Victoria Moon was written and recorded roughly between December of 2012 and June of 2013. A couple of the songs (Zap, The Horrible Pill Book, Queen Of The Stars) were ones we loved from earlier efforts. I think Blood On My Feet was probably the quickest track written and recorded. Dandy Horse definitely gave me the most trouble producing and was nearly scrapped. I’m happy I pulled the mix together and in the end it’s one of my favorites. I can say that for the entire album as well. It’s one of my favorites! Very cohesive in concept and production, where as Alligators Eat Gumdrops or Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1 & 2 vary from track to track in a White Album sort of way, the Victoria Moon album is almost a concept record. I limited the instrumentation to our live set-up on most of the tracks and it really helped create an overall cohesiveness that we hadn’t really achieved on the last few albums. The artwork was originally created for the album of songs that were recorded but never released when we were on the Limited Potential record label back in the 90’s. Twenty years on, the time seemed right to use the art, and writing songs around a Victorian theme was a lot of fun.
Q: Although Victoria Moon first came out about 10 months ago, there’s another pressing on red vinyl via Headspin Records this September. Of course, this is happening in your anniversary year, and a lot of folks are speaking of it as your ‘25th anniversary album’. Was that a deliberate thing?
Curvey: It’s all really just where the cards fell. Fruits de Mer Records has been a wonderful friend, keeping TLoEH in the public eye by including us on their projects, the next up being Postcards From The Deep. And Headspin Records has helped us create dreams come true by publishing full-length vinyl albums in glorious Technicolor! Last year was Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1 & 2 and now Victoria Moon. By the way, they’ve decided to press the vinyl in three different colors, Cherry Red, Lime Green and Licorice Black. Geez! I couldn’t always have said that. In fact there was a time when I sold most of my guitars and Marshall half stack and put my musical urges in a drawer, but I’m glad we’ve stuck it out. Our material keeps getting stronger with every release and we’re really enjoying our new fans all over the world.
Q: So how does it feel to have been doing this for a quarter of a century and, dare I ask, how do you see The Luck of Eden Hall over the next 25 years – or at least the nearer future ongoing?
Curvey: Music is the medium for me. Lately I’ve been fortunate to work on some great projects with Dreaming Tree Films. Last year I created original soundtrack music for a film titled
The Stream, which premiered this year at Cannes and is being released across the globe this fall, and currently I’m working on a children’s television show that’s scheduled to air this fall called Moochie Kalala Detectives Club. It features music and songs by TLoEH including A Carney’s Delirium from Alligators Eat Gumdrops and Queen Of The Stars from Victoria Moon. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Sendelica on a track and I played guitar on The Red Plastic Buddha’s new album.
Q: I know you’ve toured the album over the past few months since the original Victoria Moon release last September. Are you touring now, and have you any plans for European dates?
Curvey: I plan on getting TLoEH back to Europe in the summer of 2015. With a little luck we’ll get into another Fruits de Mer Records extravaganza or a festival and be able to stay longer then last time. Our whirlwind 2013 UK tour was a real gas and we want to come and play in the UK again!
April 30, 2014
Fearless Radio Interview
Curvey talks about the band’s history, releasing the Greatest Hits Vol. 1 CD, The Stream, Moochie Kalala Detectives Club and the future. Songs included are Dandy Horse, Sassafras Overcoat, Chrysalide.
March 1, 2014
Chirp Radio’s Julie Mueller interviews The Luck of Eden Hall about the band’s history, songwriting and future projects.
October 1, 2013
One of the most fascinating of all the bands inhabiting the Fruits de Mer fishpond, the Luck of Eden Hall have been bagged into any number of musical styles, with psych and acid-folk paramount only until you listen to their entire catalog, and catch sight of a band that would be at home being compared to mid-period Beatles as they would sharing an apartment with Polyphonic Spree.
First heard by FdM devotees on the A Phase We’ve Been Through and Roqueting Through Space compilation albums, the Luck of Eden Hall then emerged on the Regal Crabomophone label, two band originals rubbing noses with a couple of covers – Love’s “She Comes In Colors” and the Association’s “Never My Love.” Since that time, Luck of Eden Hall have gone from musical strength to strength. Eden Hall’s Gregory Curvey details the band’s history for us.
GM: You’ve been around a while, haven’t you?
GC: The Luck of Eden Hall formed in 1989 as a three piece with our original drummer Bruce Zimmerman. About a year into it, we added a cellist to expand the compositions. I loved the sound of the instrument and had cello on about 25% of the songs in our set.
We released a 7” on Limited Potential Records in 1990 and then Bruce decided to split. We immediately replaced him, but it took time for the new line up to gel and in 1992 we released a four song EP called Under The Sea to rave reviews, making the cover of CMJ and a video for one of the songs, Man On The Moon, was included in a New Line Cinema film.
Exit second drummer and cellist.
Their replacements, Joe Furlong and Eric Remschneider, made our band stronger and both appeared on our first full length CD Belladonna Marmalade in 1993. Four years later, in 1997, I recorded a prog solo CD called Par Crone with Joe Furlong on drums. Mark Lofgren and Patrick Halliwell joined us in a few live shows, but the project was short lived and I decided to call it quits after I returned from an extended stay in India.
GM: I remember that. What brought the band back together?
CurveyMark and I still got together frequently and record songs on my tape machine and in 2003 I received some home recording software from my wife and friends for my Birthday. Soon after, I experienced a couple life-changing events as my mother passed away and my daughter was born, inspiring the songs that became the Subterrene CD in 2006.
Having a home studio, and the ability to record every idea, was a dream come true and when we finished our next CD, When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep in 2008, Mark and I knew it was time to put a band back together. Joe Furlong played drums for the first few shows and then one night Carlos Mendoza sat in because Joe couldn’t make a gig. Exit drummer number three.
We released some tracks on Your Psych Tunes compilations and then started a relationship with Fruits de Mer Records in 2010. In 2011, we released Butterfly Revolutions, volumes one and two on separate CDs and played a gig with Jim Licka’s other band, Umbra and the Volcan Siege. I asked Jim to play Mellotron with us and behold the current line up.
In 2012, I hand embossed 200 covers for Alligators Eat Gumdrops, which was released as a limited edition CD, and they sold out. This year Headspin Records re-released Butterfly Revolutions as a limited edition double LP on black and colored vinyl and we’re nearly ready to release Victoria Moon, a limited edition of 300 hand numbered and assembled CDs that include an eight page booklet.
