Lo Faber


Wer vom US-amerikanischen Jam Band-Zirkus redet, der kommt schnell auf die üblichen Verdächtigen: Phish, Widespread Panic, moe., Umphrey’s McGee, String Cheese Incident und die alteingesessenen Vertreter wie z. B. die Allman Brothers Band oder The Grateful Dead. Im gesamten Verlauf der 90er bildete sich in den USA eine Szene, die mittlerweile fast zum Establishment gehört und die durch den Fokus auf Livekonzerte und deren Mitschnitte Maßstäbe für die gesamte Musikwelt setzten.

Viele Bands gibt es bis heute (bzw. heute wieder, siehe Phish), andere fallen im Lauf der Jahre etwas unter den Tisch, stellen irgendwann die Instrumente in die Ecke und lassen es gut sein, bevor die Musik zum Selbstzweck verkommt. Lo Faber gehörte von 1988 bis 1999 auch so einer jungen, unkonventionellen Jam Band an. Man tourte ununterbrochen durch die Staaten, spielte an Colleges, in stickigen Bars und am Ende sogar in großen Hallen. Und nun, zehn Jahre nach dem Split dieser Combo (God Street Wine), ist es an der Zeit bei Lo einmal nachzufragen, was er in der Zwischenzeit so getrieben hat, wie die Chancen für eine Reunion stehen und was eigentlich aus dem letzten, bis dato unveröffentlichten, Studioalbum von God Street Wine geworden ist. Der angehende Geschichtsprofessor stand uns Ende März gerne Rede und Antwort.

Sonic Reducer: Hey Lo, most people know you as a member of the 90’s jam band God Street Wine. The band split up in 1999, what have you been up to during the last ten years? I heard you are on the way of becoming a Professor and studying at Princeton, right?

Lo Faber: Well, let’s see. In 2000 my wife and I moved to upstate New York where I built a studio in a barn. I recorded a few independent albums there with bands I liked. I also wrote my frst rock opera, “Henry’s House.” When that was fnished I put together the Lo Faber Band with a few ex-members of theOminous Seapods, and we toured for the better part of a year playing a combination of “Henry’s House” and God Street Wine (GSW) stuff. Roughly around this time, we also had a daughter, Millie. We also had the opportunity to develop “Henry’s House” as a stage production with a small theater company in Cambridge, New York, which was quite a thrill — summer, 2002. Then I had to disband the Faber Band because of lack of money, but I went back into the studio to record another 2-CD rock opera, this one called “Friday Night Freakshow.” After that I started at Skidmore
College where I fnished my long-neglected college degree, and then decided I would be interested in getting my PhD, eventually winding up here at Princeton–coincidentally, also the town I grew up in–where I am in my third year.

Sonic Reducer: You still play solo-acoustic shows from time to time, if I’m not mistaken. Are you still actively writing new songs, or do the setlists mainly rely on your GSW-tunes and your subsequent solo-work?

Lo Faber: I’m sorry to say I haven’t written songs since fnishing “Friday Night Freakshow”. I’ve written a great deal of history, so perhaps that has satisfed my writing impulse. Sonic Reducer: Many bands tape many (or all) of their live-shows for archival purposes and whatnot. Did GSW do that and did you guys ever talk about opening the vault and offcially releasing some stuff?
Lo Faber: There’s actually quite a bit of live GSW stuff up for free download on a site called archive.org, and more being uploaded all the time. We always allowed fan taping so it’s not really necessary to go into our own “vault”. There is a fair amount of unreleased studio stuff I’d like to get up online sometime, but it’s just a matter of finding the time. Ominous Seapods, and we toured for the better part of a year playing a combination of “Henry’s House” and God Street Wine (GSW) stuff. Roughly around this time, we also had a daughter, Millie. We also had the opportunity to develop “Henry’s House” as a stage production with a small theater company in Cambridge, New York, which was quite a thrill — summer, 2002. Then I had to disband the Faber Band because of lack of money, but I went back into the studio to record another 2-CD rock opera, this one called “Friday Night Freakshow.” After that I started at Skidmore College where I fnished my long-neglected college degree, and then decided I would be interested in getting my PhD, eventually winding up here at Princeton–coincidentally, also the town I grew up in–where I am in my third year.

Sonic Reducer: You still play solo-acoustic shows from time to time, if I’m not mistaken. Are you still actively writing new songs, or do the setlists mainly rely on your GSW-tunes and your subsequent solo-work?

Lo Faber: I’m sorry to say I haven’t written songs since fnishing “Friday Night Freakshow”. I’ve written a great deal of history, so perhaps that has satisfed my writing impulse.

Sonic Reducer: Many bands tape many (or all) of their live-shows for archival purposes and whatnot. Did GSW do that and did you guys ever talk about opening the vault and offcially releasing some stuff?

