Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Ask iAN * A Slightly Abrasive Interview with Ask iAN* • The Process Records * w/ Jordannah Elizabeth

Ask iAN

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Ask iAN * A Slightly Abrasive Interview with Ask iAN* • The Process Records * w/ Jordannah Elizabeth


It took me a few weeks to get passed Ian’s “demons” to find the perfect timing to get some personal information out of him.

Ian Ottaway is a shoegaze, or “bootgaze”, (as he considers himself) relic and I thought it important to share his savvy with the world, and to take the time to properly hit on him.
Without further ado, let’s get to know Ask iAN:

Hello Mr. Ottaway! Your name is Ian Ottaway yes?

AI -Oh hell yes it is.  Pronounced eye-yun not eee-un.  I’m also known as Asshole.I answer to that name whenever I hear it said.  Robbie (BRMC), he calls me Captain, and sometimes Sailor. When my Mother is mad at me, she calls me IANALANOTTAWAY!

I remember when (a year or two ago) when you were really strung out and would post videos and music and weird shit for hours and hours on end on face book….I remember thinking when you got the “Ask Ian” gig, “Hmm, he made a career out of the insane over blogging he was doing on FB“… who gave you the opportunity to focus your thoughts and interests?

AI-  A few years back I went through this heavy death period that lasted for quite a long time.  I lost my best friend which was my Granny Freda and I lost her brother, my cowboy buddha Uncle Joe, and two other uncles, one aunt, my step Mother and spiritual guide Jodie, and a few friends, quite a few cats and a couple of dogs, so it pretty much did my head in. I spun out quite a bit,  but was still creative and threw in a lot of dark humor and some sweet alcohol and there you go…  

Robert Levon Been (BRMC) or as I call him Babe Shadow, gave me my shot.  I don’t know what he saw in me but I guess he had some vision of something. It’s still growing…the idea of it all.  I feel truly blessed and  I was welcomed into the fold, the wolf den.  They are kind of a surrogate family after I had lost so much of mine. I always felt connected to BRMC from very early on. They seemed very familiar to me. Perhaps it was my early seer sight…I dunno, but Robbie understood my dark sense of humor. We both enjoy comedy along the lines of Bill Hicks and Doug Stanhope, so there you go…

I still have your posts hidden on FB cus it drove me crazy, what do you think about that? 

AI -  That’s kind of creeper…so I guess i like it.*

What the hell do you do for a living anyway?

AI-Like most everybody I know, I struggle.  Money has never been a motivator unless I’m devilishly strapped then I am a professional panik’ur.  I’ve always held my freedom higher than cashflow so I do what I gotta do to get by. I hustle (not sex), I juggle (not circus), and I boogie (not dance), I gamble (not Vegas) so really I just fuckin’ wing it*.

What was your childhood like?

AI -It was one big ghost shiny Christmas and Halloween beauty spell.  I’m a 70s kid.  We had things that worked back then, unlike now, where everything breaks within a year…we had cool cars driving around us and our toys were dangerous. We didn’t wear turtle helmets and knee and elbow pads when we rode our bicycles. It was concert t shirts, old levis jeans, boots or converse all stars and bloody hands, wrist and skinned knees. I was lucky to be born to warm people that were kind to others and I fancy it has rubbed off on me. I grew up around lots of animals, lots of good music and good natured people, so it was a really fantastic childhood all in all…

Do you think you were born a writer?

AI- I was born a nutter, that’s for sure. I was the only baby behind the looking glass that scratched his face until it bled. They had to put gloves on my little hands so I didn’t tear my entire face off.  I started out in drawing and collage. When I was a kid and I guess I did a little writing growing up. I was writing poems around the age of 17 and then I wrote lyrics and sang for a spell and writing took on a whole new thing for me. with the interwebs . When death comes to town, sometimes writing isn’t a choice or a decision as much as it’s a medication.  I do think that good guitar players are born guitar players and people like Dick Cheney are just born without soul.  I think I was just born sad.

Are you musically inclined?

AI - My guitar playing (3 chords) has been compared to a blind man with dyslexia strumming a two string guitar with his dong.  It has frightened cats and turned dog heads sideways.  I have stumped actual guitarist with my guitar playing and 4 track recordings of songs I’ve written. They ask me how I did something and it’s sad because I can’t tell them. I don’t know what I did. I use a lot of layers, hairspray canisters, I lay down 2 or 3 guitar sounds and 3 or 4 vocals, organ sounds, and a drumbeat.  Scott Walker on bad crank or a melting Johnny Cash in a sea of dub, sorrow and drone.  I wrote some truly great songs with a friend of mine named Don Strong and when I say truly great. I mean they sound that way for me. He is my Keith Richards, my Bernard Butler, my Nick McCabe, my Peter Hayes, etc. We just have a certain unspoken magic between us.

