Kažu da je pojam kultni junak izmišljen za rock-šamana Barbeaua... Njegova astralna projekcija psihodeličnog power-popa pomiješana s autoneurotičnim humorom testament je mogućnosti da vrijeme nije nastavilo teći (tj. da se zaustavilo negdje kad su Beatlesi i The Kinks ulazeći u zgradu zapeli za Bowiea kojemu je noga upala u zid).
Streaming ulomaka ovdje
Psychedelic Mynde of Moses
A new 7" single from America's psychedelic maverick, Anton Barbeau, featuring a previously-unreleased version of his own epic song Psychedelic Mynde of Moses (featuring The Bevis Frond on guitar), plus Ant's own wonderfully manic takes on songs by Julian Cope (Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed) and Robyn Hitchcock (Sometimes I Wish I Was a Pretty Girl). Anton's been compared in the past to Hitchcock, even Syd Barrett, give the promo a listen and find out why.
Let's cut to the chase, Anton's brilliant, the single's bloody brilliant, I defy you to listen to this without a silly grin appearing on your face...it's meant to be released on 45 rpm vinyl and it is. In a better world, everyone would still buy music on vinyl, this would be a hit single, Anton would be a superhero and bags of fruit pastilles would have no green ones in them - life ain't perfect, but can we just pretend for the next 9 minutes? - www.normanrecords.com/
Three Minute Tease (Idiot, 2011) - Lyrics
Love Is Onion - Milko II - Thanks For Lifting My Leg - Dust Beneath My Wings - My Potato - These Alien Angels - Sensual Pleasures of Pie - Dig My Bones - Up on the Moon - Queen of Apples
Empire of Potential (Idiot, 2011) - Credits
Losing You Makes Crucifixion Easy - Third Eye - Keep My Face Clean - Fuzzchild - Waterbugs & Beetles - The Automatic Door - Leave It With Me I'm Always Gentle - This is Why They Call Me Guru 7 - Octagon - Please Sir I've Got a Wooden Leg - MTV Song - Heather Song - Pilot Plane Passenger - Another Stoned Piano - If I Could Bring You Trouble - Banana Song - Boat Called Home - Mahjong Dijon
Psychedelic Mynde of Moses (Idiot, 2010)
Psychedelic Mynde of Moses - Bend Your Mind/The Un-Mothered Stone - Fuzzchild - Reasonable Freq. - Skunk Hungarian - The Light Inside - M'bira - Cosmic Rockery - Old Doctor's Bag - The Well - Doctor Don't Chop My Knee Mama, Ouch Is Another Word - Drunk Again - Eye and I - Know That the Water is With You
by Dj Astro
I've been some sort of an Anton Barbeau fan ever since he released the King of Missouri CD on Woronzow backed up by The Bevis Frond, one of my absolute favorite bands. The man has released so many albums in these eight years that I have not been able to get them all but I have never been let down by any of his albums that I have heard. This singer/songwriter/guitarist (or "songwriter/musician/microcosmic pioneer" as it says on his business card) that was born in Sacramento, California and has now relocated to the UK is one of the most talented makers of psychedelic pop and rock in our times. The best ingredients of the melodic psych pop of the 60's (The Beach Boys, The Beatles etc.), the sensitiveness of folk and the hypnotic elements of kraut rock are combined in a great way with more modern indie rock and even some electronic influences in his catchy music.
Recorded in various locations in the States, England and Germany, Psychedelic Mynde of Moses includes 14 tracks. First we hear the album's superb, catchy and up-beat title track that has some gorgeous melodies and a full band and has been mixed by Paul Tipler who has also worked with Julian Cope for example. I must say that this is one of the best songs I've heard in years. The slower "Bend Your Mind/The Un-Mothered Stone" is at its best on the final section that has acoustic guitar and cosmic keyboards. "Fuzzchild" is a nicely grooving, fuzz-filled diamond that has little psychedelic details. I can somehow hear some sitar in my mind although there is none of that on the track. Strange. The bit lighter "Reasonable Freq." includes funny, introspective lyrics like many Anton's songs do. "Skunk Hungarian" rocks a bit like the faster Bevis Frond songs and the melodies are as good too. "Light Inside" is a dark, more experimental short track and "M'bira" even shorter, minimal acoustic piece. On the next, slow track "Cosmic Rockery" the heavy fuzz levels are high again and "The Old Doctor's Bag" is a psychedelic, experimental and whacky thing. "The Well" is an under one-minute-long ambient piece played with Reason synthesizers and "Doctor Don't Chop My Knee Mama, Ouch Is Another World" puts on the rock gear again although in a humoristic mode. On the acoustic-driven, slow-paced "Drunk Again" Ant and the female singer keep on promising never to be drunk again. Yeah right... A great song, anyway. Even more purely acoustic song is the beautiful and touching "Eye and I" that also has cello and here Anton's singing really shines through. Finally we've got the hypnotic "Know That the Water Is With You" that includes drumbox and bass synth and somehow reminds me of the 80's Gothic pop and leaves the listener in rather dark but still pleasant moods. This is another excellent album by Ant and you should all get it soon!
by Elton Townend Jones
I've been following Anton Barbeau's work since 2006, when he released two rather wonderful psychedelic albums: Drug Free and the staggering In The Village Of The Apple Sun. Since then, I've dipped into his back catalogue and kept up with new releases. Since 2007 we've had the more than adequate Automatic Door (with Su Jordan) and Bag Of Kittens, which he produced for some time cohort Allyson Seconds (an Ant album in all but lead vocals—a good one, too). His last album, Plastic Guitar, came as something of a shock though; Apple Sun had been Ant's Sgt Pepper, I felt, so Plastic Guitar wasn't the White Album I'd been expecting. It was more of a Let It Be and as undoubtedly solid as it is, I haven't played it as much as his other stuff. Ant had moved into deep, introspective territory that threatened to stifle his chaotic groove…
Thankfully, this latest album answers all my prayers by placing Ant's delicious Anglophilic, Californian whimsy up front, thus setting his psylicibic mojo free. Conceived as a proper follow up to the still pretty unassailable Apple Sun, Psychedelic Mynde is definitely up there. From the opening, title track onwards, Ant's trademark wit, skill and inventiveness burst with livid colour throughout the album; his treacly vocals are richer and stronger than before, and the catchy, trippy guitar work is his best so far.
Of 14 tracks there are 11 strong songs here, from the grinding drive and hippy flute of "Skunk Hungarian", through the crunchy Metal distortions of "Cosmic Rockery" (an Apple Sun outtake) and the beautiful (mainstream?) balladry of "Eye and I", to the wonderful openhearted plea that is "Reasonable Freq.". "The Light Inside" is eerily apocalyptic (with ritual drums, fuzzy guitar and Lara Miyazaki vocal), while "Drunk Again" and "Know That The Water Is With You" only prove my repeated assertion that Ant's voice works best alongside a female vocalist (in this case the wonderful Allyson Seconds).