GM: Listening to Alligators today, I have to say “A Carny’s Delirium” ranks among my favorite songs of the decade so far. Without me one being able to put my finger upon whatever it is that makes it so great! Truly the mark of a classic song. What are the band’s musical influences… or just the kind of stuff you like?
GC: I really like a lot of musical styles. My first loves were the Monkees, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, because I inherited some of my Aunt’s old record collection. Then KISS and ELO came along. After that, I was turned on to Genesis, YES, King Crimson and Jean Michael Jarre. Then XTC, U2, Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Church. Then the Damned, the Ramones and the Dead Boys…you get the picture. I also love Bernard Herrman sound tracks, Eric Satie and Stravinsky.
GM: Tell us about Victoria Moon – which I’m thoroughly enjoying, by the way.
GC: Victoria Moon’s a throwback to the future. I say that because the title and artwork are from a record we recorded for Limited Potential Records in the early 90’s that was never released. None of the songs are the same (though “Darling Dear” and “Silly Girl” from that project both made their way on to other records), but rather influenced by what I was really into at that time in my life, namely the Victorian Era.
We’ve released a video single of the song “Sassafras Overcoat”, which Mark did a brilliant job editing, and we have plans for other music videos as well. We just need the time to do it. The songs on this project are still popped psychedelic rock and roll, but I tried to confine the instrumentation on most tracks to our live set up so we could recreate them on stage. That said there are a couple tracks that wanted embellishing. Mark and I write loads of songs and as per all of our releases every song must pass our quality control before making the final cut.”
September 7, 2013
Art Into Dust
Victoria Moon, the latest album from the brilliant The Luck Of Eden Hall rises triumphantly into the music skies and finds the Chicago Psychpop masters continuing to be at the height of their abundant creative talents. Beautifully play, sung, written and produced it’s a wonderland of musical adventure in melody and sound that’s guaranteed to blow your mind, fill your ears with joy from start to finish and will effortlessly lodge itself in a lot of good folk’s albums of the year lists. The great thing about the Edens is they obviously love creating their masterful blend of great songs served up in a full ravishing spectrum soup of kaleidoscopic detail and layers just as much as we love listening to it so each new release is going to be everything you could wish for and always a little bit more. But all you on the ball Luckheads out there don’t need me to tell you this since you’ll already have grabbed yourself either one of the, as ever, strictly limited edition, beautifully packaged physical copies or purchased just the music itself from their Bandcamp site.
Ironically even though the actual CD’s have “instant collectors items that will be going for silly money on ebay by this time next year” stamped all over them, I very much doubt that any one wise enough to buy a copy of Victoria Moon will ever let it leave their collections, other than in their wills or as part of a badly contested divorce settlement. With half already pre-ordered the rest ain’t going to be around for long so I suggest you rush over there and catch this treasure while you can. Meantime you can get the complete lowdown on the band via my Bucketfull of Brains interview in the latest issue. And here at Art Into dust we are proud to deliver up an exclusive track by track guide of this most glorious of releases with the Ringmasters of Eden Hall, Gregory Curvey and Mark Lofgren. So sit back, pour yourself a well deserved cup of tea and enjoy my friends.
I had wanted to do a photo shoot wearing my 100 year old coats for a couple of years, but couldn’t get all of the pieces and players aligned while there was snow on the ground until last Winter. Mark and I decided to film a video at the same time and add some interest by hiring a couple burlesque girls to get naked in the snow. Our friend Lee Klawans agreed to photograph us and knew a couple girls, so to make a long story short, we shot a music video without knowing what song we were going to use, which inspired me to write Sassafras Overcoat. I play everything on that track except for Mark’s fabulous bass part
Queen Of The Stars
This song was originally going to be included on Alligators Eat Gumdrops but our publicist suggested that I cut it, so I did. It’s been reworked a little for Victoria Moon. I added guitar riffs throughout the song and a sequencer part during the bridge. The storyline was inspired one Summer day when my daughter was playing in her kiddie pool with a few colorful balls. I play everything on the track.
Another one left over from the Alligators Eat Gumdrops brood. It was originally titled Under Victoria. The lyrics weren’t inspired by anything in particular, I was just trying to paint a picture. I think the true inspiration happened in the middle eight when I decided to scrap my guitar solo and play with some reel to reel tapes my Father-in-law gave me and then I over dubbed a track from an old album of Rumi poetry from my LP collection. It was a very happy accident. Carlos plays the drum kit, Mark plays bass and I cover the guitar parts and sing on this one.
The Collapse Of Suzy Star
I read an article about how stars can collapse into black holes and how it all relates to theories about our universe expanding and collapsing. Understanding about half of it (in college I filled out my science credits with a cool class called “Bizarre Astronomy”), I wrote a song equating the rise and fall of a semi-famous actress to that of a Suzy Star (which, as far as I can gather, is a star collapsing into a black hole). I played bass, acoustic guitar, keyboard and sang, Greg played the rest.
Zap was written years ago, right after my Par Crone solo project was released but never recorded. I changed the lyric a little for this version. The guitar riff was inspired by my Echoplex and the sounds in the middle eight freak out are created by a toy laser gun with great analog sounds that can be modulated. I used a Theremin that was built by Moog during the final chorus. Carlos plays drums, Mark plays bass and I play the rest.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of my Grandfather showing me his Native American arrowhead collection and I’ve always been fascinated by the sequence of European history and the American wild west. The industrial revolution and the demise of the Native American tribes. They were the last of the real human beings. Hunter gatherers. The verses are all inspired from lines in speeches given by Native American leaders. The ending includes Jim playing the Mellotron over a recording I made while riding on an old carrousel at a museum in Michigan this Summer. Mark plays bass, Jim plays Mellotron and I play everything else on the track.
Drunk Like Shakespeare On Love
This one I had a little fun with, loosely based on running into an old friend who has lost his way in mid life. I’m trying to capture a crazy phase of life filled with drunken adventures, trips to London and to midnight palm readers, falling in love with someone you barely know…youth, fleeting youth! I played bass and sang, Carlos played drums, Greg played guitar and keys.
I was trying to find inspiration for the lyrics and came across an article on the old high wheeler bicycles. The great names they were given like Penny Farthing and French Bone Shaker did the trick. It took several takes to get the final vocal arrangement and I employed my Pro One sequencer during the grand finale. Jim plays Mellotron and I play everything else on this track.
