There’s an altogether dichotomous pleasure to The Meek – the band from L.A. that has captured our attention and interest to such an extent that they were one of the very first bands interviewed on this site, while being absolutely the first band we insisted upon interviewing twice and, now, unquestionably the first band to be interviewed three times for Revolt of the Apes.
The dichotomy finds its point of origin in the band’s name, the moniker given to what is (in our view) a group featuring some of the brightest people in the world, creating some of the darkest music in the world. That dichotomy extends to the band playing some of our favorite music in the world, while regularly releasing almost none of it, and also extends to their great force as a live band, while regularly playing live almost never.
We could go on about our admiration for The Meek, but we’ll hope that admiration is conveyed appropriately through this, the third set of our ridiculous questions graciously answered by Ame Lee, in advance of the band’s long-awaited return to the stage at Austin Psych Fest 2012. Step into the yin of The Meek – they’ve go the yang that we’re looking for. Enjoy.
When Revolt of the Apes last had the pleasure of interviewing you, you were preparing for The Meek’s trip to and performance at Austin Psych Fest 2011. We still have very strong memories surrounding the massive sound produced by The Meek that night – but what are your strongest memories regarding your second Texas appearance? Do you think it will become a tradition for The Meek to lead the audience into the dark, dark night, as the final performer on the second night of Austin Psych Fest, for the foreseeable future? Would there be a difference if The Meek were to perform in the sunny mid-afternoon (aside from the very real possibility of not being awake)? Were there any performances in particular that made an impression on you?
I believe we are going to break the tradition this year and play an earlier slot. We are not sunny afternoon music. I think I would insist on darkness, though we could wear shades. Psych Fest 4 … I liked the industrial space of the Power Plant and how the sound carried as you walked around the complex. Roky Erikson and Spectrum were the highlights.
Outside of your trip to Austin, what live performances have The Meek engaged in over the past year? Do you feel that you are playing live as a band more or less frequently as of late, and why?
We took a break, so to speak, since last summer to focus on work and health.
On a related note, what bands did you see perform over the past year that left a favorable impression on you? What band was the biggest surprise, or perhaps which artist most notably exceeded your expectations? What was it about that performance that captured your attention?
The Cure playing their first three albums at The Pantages. I like this trend of bands playing records in their entirety. I enjoy the concept instead of a band on shuffle; it is a refined concert experience for me. I look forward to Spiritualized.
We join a legion of black-t-shirt-wearing misfits around the globe in our excitement over the new seven-inch from The Meek, entitled “Grave.” What can you tell us about the origin of these two songs? What does it mean to you to spend a life digging out of a grave? The harmony vocal on the chorus sounds very, very familiar, but we can’t place it. Is it Geddy Lee?
The back-up vocal on “Grave” is Alex Maas (of The Black Angels) and Henrik Bjornsson (Singapore Sling) recorded the songs. Christian Bland (The Black Angels) and Gregg Foreman (Cat Power) add guitar to the b-side. Ramses did original artwork for the cover. “I spend my life digging my own grave/I live my life with a price to pay.” It’s about living when you are dying. The b-side is a torch song.
While some bands seem to be in a competition with themselves to see how many releases they can squeeze into a single year, the approach of The Meek seems quite opposite. Is there a thought or strategy that drives The Meek’s limited release philosophy, or it just what fate has delivered us?
There is not a strategy per se, but we have neglected opportunities in the past to get in deals as to avoid compromise and demands. The Meek is a labor of love and artistic necessity and our collection of demos, live recordings, and rarities will one day be released as such. I wanted to release vinyl and this was a natural occurrence amongst friends to do so.
In our continuing effort to be viewed as the “16 Magazine” of the underground psychedelic rock scene, we must ask you what music you have been listening to over the past year. Did you make any notable discoveries that had eluded your grasp for too long? If push comes to shove, what is your favorite Leonard Cohen song of all time?
Lots of Bob Dylan, Lee Hazlewood, The Doors, Nico – the poets I always come back to. I will be many years late listening to anything that is happenin’ now. I love The Jesus & Mary Chain’s cover of “Tower of Song.” I got that vinyl when I was fifteen and quickly learned that Leonard Cohen was not just my parent’s music – rather, the Godfather of Gloom.
Similarly, what discoveries in the realm of the printed word have you made over the past year? Did you have a favorite book or two from 2011? What are you reading now? How are things going at The Daily Planet?
The Daily Planet is going great. I am the sole owner now and I’m blessed to have a business I feel so passionate about. The “On” series, collected writings by the greatest thinkers, is my newest discovery. For example, “Houdini On Deception,” “John Donne On Death,” “Freud on Cocaine,” “Baudelaire on Wine and Hashish.” “Wisdom of The Heart” by Henry Miller is on my bedside. The definitive book on Spacemen 3, I just finished.
Would you care to comment on the rumor (the rumor that we are attempting to start right now) that The Meek will not only play Austin Psych Fest this year, but that you are also the proprietors behind a Vietnamese Bar-B-Que food truck to be parked in the vendor area, under the name, “Meek-Kong Delta Blues”?
Ha! Of all the rumors I was worried you might mention, unless it’s a Vegan food truck, I ain’t got nothing to do with it.
In his novel “The Ground Beneath Her Feet,” Salman Rushdie writes the following:
“Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.”
To grieve reminds us that we are not autonomous. We are undone by each other. As painful as the experience can be, we ought to receive a new appreciation for our own vulnerability, and perhaps a new humility in our relationships with others. This novel is a eulogy to love, a divine love above death and art.
What’s next for The Meek?
Simply more music.