The Cringe’s John Cusimano On The Beatles’ Vintage Gear, The Killers’ Drummer, And New York’s Best Chinese Restaurant


Editor’s note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.

New York City-based rockers The Cringe released their fourth studio album, Hiding In Plain Sight, earlier this week. The Cringe is fronted up by John Cusimano, who also handily happens to commandeer the band’s Twitter account. Being that Cusimano is also married to celebrity home-cook Rachael Ray, the band’s timeline is a suitably chow-happy experience. We approve.

See also:
Skyzoo On Bed-Stuy’s Breakfast Options And Supermarkets, Spike Lee, And Not Getting Signed By Jay-Z
“Yellow Submarine” Sends Beatles Fanatic Into Childhood Rage Fit
Melvins’ Buzz Osborne On Freak Puke, Digging Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld And Not Trusting People Who Don’t Like The Beatles

What’s The Raid: Redemption about?
It’s a pure action movie. There’s this big bad guy drug kingpin who lives on the top floor of a tenement building and all these crazy martial-arts police have to go floor by floor and reach in and kill him. It’s almost like a video game. Each floor has more and more complex challenges and fight sequences. I’ve never seen fight sequences so brilliantly choreographed. It’s a foreign language film but you can literally not read any of the subtitles and follow it.

Which song on the new album would you pick to soundtrack a scene from the movie?
It would be the first track on the album, “Rushing Through The World,” ’cause it’s a fast-paced aggressive song about how fast the world moves and getting disconnected from all the insanity of modern day life. I’d be happy to see it in any of the fight sequences in the movie.

You’ve tweeted about dining at Yunnan kitchen. What’s the food like there?We just discovered this a few months ago. There’s Chinese food all over Manhattan–and some of it’s good and some of it’s bad–but this is such a different experience to any Chinese food I’ve had before. It’s from the Chinese province of Yunnan, which I believe is in south-western China. It’s not been readily served in the U.S. but it’s different to Chinese food you’ve had. They used schezwan peppers, which numb your mouth for about five minutes. They have chicken wings with that, and they have beautiful lamb meatballs and different salads and these beautiful cold pork noodles that are so tart and delicious. You’re not gonna go there and get spare ribs and egg-rolls.

You also mention eating a recipe that apparently Julius Caesar enjoyed. That’s one of my wife and I’s favorite restaurants in Rome, called Spirito DiVino. It’s called Caesar’s Pork and it’s the exact recipe that Caesar ate thousands of years ago. It’s basically stew– don’t know the recipe itself–but it’s got a whole bunch of different spices and a sauce and very tender cubes of pork. There’s probably a bit of cloves and some all-spice–my wife would probably be better at figuring out the recipe than me–but it’s delicious.

You’ve posted up pictures of your previous vinyl releases. I take it you’re a vinyl fan?
Yeah, I didn’t start collecting vinyl though – I was just buying records as a kid ’cause that’s how you used to buy music. Then I co-opted some of my dad’s collection and have been adding to it. It’s close to a thousand records – I know there’s people out there with tens of thousands – but it’s something I’ve acquired over the years. To me the spirit of listening to vinyl is more engrossing than putting on an MP3. It’s active listening, not passive listening –it’s like you’re watching a movie.

What were some of the records in your dad’s collection?
He had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is the first album I really listened to and he had an original mono pressing. That was the best record in his collection in my opinion. He had a lot of classic rock, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan, some old folk music. I just started adding to that when I was young, like buying Led Zeppelin, until I ended up having a big record collection.

Do you ever buy vinyl on the basis of the cover art alone?
When I was a kid I didn’t know much about Pink Floyd and I remember just going to the record store and looking at all their really weird record covers and thinking this was a band I wanted to check out. Led Zeppelin had cool covers, like Led Zeppelin III had the spinning thing where you could try out different pieces of artwork. And the Rolling Stones, I remember the cover of Some Girls was so weird for me.

Why did you post up the photo of the book about The Beatles?
There’s a book called The Beatles Gear, and all aspiring rock musicians owe it all to The Beatles, and part of their magic was in the studio creating all these songs that still sound as fresh today as they did 40 years ago. When you’re in the studio with your band you want to work out what your heroes did, and as a band we’re obsessed with The Beatles. There’s this book that has all the guitars they ever played, all the drum kits and all the amps they used. There’s another book out that’s the most comprehensive called Recording The Beatles [by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew]; it took ten years to make and these two authors went back and found every piece of equipment they ever used. They interviewed engineers and worked out how The Beatles recorded every single sound they made.

When did you reach the revelation that the drummer of the Killers and Nirvana’s bassist look alike?
I guess when The Killers’ latest album came out, a friend of mine, Steve Lillywhite, was one of the producers, so I bought it ’cause I wanted to support my friends and I was looking at the artwork and I went online and was reading about the album and saw photography of the drummer and he had a beard and I was like, “This guy looks exactly like Krist Novoselic!” I looked at two pictures of them side by side. But there’s no way no one else has not made this comparison before!

Who’s the most entertaining person you follow on Twitter?
Steve Martin is a really funny good Twitterer, and Albert Brooks.