Madeira Press, Articles, & Reviews
Destination: Earth! debriefing session
From Soundcheck: I first interviewed Destination: Earth!, a surf-rock band built around a campy sci-fi storyline, when I was hosting a three-hour radio variety show during my senior year of high school on 89.3 WJEL, the voice of the J. Everett Light Career Center. While I was a spotty interviewer – for a while, my closing question was, “What’s your favorite sandwich?” – the Destination: Earth! interview was memorable: Band members (Commander 007, Raider-X and R5DW40) chatted in character, and even brought along a theremin, which can be both an unwieldy musical instrument and, when called upon, a malfunctioning computer on a spaceship. Guitarist Patrick O’Connor (Commander 007) reminded me about the interview this week when we talked about his upcoming show at the Melody Inn, a 10th anniversary for Destination: Earth!, which has taken a long hiatus while exploring the galaxy, or while O’Connor lived in Southern California, playing in another surf rock band, The Madiera (also on the bill). The space-age trappings of surf rock lend themselves well to sci-fi bands, of course; Man or Astro-man?, who have also pretty much finished up their mission on this world, may have been the first in the vein (or maybe it was Devo?). With another local well-versed in all things ’50s rock, Frankie Camaro and his Atomic Bombay.
And what I didn’t mention in print: The tenth anniversary show will also see the release of a Destination: Earth! greatest hits collection, Faders on Stun: The Best of Destination: Earth!. I spoke with Commander 007 via intergalactic mail. I’ll note that this vaguely malevolent alien really knows his surf rock.
NUVO: Why have you returned to Indianapolis after so many years away?
Commander 007: I was transferred to the California sector in early 2007 by Vector Sigma high command. But even prior to that, the mission code-named Destination: Earth! had been exploring other avenues of musical creativity: I with indie-pop band The Shake Ups and surf instrumentalists The Madiera, R5DW40 with doom metal overlords Devil To Pay and Raider-X with the punkish J.J. Pearson Project. The order came down from General Casualty, who felt we needed to expand our invasion efforts to bring about planetary domination more quickly. His solution was to not “put all of our eggs in one basket,” to paraphrase one of your primitive human sayings.
NUVO: What are your objectives for the show?
Commander 007: The April 10 debriefing session will allow us to conduct additional research on a selected cross section of your population even as we entertain them. We will then transmit the data back home to determine how best to adjust our offensive to colonize the planet in a timely manner…And once that’s done, I’d like to get hammered.
NUVO: What’s on the CD?
Commander 007: The new CD is entitled Faders On Stun: The Best of Destination: Earth! As the title suggests, it is a 26-track encapsulation of our recorded output. It includes many of the highlights from our official albums, as well as a few mixes that have never been heard by human ears. There is also an encoded subsonic frequency vibration that will create a brainwashing effect during repeated listening experiences, turning your population into mindless slaves to Destination: Earth!
NUVO: How does your stuff with the Madiera compare to Destination Earth?
Commander 007: Basically, The Madiera takes the classic Dick Dale surf sound of the early 60’s and combines it with the melody of European band The Shadows and the intensity of Austrailian band The Atlantics. The original wave of surf music was brought to a very abrupt halt by the British Invasion in 1964. With The Madiera’s latest album, Carpe Noctem, we are continuing the evolution of traditional 1960’s surf music using those original sounds and stylistic elements. I guess you could say The Madiera is somewhat more classicist, whereas Destination: Earth! has a modern edge to its music that incorporates a wider range of influences.
NUVO: And why has surf stuck around, when say, skiffle bit the big one?
Commander 007: The sound of surf – the crashing reverb, double-picked guitars, and whirling drum beats – are universal pleasures. They are addictive to the ear, even for those who may not necessarily be regular listeners of instrumental music. There is no language barrier to overcome with surf, and when done well, the music can be both evocative and very exciting.
Indy's Alternative Voice