Club Bizarre "20 Questions" Interview with Terri Kennedy of Stone 588. February 1, 2002.
Mark W: Can you give us a run down on how the band came together?
Terri: Dave and I met in 1992 when a former drummer of his happened to visit the gothic retail store that I own, Ipso Facto, and convinced me to audition for their band that was reforming. That didn't occur, but Dave and I joined forces to create Stone 588, enlisting the services of Dave's friends, Jon and Jose. We've gone through a series of drummers and bassists since then. At the moment we don't have a drummer, but we have longtime bassist Eileen Bowe from Dichroic Mirror who also engineered our cd "Door in the Dragon's Throat."
Mark W:What have you band been up to lately? Recordings? Releases?
Terri: We just finished recording the song "The Enclosed Garden" for a romantic themed comp called "Kiss the Night" compiled by Tony Lestat of Wreckage for Cleopatra Records. We also submitted our cover of Christian Death's "Dreams for Mother" for a Rozz tribute being released this Spring by Rozznet. We hope to finish compiling, mastering and releasing the second Stone 588 disc by the end of 2002! Meanwhile I've been busy with a few side projects, notably some vocal tracks for Seichtum.
Mark W:Any gigs lately?
Terri: We played a few last year but the clubs were dismally attended. Sadly the L.A. scene is far more focused on dancing than hearing new music. The best shows were out of town because of the more professional sound set-up and appreciation.
Mark W:Any live performances in the planning?
Terri:Not at the moment. We're focusing on the new release.
Mark W:Has your sound developed further or adapted itself much since the projects formation?
Terri: Yes, we've come a long way from our punk rock roots. You can see that just on the first cd which spanned three years of our music. The keyboard-heavy songs I write are vastly different from the guitar heavy songs Dave creates. We have both slow/romantic and heavy/tribal pieces in our set. Critics used to peg us as just being a Siouxsie and the Banshees clone (though I don't think my voice is similar), but now we get all kinds of comparisons depending on the song, such as Christian Death, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Dead Can Dance, The Cure, Bauhaus, Mephisto Walz, etc.
Mark W:Do you have an album that stands out from all your other efforts?
Terri:We only have the "Door in the Dragon's Throat" cd out officially, though we did a small run on cdr of "Midnight Claret" which featured unreleased tracks from the forthcoming disc and other songs we were not planning to release otherwise. I think the forthcoming cd will be quite different from the first. Referring to the new un-released material and the music on "Midnight Claret", I think these represent a more mature sound as a whole. There are personal favorites from every era in our 9 year history, including Eden Lost (from the "Door.." cd), Momento Mori (on Cleopatra's Poe comp "Songs of Terror").
Mark W:Are you happy with the current lineup/sound?
Terri:Yes, I just wish we could get together more and could have access to a nice studio for cheap! It takes so long for us to raise funds to records and release our own material. We're not signed despite having lobbied nearly every label in our genre both stateside and overseas.
Mark W:Were any of the current members in any past projects or bands?
Terri:Dave was in a seminal goth band "Guts on the Floor" in the late 80's, I've been in over 20 projects in variosu styles..punk, reggae, folk, goth, industrial, etc. I had a stint as backing vocalist on Faith and the Muse's first U.S. tour 8 years ago, and more recently some tracks for Hexedene. Eileen is one half of the duo Dichroic Mirror as guitarist/singer/songwriter, for whom I also do backing vocals.
Mark W:Have you found the listeners responses to be so far positive or negative?
Terri:You always get a little of both, which is better than apathy! People complain they can't understand the words I'm singing (well it's gotten better) but on one song at least, it's gibberish! As for the music, when we got the Siouxsie tag, it seems like we were summarily dismissed because of John McGeogh-ish sounding guitar effects. I only own one Siouxsie album, it's not like we were sitting there with our instruments playing along. We create what we feel inspired to do, not to try and copy others work. But that sort of commentary really hasn't been applied to our current work.
Mark W:Have you come up against any barriers so far?
Terri: Being a girl musician in the early 80's, it was difficult to get guys to take you seriously. Thank goddess for punk rock. That gave me the impetus to pick up an instrument (though I was a very bad guitarist, I managed to play drums for awhile.) Now a lot of the prejudice has fallen away, the only barriers are the lack of appreciation in the local scene for our contribution to it. We've found much more support in Europe.
Mark W:If you had to put a label on your sound...How would you describe it?
