As Luna reassemble with their first new music in thirteen years, the group’s founder took time to discuss the band’s pair of simultaneous releases; an instrumental EP and an album of covers.
DAVE RAYBURN: With A SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION and A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY you provide an outpouring of new music than Luna fans might not have been expecting. Why did you opt for an album of covers and an EP of instrumentals for the band’s return to the studio?
DEAN WAREHAM: I know what Andy Warhol answered when asked why he was making short films instead of painting. “Because it’s easy.” Making covers is easier of course because you don’t have to write the songs. And ditto with instrumentals, I don’t have to write any lyrics (the hardest part). So I thought an album of covers would be a nice way for us to record together after 13 years apart. Also we’ve done a lot of covers over the years and people like them. Sean Eden insisted we should do something more, and that’s how we came to record the instrumentals. So it’s cool, we’ve got two things that we’ve never done before, and personally I think that’s more interesting to people than “oh, these dudes got together and wrote some new songs.”
DAVE RAYBURN: The new album is titled WESLEY STACE’S JOHN WESLEY HARDING, and is your second record under your given name that you’ve reverted back to. I understand that, among several factors involved in choosing the title, there was a bit of a nod to Jeff Lynne in the mix. Can you elaborate?
WESLEY STACE: I can. My last album, SELF-TITLED, was the first released under my real name, Wesley Stace, but I felt the word didn’t quite get out, so I thought it was worth clarifying. Secondly, I happened to see the new version of ELO. For whatever legal reason, they are billed as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO”, presumably partly to differentiate it from any other rogue version of ELO. This reminded me that, though I had, in a sense, broken up John Wesley Harding, I didn’t want any interlopers touring under that name, playing my songs and pretending to be me, when I was elsewhere being me too, playing those same songs (better). With WESLEY STACE’S JOHN WESLEY HARDING, I am reminding you that this version of John Wesley Harding is the only version that counts. And finally, I wanted to differentiate myself, once and for all, from the Bob Dylan album of the same name. I have many times been mistaken for this album, due to a certain similarities between the name of this artifact, an LP from 1967 made of vinyl and cardboard, JOHN WESLEY HARDING, and my erstwhile performing name, John Wesley Harding. Obviously, it’s a ridiculous mistake, but still. So this isn’t Bob Dylan’s JOHN WESLEY HARDING; it’s Wesley Stace’s JOHN WESLEY HARDING.