Super Phantasmal Heroine
I had heard a story on NPR about how popular the drug heroin was becoming with suburban school kids because it was cheep and easy to get. It kind of blew my mind. I’ve always been straight edge myself and say to each his own, but I don’t think its wise to mess with anything that’s highly addictive and can kill you. Personally I think the only drug you should use that involves a needle is vinyl records. That’s the track. Mark played bass and I play everything else on this one.
I was sitting in our family room where my daughter keeps a lot of her toys. We had set up a huge play city using all of her blocks and I was inspired to write the lyrics for this song. I like the Sir Real and his Avant Guard lines but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t thought of that before. I have a great music video idea for this one that I hope we’ll have time to accomplish. Mark plays bass and I cover the rest of the instruments.
Blood On My Feet
One morning I went down into my studio, plugged in and this song came out. I was having difficulty coming up with a good story idea so I handed it off to Mark and he finished the lyrics. I used my Echoplex on the guitar and vocal tracks and you can hear it’s classic regeneration sound in the right channel. Jim plays Mellotron, Mark plays bass and I cover the rest.
She’s Your Anodyne
I think an anodyne is an archaic opiate remedy used to sooth pain in the 19th century. It’s a song about feeling anxious and depressed and trying to calm down in an complex and possibly insane world by reconnecting with friends and family. I played bass and sang. Carlos played drums and Greg played guitar and keys.
The Horrible Pill Book
This was the first song I wrote after we finished the Alligators Eat Gumdrops album. It’s one of my wife’s favorites along with Queen Of The Stars and I’ve put both tracks on the record for her. I like the lyrics which are kind of in an Evil Woman 70’s witchy vein and I used a tape machine during the chorus to slow down my voice and make me sound different. I play everything on this track.
August 20, 2013
Bucket Full of Brains Magazine
May 7th, 2013
Wild Thing Magazine
The Luck of Eden Hall is a music group from Chicago that for more than two decades has silently recorded and released a number of psychedelic pop arabesques of comparable quality to such past artefacts as e.g. those of The Dukes of Stratosphear and other such old purveyors of brilliant psych pop. We realized all these facts relatively recently with great surprise through Fruits de Mer Records releases; so we made sure to get in touch with Curvey, apparently the mastermind of the band with the strange name. Then we listened to their latest album ‘Alligators Eat Gumdrops’ and were even more excited about their case. As they prepare for a new album in 2013 (and have already released a single from it on the net), we thought it was now time to introduce them in more detail to Wild Thing readers. So here is what Curvey told us in an interview…
Wild Thing: We were first acquainted to your music through the recent releases by Fruits de Mer Records. But we understand that there’s a background that goes back to the early 90s. What’s the story of LoEH and its individual members?
Curvey: We released a full length album on cassette in 1989, followed by a single on Limited Potential Records in 1990 with the original line-up. That was Mark Lofgren and myself along with Bruce Zimmerman on drums. Bruce was one of my childhood friends and a great drummer. He left and was replaced by Paul Healy. We also added a cellist, who enabled our compositions to expand a bit more making songs like the original version of “Madelaine’s Voyage”, one of my favorites from that time period. It was originally included on Under the Sea, a four-track cassette EP we recorded in our rehearsal space with the help of our friend John Hachtel. That EP really captured our live sound at the time, and also made the cover of CMJ magazine. Shortly after that Paul split and was replaced by Joe Furlong. Papa Joe was rock solid and took us through the Belladonna Marmalade (1993) sessions as well as my solo project, Par Crone (1997). I’d like to point out that at that time, the home recording equipment we could afford was limited to cheap, four or eight track 1/4″ tape machines. Not really the best quality! And $10,000 to make a record was (and still is) a lot of money to spend, so I’m eternally grateful for my little digital home studio.
Anyway, our cellist, Eric Remschnieder, was snatched away by Smashing Pumpkins, and we took a break after the Par Crone LP, but never really stopped working on songs. Mark and I would get together and lay tracks down on my old Fostex X-15 and those songs formed the basis for Subterrene (2006). That was the first album we did with home recording software, learning as we went along. By the time we released When the Clock Starts to Wake Up, We Go to Sleep (2008) I finally grasped the controls properly and had the ability to produce the sound I was looking for. Carlos Mendoza joined up with us to play drums and we recorded Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1&2 (2011). By chance, we discovered Jim Licka when playing a gig with his other band, Umbra and the Volcan Siege. He kindly accepted our offer to join which makes the current line up of Mark Lofgren on bass and vox, Jim Licka on Mellotron and Moog, Carlos Mendoza on the drum-kit, and me on guitar and vox. This is definitely the best group we’ve ever had!
WT: How did you chance upon the name? Was it the ‘Bartender’ manga series or some other source?
Curvey: You know, I have an old friend who produced animé for Bandai and Manga, and I’ve been meaning to ask him about that ‘Bartender’ series. Seems a strange coincidence, though the world is a very small place (especially with seven billion of us on it). As for the name, Mark and I were making lists of possible candidates and I came across The Luck of Eden Hall in an old occult dictionary. It has an interesting history; being kept by the family Musgrave (Edgar Allen Poe) and we liked the folklore and faerie stories that surround it. I’m also a big fan of Islamic art, and it is an actual vase, or cup, that you can see at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
WT: Can one nowadays somehow get your back catalogue, the old Walrus Records releases for example or Par Crone?
Curvey: Yes. All of these releases are available in limited quantities. Belladonna Marmalade, Par Crone and our Limited Potential 7″ (“Hook, Line and Sinker”) are still available at many locations via Clearspot (www.clearspot.nl). If you’re interested in cassettes, we have a few copies of Under the Sea available at theluckofedenhall.bandcamp.com. We do not plan on reissuing any of these, so when they’re gone, they’re gone. All of our releases, past and current, are available for digital download via our bandcamp page as well.
WT: You (Curvey) play a multitude of instruments. Which are your basic sources of inspiration musically, also lyrically? What kind of music do you usually listen to?
Curvey: Well I just purchased Erkin Koray’s Electric Turk LP. Great stuff! Lately I’ve been listening to Tame Impala, Sendelica, Permanent Clear Light and playing “The W.A.N.D.” by Flaming Lips over and over again. I listen to a very wide range of rock music, but prog is my favorite. This may not show up in all of the pop songs that fly out of me, but it is one of my essential influences. I love early Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Soft Machine and stuff like Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. Of course I also love Badfinger, The Raspberries, Big Star and XTC! Lyrically I get inspiration from many things. Sometimes the things my little girl says, or thoughts of my dearly departed Mom. I also get inspiration from reading old sci-fi and horror books. H.G. Wells is a favorite. Harlan Ellison and H.P. Lovecraft. Music comes to me when my mind is lost in other things, or when I sit down to play the piano. The other day I picked up my guitar, fired up my gear, turned on the echoplex and wrote one that just may make it on to the next album!
