Wooden Indian Burial Ground formed in Portland, Oregon – 2007. As a duo the band employed banjo’s, chord organs, fuzz guitars and other various instruments, making a glorious racket across the Western, Central, and Southern United States. This incited an 11 track album of lo-fi experimental folk tunes self-released in 2008. The band grew in numbers and influence, playing shows under various names with various members until settling down with a stable lineup and signing with Mon Amie in 2010.
In an effort to get to know WIBG, we asked them a few questions:
Mon Amie: Who are you?
Wooden Indian Burial Ground: I am Justin D. Fowler.
MA: Where are you from?
WIBG: Born and raised in Portland, OR.
MA: When did you first start playing music?
WIBG: I lived in this apartment complex with my mother: I was 16 years old; I wanted a drum set, she gave me her old acoustic guitar and said you can’t play drums in an apartment complex, we’ll be evicted, the sky will rain blood. I bought this drum set off a metal head and played along to Neil Young/Crazy Horse and punk rock albums with headphones on. No one complained.
MA: Please tell us about your previous musical endeavors (Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Hello Loneliness, etc.).
WIBG: I started out playing drums in garage bands. I played in a band called Evening at the Black House…the singer was going through a pretty major party phase and would get naked and beat his penis with the microphone and break Corona bottles over his head.
I dropped out after a while and started Thee Electric Witch. Judy, who only played clarinet in high school, played bass. Chris, my old bass player who couldn’t play drums, played drums. I, who couldn’t sing, sang and played guitar and synth. It was a noisy psych/garage project. We toured. It was fun. Wooden Indian Burial Ground was formed after. I started by playing banjo and harmonica with a kick drum and tambourine. Judy played a marching bass drum and electric bass.
We split after a few years right before tour, so i renamed the project “Hello Loneliness!” I played a month across the southwest and south opening for some friends. I really dislike playing solo, so I got out of the van and flew home from Nashville and wrote all new songs, and asked some friends to join up. We added theremin, organ, electric piano, and fuzz guitar; we did a garage/folk/psych thing for a good year and a half, and now I’m working with some of the same folks and some new folks too.
MA: Can you tell me 5 records you can’t live without?
WIBG: Here’s the first 5 that pop into my brain today: Songs of Leonard Cohen; Tom Waits, The Black Rider; Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs; Billy Childish, At the Bridge; Silver Jews, Bright Flight. The five picks for tomorrow might be, Pet Sounds, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Velvet Underground, Everyone Knows This is Nowhere, Arthur.
MA: How did you come up with the name Wooden Indian Burial Ground?
WIBG: I don’t remember, but I do remember I was driving with Judy, (the first member of the band) down a winding road through the woods above the Columbia gorge; we emerged from the trees, the band was born and the water below was as blue as blue.
MA: You work at a dog shelter sometimes…what’s that like?
WIBG: Lot’s of different emotions from day to day. I’ve been there almost 5 years, and I love it. We’re a no-kill, non profit, grass roots outfit. We work out of an old auto parts warehouse. The dogs are housed in packs and get to spend their days playing in a dog park type environment outside. I’m an adoption counselor as well as a pooper scooper. I’ll plug it here: www.familydogsnewlife.org/
MA: Do you think Portland has affected the way you make music?
WIBG: Yeah for sure. It’s gloomy in the winter, which makes gloomy songs. Then it’s super beautiful all summer, which makes for fun songs. I’ve also worked with a shit ton of fabulous musicians over the years that have taught me a great deal.
MA: If you could collaborate with any musician (dead or alive) who would it be?
WIBG: Ennio morricone during the Dollars trilogy era or Tom Waits post 1983. I’d like to have Tom Waits and Billy Childish in the same room while I was pushing buttons on the tape machine.
MA: What is your favorite non-music related hobby?
JF: Oil painting and print making, though I haven’t had so much time for that the last couple monthsâ€¦so prob cooking as of late, or hiking in the woods.
To see Justin’s art and get more information on WIBG, point your browsers here: http://woodenindianburialground.tumblr.com/