Wealthy Beggar

When you're making a list of the most promising Dutch bands of the moment, you simply can't ignore Wealthy Beggar. This band from the South of Holland recently released its great debut album 'Roxxx in the Disco', which immediately caused some commotion because of the 'violent' video for the first single 'Reminder'. MusicRemedy spoke to co-founder Tom Sikkers (guitar, MR) and bass player Niels 'Neelz' Verwey about the band, the music climate in Holland and Wealthy Beggar's debut album.

MR: When I listen to 'Roxxx in the Disco', I hear quite some different styles. Are there certain requirements a Wealthy Beggar-song has to contain?
Neelz: "Off course the songs have to contain certain requirements, but it's not like 'now we're gonna make a country song or now we're gonna do a rock song'. A song comes the way it comes, and then we're gonna look with the band how we can develop it qua arrangements, vibe and sphere. That's the way a Wealthy Beggar-song develops."

MR: Do all five of you come up with ideas for songs?
Neelz: "No, in the band we have two people, Tom and Derrick (Skyvan, singer, MR) who deliver the backbone of the songs. When that's done we're finishing them with the complete band."

MR: Which bands inspire you?
Tom: "Usually bands with a self-willed sound. Bands you recognize immediately when you hear the first tones of their songs. We also appreciate bands that can prove their selves on stage. Anyway, originality is very important in pop music. A lot of people say you can't find originality in today's pop music, but I don't agree on that one."

MR: Can you give us some names of bands that inspire you?
Tom: "Well, a while ago we played together with Serafin, a cool new band from England. They recorded an album together with David Sardy, the producer of Soulwax. I think that really is an interesting new band."
Neelz: "An other band that inspires us is Soulwax. They always search for creative solutions within their music. Creativity and artistry is very important, just as credibility. We think a band has to be credible, they must go for it for 300 percent and stand behind their music for 300 percent."

MR: When I listen to your album, I keep thinking about Millionaire all the time, because they use quite some different styles too.
Neelz: "I can believe that. We played with them once. That was awesome. You can say Millionaire's also one of those bands we just talked about."
Tom: "We like quite some Belgian bands."
Neelz: "Yes, that's kinda striking. There are a lot of Belgian bands we like to listen to."
Tom: "We have a Belgian drummer in our band who comes from that scene, and we live in Brabant, Tilburg ourselves, which is close to the border. So we have quite a good connection with Belgium, and music wise that's also the case obviously."

MR: There's at the moment a lot happening qua alternative bands in Belgium, isn't it?
Tom: "Yeah, there sure is. It all began with k's Choice and dEUS. Since those two bands there's been a spotlight on Belgium. I hope the Dutch scene will also start realising we have a lot of great bands, because they really earn it to get some attention. And like I just said, Holland should be a bit more proud and chauvinistic. All the radio stations are playing the same music, so it's almost impossible as a reader or listener to come in contact with the more interesting music styles."

MR: So you really have to get it from Kink FM (Dutch alternative radio station, MR) and 3 voor 12 (Dutch music site, MR)?
Tom: "Yes, from those sorts of stations. They still have their hearts in the right place qua music. I mean, there probably walk around some people at 3 FM (Dutch popular radio station, MR) who love good music, like Rob Stenders, who has a great taste for music. But those people are tied-up because they have to play whatever their superiors tell them. And those superiors are being navigated by the music industry, you know? The big ones always win. It's a shame that in the end everything has to do with money. That's not too frustrating for us, because we have nothing to complain, but it has to do with the total music industry in Holland. Dutch bands that didn't break through yet really should get some more attention."

MR: What do you think about all those English hypes, like Franz Ferdinand?
Tom: "Well, I love that band, but that's not the deal. In England they create a whole hype around those sorts of bands. Probably there's a better music climate in England. But I think there's a big disadvantage at being hyped. Those bands are being lifted sky high immediately, so in the future they can only fall deeper."

MR: So it's a good thing you have to fight for your success in Holland?
Tom: "Yes, it's a fact it has its advantages. I don't think it's bad to slowly win some souls with Wealthy Beggar."
Neelz: "But that's also our style. We wouldn't want be the hype of Holland suddenly."
Tom: "If we wanted to become a hype, we would have chosen for an other music label."