But the album really comes alive when giving way to the vibrating transcendentalisms of "The Un-Mothered Stone" and the Glam-Psychedelic stomp of "Fuzzchild" with its insane vocal percussion and guitars to knock socks feet and legs off. This is surely one of Ant's best tracks to date and truly captures the Apple Sun vibe. Frankly, I love this endlessly creative and beautifully tailored album. I also know that I'm going to love it more and more and more and more.
by Marco Rossi
On the fish-eye face of it, the latest album from Psacramento psyche psage Anton Barbeau nails its colours to the mast with a dayglo squeaky hammer, from its Gnostic title to its Madcap-referencing sleeve. Hell, Anton even totes a Daliesque Danelectro 3021 just like Syd's. However, Psychedelic Mynde is in fact more multi-faceted than the prism through which Vic Singh shot the Piper at the Gates cover photo.
An enlightened commingling of paganist acid-folk woodcraft, krautrock density and bubblegum immediacy makes this an exceptionally persuasive listen. You could blind-date any well-informed listener with, say, the looping and loopy 'Fuzzchild', and they might guess it was MGMT on an exceptionally good day, while the russet-hued loveliness of 'Eye and I' rivals the Kinks for delicious end-of-season melancholy.
The super-saturated riffing of 'Cosmic Rockery' condenses The Swans and The Flaming Lips into one five-minute primeval stock cube, and the self-referential 'Reasonable Freq.' is a paragon of existential grimsy.
by Dennis Yudt
Having been several pots of Darjeeling since my last encounter with this fine lad, it has made my flippin' day/week/month to be gifted with a new Anton to cup cochlea to. And to the screaming young hoards and throngs of ne'er-do-well's, I attest—no—affirm, that this is THEE one y'all been waiting for.
From the Barrett 'Madcap Laughs' homage on the cover to the very last mille-second of audible sound, this CD is a solid punt in the trousers and deserves your undivided attention. Why? Anton Barbeau is everything you love about UK psych-pop but made by a guy from Sacramento that's living in the UK. Syd-era Floyd, XTC, solo Lennon, Soft Boys/Robyn Hitchcock, Incredible String Band and heck, even early Flying Nun and Paisley Underground stuff and hey, what a cool sentence that was, huh? Nice to hear the sonics stretching out some—thumb pianos, the four-second John Bonham drum tribute (you'll know when you hear it), and, uh, kitchen fans. And the wordage is as confusing/enlightening as a mouthful of tongues. If somehow you can picture the half-way point between XTC's Black Sea and ISB's Wee Tam, which this is, you really need this album.
Psychedelic Mynde features some yahoos that you, the well-groomed loiterer, might know: Mike Urbano, Greg Brown, Alyson Seconds, Andy Metcalf (who along with Morris Winsdor are both ex-Soft Boys and Anton's new bandmates) and Lee Amir (hey Lee!).
Fans of Anton will be puddles of gush. Trust me. I look forward to splashing in you.
THE BIG TAKEOVER
by Michael Toland
The pop culture landscape is littered with world-class talents that deserve much wider recognition that they actually receive. Rather than once again lament the state of the arts & entertainment world that can allow such a thing to happen, we’ll instead direct your attention to one of those talents: Anton Barbeau. While the Sacramento-bred musician/songwriter has found a growing audience in England and Germany (to the point where he’s taken up semi-permanent residence in Merry Olde), he’s yet to gain the cult following he should have in his own country. Frankly, that’s baffling, given the degree of talent on display onPsychedelic Mynde of Moses, his thirteenth record.
Barbeau’s multi-instrumental facility paints the songs in all sorts of interesting colors; rather than a virtuoso, he’s a supremely tasteful sonic architect. His lyrics tend toward the eccentric—Barbeau is one of the few modern songwriters who can capture the 60s sense of whimsy without sounding silly or dated. “Doctor Don’t Chop My Knee Mama, Ouch is Another Word” isn’t even the weirdest lyric, but it fits the music snugly, and his perfect pop voice delivers it with cocked-eyebrow conviction. But what truly makes Barbeau special is his melodic sense—everything he does walks arm in arm with memorable hooks and instantly appealing tunes. Just try not to hum along with the folk rocking “Eye and I,” the caffeinated “Reasonable Freq.,” the power popping title track or the lush “Drunk Again.” There’s no reason in the world that fans of the Elephant 6 crew, XTC, the Green Pajamas or Robyn Hitchcock(whose old Egyptians compatriot Andy Metcalfe is a frequent collaborator here) wouldn’t clasp Barbeau to their bosoms, especially not after hearing the marvelous Psychedelic Mynde of Moses.
THE SUNDAY TIMES (LONDON)
by Stewart Lee
Anton Barbeau's 14th album finds the Sacramento songwriter still in thrall to a litany of lysergically tinged legends, with the bare-bottomed lady in the background of the cover picture echoing the photoshoot for Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs. Psychedelic Mynde of Moses's title track is another of Barbeau's midget acid-pop gems, with swirling vocal harmonies and driving bass from the Soft Boys' Andy Metcalfe. The loping "Drunk Again" has the dreamy carnival flavour of more bucolic XTC albums and Sgt. Pepper. If oddly inappropriate synth sounds sometimes break its spell, Barbeau's latest missive continues to reinforce his cult status.
GREEN MAN MUSIC REVIEWS
They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the company that they keep. If this is indeed the case, the fact that Anton Barbeau is currently undertaking a jaunt around some of the UK's choicer venues with Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor in tow speaks volumes. Who better than the rhythm section who helped create the jangle punk-pop vibes of The Soft Boys and who constituted 50% of Robyn Hitchcock's Egyptians to bring alive his latest offering, Psychedelic Mynde of Moses. You must be going somewhere pretty cool when underground pop royalty are signing on for the ride.
Although clearly built from a love and appreciation of all things 60's, this is no retro pastiche or blatant plagiarism. What it is, is a great collection of hooks and tunes that wander between surreal Beatle-esque cartoon soundscapes, infectious stoner ditties, melted sugary folk harmonies and warped pop tunes, all the while under pinned by lyrics that run the gamut, from humorous word play to downright lunacy. The title track is the sort of thing that George Harrison should have written to re-establish his career in 1970, "Eye and I" could be early Bowie in reflective mood and "Cosmic Rockery" is what I should imagine it was like to be in Syd Barrett's brain. And in between these tracks strange little experimental pieces of keyboard or even thumb piano wander unexpectedly through, more retro weirdness but somehow wonderfully in keeping with what surrounds it.
