1. An Interview with Medicine's Annette Zilinskas Jammerzine Exclusive 36:11

Today’s Jammerzine Exclusive is a real treat for me. I get to talk with someone who not only witnessed the changes in music at two crucial times in music history (ie the ’80s through now) but can also say she is a part of it. I am speaking of Annette Zilinskas of Medicine. Having started her career as the original bassist for The Bangles and continuing with Blood on the Saddle, Annette delivers her signature voice with one of the sounds of the underground in the form of Medicine. The brainchild of record producer/musician Brad Laner, Medicine is one of the original pioneers of the shoegaze genre.

Today we talk with Annette about Medicine’s new cover album titled ‘Scarred for Life’ (album samples included) as well as her career in music.

About ‘Scarred for Life’

The first thing that really strikes me when I first heard ‘Scarred for Life’ is the mix. The vocals and music are on the same level (as mentioned in the interview) and it really creates an atmospheric and almost cinematic undertone of the album as a whole. With this being an album of covers, we get an in-depth glimpse of the minds behind Medicine. Two tracks that stick out for me are ‘Sentimental Lady’ (single review HERE) and ‘Dead Time Bummer Blues’.  The contrast between the two is striking, to say the least, but the fit is airtight. To me, that is a perfect example of the endless dynamics of this record and how a band can make each track stand on its own.

ABOUT MEDICINE

After a hiatus of several years, Medicine will release a new long-play on October 4. Entitled ‘Scarred for Life’, this 11-track offering will be available on limited edition vinyl, as well as digitally, via NYC-based label Drawing Room Records. The brainchild of guitarist Brad Laner, the LA-based collective was among pioneers of the shoegaze genre and today, is one of a small handful of core bands of this genre to reform and still exist today, along with peers Slowdive, Ride, Swervedriver, My Bloody Valentine, and The Veldt.

‘Scarred For Life’ is a highly ambitious release – an album of all “killer no filler”, including tracks from Neil Young, Judee Sill, Miles Davis, The Monkees, and even Bob Welch. This album of all covers is well beyond simple reinterpretation. Laner and company give each track a Medicine-sized dosage of their ‘wall of sound’ to bless and heal.

Mastered by Adam Gonsalves, each LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl. It comes with a full-color gloss jacket and 22×22” foldout poster. This is an outstandingly eclectic selection of tracks where Laner and cohorts attempt to relive the glory (and none of the fiascos) of old school samplers, like K-Tel compilations. Back in the 70s and early 80s, these samplers provided an economic way to experience the wonders of AM/FM radio dials, being as varied as the Top 40 charts were in their heyday.

This new offering continues a great tradition of feedback-saturated noise-pop experiments dating back to 1991 when Brad Laner formed Medicine with drummer Jim Goodall, guitarist Jim Putnam, bassist Eddie Ruscha, and singer Annette Zilinskas, who was eventually replaced by Beth Thompson. Medicine’s current line-up sees Laner, Goodall, and Zilinskas reunited, along with guitarist Matt Devine, who played with Medicine on their last US tour in 1995 and also joined the band for their 2014 appearance at Austin Psych Fest.

“Come listen and hell even purchase this album of covers. Above all else, this album was really just some folk’s attempt to keep sane in the wake of a certain nameless fascist assuming power back in the dark days of 2016. Mind you, we love it, but the song choices have no cohesive theme and although it’s a bit noisy, we’re not trying to be all anything, or whatever,” says Brad Laner.

Medicine was signed to Creation Records on the basis of the original demo, becoming the first American band to do so. In America, they signed to Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label in 1992. Although Pitchfork hailed Medicine as the closest thing to being an American answer to My Bloody Valentine, Medicine’s signature guitar tone managed to distinguish their own music from some of the more ambiguous endeavors of the shoegaze movement.

Medicine is perhaps best known for their cameo appearance in the 1994 film The Crow and subsequent inclusion of ‘Time Baby 3’ on its soundtrack, featuring guest vocals from Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Medicine’s first album ‘Shot Forth Self Living’ was released in 1992, followed by ‘The Buried Life’ the next year, gaining them mainstream attention. The band broke up soon after releasing their third album ‘Her Highness’ in 1995. Medicine reformed briefly in 2003 as a duo with Laner and Shannon Lee (daughter of Bruce Lee), releasing the album ‘The Mechanical Forces of Love’.

It would be another decade until Laner would reunite with Thompson and Goodall and release a new studio album ‘To the Happy Few’ through Captured Tracks, followed by their sixth album ‘Home Everywhere’. In 2012, Captured Tracks reissued Medicine’s first two albums with bonus material and rarities. 2017 brought the release of ‘2.0 Extraneous’, a collection of B-sides and unreleased material from Medicine’s 2003 incarnation.

Over the years, Brad Laner has shown himself to be perhaps the most prolific artists on the underground scene, involving himself in various projects, including his experimental solo project Electric Company and the psychedelic supergroup Lusk (with members of Tool and Failure), receiving a Grammy Award nomination for their sole album He performed on more than 300 albums, contributing vocals and co-writing on M83’s 2011 album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ and playing drums for industrial rock outfit Savage Republic. Laner’s work has been sampled by artists such as Brian Eno and Caribou.

Annette Zilinskas is best known for the musically disparate bands she’s fronted. After co-writing the songs ‘Aruca’ and ‘Miss Drugstore’, she left Medicine as her music troupe The Ringling Sisters had signed with A&M Records. Zilinskas was the original bassist for The Bangles and vocalist with influential roots-punk outfit Blood on the Saddle, whose juiced-up anthems inspired the cowpunk genre, paving the way for the No Depression movement and the related alt-country/Americana revivals. She later led the dream-pop group Weatherbell and punky all-girl garage-rock trio 3 Hole Punch. At the end of 2016, Zilinskas reunited with The Bangles for live performances.

“This LP is like a homecoming for me and Brad playing together again,” says Zilinskas.

Featured image by Jeff Jacquin.

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/medicinebandsfv
https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/BradLaner
https://www.instagram.com/bradlaner
https://bradlaner.tumblr.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_(band)
https://open.spotify.com/artist/61uYVpJPgBq9dNrfUy6kTp

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