MR: When I listen to your album I hear all sorts of different styles, but you never go really extreme in my opinion. The songs are all around the four minutes, and they are very easy to listen to. Did you feel a certain brake when you wrote the songs?
Neelz: "We really chose to write a song record. You're right about that. We like to do something really different every few months. With this album it's obvious we chose to write 'normal' songs. When you see us live you can see our more experimental site."
Tom: "When you approach 'Roxxx in the Disco' as a song album, a song like 'Single' doesn't really fit because of its strange structure. I know what you mean, but as a band you always pick the songs that fit the best with each other. That's why an album always leaves a certain vibe. But Wealthy Beggar doesn't completely avoid the experiment."
Neelz: "No, a head and a tail aren't holy, you know? At the moment we're busy writing some new stuff, and one new song really has a different sort of structure. I really like this way of writing a song. It's kind of handicraft versus intuition. Handicraft in the sense of writing a good song, and intuition in the sense of letting the things come as they come."

MR: When you wrote the album, did you had in mind not a lot of people know you, so you had to write shorter songs to be played at the radio?
Tom: "No, not consciously. I think we became more conscious of how the music industry works because we're at a record company, but I don't think that worked through in our songs."
Neelz: "No, we absolutely didn't have any commercial arguments to make the album sound as it is right now."

MR: You weren't thinking in the way of 'this album is an acquaintance with Wealthy Beggar, but at the next album we'll go a different way'?
Neelz: "No, not at all. This is just the Wealthy Beggar of this moment. We're a band that's ready to evolve. And that's really going to happen, so I can't assure our next record will be a song album too. I really believe an album is a snapshot. I think it's in a way the same thing as a company that's making up a balance. This record fits with us now, we've given everything to make it the way it is now. When I listen to it in forty years I still want to love it and still be able to pick up that vibe we had right then. But I don't think we could make the same sort of album in forty years. There's a lot of chemistry in the band, so it's all very interesting. Off course it's a sort of passion we feel, and we're very happy we've collected the right group of people around us. We understand each other musical wise and personally very well. That's just amazing. So it can go in all different directions in the future."
Tom: "We like to do everything ourselves. We can do that because we're experienced and able to record an album without any help. Off course we've had some help for the more specialized things like the use of plug-ins and things on the computer. But in principle it really is our product, and the record company gave us enough space to do it our way. I think it all went really well. This was the first time for us. I think it will go the same way in the future, but more extensively."

MR: Does the record company really say to you: "Here is your money, go with it to the studio and see what you'll do with it."?
Neelz: "Yes, that's kinda the way it went, but off course we estimate the amount of money in advance. We do have some plans before we start, like we wanted to record a part of the album at home. To realize that we needed some extra stuff, so we estimated it all, and Pias (Wealthy Beggar?s record company, MR) gave us a certain amount of money. But yes, that's about the way it goes."

MR: So you have the freedom to do what you want to do?
Neelz: "Yes, it really was a pretty amazing story. At a certain moment we recorded some demos with a total of twenty songs. Pias picked sixteen of those songs, so we told them what we needed to make a good record. After some long talking they just said yes to it, which we almost couldn't believe!"

MR: A while ago I talked to Dreadlock Pussy, an other Dutch band. They talked about the bad economy in Holland, and the fact that everybody's downloading their music. Do you also deal with those kinds of problems?
Tom: "At the moment we can't tell much about that, because our album is released only recently. But in it's entirety we also know there's being downloaded a lot. You find the action 'artists against copying', with for example Ilse de Lange (Dutch female singer, MR) in every music magazine. Those people, who make music on a higher level and sell way more records than us, have to deal with it a lot. It's just not very healthy for the music industry. On the other hand you can say artists have to become more creative to sell their albums, so it does have its advantages too."
Neelz: "I think the music industry will heal itself, but a huge problem is the fact that artists from our league get lower budget to create something. And that's a shame because it's really hard for some bands to raise above their own subculture. Record companies just sign less and less bands, and search for all kinds of strange constructions to keep signing bands. As a band you have to invest a lot of time and energy to keep going on. But at a certain moment you just can't go on because you have to keep eating and living."
Tom: "It sounds very dramatic, but it's just a shame that record companies don't invest a lot of money anymore in the smaller bands. Besides that I think the cd in general has lost its value. In the early days you could tape albums on cassette, but everyone wanted 'the real thing' so they bought the original records. Nowadays you can make an exact copy of the original without losing any quality. Who can blame the people that do that kind of stuff? Besides that it's legal according to the penal code. You're allowed to make one or two copies for your own use. But this discussion between musicians, programmers and the whole music industry is going on for a long time now, but what can we do about it? Nobody knows the answer. Within five years we will see the impact it has had."