When he decides to take it up a notch and rock out the results are even better. "Fuzzchild" takes the hippy anthem and buries it under some wonderfully overdriven guitars and "Skunk Hungarian" is just a brilliant, almost straightforward, power pop tune. I have to mention the oddly titled "Doctor Don't Chop My Knee Mama, Ouch Is Another Word," mainly for the madness inherent in the title but also because it's another stonking slice of garage rock.
This is a testament to the decade as it didn't really exist. It sidesteps the conformity of the early years, is clever enough to avoid revelling in the twee sentiments of the Summer of Love and stops short of the oppressive atmosphere of the Altamont swansong. This is the sixties for the 21st century!
If there were a modern day prodigal son created from the lineage that links Julian Cope, Andy Partridge, The Beatles, early Pink Floyd and even Frank Zappa, then Barbeau is a hot contender for the title.
Plastic Guitar (Pink Hedgehog, 2009) - Lyrics
Bending Like a Spoon - Plastic Guitar - Doctor Take Care - Dear Miss - I Used to Say Your Name - Boat Called Home - Raino Disco ('Bout The Raino) - Say it With Ease - Quorn Fingers - Banana Song - Better Drink Your Water - Eye Kinda
Bag of Kittens (with Allyson Seconds) (2009)
"I'll do the straight line" - I Used To Say Your Name - On A Bicycle Built For Bicycle 9 - Boat Called Home - Obviously Love - Put Your Finger On Me - If I Could Bring You Trouble - Dig My Pig - I'm Just A Country Girl - On A Sunny Day In Summer - Tie My Laces - Bag Of Kittens - "one more time" - Wyndeblown
The Automatic Door (Shifty Disco, 2007) - Lyrics
Staring At The Sun - You Can Move A Mountain - Beyond the Valley Of The Dolphins - Poking Myself In The Eye To Spite My Finger - Went All Wrong - The Automatic Door - Ring Never Bell - I've Been Craving Lately - Who's The Pony Now? - Awe Gee Can't You See - The Automatic Door (take 1) - As Cool As Folk
Drug Free (Pink Hedgehog, 2006) - Lyrics
Drug Free - Leave It With Me, I'm Always Gentle - Lop It Off - Just Passing By - Alphalphabhang - Disco Dress - Boncentration Bamps - Magic Metal Apron - She Wears a Green Leaf - Oh the Malaise - Circus For the Clowns - In A Boat on the Sea - Alphalpha Drone
In The Village Of The Apple Sun (Four-Way, 2006) - Lyrics
This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7 - Mushroom Box, 1975 - Coffee Pot - The Eye On My Hand - On A Bicycle Built For Bicycle 9 - Murray Boots Are Conquering The World - Bane Edit (Sing Gypsy Sing!) - Bane Projector - The Bane Of Your Existence Is My Name - Seeds Of Space - 46 Strings - Creep In The Garden - Eric Has Gone Wrong - When I Was 46 In The Year 13 - In The Meadow Of The Mellotron - Spoken "Village" Intro (With Birds!) - In The Village Of The Apple Sun - My Hair Is Oily - Outro
Waterbugs & Beetles (Pink Hedgehog reissue, 2006)
Allyson 23 - MTV Song - A Proper Cup of Tea - Waterbugs & Beetles - Beautiful Bacon Dream - The Epic Ballad of Sarah & Zoe - Complicated Umbrella Piece - Tad Song - Bible Beater - Slimy Cello Piece - Bed of Pain - Long John - Vomit Song - Come to Me (Made of Metal) - Come Again - Beautiful Bacon Dub
King of Missouri (Bongo Beat reissue, 2005)
King Of Missouri - Sweet Creature, What's Your Name? - Octagon - The Clothes I Want To Wear - I Remember Everything - It's Okay, Maybe - I'm Always Offending My Sensitive Friends - Cheque's In the Mail - I Don't Like You - Sylvia Something - Retabulation - Motor
Guladong (Pink Hedgehog, 2003)
Telephones and Singalongs - You Look Good in Yellow - Grapes on a Plate - It Won't Be Long Till the Banjo Patrol Comes Along - Stewart Mason - Ruth From Leeds - I'm Just a Country Girl - Keep My Face Clean - The Prince of Chairs Has the Happiest Dream in the Universe - Mahjong Dijon - Chinese Boots of Spanish Leather - Guladong - King of Missouri 2 - K's Wet Whistle
King of Missouri (Woronzow, 2003) - out of print
King Of Missouri - Sweet Creature, What's Your Name? - Octagon - The Clothes I Want To Wear - I Remember Everything - It's Okay, Maybe - I'm Always Offending My Sensitive Friends - Cheque's In the Mail - I Don't Like You - Sylvia Something - Retabulation
Will Ant For Frond (125 Records, 2002)
Limited edition of 100 signed, numbered copies - sold out
I Don't Like You - King Of Missouri - It's OK, Maybe - Octagon - Sweet Creature What's Your Name? - I'm Always Offending My Sensitive Friends - The Clothes I Want To Wear - Check's In the Mail - Sylvia Something - Retabulation - I Remember Everything - Purple Rain - Norwegian Wood - The Man Who Murdered Love - Third Eye (feat. Scott Miller) - Tell Me What You See - Revolution 9 - Radio Jingles - Cry Baby Cry - I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
The Golden Boot: Antology, Vol. 2 (125 Records, 2001)
Third Eye (version other) - Breaky Doll - The Horny Old Ballad of Tracy Shellac - Xmas Song - Little Bleep Bleep - My Special Table - Bed of Pain (drub micks) - C'mon Girl - Octagon (version yp 4) - Delores - None Fun - Breaky Dub - Sparkle - Banana2000 - Anton Pains Broyhill - Sula2 - Someone Called Him Ron - Helen Mirren - French Foreign Legion
17th Century Fuzzbox Blues (Frigidisk, 2000)
Little Daisy - Dig My Pig - Six Hours Later - Another Stoned Piano - My Babe When She Wears A White Wig - Theme From Volkswagen - Hope Joy Fear (and too much beer in the dressing room) - Glucose For Baby - Who Was The Green Bird? - Theme From Drag Team Three - Pin For A Head - Jane Too Soon - Lara Brushing Her Hair In L.A. - Casio
POP CULTURE PRESS
by Michael Toland
Sacramento's Anton Barbeau has built quite a smart'n'sassy catalog of independent pop releases, and while those titles haven't exactly put him on the fast track to massive commercial success, they've made fast friends with critics and diehard loyalists in the underground pop community. If his fifth album, 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues, is any indication, it's easy to understand why. Song titles like "Dig My Pig," "Who Was The Green Bird?" and "Glucose For Baby" may lead to some noggin-scratching, but the melodies that accompany them will cause much head nodding, foot tapping and air guitar. Barbeau is a master of the Badfinger/Kinks/Jellyfish/early XTC type of power pop tuneage, and he makes the most out of his limited budget by substituting inventive guitar and harmony arrangements for production flash. He's also got the perfect voice for the music, with just the right balance of winsomeness and grit. One listen to near-perfect gems like "My Babe, When She Wears a White Wig ("she goes jingle jangle jingle on a twelve-string guitar"), "Jane Too Soon" and the ballad "Another Stoned Piano" ("Oh my god I've been blown open again," he sings plaintively) will hook any pop music fan immediately, and they're just the tip of his iceberg. Fans of likeminded folks like Brendan Benson and Doug Powell should add Anton Barbeau to their wish lists immediately.
