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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit David Moore, am: 15.01.2003 ]

Die Namen Split Lip oder Chamberlain sind unweigerlich mit dem Wort Emo verbunden, das heute seine Bedeutung bis auf Weiteres verloren hat. Was Split Lip damals mit ihrer heute immer noch über alle Zweifel erhabenen Platte "Songs For The Wounded" vorlegten, veränderte die HC/Punk-Landschaft, zu der sich die Band damals noch zählte. Die Band traute sich als einer der ersten, mit klassischen Rock- und Countryelementen zu arbeiten, verbunden mit einigen der wohl besten und poetischsten Lyrics in diesem Bereich. Ich sprach mit David Moore, der diese wunderschönen Worte geschaffen hatte und sich auch für einen Teil des Songwritings bei Split Lip/Chamberlain verantwortlich zeichnet. Wir sprachen über den Midwesten, Bildung und die Zukunft.


Musicscan: David, where are you right now and what are you up to lately? What have you been doing since Chamberlain broke up?

Chamberlain: Hi, Matthias. I presently live with my wife, Zoe, and our six-month old son, Lucas, in a small village in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana. Over the past two years, I've completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature and am planning to attend graduate school next year in preparation to teach someday.

Musicscan: The question that probably is of the most interest to everybody is why did you guys break up?

Chamberlain: The simple answer to that question is that there were irreconcilable differences among the members of the band regarding the direction Chamberlain should take moving forward. Those differences began to surface during the time we were in the studio recording "The Moon My Saddle". Curtis and Clay left the band shortly thereafter; Chuck hung with us until the middle of the following year.

Musicscan: What was the reason for releasing "Exit 263" even though Chamberlain was practically non existent anymore?

Chamberlain: The songs compiled on the album, Exit 263, were songs in development. In early 2000, we recorded four or five of them for an industry demo and the others were recorded at our practice cabin. After the band's break-up, the management team with whom we had worked since 1997 wanted to release these last Chamberlain songs as a parting gesture of appreciation to our fans. On the strength of their belief that these were among our best songs to date, South Bittersweet Lane produced and released the album. Fan response to Exit 263 has been surprisingly positive. Interestingly, the album was dubbed "a near-perfect effort" by a critic writing for CMJ New Music Monthly magazine. That took us all by surprise since we had not set out to create this particular album and it was compiled from songs written and recorded over a period of a couple of years. The theme and feel of the album center on loss, on parting of ways and moving on. It proved to be a fitting endpoint.

Musicscan: What were your main artistic influences (not necessarily limited to music) back when you started Split Lip and how have those changed over the years? Who do you admire as artists nowadays?

Chamberlain: I think in the beginning we all had very different influences. Lyrically, I was influenced from a very young age by the poetic genius of Bob Dylan whose music my parents played constantly when I was growing up. Adam found inspiration in Sting and Eric Clapton among others. I think the individual musical tastes and influences that each of us brought to the band enabled us to craft a unique sound - a sound that always avoided being derivative. My personal musical tastes are very broad, so I always drew inspiration from a variety of artists working in a variety of genres.

Musicscan: How did you get in touch with Ignition Records who released the album in Europe? Did you take care of everything for the US or has there been a label involved as well?

Chamberlain: Ignition Records contacted our management company and expressed their interest in releasing the album in Europe. We put out a limited edition release in the US and are appreciative of Ignition's commitment to release and market the album in Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia. This month, Ignition also released the 28-track retrospective album, Five-Year Diary, which documents Chamberlain's music from 1996 through 2000.

Musicscan: Your lyrics are some of the most poetic I have read as far as song lyrics go and I was wondering how you compose those words. What needs to happen? Do you already have the music before you write the lyrics or vice versa?

Chamberlain: I'm always writing. My pockets are usually full of scraps of paper on which I've captured a thought or a phrase that comes to me 'out of the blue.' The process Adam and I usually followed was that he would pass his melodic compositions to me, and I would then write the lyrics. Occasionally, it would work the other way around but usually it was music first and then lyrics.

Musicscan: What were the best and worst parts about being in Split Lip and Chamberlain?

