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RDR talks to Tyson Meade about music and more

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OKLAHOMA CITY – With a new album ready to launch on May 20 (Tomorrow in Progress), and a new single, “Buddy Dash,” already spinning online, Bartlesville-born alternative-rock godfather and former Defenestration and Chainsaw Kittens frontman Tyson Meade – now a long way from Norman and working as an English teacher in the People’s Republic of China - took time to answer some of our questions about his life and music and plans to perform again here in his home state in 2014.

Red Dirt Report: Tell us about your life in Shanghai and why you decided to live and work there.

Tyson Meade: I stopped drinking and drugging and wanted excitement and there was something that sounded exotic and strange and sort of mythological and literary about Shanghai, so I packed my bags and went and fell in love with the country and the people.

RDR: What, if anything, do you miss about life back in Oklahoma?

TM: I miss the people in Oklahoma, some of the best people in the world!

RDR: Regarding the new album, what was the process like in writing the songs and then recording them?

TM: I had this whole new way of writing. My mantra was, “What would Iggy and Bowie do in Berlin?” Though I didn't snort piles of coke. I felt free to make an album that was unfettered.

RDR: How did you come to work with Jimmy Chamberlin and Nicole Fiorentino (of Smashing Pumpkins)? What did they contribute to the new album?

TM: Jimmy Chamberlin is an old friend and I called him up and asked him and he immediately said ‘Yes!’ He brought his godlike drums of thunder to the songs! Nicole is friends with Kerry Brown and he was mixing some songs and he suggested her. I love her. She is an angel! What a great experience. Kerry is magic!

RDR: Looking at the song titles, can you tell us about a couple of them? First, “Mao into Madame Mao into Marvin Gaye”? Secondly, “Nihilists Need Love Too” (We love the song titles, here at RDR!)

TM: The Chinese love Mao, but are not fond of Madame Mao and I had this mantra - or it was like a mantra - that I would walk along and sing (like a crazy person) how Madame Mao couldn't get it on. And that is probably her main problem along with contributing to some genocide along the way. If she had been more like Marvin Gaye more people would have liked her. I love Marvin Gaye, or at least the mythology of Marvin Gaye.

Regarding “Nihilists Need Love Too,” during a dark period in China when I was about to get kicked out because my sponsors there had abandoned me, I started thinking about Nietzsche and his demise and him running to the aid of the horse being flogged. That made me feel better and then I thought that he probably had Anti-Christ porn in his underwear drawer and that made me laugh, so I was cheered up that I might be getting kicked out of China but I have never been aroused by Anti-Christ porn so life is good. Right?!

RDR: Tell us more about Haffijy. What is it like working with him and what did he contribute to the album project? And what about Derek Brown? We interviewed him five years ago when he was recording with Crocodile.

TM: Haffijy embodies music and the muse and everything. He is this pure spirit that has that thing. When people hear him, it is incredibly emotional. He was the one who got me back on the horse after I had been thrown by what had been a horrible music industry. The times are different now and much more artist friendly. Haffijy made me realize I am an artist. Derek is like a little brother. He played on the Kittens record All American! He is one of my fave people in the world.

RDR: Listening to the fuzzy, percussive indie-pop of “Buddy Dash,” would you say there are any musical inspirations in the creation of that fun-loving song?

TM: Yes! Jay Chou or Jay Zhou or Zhou Jiu Lun depending on how you want to pronounce it. Here is one of his videos! I get chills every time I watch it especially when he says he wants to 'kiss your stubborn lips'!

RDR: Do you intend to return to the U.S. and tour? Any plans for gigs in OKC or Norman?

TM: Yes and yes!

RDR: And if there is anything we didn't think to ask you, please share it with us. We are very much looking forward to hearing the full album this spring.

TM: I am really excited to be making music again. I needed to go on this journey to allow me to do this. Thank you so much!

To learn more about the amazing Tyson Meade, go to

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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