by Brian Baker
It's probably no accident of circumstance that Sacramento basement pop prodigy Anton Barbeau has made a professional connection with Game Theorist/Loud Family member Scott Miller. Miller, who has produced single tracks on the last two Barbeau discs, has long made a career of creating the most strangely appealing music that is the most angularly at odds with what the music industry considers marketable. Barbeau must surely feel a kinship with Miller in that regard. With his previous trio of homemade minor masterpieces, Barbeau established the idea that he could move the world of pop, given a long enough lever, a big enough fulcrum and a decent enough budget. Now on his latest lo-fi pop epistle, 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues, he defiantly shows that he neither requires nor desires that budget, especially if it means relinquishing the ability to make the kind of wonderfully skewed, unrepentantly off-kilter pop magic that he's chased around for the past five years. Barbeau peels off references to Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, Neil Young, Andy Partridge and Mitch Easter so effortlessly that it seems he's channeling their spirits at times. Luckily, Barbeau never once regurgitates his pop influences, he merely peppers his own recipes with their seasonings. He subjects his frequently vunerable vocals to the gymnastics of his trebly falsetto, which misses as often as it hits, but is weirdly effective either way. The gorgeous minor-key Toddly piano ballad "Who Was the Green Bird?" is counterpointed with the muscularly Youngian "Hope Joy Fear (and too much beer in the dressing room)," which is in turn softened by the Let's Activity pop genius of "Dig My Pig" and "My Babe, When She Wears a White Wig." It's clear that Anton Barbeau has no need of major-label compromise as long as he can consistently wring this kind of delightfully flawed perfection from his personal sonic lair.
ROCK BEAT INTERNATIONAL
by Geoff Cabin
Over the last several years Anton Barbeau has released some of the most distinctive and singular albums on the indie rock scene. And he continues to do so with his latest release, 17th Centruy Fuzzbox Blues.
While Barbeau tends to be known for his somewhat eccentric lyrics and song titles, the music on this disk is very catchy and easliy accessible. For the most part, the music features the stripped-down sound of guitar, bass and drums, and leans toward the rock end of the pop-rock spectrum.
The opening track, "Little Daisy," is a catchy, hard-edged rocker. "Six Hours Later" and "My Babe, When She Wears A White Wig" are also catchy rockers. "Another Stoned Piano" is a desolate-sounding ballad with spare guitar accompaniment. Anton changes pace a bit with "Theme From Volkswagen," a jazzy piano and synth instrumental that sounds like Ramsey Lewis. "Who Was The Green Bird?" is a lovely and melancholy ballad with piano accompaniment that sounds like early Bee Gees. "Lara Brushing Her Hair In L.A." is a wonderfully catchy rocker that is every bit as enchanting as its title would suggest. For me, though, the piece-de-resistance is "Dig My Pig." In spite of its ridiculous title, which has no apparent connection to the song, this is an absolutely gorgeous pop rock creation.
This disk provides an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the unique pop of Anton Barbeau.
by Teresa Esguerra
Anton Barbeau just makes it look and sound so damn easy. While the rest of us are agonizing over our own vain songwriting attempts, I imagine Anton crafting his pop confections with the ease and assurance of a magician. His fifth disc, 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues, will only further Barbeau's reputation as one of Sacramento's premier songwriters.
From the opening bars of track one, "Little Daisy," it's apparent that Anton is never short on hooks. What makes him such a precious commodity to the pop music scene is that he doesn't inundate the listener with the same hook over and over again. In other words, no two songs sound the same -- from the wah-wah guitar psychedelia of "My Babe, When She Wears a White Wig" to the edgy blues-inflected "Hope Joy Fear." My favorite tunes, "Pin For a Head" and "Six Hours Later," showcase Anton's undeniable flair for the quirky and catchy.
17th Century Fuzzbox Blues features an impressive guest roster, including bassist Larry Tagg, Deathray's James Neil on drums, and an appearance by Mumbo Gumbo's Chris Webster. But in the end it comes down to Anton, who proves once again he can do it all.
by Rodney Gibbs
Anton Barbeau crafts one hell of a pop song. Be it an assignment for a songwriting class ("Dig My Pig") or a retelling of Roman Polaksni's Repulsion ("Jane too Soon"), Barbeau can go-go-go. The ditties are slight, some little more than two chords bouncing back and forth. The lyrics, too, are sweet and odd and tasty -- just the right mix to leave you singing along after only a listen or two.
By no means do I intend to cast aspersions on simplicity. I love simplicity. Some of my best friends are simple. And Barbeau knows that simple and pop are a potent mix. Take "My Babe, She Wears a White Wig." Here, Barbeau crafts a delightfully contagious tune from standard elements, yet it's the refreshing little spy-theme-tinged wah-wah guitar, coupled with silly and sing-along-able lyrics that lure you in. Barbeau's taking it back, doing it old-school. These are '60s style bubble gum pop songs like 1910 Fruitgum Company used to do.
Some songs, such as "Pin for a Head," go goofy, telling funny and revealing love woes in true They Might Be Giants style. These are the kind of songs that make me want to skip school and go pee in the woods. You know what I'm saying? Turn it up loud and annoy the neighbors with turbo pop. I think doing so would make ol' Barbeau proud. After all, what better flattery for a pop songsmith than to see his listeners dancing around the living room making fools of themselves? Here's to looking ridiculous and having a great time doing it.
by John F. Butland
Barbeau is back for another round of his patented skewed pop music. 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues is a little looser than his last one and that makes for an even more inviting and welcoming listen. The sound is also a tad more varied, though there are still plenty of his dense pop-bombs. The addition of a little more air into tracks like "Six Hours Later" makes them slightly more ephemeral but no less worthwhile. For "Another Stoned Piano," it's just a boy and his guitar. "My Babe, When She Wears A White Wig" would be perfectly at home on a Loud Family LP; at least until the wah-wah '60s guitar line enters. Loud Family scion Scott Miller produces the opening "Little Daisy," proving that the similarities are not purely accidental.
by Anne-Louise Foley
Maybe all's fair in love and war, but in the world of music, there ain't no justice. If there was, Britney and N-Sync would be reduced to life-long servitude in K-Mart and Anton Barbeau would be feature in every jukebox.
