Suddenly Ben Goldwasser ’05 and Andrew VanWyngarden ’05 of Wesleyan’s music phenomenon The Management have a lot to talk about.
JESSIE LANDERMAN: How long have you been playing together?
ANDREW VANWYNGARDEN: Since freshman year, right?
JL: How did you come up with the name “The Management”?
AV: Bands with “the” names were really popular, and we really wanted to be popular like them. [laughs]
JL: Were you guys an instant hit?
[Both laugh and say no]
AV: One of our first shows was in the Westco café, and we dressed up in orange jumpsuits and got incredibly stoned. And it ended with me lying on the floor with the microphone telling everyone to leave. And then I opened my eyes and they were all gone. Except for Carolyn. [laughs]
JL: What distinguishes The Management from other bands?
BEN GOLDWASSER: We steal ideas from other bands and use them. We were trying to be ironic. Were we (to Andrew)? At some point we were trying to be ironic, and then we just kind of lost it. [laughs]
JL: Can you describe a live show by The Management?
AV: It’s a mixed bag. Of beans. [laughs]
BG: We started out doing things like inflating giant snowmen on stage and stuff, but lately it involves us, like, getting drunk and standing on barrels and pushing each other off the barrels. I don’t know, should we talk about the live band?
AV: At our next show we’re gonna have a live band.
BG: We actually have to learn how to play our songs. We’ve never had to play them before. [laughs]
JL: Do you have a favorite show thus far?
BG: Our last one was pretty great, we were sitting up here (in Eclectic) drinking a lot of wine. And then, uh, forgot most of the songs.
JL: When’s you first album coming out?
AV: What do you mean by first album?
JL: Are you working on an album now?
BG: Yeah we’re still working on it. We suffer from a lack of motivation.
AV: And trying to force-write songs and force creativity doesn’t work.
BG: But we basically have the songs already recorded except for the vocals. We just need to get on the microphone and sing, and that’s basically all it takes.
AV: We’re kind of lazy though, we don’t even use instruments anymore. [laughs]
BG: We don’t really use real instruments, we play everything on keyboard. Including the drums. And Andrew plays guitar sometimes.
JL: I saw you guys performing on WESTV. Would you consider selling out if MTV were after you?
BG: Sometimes, yes.
AV: It varies pretty frequently.
BG: Sometimes we talk about how we’d like to sell out.
AV: Last semester that was our main goal. To sell out as soon as possible.
JL: But that’s changed?
AV: Yeah. I just want to make music that I consider to be good music. For a while we were trying to make the stupidest pop songs possible, but I guess in an ironic fashion. But I’m done with that.
JL: What would a music video made by The Management look like?
AV: I had an idea that there’s just the song playing and there’s people having a conversation in a dinner table setting. And the scene not changing at all for the whole thing.
BG: That’s a good idea.
JL: Is there anything that you hate about being rock stars?
AV: I don’t think we’re rock stars.
BG: I don’t hate being a rock star. [both laugh]
AV: I don’t know, I hate waking up with 16 bitches all over my dick. [lots of laughing] And a broken bottle of Jack on my pillow.
JL: Do you get a lot of groupies?
BG: No. Never.
JL: Well that’s a shame. What do you like most about playing music together?
BG: Companionship. [both laugh]
AV: Beno’s my partner. [both laugh]
BG: He beats me. [laughs]
JL: How has playing together changed your friendship?
BG: We’ve been getting in more fights because of being in The Management.
AV: Yeah, when we try to write songs together and record stuff we just get really pissy.
BG: Whenever we have to play a show, one of us doesn’t want to play the show and the other one does. So we argue about that.
JL: Why don’t you want to play?
AV: Sometimes you just don’t feel like pretending to be an asshole. You know?
JL: Yeah, I do know. Do the other bands that you’re in affect your music together?
BG: I started out wanting to play the music that I didn’t want to play, but then I started to want to play it. But now I’ve just started to hate it.
JL: Those are all the questions that I have, is there anything else you want to talk about?
AV: We should talk about politics.
BG: I don’t know anything about politics.
AV: Or current events. You should ask us some questions that aren’t about the band.
JL: What do you think of mainstream music that’s coming out right now?
BG: I think there’s some good producers out there. But the musicians…
AV: For a while I’d attempt to sing the songs that were on the radio, but I can’t anymore. There’s just no originality that happens.
BG: I read this thing that Wilco wrote about how record companies are getting pissed off at people for not actually buying CDs. And then they keep putting out an increasingly inferior product. I kind of agree with that.
JL: Do you think that money and fame are corrupting the music industry?
BG: No, I think that money and fame are what allow the music industry to thrive.
AV: I think that money is the music industry.
JL: Is that the way that it should be?
AV: If you’re trying to industrialize music.
BG: Yeah, I mean, money is the root of all evil, but it’s also the root of creativity because most creativity is a reaction to how commercialized music is becoming.
AV: For a while me and Beno wanted to see if we could get immensely popular and then completely destroy our popularity and go back to college student level, but I don’t think that’s possible. Once we got all the money, we’d go get blow jobs and ride up to concerts on horses. [both laugh] And we wouldn’t want to leave that life behind. And once we finished, you know, building the zoo in Russia. And put in a lot of animals…in cages…that’s just fucking wrong. [laughs]
BG: Yeah, what happens is you spend all that time collecting animals and then you treat them like property and you forget that they have feelings, too. [laughs]
JL: So why are you musicians?
BG: I personally don’t feel that I have anything else to contribute.
AV: I think music is a feeling. Music is passion and music is pure joy for me. Music is spiritual mass [looks to Beno]
AV: Mass orgasm in a small town in Massachusetts. [both laugh]
BG: Mass orgasm in mass on Mass? [both laugh]
AV: Eventually it could take over the world. It could unite the animals in the cages and they can eventually take over the world.
BG: I think music has been used to take over the world already.
AV: I think music is the industry. [lots of laughing] Let’s take it further.
JL: Okay. Do you consider music to be a higher art form than any others?
BG: I think music is a lower art form. [laughs]
AV: Yeah. [laughs]
BG: I think the best music is music without symbolism or reference to anything.
AV: It’s hard to talk about music’s emphasis on energy and spirit in relation to its art form without coming up with a polarized and perhaps racialized argument that puts other arts in a higher level than music in terms of its intellectualism and development of the cognitive ability. Pushing each other off barrels, that’s better.
JL: Another question: what’s missing, in the world?
AV: The realization that you can’t create anything new. All these musicians and artists are obsessed with not being like the music of the past, and they’re producing art that’s just not as good. The best art that’s been made is people that are doing exact copies of art that’s completely successful, masterful art.
BG: That’s true.
AV: And there’s a feeling of being afraid to do that now.
BG: I would blame Post-Modernism.
AV: Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to say. Let’s talk about Post-Modernism! [laughs]
BG: Alright. Sure. They say “meta” a lot.
AV: It means change.
JL: Are we done, is that it?
BG: I forgot to say we’re playing a show in Meriden on Sat. April 24. It’s called the Daffodil Festival, it showcases local bands.
AV: We’re playing at 2 p.m.
BG: And there will be fireworks later on that night.
AV: It’s a family event.
BG: Yeah, it’s a family event, there will probably be ice cream.