This interview with Bon Lozaga was conducted by e-mail in January 1997 shortly after the release of Bon's "To The Bone" and Gongzilla's "Thrive".
"To The Bone" is a quite different album to
your debut release, "Full Circle (Coming Home)" from 1993. I would
say it has much more of a 'live' sound and feel, and is based more on
the interplay between the three of you?
Yes, we feel that the new Bon is much more band-oriented and there is definitely more interplay between us. Where as all of the material from the first release was very old, this one had compositions that were created in the studio hence "On The Spot". We also have been playing quite a bit together now and some of the songs were performed live at shows before we recorded them. As far as being better, I feel that the first album has its place and this one will too since we are constantly moving on and trying create new things. I like them both for what they are. The first album was more composition-oriented and the second more playing-oriented.
David Torn guests on both the Bon and Gongzilla
albums. How did this collaboration come about? Do you have other
projects together in which he would possibly be more involved
David Torn is someone that we have wanted to work with for a while. I have known him for 2 years and we talked of doing shows together (Gongzilla & Polytown). We really like his style and musical direction but he is also a great human being. We met at a show in N.Y. and have been in contact ever since. I really enjoy his looping thing and asked him to add this to the BON record. Afterwards he did the Gongzilla tracks with us. As far as working together on other projects in the future, that is always a possibility. We also have mutual friends that live near him and I always stop by when I am in that area.
There have been changes in Gongzilla too, with
the arrival of Gary Husband as "full-time" drummer and, apparently,
Benoit [Moerlen] taking a step backwards as he didn't compose for
"Thrive" and is generally less heard than on "Suffer"... What is the
current position of Gongzilla?
Gary Husband joined us for "Thrive" and we all really hit if off. We will definitely be playing together and he is considered to be THE drummer for Gongzilla. The next record will probably feature some of his compositions. We were going to do some of his stuff on "Thrive" but just ran out of time. Actually, Hanny had played with him and Holdsworth right after Allan left UK. Benoit, unfortunately had other commitments when we recorded "Thrive" and was less involved on this release. We really enjoy his writing and hope to have more of his stuff on the next release also. He is thinking about moving to Canada where Hanny lives and this would help our band situation greatly. He still is a very important member of Gongzilla.
Again, I would compare "Thrive" to "Suffer" by
saying it has more of a 'jamming' feel, and I would be tempted to say
that, to my ears, it sounds more "American"... Do you agree
I feel that some of the stuff on "Thrive" is much harder-edged and darker. It may sound more "American" but you have to realize that each release is just a statement of ourselves at that point in time. Our next one may be totally different! I feel some of the material has more of a "tripping, spacey, sound" akin to early GONG. I also really enjoy the European flavor that we have produced in the past and maybe the next release with more involvement from Benoit will show it.
A new element in Gongzilla's music on "Thrive"
is Hanny's vocals on a couple of tracks. Do you think they fit in
well with the music, and do you plan to use vocals more extensively
within the context of Gongzilla in the future?
We have always enjoyed vocal material and singers. The voice is a beautiful instrument. We don't write with that in mind, we just create songs and if they happen to have vocals they do, and if not,they don't! The next release will probably have vocal songs on it if we are satisfied with the material. I am currently in the studio now recording the new PROJECT LO with Happy Rhodes singing several songs. I did it because I personally enjoy her music and singing. This is why we play with the people we do (Torn, Percy Jones, Bobby Thomas, etc), because of their talent and ability to add their special "voice" to our compostions.
The tour that was supposed to happen in late
1995 to promote "Suffer" was unfortunately cancelled. Will there be
one this time? Do you already have some details?
Benoit, Gary, Hanny, and myself are committed to Gongzilla. We will be touring this year. I play a lot with Bon because we all live over here and it is easier to put things together, and because of it we have created a fan base for ourselves, but you will see a lot more of Gongzilla this year! Gongzilla should be in Europe in early spring and then we will tour the states. These will be some SPECIAL shows with guests (more on that later).
(c) 1997 Calyx - The Canterbury Website