Huge thanks to Ron Rochondo from Ice Dragon for taking time out his busy schedule of life and holidays to answer some questions. Check out anything and everything Ice Dragon in the links below and buy up all the shit they have to offer.
First off, how did Ice Dragon come together and how did you guys decide to be a Doom/Psychedelic outfit?
Interviews of any kind always remind me of this….
Jane Winslett-Richardson: May I turn this on?
Steve Zissou: [bites into an apple] Fire one.
Jane Winslett-Richardson: [Jane begins recording the interview] So what happened, in your opinion?
Steve Zissou: [swallows the bite] ... what're you talking about?
Jane Winslett-Richardson: Well, don't you think the public perception of your work has significantly altered in the last five years?
Steve Zissou: - That's your first question? I thought this was supposed to be a puff piece.
Jane Winslett-Richardson: ...should we come back to it?
Steve Zissou: ...yeah.
Jane Winslett-Richardson: Okay... Is it true that this is going to be your last voyage?
Steve Zissou: Wow... no comment. Who told you that? No, goddamnit, I'm... only 52. How-how 'bout we start out with some stock dialogue? Favorite color, blue? Favorite food, sardines?
[laughter] Not that I’m saying that about your interview here, just in general I am always reminded of that. Fire one. Love that.
So anyway, We actually got our start doing entirely different sounding music, sort of a country/blues/dirtbag kind of thing. It was just me and Carter and it was lots of harmonica and drunkenness and sounded generally pretty horrible but was a hell of a lot of fun. We ended up making two tracks that sounded nothing like that at all though and didn’t really know what to do with them, so we figured we’d do a sort of side project thing. We got a few dudes from our work to help out with bass and drums, a guy named Ryan and a guy named Joe. Ryan played all the drums on the first album, he was crazy good at drumming but me and him got in arguments all the time and then we had a big huge drunken argument about something totally lame and he ran away…like literally, it was weird. Classic band stuff I guess. Joe ended up not only being incredibly good at bass but one hell of a riff factory as well. I guess just from those original two ideas we started playing as a band and everything got more and more heavy as time went on. I think all the psychedelic stuff is because we are all not really “metal heads”, but more of straight up rocker types. I mean don’t get me wrong, we all listen to a lot of metal and grew up on it for the most part, but also all the 70’s freak out shit and prog and folk, etc.
With "The Sorrowful Sun" just being released last month, are you guys planning any future tours to support the record or just playing some gigs here and there?
Definitely not any tours planned. I have a ’77 dodge van though. It has a dead battery right now so it’s just sitting in my driveway. I spray painted it flat black. Are people like crazy rich that are in most of these bands? How do you take time off of work and then pay for gas, fixing your van, food, beer, life, etc. I can barely pay my rent now without trying to pay for all that shit. And really what are they making on the door? Barely anything compared to how much their expenses are. Even if you made 25,000 dollars a year on your band, which would be huge for a doom/stoner band I would think, then you are still making less than the dude working full time at the Seven Eleven down the street, and that’s BEFORE you split it 3 or 4 ways. I am sure the dude at the Seven Eleven can’t afford a brand new Orange amp setup and a new guitar and fancy pedals and all that shit. So either there are some rich parents involved, or they still live with their parents, or they work at fidelity investments and just aren’t telling us, or something. I work 9-5 at a regular ass shitty job and I can’t afford to tour is all I’m saying. And if a label gave me a check like in that Blink 182 remake video that Red Fang did, then I would pay rent and buy groceries and a new battery for my van. Maybe I sound like a dick right now, I don’t know. I might be, but I try not to be mostly. We will probably play some local shows at some point in the near future and I will end up throwing up in the parking lot and trying to start a fight, per usual.
The production that Ice Dragon gets out of a record is very nostalgic in the sense of early Doom/Psychedelic releases. Are you guys trying to bring back the type of production that Black Sabbath and Strawberry Alarm Clock had or am I just wishing for something completely wrong?
No you are very right. Everything is so polished right now, even metal, it’s vomitus and upsetting. “Underground” bands spending tons of money on recordings that just make everything sound like the black album. I wanna hear a door slamming in the background. Like on that Led Zeppelin song where you can hear the plane in the background and the engineer is like “let’s wait so we don’t get that plane” and Robert Plant is like “no leave it”. He knew what the fuck he was doing man. Double kick everywhere shitting all over our faces too. God I hate that. I love that you mentioned Strawberry Alarm Clock too, a big right on to you sir! I think the best recordings I have heard in a long time are the band Orange Sunshine. Check them out and you’ll see what I mean. Incredible stuff. Those guys are killing it right now. I would definitely go into the studio if Mr. Big’s limo pulled up in front of our house and he came inside smoking a big cigar, but I wouldn’t make the same mistakes Cassandra Wong did. We both know there is no film in this camera.
From what I gathered on your Facebook page we have at least one thing in common, Danger Mouse! How often did you watch that show as a kid?
