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In the ’90s, I became really obsessed with the Geraldine Fibbers. I tried to see every show they did in LA. They only made two proper full lengths – the first one is called Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home. It changed my life in a lot of ways and was a big influence on my guitar style. The lead guitarist on the first record, Daniel Keenan, was really understated – a lot of melodic single-string kind of stuff. And the song-writing is awesome.
The first song, “Lilybelle,” I think is one of the best songs ever written – it opens with a string section, then the song just gets, I dunno, really beautiful but really ferocious. There’s another song on there called “Marmalade,” and the first time I ever saw them, they played that song and I just loved it. I’m not really good at learning other people’s songs, but that one I immediately went home and figured out how to play the main chords.
The singer, Carla Bozulich – who now has her own solo band, Evangelista – used to be in this industrial band called Ethyl Meatplow and I was a big fan of them too. The Geraldine Fibbers was the total opposite of Ethyl Meatplow, which was a lot of synthesizers and programming and no guitars. On Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home, she’s singing and playing guitar. A lot of the songs, especially the early ones, were really influenced by country music. For me, the only country music I knew at that time was, like, hits by Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. But they were covering George Jones songs, and they covered “Jolene” way before everybody else did.
When the first record came out I got my copy immediately because I needed to hear all the songs on it. It’s probably dear to me because it’s also a record about Los Angeles, and you know we [Best Coast] can’t stop singing about Californian stuff. A lot of it is kind of influenced by Carla’s crazy life. She is still I think one of the best singers ever. She can scream the way nobody else can – it’s pretty amazing.
The second album was called Butch, and the original guitar player Daniel had left but his replacement was Nels Cline who now plays in Wilco. He is one of the greatest guitar players, ever. So the band kind of shifted away from the country thing. There’s one or two country-ish songs on there, but with Nels in the band there’s a lot more noisy guitar and the songs are a little more aggressive, and darker and powerful but in different ways than on the first record. There’s a song called “I Killed the Cuckoo” that has the scream I’m talking about from Carla. Everything stops, and she let’s go and it’s really awesome.
When Butch came out I was already friends with Nels Cline and through him I got to know Carla and other people in the band. Actually, for Butch, I loaned them a synthesizer. Years later I ended up sharing a house with Nels and Carla. They were both really supportive of me and kind of nurturing, and it was the most amazing environment to live in – with two artists that you admire so, so much. Just getting to be around them every day was amazing.
— Bobb Bruno
Best Coast photo by Janell Shirtcliff