WB: Every time I read a review about 'Roxxx in the Disco' I see the same clich?s, like your 'American sound' and how 'un-Dutch good' you are. Don't you get sicking tired of that?
Neelz: "Well, sicking tired... It sure is striking. When we're reading a review together and we see that 'un-Dutch good' again, we sure laugh about it."
Tom: "Or that we 'don't avoid the experiment'. Besides that I must say a few reviews are amazing and written well too. But sometimes it looks like they read some other reviews, listened to the album once and wrote their review."
Neelz: "I think it's just a shame, because we're just a Dutch band. We don't want to sound like an American band at all."
Tom: "We just sound the way we wanna sound. If some people think we sound like an American band that's fine by me."

MR: Besides that I don't really get that term 'un-Dutch good'. Like Dutch bands aren't very good in common.
Tom: "Exactly, but that's the attitude of Dutchmen in common, a bit too sober."
Neelz: "But it's a deadly shame, un-Dutch good... There are fucking many great bands in Holland. I know a lot of bands who really are the bomb."
Tom: "This way you create an atmosphere where everybody thinks you should compare Dutch bands with each other instead of comparing them at a normal level. All music is beautiful and all music is valuable. Can't they look at it in a broader way? Way does it have to be defined geographically? I think that's a shame. I do think it's cool to know which nationality a band has so you know something about its cultural background, but that's all. In Holland they we do have such an atmosphere. I think that has to be changed."

MR: MTV and TMF (Dutch music broadcaster, MR) don't play your video for 'Reminder' because they think there's too much violence in it. Doesn't this whole occurrence only delivered you more publicity?
Neelz: "Well, I'll be honest with you. We're very happy with the publicity we've got thus far. A lot of people have heard about Wealthy Beggar and 'Reminder' without having seen the video. But we do think it's a pity the video hasn't got any airplay, because it still is an artistic product. We're very happy The Box (Dutch music broadcaster, MR) does send it out, and you can watch it peer to peer at 3 voor 12, which a lot of people do. You won't hear us complain about publicity, absolutely not. But it still is a shame, because we worked really hard at it."

MR: I think it's a nice video. I don't really get the fuss.
Tom: "We hear that all the time. When 50 percent of the population didn't understand the video it would be something else."
Neelz: "But it's something completely different, you know? Take a look at TMF and MTV. All you see are those pathetic R&B videos or those programmes like Flam Bam..."

MR: Viva la Bam?
Neelz: "Yes, Viva la Bam. In that program happen a lot of strange things too, doesn't it? I don't understand why those people always have to be that difficult."

MR: I also have a question about one of your songs. Did you get the beginning of 'Wonderful Thing' from Foo Fighter's 'Break Out'?
Tom: "No, I've heard that question once before. I listened t it myself to see what they meant, but it's just a very typical guitar lick. In fact it's just a country lick. That song just developed that way."

MR: What can we expect of Wealthy Beggar this summer? Are you gonna do a lot of festivals?
Neelz: "First we're gonna do some early festivals. The release of 'Reminder' must become our 'ticket to ride' for the bigger festivals, especially the summer festivals. We just want to play a lot."

MR: Did you already receive your invitation to Lowlands (big Dutch music festival, MR)?
Tom: "No, we haven't received it yet, but off course we hope for it."
Neelz: "I hope we'll play at Lowlands. It would be really cool. But as a band you have to be really careful with that kind of things. We can say to everyone we're gonna play at Lowlands, but we'll just wait and see. We do have some good hope at it. But besides Lowlands there are a lot of other great festivals where we would like to play. We're just looking forward to it. We're touring right now which we like a lot."

MR: I saw you're playing every weekend at the moment.
Neelz: "Yes, we play about four times per week."
Tom: "But besides that there happen a lot of other nice things, like an item for MTV recently. Most of the times we hear about those kinds of things about a week in advance."

MR: Do you still have the time to tour that much?
Tom: "Yeah, sure, we have the time. You'll just have to be willing to give up a lot of things. The one has to give up more than the other. For example, I'm able to work a lot in the evening, while others have to call off their work sometimes. But we're all very flexible. We've arranged our lives in such a way this all is possible."

