Introducing... The Burning of Rome
Too many acts take their eye off the ball. The game is rock 'n roll and behind the serious business of making music, there needs to be an understanding of both the absurdity of the industry, and a willingness to embrace that stupid. Performance. Theatricality. Doesn't matter if you're Pet Shop Boys or Jane's Addiction or sunn o))), most of the greats understand. If all you do is stand behind your keyboard, poking at the buttons, affecting cool you are almost certainly boring - and not worth our time. "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of," a wise man once proclaimed. Give us something to make us dance, something to think about - and have a smile on your face while you're doing it.
San Diego's The Burning of Rome appeared as if from nowhere. Just another album in a teetering pile of promos, most of which are incredibly boring, With Us turned out to be the opposite of boring. Stupidly ambitious, it throws everything from off-Broadway musichall, Flaming Lips psych and hard rocking riffery in an unabashed desire to catch attention, to wake us from a slumber that has us meekly accept mediocrity disguised as alternative music.
They took the time to listen to our ridiculous questions, and their answers made us love them just a little bit more. Tune in, turn on and burn out.
Please introduce yourselves to The Music Fix.
Greetings Fix freaks, this is Adam Traub aka Space Wizard aka Soda Popinski. I am one of the bile-spouting gargoyles that make up the Burning of Rome.
We are enamored with your new album 'With Us' to a ridiculous degree. What does it tell us about TBOR?
With Us is a call to arms for those fed up with mediocrity in modern music. It's a banner we've hoisted to band together like-minded truth seekers with a mission to call bullshit on the corrupt and celebrate those willing to create unbridled art in this static age.
Rome is in ruins. Where do we march to next? And who might fall along the way?
The banks, the house of geopolitical nonsense, the backward minds of bigotry, greed and listlessness.
An army marches on its stomach. What are you cooking?
Our daily dose consists of: 2 parts Surrealism, 1 part Objectivism, 2 cups Existentialism, a tablespoon of Chaos Theory, a teaspoon Satirism and a dash of the Cosmos topped with a kilo of sugar and dandelions.
'With Us' or, we guess, against us. Explain where the fence lies and who is on either side.
You are "with us" if you've ever: read a book by Kurt Vonnegut, Albert Camus or Tom Robbins, yelled at a cop, dressed in drag, screamed at the moon, taken mushrooms in the desert, given blood, taken blood, experienced an alien encounter, fought for something you believed in despite adversity.
You are "against us" if you've ever: exploited art, purchased an album by Fun, Mumford and Sons or Taylor Swift, stolen from someone poor, called someone a faggot, supported the war in Iraq, been apathetic toward human rights, used religion for profiteering, been on the board of directors for General Electric, Monsanto, BP or News Corp.
Do you have an earliest musical memory? Was there a record or act that made you think "I want to do this"?
A friend taught me how to play The Ventures 'Walk Don't Run' on guitar when I was 8. I played it over and over throughout the summer and eventually grew bored of the track, I needed a new fix. Thus I started diving into other music a la the Beatles, Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. That eventually led to punk rock, which led to metal, which led to jazz, which led to showtunes. Each genre propelled me further down a rabbit hole of musical luster eventually leading to the Burning of Rome a decade later.
What was your favorite album when you were 12? What was it when you were 16?
At 12 it'd have to be Sex Pistols' Nevermind the Bollocks. At 16 either Fugazi's Repeater or Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
Can you remember the first song you ever wrote? Was it any good?
When I was 11 my mother bought me a 4 track tape recorder that I wrote my first song on. It was a supposed to be a folk song about a bank robber but wound up sounding like a Cheech and Chong parody. Not my proudest achievement, but a stepping stone nonetheless.
TBOR have been asked to organise a travelling, Lollapalooza-style revolutionary roadshow. Who else is on the bill?
The Octopus Project, Thee Oh Sees, OFF!, Black Lips, Mike Watt, Night Beats, Gwar, Jeans Wilder, Hunx and His Punx, PLaNETS, Thorcraft Cobra, Mothers of Gut, Saul Williams, O Inimigo, Pianos Become Teeth, Gothic Tropic, Smoking Popes, Dirt Dress, Twin Sister, Races, El Ten Eleven, Sic Alps, Bells, Moonbeams, Chelsea Wolfe, Girls In Suede, Ovens, Saything, Mr. Gnome, Jeffery Lewis & the Junkyeard, Captured! By Robots, Cosmonauts, Mondo Generator, Mr Elevator and the Brain Hotel, Those Darlins, Spaceships, Mister Lies, The Warlocks, A Place To Bury Strangers, Yatch, Big Dick, Retox, Saviours, Judgement Day, Shannon and the Clams, Metz, Bush Tetras, Japandroids, Bleached, Allahlas, Savages, Earthless, Deathstar and the White Dwarfs, Warpaint, Mad River, The Blank Tapes, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Titus Andronicus, The New Kinetics, Y La Bamba, AC Newman, Battle Tapes, Witch Mountain, Go Chic, Dead Ships, Deadly Birds, Joy, Psychic Ills, Melt Banana, Henry Clay People, The Mynabirds, Tartufi, Churches, The Mother Hips, Cosmic Slop, Zola Jesus, Stellar Corpses, Down Dirty Shake, Sun O)))
Oh, man - when will we find time to pee? What's the question we should've asked you today?
Music Fix: "Can you explain the Drake equation to us?"
Adam: "Why yes! The Drake equation is a formula developed by astrophysicist Frank Drake in an attempt to prove the likelihood of extraterrestrial life within our galaxy. It reads:
N = R* fp ne fℓ fi fc L
N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible and
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space
The proof is in numbers, WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Find out more about The Burning of Rome at their website. Their album 'With Us' is out now.