Published Sep 01, 2004Sex and pop music have had a longstanding courtship that has seen the likes of Prince, KISS and even little Britney Spears try and marry the two. However, subtlety isnt one of their strong points, which is why Stephen McBean, member of Jerk With A Bomb (now known as Black Mountain), makes the union work on his debut, self-titled album as the Pink Mountaintops. Well, subtlety with some extremely bizarre allusions. Using some friends to fill out the records line-up (featuring Amber Webber, Joshua Wells, and Christoph Hofmeister), McBean presents his own messed up world that conjures rocknroll clichés, compromising positions and a lot of ambiguities that pop into the head with a severe lack of sleep. The peaceful alt-country feel of the record is constantly thrown into jeopardy with his hankering to turn up his amp and move along the path of a frisky indie rock direction. It never fails; as he proves on a cover of Joy Divisions harshly depressing "Atmosphere, which is given an incredible transformation into a Velvet Underground-heavy, freak-out jam. Of course, his genius lies mostly in his ability to mutter a dirty, bewildering lyric, like "In my rocknroll fantasy, storm rider goin down on me, which leaves much to the imagination, especially what exactly a "storm rider is.
"Rocknroll Fantasy and "I (Fuck) Mountains sound like theyre out of the Spinal Tap lyric book. What inspired you? McBean: I think with "Rocknroll Fantasy I basically just had the one riff and then I adlibbed the vocals. They were just spur of the moment, whatever came out. I didnt screw around or think too much about them. It was just late nights in a weird angled bedroom.
Your songs are very explicit, but presented with great subtlety. A lot of the record was inspired by my partner at that time. Not directly about her, but just kind of for fun. I wasnt trying to be gross or shocking, it was just what came out at that point in my life, for God knows what reason.
The press release mentions that the songs were fuelled with trucker speed and Red Bull. Were those substances used to help your songwriting? It basically came on the last Jerk With A Bomb tour. We were on tour, driving somewhere through the Rockies in the States. It was like seven in the morning and we were drinking Red Bull and taking ephedrine to stay awake and make it to the next show. The name Pink Mountaintops popped into my head and from there I just started making a few notes here and there. When I got back home I started making the record. The trucker speed and Red Bull were really just at the initial conception. (Scratch)