Saturday, June 18, 2011

Guy Blakeslee Interview

Once a Chicago based musician now a Los Angeles resident but still considers himself homeless, let me introduce to you Guy Blakeslee of The Entrance Band.
Now currently on tour in Europe, The Entrance Band carries on with there spiritual psychedelic groove down the German Autobahn spreading there sound vibrations and psychedelic performances to European audiences.

JR- Do you believe in the Third Eye?

GB- The "third eye" exists and is not something to "believe in"- it's a gland in our brains called the Pineal Gland, located roughly where Indian people put bind his of small dots... it is the source of DMT which is the brain's natural psychedelic. Fluoride in drinking water is known to calcify (block/clog) the Pineal Gland and so it should be avoided. if you really want to lube up your third eye, try taking this stuff called "skate liver oil" which is known to help DE-calcify the Pineal Gland. Meditation, use of psychedelics, and certain forms of breathing are viable ways to activate the third eye. "Holotropic Breath work" is a technique developed by Stanislav Grof, a deep Trans personal Psychologist, for tapping into third eye energies for awareness and healing.. Basically this breathing technique is the most profound psychedelic experience I've had, it changed my life and I highly recommend that people interested in spirit or psyche try it in the presence of a certified guide.. look it up and do it! tripping through breathing is very powerful and no drugs or negative side effects are necessary if you do it right with respect.

JR- Do you consider yourself a Seer ?

GB- Yes. I've had visions my whole life and only in the past year or so have. I’ve been able to understand and try to integrate this part of my experience into some kind of balanced approach to living. that said, visions are available to everyone and it's just a matter of being open to them, accepting them, seeking them, understanding what and where they come from and practicing the art of carrying out or exploring he visions while they are fresh and connecting them to the larger (infinite) web of consciousness.

JR- Can you remember when you had your first higher consciousness experience?

GB- I can't remember the first but I remember many moments of "peak consciousness" as a child.. moments where everything would slow down and I could see or perceive more than one dimension at the same time. before I ever ingested any substances for mind expansion I used to go into mystical states and manic trance states all the time, I just didn't understand that they were a part of existence so I would keep it to myself and think I might be crazy.. Schizophrenia runs in my family as does substance abuse so I used to be pretty afraid and cautious in such matters.
When I began performing music in front of other people, I found that my way of performing involves entering such an expanded state that the music/sound/voice/words are coming from a higher or non-ordinary state of consciousness. I did this for many years before I ever even drank my first sip of wine. I used to have similar cathartic/psycho-spiritual experiences at shows when I was just dancing in the audience.. Me and my friends would get so riled up that we were in another world, rolling on the floor laughing and crying and screaming and shaking.... Music is the strongest drug I can think of and it's no mistake that music and drugs have a relationship just as it makes sense that music is connected to religion and spirituality and that drugs are connected to religion and spirituality. I'm reading a book right now called "drugs and Magic" by George Andrews, and it is very informative and inspiring in taking us on a tour through the history and complexity of spiritual cultures' relations to the sacred substances for millenia.

JR- Have you ever experimented with psychedelic environments, ingestion, consumption, and or some out of body experience when song writing?

GB- Yes. Always.

JR- Do you find spirituality in all your music , the band members?

GB- Yes, and in all things, always. What that means to each is subjective, but our common ground proves this to be true for all of us.

JR- Have you ever wanted to not perform because of a certain environment or vibe in a certain setting or room or particular day?

GB- I always want to perform.. Sometimes I battle with the energy that might make me not want to engage a certain space or place or moment.
But I do so within the performance. Work it out through expression and try to find a balance within the energy in order to exorcise demons without harshing anyone's trip and sometimes the best way to find balance is through testing the extremes.

JR- Do you consider yourself clairvoyant ?

GB- No. I say no because all of us have the capacity to see more than we do, and time, being circular, doesn't really have a past or future. and also because I often do not see things until it's later on... and I realize my deeper self was perceiving them but my logical mind was blocking the reception of visions of premonitions. Paz is totally clairvoyant and so are a lot of my closest loves in life... but I think we're all capable of seeing so much and we need to learn in our own ways to make the most of this experience of life by being as open and expanded as we can, always widening and narrowing and exploring the limits of everything in our consciousness.... "it's an odyssey to the limits of the ultimate... he who hears will remain stretched out in his place"

JR- How has your resident gigs at the former Space-land , now called The Satellite been?