Hailing from Sacramento, California, the fuzzy-topped one has released his fifth album and the second on the Frigidisk label. His most notable influence is Julian Cope, the English idiosyncratic 80s popster and former front man of The Teardrop Explodes. Anton writes pop songs in their purest form -- there's no "I love you baby" bullshit here, unless he's in a particularly sarcastic mood. This album is more experimental than previous outings. Where last year's Splendid Tray was heavily Dylanesque, 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues throws in drum machines ("Glucose for Baby"), kitschy instrumentals ("Theme from Volkswagen," "Casio"), a bit of blues ("Hope Joy Fear (and too much beer in the dressing room)"), and well...fuzzboxes everywhere else.
Of course, there's some of Anton's tender ballads, "Who was the green bird," and the usual throwaway pop tunes like "Little Daisy," which boasts the refrain "Do you think I'm a creep/or a lyrical guy?" The album's highlights are the atmospheric "Dig my pig" and the heartfelt "Lara brushing her hair in LA." Perhaps not as initially engaging as Splendid Tray, Fuzzbox is a grower. It's certainly more consistent than his first albums, The Horse's Tongue and Waterbugs and Beetles. Cheesy as it sounds, Fuzzbox is the soundtrack to an artist gaining maturity. Which is more than can be said for a generation of teenage crooners with enough testosterone to blow a hole in the world.
POWER OF POP
by Kevin Mathews
Yippee! Anton Barbeau is back!
Barbeau’s latest artistic effort takes it’s cue mostly from Scott (Loud Family) Miller, right from the opening Miller-produced "Little Daisy." With its curious wordplay -– "Do you think I’m a creep or just a lyrical guy?" -– and winning combination of offbeat melodic beauty, "Little Daisy" is fairly representative of where Barbeau is coming from.
Other highlights include the majestic simplicity of "Dig My Pig" -– with its hypnotic Edge-like riff and wide-eyed sleigh bells, the ballads "Another Stoned Piano" ("I came home to find the headphones on your head, smiling Neil Young") & "Who Was The Green Bird?"
With the easily infectious psych folk rock of "Six Hours Later," "My Babe When She Wears A White Wig," "Pin For A Head," "Jane Too Soon" and "Lara Brushing Her Hair In LA," Barbeau never strays away from a consistently strong palette of dynamic and meaningful material.
Three enlightening instrumentals ("Theme from Volkswagon"/"Theme From Drag Team Three"/"Casio") provide the unexpected surprise delights and outline Barbeau's creative energy.
The production may be spare and the performances functional in parts, but this album amply demonstrates that there is indeed life in the "quirky" singer-songwriter genre yet.
by David Fufkin
Anton Barbeau is one of the best unknown pop singer-songwriters in the world, period. If this were 1970, and PopMatters was Creem, and I were Lester Bangs (I know, I know, in a collective sigh and reader rebuttal to me: "Lester Bangs was a friend of mine, and you, Mr. Fufkin, are no Lester Bangs"), this review would cause all of you to run down to the local record shop to plunk your $3.99 down on this album. Even though we can't go back in time, and I'm no Bangs, and PopMatters isn't Creem, the reality is that this artist and this CD is creem of the crop pop music that deserves a wider audience, an audience that includes you. I've reviewed Mr. Barbeau in PopMatters before (A Splendid Tray), and I like this release even more than the last one. The stripped down arrangements really worked for me, because it allows the listener to really hear the nuances of Barbeau's performances, all the while allowing the listener to understand the clever, quirky, literate Barbeau lyrics.
"Little Daisy" starts the CD with a rolling, soaring chorus filled with hooks. It is produced by Scott Miller of The Loud Family, a great artist who has worked with Anton before. A rousing opener. "Dig My Pig" is highlighted by Barbeau's high, soft voice with well-placed background vocals. "Six Hours Later" is another trademark Barbeau-sounding track, with the Barbeau voice front and center.
Anybody doubting my focus on Barbeau's vocals needs to listen to the stripped down composition, "Another Stoned Piano", where his vocals soar over the acoustic guitar "...Oh My God, I've been blown open again..." Great. The moment of the album. A close second is the piano and vocal composition, "Who Was the Green Bird?" An amazing vocal. Lennonesque. Anton is sometimes in Lennon's vocal neighborhood, and when he is, it'll give any living, breathing person chills.
"My Babe When She Wears a White Wig" chugs along with wah wah guitars and mentions of 12-string guitars with beautiful melodies, and again, vocals. "Theme From Volkswagen" reminds me of a jazzy, late '60s soundtrack to a Peter Sellers movie. And how can you not like a song called "Hope Joy Fear (and too much beer in the dressing room)"? The title is right up there with the Godfathers classic "Birth, School, Work...Death". Then, there is "Lara Brushing Her Hair in L.A." which I call a moment song, one of my favorite kinds. Just substitute someone special to you for Lara, and your hometown for L.A., and you'll be in the "moment."
One reviewer colleague of mine gave me her perspective on recordings: "If the vocals don't work for me, I will hate the record". Well, I think that is true with the public at large too. I unabashedly, without reservation, recommend this recording. It has quality songs, performances, production, arrangements and vocals. Anton's got the goods.
POWERPOP.ORG/SHAKE IT UP
by Claudio Sossi
With his reputation as one of pop's more aggressive experimentalists, Anton Barbeau has created a sound that is, simply, all his own. Thanks to both his signature vocal style and bold arrangements, Barbeau's daring has lead to challenging listening -- which can also be called "difficult" listening. Barbeau started to deliver his unique view of what pop is about with a more consistent nature on his A Splendid Tray last year, and further hones his craft to great affect on 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues.
Still as adventurous as ever, Barbeau's range offers a greater sense of completeness here -- there's a fuller realization here than on previous releases. "Little Daisy" heralds this right from the start before moving into the anthem "Dig My Pig." From there, the proceedings run the gamut from lounge instrumental ("Theme From Volkswagen") to bouncy piano-pop (the great "Pin For A Head") to the folk flavour of "Lara Brushing her Hair In L.A." Again, we get to hear Barbeau be, well, Barbeau, but at the same time we're less inclined to select just a few of our favourite tracks.
There's plenty to like on 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues (it is in fact the best thing Barbeau has ever done) and Barbeau should find himself continuing his trend of winning new converts with each release.
by Jeff Norman
17th Century Fuzzbox Blues is, curiously, both subtler than Barbeau's previous work and for the most part more immediately accessible. That is, much of Barbeau's appeal is his febrile imagination, yet here he's both more musically direct and more lyrically brooding. On the one hand, we have tuneful, winning pop songs like the effervescent opener "Little Daisy" (with its nicely abraded guitar), "Six Hours Later," and "Lara Brushing Her Hair in L.A." On the other, there's the stark "Who Was the Green Bird?": delivered in Barbeau's sandy, Lennonesque voice accompanied only by piano, it sounds like an anguished inner searching along the lines of Lennon's "God." But the lyrics are inscrutable. While some songs are among Barbeau's best, the CD is weakened by a handful of doodles. But the twenty-five quality minutes (out of thirty-nine) have made this one of my more listened-to CDs of 2000.
