Doom Legends TROUBLE Are Back With 'Simple Mind Condition'

May 7, 2007

Mark Fields of recently conducted an interview with TROUBLE co-founders Bruce Franklin (guitar) and Jeff "Oly" Olson (drums). A few excerpts follow:

GASPetc: I suppose some folks might be curious as to what transpired between the initial splintering in the mid/late-Nineties, the sporadic live activity that happened a while after that, and how it came about that you decided to reunite and record a new album?

Bruce: I can tell you exactly what happened. TROUBLE...we were broke up. We did a number of one-off shows like you said with a different singer. It wasn't really "back together," it was just a couple of one-off things that people requested and we had a friend of ours sing; but we were, for all intents and purposes, broke up. This friend of ours from Chicago who has a radio show and promotes concerts...every year he has a birthday party at this club and he lines up bands to play. He asked us how much money it would cost him to get all the TROUBLE guys back together to play a show, and...(to Oly) were you in Aurora then?

Oly: No, I was in Massachusetts. I flew out.

GASPetc: Did you name a ridiculous price so that he wouldn't bite?

Oly/Bruce: (laughter)

Bruce: Not really! But we didn't play a whole show, either. We played about as many songs as we played tonight. We said, "OK." We just thought it would be fun like a one-time thing, and we played like 8 songs or something. It was basically all the original band - well, it's hard to say what's "all original", but [Oly] played drums, Ron Holzner played bass — he'd been with the band since "Run To The Light". We did the show and we all had such a great time, we actually started thinking that maybe we could do this again. So being asked to do that one show led to us getting back together.

GASPetc: But by that time you had other things going on in your individual lives. (to Bruce) You had the SUPERSHINE project and (to Oly) you've got ties to Berklee (School of Music, in Boston); what freed you up to be able to commit to touring and recording?

Bruce: There hasn't been touring, really, until right now.

Oly: We take small leaves of absence from life.

Bruce: All we've done, so far, is probably not more than two weeks at a time; and it's not easy. I've got a job; Oly teaches.

Oly: I teach music, and so my partner substitutes for me all that she can. I have a substitute, so that gives me time. And I have another job, and they're a family company. They're like, "Go ahead! Get out there!" and I can always go back to that. So I'm really lucky in that way.

Bruce: It's hard for me, too. I have two jobs. They have to get someone to cover for me at one job, and I have to find someone to cover for me at the other job. One is an independent contractor and one is my own business, so for my own business I have to find someone to work for me. We made it happen for at least two weeks, right now.

GASPetc: (to Bruce) There was talk of another SUPERSHINE album in the future; is that something that might happen at some point? Have you and Doug (Pinnick, of KING'S X) talked about that?

Bruce: I would almost venture to say that it's probable. We've definitely talked about doing it; we've written songs together that're done...probably about two thirds of an album. It's just a matter of when and who it's gonna be released with.

GASPetc: Doom has exploded since you checked out in the Nineties, and you're perhaps more appreciated now than you were when you were around the first time...

Oly: This music may still be on the rise. We're seeing it right now and don't know when it's cresting. It may still be relatively weak compared to where it's going. The New York Times reviewed a SUNN O))) show and in this article, it's great! It's got a history of doom, in a way; but it also has this other tier that talks about STEPPENWOLF, BLUE CHEER, and SABBATH...kind of showing historically kind of what's maybe happened to music. But they split thrash and "headstrong" metal into categories. Thrash went one way, and the put METALLICA there; and then they go, like, "But another set of music with the likes of TROUBLE..." in this SUNN O))) article, because they're trying to bring it up to how this form of music evolved because now it's this long, sustained sounds, samples, droning guitar; it's this slow-motion stuff and light show by just two guys. So it's this art form that evolved from something and the article describes these two tiers of heavy metal music: one was groove-oriented; one was thrash, and that turned into death metal and grindcore...and these categories pop's the New York Times talking about metal! And the Chicago Tribune had an article called "'Heady' Metal" on how metal is 'smarter' now. I don't know if that's true...

GASPetc: So, looking forward with TROUBLE, do you just take things one day at a time? Have you sat down and discussed anything beyond this album and tour?

Bruce: Not really. As far as we can see, there's nothing happening past that at the moment. Like you say, it's a day at a time.

Oly: I've been working for like, a thousand years on trying to do something; so I've finally started writing songs by myself. I have a thing called RETRO GRAVE and right now I've got four tunes that I'm ready to throw like on Tundra Trash. Music seems to be turning free; and where you earn a dollar on it is in merch. I don't know what's happening right now with music. It's very strange as far as making a living at it with your art. I don't know if that's negative or positive, but I think the industry's changing, so I don't know how RETRO GRAVE is gonna come out. The old way is you go and you try to get signed on a record label, and you put it out, you know?

Read the entire interview at

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