Interview with Mark Blasquez of Death Ride 69 - conducted by e-mail 12/18/96

Jester: How did you and Linda meet to form Death Ride 69?

Mark: I first saw Linda at one of her "Beatmistress" shows, she was playing with my friend's band Babyland. It was just her, drumming and singing with a stage full of half naked women. Total tribal freak-out. I thought it was great and told her that if she ever wanted to do something heavier and more electronic to give me a call, she did and it just started from there.

Jester: You mentioned a stylistic change on the new album. What type of change do you see your music taking?

Mark: During the tour we did with Thrill Kill Kult I started to feel uncomfortable with the amount of our show that was on tape. It wasn't really that much, but not having a regular kick & snare type of drummer we had those elements as well as some of the "synthy" bass parts, dialog samples, etc.

Anyway, I'm going to change that on the next record, make it much more performed and less sequenced. Their will still be a lot of sequencing on it but done in real time. Also the next record will be much more dynamic as far as song structure, sound manipulation. I had so many technical problems during the making of the first record that I just wanted it finished and out of my hair! Things are much better now.

Jester: What other musical projects have you both worked on in the past?

Mark: None together. Linda, as I said, did a lot of shows as Beatmistress between the demise of the old Death Ride and the birth of this one. My past is just a big mess, nothing to speak of.

Jester: How did you arrange to get the album released on Fifth Column Records?

Mark: Linda had known Jared (Chemlab/Fifth Column) from her Wash. D.C. days. We, at the time, thought it might be better to be on a small, more "personal" label. So, we sent them a tape, they sent us a contract eventually.

Jester: How did both of you first get involved with music?

Mark: I was a wanna-be jock in high school until a football injury laid me out. Alas, my dreams of fucking the prom queen laid in ruins, I turned to music. Truly touching, ain't it? As far as Linda goes, I'm not quite sure, but I know she's always played drums.

Jester: Why do you still compose music today?

Mark: Boy! That's an ugly, dark question! We don't dress like gas station attendants or play pseudo-retro-riff-grunge so I know we're not the flavor of the month. It's the only thing I'm any good at I guess. Maybe for the next record we'll have Linda play an acoustic guitar and sing folk songs about ex-lovers. BOOM! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!

Jester: What is your primary motivation for making and performing music?

Mark: Personal satisfaction and hopefully to pay the rent. Being amazingly rich or successful wouldn't be bad either.

Jester: Why did the winter 1996 tour end up being cancelled?

Mark: We were in the midst of a personnel change and some of the dates were a little suspect. I didn't want to get to Michigan and find out the next four shows weren't "actually" going to happen. Then, on top of that, 16 Volt called and said that they'd been out for quite a while already and were getting kind of tired. We'll do it, that's for sure, but not until the spring.

Jester: What kind of musical training have either of you had, if any?

Mark: Typical stuff I guess, played a few instruments at school, took the odd lessons here and there. And a lot of garage bands, that's were you get most of what matters.

Jester: In your free time, what types of music/artists do you listen too?

Mark: Man! Between the two of us we cover just about everything; old Punk, New Wave, Goth, Electronic, weird Ambient, whatever. Not real big on new R&B or Country, but the old stuff was good.

Jester: Where do you see your music progressing in the future?

Mark: Actually, I'd like to see it "de-gress" in the future. I'd like to do more organic type of stuff. Still electronic, but more "bio-mechanic" and less pure mechanic.

Jester: When you sit down and write a new track, do you use any formal compositional method?

Mark: Well, the ideas for songs can come from anywhere; driving around, watching pornos, getting drunk and falling down with a guitar strapped around your neck. The only thing I like to do ( and will do a lot more of in the future ) is to "demo" the songs a few times. Make mixes as we go then listen to them in the car as I'm driving around lovely downtown Los Angeles. It's a good way to make sure your not getting "too close" to your work.

Jester: I know this is a stupid question, but where does the name Death Ride 69 come from?