WT: Do you care to describe your music somehow, using the usual music press tags? Is the characterization ‘psychedelic’ at all relevant according to your opinion? If it is, what does ‘psychedelic’ mean in musical terms in 2013?
Curvey: I’m truly honored to be listed under the heading of prog or psychedelic, as these are two of my all time favorite genres. I always say The Luck of Eden Hall creates popped, psychedelic rock and rollisms and I generally build my songs around a hook. Sometimes a riff. It’s true the term “psychedelic” has become extremely popular again, but the psychedelic genre is a very big umbrella that covers just about every category, and to me, that’s all right. The boundaries should be blurred a little. Music has been over-dissected and categorized to death, in my opinion. I mean, let’s face it. It’s all music. Human song. Snipets of sonic art that should make you feel, dance, scream, turn off the radio, whatever?
WT: Alligators Eat Gumdrops was included in our Top 20 Albums list for 2012. It was the first full length album by LoEH we ever listened to and we were really blown away by it. How come you people are not already ‘big’ in the business?
Curvey: I’m glad you enjoyed Alligators Eat Gumdrops! We try to raise the bar higher with each release. Many hours were spent in the studio recording and producing material last year for that album and many songs didn’t make it and were tossed into storage files. I have nearly 500 ideas recorded on my cell phone! Of course 488 of them are less than desirable… but if I don’t throw down the ideas, they drift away into the ether, never to be heard again. I can only hypothesize as to why we’re not ‘big’ in the business, but I did have a local club owner chide me about how bad I was at business, once upon a time. My current motto: If at first you don’t succeed, not enough people know who you are!
WT: A few weeks ago we watched the video clip you did for “Sassafras Overcoat”, the single from your upcoming album Victoria Moon. There was very positive feedback from all Wild Thing readers who also watched it. Share some information with us for the new album comparing it to Alligators Eat Gumdrops.
Curvey: Victoria Moon will be a guaranteed throw back to the future! I created the artwork twenty years ago for an album that was never released, and the time feels right to use it. I was into Max Ernst and created collages using old Victorian etchings for the cover and inside layout. The music is shaping up to be another roller coaster ride of what I call our popped psychedelic rock and rollisms. “Sassafras Overcoat” was the first song out of the gate, but all of the dogs are ready to get the rabbit! Chomping at the bit to chase an electrically charged dream. Including songs of heroines, dandy horses, madness and Madelaine’s 2nd voyage.
WT: Which are your most favorite albums of all times?
Curvey: Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies, Zen Arcade by Hüsker Dü, Relayer by Yes, Heroes by Bowie, Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned, Utopia by Todd Rundgren, Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake by The Small Faces, Head by The Monkees…
WT: Do you know any other acts like LoEH in the States or elsewhere that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Curvey: Listen to “Daisey Love” by The Red Plastic Buddha.
WT: Have you ever played any gigs in Europe? Are there any plans?
Curvey: We haven’t so far, but I am diligently working on it. Fruits de Mer Records has helped open the doors, and Headspin Records (Netherlands) has just released Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1&2 as a limited edition double LP on colored vinyl (200) and black vinyl (300). It would be fabulous if we could play some shows in Europe this summer!
WT: During the past few days we watched the bombings at the Boston marathon. Do you sometimes think the world has gone completely mad? Could rock’n’roll save us?
Curvey: The world has been completely mad since man has taken hold of the steering wheel. Will we ever learn to accept each other as individuals or appreciate the differences each tribe has to offer? Will we ever learn not to force our ways onto others? One man’s nothing is another man’s everything. My wife once said that the veneer of society is very thin and we are only one small step from complete chaos… On another note, when Paul McCartney played a show at Wrigley Field, a little baseball stadium in the middle of a Chicago neighborhood, everyone on the street was singing along: the pedestrians, the police, the neighbors, the kids, the vendors, the fans, everyone. Magic! I don’t know. Could rock’n’roll save us? Perhaps we should try harder before the last of the Beatles perish…
April 3rd, 2013
The Blog That Celebrates Itself
(Translation from Portuguese) Extremely unknown, so sadly as we write this, because The Luck of Eden Hall should be among the biggest names in the underground, the underground today as it was at the time of the Psychedelic Furs, XTC, ie where the post punk the label “indie” was true and was connected directly to independent labels and there were not fads and beasts without content.
With a sensational pop appeal, a grand conception of creation, not for nothing these guys cite XTC as an influence, because to whom this interado with the great XTC knows those guys were brilliant, and my friend Gregory Curvey handle this aspect and psychedelic pop creates his works, one a grand and eloquent, and one that Roxy Music, Brian Eno read fortissimo.
Glam Pop Psych? It can be all that and more, depends upon your point of view, the point is that The Luck of Eden Hall will fall into thanks to many people, and I bet my friend Roxy Perrotta will be one of those people who will marvel with delight.
More than deserved, just listen to last year’s masterpiece Alligators Eat Gumdrops, simply brilliant.
