Teens know you as the guys who do the theme song from Fox's "The O.C.,"
but how long has the band been together?
Alex Greenwald from
Phantom Planet: Forever
pretty much. We started in high school in 1994. Some of us even
sooner, but the full band you see and hear today is about 11 years
old, which is crazy. It’s almost like it’s a new band every six or
seven years… five years even. Let’s say five years for the sake of
the 11 years. We’re different people since we were in high school
and a different band too. We got together having the same
interest in 60’s British Invasion music. Like the Zombies and The
Beatles. We keep making ourselves interested in music enough to keep
playing with this band. It’s been great.
Lindzi.com: When you guys were in high school, did you have any idea you'd still be together -- this many years later?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: I think in high school you don’t really think about anything except your week in front of you. And maybe if you’re going to get drunk on the weekend. Or maybe not. It always seemed like a great thing from the start. The chemistry was always there. I mean, we’ve had our share of the worst fights, physically even… But we seem to work. People liked it from the start. In that sense, we thought, “This is a good thing and it’s probably going to continue.”
Lindzi.com: I looked you up on IMDB.com too. Looks like you dabbled with acting. A role in Donnie Darko? Not bad. Which came first? Music or acting?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: Music came
first. The acting thing sort of is an A side, 19-year-old experiment
in creativity. I just wanted to see what it was like and I got the
opportunity to. It was fun, but music definitely speaks my language
and I speak it’s language. It’s definitely where it’s at.
Lindzi.com: Must be nice being back home for a few, but do you look forward to getting back on the road?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: It’s great being back home. It feels like summer camp. It’s good to have that break. It’s good to have that cycle. You get tired of living in LA after a couple months, but you get really, really tired of being on tour after several months. LA’s always going to be my hometown. All my family and friends are here. I know every street, which is great, but I think… A good analogy would be… no, wait. I’m trying to stick to no analogies these days. I’m usually the worst at analogies. They make sense, but instead of explaining something easily at face value, I’ll have to poeticize it.
Lindzi.com: So analogies aside...
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: You get stagnant in one place after a while. Never so true has a statement wrung. A rolling stone gathers no moss. It’s good to shake off the dust after being in one place for a long time. So touring, you get to be a new person every day in a new place and meet new people.
Lindzi.com: What's the craziest thing you've done on the road together?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: People are amazed that we tour for so long, but in terms of crazy stuff? I don’t know. We got a lot of the wild stuff out. There used to be several tours I barely remember where we’d do… well… things that would cause us barely remember being on tour. Just being hung over every day and sick and throwing up and whatever. But that’s fun because we never really finished college so we got out our end of college years on the road. So things have toned down a bit. But it’s no less fun. I actually enjoy being less hung-over these days.
Lindzi.com: How did your song "California" wind up as the theme
song for "The O.C.?" Did you write it specifically for the show?
Lindzi.com: So Josh
Schwartz (the show's creator) was a fan?
Lindzi.com: How has your music changed since high school?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: The first recording we ever did was with a friend of ours and a four track. I think that’s how most bands start – tinkering around, not knowing what they're doing. We did like six songs that sounded like shit and somehow those songs wound up in a record executive’s office at Geffen, which is so weird because of how bad it turned out.
Lindzi.com: Did you think it was bad at the time?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: After a few months, we listened back to our stuff. Even recently, we listen and are like, "We're such a better band now." Our first record we recorded professionally with a few pretty cool guys. It was fun. We look back on those times fondly, but it's like we're a different band.
Lindzi.com: Literally, even. I understand actor Jason Schwartzman used to be in the band?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: Jason was in it until 2003. We haven't had a chance to play music with him. He's been really busy. In fact, that's why he left. He booked a lot of movies and a TV show. It conflicted with the way the band wanted to lead it's life. Things are still amicable. We just haven't played any music together. I don't think there's any time for it in his life, but that's too bad for him.
Lindzi.com: Do you have a new album in the works?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: We've been recording and demo-ing the last couple months. We expect to be recording in May or June. We'll have a release sometime this year. Hopefully.
Lindzi.com: Any idea what the first single might be?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: There are a bunch that seem to be good contenders for album stuff. A lot of songs have this weird sound. It's Neptune's meets heavy metal meets Native American meets Dungeons and Dragons... somehow colliding with one another. One song in particular called Geronimo seems to be a favorite.
Lindzi.com: What drives you insane?
Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet: Not being able to listen to the music I want to listen to. Especially when we're all together in one place and one person demands to listen to his or her favorite music. And I can't stand that person, but I just have to be patient and wait for it to be over... That's my torture. Of course, it works opposite. I have kind of a strange obsession with black metal or speed metal like Slayer and other obscure bands.
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