SOTTOMONDO INTERVIEW- Treviso Italy by Alberto Kirn, April 2000:
1- Introduce yourself to the "Sottomondo" ("Underworld") readers.
Stone 588 is Terri Kennedy-vocals, keyboards, Dave Rhine-guitar; Eileen Bowe-bass, engineering/programming; Phil Hanson-drums
2- Your first (and only, until now) cd has been influenced by some '80s sonorities. The changes in the line-up of the band and the natural evolution of a band have modified your way of making music?
Terri: Yes "The Door in the Dragon's Throat" appeared in 1995, and Dave and I are the only original memebers from that time, though Eileen engineered half of the recordings, she wasn't playing bass in the band yet. We have had a great difficulty in keeping drummers, but we hope to keep this line-up firm. We are all friends and enjoy playing together. Over time, I think the music and lyrics have matured, the tempo has slowed a bit(!), the arrangements are more complex, and with the addition of keyboards and electronic drums there have been even more changes in the sound.
3- What's the meaning of music for Stone 588?
Terri: I think we all think of being creative as a way of keeping one's vitality and an escape from the pressures of everyday life. No matter what is going on in my life, I have to be in a band and continue writing to keep my sanity!
4- One of the things I appreciate more in your music are the lyrics and the way you (Terri-vocals) are able to express them. Can you tell me something more about the lyrics and the importance they have in your music?
Terri: I have drawn a great deal of influence from writers such as Anais Nin, Edgar Allen Poe, Marquis de Sade mythology, history, ghost stories and feminist/goddess literature...things that I think are interesting and important literary and philisophical subjects. For instance the song "Lightning Rails" pertains to a time of great expansion in America when our country's railroads were being built, creating the first link between the east and west. The workers, primarily Irish and Chinese immigrants performed difficult, life-threatening work to construct the tracks. The story describes rumbling ghost trains peopled with the spirits of those who gave their lives, in tribute to these hardy characters and their accomplishment, which helped erode the initial prejudice against them. "Night Behind the Mind" is about the persecution and murder of women under the guise of stamping out witchcraft; the song "Red Earth" is about the magickal properties of menstrual blood whose historical significance to previous matriarchal societies has been vilified by today’s culture as taboo. My most recent lyrical efforts have given birth to a lot of goddess songs lately! In short, I am of the opinion that lyrics should be more like literature and story-telling and not fluffy popular culture phrases like "ooh baby"! They should complement the music and make the listener think on a deeper level.
5- We live in a world where the only important thing is the present time and the future. The band name is linked to the past and in your lyrics there are some referencies to the Classical mythology. What can you tell about that?
Terri: The band name comes from a bit of archeological trivia I discovered in one of my books about the discovery of an infant child sacrifice in an urn. It was placed beneath a stone in a Stonehenge type Irish monument. in County Cork that dates back to the year 588. The band has a great interest in alternative spirituality, mythology, unexplained phenomena, classic horror literature and film, and all things dark and mysterious. Both Dave and I have experienced spectral sightings in the past, (the recording of "Door in the Dragon's Throat" took place in a "haunted" studio,) so the interruption of the present by the past is of particular interest to us. I think that the more we learn scientifically, the more we discover we don't know. A lot of scientific theories are being debunked, and its a very interesting time. The string theory is particularly exciting, as is the internet offering its opportunities to meet and converse with people worldwide.
That said, classical works by authors such as Shakespeare, I feel, are still relevant. I refer to classical literature and old occult texts in my library when I write. I think human nature is the same in our time as it was then. Random favorites include Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," Arthur Conan Doyle, Camus' "The Stranger," and one of my most important reference tools..Barbara Walker's "Symbols and Sacred Objects" and her "Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." It helps me understand how patriarchy changed how we interact and view the world today, particularly in the case of women, and how we can enact change and improvements in our lives for the better.
6- In the U.S. the bands have more possibilties to organize a live-show than in Europe (and especially in Italy). Is playing live important for Stone 588?
Terri: Yes, in fact we have two shows in May,..the 1st and 6th in the L.A. area. We hadn't played live for almost two years due to my own illness (the onset of adult asthma which is still ongoing) and band membership changes, but now that we have a great live drummer, we are performing a lot. Playing live helps the songs develop and gives us feedback on the material. It can be a lot of fun when unexpected things happen onstage! Fortunately there a quite a few live venues in L.A. right now and it's easy to make contact with promotors through my store, Ipso Facto.(I own a gothic fashion and music store.)
7- What kind of show do you try to offer to the people that come to see your show?
Terri:We tend to be more intense than animated, but conversely our between song banter with the audience is usually quite sponaneous and hilarious. So the performance is one of two extremes. Phil and I tend to be energetic, while Eileen and Dave are more laid back. A good balance.
8- Do you have any other interest apart from music?
Terri: Yes, besides goth music, I do listen to opera, classical and experimental music, and spend a lot of time reading, and maintaining my websites. Recreational activities include playing chess at the local coffeehouse, going to live plays at local theatres, catching film noire screenings at the Egyptian in Hollywood, taking photos of statues at historic cemeteries, attending clubs and fetish parties, creating my own costumes for various events, etc.
9- Considering that "Sottomondo" is a library, can you tell the readers which are the best books you have read in the last year?
Terri: One I keep going back to is "The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries" by Zsuzsanna Budapest. It has some wonderful insights. In the stack of books I am skimming through simultaneously are ""The Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui", "The Dark Side of the Screen-Film Noir", "Unsolved Mysteries" by Colin Wilson, and "A Chakra and Kundalini Workbook."
10- As usual, in the last question, I give the band the opportunity of saying what they like about everything.
Terri: I firmly believe in the value of education and cultural interaction. Education is a really important issue for me.. I meet a lot of adolescents in my store and the direction of society worries me a great deal. Education is not very focused due to too many kids in the classroom, violence, parents not being home to ensure that they are doing their homework. A disturbing result is that young people have a profound lack of respect for their parents and others, and for life itself. I really wonder what direction society will go when these young people are adults making the decisions for our world. I don't propose censorship of video games, books or film, but rather I think it matters more what kind of values are instilled in the youth during their formative years, and just caring about one another ..not for guilty religious reasons but on a human level, because it does matter. And I believe that many people are having children for the wrong reasons (or no reason at all other than ignorance)and that needs to change! Its such an important responsibility, one has to choose it for the right reasons and be dedicated for the life of the child. I also have found that travel and cultural interaction helps tear down prejudice that we may have against each other. I enjoy meeting and discussing issues with people of other cultures. I don't believe there is one "right" way to live one's life, but am increasingly and profoundly influenced by cultures other than my own. They often have different perspectives on American politics, social issues and spiritual belief systems that I find refreshing, unlike the binge and guilt culture I was raised with. I think such interaction is important for young people because the direction of one world politics and economics necessitate the decimation of nationalism, isolationism, Cold War tactics (still used by the U.S. against Cuba), and prejudice. And I believe in the neccesity of integrating socialized medicine/college education into the American capitalistic/democratic system. This has been espoused in our election rhetoric, but they've been discussing it for years without result, due in part to the fear of higher taxes. My personal experience without health care (and even with health care) is that the system needs some serious restructuring. (If doctors had treated me instead of shuffling me through the system unmedicated to keep their profits intact I wouldn't have the asthma/bronchial condition I developed.) Health care shouldn't be a for-profit situation, but rather a for-the-people service. Thanks for allowing me on the soap box! Best Wishes! Terri
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