ReviewsRead reviews of Three Minute Tease
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Read reviews of Psychedelic Mynde of Moses
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Read reviews of Drug Free
Read reviews of Guladong
Read reviews of King of Missouri
Read reviews of The Golden Boot: Antology, Vol. 2
Read reviews of 17th Century Fuzzbox Blues
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Read reviews of Antology, Vol. 1
Read reviews of Waterbugs and Beetles
Read reviews of The Horse's Tongue
"More than two decades after pop-savvy acid-eaters like John Lennon and Syd Barrett cracked the cosmic egg, this Sacramento songwriter slithered forth with a pure distillation of lyrical jabberwocky, brain-burrowing melody and mystical psych-guitar fuzz." -SPIN Magazine, "The 100 Greatest Bands You've (probably) Never Heard"
"Sacramento's Barbeau is a force of nature, equal parts brilliant lyricist/superb showman/eccentric original/irreverent pop genius/unique melodicist/grand traditionalist/compelling stylist of contemporary power pop." - KFJC Radio
"The man in question is Anton Barbeau, cult hero and left-field maverick from Sacramento, California. Mind you, calling him a 'singer/songwriter' is a bit like calling Jimi Hendrix a 'strummer.' His songs are fervid, swarming, tangential and often humorous, but possessed of a compelling inner logic." -Dorset Echo
"Sacramento's Anton Barbeau...has a vaguely sinister mad-scientist voice and a downright genius for offbeat and lush songcraft, like a cross between Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, Dan Bern and Elvis Costello at his oddest." -East Bay Express
"He's a bit of a genius and I think we need to adopt him as one of our own. This is brilliant music." -BBC Radio, Oxford
"Despite the easy tag, Barbeau peddles neither pop nor psychedelia, it's power that's the important word. Though they're completely unrelated references, think of Julian Cope's sprawling Krautrock and Zappa's ironic everything as touchstones for how outsider music can get inside you and change the way you think, feel and hear. Barbeau deserves a place alongside them." -Logo, UK
"If Martians landed, and decided to show Earth how to make precise, joyful, original music, it would probably sound like Anton Barbeau." -Fuse, UK
"Barbeau is a master storyteller with a flair for catchy hooks." -Sacramento News and Review
History"Anton Barbeau represents the Sacramento chapter of that nameless coterie of enduringly reliable, acid-tinged singer-songwriters that includes XTC's Andy Partridge, Robyn Hitchcock, Julian Cope and the Bevis Frond's Nick Saloman. His new album bathes beautifully constructed, thoughtfully arranged songs in a fading psychedelic sunshine, and it would be many casual consumers' album of the year if only they got to hear it. Four stars."
"Prolific, pretentious, precocious, intelligent, quirky, nasal, amusing, annoying to some, pop genius to others, and never ever boring—this, my friends, is the cumulative description of northern California's musical auteur Anton Barbeau."
"The man in question is Anton Barbeau, cult hero and left-field maverick from Sacramento, California. Mind you, calling him a 'singer/songwriter' is a bit like calling Jimi Hendrix a 'strummer.' His songs are fervid, swarming, tangential and often humorous, but possessed of a compelling inner logic."
"Oh my God, it's you... I finally get to meet you!"
An Interview with Anton Barbeau
(Questions by George Parsons of Dream Magazine, 2007)
I sorta feel like I've known you for a long time, you would call me on the radio once in awhile, but we've only met a few times as I recall. But I have been aware of your work from very early on. How did you put together the collection that became The Horse's Tongue?
Yeah, we do go way back, don't we! I used to listen to your radio show on KVMR whenever I could, great stuff. As for The Horse's Tongue, we pulled the bulk of the songs off of recent cassettes I'd released. We were a well-liked little band in town, and the tracks we put on the CD were crowd-pleasers. I think we added two fresh songs, "Life is Sweet" and "Andrew Burke Can't Sing," and those two are my favorite tracks on the disk, they have something more organic and grunty going on.
What's the story behind Waterbugs & Beetles from '95, recently reissued by Pink Hedgehog?
Again, some of the songs on this one came from stuff previously released on tape, but this time there were also loads more fresh tracks. This record is more varied than Horse's Tongue, which has a real pop heart. Waterbugs had me listening to The White Album and Julian Cope's Jehovakill, amongst all the millions of other influences. I split up my band, the JoyBoys, during the making of this disk, as I found myself dictating parts note-for-note, or sometimes re-doing the other guys' parts. Rather than carry on like that, I thought it most fair to just "go solo." Perhaps one immediate downside to this was that left to my own devices, I was putting everything I could find on the album, including several songs that really didn't stand the test of time. When Simon Felton at Pink Hedgehog offered to release the 10th-anniversary edition of the the album, I took advantage and actually trimmed loads of stuff off the record. I left all the weird little tape-loop bits on and added the dub re-mix of "Beautiful Bacon Dream" to the re-issue. Those are the tracks I like best on that album, the un-pop moments. I don't know why, but I still think in terms of "either/or" when it comes to doing music - either I'm a pop-songsmith, matey, or I'm a repressed loop-n-noise guy. Hopefully I'm finally getting the hang of mixing and mashing and shoving it all together and meanwhile not caring so much anymore anyway!
Who or what first inspired you to want to make your own music?
The Beatles. So simple! I was born in Spring of '67, so Sgt. Pepper was one of the first albums I ever heard! But I suppose it was Gary Numan's "Cars" that got me actually doing music. I got a keyboard and learned to make chords and from chords I made songs. Terrible songs, but songs!
Is it safe to say that your songs have often sounded very English for a Sacramento lad, and that you have always had a clear kinship with the UK?
Yeah, safe to say! I was at a Robyn Hitchcock gig the day Graham Chapman died. Robyn heard the news after his set, and came out to do the encore stunned. He said that growing up, the Beatles and Monty Python were the only two groups he ever wanted to be in. That pretty much works for me too, though you can add that I spent a good 5 years wanting to be Robyn Hitchcock. Ironically or not, though, the more time I spend in England, the more I push my American-ness. Gotta have a gimmick! Incidentally, I met Graham Chapman at a comedy club about a year before he died. I think he was pushing "Dangerous Film Club," or something like that. I asked him what his favorite Beatles record was. He seemed surprised and pleased with such a question, and without hesistation said Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But he was quick to add that "Imagine" was his favorite song ever.