Lo Faber: There’s actually quite a bit of live GSW stuff up for free download on a site called archive.org, and more being uploaded all the time. We always allowed fan taping so it’s not really necessary to go into our own “vault”. There is a fair amount of unreleased studio stuff I’d like to get up online sometime, but it’s just a matter of fnding the time.

Sonic Reducer: On your website lofaber.com you have a link-collection called “News & Politics”. You feature links to the New York Times, Salon.com, MSNBC and to people like Rush Limbaugh and The Drudge Report. Do you really get your news from these ultra-conservative right-wingers, or did you include them to feature the whole “from-left-to-right-spectrum”? And as an additional question, would you characterize yourself as a liberal or as a conservative?

Lo Faber: Well, liberal and conservative mean different things to different people. I’m a committed Democrat, and always have been, though I have become a lot more politically active in the last seven years. When we lived in Washington county, New York, my wife and I along with
a few other friends had a large hand in turning our local area from an all-Republican to a competitive district. As for reading websites, well, I do believe you should read everything from all sides, if only to understand what you’re arguing against, but when I ever get around to cleaning up my website I’ll probably yank that Drudge and Limbaugh garbage off there…

Sonic Reducer: How’s your take on the whole Obamania that has taken (and still is taking) place in the US?

Lo Faber: Well, I certainly supported Obama. I would have supported Hillary Clinton too. I’m a Democrat and prefer to think in party, not personality terms. American politics is too personality-oriented. Obamania? Of course, people are excited. Any time you get rid of the worst president in US history, you gotta be happy.

Sonic Reducer: Your youngest child is called Eberhard Lothar. Any connections to Germany in the Faber-family? Namewise you pretty much can’t get any more german-ish.

Lo Faber: Well, obviously I come from German roots. There’s a bunch of Fabers in Germany we’re related to, and from what I understand, some are quite rich. But I’m sorry to say I’ve never been there, nor do I speak German. I do have some German musician friends who are excellent
players that I stay in touch with.

Sonic Reducer: Let’s think about the music-industry about 10-15 years ago, compare it to the situation we have today and relate it to GSW. Wouldn’t you think that GSW would have had a much easier time with the situation we have nowadays, than back in the mid-90’s? You guys ran into quite some trouble with major-labels and problems to get your albums released even though you had contracts (you even opted out of one). With the internet running at full speed, you could’ve just created ’God Street Wine Records’ or something along those lines. Do you regret not having had this great opportunity back in the day?

Lo Faber: We were actually, back in 1994, one of the frst bands to have this new thing called a “web site.” Our publicists used this as an angle, and a lot of the early press about
us talked about how our fans were getting together through this weird thing called the “world wide web.” It’s bad, as a general rule, to have regrets. So I try not to. Would our career have been easier with a more mature, developed internet music scene? Hard to say. True, we had problems with record labels, but they also gave us big chunks of money we would never have seen if we kept it on a do-it-yourself level. I’m a historian, so I like to complicate things. You never get a straight, clear answer. My students complain about this.

Sonic Reducer: GSW still has an unreleased studioalbum called ”Hot, Sweet & Juicy” sitting on the shelves. Do you think it will ever see the light of day and what can you tell us about the songs that are on there?

Lo Faber: Here’s the tracks as best as I can remember: Burger Special; Slinky; Epiphany; When She Go; Nadine; My Good Side; All Systems Clear; Beautiful Lies; Spoonful of Sugar; Souvenir; 8 Ball; Straight Line; You Know Me Best. Some of these foat around online from time to time.
It would have been a solid, melodic, groove-heavy album — nothing really earth shattering, just good tunes…. I’m sorry it never got released; I’m quite positive there will never be an offcial CD release, but music fnds its way to people who are interested in it….

Sonic Reducer: I started listening to GSW in 1996 and I didn’t use the internet until 2000, so I’m not sure if you guys ever made it over the big pond. Did you play shows in Europe back then?

Lo Faber: We never toured in Europe but we did do a two-week residency in Paris in 1997. It was a lot of fun, as you might imagine. We played for mostly American college girls spending a semester in Paris….you do the math.

Sonic Reducer: My last question has got to be about a possible GSW-reunion. So, how are the chances?

Lo Faber: I have to say that I don’t really know what the chances are. I’m up for playing anywhere, anytime, so you should ask my fellow band members what they think the chances are…

Sonic Reducer: Thanks a lot for doing the interview!

Lo Faber: Thanks for having me. When I get around to re-doing my ancient, neglected web site, I think I’ll just offer my solo albums (“Henry’s House” and “Friday Night Freakshow”) for free download, so keep an eye out for that. Best, etc – Lo
[Sascha Knapek]

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May 29, 2009



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