MR: So you're ready to break through?
Neelz: "Well, breaking through... I think that's a bit a strange term. But we're ready to attain more people."
Tom: "So we're ready for the bigger things and to play together more. We're absolutely ready for that now."
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My Favorite

My Favorite (NY's indie new wave darlings on Double Agent Records) is back with a double CD that compiles previous EPs, a new EP, and many remixes. Todd E. Jones talks to Michael Grace Jr., the leader of My Favorite.

Growing up in the 80's, there was a love of depression and depressing music. The Cure, Morrisssey, Bauhaus and Siouxsie & The Banshees were the depressing new wave or gothic music which had a moody, depressing quality that affected many young people growing up. While many contemporary bands either play with the genre ("Boys & Girls" by Blur") or completely use their style, there are some artists who use the influences but add a modern feeling and a personal approach. My Favorite is a group from New York that has strong influences from these new wave and goth bands but also have a signature sound and style that is unique and contemporary. Lead by confessed Suedehead and failed painter, Michael Grace Jr., My Favorite is truly an incredible band that uses both male and female vocals, rock guitars, and atmospheric keyboard arrangements. The songs have magnificent characters who are depressed, drug addicted, in hospitals, or naked. Along with the amazing voice and keyboard melodies of Andrea Vaughn, the unique vocal styles make My Favorite unlike any other band. In the early days, My Favorite was interviewed by Peter Green (of Class), who at the time, ran a Telescopes fanzine called "Splashdown". Eventually, Peter Green formed Double Agent Records and signed both My Favorite and The Telescopes. My Favorite's debut album "Love At Absolute Zero" had an upbeat sound filled with strong guitars, spacey keyboard sounds, and David Bowie influences. Songs like "Absolute Beginners Again", "Absolute Zero", "Between Cafes", and "Modulate" were addictive. On a tribute to the 80's (released by Double Agent Records), My Favorite recorded and released a cover of "Modern Love" by David Bowie. The love of My Favorite spread and soon, the group began to release EPs. 3 EPs later ("Joan Of Arc Awating Trial", "A Cult Of One", and "The Kids Are All Wrong"), people began yearning for a full-length LP. Finally, Double Agent Records released the double CD, "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives", that compiled the 3 EPs and an un-released EP. The second disc compiles a bunch of remixes from Flowchart, Phofo, Alexander Perls, Double Agent and more. "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives: The Complete Joan Of Arc Tapes" is nothing short of a masterpiece of moody depression, atmospheric keyboard melodies, dancing, nuclear war, and strange love. The song "Burning Hearts" is a heartbreaking tale of two lovers in Hiroshima, saying goodbye as the bomb explodes. Other wonderful songs include "White Roses For Blue Girls", "The Suburbs Are Killing Us", and "Homeless Club Kids". The second CD of remixes breathes a whole new life to these already brilliant songs. On a depressing and rainy afternoon in February 2004, I had an in-depth conversation with Michael Grace Jr., the lead singer/songwriter behind My Favorite. We talked about relationships, depression, pills, music, Morrissey, Goths, and much more. As "The ghost of dead teenagers sing" to you while you dance, make My Favorite your favorite new band. Depression never sounded so good.

T.JONES: "What goes on?"
MY FAVORITE: "I am doing alright. I miss the summer but otherwise, I'm alright"

T.JONES: "Your new album 'The Happiest Days Of Our Lives' was recently released on Double Agent Records. Tell us about it."
MY FAVORITE: "It's a record compiling 3 limited EPs we did over the last couple years. It also includes 4 new songs and a bonus disc of remixes. It also has a bunch of photos and a letter written by the ghost of Joan of Arc."

T.JONES "Do you have a favorite song on the LP?"
MY FAVORITE: "The song 'Burning Hearts' is very sentimental to me because it's about letting go of one life and beginning a different one. 'Homeless Club Kids' is also somehow special."

T.JONES: "What song took you the longest to do? Why? The shortest? Why?"
MY FAVORITE: "'Homeless Club Kids' took a while to write. I remember many crossed out stanzas of lyrics in my notebook. Same thing with 'The Suburbs Are Killing Us'. The song 'The Happiest Days of My Life' was written pretty quickly and recorded pretty quickly."

T.JONES: "In the song 'Homeless Club Kids', the lyrics go 'The ghosts of dead teenagers sing to me while I am dancing'. Can you explain that a bit?"
MY FAVORITE: "With all due respect, I don't really explain lyrics so much. It's part of a story. Hopefully, it makes sense within the song as a whole. It's kind of a ghost story but works on a few levels. I like people to collaborate on meaning thus, I don't dictate it."

