Tales from the road...
Conrad Keely

Conrad Keely comes with a wealth of experience.

Almost two decades with American noise-bringers ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead has allowed him to travel the globe, shattering ear-drums on just about every continent.

Deciding to focus on solo material, new album 'Original Machines' owes a debt to two massive influences on the songwriter's life. Some of the tracks were written while hiking around Cambodia, the country that Conrad currently calls him.

A chunk of the rest of the album was written while touring with Trail Of Dead, using the back of their tour bus as a makeshift recording studio.

Out on January 22nd, 'Original Machines' is a fascinating document in its own right. A true wandering spirit, Clash invited Conrad Keely to recount some tales from the road.

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Best Trip...
I think the funny thing about questions like this one is that for the person asking it, it's pretty easy right? Requires absolutely no thought, no imagination. "What's your best ____ ever!" But for the person answering, actual effort is involved, I'm meant to stop and think and mull over this riddle like Oedipus before the sphinx. I've been travelling 40+ years now, and I'm expected to narrow down an entire life of travel experience into one "best ever". Absurd, if you think about it.

Maybe if you've been travelling for five years, you've had one trip that stands out, but 40? I'm just thankful that at my advancing age I'm still able to take trips. I'm on a trip right now, I'm down in Kampot province staring at the river again. Maybe this is my best trip ever, who knows.

Worst Trip...
The worst trips for me involve being in American airports, because the people who design and run them don't know shit about how much better other airports like say, Singapore are, so they are content to wallow in their mediocrity. But hopefully this will improve over time, as the inevitability of global information creeps into the stubbornly xenophobic and willfully ignorant American mentality. A lot of that may depend on the next psychopath they elect to the White House.

Our favourite foreign venue...
They're all closed now. Used to be Emo's in Austin Texas. We're surprisingly popular in... We're surprisingly unpopular. Ask anyone who is familiar with us, they'll agree. Most people are generally surprised and baffled at just how unpopular we are. "Why are you playing such a small venue? You guys ought to be huge" is what I get tired of hearing all the time. I tell them "I'm sure it will happen when one of us dies. Feel free to facilitate the process."

Best or worst exotic foodstuff...
The worst exotic food I've ever had has been trying to order a decent steak in the British Isles. They like to use that spice that removes the flavour from anything it's put on.

Most interesting individual you've met on the road...
I met a fellow who used to smuggle gold out of Nepal by sewing it into the hems of his clothing. He was caught, put in prison for a few years, then given a royal pardon by the Crown Prince. A few months later the same Crown Prince massacred the entire Nepalese royal family before committing suicide, effectively ending the tradition of royal pardons. So this person got his pardon just in time.

Worst on-tour injury, or infection, or accident...
Fell backwards into the drums, was impaled by a sharp drum lug. Should have gotten stitches but didn't.

My essential travel item...
This iPad.

My essential travel tip...
Keep a sense of humour.

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'Original Machines' will be released on January 22nd.

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