Scott Shellhamer & Adamn Norden (American Heritage) interviewed

What’s the difference between American Heritage (MySpace link) and American “Fucking” Heritage?Scott Shellhamer: One has more fucking than the other. Adamn Norden: Regular American Heritage will act like it wants to get to know you first.

Your primary influences—if we’re using food ingredient methodology to determine most to least—are “masturbatory fantasies of middle-aged bureaucrats”. Can you name which middle-aged bureaucrat you’ve had the most masturbatory fantasies about? Adamn Norden: Well, the Bay Leaf in our stew for me is that dumb one who thinks jacking off is bad. She's hot and I would do her real dirty. Though technically, she's not a bureaucrat. She's a professional idiot.

OK, which middle-aged bureaucrat makes the best pin-up model and why? Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, or Michele Bachmann? Scott Shellhamer: I don’t have to read about her “interests” or anything right? I can just jerk off to her and go about my day? If so, I’d go with Palin. That way I can just pretend she’s Tina Fey and not have to use my own vomit as a lubricant. Adamn Norden: O'Donnell again, precisely because she will have people jacking off to her image. Kind of like Santorum becoming the name for the effluvium produced via anal sex.

Power trios have always been underestimated. Why do you think kids feel two guitarists are better than one and the power of the three isn’t as powerful as the power of four or five? Now, the power of six is two times greater than three. Scott Shellhamer: Adamn is the math major. I failed high school geometry and algebra. Adamn Norden: 3x2=6 < x^6, I don't know what you're talking about. [I have to admit, I don’t know either—CD] We have two guitars cuz it's like yin and yang, man. At one with the multiverse. And so we can do some sweet Boston-style harmonic leads, which form the backbone of our prog-pop-meta-metal juggernaut.

What do you think separates Millenarian from Sedentary? Scott Shellhamer: Five years. I think Sedentary has a little more focus and dynamics overall. It’s far more straight ahead than Millenarian was, but I think in a good way. It’s just trying to get the job done instead of trying to pack as much shit in as we can. Adamn Norden: We was trying to make a different record, like he say. Sedentary goes in more different directions. I mean, there was only one sitar track on all of Millenarian, and for Sedentary, we actually traveled to the savannahs of Africa from whence humanity sprung some 6,000 years ago and jammed with pygmies and giant sloths as well. Once our spirits were took over by fiery witches we spewed forth riffs all over the floodplain, nourishing scores of villages for the season. And that was just for Fetal Attraction.

Different bassists on each song? Means to an end or superbly executed, if slightly lofty, concept? Scott Shellhamer: Both. Adamn and Myself have both played bass in bands before. We easily could’ve done all the bass ourselves. We all agreed that having our friends play on the record would add something new and different to the songs that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of. It really made my life a huge pain for a while. I had to sort of become a project manager and it was just a lot of nagging people and coordinating shit. Most of the dudes were awesome and got me their tracks pretty quickly but we had some stragglers as you’d expect when you’re dealing with so many guest musicians. Adamn Norden: There ain't shit lofty about anything we do, bubba.

OK, both Millenarian and Sedentary feature structures on the cover. Do you guys have a thing for big, thick, cylindrical/squarical-shaped things protruding from the ground? Scott Shellhamer: It’s funny you noticed that. I was just thinking about the same thing the other day. It could become a running theme. So it’s possible I do have a thing for monolithic objects. I find them iconic, imposing, and visually strong. Adamn Norden: Our first record does, too. Kind of. And to answer your question, we have a thing for big, thick, cylindrical-shaped things protruding from wherever.

Sanford Parker twiddled knobs and pushed buttons for you guys on Sedentary. What’d that guy have that others, perhaps like Scott Storch or Brian Eno, didn’t? Scott Shellhamer: Having a studio in Chicago and the ability to deal with us while we’re in there? Sanford is a friend and it’s always good to work with people that you know and know you. It makes it easier to trust what everyone is doing. Adamn Norden: It was nice to have someone to keep Scott company while I was in the booth doing vocals. I didn't have to worry about him being lonely or not being able to have a heavy metal kaffeeklatch all day long

Humans, for the most part, have become sedentary. What would the world be like if we were all nomadic? Google puts the world population at 6,775,235,741. That’s a lot of fucking people buzzing about. Adamn Norden: I don't know, why don't you ask Google, it's so smart? I guess we'd all be foraging around for Flamin' Hot Cheetos for a while, then when those ran out, we'd hunt for Lunchables, and when those ran out, we'd join in small groups and hunt down Twinkies and Ho-Hos and through this process develop a new social and economic system which would obviously be far superior to our present one. We'd be like Bonobos with iPads and spears.

If there’s one thing you’d improve about American Heritage what would it be? New shoes? Better amps? Maybe Bobby Flay as your personal touring chef? Scott Shellhamer: We would all always understand and agree where the “1” of a riff was. This would save us HOURS and HOURS of being frustrated with each other. Adamn Norden: What a stupid name for a band, first off. Next, we would get rid of instruments altogether and control sound and light with our minds, and each gig would consist of the representation of primeval symbols which would show the audience the true path to ultimate humanity and unlock gene sequences in our brains so we could talk to the stars (it's science!) and start to reform the cosmos in a way that's more feminine and also smells like pineapple/sage bacon frittatas, and then we would all have brunch and we would pick up the tab cuz we're noble gents. And in the new universe brunch is free, so we'd look generous and still have enough money to blow on video poker later. And… and… and… more blowjobs.

** American Heritage's new album, Sedentary, is available through Translation Loss. Order it here.

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