Q&A with Scott Kelly of Neurosis


Do you consider yourselves to be a "metal" band?


If you had to, how would your categorize your music?

I wouldn't.

Why won't you let people take pictures at your shows?

Because I can't stand to get flashed in the eyes. Most photographers are totally inconsiderate when it comes to that. We will allow people to take photos if they ask in advance, but I just don't think that pictures are necessary. You can't see anything anyway because it's so dark.

How do your derive your energy/intensity for your live shows and in your music?

It is all internally channeled spirit. I can only speak for myself but when we play I am a driven force at varing states of psychosis.

What inspires you to make the music you do?

Our lives and our truly deep dedication to communicate through music. We respect all music that is given.

What are your influences?

Mainly ourselves at this point, but our foundation ranges through Black Flag, Pink Floyd, Die Kreuzen, Amebix, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, The Melvins, Celtic Frost and, of course, Hank Williams.

Who comes up with the visuals for your shows (background)?

We all do, but it's Pete's domain.

How important are these visuals to the Neurosis "experience"?

The experience is the main thing we are completely obsessed with taking over the environment of the club we are playing and the visuals are a vital part of that.

What do they mean to the band?

They are representations of our perception of this world.

Why does it cost so much to be a part of your website-driven "fan club"? Seems it goes against your DIY attitude you once strongly embraced.

I actually think that $50 for four exclusive CDs is totally reasonable especially with the other things that come with it. Exactly what would you say that it costs to touch what we have experienced in our lives?

As far as your fucking uninformed comment about DiY, we have done this all by ourselves, for 15 years, and we've out lasted all the supposed DiY shit. If you think that your question pissed me off, you're right; there's nothing that offends me more than some off-handed comment like that. what part of what we do isn't done by us? We've done this all for the love of it and our families. Everything that you've ever seen of Neurosis was born of our sweat and blood. Don't fucking forget it. When all of your heroes turn to mainstream shit, we'll still be standing because we refuse to lose. Okay?

How is your relationship with Relapse?

It is still good. They are far and away the best label we have ever been on and except for Lookout, the only one that hasn't tried to rip us off.

What are your views on the music business?

I think that all business is fucked. That is the nature of it. The sooner that you recognizee that, the easier it is to exist in that world. We have always struggled with the business aspects of what we do. You have to be a pitbull in the business world or someone will take advantage of your idealistic attitude, and believe me nothing hurts quite as much as the first time.

Who are you voting for in the November election, and why?

I am undecided. I think that they are full of shit. However because of the Supreme Court situation, I'll probably vote against Bush. My traditional write-in vote is and always will be Sonny Barger because he would take care of business and has integrity and honor that is unsurpassed.

Are you ever worried that your heads might explode during a performance?

Honestly, yes.

Any upcoming plans for a tour?

We are playing the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on November 5. Other than that, none right now.

Future plans in general?

We are recording another full length in december with Steve Albini. It will be out next year. Steve has just released a solo CD on Neurot Recordings. I am in the process of recording my own solo thing right now. It will be out next year.

We are putting out CDs by Zeni Geva, Final, Isis, Tarentel, and the Thrones. There will a couple of T.O.N projects coming soon as well 60 degrees and Adaptation for Survival (the insect project). Thanks for the interest in what we do. I hope that these answers are illuminating for you. If you have more questions we are always happy to tell you what the fuck is up.

Music ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org || October 17, 2000