Moonpools & Caterpillars: The Peak Of Nothingness

The married half of L.A.’s Moonpools and Caterpillars — singer Kimi and guitarist Jay Jay — are lounging in their label’s Manhattan offices. Fresh from a massive spread of Indian cuisine, the fledgling popsters, whose debut Elektra release “Lucky Dumpling” is moving steadily up Billboard’s Heat Seekers chart, chart the course of their new careers with Rolling Stone Online correspondant Benjamin Wagner.

RSO: What’s going on with Moonpools at the moment?

Kimmi: We’re right at the peak of stardome. [Laughs] We’re at the peak of nothingness.

Jay: We’re on our third week of touring.

RSO: How long will you be on the road?

J: That’s not confirmed. We were told it could be three weeks or the middle of December.

RSO: Is that disconcerting?

K: No. Every show we play, it’s another ten new people that’ll go out and buy our records. It’s worth it. That’s what it’s all about.

RSO: So you headed east from L.A.?

J: We started in Phoenix and Albequerqe, then we met Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ in Knoxville.

RSO: I played mini golf in Knoxville once. Did you guys play any?

K: Are you kidding? This is our only time off.

RSO: I was psyched to hear you mention the [Mitchell, Kansas tourist attraction] Corn Palace in “Travelling Song”, and so I figures you all were into kitsch.

K: We are going to stop at the Corn Palace. But we sleep all night and then we’re on the road all day. I’ve seen the country with my parents and we drove the back roads and saw the sights. But this tour is all freeway, so all we see is McDonalds and BP.

J: And toll booths.

K: Yeah, that’s a new one too. We don’t have toll booths in the West.

RSO: Are you cruising in a big ole’ cushy tour bus?

K: Hah! It’s the Clubwagon Tour.

J: Club Wagon with a trailer.

K: The Extendo Tour!

RSO: So you’re not traipsing around a guitar or drum technician.

J: Just our t-shirt guy and road manager dude.

K: We’re just grass-roots basics. We plan to get big-headed, though, it’s just a matter of time.

RSO: What was the band’s genesis?

J: Before Kimi joined, Gugat, Tim and I were doing Joy Division cover songs just for fun — we had no intention of a record deal or nothing. We started playing clubs, answering “Bands Wanted” ads…

K: They thought we were going to do our first big show and it ended up, like, Comedy Night at the Improv! Our first gig together was at a college, then a Halloween party, then the Whisky.

J: Everybody had the intention of getting a day job career-wise and then we got signed and were like, “Oh shucks, we gotta’ quit our day jobs.”

K: Yeah, and we all had pretty good jobs.

RSO: What were they?

J: Our drummer was an engineer for the City of L.A., Tim worked on the set of ‘Jeapordy!’

K: He used to answer Alex Trebeck’s psycho mail. One time we went to a filming and he made fun of what I was wearing, so I don’t like Alex too much.

RSO: What were you two up to?

K: I worked for a dress designer. Jay worked for an auditor for a software company.

RSO: So touring’s still more fun?

K: We’re married. So we have plenty of fun.

J: A lot of fun.

K: We have our fun.

J: The guys here say we have the ideal situation: married in a band, travelling, get to see the country. And we’re half the band, so half the income in the band is ours.

K: I liked him, then he didn’t like me. Then when he decided to like me, I wasn’t so sure. But we got married four years ago.

RSO: Have you noticed any east coast / west coast differences?

J: I think that east coast guys are busier, or maybe it’s just how they walk down the street.

K: I like the east, but I wouldn’t move out here. It just feels too far away. But after driving through Kentucky and Tennessee, we’re like, “Why do we live in L.A.?”

J: It wakes you up. It’s reality: all concrete and smog.

RSO: You cut your teeth at the legendary Whisky-a-Go Go. What’s that scene like?

J: People pay to play the Whisky. Pay to play, that’s the scene in L.A. There so many bands in L.A., that to get a gig, you have to pay.

K: It’s a sucky deal. Everybody hates it, but everybody does it.

RSO: What’s in heavy rotation on the tour van cassette deck?

J: We’ve exhausted the Smiths.

K: Yeah, we’re all Smithed out. Weezer — we love their record. Portishead, Edna Swap — have you heard that record? They used to be on Elektra. That’s one of our favorites. Everything But The Girl, our tour manager says “Anything but that!”

RSO: Is your audience shaping up?

K: Yeah. They’re young kids — high school, college, juniort high — they love to be the first ones into whatever. I was like that, always wanting to be the first one into, Hodoo Guru, or whatever. I never realized at the time that that probably meant that they had no money! Kids come up to our shows and say, “I’m the only one in Racine, Wisconsin, that has the Moonpools’ record! I can’t believe I’m here!” Then it makes me remember, yeah, I saw the Cure with, like, 200 people.

RSO: It’s nice to feel like you’re on the cutting edge.

K: That’s how we like to think of ourselves!

This interview first appeared on Rolling Stone Online

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