Chamberlain: The Split Lip / Chamberlain experience lasted eleven years. All of us were young teenagers when we began working together under the Split Lip moniker back in 1990. So, my coming of age was tied inextricably to my experiences as a member of the band. All in all, they were good years...years that definitely shaped the person I am today. I always liked traveling and meeting the fans. I remember how startled I was when kids actually began to follow us from gig to gig! The best part of it for me was coming to the realization that the words I wrote mattered to people...that they had some kind of positive and lasting impact on people's lives. We still get e-mails from all over the world in which fans comment on what the lyrics have meant to them and how the music has seen them through good times and bad. The worst part of it all was not being able to get to the place where we could support ourselves exclusively by making music.

Musicscan: Is their anything you regret in retrospect, anything that you would have done differently?

Chamberlain: There are always things you would do differently if you could go back and change what's occurred in your life. But, for the most part, we have to live life as it presents itself and that brings into the equation the necessity of making choices. Some choices come easily; some are more painful. Sure, I have some regrets. But, you keep moving on and working to make the best of what comes your way.

Musicscan: Are you still in touch with Adam and are you maybe planning to play music with him together sometime? You two always seemed to be the perfect songwriting couple. Was there also a lot of friction?

Chamberlain: Adam and I talk from time to time and I usually see him when he comes home to Indiana to visit his family. There are no plans at this time to collaborate further. Working together, we managed through the years to write some meaningful songs, and I'm grateful to have had that opportunity.

Musicscan: What do you love about the Midwest? You and your lyrics always seemed to symbolize a lot about what the Midwest is all about, especially for people who don't live there or haven't grown up there? I believe Adam moved to New York. Have you ever considered moving somewhere else?

Chamberlain: There's an intangible strength of character that typifies the American Midwest. The Midwest is the great American Heartland. It remains the repository of the values and ideals on which America was built. I think the honesty and the genuineness of our music were shaped by these realities. I've never given serious thought to living elsewhere, but I wouldn't walk away from the opportunity to experience other places, although I can't really see myself living in a city like New York or Los Angeles. I prefer more pastoral surroundings where there's time and space for reflection and contemplation.

Musicscan: I assume Chuck couldn't contribute to "Exit 263" because he was working with New End Original at the time, but why did you guys stop working with Clayton and Curtis?

Chamberlain: Chuck left the band in May of 1999 to pursue other opportunities that he viewed to be more in line with his musical tastes and aspirations. Wade Parish stepped in on drums, and he recorded the songs that were compiled to create Exit 263. Curtis and Clay left shortly after we recorded The Moon My Saddle. As I've said, there were some artistic differences that influenced the changes in the original line-up. But, it is obvious that our fans regard the original five-man line-up to have been the soul of Split Lip and Chamberlain. So, I'm hopeful that the fans will appreciate and enjoy Five-Year Diary, which is, in fact, the final release of everything that was recorded by the band and previously unreleased, including 13 live performances by the original group.

Musicscan: Do you have any new musical projects going on? What can we expect from David Moore in the future?

Chamberlain: I've written a few songs that haven't yet been recorded. And, every now and then, I get together with my buddy, Tim Jones, the former frontman for the band Old Pike, and we play for the enjoyment of it with a little group we've dubbed Chevy Downs. But, my efforts are now directed at supporting my family and continuing my education.

Musicscan: 3 favorite books, movies and records?

Chamberlain: It's difficult to limit my selections to only three -- especially where books and music are concerned! With respect to records, my selections include anything and everything recorded by Bob Dylan; Greg Brown's The Poet Game; Van Morrison's Moondance; Cat Stevens Greatest Hits. U2's The Joshua Tree, most of James Taylor's recordings. My reading is presently focused on theology which will be my course of study in graduate school. I've always loved poetry - the works of Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost. Favorite movies include East of Eden, The Dead Poets Society, Hud.

Musicscan: Any last words of comments?

Chamberlain: Thanks, Matthias, for your interest in Chamberlain. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to your readers who are Chamberlain fans for their belief in us and for their continuing loyalty to the music and my invitation to your readers who may not be Chamberlain fans to give the music a listen. Thanks to you all and God bless.

  Chamberlain Site
  Ignition Records