This is probably my favorite piece (of my own) for 2012. Really good record, too.
Just Don’t Call Them a Super-Group: The Rangda Interview
By Jennifer Kelly 5 November 2012
All three members of Rangda—that’s Sun City Girls’ Richard Bishop, Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny and free-jazz drumming legend Chris Corsano—have their own claims to “super-ness”, at least in pure musical ability. Just check out Bishop’s blur-speed, ethnically-tuned bouts of picking, Chasny’s hallucinatory arcs of psychedelic folk, or Corsano’s manic, chaotic yet totally-in-control percussive wizardry. Still all three palpably bristle when you bring up the term “super group”.
“It’s pretty ridiculous,” says Chasny, when asked about a phrase usually associated with unit shifters like Asia, Chickenfoot and the Travelling Wilburies. “That is a term generally given to bloated rock stars. You never hear that with jazz—‘Oh! That was Miles Davis’s super group!’ No, you just note the people playing.”
“Super groups are always kind of less than the sum of their parts,” says Corsano, noting that these ensembles are often put together with more of an eye towards commercial impact than artistry. “Rangda totally wasn’t that,” he adds. “It was Ben saying ‘I’ve played with Chris, and I’d like to play with him more. And I’ve played with Rick and I want to play with him more.’ I think that’s how every band should get together.”
Yet while Rangda may have started as the casual confluence of three major talents, it has evolved through touring and a second album. Formerly Extinct, released in September 2012 on Drag City, shows the threesome evolving from a fearsomely talented pick-up band into a living, breathing, continuing entity. We spoke to all three members about Rangda’s beginnings, their egalitarian approach to sharing leads, and their emergence as one of the most interesting part-time gigs in indie rock.