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By Michael Lara
“There's a way to drive, I see it once in a while… I watch the taillights and memorize… I won’t be scared. I won’t be too tired. I’m becoming hard-wired.” Direct from the horses mouth of NADA SURF’s 1996 epic “The Plan,” it comes out like a relentless Gatling gun, immediately impressing you of its raw power like Iggy and makes you wave your white flag while still pulling you into its hypnotic visceral might. Austin’s dynamic duo of Aaron Kyle Behrens (vocals, guitar and dance instructor I am sure) and Thomas Ross Turner (a true caped crusader on drums and keys) as GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY deliver their own respective massive salvo, but one that makes you hit the floor, not the decks in liberating yourself and others.
Post their 2nd set at their Dance Fever celebration on the Dance Stage at SUMMER SONIC’09, a 20 minute chat on Garfield, peanut butter, superheroes and more ensues before they get on their invisible jet to leave Japan to open for THE FLAMING LIPS and return home to the famed AUSTIN CITYLIMITS festival in October:
THIRSTY: Alright… um, it’s 10:02, August 7th, 2009 and here I am celebrating the 10th anniversary of SUMMER SONIC and I’m speaking with…
Thomas: GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY.
Aaron: Aaron Behrens.
Thomas: Thomas Turner.
THIRSTY: Indeed. Now, Garfield is not my favorite character, but a lunch pail is always good. Go ahead and open it up. Inside I have many items. Each of you will pull one out and the questions will roll from there.
Aaron: Wow, let’s see what’s inside this… Both of us?
THIRSTY: Oh yes. Now there we are. That’s the one cup (a small glass bottle of sake) and that’s yours and you keep that. You guys drink that.
THIRSTY: But if you had only one cup to drink anything, what would it be?
Aaron: Would it be like the last drink ever?
THIRSTY: Well, why not? Let’s make it dramatic.
Aaron: Um, it would be really good tequila. That’s what I would go with.
Thomas: I would go with a Mr. Resister from the Daily Juice.
Thomas: It would help me resist…
Aaron: I’d shoot you (big grin and eyes alive).
Thomas: I am hoping, somehow, something, the name will conjure up somehow, some sort of protection.
THIRSTY: Right on. Grab another item man. It’s your turn.
Aaron: It’s my turn Thomas, but I was going for that anyway.
THIRSTY: Alright, ULTRAMAN… Now he’s the most famous superhero in Japan.
Aaron: This guy is?
THIRSTY: Yeah he is. And the question is, who is your most famous superhero?
Aaron: It’s a tie… There was and this is kind of cliché, I like WOLVERINE…
Aaron: But I also loved PITT. I don’t know if you knew who PITT was, but from Image Comics…
THIRSTY: No, I don’t.
Aaron: But he’s just this aggressive, aggressive super hero, just out of control…almost kind of HULK-esque.
Aaron: But uh, had sharper teeth, a little bit bigger.
THIRSTY: Oh okay, so who would win between WOLVERINE and PITT?
Aaron: Ah man… It’d be a tough one. I think WOLVERINE might outlast him just because WOLVERINE is made out of adamantium… It’d be really hard to destroy him. Yeah, I think WOLVERINE might win.
THIRSTY: Alright, your turn man… You hold onto ULTRAMAN. It’s good luck.
Aaron: Yeah (big smile).
THIRSTY: I mean he’s the man. He’s so good they made 9 of him.
Aaron: Oh, 9 movies?
THIRSTY: No, 9 versions of him, maybe more now. I watched him in Hawaii growing up and he’s part of the reason I am here in Japan. Ah, a magnifying glass, so now, what would you like to examine more?
Thomas: Um… Geez… It would be ah… Maybe… how we landed on the moon and examine that deal… How that all happened and worked out.
THIRSTY: But, let me ask you this…as you’re both musicians, what musician would you want to examine more, interview, dead or alive and say what’s up?
Thomas: Oh wow, dead, it would be a tie between MILES DAVIS and CHOPIN and alive it would be DAFT PUNK.
Aaron: Um, I’d have to say that I’d like to say I’d like to interview JAMES BROWN and alive…whew…I’d like to interview NICK CAVE.
Aaron: Yeah, I’d like to talk with him. I think he’s a pretty interesting cat.
THIRSTY: Yeah, right on… Grab another item man.
Thomas: Ah, it’s Snoopy peanut butter.
Aaron: It’s Snoop butter! (Big grin)
THIRSTY: Yeah man and that’s for you both to take back. So, if you were going to have a sandwich, it would be peanut butter and… I mean, what goes with peanut butter best?
Aaron: Well, there’s the obvious…
THIRSTY: And what’s that?
