good friend Lisa LeeKing agreed to let me write this intro in the first person,
as there were a few things I wanted to get off my chest about…Nebula.
Last year, I traveled on tour with three Sub Pop bands for nine days. This involved
riding, eating and sleeping (in the same room) with 15 different guys, all of
whom I had never met before. Nebula’s Eddie Glass, Ruben Romano and Mark
Abshire (founders of Fu Manchu) were among them. On one of our last days, I traded
vans and rode home to NYC with Detroit’s the Go. To break the ice, we began
telling dirty jokes, but as I’d just come from the Nebula vehicle, most of
mine were met with an eerie silence. Then the Go asked how my time with the L.A.
trio had gone. I announced that on the second day Eddie asked me to hand him a
joint, which was hidden in the vanity mirror. I flipped it down to find a picture
of a girl giving a rather full grown man a blowjob. “That’s pretty much how
it went,” I said, lighting a cigarette for the first time in more than two years.
pretending to be asleep–a lot–I got to know Nebula fairly well. There
was the time I took Mark, their bass player, to the emergency room when he busted
open his middle finger in Birmingham, even though a girl with fresh bridge work
who was trying to linger after the show assured us all that as a "licensed
massage therapist" she was more than capable of handling the situation. (Deep
in the medical files of some ’Bama hospital, I’m still listed as Mark’s
next of kin, despite the fact that I couldn’t tell the nurse his last name.)
was Ruben, the drummer, who when asked what his biggest rock ’n’ roll
fantasy was, answered, “I guess it’s playing in a band, and now I’m
doing it!” I told him if he could think of something else, we’d live it out
together. Ruben looked down at the bar thoughtfully for a moment, and replied,
“I’ve always wanted to go Malibu racing.” Later, he decided his dream was
to be the first person to get high with me again (I hadn’t gotten high in
four years, due to severe marijuana-induced panic attacks). However, on the last
evening of the tour, Ruben, my roommate and I, and a few other people at CBGB
I’d never met before, did get very, very high, thanks to a well-timed Xanax.
was also the band’s sound man, Mike. He’s the one I asked for the Xanax
before the CBGB show, adding that “I would even pay them [the band] for it.” Mike
slid his Ray-Bans down to the bridge of his nose and informed me that they were
drug addicts, not drug dealers. There was Luke, too, Nebula’s roadie, the
Poncho I will always remember as a man who “won’t pay more than $6 dollars
for a meal,” because he’s “just going to shit it out anyway.”
of course there was Eddie Glass. I saw Nebula perform during an afternoon show
at SXSW, and Mr. Glass wasn’t onstage for five minutes before he yelled at
the sound person, alternatively took off and then put back on his guitar, threatened
not to play, and called the whole thing “bullshit.” A friend standing next to
me whispered, “Is that the guy you’re gonna go on tour with?”
few minutes later, dabbing a tear from her eye, she smiled and said, “Remember
when you were wondering if there would be any problems on this trip? Well, you’re
looking at him.”
tour diary never made it into print. The magazine that commissioned the piece
wanted me to laugh at the bands, not with them, and there I was, thinking I’d
been sent out to document a revolution. My sincere apologies to everyone in the
bands about the story, but if it’s any solace, those nine days are some very
vivid, and very cherished, memories. The editors of that popular glossy may live
in nicer houses, have better cars and cushier retirement plans than we do, but,
as Oasis would say, “We see things they’ll never see/You and I are gonna
week Lisa and I spoke with Nebula via Instant Messenger, where we chatted about
their latest tour and the new album, Charged, which came out in April and
has sold more than 10,000 copies in Europe. They’re coming to town soon for
a two-night stand at the Mercury, where I have no doubt they will play that shit,
man. Play that shit.
Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant-message conversation.
LeeKing: Eddie Glass was able to download Instant Messenger!
Richardson: And because you were high, it only took you 20 minutes! Now all we
need is your credit card number.