How did you end up working with the Bevis Frond?
My band supported the Frond in Sacramento. I'd not heard them before, though I had heard of them. I'm not sure why, but I'd pictured them as well-coiffed slick-pop stylists and was thrilled to discover otherwise. We hit it off at the gig and kept in touch. I went over to London in 2001 and did a support slot for them at the 12 Bar. I asked Ade if maybe he'd play bass on a track of mine someday, and he suggested I could probably get the whole band to do a whole album, that they worked very fast in the studio. Nick was up for it, and I got some songs together, which I sent over with chord charts etc. I think Nick and I did a quick run-through at his place in Walthamstow, but otherwise, no rehearsal with the band. Everyone showed up at 10 in the morning and we knocked through an album's worth of basic tracks over the next 10 hours. Spent the next 8 days with Nick and Colin, our engineer, overdubbing and mixing and that was that!
Do you feel at home in England?
Funny you ask, as I'm "home" right now in Sacramento, and feeling like a Stranger in a Strange Land! What is this place and why am I here? I just got back from almost three months in England, and I head back for another block of time next month. I love it there, I fit in and stand out there in swell ways. I look like Chris Evans, it seems. I've got wonderful friends there and a great range of musicians to work with. I've been going with friends to a few of the many sacred sites—Avebury, the Uffington Horse, Belas Knap—and those moments have been mildly mind-blowing. Yeah, on both a simple/practical level I love it there—cups of tea etc., but it's my spiritual home to be sure!
What did winning a SAMMIE mean to you?
I dunno... it was sweet, good to have the work recognized in the hometown. The first SAMMIE was for The Horse's Tongue, and it's nice to look back and see that album as sort of a soundtrack to a very wide-eyed period in Sacramento's musical history.
It seems to me that your music is in a constant state of refinement, do you feel you've grown as a songwriter over the years?
I hope so! I can't listen to my first records without squirming. The lyrics, at least, are full of that teenage/20-something sex-crazed blind arrogance. Perhaps my style is still somewhat obtuse, but there seems to be more going on under the surface in the newer songs. How to put it? I'm much more spiritually/mystically inclined, and it's become important for me to put out some kind of deep vibe. As for the craft of writing, I hope my range has increased. I've always been a wordy lyric writer, and I like playing with the sounds of words. I used to say my purpose was to amuse and confuse, but I also hope I'm connecting emotionally with anyone listening, or if not emotionally, then on some level that is genuine and satisfying. Musically, I have a broader palette to paint from as well. I've gotten more into minimalism, into laying back and filling less space. Sometimes! I also like to create density and darkness. This is all sounding vague, and that's not my intention. The thing, ultimately for me, with songwriting and making records, is that while the goal is to learn and improve, there's no way around inspiration or the lack therof. When I was starting out, I had such incredible enthusiasm for everything I wrote... I wrote hit single after hit single, or so I thought! Perhaps I'm more pragmatic and humble... I still want to write big songs, but in the face of Nick Saloman, Scott Miller and Sharron Kraus, I see my music as fitting only into its own world. I've met too many amazing freaks whose kneecaps I may never reach!
How do you feel when you are referred to as eccentric?
When I hear that, I feel... eccentric! Naw, I dunno... nothing much phases me by now. I suppose on some technical level, measurable with charts and scanners, I AM eccentric. Meaning, I work and live in a way that often sits outside of the Normal Way. But who cares? I'm driven to do my thing, I love making this music and I think what I'm doing is both unusual and also accessible. I'm not out there setting my moustache on fire sitting on top of a gumball machine, I'm not being wacky for attention. I opened for John Otway recently in London, and it's easy to see him as "eccentric, yarp." Yet it's just as easy to see him as a songwriter/performer, song by song, town to town. Still, if globalisation means fratboys in Brazil and like, you know, idiot pap-pop coming out of every radio in the mainstream world, I'm happy to do my bit to stick sand inside a few oyster shells.
Do you feel an affinity to any of the surrealists?
Certainly, especially Magritte. There's something so elegant in much of his work, and I've always had a "but of course!" reaction to surrealism. Jan Svankmajer is one of my heroes as well. I like Dali, but I've never wanted to stretch slugs out across the canvas of my songs. I'd rather stick an apple in front of a Belgian. To flesh this out a bit, I like warmth, even in the most way-out places, and anything that feels weird for the sake of being weird doesn't hold me for long. The fact that humor is a key element in much surrealistic work appeals to me.
Do you have a ghost story?
Barely. My Mother died when I was 6, and my Grandmother, my cousin and some aunts and uncles had come to the house soon after her death. While everyone else was in the living room, my cousin and I watched the door to the ante-chamber leading to the attic blowing open and shut for about ten minutes. We were suitably freaked out, but fascinated. We summoned all the grown-ups, but nobody seemed too impressed. It was a still day, no wind, not the slightest breeze, but the adults convinced us it was a weather-related scene. Being kids, we accepted that, but years later it dawned on me that maybe there was more at play than we understood. Who knows? Not a scary ghost story, to say the least!
What part if any have dreams or dreaming played in your music?
When I was in England recently, I got sick and had a fever. The following three nights I had the most incredible dreams. The first was Bob Marley singing "Redemtion Song" to me in an airport. The next night I was with George Harrison at his place in Hawaii. We watched the sun go down on the Pacific and then went off to record the Hare Krishna chant. The following night was one of the best dreams I've ever had. I was watching the Beatles rehearsing a new version of "The Long and Winding Road," with George and John improvising the most beautiful and complex harmonies. Man! But I couldn't ever come up with those harmonies again, though I suppose the shape they took is something to reach for. I was in the C.G. Jung Club of Sacramento a while ago... it was pretty informal, we'd get together and share dreams and try and express the dreams through creative means, sometimes poems and sometimes painting. Things like that. Mainly it got me more deeply tuned to the idea of the unconcious mind as the true source of so much incredible information. My songwriting style has always left much room for things to bubble up. I do try and craft things, obviously, and a good rhyme is a good rhyme, but sometimes it's best to let the song go anywhere it wants. Dream-logic makes its way frequently into my lyrics, with the irrational, the matter-of-fact and the surreal all mixing freely together. On a more practical level, I dreamt once that I needed to add layers of "Julian Cope keyboards" to a particular song. Woke up, went to the studio and had at it... no way to resist a command like that!
Do you believe in luck?
I believe in everything! It's not meant as a cop-out, but I dabble in the cheap study of cosmic-connectedness, and luck is an easy word to use to describe when something all of a sudden falls right into place. Synchronicity is sort of like luck squared, where you can see the multiple roads that led you to the moment of fortune.
Where have you been best received in a live setting?
