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Interview with Sérgio Dias by Douglas Wolk for CMJ Monthly

1. What was the happiest moment of your time with the Mutantes?

That one is a very hard to answer, I believe it was during the process of doing things and being anadolescent, and being able to do whatever we wanted in any respect. I believe it was the constant exilaration of freedom.

2. Tell me about the “happening” at the Casa Grande Theater in 1970.

It was one of the first multi-media (boy am i sick of this term) experiments here, we had a totally crazy act in terms of acting with other guys and girls acting and dancing and cinema projected of an brain surgery and we would throw nets on the audience and huge tractor tires, tubes, and huge balls and very loud rock & roll. It was a sight to see ...

3. How did the traditionalists of Brazilian music react to your version of “Chao de Estrelas?”

They where always trying to make us behave and be proper or simply try to stop us with lists of signatures to banish us from the tv or festivals, we would be “cursed” as pro-americans because we used electric guitars. I remember playing with Edu Loboin Portugal in the same gig and we liked the guy and we would help him with the sound etc... and he went to the press and put us down. We got realy pissed so we cut the wire from his mic, and let only the reverb of the mixer on and let him manage the “so called devil of technology”... We got even then.

4. Why did you re-record old songs for “Technicolor?” What do you think of the English versions of those songs now?

I don’t realy know. I believe we were caught by surprise for the album, we didn’t have any new stuff. I guess the english version probably sucks for we where pretty bad on it at the time, but I haven’t heard the material for a long while...

5. Are you still in touch with any of the people who wrote songs for you in the early days?

Not really, I think that Brazil suffered a kind of “post traumatical effect,” after the so-called openess after the military coup of ’64. Driving people into a everyone for themselves, I’m a star syndrome instead of having fun and shining...

6. Who do you think of as the Mutantes’ spiritual grandchildren? Is there music that you hear now and think “yes, they’ve listened to us?”

I don’t really recognize this in any band in Brasil so far, I believe there’s a lot of them who listened and recorded our material... the one that touched me was Arnaldo Antunes with his re make of “Dia 36” (36th day)

7. What was the first you heard of the “Mutantes revival” in the U.S.?

I believe it was regarding to the guy of Nirvana. (Kurt Cobain tried, unsuccessfully, to get the Mutantes to reunite and open for Nirvana on their South American tour in ’93)

8. Do you still sing?

Do I breath? Yes I’ve been active all of this time, I’m a US resident, but I’m in Brazil now taking care of mom and some other stuff. I have several CDs out in the US and Europe and worlwide as Sérgio Dias. I did some work with Phill Manzanera and toured the US several times with several other artists, wow it’s too much to tell in the keypad... Some CDs: Mind over Matter on Expression Records UK to be released in the US by Mancub Records next month. Song of the Leopard done in South Africa with friends on Black Sun records US. And the newest one Estão da Luz. For those who want more info check the web on www.sergiodias.com.br. The english part is in final construction but it’s not hard to figure things out and it’s very nice, it will be in english in a week or so.

9. What are five records (new or old) that you’ve been listening to lately?

My newest finished CD Estão da Luz (Light Station - it’s a beautifull train station on São Paulo where I’ve been borned) yet to be released, still don’t know by wich company maybe my own Lotus Music Red Shoes... Kate Bush, John McLaughlin live the one with Tri lock Gurthu, Revolver - The Beatles, Jimmy Smith Bashin’ with the wonderful horns arrengements by Oliver Nelson. And a bilion others, lots of jazz and classical.

Check out:

Rita Lee interview
another Sérgio Baptista interview

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