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QRD #36 - Valentine's Special - February 2008
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xo #3 - first time
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Valentine's Interviews with:
All in the Golden Afternoon
The Backsliders
Book of Shadows
California Oranges
Grappling Hook
Here Comes Everybody
List of Likes
My Glass Beside Yours
Northern Valentine
Paris Luna
Something About Vampires&Sluts
Shiny Around the Edges
Silk Stocking
The Wades
Windy & Carl
The Winter Sounds
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Valentine's Interview with Book of Shadows
February 2008
Book of Shadows began in 1999 when Carlton Crutcher, longtime member of space rock band ST37, began recording with his wife Sharon.  These recordings were much more experimental, improvisational and magickal & now eight years & five CDs later (now an eight piece band) Book of Shadows continues to make uncatergorizable music with CDs out soon on Palustre & Ruralfaune.   Magick through sound. 
QRD – How do you turn music mode on & off in your relationship with each other?  Or do you find yourself pretty constantly collaborating on music even if it’s songs about cooking?

Carlton – We’re always talking about & listening to music, but when it’s time to record or play live we set everything else aside.  But the kitchen is next to the recording room, so sometimes we do a little of both.

Sharon – It’s hard to turn off the artistic nature of people, I think, so it just seems natural that we find a way to indulge ourselves every chance we get.  If you love what you do it’s not work, I sing to the cats/dog.  We make up silly songs & sing them all the time.  We get excited about every new person we meet who wants to create art with us.  We find so many talented cool people by doing this as much as we can. 

QRD – How has your music changed by having someone you’re romantically involved with working with you?

Carlton – I was in the space rock band ST 37 for about 15 years, but when I started doing Book of Shadows with Sharon I totally embraced the female aspect of nature/life/etc.  The music itself became less abrasive & more ethereal.

Sharon – I have only been in Book of Shadows, I’m a late bloomer; I’m still exploring this whole thing.  Experimental music styles seem vast, possibilities endless.  I’m glad Carlton encouraged me to try, I love playing with him.  We are very psychically connected & often know what each other are thinking, we have fun together, we laugh a lot.  Our music changes all the time.

QRD – How do you keep things professional rather than getting personal in the band?  Like not letting being upset that someone’s not doing their house chores spill into band practice? 

Carlton – That sorta thing does happen sometimes, but any band becomes like your family & everything becomes personal.  I try to keep a very practical/functional working attitude about Book of Shadows, but also keep it fun at the same time.

Sharon – I am not the professional one.  My music is to me like a living entity, not a business, we improvise (channel, if you will), there is no business in that dimension, it’s pure spirit, free for everyone to have & become one with.  I don’t really get pissed about chores, unless things start disappearing in piles, where are those cats??!!!

QRD – Do you think working musically together increases the strength of your relationship?

Carlton – Well everything in our marriage is a joint effort & the music seems to be a natural extension of that.  We love doing the music so it definitely increases the strength of our relationship.

Sharon – Yeah, of course, but we would be happy doing pretty much anything together, we get along well.

QRD – Do you think the music ever suffers because of your relationship?

Carlton – No, I don’t think so.  The music is an extension of our relationship.

Sharon – Carlton & I suffer when we don’t have time to create, our music is what brings us joy, so is the fact that it is possible to be married to your best friend.

QRD – Being in a romantic couple, do you try to curb lyrical content to or away from things in your relationship?

Carlton – We don’t use that many lyrics, but the lyrics are sometimes about our relationship.

Sharon – I sing what I feel when I am immersed in the music, I don’t use words that much, sometimes words get in the way. 

QRD – A lot of families kind of look down on musicians as immature, do you find that going out with another musician has eased relationships with your parents or in-laws?

Carlton – Sharon wasn’t a musician before we got together, but her parents like me & are very respectful even though they never really were concerned with the music.

Sharon – My parents didn’t have a clue about what I was doing, Mom calls it whale songs.

QRD – Which came first the musical collaboration or the relationship & do you feel that at this point that you could have one without the other?

Carlton – When Sharon & I started going out I didn’t realize she had any musical talent; but I felt like she had a very relevant viewpoint, which to me is much more important for a musician than talent.  It just so happened that I later realized she was an exceptionally talented vocalist.

Sharon – We worked together as mental health assistants at a psychiatric hospital, those were great days, our co-workers got us together.

QRD – How do things work with band members besides the two of you to get the same level of connectivity while playing your music? 

Carlton – We play with a lot of different musicians & it seems that what Sharon & I do is create a magical/creative space that other musicians can fit right into pretty effortlessly. 

Sharon – I have to say that we are the most fortunately blessed people to have these wonderfully talented people come into our lives & it seems to happen effortlessly.  I asked God/dess for an opportunity to meet people with which we could create something for good.  I don’t know what to expect, but I always see the music as meant to feel healing, to change the negative energy around us.  People sometimes say we sound scary or dark, but I don’t feel that way at all.

QRD – Do you find music related gifts to be romantic or more like giving someone an appliance?

Carlton – Yeah, sometimes I have felt like that, “Okay, honey, here’s your new microphone, now get to work.”

Sharon – I like getting musical equipment.

QRD – The musician life style has an inherent lack of financial security & healthcare.  Do you find yourself thinking, “How can we start a family & continue our musical careers?”

Carlton – Sharon’s kids were already grown up when we got together, so we didn’t have that to deal with.  We see music more as a spiritual thing than a financial security thing, but both would be nice.

Sharon – Ditto.

QRD – Do you ever switch off instruments to give each other ideas?

Carlton – Yeah, we do that occasionally & it always sounds totally different, but still good.

Sharon – I like playing the Roland, but I’d rather sing than anything else anyways.

QRD – A lot of people say they feel most spiritually connected to another person is when they’re on stage & the set is working.  Is this what you find & how does this energy flow into your romantic relationship?

Carlton – Yeah, when the music is working you feel like you’re in a magic zone & that zone is just an extension of us & our relationship. 

Sharon – Wow, you know what, I really feel spiritually connected to everything around me when we are playing, we all have experienced that amnesia that you get when you’re out of your body & just blended with the sound.

QRD – Some couples start to get seen as a unit with one member as dominant.  Do you ever want to get one of you more recognition?

Carlton – For some people I’m more well known than Sharon because I was in ST 37 for so long, but for a lot of people, especially those who see us live, Sharon stands out more since she is the lead vocalist.

Sharon – I’d rather promote the whole band, Book of Shadows is a collective.

QRD – Do you feel a need to have separate projects where you just work on your own?

Carlton – Since we started Book of Shadows in ‘99 we haven’t done that.

Sharon – Nope, but I don’t think it would be a big deal if either one of us did.

QRD – Musicians often run into fans with crushes, is there a secret to recognizing when something is getting inappropriate instead of being band promoting?

Carlton – That hasn’t happened too much, but when someone starts getting in your face too much; it’s pretty apparent.

Sharon – That hasn’t happened to me too often.  Hmmmm.

QRD – Any advice for other musician couples?

Carlton – Well, when people are a couple it’s usually because there’s a lot of respect for the other person & if there’s any music aptitude involved it can work very well for a musician couple.  I love being in a band with my wife!!!

Sharon – I guess it would be to try to work with your partner instead of against them; it takes a lot of mental & physical energy to get yourselves out there as a creative force.  You sometimes have to be okay with not being able to get all the things you need to do in one day & just let the little things go.  Pick your battles & have fun with your lover, it works for us.

Book of Shadows on MySpace