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Creeper Lagoon, Interview w/ Sharky Laguana
By Holly Day
(more articles from this author)
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San Francisco-based Creeper Lagoon, made up of Ian Sefchick (vocals, guitar), Sharky Laguana (multi-instrumentalist), Dan Carr (bass), and Dave Kostiner on percussion, is no stranger to praise. Their debut LP, "I Become Small and Go," released on the Dust Brothersí label, Nickelbag Records, was named Best New Artist of 1998 by SPIN Magazine, leading to a whirlwind tour of the country. Their second album, "Take Back the Universe (And Give Me Yesterday" (Dreamworks) is due out in April 2001óironically, a couple of weeks after they actually tour this year with Guided By Voices.

[Holly] How did you get into playing music?

[Sharky] Well, it was a combination of always liking musicóever since I was a little kid, I love music. My parents got me a piano when I was little, and I loved to bang on the piano, and that evolved into trying to figure out songs, and then when I was 15, I started taking acid, and that kind of changed my perception a little bit about music, and I switched instruments. I went from playing piano to playing the guitar, and that was pretty much it. That was how I got into it, from just listening to it to playing it, the same way everybody else doesóthat, and taking drugs.

[Holly] Just out of curiosity, what was your introduction to acid?

[Sharky] Kids had it around. Iíd go hang out with the punk rockers downtown, and somebody would have some acid and pass it around. It they had told me it was LSD, I never would have done it. But acid sounded cool.

[Holly] Do you come from a musical family?

[Sharky] You know, itís funny, because the whole time I was growing up, I wondered why I was so into music, because my parents werenít all hat interested in it, and I felt like a bit of an imposter because of it, like I had no real natural talent. So it didnít make any sense for me to be so interested in it. But just recently, I found out that my great-grandfather, who died a long, long before I was bornómy dad was an orphanóbut my dadís dad used to play piano, kind of semi-professionally, and wanted to be a professional piano player. He played around town, and was quite popular with all of the locals back in the '20s, and in fact, his son from a different marriage, who is an old man now, and has since had a coma, his sonís wife sent me some music, some sheet music from the 20s that was written by my great grandfather. One of the titles of the Sheet music was called "Turn Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday," and thatís where we got the title for the new record.

[Holly] Have you tried playing any of the sheet music, or incorporating in anything?

[Sharky] No. I havenít really had time to sit down and figure out some of the stuffóplus. People back then could play the piano so much better. It would take me months of working on one of those piece to pull it off. Theyíre all ragtime pieces, mostly, and I would love to have the time to learn how to play them, but weíre on the road all the time, and there arenít a lot of pianos in the van.

[Holly] What was the initial attraction to being in a band for you?

[Sharky] Music. I guess some guys get into bands to get girls, or because they want the attention, or whatever, or maybe they like to drink and being in a band sometimes mean you get free beer, or do drugs, or whateveróIím not saying anybody in our band is like thatólike the Motley Crue prototype. I got into it for the music. I really did. I just love music, and I had to do it. If Iíd gotten into it for chicks or fame or money, I would have quit a long time ago, because there hasnít been a whole lot of any of that. Not that Iím looking. You know what Iím saying.

[Holly] Does the line "Iím in a band" still get the ladies?

[Sharky] I have a girlfriend nowóactually, I have a wifeóso Iím not trying to go around picking up women a whole lot, but judging by what happens to the other guys, the answer would be "no." It just doesnít do the trick. That '70s era of "Almost Famous," with all the groupies, thatís been over for a long. What happened to the guys in that movie has never happened to us. We get more male groupies, who are borderline stalkers, that we do women who actually want to go to bed with us. Itís kind of scary.

[Holly] Have you seen that television show "Making the Band," or "Pop Stars," where record company and television station execs get together to create boy and girl bands?

[Sharky] Yeah! O-Town! I havenítí seen "Popstars" yet, but I watched most of "Making the Band." Really, as unreal as the shows seem, the whole idea of being in a touring, professional band is really a completely artificial concept from the start. For one thing, youíve got a bunch of people who are spending way too much time together in way too small of spaces. NASA is doing a lot of research now to find out what kind of astronauts can spend a lot of time together on a trip to Mars, and I always think, hey, they should just call us up. We know all about it. You get in a little tin box and you just go places for a whole year. Iíll bet I can tell you all about what itís like to be an astronaut, without actually having been one. So when I watch O-Town, itís funny for me, because even though itís goofy, itís silly, and manufactured and artificial, there are still so many things that make me laugh because thereís so much in it that happens to us every day in real life.

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