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Ludo Prepares The Preparations
Friday, October 22, 2010

“The point of everything is it’s fun.”

This, according to lead singer Andrew Volpe, is the ideology behind Ludo. The band, now a foursome consisting of Volpe, Tim Ferrell, Tim Convy, and Matt Palermo, recently released their fourth album, Prepare the Preparations, and in every possible way they’ve cranked it up to eleven. I caught up with Volpe (glasses), and Convy (five o’clock shadow) to find out more about the album, injecting humor into music, and their undying love for St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.

Adam Bernard: You just released your fourth album, Prepare the Preparations. What’s different this time around and what about it is classic Ludo?
Andrew: I think more than ever we understand what Ludo is. We understand our identity, who we are. I think there’s a level of confidence that has never been there before. Basically, where as we may have been a little intimidated on our major label debut and possibly deferred on some things, or weren’t completely taking the bull by the horns on all the creative decisions, I think this time around we understand that it’s just like every other level, nobody knows better than you who you are, and I think we pushed everything so much further in every direction so that the part of Ludo that’s fun is crazier and hookier and more fun, the pop is poppier, the adventurous stuff is more adventurous, the weird stuff is weirder, the diversity is greater than it ever has been before, the darker is just as dark as it’s always been, and I think the personal stuff is more personal.
Tim: Everything’s turned up a notch. Everything is bigger and badder. I feel like with this one we got more comfortable that it was OK to be Ludo. It was like yeah, it’s OK to take this whatever direction we want to because we’ve proven that’s what Ludo does and, in some ways, that it works.
Andrew: Basically we had the confidence to just be Ludo.

AB: You have a knack for writing songs that tell stories and have a real dark humor to them. What have some of your musical influences been and in what ways do you think you’ve drawn on them as artists?
Andrew: Everybody likes different stuff. From Frank Zappa, to Prince, to Top 40 radio. We’re all over the map. The four of us, separate from each other, are into way different stuff. There’s some overlap, though. We definitely all appreciate The Beatles.

AB: So you have no problem with one member of the group bringing in Lady Gaga and another member bringing in Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention? You can throw those on and find something in both of them?
Andrew: Absolutely. I personally can find stuff in most pop music. There's some stuff where I'm like there’s nothing redeemable there, that’s crap, I don’t get it, that sounds like something people would chant on a playground, but for the most part there’s plenty to find everywhere.

AB: How do you handle having so many influences in one band?
Tim: I like it. It’s cool to have more weapons in your arsenal. People bring things to the table that you wouldn’t expect and I know that people are drawing from different places, and it’s so cool because you gotta learn to trust your band members.

AB: How do you toe the line of being a rock band, but not a straight up comedic act? Are there times when you have to change lyrics, or just throw away songs because they’re too farcical?
Andrew: It’s interesting. Frank Zappa posed the question, does humor belong in music? I think it does. I believe humor belongs in music and art as much as any other human experience belongs in art. Why is it that music has to be self-important? Why is it that music has to be serious? The gamut of human experience includes humor. I’ve never come up with something and been like “that’s too silly,” but I sort of reject the whole idea of humor and music being novelty. I think that people are just too comfortable with music being something to just indulge their skewed sense of themselves, or the prototype they wish they were. So if someone’s like “I’m a badass,” they’re gonna put in their Disturbed record and get in their truck and be like “I’m the badass, listen to me,” where they’re not really a badass all the time. Perhaps they cry when their girlfriend dumps them, or perhaps they’re just drunk idiots one night. You could also have some sad bastard in college who wants to just sit around listening to Jack Johnson imagining just how gentle the world is and everything. I think music should challenge people a little bit.
Tim: When rock n roll started, to a degree, it was fun. It was about fun things and it was about smiling and clever words. Chuck Berry is a hero of ours. He’s from St. Louis and he invented rock n roll and his songs are fun, ridiculous, and downright silly at times. Thank God the dark and rebellious side of rock n roll came along, too, but fun was still a big part of it and has been a big part of it from the beginning. You’re absolutely allowed to have fun in music.

AB: A lot of your humor has to do with relationships, many of them bad ones. Are they all based on your own lives?
Andrew: No, actually, I’d say none of them are. I’m used to writing with a sort of cerebral approach to emotions. I’m good at closing my eyes and taking a feeling, an emotion, that I’ve had in life that’s overwhelmingly strong, and imagining a scenario where that happens, and imagining what that would feel like in that scenario. With the humorous stuff I imagine... you know what’s hilarious to me, when you see that guy in the bar who’s creeping on a girl and he’s drunk so he thinks he’s being really smooth, but he’s just disgusting and he looks like an idiot. I think that’s more of an intellectual exercise. I think it expresses real emotions that I either feel or have felt, but the actual events haven’t necessarily happened to me at any point.

AB: Have you ever seen yourself in any of these characters?
Tim: Yeah, I think a lot of the emotions Andrew touches on, and Tim (Ferrell) in his songs, as well, are things that I think all kinds of people can identify with. “Love Me Dead” is a great example because everyone’s been in that relationship where you know it’s no good for you, everyone in your life is telling you it’s no good for you, you know it’s slowly eating away at you, but you can’t get away from it.

AB: The new album is Prepare the Preparations. How’d you come up with that title?
Andrew: I’ve always wanted to call something that. I imagine a tyrant, some obnoxious king, or some evil overlord in a space station somewhere, who just says stupid stuff all the time, but obviously nobody can speak up and say “that was redundant,” so I imagine someone saying with a perfectly straight face, this evil overlord, “prepare the preparations,” and all his minions sort of snickering.

AB: Finally, since you’re from St. Louis, are you Albert Pujols’ favorite band?
Tim: That would be amazing. I have a feeling we’re probably not, but I’d love to think he has us in his iPod. You just never know with Albert.
Andrew: Oh God I wish he even knew who were were. I love that guy. I’m such a huge fan of Albert Pujols. Nobody has ever hit 30 HRs, 100 RBIs and batted over .300 in their first three seasons and he’s done it in his first ten.

AB: I really hope he’s clean.
Andrew: I think there’s a better chance than not that he’s clean.

AB: He and Derek Jeter are the two players who cannot be on steroids or it will be the end of the world.
Andrew: They both personify what’s right about baseball and they’re about winning regardless of personal performance. It’s about the team. It’s all about winning.

AB: You know, Pujols may read this interview when he Googles himself and end up turned on to your music.
Tim: Because Albert Pujols is sitting around Googling himself. {laughs} That would be cool. You gotta think he’s heard a song or two, but I don’t care. I want him to listen to, or do whatever he does, to continue to be the best player that’s ever played the game and if that means no Ludo in his audio diet then I’ll be alright with that.

Story originally ran on SubstreamMusicPress.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:51 AM  
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