While My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Lush were ruling the UK alternative music scene, Medicine was making similar music that was as good, if not better. They were quickly snapped up by Rick Rubin’s then-fledgling label American in their effort to sign the “next big alternative band” in the U.S.. They proceeded to make a series of seminal records, but thanks to the dumbing of America, the U.S. music media and most American fans didn’t get it. Brad Laner created the sound that was Medicine and surrounded himself with a cast that would follow his lead. Their albums still stand up today and we were fortunate to track down Brad, so that he could describe the mystique behind the band.
TDOA: You were signed to Rick Rubin’s American label relatively quickly. Can you tell us the story of meeting Rick and how you came to join the label?
BL: We were signed to American by a fellow named Marc Geiger and we only met Rick Rubin once we were working on the first LP. They signed us based on a 4 song demo that I had made. Back in those days a band could make serious dough from weird/noisy music on major labels. No more.
TDOA: At the time, this was a pretty new style of music for American audiences. Did you feel like Rick and American understood your music and how to market it?
BL: Barely. I don’t think Rubin ever understood us. But they did their best.
TDOA: I remember reading about the band when the first couple of records came out and you were frequently portrayed as the “mastermind” of the band. Were you writing everything, including vocal melodies on the Medicine records?
BL: Yes indeed. There were a few moments here and there that represented contributions from the others but 99% of it came from me.
TDOA: Did you prefer to play live or record in the studio?
BL: Making records has always been my favorite thing to do and playing live was just something that we had to do.
TDOA: Can you discuss the break-up of the band, the decision to record an album under the Medicine tag in 2003?
BL: The original band was always a really stormy/unfriendly set up and it was bound to crash and burn from the moment it started. If I hadn’t gotten away from the others, I most certainly would have lost my mind. The album I did under the name Medicine in 2003 wasn’t a re-union, but rather a duo with Shannon Lee. We called it Medicine just for fun, but it wasn’t meant to be the same.
TDOA: How has growing older, getting married and having children changed your perspective on making music?
BL: Life experience makes everything richer and more meaningful. It’s great to have things in your life that are far more important than music.
TDOA: We’re intrigued by the resurgence of the dreampop/shoegaze movement with a lot of bands starting out now, who were clearly influenced by Medicine, MBV, et al. How do you feel about the renewed interest in the genre?
BL: Do you really want to know? I think it’s a bit lame. Look forward, not back, kids. But I never felt part of a genre anyways. Genres are so boring.
TDOA: Are there bands that you played with that you’d love to see reunite and play together again?
BL: Moonshake was awesome. I can’t think of any others off the top of my head.
TDOA: What are your plans for the next year and will we see you playing live again?
BL: You won’t ever see me playing live, but I have 3 new albums coming out next year :
A new solo album called “Natural Selections”, the debut album by my new group, The Internal Tulips and another solo instrumental double LP called “micro-awakenings”.
and visit Brad’s website to learn more about his solo work.