Psychedelic-Tinged: An Interview with RINGO DEATHSTARR

Recognition for the psychedelic-tinged, lush shoegaze sound of Austin band Ringo Deathstarr has grown steadily over the past five years. Diehard fans are now joined by music journalists and bloggers worldwide in singing the praises of the trio after a stellar performance at SXSW and the release of their first full-length album, Colour Trip. The members include Elliott Frazier (guitar and vocals), Alex Gehring (bass, guitar, and vocals) and Daniel Coborn (drums). Recently, Elliot was kind enough to take the time to answer some probing questions from us via email about the origins of the band, their influences, and some of his own personal likes (i.e. Tokyo and an early 90s Kim Deal)…

When and how did Ringo Deathstarr come about?

It was 2005 and I was tired of watching really crappy bands, and at the time the popular trend was really folky type music—acoustic guitars, long slow boring songs, really quiet. I was just done playing drums for years and years and getting nowhere really, so I decided to play the guitar myself and sing myself.  The hard part was finding the right people to do it with!

Where does the name come from?

We were into the Brian Jonestown Massacre and it just seemed to be in line with that sort of thing, and the Dandy warhols.

Who are the members of your band and what do they play?

Elliott Frazier - guitar and vocals.....Alex Gehring - bass, guitar, vocals......Daniel Coborn - drums

What is your band dynamic like? What bonds you together?

We have a sense of humor. Also, when we are on the road, half the band is asleep at all times when we are in the van, so we don't argue about much.

What is the songwriting process like?

It varies from song to song. Sometimes it writes itself. Sometimes it takes months, and other times 5 minutes.

Who are your musical influences?

The music press says we are influenced by My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain, but once upon a time I listed to Stone Temple Pilots...of course you’ve got Brian Jonestown Massacre and And You Will Know us By The Trail of Dead, the latter of which we will be supporting on the West Coast this June!

Are you influences by other sources, movies, art, pop culture, etc? If so, what?

Movies are an influence for sure. I collect VHS tapes.

Are your songs based on real life experiences? If so, can you give an example?

Yeah, this one time I was in love with a girl. Sometimes she made me glad, sometimes she made me sad. I write about that sometimes.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Whoever wrote the Hank the Cowdog books.

Who are some of your favorite filmmakers?

Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay


I used to fancy myself as a photographer and I wanted to be Charles Peterson. Ed Moses is a cool artist.

If you could live in any other era in any city in the world, when and where would you live?

In feudal Japan. In Edo.

What is your favorite city to play?

Tokyo without a doubt.

How do you like Austin?

Austin is very cool.  I’ve been to a lot of cool cities and I almost would say I would never live in another USA city. But it is getting expensive to live here so when it gets too expensive I will live out in the desert.

Who are some of your favorite bands to play with?

The Flying Eyes are pretty fun to play with, really nice guys who know how to party. The Wedding Present was also great. And how can we forget Ume—our hometown heroes!

Do you have any musician/celebrity crushes from past or present?

Kim Deal in the Safari Video

Tell us about your new album!

Well, it is just some songs that we made, each one a little different, because we don’t like it when every song has the same vocal sound, same guitar sound, same drum sound. So, it is a musical journey through a few different sounds and colors. Some people might even go so far as to call it NU GAZE or something. But, to us it is just our first album, and we are having fun playing it and we are glad people are diggin' it.

Ringo Deathstarr begins a U.S.-European tour June 13, 2011. Find tour dates on their facebook page.