Many of you might remember the Screaming Trees who released between '86 - '96 some good LP's, 12"'s and 7"'s and received a respectable reputation world-wide. Meanwhile, that's history and not the topic of this interview. After the end of the Trees, Van Connor founded VALIS , which are deeply rooted in the heavy psychedelic rock of the early 70's. Ok, the Trees also draw also a lot of inspiration from psychedelic music, but VALIS are much heavier and closer to early Hawkwind or Black Sabbath than Van Connor's old band. VALIS second album "Head Full Of Pills" is their second promising full-length album, and Small Stone seems to be the suitable label for their mulicoloured heavy sound. So, let's see what Van Connor is thinking about it....
Hello Van, would you describe VALIS as a psychedelic band?
Yes, that is definitly what we like to be called. Psych. Mood and mind altering attempted at every turn.
What various line up changes, if any, have VALIS undergone since it's formation?
When we started it was myself, Kurt from Tad and Dan from Mudhoney, along with my younger brother Patrick. We made a split cd with Patrick's other band, Kitty Kitty for Man's Ruin.For our first full length, "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" Dan had left the band and was replaced by former King Krab/Screaming Tree Drummer Sean Hollister. (Sean Toured alot with the Trees in Europe and the States but was never on any recordings). During the recording Wes (who was co-producing the cd) joined the band. After that cd Kurt left the band and moved to France. Then we picked up our old Ellensburg friend, Adrian Makins (he played in Kitty Kitty and several other bands). He has a bit different style then Kurt but can pull that off when it is needed. I think the current line up is about as far as you can go. We all are old friends and know each other so well that playing together comes easy. Easy to find that groove to bend the mind.
The latest VALIS latest album is entitled "Head Full Of Pills". After reading the lyrics of the same-titled song and listening again and again to this excellent release, I like to ask you if the entire album is meant as a tribute to psychoactive substances. Do you want to make any comments about psychedelic drugs?
"Head Full Of Pills" is kind of a double meaning. It says somthing about today's world, at least in America eveyone is on some kind of pill. You take a pill for everything. You go to the doctor, what can he do? Give you pills, thats it. I take like 10 different pills a day. I feel sad, take a pill, I feel stressed,take a pill, I want to have sex, take a pill, I want to sleep, take a pill. You see what I mean? But, about psych drugs, we have all used them. We do use them during recording at times. Different songs, different drugs. I must say they are not for everyone. I have a few friends who have destroyed thier minds. Use with caution. The great northwest has free drugs growing everywhere at certain times of the year ;)