T.JONES: "Out of the remixes on the second CD, which one is your favorite?"
MY FAVORITE: "At first, I really liked Leisure Enthusiast's 'John Dark' because it was so different, sparsely electro and like something from a Hohn Hughes soundtrack. Over time, I've come to see that Phofo's 'Le Monster' mix is just brilliant."

T.JONES: "Did you ever want to remix any of the songs yourself? If so, what song? What would you have done to it?"
MY FAVORITE: "I did mildly remix "Badge", and it appears on disc one. I would have liked to take a crack at "Le Monster" too."

T.JONES: "Can you explain the name My Favorite?"
MY FAVORITE: "Our drummer came up with it. I think we were trying to show just how little we cared about rock n' roll tradition and have a name that was awkward and subversive. I'm not sure if we succeeded but it reinforces the sense of 'preciousness' and 'belonging' we felt about our favorite records."

T.JONES: "How did the band come together, meet, and eventually form?"
MY FAVORITE: "We were high school friends. We messed around for many years, fought poverty, depression, boredom and after some time off, decided to really work hard over the last 3 years."

T.JONES: "How did you come to sign to Double Agent Records?"
MY FAVORITE: "Peter Green (who is also in Class) was a fan. He did a fanzine called Splashdown back in the mid 90s for the band The Telescopes. He interviewed me for the fanzine. He seemed to believe in the music and have ideas for the future."

T.JONES: "Musically, who are some of your biggest influences? Lyrically?"
MY FAVORITE: "I grew up listening to WLIR/WDRE on Long Island, and going to new wave / alternative strip-mall discos in crappy towns on Long Island. I think it all stuck a bit. The Smiths were a band I cared about a lot. David Bowie changed my approach to music too."

T.JONES: "What do you think of Morrissey's music these days (after The Smiths until now)?"
MY FAVORITE: "'Viva Hate' was an interesting record, and I think fans were just so happy that he didn't off himself when the Smiths broke up. 'Last Night On Muadelin Street' might be my favorite Morrissey solo tracks of all time too. 'Viva hate' still has a little of that Morrissey innocence which we all lost after grunge. 'Your Arsenal' was a really good rock n' roll record, and 'Vauxhall & I' was probably the most grown-up satisfying solo record he made. The last 2 LPs, however, are really weak. I'm optimistic about the new one coming out this spring."

T.JONES: "What do you do for a living besides music?"
MY FAVORITE: "I teach art on the college level and do some boring administrative work for the college too. I'm writing a young adult mystery."

T.JONES: "Do you have a title for your book yet?"
MY FAVORITE: "It's a series ala the hardy boys called 'Lost Detectives: The Unsolvable Mysteries'."

T.JONES: "Who are some of your favorite painters?"
MY FAVORITE: "I've got ones I like for different centuries. 19th Century. I really like Manet, and Utrillo and Lautrec and Rodin. 20th Century? I really like De Chirico and Hopper and then, I like pop art despite itself. I like Warhol more because of the Factory. Then from the 80s, I really like Robert Longo and Victor Burgin."

T.JONES: "What is your favorite part of your live show?"
MY FAVORITE: "Getting drink tickets. (Laughs). No, really. When we are in phase with the audience and laughing in between songs, and crying during them. When it's out of control, but graceful like ballet. Those moments are rare but worth living for."

T.JONES: "How has your live show evolved?"
MY FAVORITE: "We've gotten to be better musicians, singers. The performance art aspect of what we do comes and goes. If I had the budget, the whole thing would go slightly like a theatre piece."

T.JONES: "What artist or musician would you like to collaborate with in the future?"
MY FAVORITE: "Well one can dream about doing a Christmas duet with David Bowie. I'd like to have Stuart Murdoch do a string arrangement. In return, I would play synth on a B & S record. This too though is a dream."

T.JONES: "What has been on your turntable or in your CD player recently?"
MY FAVORITE: "Recent Belle & Sebastian record, The Decemberists, Outkast, old Roxy Music records."

T.JONES: "There is a My Favorite comic book too. Can you explain that for us?"
MY FAVORITE: "The artist Dave Keirsh was a friend of mine. I think he's brilliant. I thought a collaboration would be fun. He's from Long Island so he gets the haunted yet boring nature of the place."

