August 2004 - BABY WOODROSE
The latest release "Money For Soul" from Denmark's BABY WOODROSE was one of the albums in 2003, not only because it received worldwide the best response - no, it's still an excellent album with more than just two or three great songs. It's psychedelic-tinged 60's garage rock at it's highest peak, fronted by the charismatic and passionate vocals of guitarist Lorenzo Woodrose, who was formerly the drummer of Danish heavy psych rock masters On Trial. Now it's 2004, and BABY WOODROSE have released a new album, entitled "Dropout!" that doesn't contain new self-penned material but a tasteful collection of cover songs from unknown and well-known 60's and 70's groups. And you can be sure, that this isn't just one of those boring cover albums, where you may ask yourself what's the sense behind it all. I talked with BABY WOODROSE mastermind Lorenzo about this release (of course!), and more interesting things like the life of a dropout, his other musical projects, Roky Erickson and more. So, join the dropout boogie!
Hello Lorenzo! To shorten the wait until the third Baby Woodrose studio album, you decided to release a new one that includes only cover versions from bands/musicians that have been an influence for the band. When have you recorded the tracks for the album, entitled "Dropout!" and tell us more about the intention to play covers!?
Well, four of them were recorded when we did "Money For Soul" and originally we were only supposed to record two more to make some kind of EP, but then it escalated and we ended up having 10 songs and more than 30 minutes. We think it's a nice thing to take up a few covers for our live show now and then, so we don't always have to play the same set. It's very important to us now that we play all the time.
You have chosen a very tasteful selection of songs. There are less-known bands to find, and I'm really glad that you have done more unknown tracks of the well-known bands (The Saints, The Stooges etc.), instead of the next superfluous version of "1969" or "(I'm) Stranded". Have you thought about this point or was the selection more done by chance?
Yes, that was very deliberate. Also - for example the song we picked by The Elevators is probably the most obscure recording of any song they've done, only available as a bonus track on a recent "Easter" CD reissue and the song we picked by Lollipop Shoppe was only released originally on a very rare biker movie soundtrack LP.
The Elevators track is one of my faves of "Dropout!". I found this rare cut on an Elevators bootleg and I'm really glad that you haven't taken "You're gonna miss me". I love the original, but it has been covered by far too many bands. Somewhere I noticed that you have met Roky Erickson a few years ago. Wherte have you met him and how was your impression of this underrated genius?
We were in Austin for the SouthBySouthWest convention. Someone told us that Roky would be at some café doing some kind of fundraiser for his trustfund, signing autographs and things like that. We had some free time that day, so we went and said hello. He didn't seem quite comfortable with the situation, lots of people wanting to take his picture, but I got to exchange a few words with him. He seems to be doing alright though.
The "dropout-theme" is not only to find in the album, but also in the lyrics of the included songs. That's something I really like, because deep in my heart I can relate to this theme. How about you, do you feel like a dropout?
Yes, I'm a professional dropout. I blow minds for a living!
When did you discover that you're a dropout and what does this term means to you?
I guess when I realized I didn't really want to do anything else than make music. I've had many different kinds of jobs, but now I'm in a position where I can actually make a living doing the only thing I love to do. When I was younger I felt very disillusioned with the whole thing.
Another positive aspect about the album is that every song sounds like a Baby Woodrose song. How do you think about it?
Yeah, we tried to arrange them in a personal way and add a little bit of ourselves. Also, we didn't pick songs that we didn't think sounded like BW songs in the first place. Also sometimes with these old obscure songs, it's quite difficult to get the real lyrics, so sometimes I've just written my own instead of some blabla that sounds like the original.
You started Baby Woodrose as a solo project. After the release of the debut "Blows Your Mind" Baby Woodrose became a real band. What was the reason for it?
I wanted to front my own band and a lot of people were interested in hearing the songs live it seemed.
I was surprised when I noticed that you have left On Trial! Why and are you still in contact with the band?
Why? After 17 years it's quite hard to keep being creative with the same group of people. There has always been musical differences in On Trial, so it wasn't really that - only it got harder to make new music. We still share a rehearsal space and there is still a lot of friendship within the two bands.
Due to this positive circumstances have you ever thought about a Baby Woodrose/On Trial tour?
You never know!
