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The American band THE CZARS, after publishing three great records decided for a bit unusual way of funds collecting necessary to publish their new record. In their official presentation on the web site donations ranging between USD 10 to 1000 are received and in return you may receive signed copy of outcoming album or even private gig if you are willing to pay a bit higher amount. Some of us have already done the good deed and have sent some money to them but it is also expected from the rest of you to do the same. Or at least you may remain their listeners. John, Roger and Chris have answered our questions.

THE CZARS   © Jeff Strahl

T. Where are you now and what are you doing?
J. We're in Denver working on our new album, which will be called Goodbye.
R. I'm at an internet café in Denver eating a sandwich.

T. A brief history of how the band started?
R. Ask John, Jeff, or Chris, they are the founding members.
J. We began back in 1994 when I got back from Germany. I approached Chris and Jeff about playing music and that was it. We were together after that.

T. Why that name?
J. I studied Russian for a long time in Germany and love that language and wanted something to do with that.

T. Bands usually put secret tracks, bonus tracks or so, twenty minutes after the last one on the album. You put Top Breed on The Ugly People Vs. the Beautiful People before the first one. Why?
J. Just thought that it would be interesting and more difficult to find.
R. It was really just 'cause we could.

T. What do you mean with X Would Rather Listen To Y Than Suffer Through a C of Z's?
J. It's from a dictionary and it's just a joke about how people use calculated formulas with people when they go out into to the world to deal with people and how that simply doesn't work.
R. This is simply part of John's humor. It is amusing, if in a trite sort of way, to apply letters or numbers to thinking and feeling individuals. It is funny because it is a formula for a feeling, choosing less over more boredom, but at the same time remaining a tock feeling that one might find in a textbook. It's ridiculous, but slightly sad too.

T. You have a very interesting way of collecting funds for your new album. Can you tell our readers what this is about and where the idea came from?
C. The idea was mine. We had to finance our own album because our record label, Bella Union, did not give us any money towards recording and mixing the new album. Nothing. To be fair, they said they would eventually, but as of yet they haven't given us a dollar. We didn't want to wait to record it while the music was fresh. We also wanted to self-produce it.

T. Tell us something about new songs?
J. The new songs are very personal and have a lot to do with change and saying goodbye to the things in life that keep you from progressing and achieving your goals. It's also about loss and death and the necessity of both of those things.
R. Really there are a lot of similar ideas to the earlier records, we're just doing a better job of it. The songs are more consistently good and the album will flow better. They have more weight to them, not so much emotionally, though they have that too, but the band sounds more mature.

T. Velveteen Records or Bella Union?
C. Velveteen Records is our own record label in Denver that we used to put our our first two albums, Moodswing and The La Brea Tarpits of Routine. The next two albums were all released by Bella Union, including the new album.

T. If You could support any artist, who would you choose?
C. Me personally would be Radiohead, because of the magnitude of the shows and their worldwide popularity. Who else can play to 50,000 people in cities like Zagreb, Athens, Lisbon, Osaka, and Sydney?

T. What kind of music do you listen when you're on tour, at home...?
C. I listen to indie rock and new releases by bands like Enon, Papa M, Kingsbury Manx, Cat Power and Calexico.
J. I like Kristen Hersh and Goldfrapp and TV on the Radio and Erlend Oye and Yello and Abba and Swayzak and Nina Hagen, Throwing Muses, Cat Power, Lucinda Williams, Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Alexandra (Germany), Elena Kamburova, the Notwist, Lisa Gerrard, Ennio Morricone soundtracks, Angelo Badalanmenti, Barry Adamson, Kraftwerk, Ivy, and Nick Drake, just to name a few.
R. I'm into a lot of jazz from the late fifties and sixties, I'm enjoying Robert Wyatt's new record, Nick Drake, Jeff / Tim Buckley, The Pixies, Ron Miles, Beatles etc., Scarnella and the Geraldine Fibbers, Bill Frisell.

T. Your favorite albums?
C. The Who - Who's Next; Led Zeppelin - II; Radiohead - OK Computer; The Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime; Enon - High Society; Low - Trust; Stereolab - Emporer Tomato Ketchup; Cat Power - The Covers Record; Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks; Calexico - The Black Light

T. Your favorite movies?
C. The Big Lebowski, The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, Alien, The Game, Heaven
J. Wings of Desire, Kika, Live Flesh, The Flower of my Secret Parents, Together, the Celebration, The bitter tear of Petra von Kant, Fear of Fear, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Veronika Voss, Solaris (tarkovsky), Happiness, Requiem for a Dream, Rosemary's Baby, Halloween 1,2 and 3 and the Howling to name a few.
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T. Tell me something I would never guess about you?
C. I have a Masters of Science in Groundwater Engineering.
J. I'm in love with Roller Coasters and my dream right now is to drive to Cedar Point in Ohio and spend a week there riding all the roller coasters since they have a huge collection of some of the best in the world.
R. I wish I'd taken up the piano instead of the guitar.

pedja // 19/04/2004

PS: touched by the hand of lana...

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