A couple of questions with Cassell Webb, associate producer of Wildweed
ALSO: Jeffrey Lee Pierce was featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: How did you first become involved with Jeffrey Lee and his Wildweed album?
Cassell Webb: Craig (Leon, a.k.a. the bearded one in the above photo) and I found him in the street off of Notting Hill. It was coincidental, because we had just landed in the UK to make a record with him for Statik Records. We got him a room at a small hotel where we were staying and called the label, who then booked the studio to make the record.
BE: Do you recall any anecdotes from the recording of the album?
CW: We took JLP to Pink Floyd's place at Brit Row, where we took advantage of all the amps and guitars that were available. Kudos to Nick Mason for tuning the drums.
BE: Certainly, his reputation as a hard-livin' fellow is well documented, but was he a consumate professional when he entered the studio? Or did his habits follow him there as well?
CW: Jeffrey was always spot on professional in the studio. No fooling around. He said to me, "I never thought I would be here."
BE: Do you happen to know how Jeffrey Lee viewed the album? For instance, do you know if he went into the project with any sort of eye toward commercial success, or was it just a way for him to be more cathartic than he would've been able to under the Gun Club name...?
CW: No way there was any attempt to be "commercial.” Jeffrey just didn't think that way. Nor do Craig and I. At that time, he felt restricted by the movement of his band – the Gun Club – because of the hard times they were facing, and he was very happy to be playing with the rhythm section that we put together for Wildweed because he felt challenged to play and sing. Occasionally we would smile, for the lyrics came from within, cut-up Burroughs and Gysin in the studio. (Writer’s note: in case this reference eludes anyone else like it did me, you can find out about the cut-up technique here.)
BE: Did you do any other work with him?
CW: Yes, the "Fertility Goddess" EP, and the Flamingo 12”.
BE: Did you keep in touch after that?
CW: We spoke often over the years.
BE: And you may not be in a position to know, but have you heard any rumblings about any of Jeffrey Lee's rare or previously unreleased solo material seeing the light of day?
CW: I don't know anything about this. I think that he was always intending to record some 1920’s acoustic blues covers of Barbecue Bob and such. He phoned us about it two weeks or so before his death. We said “yes” but never heard from him again. I don't know if he ever did those songs, but they were close to his heart.
Check out Jeffrey Lee Pierce's official site for more info.