Danica Johnson

Issar is the explosive drummer of Israeli's psych pop monolith RockFour.

Q: What recently caused the absence of your lead singer, Eli?

He had a nervous breakdown in Los Angeles. He was very affected by everything that happened on this last tour - from a fly in the van to small audiences in the venues. He couldn't cope with it so when it got to him to a point where he couldn't function, it was over.

Q: And you knew you would then complete the tour?

He thought we were going to end the tour. We discussed it and we told him that we can't end the tour because we have a responsibility to Rainbow Quartz and that if he wanted to go home we would respect that. He paid for his own plane ticket home and we went on. We didn't know how or what we were going to do. We thought we'd end up playing a terrible show in San Francisco. It ended up being packed. We realized that if we could pull it off there, we could go on. So we did.

Q: And the confidence level of the band?

It's been better than we expected. We feel we're missing something there, but we're more focused on the music and on each other. I'm more focused because all of a sudden I'm more aware of the vocals, which I never was to that extent before.

Q: What's it been like picking up more vocal duties on the harmonies?

You really have to be Phil Collins to be able to make the separation. Even Phil Collins quit the drums after a while because he wanted to be out there. I don't have that dream; I want to stay behind the set. I like supporting with backing vocals, but to a minimum. And I have to do the talking [on stage], which is something I'd like to give up.

Q: Because of your mastery of English?

Yes. More fluent and I know the slang, the humor. I'm missing the SAT words. My English improved a great deal while doing my masters work in Miami.

Q: So, you're not in for it. Does either Baruch or Marc have bids on being the new frontman?

None of us have that aspiration. We like looking at each other and focusing on the stage, not on the audience.

Q: How did you guys find rock and roll?

Everything comes to Israel. We grew up on everything from the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin. The fact that a lot of Israelis don't play that music doesn't mean we don't listen to it.

Q: Are the same bands that are popular in the U.S. popular in Israel?

Yes. But, only a lot of MTV stuff that's really mainstream.

Q: Have you observed any regular American behavior that seems particularly strange?

There's the good and the bad. The food sucks. We all gain weight on tour. We don't eat healthy, it's too expensive to eat healthy here and sometimes it's just too abundant. We do like the music scene; it is so different from Israel. Everybody drinks, everybody has a good time, everybody can connect just by having a little buzz. Good musicians, amazing record shops and record stores. You can get a lot of equipment here that you can't get in Israel.


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