Luna Record Live Album; Frontman To Star In Film

Band plans first release since its label went under; Dean Wareham cast in independent movie.

MTV News Online

NEW YORK — Rock-pop band Luna recorded a pair of shows on Friday and Saturday at the Knitting Factory for an upcoming live album, the first planned release since the group’s former label, Jericho Records, went under.

Singer/guitarist Dean Wareham said that the group has already received a few offers from labels about picking up the concert LP, although Luna is also considering issuing the album online.

“We recorded both nights,” Wareham said. “See, we’re between contracts right now, so we decided that’s the moment to do it, because if you’re under contract to someone, then whatever recordings you do are owned by the label. We figured we could sneak one in before we get a new record deal.”

Wareham also indicated that the New York gigs weren’t the first time Luna had attempted to capture its recent live shows, which have featured the band’s newest addition, bassist Britta Phillips.

Luna debuted on Elektra Records with 1992′s Lunapark, following the breakup of Wareham’s previous outfit, Galaxie 500. Luna — originally formed as a trio with former Chills bassist Justin Harwood and ex-Feelies drummer Stanley Demeski — mixed minimalist pop sounds and earned favorable comparisons to the Velvet Underground with songs such as “Slash Your Tires,” from their debut. Luna released three more records for the label before being dropped just prior to 1999′s The Days of Our Nights. Jericho then signed the group and released the album later that year.

During the Friday gig, Luna helped celebrate Bastille Day by performing their cover of decadent French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg‘s “Bonnie and Clyde,” an unlisted track from Luna’s 1995 Penthouse album.

For the song, Phillips assumed the “Bonnie” vocal part that Stereolab‘s Laetitia Sadier originally sang on Penthouse.

“I was very happy the way it turned out,” Wareham said of the Knitting Factory shows. “We [also] recorded a few months ago. We did a show in [Washington,] D.C., with a mobile truck, and it felt like just because we knew the tape was rolling, all of a sudden we started making mistakes. That’s why we did two nights this time, and it was sort of more relaxing. I felt we played really well.”

Luna plan to mix the live recordings later this summer, and, in the meantime, Wareham will start work on an independent film, titled “This Little Piggy,” in which he’ll play an ex-junkie and credit-card thief.

“I’m supposed to be making a movie in August,” Wareham said. “Someone gave me the lead in a movie. It’s an independent film with this woman I know [Alison Bagnall]; she co-wrote ‘Buffalo ’66.’ She’s making another film, and she gave me a part in that.”

“This Little Piggy” is set to begin filming in upstate New York next month. Luna’s next scheduled appearance is on Sept. 16 in North Adams, Mass.

— David Basham