When did you start the Clone Defects?
We formed in April 1998. It'll be 15 years we've been a band on April 28. I can remember that because it was the birthday of my roommate, Wes (Kersten, guitarist).
Did you guys plan a reunion show on the eve of your anniversary on purpose, or did that just happen to work out?
It's a coincidence, really. Gentleman Jesse (Smith) asked if Human Eye could play the Mess-Around. We hadn't rehearsed in a while, and were going to wait until our next album comes out April 30 on Goner Records before we play out. Since Clone Defects all live near each other, making it easy to get together and practice, we decided it was time to play our first Atlanta show.
Will this be your first reunion show?
No, we've played about six shows over the past 10 years.
You would've been pretty young when Clone Defects started. Were you still teenagers?
We were all in our early 20s when it started. Actually, Fast Eddie was a little younger. He was still in high school, I think. It was our first real band. Since we shared those experiences together, we wouldn't consider doing a reunion without all the members.
You probably get asked about this a lot, but those earliest singles were recorded and produced by Jack White. What was it like working with him back before he was famous?
The Detroit scene was pretty hot back then, with bands like White Stripes, Detroit Cobras, and the Henchmen. We got to know the White Stripes playing shows and going to parties. Jack was a big fan of our music, so he recorded our first two singles in his living room on an eight-track and mixed them at Jim Diamond's studio. He did backing vocals on the first single, "Cheetah Eyes," and is credited as the "third man," so he was going by that back then. He was and still is a good, down to earth guy with a great sense of humor.
Another one of your Detroit contemporaries, the Go, is also playing the Mess-Around. Did you run into them often back in the day?
They formed around the same time as us, and started playing out a little before us. Back then, they had that Flamin' Groovies and Hollywood Brats sound, high energy '70's rock 'n' roll.
The last album was put out by In the Red, which I'm assuming is the first record you did that wasn't put out locally or by your brother's label. How did you get connected with them?
The Dirtbombs talked us up, and they were already on there, from Detroit. Larry (Hardy) backed out on putting out that first album, which he later in an interview said he regretted, but he went on to put out our second album, Shapes of Venus, in 2003. We got a Mitsubishi car commercial out of that, which made us a big chunk of money.
So not long after your most widely distributed album and the car commercial, you guys split?
We kind of went our separate ways after a tour in 2003. Wes moved away to Chicago, and it all sort of fizzled out. It would be hard for me to be in a band with someone in a different city, since I like to rehearse often. I wanted to keep playing music, so I started Human Eye with my buddy Johnny Lzr in Oct. 2003, so that's been nearly 10 years.
What's it like reforming and playing the old songs, without your preferred method of constantly practicing?
Clone Defects play those songs better now than we did when we wrote them. Maybe someone will record the audio of our set on Saturday, because I'd like to hear it. It should be high energy, party rock 'n' roll, as always.
Any parting words for our readers?
We've never played Atlanta before, so hopefully, some of the old cats who liked us back in the day will come out of the woodwork. I wish we were playing with the Zeros, to be honest, since they were a big influence on us.
Clone Defects, Dwight Twilley, Parting Gifts, Mean Jeans, Ex-Cult, and Apache Dropout play the Earl on Saturday, April 27. $22. 8 p.m.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?