Q&A Chris Schlarb: “Bands and cults are very similar…”
Psychic Temple seems from the outside to be a kind of sprawling collective in constant flux: is that how you envisage it?
At a certain point I just started calling it a cult, because of the way any band works under a leader with a vision. Bands and cults are very similar. When you go on tour, you’re driving from city to city proselytising and trying to gain a fanbase… followers, if you will. Most bands are serving one vision at a time. Psychic Temple is definitely my vision, my aesthetic. However, all I care about is the music and serving the song, not my ego. I’m not trying to play every instrument on the record. I’m trying to find the best musicians I can to draw the best out in the music.
You have the great bassist max bennett on the album. what’s his playing like at 89?
I had Carol Kaye in mind. I took lessons from her years back and reached out to her on a previous record but she declined. When I started writing this new batch of songs, I sent Max an email and he called me an hour later. He said he enjoyed the music. He was 87 at the time! I mean, Max played on some of my favourite ever albums: Zappa’s Hot Rats, Joni’s mid-’70s albums… He came down to the studio, wrote his charts out, brought a bag of almonds and played his ass off.