The End: Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club

Cryo-Tourism

Dec 14, 2018 Web Exclusive
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To end out the week, we ask Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club some questions about endings and death.

The Canadian band released a new album, TPC, back in October via Dine Alone. Prior to its recording, the band members were scattered: singer/bassist Dave Monks was in New York City, drummer Greg Alsop was living in Los Angeles, while keyboardist Wright and guitarist Josh Hook remained in Canada. Three-fourths of the band were prepared to call it day, but Monks' response to his bandmates was: "Fuck no."

"We at least gotta go make Abbey Road first, and go out with a bang," Monks told his bandmates. "You don't have to give me five records. Just give me a few more rehearsals and some studio time and then we'll figure it out."

The band reconvened in a church in rural Ontario to write and rehearse. Then they took their songs to producer Rob Schnapf, who they had previously worked with on 2010's Champ. He produced TPC at his Eagle Rock, Los Angeles studio.

Read on as Wright talks about how he'd like to die, what song he'd like performed at his funeral, his favorite endings to books and movies, his concepts of heaven and hell, and his unique plan for not dying.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

I'd really prefer to not die at all, please. I get that perpetual life is a creeping tragedy and watching everyone I love turn into dust is a fate worse than death etc. etc. yada yada, but I'm just so curious-the idea of missing out on all the shit that's going to go down while I'm just sitting there smothered in earth is untenable to me.

To that end, I've devised a scheme I call "cryo-tourism." The general idea is that you are cryogenically frozen at the moment of death, and then they thaw you out once every 5 or 10 years and you get to walk around and check stuff out and get the news for a week or so. Then it's back in the freezer until the next one. And yes, I'm aware that this farfetched sci-fi premise invites all kinds of "be careful what you wish for" nightmare scenarios, but I don't care. If you're a pioneer in the field of cryosis, let's do this thing. Patent pending.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

Let me drink four to seven beers (I'm already about to die what's the worst that could happen) and blast [The Hold Steady's] Boys and Girls in America start to finish in the hospital room. That always makes me feel like whatever's happening, up to and including my own departure from this mortal coil, seem profound, beautiful, and absolutely correct.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

I would like Elton John to be compelled to rewrite "Candle in the Wind" again, about me. But I want him to not be into it at all, and to do a really half assed job with the lyrics and performance. And for it to be really obvious, too. Like, he shows up right before it starts, wearing that weird velour tracksuit he's always rocking nowadays and just mumbles about how Graham liked books, he thinks. I think that would be hilarious.

What's your favorite ending to a movie?

I think the sort of circular way that Inside Llewyn Davis wraps up, with the implication that Llewyn has the whole time been an unwitting passenger on currents of history that are infinitely larger than and entirely indifferent toward him, maybe hews the closest to how I feel about endings or death or life or whatever. But the end of Attack the Block where everyone starts chanting for Moses makes me cry 100% of the time, so maybe it's that.

Also, in Independence Day, when Randy Quaid flies his plane into the alien mothership and says "in the words of my generation, up yours!".

What's your favorite last line in a book?

It doesn't really land out of context, but Fifth Business by Robertson Davies ends perfectly: "And that, Headmaster, is all I have to tell you." The book goes so many places and explores so many ideas and feelings, and then it just ends. Perfect.

What's your favorite way a band broke up?

The real story of The Beatles ending is really bleak and brutal, and I hate thinking about it. I much prefer to imagine their movie ending right after the rooftop performance-the fab four (or five, shouts to the god Billy Preston) playing together one last time, maybe thinking wistfully of those early days in Hamburg, and then wrapping up with John's immortal line:

"I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we've passed the audition."

Whose passing has most affected you?

Leonard Cohen went a few days after the lousy 2016 U.S. election. He was always "my guy" and I'm sure I would have been upset about losing him any time, but then in particular it just felt like every force for good was pulling up stakes and getting the hell out of dodge. It bummed me out to a vast degree, but at the same time it was almost a relief-I couldn't really wrap my head around how I felt about the whole End Times of America thing, but I could have a good cry about the expected and necessary loss of a good man. In that way, it was quintessential Leonard-giving you a hook on which to hang feelings that are otherwise too big to fathom. Bless his soul.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

Okay, get this. I get the Cake Boss to bake me a delicious cake that's also a perfect life size Madame Tussauds style perfect replica of me. "Oh, he's so vain," all the guards say (I've been cultivating this image the whole time I've been in, natch). At the last minute I lose my appetite, because I'm too worried about the effects whatever cocktail of leftover veterinary drugs they're doing executions with these days. Happens all the time! So, the Cake Boss wheels the cake out of the prison, grumbling about how I wasted his time. "Oh, what a diva," all the guards say. Then they take me into the killing room and hit me with a bat or whatever they're doing executions with these days. Justice served, very solemn, very sad.

Later, the autopsy is performed, and the mortician is astonished when he performs the classic Y incision, only to discover-what's this-a delicious sponge cake!! But where's the real Graham?

Wouldn't you like to know...

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

Okay, so it's a city block, in the autumn, in a part of town that's cool and busy but not too cool and busy, you know? Leaves on the ground, chilly but not freezing, you get the scene. There's a cozy old pub that always plays the perfect record, there's a coffee shop with really fancy beans and fast Wi-Fi (I'll be online as shit in heaven, I don't care, fight me), there's a greasy spoon diner that always has a spot at the counter, and there's just the biggest damn bookstore you ever saw. Like, it never ends. You can just keep wandering through the stacks, stumbling on books and sections you never even thought about, deeper and deeper and more and more interesting. And then I could just spend eternity finding books and drinking coffee and reading books and having a pint.

That's the back up plan, if cryo-tourism doesn't pan out.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

A hotel check-in that never ends. With the news on the lobby television.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

If we're talking reincarnation cycle in the Hinduism mode, I feel like this life I'm in is so unreasonably good and nice, so high up the ladder of lives, that I'm due to either achieve sweet sweet Moksha or, more likely, come back as pond scum or something. Which sounds a little bit peaceful, really.

What would you like your last words to be?

"I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we've passed the audition."

or

"In the words of my generation, up yours!"

www.tokyopoliceclub.com

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iPad Rental
January 6th 2019
11:21pm

This is a great and informative post thanks!

jhonango
January 10th 2019
10:17am

Amazing! seriously one of the best article read in recent times and its really recommendable