And while we wait for the new album, we interview:
Q. When did The Luck of Eden Hall start, tell us about the history…
A: I was asked to move to Chicago (from Kalamazoo) to play drums in my friend Doug Chamberlin’s band Scarlet Architect, which was a three piece all keyboard outfit opening for bands like Snake Finger, Lena Lovich and Human League, and at the time I was truly excited. Unfortunately the band split up upon my arrival, but I started working on songs with Doug, and formed another band playing some of those songs he and I had written together. That band included Wayne Wells, who currently fronts Static X. I left those fellows and put together a traditional three piece, plus cello, with my friend Mark Lofgren, whom I’d always wanted to work with, and The Luck of Eden Hall officially formed in 1989, releasing a full-length album on cassette called Corner Of The Sky. In 1990 we were picked up by Limited Potential records and released the single Hook, Line and Sinker (Limp007. Smashing Pumpkins first single was Limp006). We recorded and created artwork for an album to be called Victoria Moon for Limited Potential that was never released. Those studio tracks were all trashed, though some of the songs have been rerecorded. (Darling Dear made it on to Belladonna Marmalade, Silly Girl on Butterfly Revolutions Vol.2.) A video was filmed for one of the tracks, Man On The Moon, which was used in the New Line Cinema film The Day My Parents Ran Away and after that Limited Potential dropped us, so we started our own label, Walrus Records, releasing three projects (Belladonna Marmalade, Under The Sea, Sunny Girlfriend). Under The Sea made the cover of CMJ, but it was during that time our cellist ran off to play with Smashing Pumpkins and we became a three piece. In 1997 I recorded a solo project that became Par Crone, featuring my newly acquired Arp Synthesizer (circa 1972), and traveled to India. While on my travels I had an enlightening moment, which prompted me to sell a lot of my gear when I returned, and I stopped playing music for a while. It seemed to me at the time that I was swimming against the current and needed to change directions, so I focused on my painting abilities and built up Gregorian Designs, which is my business for murals, detailed stenciling and illustrations. In 2000 Mark and I started to lay down tracks again, and some of those songs (Babymoon, Device) became the foundation for Subterrene, which we released in 2006. That was the first time I had full control of production and I really learned a lot recording Subterrene. In 2008 we recorded When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep and decided it was time to get the band back together and roll. That was the first album I was really proud of and it’s the one I’ve held as the standard to all of our recent works (Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1 & 2 in 2011 and Alligators eat Gumdrops in 2012).
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Rolling Stones’ early stuff, XTC, Pink Floyd’s early stuff,Todd Rundgren, Alice Cooper’s early stuff, Bowie, King Crimson’s early stuff, Love, Queen, The Electric Prunes, Roxy Music, but please keep in mind these are merely shavings off my influential block!
Q: Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
A: The White Album by the Beatles, Zen Arcade by Husker Du, Blood Sweat and Tears by Blood Sweat and Tears, The Psychedelic Furs by the Psychedelic Furs, 25 O’clock by The Dukes of Stratosphere. These are just a few that have touched my soul and I really should continue…Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned, Foxtrot & Nursery Crime by Genesis, Quadrophenia by The Who, Roxy and Elsewhere by Frank Zappa, Super Unknown by Soundgarden….
Q. How do you feel playing alive?
A: I have grown to love playing live. Nerves used to get in the way in the early days, but now I really have a great time. The spontaneity of a live performance, especially when we play A Drop In The Ocean or She’s Using All The Colors, is always a gas. I am very fortunate to have such a fantastic band. Carlos Mendoza is one of the best drummers in town and Jim Licka keeps all of us in the proper psych mood!
Q. How do you describe The Luck of Eden Hall sounds?
A: Popped psychedelic rock & rollisms. Always based on a melody to be sure!
Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
A: Rabbithole Studio is my home recording outfit. It has allowed me to hide in the basement and throw down ideas (some bad, some very, very bad, and occasionally a real shinning keeper). I also hum ideas into my cell phone. Melodies are very ethereal and just when you think you’ve got it, and couldn’t possibly ever forget it because it’s been looping in your head for an hour or so, shazaam! It’s gone. So, that is where I start. The melody. I may come up with a lyric to fit the hook at the same time, but usually write all of the lyrics after the song’s been finished. When recording demos I’ll lay down a scratch guitar track and some verbal nonsense to follow. Sometimes the verbal nonsense makes it into the final version (Listen to the background voice in She’s Using All The Colors). Many times the first guitar solo is the keeper, though sometimes I’ll learn it and double it. My production ideal is for a song to feel a little raw and not too over thought and drums must make the listener feel like beating on the table!
Q. Which new bands do you recommended?
A: The Red Plastic Buddha, Sendelica, Strychnine, I Lost Control, Permanent Clear Light.
Q: Which bands would you love to make a cover version?
A: Fruits de Mer records have given me more opportunity than I ever dreamed to record cover songs. The Luck of Eden Hall rarely ever plays cover songs. The only one I remember is Day After Day by Badfinger, and that was years ago. I generally don’t think about covering songs, only getting songs out of my head and into the studio. So much to do…so little time…
Q: What are the plans for the future….
A: We’ve just released a video for Sassafras Overcoat, which is to be included on our next album. Mark Lofgren edits and produces all our videos and we plan on releasing a few more before the album drops. I kept all the artwork I had created for the unreleased Victoria Moon I mentioned earlier, and we’re going to use it for this Summer’s release. It’s actually inspired some new songs (Madelaine’s 2nd Voyage, Underneath Another Parasol) and being that the art was originally pre-Belladonna Marmalade (this year is the 20th anniversary) it makes this project a little time trip. An historical peek into the future. I’m really excited about the new material!
Q: Any parting words?
A: Remember to do what you love and love what you do, because there is no payoff in the end. And don’t dwell on your mistakes or the next punch may just knock you out! Cheers!
October 11th, 2012
ChiIL Live Shows Interview With The Luck of Eden Hall front-man, Curvey, and his 7 year old daughter, Seda about creative parenting and how parents create.
February 12th, 2012
Luck Of Eden Hall On This Weeks Anesthetic
Music and conversation this Sunday night at 7:30 with 20-year Chicago music vets, The Luck of Eden Hall. They created somewhat of a splash in the early 90′s with no less than Billy Corgan being a fan. They laid out from recording for over a decade, though, and it’s only been the last five years that the LOEH output has been consistent and of a very high quality.
Butterfly Revolutions, Vol 2 is their second release in less than a year. It’s got the requisite occasional sitar strum and vocal reverb drench but it’s mostly free of the whole PSYCHEDELIC ROCK trappings. Plus, there’s a particular sense of style to what The Luck does. Let’s call it Tastefully Trippy. Find out more on this week’s Local Anesthetic, Sunday night at 7:30. In the meantime, to help you pick up on what I’m laying down about being Tastefully Trippy.
The Luck of Eden Hall:
Feet on the Ground, Head to the Ceiling
’11 could have wrapped up as the Year of the Butterfly in certain circles. Topping off a flurry of activity, The Luck of Eden Hall spread their wings wider with The Butterfly Revolutions, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, back-to-back sweetness that goes down as smooth as cream…and floats right to the top-shelf. Stir in a batch of singles with an appearance on Keep Off the Grass and you have a full box of ‘rock and rollisms‘ yearning for you stick your fingers in. LOEH’s Gregory Curvey gives the skinny on their own butterfly effect; making psych sweetness filler and fat-free.
ma: Richard Hamilton said, “Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business.” True? Does that apply to ‘pop’ music?
