Fourculture Magazine: Interview with Josh Klinghoffer

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Transcription by josh-klinghoffer.org

The Evolution of Rock – Dot Hacker
By Felicia C. Waters

So here I sit on a Saturday evening, Doctor Who on in the background when something the character is saying catches my ear. There’s a new Doctor being introduced this year, and he is basically trying to understand why he has a new face. All things being the same within him so it seems, where did the new face come from? Naturally that got me thinking about the state of music. It’s something I think about a lot, it’s my process. Here’s where I made the connection – same thing musically with a different face. I’m not going to judge that in a good or bad way because there is something playing on any random device that someone really digs. My point in this. For the past few years what we have had released to us has been kind of like Doctor Who, but way less interesting.
Recently, however, I have been coming across these unique nuggets of pure wonderful. Few and far between, but they are starting to bubble up. On Record Store ay this year such a nugget bubbled up for me when I was turned on to Dot Hacker, Clint Walsh, Jonathan Hischke, Eric Gardner and Josh Klinghoffer are Dot Hacker. They bubble up from LA, and are all involved in other projects. Somehow they found the time to create some deep fried goodness.
As How’s Your Process? (Work) winds its way into the consciousness of music lovers, the band is gearing up for the October 7th release of How’s is Your Process? (Play), the second of the two album set.
So this brings me back to Doctor Who. He travels back and forth through time, much like rock does and he has a faithful companion, the fans. But even though it seems like a new face same Doctor, the reality is with each regeneration he evolves and changes. Welcome to the evolution of rock with Dot Hacker.
Josh Klinghoffer answered a few of our questions.

Rock music seems to have fizzled out over the past few years, but recently more bands with a rock vibe are starting to sprout up, Dot Hacker being one of them. Do you see the beginnings of a rock revival happening?
No, well, I don’t think I’m the right one to ask. I don’t really follow what’s going on these days. I fell like there are always a ton, or several tons, of rock bands anywhere. I’ve even been known to say at times that I don’t want to be in a rock band, but who am I kidding, yes I do. I think bands, and their listeners for that matter, should be open to anything.

How did you come up with the name Dot Hacker? What’s the significance of the name?
It was Eric Gardner’s maternal grandmother’s name, Dorothy Hacker. Dot is short for Dorothy. When we booked our first show, we were nameless. It took a while to feel like us, but I think it does now. I call us The Dots.

Who/what were your biggest influences? What was it that inspired you to explore music?
It’s hard to narrow it down. We all like and were influenced by a lot of things. I was always fascinated by bands. The idea of a band. A little club. A group of people all working for the same goal. A team.

What’s your process? How does the Dot Hacker creative process work?
It differs. We got together and make noise. We record everything so if anything is really happening, we listen to it, try and figure out what the hell we were doing, then turn it into a song. Stage left and stage right bring in songs of various level of completion, we throw those at the wall and which ever stick, become songs. Scheduling and temporal availability play a role too. Actually a lot more than I wish were true. We just try and work as much as we can. The more we do, the easier it is. Work, work, work.

I’ve read that you decided to release the Work & Play albums separately because of the length of the songs. Why not go ahead and release a double album? Do you think listeners of today could digest such a thing?
It wasn’t really the lengths of the songs, to me. It was the length of the albums, I like a short record. A record that when it’s done, you need to put it on again straight away. I also was quite obsessed with the running order for this record. The decision to break it up also was to allow for everyone to feel their needs met (as such as possible) in that department. Again, I can’t say what the modern listener can and can’t take. I know a double album is too much for me these days, but as I said, I like short records.

You guys released a special limited edition 7” of “Whatever You Want” in support of Record Store Day. What are your thoughts on how fans get their music these days? Did you have a favorite record store growing up?
One more time, I don’t know how people get music now. I’d say that I much prefer the record store to the iStore… by far, but I can’t say one is definitely better. I know what I enjoyed as a kid and what I kinda wish was still going on, but maybe it is. I had a lot of favourites as a kid. Too many to name.

How important is commercial success for Dot Hacker? If this band was your only gig would you be happy with just earning a decent living doing what you love on your own terms?
I think if anyone earned a decent living doing what they loved on their own terms, then they’ve in pretty good shape. I’m not sure what commercial success is. Probably because I play in another, very successful band, that I didn’t start. I’ve always had a hard time defining success. I used to have no money and still don’t really treat it with respect. I am continuing to grow and move forward in life, that is closer to success in my book. I think all the guys in the band would love to just be able to work on this band as much as possible. If we can create a situation where that is happening, we’re a success.

You’ve started to play some gigs locally. Are these any plans to take the Dot Hacker experience out to the rest of the country?
We’d love to tour! We’d have left yesterday if the schedules permitted. We will someday. What can one expect? Music played by people who love playing it.

Is there a particular song you’d like to cover? What would be your favorite song to just rock out on?
We do a few covers. Again, there are too many to mention. I have a playlist full of potential covers.

A song can affect me emotionally and no matter how many times I listen to it, it will bring me to a certain moment in time and how it made me feel. When you write about something personal how does it affect you when you play it live? Can you compartmentalize the emotion or is performing the song therapeutic in itself? I’m thinking of “Floating up the Stairs” in particular which to me seemed personal.
Well, for me, it’s always such an emotional experience. Writing, recording, rehearsing, performing. Sometimes logistics or tangled cables get in the way of having a truly open and emotional time playing a song, but that is bound to happen. Without sounding like an ass, I try not think, I just do it. I think all of us approach music in a very emotional way, that’s what we enjoy about playing with each other.

You did the original score for Bob and the Monster, the awesome documentary about Bob Forrest. What was that experience like? Are there opportunities to get creative in an endeavor like this?
Of course you can get creative! I pretty much created that music on the spot in one day recording. It was very fun, again, very quick, but really enjoyable. I was so honored to be able to show my love and appreciation for Bob in this way. I always hope Bob knows how much I love him. I told him I do, but you know… maybe he’ll see this.

What’s in heavy rotation on your iPods right now?
Barry Gibb’s demos.

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