GB- Our residency in LA was quite an epic experience! we played 5 shows, every Thursday for 5 weeks. It was great to be able to bring
people together to trip out and dance.. A bunch of great bands played with us including the Allah-La's, Matt Baldwin, Sun Araw and even MAVIS STAPLES! She's my favorite singer so meeting her is definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. The residency was very helpful to prepare us for the tour we're on now... Each week had a different vibration, including one "acoustic" show.. We also got our friends Farmer Dave and Brad Caulkins to join us on stage for a few songs on Pedal Steel and Saxophone..
at the 4th show, a bunch of freaks got on stage and were dancing and Paz took off her top and things just went off from there.
Life hasn't really been the same since that moment when I looked over and saw her shimmying and smiling topless onstage.. the energy has really exploded around us and it's quite an adventure every day!

JR- Do you find it home in L.A.? Do you ever miss Chicago?

GB- I make my home everywhere I go. My true love lives in LA so LA is my home, but I've been obsessing on moving to London since
I've been on this UK/European tour. I used to live in Brighton UK years ago. I love the feeling of being a foreigner, a stranger in a new land. So as of now I'm "homeless" but everyday I am taken care of for doing what I love.. not a bad life I say! LA is the first place that I moved to where I stayed for more than a few months..and I've been in LA for 6 or 7 years, so yes it's Home. I miss Chicago all the time. We just played there and had a blast so I get to go there pretty often.

JR- I know you're a lefty and play with the guitar just flipped with the heavier strings down towards the feet. Do you find yourself coming up with guitar lines that are just completely whacked and original from the traditional right hand guitar players?

GB- I don't have any point of reference. I don't understand how normal people play with the strings the normal way. I just do what I do. I am whacked as a human being and my guitar playing is just an expression of that state of being whacked. I think and feel backwards and upside down. Someday I will seem right-side-up when things have changed a little more. The change is underway.

JR- Do you have a certain formula to writing songs?

GB- No! Coffee and some mild form of intoxication help, but inspiration has no formula. It helps to be awake in the quiet hours when everyone else is asleep, and it helps to have an open heart which leads to the kind of pain that is transformable into inspiration.
We write all of our new songs together now so there's even less of a formula.... see next question :)

JR- Is the song already formatted before the band hears it?

GB- NO! we write all of our songs together. In the past, like on our last "record", there were some songs that existed in some form that I brought to the band.. but even then, the real "song" comes to be through our collaboration. At this point though, it is fully collaborative. Most of our newest songs came from a bass idea that Paz had and we build from there, but there are no rules and every song has a different life-form.

JR- Being in a three piece do you find it easier over all to tour and manage personalities with the band ?

GB- We are very fortunate to get along so well and we've worked very hard as a trio to maintain a function and form that is only possible with the 3 of us. I can't imagine being in another band or trying to make it work with another individual involved. We have a special triangular balance that allows us to do what we do in a fluid way . the key is that we love and respect each other and we all bring energies and qualities that complete and even each other out. We own our school bus named "BB" and since last Fall we've been touring the USA in BB where we each have a bed... it's just the 3 of us with no crew or anyone else, and we feel very free and self-sufficient doing things this way. wherever we are, we can feel at home, and we're really evolved when it comes to respecting each others space in such a small bubble. Right now we're riding in another bus from the UK driven by our new friend Sam from Wales. He's another part of our bubble right now and a righteous one at that. As I type he's blasting us down the Autobahn to make our gig in Halle Germany tonight. Sam rules, and Paz and Derek are the best.

JR- What do you like about touring?

GB- Touring is my way of life, so I'd say- Everything! I love the opportunity to travel and be tapped in to the creative mind of the people of earth... it doesn't get much better than that for a gypsy like me. Touring is very unique because in addition to traveling, we are also welcomed and plugged in to the community that would likely be our community if we were to live in each town... it's amazing, a dream come to life that never ends, just bends and blends.

JR- What don't you like about touring?

GB- There's really not much I don't like about it. I have grown up touring and have learned my way of being through touring. I get restless if I'm in the same place for too long. When we were not touring for a bunch of years I lose my mind. I have found it again now that we're on the road. We just toured the entire USA for a month opening for the Kills, a great band, and all of the shows were in large venues and sold out. Now we're on a long European tour and have played all kinds of different shows so far, everything from a tiny last minute show in London to a huge London show opening for Warpaint, to a rad show in a small Belgian town.. each day is different. Variety is the spice of life.

JR- Whats the best show you have ever played as of this date?

GB- That would be really hard to answer... I'd have to say our show at All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Minehead, UK a couple weeks ago was up there with the most epic experiences of my life! Paz was kicked out of the festival the night we arrived for climbing to the top of the Pavilion, a huge white tent structure that the concerts were happening in. By the time she was finally allowed to return to the site after much negotiation, we played our most psychedelic set ever and then she had to leave again. The security guards were obsessed with her and didn't want her to stay on the festival grounds. I know that show is a legend already and it was just a couple weeks ago. Another really great show we played recently was the one I mentioned at the Satellite where everyone got naked.