Gregory Curvey: Low cost? It’s all relative, but I would agree with that for about 99%. There are a handful of pop songs that definitely transcend his description, but yeah, it’s mostly treated as a vehicle for catchy hooks. Bad or good.
ma: You hear a lot of bitching about the ‘music business’ being to blame for the state of pop music today, etc, etc…Don’t people get what they want, really?
GC: I don’t know. People eat what they’re fed. Right FOX? I suppose the machine had figured out how to spoon feed people what they wanted the people to purchase…or they polled different selected groups and focused in on the lowest common denominator…or the stations played the corporate stuff so they could continue to get perks and backstage passes from big corporate artists…but there have always been really great stand out tracks in every genre of music, yes? Or art for that matter. An artist produces a masterpiece, if they’re lucky, and then keeps trying to top it or at least live up to it. If an artist’s work (and it is work, folks) becomes something the masses want….it shouldn’t necessarily be condemned.
ma: Do you consider LOEH a ‘pop’ band? What’s your basis for ‘pop?’ And, psych for that matter?
GC: Popped Psychedelic Rock and Rollisms are what The Luck of Eden Hall creates. Pop? Yes, because I was weaned on the stuff and can’t seem to shake it. Psychedelic because it’s look, feel, sound and imagery still stir my soul. Pop is anything with a hook, I guess. Psych? I’m very honored when The Luck of Eden Hall is described as psych and I’m happy to see another psych movement happening. Though I do hope it doesn’t become a limited, extra reverberated, wafer thin slice of psychedelia. It should be about expansion, yes?
ma: I would hope it’s about expansion. It’s been around long enough it’s a tradition for the most part. And I think by the nature of that, there aren’t any finite stopping points. It has to grow…What were you weaned on? Anything we need to know?
GC: When I was around six years old, my Grand Mother on my Mom’s side was having a yard sale and selling off, among other things, some records left behind by one of my Aunts (Sue). I was allowed to pick through and take anything that interested me. Being six I had no idea what I was looking at so I picked the 45′s with the coolest labels. The colorful, psychedelic ones. London, Capitol, Karma Sutra, Bang, Columbia. I really nabbed a great bunch of stuff. Rolling Stones, Beatles, Beach Boys, Tommy James, and a couple of Monkees LPs, to name a few. I was spinning 19th Nervous Breakdown on my Mickey Mouse record player!
ma: Why two volumes of Butterfly Revolutions rather than one double album? Both play as a whole, but there is a difference in shade between the two…Vol. 2 seems a bit more melancholy than Vol. 1.
GC: When Mark and I had enough songs to start putting together this project we laid them all out and realized two distinct categories developing. Perhaps a side A and B concept, but we kept writing and decided to go for a double album. When we thought it was finished we went into Kingsize to do the mastering and while listening back to the final cuts we both felt that record 1 was a keeper and record 2 wasn’t up to snuff. We decided to go ahead with the release of the first record and take some more time to polish up existing tracks and do a bit of rewriting and replacing for the second. Since the songs on the second one were written and recorded at the same time we decided on a 2 volume approach. I can’t remember what the working title for the project originally was but we changed it to Butterfly Revolutions and I started working on the cover art.
ma: Now that it’s out there up to snuff and fighting fair and square, has one volume grown on you over the other? Or are you already letting it go and moving on…?
GC: I like the whole thing as one. It represents a Hell of a lot of work, and like any big project, it’s good to be finished with it. Well not really finished with it. We’re rehearsing and getting all the Vol. 2 songs ready for live performances…Right now I’m very excited about the new material I’ve been working on, but we’ll leave that for another conversation…
ma: Now, the name alone, let alone the ‘volume’ extension just seems to beg for a concept. Is there one there, or are you keeping it mum?
GC: I have no idea where this madness will take us…and I’ve lost me Mum.
ma: You hear that the ‘album’ is dead. True, the issue of the physical component aside? LOEH seem to think it’s alive, the sequencing alone of the records shores that up to me. Like I said, Vol. 2 seems a touch more melancholy than Vol. 1, but each holds together and as a pair. A nice pair…
GC: Thank you for the compliment. Album is dead. Vinyl is dead. Rock is dead. Perhaps one can use those limitations as inspiration or perhaps we’ll be another failed attempt at niche marketing…Speaking for myself, I’ve decided my art is going to be what makes me happy. Pure and simple. Everyone is welcome to feast on cookies brought to you straight from the Curvey kitchen. Some may only eat just one. I’m betting that those who enjoy it will need a box…an album.
ma: It’s sad that now you can put so much music on one disc, let’s say for a some physical component. The idea of ‘album’ would seem to have flourished, grown…but everybody’s attention span diminished…Angry Young Man to Bitter Old Bastard in no time…I’ll throw out that just the other day I was listening to something and thought it was good. Nothing pushed my particular buttons right away. But the more I listened to it, the more I was hooked because it was a good album. What makes an album hang together for you?
GC: That’s a hard one to answer. I must admit I own many records that have a side that was rarely played. Sound Garden double LPs, Smashing Pumpkins triple LPs. I’d put on a side and then move on to another artist. Maybe a Bernard Herman soundtrack or whatever. And one of my all time favorite albums is the Beatles White Album. It’s all over the place. Kind of like The Luck of Eden Hall, hmmm? Maybe that answers the question!
ma: You take your name from that exalted ‘luxury drinking glass.’ We could get into how the gilded decoration, the ornateness, relate to your music, the fairy drinkers, etc…But the real question is, is the glass half empty or half full?
GC: The bowl is emptied out each day.
ma: If we could go back to Eden Hall before it was demolished, and had the requisite serving glass, who would you invite to dinner?
GC: Salvador Dali, Chief Quannah Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Houdini…
ma: She Comes in Colours EP, Lucifer Sam, Love is Only Sleeping, Keep Off the Grass, Vol. 1 and 2…lots of activity of late. Timing just right?
GC: Keith and Andy at Fruits de Mer Records have helped jump-start our blunderbuss. Very inspirational, those Gentlemen. We’ve had many attempts at liftoff in the past and always a losing fight with gravity. This time we’re trying to remain grounded and my head’s pressing against the ceiling…go figure.
ma: You just wrapped up a good run there…any plans yet for ’12? Or is it really going to end next year?
GC: Oh, there’s a couple more in store from FdM that we’re included on. We’ve only just released Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 2 and Mark and I have about enough songs for the next album to start the recording process. I have a project that I recorded with my friend Dean Madonia in Nashville last Summer coming out real soon, titled Pretty Little Horses. And The Luck of Eden Hall will be shooting a video for Flowers as soon as we can get some snow on the ground in Chicago!
ma: Are LOEH groovy?
