BH: I know. I think its part of the balance; like a pendulum swinging back in the other direction. Jason (Smart) is our fourth drummer and he's from Ohio. He was seeing Jacob Fred play for years before he joined the band about two years ago. But for me‚ I grew up in Missouri and then lived in Oklahoma and I had this fantasy about New York City. Like that's where you have to be; that's where all the innovators are; that's where all the really innovative shit is happening. And that's all I would think about as a kid. Jacob Fred started playing New York City in 1996 and playing with different jazz bands and playing different clubs and it was like "What's going on here?" Everything has this semi-homogeneous downtown sound. We just kept doing what we were doing; working and working and playing NYC over and over again. We would see various bands‚ and I think a lot of bands in general‚ and what I started to notice was that they stick to a formula. It's a formula that they stick to which they think it will make them money. Since I didn't really have that influence‚ we didn't have that influence of a formula that would make musicians money. In Tulsa‚ all the big bands that we would see were punk rock bands. They were the only bands making money in that music scene. So that was our example of homogenized music of a certain genre that was making any money. That was our only immediate influence - these crazy freaked out punk rock bands. We didn't really have any other bands around to influence what we were doing‚ that were making any money‚ and showing how to do it. I think that really helped us out; we didn't have any concept or idea of what Jacob Fred was going to be‚ or what was going to make us any money‚ or what was going to give us any longevity. We just wanted to make shit that got us off (laughs). What we wanted to do is really improvise and not bullshit and really take risks. We wanted to imitate Branford Marsalis‚ and John Coltrane‚ and Ornette Coleman‚ and Cecil Taylor - and by imitating them I mean we would come up with our own style or own music. That's how we wanted to imitate - by worshipping people that had their own sound. That's what ended up happening to us; we have our own language‚ our own method of improvising and our own method of composing.
MM: That's interesting because you have a composition‚ "There is No Method‚" which I always thought was autobiographical in the way of describing your style and approach to making music. I've always thought of that on the spiritual side of improvising‚ where if you allow yourself to let go‚ you're going to sound like nobody else. I think that's a lot of the idea behind being influenced by a great improviser; if you're really influenced by their approach you're not going to sound like them at all.
BH: Exactly. I think we should be learning from these masters on how to be our own people and make our own music‚ and not just imitate and copy. I think in a lot of ways that's how coming from Oklahoma really helped us; we had no reason to be anything but ourselves.
MM: Right‚ that makes a lot of sense. You had no image or standard to live up to or follow...
BH: Or even any other jazz bands playing...
MM: (laughs) Right‚ there you go. Three guys playing music to freak each other out...
BH: Reed and I have had the same approach ever since we've known each other - and that's all about hard work‚ worshipping and complete devotion to music. That's why Reed and I are still friends; you know‚ we are the only two people like each other that we've ever known. We had no choice but to hang out (laughs). And Jason‚ after having three drummers‚ is like Reed and I. All he wants to do is worship music‚ just to worship music; not for any other reason but for the sake of worshipping music; not for any other reason; not for money‚ not for chicks‚ not for ego. It's the same exact approach as Reed and me - absolute devotion to music. Devotion to music has endless sources of spiritual perfection and spiritual evolution. That's what Reed and I have been about ever since we knew each other and now we're lucky enough to have a drummer who fits into that‚ and everybody thinks he's been in the band for ten years. A lot times people don't know that when someone's interviewing us and a lot of times I don't tell them. They think he's been in the band with us for ten years because we're so synched up on stage and that it's obvious that we all grew up together in Oklahoma and have been doing this forever. We're so blessed to have Jason in the band and that's really why we called the band Jacob Fred instead of anything else because we want to make it clear that there is no leader; it's a very unique thing. We all contribute equally and it's a real give and take - an equal ensemble and conversation. Again‚ that's what I love about The Slip. I mean I do like their creamy melodies and rock tunes and they do that like nobody else‚ but my favorite shit is when they are just going for it and improvising. Well‚ thanks for noticing and paying attention‚ it allows us to do it.
MM: Yeah‚ I think I'm right there with worshipping music. When I go out and hear music that's how it hits me - it's big. It's really hard to explain that to someone who doesn't get that from music. Also‚ the spiritual side of music and improvising‚ I mean I've had fucking revelations listening to music and even trying to play music. You reach this level of communication that's beyond anything.
