Friday 24 March 2017

Q&A: Galaxie 500's Dean Wareham

Ailbhe Malone

On life as an indie pop legend, the band's bitter break-up and its afterlife

Galaxie 500 didn't end on the best of terms, and yet you've gone on to become one of the most influential groups of the past 20 years. Surely you have regrets about the group imploding after only three albums?

Three records is a perfectly good number. At a certain point, you've said what you have to say. I don't know where it would have gone. It didn't finish for musical reasons, it ended for personal reasons. I don't know, I suppose I regret it ended badly.

From what I've read, the fault lines were there from the start. Your bandmates (Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang,) were a couple and you squabbled about royalties. It's hard to think of a better recipe for bad blood.

Three people is an inherently unstable number for a band. Especially if there's a couple in the group. I mean, can you imagine?

You were basically the resident gooseberry on the tour bus.

Well, let's say you go to dinner with two friends, who are a couple. I mean, sure, it's fine. For dinner. But for your whole life to be that way? It wasn't fun for me.

You walked out on the eve of a Japanese tour in 1991 and haven't spoken to Damon and Naomi since. Did you consult them about reviving Galaxie 500's music?

I did not. I did not seek their permission. You know, we're all grown up now. They may not be too thrilled with it. But you know, I can't help that.

What's your response when people tell you that, without Galaxie 500 ,My Bloody Valentine, Low, Beach House and dozens of other shoegaze/ dreamcore bands would never have existed?

Yeah, hmmm, you know, I don't have a sense of that. People tell me the band is influential. They'll say, 'oh, this group sounds like Galaxie 500'. I never quite hear it. Maybe they just play slow, delicate stuff. I don't get it.

When you pulled the plug on Luna in 2005, you said the idea of continuing to tour through your 40s filled you with dread. Was there a change of heart?

Hah, that's true, I remember that. Now look at me. I took about two years off from playing live. The first day I went back on tour, I remember the shock of loading the van and thinking, 'oh my God -- what am I doing?' I think the difference now is that it's in smaller doses. With Luna, I felt we were on a treadmill of making records and touring and then being under pressure to make another record so we could tour again.

With music industry apocalypse upon us, those old ways of doing business just don't apply any more.

The whole business is breaking down. Or at least the CD side of it. You play dates when it makes sense for you to play dates.

Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500 at Workman's Club Dublin tonight

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