|THE ORGAN INTERVIEW... WARRIOR SOUL MARCH 2007|
DECAYED, NEXT CENTURY, TIME FOR MORE...
Warrior Soul, one
of the most important rock bands of the 90ís are back for another bite.
The US band have just hit the UK for a short tour, we sent Chandra Nova
off to Nottingham in hot pursuit of leader Kory Clark... Hereís what she
came back with...
If there was any way I could write this stuff as being about a nineties rock band still doing the biz after 16 years - uplifting, safe, slightly ironic - then please believe me, I would. It would be just so cosy, so nice, so unchallenging. Thing is, Warrior Soul (a band who have been basically pared down to frontman Kory Clarke, and then rebuilt again, rebuilt as good or maybe better than the original) are not about the past. (They actually never were, for all the Doors and Iggy references lazy reviewers threw up time and again, in a desperate effort to have seen it all before.) Warrior Soul, perhaps alone among all the bands that hit our consciousness in the nineties, deserve to wear a big f***-off tee-shirt saying "I Told You So"
Kory Clarke agreed to an interview before their recent appearance at Nottinghamís Rock City and I was well keen to hear where he thinks weíre at right now.
Warrior Soul arrived on the world somewhere around 1990, í91 and spent the early Nineties prophesising all kinds of things. Ten years after your arrival 9/1l happened and now Warrior Soul are back Ė tell me whatís changed for America, whatís changed for you?
KORY: Iíve put Warrior Soul back together, itís been on hiatus, and my explanation of the rest and what happened, whatís changed, I think the documentary Loose Change, which is online, at www.loosechange911.com probably covers a lot of what I think is going on right now. As for Warrior Soul, weíre doing a new album, and Iíll be expressing what I think of all that, on the new record.
We read about stuff like the US Patriot Act here in the UK, and I wonder, how does it affect an artist, someone with a public voice Ė whatís the feeling for you as someone whoís not just clocking in and keeping your head down?
KORY: Well certainly, some of the laws like the hate laws, that theyíre trying to get sneaked through the Congress right now, that could certainly harm an artist like me, and itís meant to.
Is the wider political environment harmful? We seem to have imported wars from the Middle East to our own countries, the US, the UK, I wonder why?
KORY: It can certainly harm anyone Ė and itís coming up from all over, not just there, we have people coming up from the south: what I think is, itís designed to dilute the belief in your nationality - that your country doesnít matter, your rights donít matter. You donít matter.
What do you think about the way the Oklahoma bombing got blamed on nationalists, surely there are so many questionsÖ?
KORY: I think that was probably a run-through. I think maybe for several other things that happened.
Whatís the "war on terror" about for Americans?
KORY: Iím just a rock dude, I donít understand it all! (laughs) No, let me be serious, go on.
Weíve got a lot of big rock bands who broke in the nineties coming over now, playing arenas and stadiums, and I love it but itís like "The Silence of the Lambs" Ė how come theyíre not talking about this stuff?
KORY: I think theyíre scared. Theyíve always been chicken! For the first time in my life, Iíve felt personally like thereís a lot of decisions made at the top that, it doesnít seem like the worldís a normal place right now, these guys are beyond ruthless, and itís not that safe to speak your mind in front of a microphone. Why would anyone risk their life!? Point is, theyíre not here to do something, though they probably do behind the scenes, Iím sure they do speak out and I donít know what Ė Iím sure thereís tons of charity work, stuff like that.
And Warrior Soul are coming back, when we most need to hear this stuff?
KORY: Well, I re-released all the records, because I thought, itís still good, itís still relevant, so letís get it out there, and letís go out and do a little tour, and weíre also doing the Dirty Rig tour. Iím not doing politics in Rig - Itís just, serious rock níroll.
Itís almost a political statement just to say, "I want to do, what I want to do" these daysÖI mean we have one CCTV camera to every 14 citizens here in the UK, watching every choice and every move.