Ha! Just a little "I.M." humor. We know you don’t have a credit
card. So, tell us about the new album. It’s very different from the first
one you put out on Sub Pop, and I think this record makes it harder to classify
Nebula as "stoner rock."
Yes, Charged is different. This one was recorded with John Agnello in New
Jersey and mixed in New York. Hold on Tonya…
Oh, okay Tonia. Next question.
Answer the first one, bigshot.
I would have but you cut me off! Charged is different in many ways…
It’s a lot faster…
Yeah it’s faster, and slower.
What’s the response been to the new album?
Don’t think too hard…
Some people like the new record and others told us it has to grow on them. Or
at least that’s what I’ve heard. Nobody dislikes it. If they do, they’ve
got their head up their ass.
Are you guys still into bringing an arena rock show of lights, gongs, smoke, etc.,
into smaller venues?
I guess you could say that, although I hate arena rock. Things like the smoke
lights and gongfire are us having a good time and making the tour a bit more dangerous
Eddie, you’ve always been dangerous and exciting!
Back to the album, I think it’s a sign of a good one when it has to grow on you.
Charged definitely grew on me, but I always liked “Shaker.” What an awesome
What albums were you guys diggin’ when you recorded Charged?
We listened to the Soundtrack of Our Lives, Kim Fowley, the 13th Floor Elevators,
Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the list goes on.
Lisa thinks “diggin’” is a really hip term.
Or "digging" if you’re white.
Tell us about Dickie [from Blue Cheer] again.
You want to know about Mr. Peterson? He came to one of our shows, and afterwards
was like, "Hey Ruben, whoa, that was great!" He remembered our names,
which was like…whoa. He lives in Cologne now. He looks like he’s in the
And been hit by a 2-by-4 in the face.
He’s just high.
Still, he’s a hottie.
He’s a cool person. Although he seems healthier as an old man than he did
as a young guy.
So he’s one of your heroes?
I don’t have any heroes. Mark and Ruben are here.
Hey Mark. Sorry we started without you. Edy Glase has been doing a pretty good
job, though. Tell us about your friendship with Zen Guerrilla and any other current
bands you “dig.”
Abshire: Hey Tanya. Yeah Zen Guerrilla kicks ass! We did a tour with them last
year, and they’re an awesome live band. Just got a copy of the new Zen Guerrilla
record. Haven’t heard it yet, but it came in time for this tour.
Tell Eddie I got those pictures of him back from SXSW and made ’em into t-shirts.
Eddie on a shirt?
Believe it. We also made some Nebula “doo rags.” We’re gonna wear those to the
Hells yeah! Hey, Mark, you seem like a talker. Tell us why this album is different
from the last. It seems a little more hard driving. [Very long pause]. You still
there Mark? We didn’t get anything.
So Mark, are you really related to Tom Petty or do you look just like him.
[long pause] Here’s…Ruben.
Ruben? How are you?
Romano: Hi Tanya! I’m fine, but really pissed off. Why? Because of the high price
of gasoline, that’s why!
I hear the album is doing really well in Europe. But are you big in Japan?
I don’t know. We haven’t been able to kamikaze that island yet. Hopefully
before the end of this year we’ll be able to answer that question.
Tanya and I told Mark we made Nebula doo rags, but they’re really a tribute to
your headbands. Only ours are bedazzled!
What’s a doo rag? Besides a band Bob Log III used to be in.
You’ll find out. Actually we’re going to go put them on now and go drink
Cool. We’re gonna get some beer to pound before tonight’s show. So we’ll
see you in a couple of weeks, and then we can all drink some beer. Have a great
weekend and try to stay alive.
P.S. Bring Xanax.
Only if you bring the Valium.
I’ll be out of town that week.
Really? I guess we’ll miss you then Lisa, but right on Tanya, you’ll be there!
Yep, and looks like I’ll be wearing doo rags for two.
plays June 1-2 at Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. (betw. Ludlow & Essex