T.JONES: "Word Association. I am going to say the name of a group or an artist and you say the first word that pops into your head. If I said 'The Beatles', you may say 'John Lennon' or 'Revolution'. If I said, 'The Cure', you may say 'Black Hair' or 'Three Imaginary Boys'. Okay?"
T.JONES: "The Cure."
MY FAVORITE: "Lipstick."
T.JONES: "David Bowie."
T.JONES: "Sonic Youth."
MY FAVORITE: "Gehard Richter."
T.JONES: "Sex Pistols."
MY FAVORITE: "The Beatles."
T.JONES: "The Fall"
MY FAVORITE: "Manchester."
T.JONES: "Joy Division."
T.JONES: "Stone Roses."
MY FAVORITE: "Watery."
T.JONES: "The Telescopes."
MY FAVORITE: "Peter Green's money."
T.JONES: "Happy Mondays."
MY FAVORITE: "Pigeons."
T.JONES: "Blur."
T.JONES: "Close Lobsters."
MY FAVORITE: "Mix tape from 89."
T.JONES: "The Beautiful South."
MY FAVORITE: "Not The Housemartins."
T.JONES: "The Roots."
MY FAVORITE: "Ex member of My Favorite in the band."
T.JONES: "Felt."
MY FAVORITE: "Horribly Amazing."
T.JONES: "Severed Heads."
MY FAVORITE: "Seen T-shirts only."
T.JONES: "Mojave 3."
MY FAVORITE: "Tourism."
T.JONES: "Spiritualized."
MY FAVORITE: "I'm too sober."
T.JONES: "Richard Ashcroft (formally of The Verve)."
MY FAVORITE: "Not compelled towards a strong opinion."
T.JONES: "Beastie Boys."
MY FAVORITE: "Not part of the solution."
T.JONES: "George Bush."
MY FAVORITE: "Part of the problem, the biggest part."

T.JONES: "Favorite books?"
MY FAVORITE: "The Great Gatsby, Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner, Less Than Zero, and The Bible."

T.JONES: "Favorite films?"
MY FAVORITE: "Godard's 'Alphaville' & 'My Life To Live'. Bresson's 'The Devil', probably, and 'Diary of A country Priest'. 'Wings Of Desire'. 'Pretty In Pink'."

T.JONES: "Abortion. Pro-choice or pro-life?"
MY FAVORITE: "Pro-choice. Free-will is necessary to find one's goodness."

T.JONES: "Death penalty. For or against?"
MY FAVORITE: "Against, but killing with your own two hands in an alley when surrounded by skinheads, is probably justifiable."

T.JONES: "Where were you on the September 11th Terrorist Attack. How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected music?"
MY FAVORITE: "In my apartment in Queens, watching the news and getting ready for work. I drove straight to Long Island to see my partner at the time. I just felt numb. Part of me felt like we asked for it with the way we run this country. Another part of me was, obviously, just very sad. I'm not sure it has affected music. We are certainly not in a somber or reflective period in popular culture."

T.JONES: "What is the song writing process like? Do you come up with the music first or the lyrics?"
MY FAVORITE: "Music tends to come first because lyrics need to fit the rhythm of melodies. However, I'm always scribbling bits in notebooks waiting to use them."

T.JONES: "Is there a romance between you and Andrea?"
MY FAVORITE: "Not anymore, not for a while. But, we spent a good deal of time together when we were younger and we shared a relationship that was pretty important to both of us."

T.JONES: "Is it hard being in a band with her now?"
MY FAVORITE: "In the beginning, is was really difficult for the both of us. There were definitely moments when one or both of us wanted to give up but the band was formed out of the strength of 5 people's friendship and the bond of their youth. For me, I tried to honor that , and have that hold, even when the personal relationship between the two of us couldn't."

T.JONES: "What kind of child were you? Were you a good kid? A bad kid?"
MY FAVORITE: "I had a pretty strict Italian-Catholic upbringing. I kept mostly to myself, reading and drawing as a child. We lived on a very busy street, which my mother would not allow me to cross so my brother was my only friend. When I turned 13, I got into metal and sniffing glue. By the time I was 16, I was back to reading, moping and dreaming. That's when I started thinking about music as a way out."