GC: Baby, we’re just getting started!
Posted by mr. atavist on January 5, 2012
Follow this link to an interview with Curvey and Carlos promoting Butterfly Revolutions Vol.1 on Fearless Radio. Hidden amidst the ramblings that hot day, like well placed Easter eggs, you’ll find some sticky sweet gems: Chrysalide, This Weather’s Better For Velvet Clothes and Silly Girl.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The Luck of Eden Hall Interview with Curvey and Lofgren
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
Chicago band The Luck of Eden Hall putting fresh take on psychedelic music with new CD
By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Psychedelic music is alive and well, thanks to Chicago band The Luck of Eden Hall.
But under the direction of frontman Greg Curvey, the music sounds fresh and not dated, as reflected on the band’s new CD, “Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1,” released on July 1. The Luck of Eden Hall, www.theluckofedenhall.com, will perform July 20 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., www.beatkitchen.com, as part of a CD release party. Red Light Driver and Umbra & the Volcan Siege also are on the bill. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at www.ticketweb.com.
I had the chance to talk to Curvey about the making of the new CD.
Q – Of course, the band has a new CD out, “Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1,” the followup to 2009’s “When The Clock Starts to Wake Up As We Go to Sleep.”
Curvey: I think with the last record, we finally hit the bullseye as far as my production capabilities and how I wanted a record to sound. So this one’s much along the same lines. It’s just a new one.
Q – Did you have any particular goals for this album?
Curvey: The goal for this album is that I want more people to hear it. It’s such a shame to paint a beautiful picture, and have it sit it in your living room and only your friends get to see it. I want everyone to have the chance to listen to it. So we’re trying like crazy to get it out there.
Q – Have you already started “Vol. 2?”
Curvey: Yeah, “Vol. 2” is finished. When we started on this project, our drummer, Carlos Mendoza, who has two beautiful twins, had one of them diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the cancer has cleared up, but it totally occupied Carlos’ time. I also play drums, so Mark Lofgren, my bass player, and I started to record the project. We were getting all different types of songs that were coming out that didn’t quite feel like they made a cohesive record. We had more than a double album on our hands. So all the songs have been done for a long time. We wanted to pick the songs that really flowed well together as a side A and side B.
Q – Did you look at the order of the songs? I think the song “Chrysalide” is a great way to start off the album.
Curvey: Absolutely. The funny thing behind that song is it almost didn’t make the record because I couldn’t get a mix out of it. It finally came together, but I was getting very frustrated with it. And it turned out being the best song. We feel that it’s the best song.
Q – And I think that’s a song that can get some attention. Yeah, it’s psychedelic, but it has some pop sensibilities.
Curvey: Right, absolutely.
Q – That song reminds me of early Pink Floyd. Would you consider them as one of your big influences?
Curvey: I’m influenced by so much, so it’s difficult for me to pick a main influence. But I would say that what I’m trying to go for here isn’t a retro sound. However, I want to utilize the sounds that I always thought were cool from that era, from that psychedelic era, like the thin vocals, the backward guitars, the sitar, stuff like that.
Q – How would you describe the band’s sound?
Curvey: I came up with the phrase, Popped Psychedelic Rock and Rollism. I like a hook. When I’m writing a song, I like to have it so there is a melodic part that you can hum to.
Q – You guys have been on the scene for a long time. In 2009, you bumped into your friend Billy Corgan, who you hadn’t seen in 10 years. How did the meeting go? Did it seem like 10 years had passed?
Curvey: He came out to see us, and we just picked up the conversation where it had left off, that kind of thing.
Q – Your respective bands were on the scene at the same time, but Smashing Pumpkins hit it so big. Any regrets about your band not achieving the same success?
Curvey: It is still what I want to do. I would love to be able to make a living off The Luck Of Eden Hall. Right when our first single came out, my first drummer moved back home, then we were forced to get a different drummer. You know, things like that. Life gets in the way sometimes. I definitely feel that I’m writing the best stuff now that I’ve ever done.
Q – So you’re not doing this full time now?
Curvey: No. I have my own business (Gregorian Designs). I do stenciling and murals. And Carlos is a teacher. He teaches music. And the bass player, Mark, is a teacher who teaches video, how to edit and stuff like that. So that’s what we do to make the meals.
Q – Did you do the album cover for “Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1?”
Curvey: I did. I do all the artwork. There’s one album cover that I didn’t do, and that’s “Subterrene,” because my little girl was born right at that time, and my hands were literally full and I couldn’t do it, so a friend of ours did the cover for us. But that’s one of the things I enjoy. I like putting together the package. I really enjoy doing that. I’ve created props. If you come see us play, we have props to try to help set the mood.
Q – Is that to kind of add to the mood of the songs?
Curvey: Yeah, yeah. I want people to come in and experience something fun. I want the smell in the air to be different. I built a couple of these optical wheels that spin. I have different wheels, and some make it look like the room is bubbling, some look like it is going down the drain, just different things like that.
Q – When should people expect “Vol. 2” to come out?
Curvey: The label in England is going to release a four-song EP of us on colored vinyl on Oct. 3. We’re going to coincide “Vol. 2” with that.
Q – What should people expect from it?
Curvey: It is a continuation of “Vol. 1.” It really is, because all the songs were written at the same time. We just kind of placed them in an order that we felt flowed right and felt right. It’s every bit as good as “Vol. 1.” We didn’t pack “Vol. 1” with the good stuff. As a matter of fact, we were really trying hard to spread the songs around, so that one album wasn’t stronger than the other one.
April 30, 2009
The following article originally appeared on SmashingPumpkins.com
On April 18th, 2009 a band by the name of The Luck Of Eden Hall was taking to Vintage Vinyl, a record store in Evanston, IL, to play a show in support of their new album ‘When The Clock Starts to Wake Up We Go to Sleep’. As it so happened, one of the attendees at this show was a long time friend of the band who wanted to stop by and see how they had changed in the 10+ years it had been since he had last seen them. That friend was none other than Billy Corgan. On getting the chance to see the band play live again Billy says, “‘Watching them play together again was quite emotional for me. Greg was one of my few ‘friends’ in the Chicago musical scene. By and large the local bands didn’t like what we were doing style-wise, but our 2 bands really connected.”
