20 Questions with John Srebalus, Such Hawks Such Hounds

Name: John Srebalus
Occupation: Producer/Director, Such Hawks, Such Hounds: Scenes From the American Hard Rock Underground
Url: http://www.myspace.com/heavythemovie

1. When were your rock doors blown wide open?
I’ve had many such moments. The most recent might be Black Mountain’s new album, In The Future. Like their first one, it’s a great example of blowing the doors off the meaning of heavy… or the necessity of always being heavy.

2. What posters were on your bedroom wall in high school?
Mostly hardcore fliers.

3. What was the greatest decade for music?
The current one. It’s collectively like a twentysomething music fan who begins to realize that his new favorite stuff completely goes against the identity he’d created for himself in tenth grade.

4. Do you play an instrument? Been in a band?
I played bass for LA powerpop underachievers Lamed Vovniks.

5. Do you have a day job?
I just got a job as a mail carrier. While I was making the movie I was the online editor at Rhino Records.

6. What is your background in filmmaking?
Watching movies.

7. How were you introduced to stoner rock?
I’d heard Kyuss when they were still active, but I didn’t get it at the time. Same with Sleep. Early Queens and Nebula most likely prompted further discovery. I’d love to say I’m a lifelong fan, but that would be a lie.

8. How did the making of Such Hawks Such Hounds come about?
I’d wanted to make a rock documentary for a long time. I came into a small amount of found money a couple years ago, so I faced that question of what to do with it: do I pay the credit cards or do I chase the dream?

9. With all the different rock movements, why stoner?
It seemed to be rich with interesting characters and visual possibilities, and that turned out to be the case.

10. How are you promoting the film?
Thinking of ways to turn all the film festival rejections into a selling point.

11. How is the film to be distributed?
Hopefully DVD and television, with select theaters requesting to show it.

12. SHSH focus is the American hard rock underground. Have you considered a European version?
No. The focus of Such Hawks was limited to the U.S. for purely financial reasons. And honestly, if one were forced to choose a “hotbed,” it would be the U.S., at least in terms of a higher concentration of innovative and time-tested bands. There’s obviously plenty of great heavy music from several parts of the world, but I’ll leave that to someone else.

13. Any ideas for your next film?
My wife and I have started a short doc on our autistic daughter. The idea is to do something celebratory and different from the typical network news special, it’s-so-hard kinda thing. And of course something with good music for a change. It’s really an injustice that autistic kids get such weepy schmaltz for their soundtrack. My wife wants to call the film My Kid Was Autistic Before It Was Cool.

14. Favorite bands that did not participate in the making of SHSH?
Melvins, Neurosis, Eyehategod, Sir Lord Baltimore, Fu Manchu (although we’re re-cutting for a recent interview with Brant Bjork).

15. Favorite 420 Train Wreck artist?
I hate to be partisan, so I’ll just say that perhaps my happiest discovery via 420TW was 35007.

16. Where do you think stoner rock will be in 10 years?
Alive and stonin’.

17. Of all the artists in your music collection, by whom do you have the most albums?
Beatles, Bowie, Sinatra, Stones, Neil Young, Tom Waits.

18. Who would you want to direct a film about your life?
Sophia Coppola.

19. Who would you have do the film score?
I think some sort of collaboration that would never happen in real life: Nick McCabe (Verve guitarist) and David Axelrod, Greg Dulli and Grails… In the very likely event of a film about my life, I’ll have to spend days or weeks on that question.

20. What song pretty much sums you up?
Personality Crisis?