Adam Pierce is one cat that’s tough to peg.
First off, the Mice Parade mastermind has had an extensive recording history, starting his Mice Parade project (who put out their first album back in 1998) while still finding time to perform with artists like the Swirlies, HiM, and múm. Pierce has also set up Bubble Core Records, which has had a hand in virtually every Mice Parade album since the group’s inception, along with having put out albums by the Notwist, Philip Jeck, and more.
Yet Mice Parade remains Pierce’s baby, and what makes the band so good is its lack of adherence to typical indie norms. Mixing a post-rock aesthetic with modern folk guitars and a distinctive worldbeat influence, Mice Parade is extremely hard to pigeonhole, and its latest album—What It Means to Be Left-Handed—only adds to the groups fantastic allure, mixing out-and-out guitar rock numbers with electronic experiments and exotic acoustic guitar flourishes, sounding defiantly sprawling and thematically unified at the exact same time. It’s a thrilling listen wherein no two songs sound even remotely the same.
Taking a break from prepping for his world tour, Pierce was able to make time to sit down and answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, here giving a healthy piece of advice for Barack Obama, revealing which Scooby Doo character he most resembles, and why Stephen Hawking’s descriptions of our future are downright terrifying . . .
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Man, we’re doomed.
2. The fictional character most like you?
Well, my high school girlfriend always said it was Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Guess that’s pretty typical though, but I’m certainly not much like those French Fries or horned goon characters they have these days.
3. The greatest album, ever?
This question is so dumb it’s not even funny in a “we realize it’s stupid” kind of way and also because everyone knows it’s either My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or Fugazi’s Repeater after Zeppelin and Floyd.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars. Hardware Wars was pretty good, ever see that? It came out around the same time as Bambi Meets Godzilla.
5. Your ideal brain food?
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
That we’ve had a greatest hits album released in Japan, and because it wasn’t our idea.
7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
The ones who do it live every day without ever recording it because that’s just who they are. Every flamenco dude playing on the street or in a square from Madrid to Sevilla. Though I haven’t been to Africa yet . . .
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I don’t envy other people’s work: I ingest it or respect it or get ideas from it or simply enjoy it . . . Okay fine! John Coltrane’s Africa Brass Sessions.
10. Your hidden talents . . . ?
I make a mean pulled pork. I can sleep in a hammock for three hours straight.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
To never give up doing what you love. Sorry it’s cheesy, but it’s not always easy though.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Stole: a watchband from the Woolworth Five and Dime for a girl I had a crush on in fifth grade. I haven’t stolen much at all. I got caught in the store though, then ran home but the cops showed up and dragged me into the station for a good talkin’ to.
Borrowed: a buddy’s car back in college that I didn’t notice was uninspected and missing a tail light before I got pulled over driving it with two pounds of weed under the seat.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?
Bed—or a hammock.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Mrs. Filet Mignon with mashed potatoes & truffle oil and a chocolate brownie sundae.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
Through a wormhole, as soon as we can build a spaceship to get us there, because Stephen Hawking says so.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Mixture of hit man and spa vacation but replace “spa” with either Caribbean or Adirondack.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?
All of the above, naturally.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
They each serve a purpose: if you’re in one then you will miss elements of the other, so I’d work toward having both. Though I am definitely preferring my country spot in the Hudson Valley to being in the city every single day. But I’ve also been turned into a wuss about things like air quality and nature sounds—to each his own.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Oh, so much! For some reason I can’t react to this question in a funny way. I think ever since he got the job [Obama] and his team have thought he needed to change his tone to sound more presidential, which is more vague and bland. So I think especially right now I would tell him to take his tie off at press conferences and speak off the cuff a lot more often, as he did during his campaign; be blunt about how he thinks we need another FDR and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I was at a small party the other day where some art-school pot-smoking twenty-somethings were taking turns trashing the guy. That fucking blew my mind. I mean, how can nobody sympathize with at least an obviously intelligent guy who has to deal with such a useless system, a useless Congress, and a fickle mainstream with a bad memory and an allegiance to a news system that sells advertisements by promoting controversy . . . people need to chill out while they get so involved.
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Finalizing all the logistics for our world touring through fall and winter, and hoping to record some new instrumental tracks soon for a 12” next year.