KORY: My comment is, why? What are you being protected from? The security side Ė nah, I just donít want to talk about that shit, just put a chip in my arse!
A lot of your stuff references psychedelia, the Sixties, the whole trippy thing Ė and thereís a shamanistic precedent of using altered states to bring back truth and power. You guys have referenced the whole idea of altered realities, so, what do you think you bring back from that perspective?
KORY: Well Daoist meditation, at this point, going through the energy fields that weíre going through on the planet - and itís bringing a huge psychic awareness as well as huge energy - anyone can access it through meditation, if they want to. The success of things like The Secret and all this stuff, thereís this growth in people whether theyíre artists or not, in this area of meditation this reaches out and brings more love into the world. As an artist, when I am performing, I am putting on a play, every night is a different play, with the characters being the songs, and I just like to perform. I donít know if Iím trying to get into trance necessarily, at one time I probably did that, Iíll tell you though now Iím more like - Vegas! The Rat Pack!
Itís always been pretty counter-culture to be so physical Ė you should really just become a slave - clock in, clock out, eat gruel, live for the TVÖ
KORY: You donít feel that's appealing? Itís, no... Maybe not!
Has Warrior Soul manifested its goal? Whatís the person in your audience getting then?
KORY: When, Iím playing the stage I want to be on, the people there are learning about performance, about society, about whatís going on, and he has what he believes.
And if Warrior Soul was an entity, to be a bit surreal and abstract, when has the Warrior won?
KORY: Thatís a good question Ė Iíve never been close enough to find out. Yet. Iíd visualise, people clapping, everybody in love, everybody having a great time. Iím not trying to deliver some sort of cosmic message, what Iím trying to do is shake my arse, and throw myself round, sing some cool shit, and I give you my soul, you give me your money! I wanna love everyone - I think what I want is, people need someone sometimes to stand up, but I canít do that right now and so Iím the misfit guy, who just got picked on and is still kicking them back and saying, f*** you, still, I didnít turn into Bon Jovi!
Thereís like, the politically aware band, the hedonist band, the whingey "life hurts me" band, and what I love about Warrior Soul is you transcend those boundaries, you have the attitude and yet you feel and you say f*** you, and you donít get sliced into focus group categories, or a single facet.
KORY: I just write about, whatever I f***ing feel like, so yeah! But transcending the boundaries, yeah, (laughs) you can write that one down.
Thank you very much,
So, Kory would still NOT get up onto his goddamn pedestal, where he belongs by right but from which so many of his peers, his partners in grime, have fallen so hard, and so permanently. But then, Warrior Soul has never been about preaching and leading in the first place Ė they take away our excuses for living the half-life, the safe-life, exactly by not being superhuman/subhuman cartoon cliches. In an age where our very identity is a commodity licensed back to us (via a smartcard) from the state, we all need to hear this more than ever, rather than handing off onto selected heroes to numb us into complacency, and make all our desires into a niche market.
The songs Warrior Soul pushed into our consciousness, songs like Superpower Dreamland, The Losers, The Wasteland, are more relevant now than ever, and if that seems at odds with most of radioís sugary daytime airwave Prozac, or the "one issue band" that died off when we outgrew that issue (Zack De la Rocha, I'm talking to you - the internet machine being the greatest freedom tool yet invented - so, duh) then that is exactly why Warrior Soul are a band we need more now than ever.
And a little while after that brief chat, this amazing rock ní roll band played one of the finest rock shows Iíve ever seen, proving that in the end, the best way to mess the "powers that be" is to simply be human, be yourself, and not give up.
Dirty Rig, Koryís other band, are playing in the UK throughout May - www.myspace.com/dirtyrig
Chandra Nova is a long time Organ contributor, she also blogs at Skinny Griffin. SkinnyGriffin is a blog/online zine brought to you by a collective of musicians, pagans, layabouts and free-thinkers based in London and surrounding areas, who have stuff to say and questions to ask about modern cultural artefacts - music, movies, books and the arts, as well as the odd rant about the news or whatever else crosses our radar.