Stomping Grounds: Freddy Ruppert of Former Ghosts (El Segundo, CA)

Freddy Ruppert had a plan and he put it into action. The result was Former Ghosts’ Fleurs, a reverb-drenched electronic synthpop album as a collaboration with Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) and Nika Roza (Zola Jesus).  Ghettoblaster got the chance to ask Ruppert about his hometown, and he was eager to share his affection for the Easter Keg Hunt in The Gundo under the light of the Chevron Refinery.

What’s your town’s nickname?
I live in a town called El Segundo which is a suburb of Los Angeles.. El Segundo is often unlovingly refered to as Smell Segundo.  That is because there is a Chevron plant nearby that releases some pretty gnarly fumes occasionally.

What’s your nickname for your town?

The Gundo.
Why do you live there?
It’s a bizarre, small, completely isolated beach town that appears to be trapped in the 1950’s.  It has a really weird charm to it. White picket fence style, American flags hanging from every street pole, rose bushes, street fairs, car shows every weekend…  It’s a weird place.  Very David Lynch.  I still have not yet come across a severed ear in a field though.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
The beautiful Chevron Refinery at night lets off a very beautiful orange glow.  If you take your date for a walk at night you will both look absolutely stunning in this lighting.  Trust me.  We also have a car museum that actually has one of Stalin’s cars on display and if you go on a Sunday you can take one of these cars for a spin for a small donation!

What is your favorite local event/festival?

The annual Easter Keg Hunt.  Each of the local bars decorates and hides a keg somewhere in the town.  You find one, bring it back to the bar, and then drink all day.
What is the best time of year to be there?
I think summer is the best because El Segundo is so close to the beach.  I can walk there from my apartment which is really nice.  I enjoy spending summer days in the ocean.  There is something about being in the water.  Once you are in there with the waves, nothing else on the land seems to matter.
Who is your favorite local celebrity/personality?
Mayor Kelly, the actual mayor of the town, who can often be seen drunk at the Purple Orchid.

Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?

There are a handful of local bars here.  The Purple Orchid directly around the corner from my house holds a special place in my heart.  It is a tiki bar with purple pool tables and puffer fish lamps hanging from the ceiling.  Then there is a bar called The Office where if you want pure nastyness, sleazyness, degradation, and to watch the owner being entertained by strippers, it’s pretty great.  And if you want to get into a fight (Jamie and I have actually gotten into a fight here with a Pogues cover band, no joke) then you should go to the Tavern on Main St.  If you want to dance by yourself to an Eminem song then Harry O’s would definitely be your choice.  And if you just want a good burger, chips, and Murphy’s on tap then hit up Richmond Bar And Grill.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
The Purple Orchid because they have Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and all the crooners you could ever want.  You could get real sad in there if you wanted too.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your
favorite show there?

There is absolutely nothing in El Segundo except for bar bands, but its a hop, skip, and a jump from Los Angeles.  So The Smell, in Los Angeles.  I’ve seen way too many good shows there to pick just one.  My favorite show I have ever seen there changes every time the Dead Science play there.

What is your favorite local band?

Jail Weddings also Los Angeles based, not El Segundo.  Sorry El Segundo, but there just isn’t much… here….

What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?

The Veggie Grill.  Kind of a fast food vegetarian/vegan restaurant.  My favorite dish is called The Stack which is a fake shredded steak sandwich.  It is awesome that this is actually in El Segundo.

What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?

All the local record stores here have gone out of business.  Thank you internet.

What is your favorite local shop?

The El Segundo Liquor Store.

What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?

The El Segundo Herald is our weekly publication.  It has this amazing section called Dear Carol, where it is a typical dear so and so article where people write in questions and then “Carol” answers them.  However the El Segundo residents usually have some really good questions.  Such as “my daughter wants a horse, how do i tell her no?”