Just because the first "In the Kitchen With..." of the year didn't take place in a kitchen doesn't mean the aura wasn't there. Arts editress Lauren Viera sat down with Geraldine Fibbers singer Carla Bozulich in a post-dusk Wilder Bowl at one of those comfortable iron-rod tables, not unlike the type you might encounter in a really abstract kitchen. This, just after Bozulich finished off a hearty "catered" sandwich, compliments of CDS. Tasty.
Lauren Viera: Had you heard of Oberlin before you got here?
Carla Bozulich: Not specifically, no.
LV: But you knew it was an in-the-middle-of-Ohio small college?
LV: Do you feel like you're more geared toward a college audience, in general?
CB: Rather than what?
LV: Well, you probably don't write for anybody specific, besides people that listen to you...
CB: No, I don't. I don't write for anybody at all. I don't think that we're more geared for a college audience. I just think that it so happens that there's more people of college age that are into music than other ages. I think that's really sad, actually. To tell you the truth. I think that's one of the sad things about the world that people do lose interest and fade out of it. I think that music keeps you young, that people should keep it close to their heart.
LV: Oberlin is different in that everybody here is into all different kinds of music, what with the Conservatory here and everything.
CB: I know. Our violin player's - Lana's - sister is probably going to come here.
LV: You said earlier you want to go to college.
CB: Oh, no; not this life. I'm 31 and I don't think it's going to happen for me.
LV: It's never too late.
CB: I know, but I have a career, and I'm pretty solid into what I do. And I don't just do this - music; I have a lot of things that I do. I am interested in learning. I'm always interested in learning, and there's several things that I have on my list that I intend to achieve in that way, but I don't think I'll ever be able to take years out of my life and go somewhere specifically for the college-learning. I do a lot of learning, though, and I'm very involved in that part of myself.
LV: What other things are you doing besides the band?
CB: I write a lot and read. I'm constantly trying to push myself. I've been involved in music for a long time. I'm 31 years-old; I've been playing in bands since I was 16. I've always played in unusual bands. I've never been interested in main-stream music, and I'm always interested in doing something that pushes one way or the other as far as innovation.
That's just what I'm interested in; that's what I strive for. I don't know how well I do at it, but that's what I strive for. What I try to always remember is that in whatever I do, it won't suffice for me to become complacent with whatever I decide is the right thing to involve myself in. So, in other words, once I feel like I've kind of wired something, I try to expand it or move on entirely. I try to just keep reading in more and more and more and more and try to just never be satisfied with myself. I just don't want to ever stop growing, and I suppose that's why I appreciate the environment of a college or university. I think that people are being almost forced-stimulated, and I think that's great. And I think that most people, once that force is relieved, will stop. And I think that's sad.
LV: I think it's sad, too. Do you enjoy playing shows like this more than just your regular tour dates?
CB: Oh, gosh. I've done a lot of college shows; I've done a lot of many of millions of night club shows, and they're all different. There's things about university gigs that are, from a touring musician's stand point, really a pleasure. For instance, usually you get paid well, and people are considerate, and the emphasis is not usually on drinking, so much.
LV: As opposed to just kind of watching the band in the background of the bar.
CB:Yeah, although a lot of times you're able to drink at the venue, but it still doesn't seem like the emphasis is on that at the college shows, usually. And also, I feel the energy in the air of history and books and learning and people pushing themselves, and I enjoy that. I walked all around this campus, and it's really beautiful. I walked over to...I can't see it now, but it's a kind of a church...
LV: Finney Chapel?
CB: Yeah, it was on the corner. It was interesting: it didn't look like a real church. It looked like it had been a church and that somebody took out all the signs and crosses, and there was no traditional stained-glass.
LV: It's weird like that.
CB: It was interesting. But anyway, I looked up and I was looking at the bell tower, and the bells rang for me. It was really great. I was right there, just sort of daydreaming, and they did their thing and I felt very happy. I love all the stone architecture. I guess from where I come from, it's pretty unique. I live on the West Coast and there's not a lot of need for stone architecture there.
The conversation takes a dive into the deep-end as Bozulich explains how she made the transition from being afraid of talking to singing her guts out. Twenty minutes later, here we are back at Oberlin again.
CB: There's a really great music program here, with the Conservatory.
LV: Yeah, there's some really amazing people here.
CB: You should check out Nels Cline. (the Fibbers' relatively new/remarkably excellent guitarist)
CB: He's a genius.
LV: I've read so many good things about him.
CB: I mean, you won't be able to get exactly an idea from this because he's not really normally a rock guitar player; he's mostly avant garde jazz. He's deep; really deep. I'll tell him to give you a CD; he'll probably never give you one.
LV: I think bands like yours are really different. I think playing a school like this where there are so many people that are musically-inclined is a good thing.
CB: Yeah; I enjoy it.
LV: Your band instead of just the standard, 3-piece guitar power-chord alternative band, it's good to have a band like the Geraldine Fibbers.
CB: Thank you.
LV: Do you have anything else to add?
CB: Nope. I think that's a good way to end it.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 2, September 12, 1997
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