Years before he was a filmmaker, Vincent Gallo was into music. He joined his first band at age 9, and by 16, he'd moved from Buffalo to New York City, where he played in Gray, an art-noise act, with Jean-Michel Basquiat. More than two decades later, he scored his film Buffalo '66 and formed an outfit called Bunny with actor Lukas Haas. For his latest project, RRIICCEE, Gallo has recruited drummer Nikolas Haas (Lukas' younger brother), keyboardist Rebecca Casabian and former Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson to create improvised pieces. Because the act doesn't have anything recorded and there are no plans to release an album, this may be your only chance to hear Gallo and his mates do their thing. We caught up with Gallo for the lowdown on this strange venture.
The Pitch: As far as trying to grasp what you're going to be doing, is there any way you could describe —
Vincent Gallo: I can say this — and I just thought of this just now — if I didn't tell you that everything we played was completely spontaneous and improvised, you would never know it. That should give you some concept of what to expect. In other words, we're there creating very beautiful, simple, sensitive compositions that are organized outside of musical cliché. But they don't sound like they're spontaneous, so it's not so obviously abstract or improvisational or disorganized. Imagine a mix of musical forms that never existed before coming together, piecing together compositions and sounds, harmonics and moods that are a reflection of the four of us, the place that we're playing, the time, the feel and a reflection of the audience. It's very, very conscious music.
But, hey, we're just four human beings. Our preferred vision can only move so far. I am stuck within the vision that I can have as a human being, which is not that broad. And I am also stuck somewhat in the clichés of my own level of taste at the time, etcetera, etcetera. It's not like I'm able to fully transcend myself, or like Eric or Nikolas or Rebecca is. But that's the goal, and we're practicing in that direction. We're practicing moving in that direction every day.
What was it about these musicians that made you want to choose them for this project?
As you make your heart more open and you choose to connect with a different kind of energy and you become more of the person you really are than the person you learn to be and you're not coming as much from fear and you're just trying to connect with a more revolutionary vibration, then people — you start to notice them and connect with them in that way.
I've known Eric for 25 years, but I don't really know him. I just follow him around. And I didn't really connect with him in the past, but both of us have changed a lot, and we really connect now in this way. And I really connect with Rebecca in this way, and I connect with Nik in this way.
And by connecting with one another in this way — which I feel is more of a reflection of who I am and of the future and of a more beautiful vibration — then I'm moving also, as well, further in that direction. You become what you invest in. Whatever you invest in becomes bigger. So if you invest in connecting things that are coming from love and openness, and you're trying to transcend yourself, then that just becomes who you are and more of who you are.