Interview with: Rob Zabrecky (Possum Dixon)
Location: via Email
Who did Possum Dixon consist of?
Rob Zabrecky - Vocals, Bass
Celso Chavez - Guitar, Back Up Vocals, Robert Sullivan - Keyboards, Back Up Vocals
Rich Treuel - Drums
Byron Reynolds - Drums (From "Star Maps" - second LP onwards)
Under what circumstances did you form Possum Dixon?
Possum Dixon was formed by bored school friends. We toured the U.K. after the release of our first LP, "Possum Dixon" and played several shows. It was during the early 90s "New Wave of the New Wave" era in the U.K.
How did you go down in the UK? Did you visit these shores a lot? Are there any special memories of your trips to Europe that stand out?
Yes - we played the NME or Melody Maker tent one year at the Redding Festival. Great fun and lots of great bands, including Pulp and Elastica. Shortly after, we toured with a band called Compulsion, which wasn't a good match. Most of their audiences didn't like us much.
From what I remember they were quite heavy, do you think that had to do with the audience’s reactions? Do you think maybe you were a bit too “quirky” for them?
Looking back, the U.K. tour with Compulsion was not a good match. I think we would have done better doing our own tour.
My favorite songs of the first album are Invisible and Elevators, can you tell me a little about these songs?
Those songs were written in my early 20s. Lyrically, "Invisible" was a Dada-esque overview of my life and although the lyrics don't follow a perfect story line, they seem to hold up as a collage of my life during that time. "Elevators" was written while I was a working in the mail room at an entertainment company and also made deliveries. One day I got drunk at lunch and scribbled the lyrics on a scrap of paper after riding an empty elevator after making a drop off.
What I always liked about PD was the fact they always reminded me of other bands yet I could never put my finger on whom. My little bit of research led me to seeing lots comparisons to Talking Heads and Devo, in hindsight were they fair comparisons? Or was that always just lazy journalism?
Talking Heads and Devo were, and still are big influences. Both of are remarkable bands for so many reasons. It's hard for me to compare Possum Dixon to them, but I was always flattered when someone did.
The next album, I’ve read, was written under the influence of hard drugs, was their a turning point from being a band of school friends to becoming a band on the edge of self destruction?
Yes, after our first LP, we lost focus as a group. Self destruction seemed like a good idea during the recording of our second LP, "Star Maps." I also think it was our best record.
What are your feelings towards the Interscope label? Do you feel that they held most the responsibility for the bands lack of commercial success?
It's hard to say. In some ways they did their job well and in some ways they didn't. Overall, I'm glad they were able to help us in ways we couldn't help ourselves.
How did it end with the label, did the band split or were they dropped first? Was there another label you could have turned to and start afresh or had it gone beyond that stage?
The band split. The last year our our existence was a complicated one, I was newly sober and other members were still doing self destructive things. It was one of the best decisions I remember making. I was ready to move on.
How did you end up having Beck Hansen at the bottom of the bill at some of your shows/working on Mellow Gold?
Beck and I were friends during the early 90s and he used to open for Possum Dixon during our early shows. At that point, he just played guitar and say (pre "Loser") and was unknown, so it was easy and fun to have him on live shows. Shortly after he signed with Geffen, he asked me to record on "Mellow Gold." We see each other occasionally but have not recorded or played together since. I admire what he has done with his music career.