Mark: That's Linda's idea actually. I know there is an actual car that inspired the name, but mostly it just sounds like we want the music to sound; scary, fun and sexy.

Jester: What does a live performance by Death Ride 69 consist of? Who plays what instruments?

Mark: Linda does most of the singing (though I'll be doing more in the future) and does her wild, tribal drumming, which is amazing to see. I do guitars, vocals, electronic percussion and a little keyboards. Live we also have a bass player. It was George Sarah of THC/Stereotaxic Device but he's been very busy lately. So, I'm happy to say my brother Andy has taken over the bass duties. We just played a show in San Francisco with him and it went great! Also, on the last tour Otis from Murder In Exile played keyboards.

Jester: When can we expect the release of the next record? Before or after another tour?

Mark: Realistically, there won't be a full length CD until the spring or summer. We do plan to have something out in Feb or so. There are a couple of movie things I'm working on right now that have to get done first, then we'll do another Death Ride!

Jester: Will the next release be on Fifth Column Records or another label?

Mark: I hate to sound like Ollie North but " I can neither confirm nor deny the rumors of my dissatisfaction with my record label, Senator." Like I said, many things will change in the new year.

Jester: You mentioned a personnel change had something to do with the cancellation of the winter 96 tour. Can you go into a little more detail about this?

Mark: Yes, I had Linda cloned and replaced by a "Stepford Singer" SHHHH! Don't tell anyone. Actually, George, who has about 15,000 albums coming out in '97 was getting a little too busy and I hadn't had the time to work out the situation with my brother Andy yet.

Jester: Where do your biggest musical and political influences come from?

Mark: Musical influences are the hard ones to get right. You inevitably leave out one of your favorites but some are: Cocteau Twins, Skinny Puppy (and all the splinter groups), Buckethead, Ministry, Depeche Mode ( even though it's not "cool" to say so), David Sylvian, King Crimson, Bla Bla Bla you get the point.

Politically I'm the worlds biggest conspiracy subscriber. I believe so little of what we see, hear and read. Actually, I don't believe in anything.

Jester: If you could choose anyone to collaborate with, who would it be?

Mark: If I had to pick just one person it would be Elizabeth Frazier from Cocteau Twins. She's so pure, inventive and talented. I'm not sure what it would sound like but I'd be heaping full of happy.

Jester: If you could choose the perfect tour line-up to open for Death Ride 69, who would it be?

Mark: Besides Linda and I, I would love to get Chris Vrenna from NIN on drums. He's amazing! For bass, honestly I'd take my brother Andy every time. Lastly, I'd like to have someone that could play keyboards and guitar to fill things out. If that person could be a female, so much the better. Also, let me not forget the Death Ride Dancers (Tonya King, Christiana Knight, etc.)

Jester: Do you have any type of props or backing films when you play live?

Mark: Besides the hot, sweaty, (nude) Death Ride Girls we have the "Love Bomb". The Love Bomb is an old WWII practice bomb and has been ridden by more hot women than Hugh Heffner. Plus during our spontaneous live percussion freak-outs it sounds great when played like a drum.

Jester: You mentioned you are working on "some movie things". Are you scoring films? If so, are you at liberty to divulge which films?

Mark: I'm not scoring films yet (though I'd love to) but I have a couple of songs (both as Death Ride and as "tekhed") that will be in movies in '97.

Jester: Do you ever want to become involved in a solo project on your own?

Mark: I'd LOVE to be in an actual "band" some day! For now I work with Linda or alone (solo). '97 will see the release of some of my solo work although I have not decided which label yet.

Jester: How is the Los Angeles music scene these days?

Mark: Have you ever been in a coma? It's less interesting than that.

Jester: Whatever happened to the old Death Ride 69 project? What sparked the change to the new lineup?

Mark: Well, as I said, the old Death Ride had kind of run it's course and self-destructed leaving only Linda. After I met her and expressed interest in doing something together she said "well, I have this band called Death Ride that I've been thinking of resurrecting." and that was it.

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