SXSW Stories: Psychedelic Guitarsmith Imaad Wasif Remembers Alex Chilton
If you shut your eyes while on the back patio of Austin's Beauty Bar Annex, you may just think you're back home in Los Angeles. The weather is crisp and sunny, and familiar faces form L.A.'s music scene mingle between the set curated by Spaceland Productions.
Drew Tewksbury Imaad Wassif has a lot on his mind
The stunning Noelle Scaggs from nouveax soulsters Fitz & the Tantrums taps her foot while watching retro-popster V.V. Brown shimmying onstage in a Grace-Jones kinda getup. Spaceland impresario Mitchell Frank chats with industry types, and out here on the porch, psychedelic desert rocker, Imaad Wasif has just finished an incendiary set.
A young journalist has cornered him, asking him about watching Where the Wild Things Are (he helped Karen O produce the soundtrack), then asks about his influences.
When he's finished, we catch up since the last time we spoke, and discuss Wassif's interactions with the late Big Star frontman Alex Chilton.
[Full interview, after the jump.]
So, what's up with the apple?
Some interviewer brought me an apple. She said I should eat or something. She wanted to feed me.
She also had a tape recorder with an actual tape too, that's impressive.
Yeah it's cute.
How many shows are you playing today?
I'm playing four, it's the most shows I've played in one day ever. Before two was the max. This is my fourth SXSW. I'm not doing any solo performances today, we're doing all full band set ups.
What are you working on right now?
Still touring off The Voidist, working on new material. About to go on tour with Dead Meadow.
Anything else with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?
I guess i will be doing some acoustic performances with them in a couple months, but no records at the time.
I've played four. One of them I actually got to play with Big Star, so I am so upset about his death yesterday. I heard that they were supposed to play again this year too.
Tell me about that show.
He was incredible. He was dressed as a kindergarten teacher. He had a members only jacket, kakhi pants and a blue oxford shirt. He was so gracious, and I tried to introduce myself. He was so quiet, then he got on stage and played these incredible reditions of Big Star songs. I was singing a long to every song.