Inbox: The Chap

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Sure, we're always curious to know about an artist's upcoming release, most recent tour, or arsenal of analog gear, but XLR8R's also got a curiosity for quirk. Thus, each week, we email a different band or artist and find out what makes them tick, in the studio and in life. Today Johannes Vonweizsacker of U.K.-based experimental pop outfit The Chap talks about Zeppelin, abusive venue owners, and his trusty duvet.

What are you listening to right now?

In the last 24 hours, loads of Beatles, some really bad so-called world music, some very good so-called world music, a bunch of death-metal groups, such as Vomitory and Dying Fetus, Hall and Oates, Burial, Clipse.

What's the weirdest story you ever heard about yourself?

Nobody ever attributes anything weird to me. A friend of mine insists that I am very conservative. That feels pretty weird. What if it's true? Doesn't make for very exciting copy, though. Sorry.

What band did you want to be in when you were 15?

Led Zeppelin. Still do.

Worst live show experience?

In a club, with a sound guy who didn't know how to switch on a P.A. and who was highly abusive at the same time. Not as abusive as the venue owner though, a bald and rather, shall we say, compact-looking South London gangster type who, as we were getting ready to play, jumped onto the stage and attempted to beat up Panos. Panos was brandishing a large, blow-up plastic banana, which he had found in the backstage room, and the banana must have been of personal value to the venue owner, so he urged Panos to put it back, or else: death!

Favorite city to play in?

Paris, Berlin, Hamburg. They've been sooo good to us.

Have you really, as your press states, "never been influenced by anyone or anything, at any time, ever?"

Of course we haven't. Okay, maybe Led Zeppelin.

What is your favorite thing you own?

My duvet.

Name one item of clothing you can't live without.

Right now, my winter coat. It's bloody freezing ’round here.

What's more annoying: copyright laws, gas prices, or airport security?

Airport security. Then again, it can be quite fun. The conversations and poses it involves could be subsumed into many a classic surrealist film.

What did you always get in trouble for when you were little?

Not eating my greens.

What other artist would you most like to work with?

Dying Fetus.

What's the last thing you read?

A Lover's Discourse: Fragments, by Roland Barthes. It's a very sharp, philosophical analysis of how being in love turns you into a total idiot. Great stuff. Also, it's organized in, as the title suggests, small fragments, which you don't need to read chronologically. Which makes it a great toilet read!

Complete this sentence: In the future...

There will be no gas (as in: petrol), and subsequently, no airport security issues. Hooray!

Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?

Continuing to play in this loser band. I love being stupid.

What's next?

Touring the U.K. and mainland Europe. In March, The Chap hits the U.S., apparently. I can't wait to tour your surreal country.

Last Week: Tanya Morgan