I love Danger Mouse. I have some of the VHS tapes of the show at my house. I used to watch it all the time, but there are so few episodes really, it’s a bummer. Baron von Greenback, what a voice. And the announcer guy at the end of each episode is so hilarious. I laugh every time. Think right now, like in your minds eye, that you have some lucky charms and a good cup of coffee and Danger Mouse is on… damn.
Outside of Ice Dragon, are you working on any other side project besides The Mangled Dead or are you looking to just stay with those two projects for now?
I do way too many side projects. I am working on a kind of of heavy drone-ish thing with somewhat black metal-esque vocals right now, but I am trying to finish a video project that will accompany it before I let the cat out of the bag. We’ll see what happens. I also do ambient electronic synth-y kind of stuff as “Qosmic Qey”. I really like doing that stuff, but it’s not for everyone. There are a whole bunch more but I won’t bore you with them as a lot of it is rather dorky. I wish more people would do side projects with me though, like if you want to or anything you should let me know.
"Deadly Lightning", what can you tell us about it and where/when can the people pick it up?
That is a short film that I wrote a totally kickass script for but don’t have the money to buy the props I need to get it done. It will happen at some point for sure, but not for a while. It’s basically people that get killed in horribly bloody ways by lightning, not just shocked to death or burnt or whatever. I write all my scripts on my typewriter while smoking and drinking whiskey and listening to Martin Denny records. That is the only way if you’re going to be serious about it at all. I have a script I am working on for a feature length called “EyeEater” that should be very disturbing and dark. It will probably never get made. I’ll just throw them all in a drawer somewhere and then maybe when I die some kid will pick them up and make them. That would be the best really. I actually hope that happens now.
As of late, what records have you been blasting out of your speakers at home?
I love that Orange Sunshine stuff a whole lot. Acid Witch gets a fairly heavy rotation too, I just got the patch and button off those dudes. John Kay's “Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes” album is crazy good and we listen to that one a whole lot lately. This older punk band that my friend Rick was in called >Mortar Blast a lot in the basement when I’m drunk. They have a song called “Piss Off You Fuck”. I gave The Exploited’s “Horror Epics” a hell of a good run through the other night. My wife was mad at me so I cranked it up and got smashed in the kitchen. Pilgrim’s old demo songs, Spelljammer’s “inches from the sun” EP (Nik sent me a sweet cd of it way back). I also just got this ep from a band called Sunsmasher that is wicked fucking heavy and great. And this other band from Britain called Monolithian I listen to a lot at work, I don’t think they have anything downloadable or for sale but I could be wrong. I check them out on soundcloud. On my headphones this morning I listened to that Sick of it All EP “scratch the surface” and also Sepultura’s “refuse/resist”.
On the new record, "The Sorrowful Sun", you guys seem to have a bit more acoustic flow going on throughout the album than in your previous release "The Burl, The Earth, The Aether". Was that something that was planned?
I think it is that we are all pretty old and old guys like to chill out every now and then, like more than the youngsters anyway ya know? Some of it was planned out and some of it just came out of jamming and finding things we liked in the recorded jam-ness. We had a really good bbq this weekend and I smell kind of horribly bad right now.
What's next for Ron Rochondo? Any future family plans, kids, moving to an isolated jungle so nobody will ever bother you again? What's next?
I don’t really like little kids all that much. I get along with them ok, but in general they are a bit boring. I am married to a lovely little lass and that goes well for the most part. We say “I Love You” to each other and stuff and hang out and ride bicycles. It’s like the American dream all over everywhere at my house. I don’t think I would like the jungle much because I hate bugs. Bugs are retarded. They have their skeletons on the outside of themselves and they eat garbage and fart on each other for breakfast. Antennae everywhere also. I mean really. C’mon. I would rather be dogsledding and then this old guy would walk up to me and we would trip out in the magic hut he lives in and walk around in the snow together holding hands. The Great White North.
Lastly, is there anyone you would like to say thank to or maybe shout out for helping along the way?
Bob and Doug Mckenzie, Otto Miller, Bud Kevin and Coors, Large Marge, Bob from The Soggy Bog of Doom, Penfold, Marilena Moroni, Ed and Doommantia.com, Sludgelord, Rod and Captain Beyond Zen, B Vitamins, Werner and Hotei and Sam, Crestfallen with Kev, Cabinets, Uschi Digard, Magnetic Tape Recordings, Vests, Anonymous, Slim Pickens, Whispering, Warren Oates, Everyone who has bought anything of ours, Hessian, Pilgrim, Natur, Flat Black Spray Paint, Not going to the Beach, Aunt Jemima Microwaveable Breakfast Sandwiches, Donuts, The Mysterious Dr. Satan, Ben, The Mummy, Tony the Tiger, Pumpkinhead, Matt, Steph, The Eye of Thundera, Inline Six Cylinder Engines, Dirty Magazines, Jean Rollin, The Yin and The Yang, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Jerks, CaCa, Apathy, Giant Bears, Fantasy Novels, Coffee and Cakes.