Aaron: Jelly of course, but digging deeper maybe peanut butter and celery. And um, peanut butter and…um, it’s an interesting question really you know. Yeah, I’d like to think it’s peanut butter and celery sticks.
Thomas: Crunchy peanut butter on toast with honey.
Aaron: Ah Thomas that’s a good one Thomas. Wish we had some of that now.
THIRSTY: With a cup of coffee…
Aaron: Yeah man. There you go…
THIRSTY: It’s a good way to start up and go the next day.
Aaron: Yeah man.
THIRSTY: Go ahead and grab the next item.
THIRSTY: Ah, the almighty Thermos… And not just any Thermos, the Garfield Thermos…
Thomas: I used to have one of these dudes. I think I had the Garfield or Gizmo…
Aaron: (chuckling)…Oh yeah,yeah…
Thomas: With a Thermos and…
Aaron: And the He-Man one too.
THIRSTY: So in this Thermos, they don’t hold that much really, but what would you fill it with? Right now.
Thomas: Oh, right now?
THIRSTY: Yeah… You’re not going to say chocolate Ovaltine I’m sure, but…
Thomas: That actually does sound good (Huge smile).
Thomas: Rich, chocolaty Ovaltine… There you go. You nailed it on the head.
Aaron: Is that what you’d want?
Thomas: Yeah sure.
Aaron: I would put homemade beef stew…
Aaron: Vegetable beef stew in a Thermos. People do that, right?
Thomas: Yeah, you can just drink it out of there.
Aaron: Definitely… Well, it’s because I’m hungry (with a broad smile and laugh). Always coming offstage.
THIRSTY: Yeah, power through that.
Aaron: Yeah. Get it on.
THIRSTY: For sure. So do you both cook?
Thomas: I used to when I was single. I haven’t cooked in years.
THIRSTY: Oh yeah?
Aaron: I cook. It helps me kind of relax. I like getting my own space in there and kicking everybody out of the kitchen.
THIRSTY: Get out!
Aaron: (grinning) Get out of my space! I’m creating!
THIRSTY: Right on. Well, go ahead. There’s more.
Aaron: (reaching into Garfield lunch pail for the next item)
THIRSTY: Now Corn Nuts. You’re hungry. Go for it. I know you’re hungry. Knock yourself out.
Aaron: Giant Corn Nuts. Thank you.
THIRSTY: So growing up, going back to the lunch box, the bento as they call it here. What was, for both of you, your favorite snack to compliment your sandwich?
Thomas: Cool Ranch Doritos in school. Yeah dude…Cool Ranch Doritos.
Aaron: Mine was the onion, Sour Cream & Onion Lay’s. Yeah. That was a good compliment.
Thomas: Yeah, Cool Ranch Doritos and Cheetos.
THIRSTY: But the crunchy or regular?
Thomas: Ah man, well… I think back in the day, there was just one.
Aaron: Yeah, there was just Cheetos. Well, Cheetos Puffs too.
Thomas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would go with Puffs or…
Aaron: Don’t be picky (with a smirk)…
THIRSTY: Alright, Admiral Ackbar…”It’s a trap!”
Thomas: Oh man.
Aaron: Did you get him from here?
THIRSTY: A Japanese friend of mine gave that to me for my birthday this year actually.
Aaron: It’s perfect.
THIRSTY: So my question to your is what’s a trap to you?
Thomas: What’s a trap?
Thomas: Well… Here’s a good example. Maybe you’re taking it real easy for the night, not trying to party too hard, and um, your friends are all getting to the buzz zone and getting wasted and are trying to have a conversation with you and they are yelling at your face. And uh, you know, it’s not making sense. And everyone else is on that level. Stuff like that. That’s a trap, but you have to be there for whatever reason…
THIRSTY: As a DD (designated driver) at times?
Thomas: I’ve never had that experience thank God.
THIRSTY: And for you?
Aaron: Ah, negativity… I think negative thoughts can, um, trap you and ruin a good time, you know. So I like to stay as positive as possible, an optimist as much as possible. That’s it.
THIRSTY: One more and this is it.
Aaron: Okay… Fruit & Nut and Dairy Milk Cadbury bars.
THIRSTY: So growing up, for you guys, what’s the sweet that you can’t say no to?
Thomas: I like Sugar Babies.
Aaron: Man, I forgot about Sugar Babies. Hmmm… (Long pause) What’s the sweet that I can’t say no to? Ah man… Ah, well, my Mom would make this stuff called dirt pudding. And it’s basically whipped cream and Oreo cookies and like, some kind of vanilla, pudding mixed in there type thing. Now that’s a sweet, there’s a sweet I could never resist. It is really good. Dirt pudding. Look up the recipe. You’ll love me. You’ll love me for it (huge grin).
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