An Interview With Jad Fair

The following interview was conducted by Craig Randall on December 6th 2006

So tell a bit about yourself. What are you upto these days?

I’m working on a book of art which will be put out by Drag City. The book
will come with a DVD which will have a show I did in Austin with Lumberob, a
lot of slideshows of my art, and a ton of songs mixed in surround sound. I’m
real keen on surround sound. Having 5 speakers to work with opens up lots of
possibilities.

What bands influenced you as you were growing up?

My favorite bands when I was a teen were the Stooges, MC5, Velvet
Underground, and Captain Beefheart. Other bands I’m a huge fan of are The
Modern Lovers, The Shaggs, NRBQ, The 13th Floor Elevators, and Daniel
Johnston.

What bands are you listening to these days?

There are so many great bands. Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion, Danielson, Yo
La Tengo, Danny and The Nightmares, The Sadies, Kevin Blechdom, Amy Allison,
and The Concretes are all super fine.

What has been the highlight of your career?

I was very excited having the first record come out. The first EP is still
one of my favorites.

When did you start the band Half Japanese and how did it all come about?

After high school in 1974 my brother and I were going to the same college
and I moved into the house he was living in. The house was far from other
houses so we were able to play drums and guitar whenever we wanted. We
started playing every day and did a whole lot of recording.

What is the future for Half Japanese?

The last time Half Japanese played together was at a festival in Norway a
couple years back. I hope we can record again soon. We still get along real
well.

Is there anything you wish you could have done with the band that you have
not done?

All of our albums were recorded with a very small budget. Most were done for
less than $3000. It’d be great to be able to spend more time on the songs. I
think we’d still record fast, but we’d have more takes to choose from.

Your fanbase stretches around the globe and this fansite is based in the UK.
Have you had many visits to the UK and if so do you like it here? Do you
plan on coming to the UK in the near future?

Before moving to Texas I spent a lot of time in Glasgow. I think it’s one of
the best cities in the world. I have many friends there. I’m sure I’ll go
back to the UK, but I don’t know when. I’m doing a couple shows in France at
the end of March. Perhaps I could do some UK shows before or after those
shows.

Are there any artists that you wish you could have collaborated with?

I’ve been so lucky to have had the opportunity to record with the people I
have. I want to record with Daniel Smith, and Anebel’s Poppy day. I’d also
love to record with NRBQ. My brother and I are working on a Halloween album
for next year. I think I’ll do more with Kramer, and with R. Stevie Moore.
It looks like some recordings I did with Thurston Moore and Eye are going to
be released on Thurston’s label.

Any plans to collaborate again with either Moe Tucker or Daniel Johnston? or
possibly both at the same time?

A couple years ago Daniel and I were to record again. I booked studio time
in Austin. A week before it was to happen Daniel’s father called me to say
that Daniel had too many albums coming out and this was not a good time to
record another one. I hope we’re able to record again, but I don’t know
when.

My wife Patty and I went to a surprise party for Moe. It was her 60th
birthday. It was so good to see her again. She’s done a lot of work with the
guitar player for Half Japanese John Sluggett.

Are you open to listening to demos/CDs that fans send you?

It’s hard to find time to listen to all of them. I get quite a few. I can’t
say I listen to all of them, but I do listen to many.

Which part of your body is your favorite?

I like my eyes. I had glasses most of my life. Four years ago I had Lasik
surgery.
It’s amazing what a huge difference it made.

Have you been making music recently? And if so, how do I get a hold of it?

My last release was a book which came with a DVD. It came out in Japan on
Map. I tried to put as much on the DVD as I could. I don’t know if it’s
available in the UK. The DVD I’m working on now should be easier to get once
it’s out.