BH: It's an indescribable high of unbelievable perfection and jubilant rapturous bliss; it's like nothing else in this world. I've been married for four and half years to the most amazing human I've every met‚ and there's this wife is not a musician - she's a music lover - but I know and she knows that there's this aspect to me that she'll never know even though this is my soul-mate and one of the greatest geniuses that I've ever encountered; yet she does not improvise on an instrument and there's a large part of me that is a mystery to her. It's really an interesting balance in our relationship where there's this huge part of me that we both know that she might not ever understand. I mean she's a Shaman in her own right‚ but her Shamanism manifests differently then mine‚ where mine is manifested on stage improvising. I'm addicted to being on stage improvising‚ having the audience's psychic energy flowing through my tiny little nervous system. That's the only drug I do - that's my addiction. To have 200 or 5000 other nervous systems completely coursing through my nervous system creating music through a tiny little insignificant flesh sack. That is my addiction; there is nothing else like it. It's unbelievable‚ and I'm just incredibly lucky.
MM: (laughing) Yeah man‚ good for you! Fuck yeah I'm glad to hear it‚ and I'm glad you're living that way.
BH: I feel blessed. But I have to say the industry...well I have this fantasy every once in a while about not playing and just working in a health food store. The same way when I was in elementary school I use to fantasize about being a professional musician. Now that I've been making a living playing music for four years - we've been together ten‚ but we've only been making a living at it for four - it's funny‚ now that I've been doing this for this long I'm firmly inserted into the vagina of the music industry and now I'm like‚ "Wow‚ it would be soooo relaxing to get up everyday and go work in a health food store‚" (laughs). But I know that's all it is - it's just a fantasy because I would die without playing music. It's a permanent addiction - an addiction to drive to a new city every night and set up on a new stage every night‚ and freak out every night. It's all just unbelievable and magical. The balance is the pain of our capitalist religion. That's the balance; that's the side of me that thinks about working in a health food store‚ which is what I was doing for two years before Jacob Fred went on the road full time. I basically counseled people on their health and had a huge clientele of people who would come see me.
MM: I've heard you talk about the wheatgrass shots a couple of times before.
BH: Yeah‚ we have a song about it.
MM: It's really interesting to me; I think it's the search about your own spiritual existence and how to make yourself feel better and to be better‚ and also about energy and how you can pass that off if you're in tune. I think Jacob Fred is definitely creating that energy with its audience‚ but you also have a political side as well. I'm very thankful that musicians will say what they believe; I mean you're being as real as possible when you're on the stage playing music. I noticed the sticker you have on your Rhodes which says‚ "A True Patriot Questions Our Lying Government."
BH: That's that new Jacob Fred sticker‚ copyright 2003 JFJO; that's our new band sticker. I think people are sleeping and the Bush administration is helping people wake up; for the first time it's blatant. I mean Clinton did some evil shit as well: being controlled by the military industrial complex‚ by killing innocent people in Kosovo. Have you seen "Bowling For Columbine?"
MM: Yeah.
BH: Michael Moore breaks it all down in that movie. How every president‚ democrat or republican‚ has killed hundreds of thousands of people. It's our basic national policy to keep the few rich‚ elite‚ white people who control oil companies and military industrial companies happy. That's what our government does‚ is make sure that all of those people stay in the money and the rest of us are just cattle. It's a form of population control; there are way too many humans on this planet. I mean that's what AIDS is‚ and that's what SARS is...I mean Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - that's the biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever heard. It's all scare tactics. Normal pneumonia kills more people; it has like an 8% death rate where SARS has a 2% death rate. So why aren't we hearing about pneumonia in the media? Why is it that all we're hearing about now is SARS? I'll tell you why: because they have to keep a diversionary tactic going at all times because of September 11th. This administration gave $245 million to the Taliban in Afghanistan. This administration created September 11th‚ and some people believe this administration is responsible for the planes flying directly into those buildings. There's a Web site you should definitely check out:; go to the 9/11 archives. It's all mainstream news articles from Reuters and the LA Times; I mean its all mainstream media. It's basically proof that Bush and Cheney have been planning this ever since they got in office the fact that the Bush/Cheney administration killed thousands of innocent Americans so that Cheney and the Halliburton oil company can build a pipeline to Afghanistan. This administration has to constantly keep a diversion going to keep the American public from being informed that 400 families of victims of the WTC hired a lawyer and our suing this administration for prior knowledge and aiding and abetting.