Originally from Kalamazoo, MI Gregory Curvey, lead singer and guitarist for The Luck of Eden Hall relocated to Chicago and it was there that Curvey first met The Smashing Pumpkins front man. The first meeting was a chance one that ended with Billy Corgan ultimately replacing Curvey in a band that went by the name of Deep Blue Dream. They met again when the Smashing Pumpkins and The Luck of Eden Hall shared a bill. When asked how that came to be Curvey said “I think the club asked us all to do that acoustic set together. ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ and ‘The Luck of Eden Hall’ were on the same label then.” and continued on to say, “I can’t recall exactly when, but let’s say pre-‘Gish’ era. Billy, Jeff Lescher (Green), and I each played an acoustic set on the small back room stage at the ‘Avalon’, which was located at Belmont and Sheffield in Chicago.”
Commenting on how the experience of playing a small, intimate show with Billy Corgan, Gregory states that “if any of the three of us had anything close to star status at that point, it might have been Jeff. I could listen to Billy and Jeff play all night. I recall Billy covering Lou Reed’s ‘Satellite of Love’. I recall Billy smiling at me and playing a few bars of one of my songs, ‘Another Tuesday’, as well.”
Like Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins, Gregory Curvey and The Luck of Eden Hall were on the scene just as the alternative/grunge movement was getting ready to explode. The music went on to saturate all facets of society in the late 80s and early 90s as a bold contrast to the grandeur and self-indulgence of the heavy metal / hair metal scene. In terms of being right in the thick of things in the Chicago scene, Curvey had this to say “The grunge movement didn’t seem to be anything new to me. Punk rock had taken everything to top speed and grunge was shifting alternative music back into low gear. I had some friends in Michigan, ‘Jim Jones And The Kool Aid Kids’, who were tuning down and playing slow way before grunge happened. ‘The Luck of Eden Hall’ has always been tinged with psychedelic nuances.”
Gregory goes on to say “unfortunately at that time, Mark and I wanted to play quieter dreamy music in our set and everyone else was turning it up to eleven. After clearing a few rooms during the quiet numbers we decided to just play loud as well. Besides it was almost impossible to rehearse in a room next to a band that was beating down God.” ”
On that note Billy adds “They were then and still are an excellent psychedelic band. Their song ‘hook, line, and sinker’ is still one of my all time favourites.
Between that time and today The Luck of Eden Hall took a break (1995-1997), changed names (1997-2002), and then returned back to their roots and began releasing music under The Luck of Eden Hall moniker once again. Wanting some imagery to help mentally put me in the audience of one of their shows, I first asked about how it felt during the original run of the band to step out on stage and perform. Curvey says “Opening for larger acts was always a gas, but the most memorable show happened during one of our stops on a tour. Bessemer is a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan and we were asked to play by the owner of ‘The Booby Hatch’, who had our current album on the jukebox. It was opening night for deer hunting season and the place was packed with orange and camouflaged clad warriors, none of who had probably ever heard of ‘The Luck of Eden Hall’. Thankfully there were four or five tables up front filled with fans. At some point about halfway through our set a fight broke out between two lovely ladies. Hair pulling, nail scratching, some glass was broken. No guns were fired. A very memorable show indeed.” In terms of the band’s first show, Gregory remarked that “stepping on stage for the first time is very vague. I remember Mark and I each drinking a quart of beer right before we had to play. ”
So what lead to the reunion and the release of 2006’s ‘Subterrene’ and 2009’s ‘When The Clock Starts to Wake Up We Go to Sleep’ ? Curvey says “When I returned from India, Mark and I started writing together again. We would bring ideas to each other and flush them out into finished songs. We picked the best ones and made ‘Subterrene’. We didn’t play any shows to promote it. I sold almost every copy online. As soon as we finished ‘When The Clock Starts To Wake Up We Go To Sleep’ we knew it was time to start performing again.”
Weighing in on the staying power of the band Billy says, “They represent what being in a band is supposed to be about; friendship, togetherness, and a shared goal. It’s not without irony that they are still together in that journey and I’ve lost all my original soldiers who I once called friends.”
With a career that spans over more than two generations it made me wonder what kind of influences this group, who seems to pull inspiration from so many different directions, might have. “My influences have always been the same. Everything I have ever heard. If you really want some names out of me, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin. Musical sounds are categorized by what is popular at the time, which has always cracked me up. I miss the days of radio when you could hear Sly Stone, The Raspberries, Queen and Dolly Parton all on the same show. I think that’s the same reason why people like their iPods so much now.”
I was curious to hear Curvey’s stance on the record industry and what, all things considered, he feels would be the best way to have his work represented. His response, “it would be nice to work with a label. I would much rather spend my time creating instead of making phone calls and shipping packages. Though I have to say a lot of our problems in the past were due to me turning everything over to someone who didn’t really love my baby as much as I did. Cest la vie. The industry is tasting reality. Too much corporate bull. In the old days if a DJ liked a song the DJ could play the song. That helped many great bands become known to the public. I think iTunes is great. It’s like when I was little, going to the store and buying my favorite 45. If I really dug it I would buy the entire album.”
The Luck of Eden Hall makes music that’s hard to pin point with just a few words, but if pressed to do so, the best words I can find are that the music is a kaleidoscope of psychedelic sounds that hit you like long loved classics no matter how recently created. Listening to the music brought with it a curiosity to find out more about the man behind it. In doing so I learned that Curvey is also an extremely talented painter. When I asked him about this, telling him how beautiful I found his work, and wondering if the inspiration to paint comes from the same place as the inspiration to make music he said “Painting is one of the many things I do for a living and thank you for the compliment. Fortunately people are willing to pay me money to paint for them. Music, painting, cooking, martial arts, gardening, loving, all creativity comes from the same place. Have you ever experienced the loss of time because you were really getting into what you were doing? That’s the same place as well.”
And all of this lead me back to where I started; the April 18th Vintage Vinyl show in Evanston. I wanted to learn how it felt for Curvey running into his old friend once again after 10+ years and if they had been able to pick up where they had once left off:
“It was great to run into him. I was honored that he came to see us. The last time we spoke was backstage at the Aragon Ballroom during ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream tour. I gave a copy of our current album to a mutual friend and he got it to Billy. Billy invited me backstage. Yes it did feel like we picked up right where we left off. Billy is one of my peers. He has always been a friend and always will be.”
In sharing the touching sentiment Billy states, “Watching them play brought back many memories. Greg is a great and influential guitarist and it seems to me now that maybe I stole more from him than I would have admitted to back then”
To learn more about The Luck of Eden Hall please visit their Myspace page