JR- How does The Entrance Band approach recording in the studio?

GB- Differently eveytime. for our most recent release, a 7" single released on our friend Dirk's label Black Tent Press, we set up in our friend's basement in San Clemente and recorded ourselves, with Paz at the controls. All live in one take. The 7" is a pair of covers, featuring "I Want You" by the Troggs and "A house is not a motel" by LOVE, one of our favorite bands.

JR- Are you going old school with tape or digital with some DAW program?

GB- We've done both... the most important things is the feel and the vibe of the performances so it just depends on the situation. i love tape like anyone and would prefer to do things that way. Limitations are good for the creative process and the analog , whether tape or film or typewriters or whatever, usually sounds or looks or feels best. But digital recording done in the spirit of analog recording can sound and feel just as good.

JR- Whats your guitar , amp, effects set up for a live show, what kind of equipment are you using?

GB- I play a 1988 Stratocaster that was made by Fender for Robbie Robertson of Dylan/The Band. A friend used to date Robbie's daughter and Robbie gave it to my friend many years ago. I also play Paz's brother's Jaguar from 1967, her brother Luciano was a musician and he passed away before I got a chance to meet him, so I know him through playing his treasured axe. But I didn't bring that on the flight overseas because I wanted to be sure it was safe and sound. I borrow amps since I don't own one, and will not tell anyone the secrets of which pedals I use, though I will say that I've been removing a lot of effects from my chain to simplify and clarify. Reverb is essential.

JR- .Do you think bands should still put out physical products like CD's, and or Vinyl ?

GB- CD's suck! Vinyl is forever. my favorite medium will always be cassettes.

JR- People today don't want to pay for music it seems these days , whats your take on that?

GB- Music is free. Objects like vinyl should cost money and should be beautiful or special enough to be worth buying and owning. I don't have a record player and I give any records that I get or have to my lover for safe keeping. Paying to see a live show is only fair and I think performance is the most vital aspect of music. File-sharing is a great way to hear things and share music, so I have no problem with that, and I think musicians should get way more creative with the objects we sell in order to justify asking for any money over the production costs.

JR- Are there any artist or bands right now that your really into?

GB- Kurt Vile, Beach House, Warpaint, Animal Collective, the Growlers, Farmer Dave, Dungen, Spectrum/Sonic Boom, the Allah La's,Nick Waterhouse, Daniel Higgs, Celebration, Panda Bear, Slipping into Darkness, the Black Angels, Wanda Jackson, Shazzula Nebula, Sic Alps, Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips, Gil ScottHeron, Andre 3000 &Kelis together, Dizzee Rascal, James Blackshaw, Thurton Moore/Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Bob Dylan (!), HighLife, Gang Gang Dance, Chain and the Gang, The Kills (!), Tonie Joy (from Baltimore), Aqua Serge (from France), Holly Golightly & the Greenhornes, Jack White as a producer &label head, MIA, Omar S (detroit house music), Matt Baldwin, Mavis Staples (!), Cat Power, Sun Araw, Zomes, Thee Oh Sees, modern hip hop radio,
Witch House Music, and then there's all this insanely awesome stuff from Afrika-- Tinariwen, Group Bombino, Group Doueh, Group INerane, Khaira Arby from Mali, Vieux Farka Toure, Femi Kuti, Konono #1- everything that Mississippi Records from Portland does is very exceptional, as well as the Sublime Frequencies label which is run by Alan and Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls

JR- What advice can you give to anybody that you have learned from personal experience playing music all these years?

GB- Don't take heroin unless you really don't wanna live anymore. At that point you're on your own, and if you're at that point, reconsider. I've never done it myself but have seen many of the most amazing and creatively talented people in our generation and of course previous ones destroyed by it. Not worth it. Also avoid cults, especially Scientology. Also, major labels are evil and clueless and we should all strive for true independence and autonomy from the betterment of culture and life in general.

JR- What can fans expect from The Entrance band for 2011?

GB- A new record of all new songs, and a never ending world tour, a ton of new media projects for the internet and as much of a contribution as we can possibly make to the global shift in consciousness that is taking place and surfing!

JR- Guy its been a pleasure to interview you. Thank you for all your time and sharing your experiences here at The Underground Echo. I do have to admit that I have really enjoyed your insights and your psychedelic experiences. The Entrance Band is not your average band by far and is a must see concert to attend. Have a great European tour! People make sure to go to The Entrance Band for more tour dates and info on the band.

,The Cracking Skull (Jay Raker)

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