Certain venues seem to have an inherent vibe, like the Starry Plough in Berkeley, or the Delta of Venus in Davis, California, and gigs in those type of places often resonate deeply, but having girls screaming at my band at the Cavern Club is hard to beat! If I had to pick, though, the first time I played Cambridge was one of the best shows for me ever. Kimberley Rew came out, and that was a nerve-wracking thrill! But there was something other, an anticipation amongst the crowd. I'm really so underground in ways that I never assume anyone has heard of me when I play a new city, but there was a feeling in the room before I went on, and it carried on throughout my set. A great gig, and Cambridge shows have almost all been special like that.
Tell me about the inspiration and creation of Drug Free! (Pink Hedgehog 2006)?
Drug Free started life during the sessions for In the Village of the Apple Sun. The latter album was very specific about what songs were to be included on it, so anything that didn't fit was set aside for later, and eventually I had an album's worth of material. The title track came as I watched my new next-door neighbors moving in. I speculated, based on Homeland Security hairstyles and such, that they were probably quite conservative and I wondered how they'd take to my smoking dope daily in the garden. "Leave It with Me, I'm Always Gentle" was written when I was living in Oxford at Sharron Kraus's house. It's quite an upbeat murder ballad, I'd say! I was in and out of a troubled relationship at the time I wrote most of these songs, and that comes through. There are also references to my mother's death, and lots of other bits of my life that I doubt would be obvious to most listeners. I was digging into lots of Krautrock, and "In a Boat on the Sea" came out of this affection. That song was recorded live in the studio with a collective of musicians. I think we patched up a couple wrong notes and I had to re-do my vocals, but it's pretty much exactly the sound we made. That one is a favorite for me. This album also features the vocals of Su Jordan on a couple tracks. More on this later!
Tell me also of In the Village of the Apple Sun (Four-Way 2006)?
Of all the records I've done, this one is certainly the most special for me. The title track is a love song for Oxford, inspired by my first moments there, and the psychedelic vibe of that cosmic city informs the whole record. I tried to balance light and dark, male and female, dogs and cats and mice and rats. There are countless riddles and cross-references throughout the songs, but I still see it as a pop record. No one is going to feel my incredible disdain for G.W. Bush when they hear the record, even though that was one of many elements that shaped the music. Yeah, there's nothing overtly political in the album, but there's was a strong desire to put something positive into the world, or something informative at least.
I guess your mag is a safe place to say that the album was very much a result of a newly-discovered love of psychedelic mushrooms. The title of the second track on the album is "Mushroom Box, 1975," and it's actually the title of a piece by German artist Joseph Beuys. He'd gone digging in his garden, found an old mushroom box, labeled it and called it art. There is a lot of "found art" on Village, and on "Mushroom Box," there's a burst of Christian radio that comes through right on the line "she opened up a dresser drawer and pulled from deep inside it a music box that tingled with the gentlest of tones." A broken wah-wah pedal brought us one of so many moments of synchronicity! And the album is full of these things, scraps of daily life like my Dad's coffee-maker, or songbirds in the garden. But it's also rich with powerful musical contributions from so many good people. Sharron did half her parts on the first day we met... She was in town to work with Christian Keifer and I was giving her a lift to meet him later. I asked if she'd want to do some music and she added classic tracks in an instant. Same with Gabe's bass, for example. He'd hear the song once and then come up with something that elevated the whole thing. I'm in awe of all these people, and for a solo artist, I do feel like the collective "we" made this record together, even if it was a track at a time over a couple years. Man, Jaime Smith, the violinist, would come to town once a year. She lives in Greece now. I'd say "can you give me something sort of Indian, microtonal," and she'd give me five great takes to pick from. For the next song I'd ask for something "maybe Turkish" and she'd nail it. This record is made of the best memories for me!
Well, it's taken me so long to finish this interview that I'm now back in England! I've got an album with Su Jordan called The Automatic Door coming out over here soon. It's a much tighter/brighter pop record than the recent albums, sort of commercial psych! Su sings like Sandy Denny and I wrote all the songs with our harmonies in mind. Gabe, Greg and Todd, CAKE/ex-CAKE guys are all over the disk, and Kimberley Rew plays on three tracks. I'm well under way on the follow-up, called Solitary Bees. Many of the same players but so far the album is rather dark and slow. It's the weird difference between Cambridge and Oxford for me. Auto Door is an up Ox vibe, but there's a low/slow thing in the water here! But this record isn't settled yet and the shape and color will probably change. Otherwise, It seems like I'm moving over the England one suitcase load at a time, and we're trying to get a more settled band together for when the album comes out. Doing a few festivals, lots of little gigs and such. I thought that releasing three albums last year would calm me down, but I'm a compulsive writer/recorder. I've brought Pro Tools to England with me this time, so the food vs. studio time debate is better settled! Gonna crank out albums 'til 2012 and beyond!
How's it going Mr. Rock Star?
Funny, but I've moved from "cult figure" to "legend" just recently, according to a friend. It has to do with how many records I've released compared to how many I've sold. Or not sold, I suppose! I told an audience in Weymouth once that I was so famous in America that I had to come to England to find a bit of peace and quiet. I said I was in a band called The Eagles. This one woman jumped out of her seat and said "I've heard of you!!!" Shit! Not only did I have to back out of that without embarassing her, but she really thought I was an Eagle! Yuck!
Are you having fun?
Man, I'm sitting in the cafe where I met Kimbereley Rew yesterday for tea. I've got an amazing gang of musicians scattered about England to gig and record with, same as when I'm back in Sacramento. I finally feel that my records make sense, that I'm doing things the right way. I'm the same age as Sgt. Pepper and my knees hurt when I leap about on stage, but I'm leaping about in front of people who seem happy with what I do. This is all good stuff.
Another Interview with Anton Barbeau
(Reprinted from the Sacramento News & Review, May 8, 1997)
When and where were you happiest?
June 12, 1995, on a red ottoman.
What would you like to be reincarnated as?
A soft-spoken, eloquent pig.
What's your idea of perfect happiness?
100 years of solitude in the studio with all my favorite people.
What's your idea of utter misery?
Seven nights straight of dry papercut dreams.
Your greatest regret?
Not being born 10 years too late.
Your greatest fear?
Being hit by rocks and bits thrown from the blades of an electric mower.
Living person you most admire?
Living person you most despise?
I can't remember his name, but he's very paranoid.
Your greatest achievement?
"The Banana Song."
Your worst failure?
I just can't write good songs about coughing.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
12,000 Cups of Tea (and No One to Marry Me).
When do you lie?
I haven't lied since I graduated from Catholic school.
What's your motto?
"Live fast, play dumb and carry a great-looking corpse."
What's always in your refrigerator?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My grandfather's head.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
The ability to read my own mind.
What's the most embarrassing CD in your music collection?
Embarrassing for me or for the artist who recorded it?
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I'm incredibly tall.