Apollo 18

Where did the name "Apollo 18" come from?

JF: Apollo 17 was the last of the moon missions, so 18 would be the next if there were one.

What's the origin of "Space Suit?"

JF: That song was written to incorporate a bunch of chords I had learned under the instruction of Jack DeSalvo, a guitarist I took lessons from in the early eighties. It was originally titled "I'll Remember 3rd Street" to reflect its jazzy origins, but once the recording was made with the spacey synth part its final title seemed more appropriate.

Where did you get the idea for "Spider" and who does the vocals?

JF: Spider is the product of an idle afternoon messing with the sampler. Linnell did the voices, except for "must...stop!" which Flans added along with the cocktail bongos, horns and sound effects.

Are you afraid of spiders?

JF: Deliciously afraid.

In the video "The Guitar" it shows some chord frames for the guitar. What were those chords?

JF: They should be A, C#min7, Bmin, E which along with A, D, A, E are pretty much all the chords in that song.

Which album did you enjoy making the most and which did you enjoy most when it was finished?

JL: "John Henry" was really fun to make because we were in an exotic location (upstate NY during the blizzard of '94) and surrounded by lots of people we liked and admired. I think my favorite record is still "Lincoln" though as I recall recording it was pretty hellish because the air conditioning in the tiny control room was not equal to the blazing Times Square heat, and we had lots of arguments. At one point stinky white smoke started pouring out of the computer, and everyone went "AAAAGH!"

JF: The process of making both "Apollo 18" and "John Henry" was a pleasant experience for me. We spent about ten weeks of studio time recording "Apollo 18." The actual recording sessions for "John Henry" was just a week and a half in Bearsville and a couple of weeks in New York, but we had done song writing demos, as well as band demos, and then an intense week of rehearsal upstate. Both took about three weeks to mix. The mixing sessions are tense because that is the final process, but most of those days are spent waiting for the mixing engineer to finish his job. Making records has always been really exciting for me, but the process used to make me very tense. I think I'm finally acclimating myself to the careful pace and insane expense of working in a recording studio.

Is "Dinner Bell" about Pavlov's dog?

JL: The song does indirectly refer to Pavlov's famous experiment involving a dog's reaction to the ringing of a bell after associating the sound with food.

Did the 19 song bits in "Fingertips" start out as being actual songs that you guys just decided not to use in their entirety, or did you write them specifically for the purpose of the song?

JL: They were written as fragments to be strung together. I think the order might have gotten a little switched around but essentially the whole thing was conceived as it is.

What has Laura Cantrell done besides "The Guitar"? Does she have any albums?

JF: Laura is making a demo of her songs right now, and sings with a trio called the Watchbirds who perform at the Mercury Lounge on a pretty regular basis. She also DJs a very cool program called the "Radio Thrift Shop" on WFMU (New York's free form radio station).

What are you saying in the background of "I Palindrome I"?

JL: The background vocals are a couple of palindromes: "Man o nam," which doesn't really mean anything, and "Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age," of which you can make what you will.