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Jeff Richardson finds God in his belly-button

the interviews, part one

The following is an interview conducted in the wee hours of the morning long ago. Jeff Richardson was feeling particularly special. I might describe it as something between nostalgic and sophomoric. Anyway, for the answers to all those Heliquestions you've always, but were afraid to ask. Here it is.

GW: How does it feel to be online?
  JR: It's pretty exciting. Thanks for your help. I don't know much about making Web pages.
GW: How's the record coming?
  JR: Not too bad. The recording's finished. We've decided on doing a cover and getting 1000 CDs made. That is, as soon as we can pay for them.
GW: What's that? How are you going to pay for them?
  JR: With money we've made from shows, mostly. Cooper, our bassist, makes a lot of money selling Mary Kay door to door. He might pitch in a little extra. He's going for the pink car, you know. Other than that, we sell plasma every chance we get.
GW: Doesn't that hurt?
  JR: A little, but I haven't collapsed any veins yet.
GW: Speaking of veins, it seems that you are able to mine a wealth of ideas in order to come so many good songs. How do you & Billy write them?
  JR: Mostly separately. His songs are usually 4-tracked with drums and bass which forms the general idea for the song. The ideas I come up with are usually just me on the acoustic. I guess you could say I'm a hippie that way. Then I spout some lyrics and run an electric direct to the 4-track. Billy then comes up with an idea to augment my incomplete songs. When Cooper has a song idea he'll collaborate with either Billy or me. It depends on which one of us he's least sick of. Chris usually just fires out a drum part, and that's it pretty much. Well, except sometimes I hear this voice coming out of my God-hole that sings me to sleep. In the morning I try to write down what I remember of it.
GW: Um, "God-hole"?
  JR: Yeah, some people call it the third eye. I call it the belly button. You know, it's the place on your body where Jesus can jump in.
GW: I take it then that the band is rather spiritual? Would you call it Christian rock?
  JR: I wouldn't take it that far. We aren't Christian per se, but we aren't Satanists either. It's just that sometimes I get the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
GW: Where?
  JR: Down in my heart.
GW: Is that what makes you want to play, or do you have more conventional influences?
  JR: I've always been amazed the energy generated by bands like the Who and the Kinks. Very raw, yet well-sung and played. Old concert footage of them always blows me away. Once, I saw the Replacements when I was in junior high. I loved especially Bobby Stinson. You know, he's probably the guitarist I try to rip off the most. I even like the 70s punk stuff, but don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about the highbrow CBGBs first wave. I love the second wave. You know, the hacks.
GW: Are you the only force behind the Helinewsletter?
  JR: Yeah. That's about right.
GW: Now that you guys are done with the first record, what's next?
  JR: Lots of live shows hopefully. We may start recording again soon. I've been getting the funny feeling in my stomach again, if you know what I mean.
GW: Not really.
  JR: Anyway, we have to take chances and come up with new ideas. That seems to be the only way we can survive. It's sort of an "Eye of the Tiger" meets Bob Pollard thing.
GW: Thanks, Jeff. Always a pleasure.
  JR: Thank you, Gabe.


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