Record Store Day is this Saturday!!! And in spirit of my favorite holiday (besides Thanksgiving and Christmas and St. Patricks Day and the 4th of July and New Years, respectfully), I went over to my favorite record store, Origami Vinyl to discuss this special day with the owner, Neil Schield. Luckily Neil has an affinity for the day as well and has made big plans. Those plans include an intimate evening performance by one of my favorite bands, Pink Mountaintops. PM has a brand-new album coming out at the end of the month and Stephen McBean, the guy behind the band, is kicking off the North American tour with the show. Read on as I chum the two up.
Stephen, how did you find Origami?
Stephen: I’m always on the look for record stores—for old and new records. I strike up friendships with people who are excited about music—vinyl especially.
Neil: You’ve been such a huge supporter, that’s why we asked you to play. He’s been coming in here for three years now. When did you move to LA?
S: Three or four years ago.
N: I saw him on the sidewalk and I recognized him from his band. I started talking to him and a little bit of a friendship started. He had mentioned that his new record was coming out later this year. On Record Store Day we usually have a couple of bands play, so I hit up his label JagJaguwar. And it just happened to work out with his schedule. We’ll actually launch the tour, which is super cool. The record comes out in a week and a half. It sets everything up for the store too ’cause we can talk about the record and get people hyped about it. I’ve been excited about it.
Tell me about the album.
S: I’ve been wanting to make a record for a bit and I met Joe Cardamone. He’s from this band, The Icarus Line. We started hanging out and we clicked. We like a lot of the same things. He kind of kicked my ass to get music out. He said, “Come record here. Do this. Do that.” I was just like, “Okay!” Two weeks later we were recording and we got to play with a lot of people—a lot of friends from here. For this record, I really wanted a band that had all of the same people on every track. And there were surprises, like Annie Hardy from Giant Drag rapped on it. That was so cool. J Mascis came and played a few guitar solos on it. I was just sitting next to him on the couch and was like, “Do you want to know the cords?” He’s like, “No.” He just did it. It was kind of surreal. This record was fun—sometimes they’re stressful.
How long did it take?
S: Probably like a couple of weeks. It was pretty quick.
N: Is this the first LA Pink Mountaintops record?
N: Has that had an effect on your sound?
S: Yeah, I think so. Just with the history of music here. I never planned on moving here. I wanted to move to California when I was a punk skater kid. But I kind of moved here by accidental love.
N: Oh yeah. I remember having that conversation.
S: But yeah, there’s such a history of making music here—from rock to punk to hip hop. And in the studios, there’s still art up from way back. People always shit on LA, but then everyone’s moving here. It’s just too expensive to live in the rest of the world. And the weather … I was in my hometown and some skater kid was like, “LA. Why the fuck did you move there?” I was like, “Dude. You’re a skateboarder. Tony Alva. Empty pools.” But yeah, there’s a great creative thing here. There are a lot of people who do art and music and who are creative and supportive. And a lot of them are really good at it.
N: There are a lot of people doing shit instead of just saying that they’re going to do shit.
S: Yeah. In Canada if someone says, “I’m an actor.” I’m like, “Yeah right. No shit.” Then if I meet someone here, I’ll see him on a real TV show and he’ll also be in some band. I’m like, “Oh! No shit.” I mean, it takes a while to figure out the city. There’s the desert, which is very good and calming for your soul. Then you can go out there in the ocean and there are the hills for hiking. You can go drink where Bukowski got drunk.
Some trailer park?
S: I like it here too because there are weird things like the Hollywood Forever Cemetary—nowhere else will someone call you and invite you to the cemetery to watch movies. And it’s not a city that seems intent on destroying the past, like the architecture and old buildings and restaurants. That’s why I like Burbanke, where I recorded park of the album, on Magnolia. You go in there and there are the old photos and they still have the photo of Berretta up there. Even though he’s a murderer. It’s cool. I like that. It’s like records, they’re trying to push a new format on everyone. But they work. They’re fun to hold. They sound good with all the little pops and scratches are part of the character.
So where are you going on the tour?
S: North America first, we’ll start in Dallas. Europe in June and September. I think we’re playing Fuck Yeah Fest—as much as I can do.
Who’s touring with you?
S: It’s mostly people from the record. A couple of people couldn’t make it. Gregg Foreman, Steve Kelley, no Mascis on guitar. Maybe if we play in Boston. We played Boston once and he joined us in a song. He just stood in the back. Some kid was like, “Who’s that old-looking guy?” I was like, “Oh, don’t worry about it.”
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR:
4.30 Gas Monkey Bar & Grill – Dallas, TX
5.1 Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
5.2 Austin Pysch Festival – Austin, TX
5.6 Low Spirits – Albuquerque, NM
5.7 Club Congress – Tucson, AZ
5.8 The Western – Scottsdale, AZ
5.19 The Crepe Place – Santa Cruz, CA
5.22 Harpo’s Upstairs Cabaret – Victoria, BC
5.23 The Fox – Vancouver, BC
5.25 Sasquatch Music Festival – George, WA
5.26 Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
5.28 The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
5.29 Casbah – San Diego, CA
5.30 The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
7.13 RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfed – Ottawa, ON
Origami will be open from 8am until 10pm on Saturday. Here’s what else Neil has planned:
The first person in line will have 5 minutes to shop all by themselves! The first 50 people will receive a free tote bag with some random goodies (records! posters! t-shirts!). Their buds at Masa will be offering 10% off to anyone who shows their Origami receipt that day!
Last, and most importantly: They’ll be giving away two RPM Nick Cave figurines with two pairs of tickets for the show in July!
8am – Mukta Mohan (KXLU)
9am – Anne Litt (KCRW)
10am – Mike Clemenza (Blah Blah Blah Science)
11am – Sodapop (Anticon)
12pm – Bennett Kogon (KXLU/FYF Fest)
1pm – Kat Corbett (KROQ)
2pm – Rodrigo Amarante
3pm – Buzzbands
4pm – Clifton aka DJ Soft Touch (Funky Sole)
Then live performances from:
7pm – Juan Wauters
8pm – Pink Mountaintops to top it all off