T.JONES: "What was it like growing up in Long Island?"
MY FAVORITE: "Isolated. Uninspiring but strange and mysterious. I would find all these haunted spaces, troubling places. I'd find something beautiful in the condiminiums and strip malls. It was my world and for people who could see beyond it, it became the setting for a pretty moving identity crisis, and thus you find your clique."

T.JONES: "What is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?"
MY FAVORITE: "I'm not sure it was a mistake, but rather a part of my life. I would say depression, anxiety, fear definitely sapped me of confidence and aggression during the first part of our 'career'. I did not seize opportunities and I spent most of my time lying in bed dreading the future and fantasizing about it at the same time. During the last few years, the clouds have been parting. Now, so much more is possible."

T.JONES: "Were you on prescription medication for depression?"
MY FAVORITE: "No. I resisted it even after Doctors were pretty insistent. I felt like my mind, regardless how troubled, was all I could depend on, especially after my relationship fell apart. I'm not trying to be a martyr...for some people I think it is very helpful. But for me, punching a punching bag and taking out my old rosaries worked."

T.JONES: "In your music, there are many references to clubs and raves. Were you in the rave scene? Did you ever go to any raves or clubs? What is your opinion on both the rave scene and clubs in New York?"
MY FAVORITE: "I went to a decent amount of 'alternative' dance clubs in the 90's. Usually of the Wednesday night strip-mall variety. I went to a rave or two. I had high hopes for techno when it started. I thought it might reconnect us with some kind of futurist impulse but it basically became The Grateful dead gone midi."

T.JONES: "You sing some songs while other songs, Andrea sings. Some songs, you sing together. How do you choose?"
MY FAVORITE: "Certain characters really seem to call out for Andrea to sing. She has a certain empathy and emotion, but also a certain numbness that implies distance. She is really a unique vocalist. I tend to handle the more straight-up angst or bitter stuff. It's my forte. We usually sing together at some point in every song "

T.JONES: "What is music lacking these days?"
MY FAVORITE: "An idealogical distance from Corporate America. A level of content and passion and the fight to go with clever sytlistic approaches. The Strokes are a good pop band, Interpol is a good Goth band, but nothing more. The best bands are also important philosophically, emotionally, and even politically. The more control the taste-makers and the labels retain, the less the bands really have to say. It's like managing a super-model versus a writer. They're easier to handle."

T.JONES: "Drug of choice?"
MY FAVORITE: "Diet Coke is daily. Tea on most days. Cappucinos and beer on weekends. I once was a straight-edge Suede-head. Now, I'm just broke."

T.JONES: "What are some major misconceptions do you think people have of you?"
MY FAVORITE: "That I think being 'New wave' is cute. That I'm pretentious as opposed to just seriously damaged by thinking too much. That I won't accept a drink someone buys for me. I will."

T.JONES: "Do you want to be cremated or buried?"
MY FAVORITE: "Cremated. Most Catholics would not approve but if it was good enough for Joan, it's good enough for me."

T.JONES: "In your music, there are many references to Joan Of Arc? What is it about Joan Of Arc?"
MY FAVORITE: "Sex appeal."

T.JONES: "What song would you like to cover that you have not covered yet?"
MY FAVORITE: "'I Still Miss Someone' by Johnny Cash or 'Now My Heart is Full' by Morrissey."

T.JONES: "Are there any plans for solo albums?"
MY FAVORITE: "I like people to actually buy the records we have made before I indulge this idea. I am pretty fortunate that I feel like I can write my songs my way within this band. I think it's more likely Gilbert would release an acid jazz record.."

T.JONES: "What is in the future for My Favorite?"
MY FAVORITE: "Playing shows in the mid-Atlantic, the West coast, a festival in Sweden and hopefully, the UK. Recording a new record, staying sane and in God's good graces."

T.JONES: "What will the new record be like?"
MY FAVORITE: "All the songs are written, being rehearsed, and demo-ed. It's sort of a theme record based on Horror movies. Possibly titled 'Please Remember the Haunted Hearts'. A little more possessed by the margins. Blue Oyster Cult, Roxy Music. It will probably sound the same to everybody else. It's a little bit more of a art rock record."

T.JONES: "So, more guitars and less keyboards?"
MY FAVORITE: "No, just scarier versions of each."

T.JONES: "Any final words for the people reading this?"
MY FAVORITE: "Not really. Just listen to us. Listen to us like you watch the movies that matter most to you. Don't listen to a little keyboard line or moaned vocal and think we've lost our minds. There is a method to our madness and that method is love."

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