What city would you love to live in to hone in on your career?

AI - I really Love Berlin & Helsinki.  Paris would be a gas, but L.A. is always in the back of my mind. It’s so gutting, nastoid, and beautiful all at once.  San Diego Is where I would like to spend more time so i guess i would have to say nowhere city. I’d like to be on the road writing for a year x country.

How you’d get hooked up with BRMC?

AI - On their first tour somewhere down in Texas. I blew both Rob and Pete in a country bar bathroom where they have glory holes cut into the pisser wall.  Not really, I was just joshin’.  I’ve been bumping into them for years.  If they were playing somewhere close, I was there.  Like I said before, there was always some kinda familiar unfamiliar thing with them in my eyes. Their music sounded just like the music that was in my head that I was waiting to write or hear and on first listen I had white palms. I always felt  a chemistry and when I met them it was like I had already known them for quite a spell., but not so much with their first drummer….his chemical reaction didn’t mix with mine. We were like two mental patients from two different hospitals…at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s really a good cat and an excellent drummer, we just never hooked up in our best moods. 

I guess Billy Nicgorski, who BRMC has recorded with was a spirit lantern and also a middleman, midwife, and mid friend. I sent him a video of me doing my first Ask iAN. I was giving advice on how to give blowjobs or something about my friend’s dad blowing another dad and then Rob fired me off an email and the rest is history or the future…

Why “Ask Ian”? Do you really want to give us losers advice?

AI - I don’t really see it as advice.  I see it more like giving a different angle or perception to some of the things we all battle with , yearn for, or don’t quite understand, like two people in a relationship. They are in the center but have no perception from the outside. Truly fair friends can look inside from the outside at your relationship and help you get a different perspective. Like songwriting: sometimes two heads are better than one. I like hearing other people’s ideas. The good ones have always helped me get sorted out better, so it’s not so much advice as a humble 2nd party perception/perspective sharing different knowledge, and sharing a new madness and making people laugh is fun too.  I never see BRMC fans or people in general as losers. They are more like people that need to be reminded from time to time just how truly fucking awesome they are and what grand potential they have to add their magic to the pie.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some real fuckers out there in the world. I just do my best not to tangle with ‘em.

I love your blog. Will you write a book?

AI -  I have some ideas floating around for different books.  Right now I am too busy fighting demons, jackholes, bad luck, general folly, bad timing ,and just plainly being Arsed.. But yeah, the idea is to get some books revolving out there. I think there are quite a few people that don’t read the Bourne identity series or get a hard on for Oprah’s book club. People that want a little sorrow, gobs of hilarity, and rock and roll in their reading material. I am just the sort of sweet nut to crack their bitter lair. I’m something a long the lines of Johnny Cash meets David Sedaris.

Will you expand on “Ask Ian”, like go solo with your writings and make tee shirts and stuff.

AI- I’m pretty happy with where I am at right now. I have a truly bad time thinking about money and marketing, ego or fame of any sort. I know there might come a day when I gotta earn some money somehow, but right now I really feel blessed just to be welcomed into the BRMC family as a wolfcub, and allowed to be creative along with them. Anything I write or publish is in no way reflective of their opinions.

I am not a spokesperson for them or anything. I  fancy we share a certain spirit. Something along the lines of the real America…Native American imagery, the words of MLK, Marlon Brando’s philosophy, and the wisdom of Johnny Cash, Easy Rider, Hunter S. Thompson, Hank Williams, and Levis Jeans, real authenticity, the history of things. It’s a certain spirit that is felt from Wichita to China to the Gaza Strip and Greece; a certain wild freedom that we not only crave but will die trying to reach. T shirts? 

A motorcyle

30 beer cans

a penis pump

and a guitar with my face on it.  Ask iAN*  Yes, I can see it!

Are you single? Do you have children?

AI- We’re all in Love with something that we can’t see.

Will you have sex with me? (I hear you like Black girls)

AI- In a heartbeat.  My backseat or yours?!  I love women, not their periods.  I love smart women. I can’t stand the dumb ones. It’s usually the opposite with the male race but I don’t think much like men think and I was raised by very intelligent women. I like warm, smart animal loving women. Smart women turn me the fuck on. 
Of course I like black girls. My first black girlfriend was in Junior High school. She wore really dark glossy lipstick and rubbed my cock under the table in art class as my gay art teacher babbled on about Degas. He shouted “Mother of Pearl!”  every time he saw my girlfriend waxing my tork.

Can we do another interview when you don’t rush my ass and I have time to do some real research?

AI - You bet yer ass.  Thank you for giving two fucks enough to even interview me. Be well Jordannah. I hope everything is so far so good for you right now. Cheers girl*

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