The last Baby Woodrose album "Money For Soul" earned very good critics worldwide and I guess that Bad Afro Records have sold a lot of copies. Was it a surprise for you and are you satisfied with the sales?
Oh yeah! Very satisfied! It was a very big surprise to me. I expected it to sell 500 copies actually.
The sales were so good, that Molten Records put a sticker on the last On Trial album on which one can read "featuring the drummer of Baby Woodrose". How do you feel about it?
Yeah, I laughed a lot when I saw that. That's pretty stupid actually. Most of the Baby Woodrose sale is in Denmark, where On Trial has quite a legendary status and the more mainstream audience buying Baby Woodrose wouldn't know what to do with an On Trial record anyway.
Apart of Baby Woodrose you have recorded tons of material during the last decade, and some of this stuff has been released under the name Pandemonica. Is it possible that you will release more Pandemonica material in the future or have you planned other musical projects?
There is one half album sideproject that I need to finish sometime, but other things are more important right now. I don't think there will be more of the old demos released, BUT you never know. Actually, I just gave a lot of old tapes and CD's to a near friend who is also a fan of my music and asked him to find out if anything was worthy of release.
What kind of music do you have recorded on this tapes and cd's? Is it comparable with the Pandemonica recordings?
Lots of different stuff, from spacy soundscapes to psychedelic neo folk. Very much like the Pandemonica LP's, yes.
It seems to me, as if you're playing music 24 hours a day!?
Not at all, actually most of the time I'm REALLY lazy. The last few years have been quite eventful. Touring, recording, interviews, doing promowork, sending this, mailing that. I've found it quite hard to find time to do what I like most - writing songs.
Although "Money For Soul" had good sales, I guess you can't make a living from this money. I hope you have something like an enjoyable job!?
As I said, I'm a professional dropout and I'm really enjoying it.
When did you discover your soulful charismatic voice?
Hmmm, dunno really. It did take some time to develop. I guess I started using it a bit late. I think the first time a friend told me it sounded good was when I discovered it.
You're not only a skilled drummer, but a talented guitarist, too. What was the instrument you've started with, and don't you miss playing drums in Baby Woodrose?
I started out playing drums - but quickly started learning a few chords on the guitar and wrote my first songs quite early. No, I don't miss playing drums at all.
At the beginning of this year when we met at the Baby Woodrose show in Dortmund, we talked about the Danish music scene, and I can remember that you mentioned a lot of unknown 60's/Heavy-Psych groups. Which bands can you recommend to the readers?
Ah, let me see. Most of the great bands wrote and sang Danish lyrics, so it might be of a rather doubtful interest to people from other countries. I would mention prog/psych bands like Alrune Rod, Day Of Phoenix, Culpepers Orchard, Furekaaben, Moses, Fleur De Lis, Young Flowers. Garage/beat bands like Stoke Sect (best Danish garageband!), Peter Belli & Les Rivals early stuff and The Beefeaters just to name a few. None of these are heavy as such, but still great. Look out for the Qualisound and Spectator labels. That's some obscure stuff!
A few years ago I've written a review about the Moses album for the '60's/70's Roots' section in this webzine, and it's one og my favourite Danish records from the early '70's. Great stuff! Are you an enthusiastic record collector?
Yes, I collect mostly american psych, folk and xian original LP's but I have a little bit of the Danish stuff too. I have a nice collection I think. Most of that stuff is very expensive now. Most of my collection is 10-15 years old - back when you could still find a lot of stuff at fair prices. Actually the one thing I love most to collect is my own records! I might actually be the only person in the world who's got a complete collection now that there's so much different stuff. Promo's, testpresses, ltd ed., singles. I've got it all! :)
When can we expect the follow-up to the excellent "Money For Soul" album, and what can we expect?
Hopefully we will get a single out in the spring and the album in the fall next year. We've just started arranging the songs and getting them ready for recording. I don't know what direction we're going for yet. Some songs are more in the vein of the first album, some sound more like folky acoustic psych tracks.
It will be released on Bad Afro Records?
It's really too early for me to say. We've had some offers we're still thinking about.
We reached the end of the interview! Thanks for your interest and hope to see ya very soon here in Germany again. If there's anything you like to say at least feel free!
Hope to see you soon!