Terri: There are elements of death rock, ethereal and guitar goth, but also vocally operatic and eastern qualities.
Mark W:How do you think your countries music scene could be improved? ( that is if it needs improving)
Terri: We really need more publications which come out regularly and cover U.S. bands. Most of them (one exception is Outburn) seem to focus on the fashion/ appearance of the bands and not music, though I personally enjoy literary/art publications such as Dark Realms, Sentamentalist, Morbid Curiosity. Stone 588 has never had any major stateside press, but in Europe we've been featured in Black Magazine, Dark Heart, Gothic, Goth's Not Dead (Germany), Losing Today (Italy), Dark Angel (Australia) and more. Thankfully we've also had some good coverage via online ezines such as Chain DLF, Aether Sanctum, Dead China Doll, Chaotic Critiques, Last Sigh, Wrapped in Wire, Cult Asylem, etc .
Mark W:What are your views on the old Mp3/Napster/free music situation?
Terri:We appreciate having a forum for listeners to hear us, even if we don't earn anything from it. It might lead to a cd purchase in the future. Its the same for compilations...we don't earn money, but they are great tools for promotion. To keep our name in the public's mind.
Mark W:Do you utilise the internet much?
Terri:Yes, I answer mail and update my websites daily, do business for my store, Ipso Facto online. It's a cost-free way to communicate with people I otherwise would never have known. I've done several side projects almost exclusively through email, and many interviews.
Mark W:Are there any bands or artists out there who have been a major or vague influence on your musical style?
Terri: Vocally.. Lene Lovich, Judy Garland, Yma Sumac, and literary figures such as Anais Nin, E.A. Poe, Lovecraft, old mystery writers, film noir and the movie "M" with Peter Lorre.
Mark W:Have you tried gaining recognition out of your country yet? If so how has that been?
Terri:Yes, we have been distributed and received press coverage in Europe, and while vacationing there I met many DJs, press and other bands who appreciate Stone 588. Sadly the band has never been able to tour outside the U.S., though we've made many efforts. Mexico, Canada and South America too have given us support, press coverage, airplay and distribution.
Mark W:Where do you see yourselves in say five years?
Terri: Well I'll be in my forties and hopefully still able to squeak out a note!
Mark W:Any crazy dreams of breaking out into the mainstream world or are you happy with life in the underground?
Terri: I'm willing to try most anything for the challenge, but not just for fame or money. (If I needed that I would have given up owning my Ipso Facto store long ago and gone back into some corporate line of work.) I doubt if I'd be taken seriously as a virgin superstar at my age, so no chance for commercial success in music, given what the record companies are shoving down our throats these days. But I also enjoy writing, photography, web design and clothing design. So I may have a chance yet!
Mark W:Who would you most like to support live?
Terri: We've actually supported many of our favorites already.. Eva O, Rozz Williams, Dave Vanian (of The Damned), This Ascension. It would be cool to go back in time and play with Siouxsie, Virgin Prunes, or The Cure. But we'd probably get blown off the stage!
Mark W:Most remembered band incident?
Terri:Hmm, traveling together to out of town shows was fun, but hectic. I think the early days of the band were the most magical because we had no expectations, just loved playing, writing, performing. There was a little local club called Electric Circus. I became friendly with the booker and got him a lot of bands. Consequently, Stone 588 was practically the house band for awhile, supporting all different genres of headliners. Interestingly the most gratification came from the kids that just came to see music and didn't have any expectations. They really showed their appreciation. We exchanged a lot of positive energy.
Mark W:Personal comments?
Terri: The political situation in America with fears of terrorism is very volatile right now. I wonder what freedoms we will be forced to relinquish in the name of security. I think Ben Franklin had a famous quote that freedom lost in favor of security renders both worthless. I have experienced censorship first hand (from window displays for my store to a publication I used to edit.) I hope we can expand the freedoms of expression, privacy and mobility that America has cherished into the future. But I also fear a war on our own soil. Americans may have a false sense of security that will need to mature into more cautious behavior. But I think the uniting factor of all humans is that we all just want to live in peace, make a living, and do what we want to be happy. I wish there was some way to express that on a global level. I always held the hope that international economic interdependence would eradicate war because who wants to bite the hand that feeds or supplies you with what you need to survive? Just something to ponder. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Thanks Mark for this opportunity to express my opinions.
Please visit
Stone 588's official website
and my
Ipso Facto webstore.