R.Ring is a beautiful and sentimental collaboration between Kelley Deal (from The Breeders) and Mike Montgomery (from Ampline). When I was approached about doing an interview with them, I developed severe phone anxiety about it because I'm pretty sure that if I heard Kelley Deal's voice on the phone, my heart would just explode in my chest. This was doubly confirmed when Kelley teased me about spelling my name in a weird way during one of our exchanges and I melted into a puddle of goo. So we passed notes about things instead, and had a nice little intimate exchange that way. Here's what we talked about:
VICE: Your live videos are so fun to watch, and it looks like you guys are both comfortable, and filled with life force on stage. Is it depressing to go from that high of being on stage and playing a show, to NOT being on stage and NOT playing a show, but like running errands and living normal life the next day?
Kelley Deal: First, what a wonderful compliment! You know it's not like Mike and I "get pumped up for a show" or anything. We do enjoy each others company, and we enjoy making music, and I think that shows. If anything, we may have more trouble turning that off and focusing on a show than turning "it on."
Mike Montgomery: I don't really know if 'depressing' is the right word. It's just different. Maybe the highs wouldn't feel as good if I always felt that way. I've been working for so long that it just feels like a natural, inevitable part of life. I'm lucky to do enough varied work that it stays interesting and generally feels worthwhile, but there are definitely times when I'd rather be at a show or on a tour!
Is there a story behind the orange and the banana on the cover of your 7"? What's the dynamic between them? Are they married?
Kelley: Let's shoot over to Ali Calis of Able Projects in Cincinnati to answer that question!
Ali Calis: The graphic is metaphorically based off of the old knock-knock joke, 'Orange you glad I said banana?'
It's a pretty simple concept. The orange is depicted as a female, and the banana as a man. Orange you glad I said R. Ring?!?
I think many folks are!
What other material have you guys been performing at shows to fill a whole set - since you've only just started making music together?
Mike: We usually play a Shellac song called "Ghosts" about a little girl who has the touch of death (cute kid). It is a wild ride on a spurred pony. We play an Amps song occasionally called "Mom's Drunk". The rest of the songs are either Kelley's, mine, or ours.
Mike: They are not yet available at shows, although I have encouraged her to bring them. As far as getting one for free, love unfortunately does not fill the gas tank.
[EDIT: Kelley's answer wins.]
If you had to choose between covering a Madonna song, or an R. Kelly song, which would you choose, and which song?
Kelley: Well Mike just pulled up "Like A Virgin," and I pulled up "Trapped In the Closet: Chapter 23." Gosh, that's a lot of words he's saying - huh?
Mike: Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time."
What's the last song you heard that gave you goosebumps?
Kelley: I was listening to a live version of "Driving on 9" and the violin solo that Carrie Bradley played just evoked such nuanced emotions of joy, heartbreak, the promise of a new day, abject loss...sigh. The hairs on my arms were standing straight up.
Mike: "Santa Maria" by FOOD.
Keep track of R. Ring over at the Misra Records site, and order all their stuff for the rest of time.