I’ve always been charmed by Mothership, and the fact that they actually read my work is a huge honor I never would have expected. The dudes are smart, savvy, and in love with the power of rock and roll, so getting to pick Kyle Juett’s mind about this and the music he loves was a total honor. Inspirational, triumphant, and loud as hell, Mothership is only going to get bigger.
How the hell are you?
I’m fucking great. How are you?
You should be! You just did a great article that I think a lot of people read! As much shit as is going around the internet these days you brought a really kind article to the table. It was real man. Nowadays everyone just wants to copy paste shit.
Why is there no more real stuff?
There is real. It’s coming back. There are people like you who quit their jobs just to follow their passion and do what they love doing. I think you’re going to see more good quality writing and stuff coming in. It will be the same with the bands and people putting on a show and living rock and roll and every aspect of that.
Why do you think that is?
I think that people are really sick and tired of living in a world where you’re force fed shit and everybody looking the same and everybody just kind of settling. People are ready for something real, a change, something familiar but something different at the same time. Rock and roll isn’t brand new. It’s been here forever, it’s just been subdued for a while. People are ready to bring it back up and have that in their every day. It’s like a rock and roll beast is coming up from the sea and everyone is like “We have to yield at some point!” It’s cool because the bands are cool and everyone loves playing music. There’s no motherfuckers in it just to be weird and pretentious, people are just rocking and playing to great rock and roll people. It’s everything, from the bands to the fans, we’re all ready for a change!
Isn’t that oversaturation kind of what fucked it in the 70s?
I don’t know. I wasn’t alive then. I have to learn from people who saw bands back then and documentaries. There was a lot of great bands though, and this world would kill to have half of those bands with great musicians and performers and have something that was honest and real. That’s something that makes it stronger, but there’s always a higher being that will subdue that. I think people were done with the lifestyle and it was time for a change. The hard drugs took control. You look at those people and they have the best rock and roll stories in the world, but maybe they want to have a family, that’s great! I don’t think it died – I just think it stepped aside and returned to the shadows for a bit.
I see your point; from that, do you have a plan to grow up with Mothership?
The thing about Mothership is that it doesn’t have any boundaries. Any time we jam there’s no telling what will come out. It may be something dirty and slow where Kelly just solos and there’s no singing. Or maybe it’s just one where we all had a bad day and play something fast and heavy. With that type of chemistry, not to mention that we’re fucking brothers, we spend more time together in a van than with our girlfriends! We are a fucking unit. We love what we do and we enjoy performing and writing music and who knows what will happen man. Because we don’t try to write the same song every time and let the natural jam come out, it works. It can just be a small riff and then Judge is on it, and I’m like “Loop that again man!” When we hear something that triggers us we all just dive in.
That’s part of what got me about Live At Freak Valley is that you have Hawkwind-y bits followed by Motorhead bits…
That has to be the most obvious and honest thing about a band. I think a lot of people try to take their influences and mold it too tight. We’re like let’s just do one song like this and another like that because it’s all rock and roll, whether its heavy, or blues or whatever.
And it’s all the same people so it has the same vibe…
Absolutely. We can appeal to everybody. We can go out and play with some heavy fucking metal bands or we can go and play with a Crobot type of band who play heavy rock and roll but they have a little bit of funk in them. They love to groove on stage. It’s cool to be able to play the serious metal tours and then go play a hard rock and roll show where we get on stage and jam like the Allman Brothers. We love all kind of music man. In the van we listen to everything from country to gnarly ass metal music. Whatever mood the driver’s in!
I wanted to talk about Live Over Freak Valley because that’s an amazing album. Was there a reason you chose that recording?
The cool thing about that album was that it was the first festival we ever played on our first Europe tour, and it was the only show where they had everything miked up and they planned to record the set. We knew going in that it could be something cool. Those guys were awesome too; they were just like “Hook us up with some albums man!” They did a great job!
What struck me about it is that there’s a very real humility to it. You left in the part where you said ‘Please come closer’ and I feel like a lot of bands would have edited that out, but that just made it more visceral to me. Was that a conscious decision?
Absolutely. When you buy the CD you’re buying that show; in my opinion that’s what a live album should be. If you’re going to buy a live album it needs to be something you bought on that day. I can get behind a live album that is a cut of different shows, but if you’re going to do a live album that’s like “Live from this day” then it had better be from cranking the amps on to “adios”. THAT is a fucking badass live album. I think we only played five or six songs. I’d love to play a live album that goes for ninety minutes – that would be crazy. It was a monumental moment for us so of course we wanted people to be in those shoes. It’s funny to go back and listen to the shit that we said on the microphone. Every night changes; it’s not scripted.
As good as the music was the dialogue was what made it truly special. At the end you say, “Thank you Freak Valley, we WILL be back,” and the confidence there is amazing!
Well we were playing to something like 2000 people, and it was the biggest crowd we ever played in front of and it was this overcast day and it was super gnarly. It was largely doomy shit so it was cool for that kind of shit. We were just wondering if the sun was going to come out, and it did and the people rock and rolled. It was a great day. I’m glad it got documented. We just recorded a “Live at the Machine Shop” the other night. If you go back to the MC5 or Grand Funk and something like “Live In Motor City” is pretty close to that.
We’re not trying to do what other people did; we’re just trying to put something out that’s Mothership. We’re filling our own void. I can’t remember who told me that, but the goal of playing any sort of music is to fill your own void. If you don’t have influences, what are you? Your job is to create your own void. You can’t try and do what’s already been done. You can’t try to look and sound exactly like Black Sabbath because it’s already been done. So you put in maybe a little bit of this or that band. So when someone told me that I was like “Well here’s our void, we’re just going to chill out over here!”
Why rock and roll? Why not heavy metal? Why not free jazz?
Well I mean I think we encompass heavy metal as well. We get a lot of metal fans at our shows. We like a lot of metal. I was really struck by the phrase heavy rock and roll. It came from Black Sabbath. Everyone always says they are the kings of metal, but in interviews Iommi says that they are “heavy rock”. I was just like “Yes sir!” My brother plays a lot of jazz music too so we might break out a jazz jam some day! I’ve always been a rock and roller, our pops is a rocker, who knows. Rock and roll maybe chose me?
Is rock and roll god?
It’s universal brother!
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