Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Here is an abandoned intro to the Kurt Vile interview, by Richie Charles Jr. After he posted this draft, Richie wrote back quickly, saying " I think it'd be best for everyone if you just delete that piece of garbage". Sorry man!


In November of 2006, I interviewed for a job as a truck driver at a brewery in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. When I showed up for the appointment, I saw a baby-faced longhair dragging a trash can with his left hand while he carefully balanced a portable cd player in his right. It seemed as though the music in those headphones was his main concern, and the garbage task was a distant second. I asked him where to find the boss, and I was on my way.

I ended up getting the job, and I’d see more of this guy Kurt Vile. His job description seemed uncategorizable and unenviable. He assumed a lot of the tasks that nobody else wanted, mainly repetitive tasks that kept his hands busy but his mind (and most importantly his ears) free do do as he wished. His duties ranged from erecting cardboard boxes (an archaic process that needn’t have survived automation), organizing the warehouse, filling kegs, loading bottles into cases ala Laverne & Shirley, selling beer to retail customers, and driving a forklift. Nobody can drive a forklift like this guy. His mastery of this tool is a vision of supreme elegance. Not a single wasted motion.
And during the workday, he seemed focused on his tunes. I’d often notice him rifling through a stack of cds in cracked jewelcases or sneaking a few pages of a musician’s biography. One time he was flipping through a Flannery O’Conner novel. I’d learn that his evenings and weekends were similarly obsessed, as he logged hundreds of hours playing guitar and recording at home and in the studio.
One day he learned that we had some friends in common and that I played drums in a band.
So what does your band sound like?
I told him we were a psychedelic punk band. That’s how some hack had described our recent record.
Oh yeah? Well I guess that I have a have a sort of psychedelic punk band as well...
We ended up becoming fast friends and we talked a lot about 'White Light / White Heat' that day. I went to see him play his songs a lot. At that time, he seemed to perform every week. Sometimes with a band, sometimes solo. His Violators were just starting to gel, and Kurt would meet drummer Mike Zeng around this time. We talked more and more about music, and I started burning CDs for him.
Luckily, all the primitive punk and arthouse bull crap that I was pushing on him did not wreak havoc on or cheapen his own music. His style and vision was firmly in place long before we met. In fact, he already had about five albums worth of material written and/or recorded.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

MEAT THUMP - Scratch 'N Sniff interview

Here is a brief interview I did for Scratch 'N Sniff mag, an excellent, tasteful editorial based out of Buffalo, NY. Scratch 'N Sniff is penned primarily by two opinionated Terminal Boredom staffers (Big Rich and Brandon Flowers) who share great taste in rock and roll, and comes highly recommended to followers of modern fanzine b/s.

Please explain the purpose and/or driving aesthetic behind the band Meat Thump. What's it all about and what are you plans?

The purpose was to start a rock based band/project that I could sing for and maintain a sense of aesthetic control over. Stupidly enough, the first cassette 'Neck Tattoo' has only one tune with singing on it and it's tacked on right at the end. The rest of it is just practice room crap and an extended "jam" on the flip w/ Matt Earle from XNOBBX that we made a night of. That tape basically constitutes the first month or two of recordings under made the Meat Thump name. The general aesthetic has shifted over time, and each live set will hopefully see a drastic change from the one before it, with rotating members. I am the only constant member in the group.

The plan is to continue playing shows sporadically, and hopefully to eventually record an LP over the next year or two. It is tentatively going to be called 'Silly Season
', which is what some people in Darwin, North Australia refer to summer as: a period so desolate and stinking hot that it drives the townsfolk to drink themselves to suicide.
The Rolling Stones and, especially, the Velvet Underground, are very important bands that I have specifically considered in regard to Meat Thump.
The name sounds very sexual and somewhat violent perhaps. Which is Meat Thump more driven by? And how does Sarah Jessica Parker fit into this?

It was just a case of throwing two words together that sort of worked. I came up with the Meat Thump name on a late shift at the fertilizer factory where I work, this was two or so years ago, a fair while before the project actually materialized. I think that Meat Thump is a great name for a band. There were no sexual or violent connetations intended, but I did take it into consideration afterwards and I guess I get a kick out of it. It's "open for interpretation", you could say.

Sarah Jessica has one of the most unique facial structures of all canines, and in her honor we did a tune that slowly mutated into a riff on Icky Boyfriend's "Katemania". This was the first Meat Thump gig, where we covered the Ramones and set off scud missiles.
What topics do Meat Thump songs approach lyrically?

Some constants in the initial live set included "Poetry Reading on Boundary Street", which is a concise attack on the irritating West End guerrila poet/hippie scene and also a kind of lonesome meditation on the Hopelessly Married; "Ode to Christopher Columbus", which references Scott Walker and drug addiction with a stupid chorus about menstruation, and "Metal Gun", about phone sex/phallic symbols. It's important to try and combine thoughtfulness or a sense of storytelling with humor, whether it black or brown. I consider the lyrics are a very important part of Meat Thump, which again makes the 'Neck Tattoo' release that much more aberrant and incongruous, and am influenced by Americans like Jim Shepard and Englishman like Ben Wallers. Most of the lyrics I've been writing recently have been considered w/ the concepts of the 'Sily Season' LP in mind, so they've taken on a more aptly serious, confessional tone.
How does writing about music incessantly in NGL affect your making of it?

Writing about music and making music can both be enjoyable, moderately fulfilling things. I enjoy writing lyrics and having them slowly turned into tunes as much and as often as I like hearing an excellent new record and telling my keyboard about it, or tracking down musicians/writers/film-maker's (etc) whose work I respect to feature in the magazine. Having said that, sometimes both can be very difficult to try and get right, and can become boring or tedious w/ time. It feels like to do either or both consistently you need to have a somewhat narcissistic streak, or at least be extremely driven. I don't know which side of that fence I stand on..

As far as the constant writing and it's effect on the way I go about making music...well, I want to make better music than the bands that myself and the gang shit on, sure. I think that by avoiding delusions of "criticism" and "journalism" in NGL- which at this points are simply terms for sophisticate dinosaurs and hep, vacuous blog-heads- there's less of an obligation to feel bothered or self-conscious about making a racket.

They are both very important things to me, for better or worse.
Has Meat Thump replaced White Cop as your full-time musical vehicle? How and why?

Bands like White Cop invariably have short life spans. No punk in his right mind wants to die in the arse slowly. White Cop was basically 6 months of beer-by-the-carton by-the-day, drive thru kebabs and crawling under people's skin. We recorded a ten minute tape under intense narcotic influence and filmed a music video for the lead cut "Gambling Banshee" that I enjoy revisiting occasionally, and feel that our behaviour was documented fairly accurately on that tape. There wasn't much room for baggage to stink things up, but there were also no signs of professionalism, diligence or self-preservation in the way that we operated. We had a few requests to do some one-off shows, but that is a long shot at this point, and unless there's a tape running I can't imagine any 'new' recordings surfacing. But (The) Who knows (how to be a shitty band)?!

Having said that, I recently accepted an offer to have the cassette EP remastered and pressed to vinyl. I think that the music deserves it.


When Shaun Prescott approached me wanting to do a 'Why The Fuck' themed interview for his blog Under the Rostrum (, I thought he meant that he wanted ME to interview SOMEONE. Turns out I got it wrong and that SOMEONE was actually ME. Shit! Anyway, in between the time I got the request and the time I figured out that I was an asshole, I already did this interview with Jim from FNU Ronnies, Cows 'Sexy Pee Story' playing on the record machine. Fuck John Dwyer and fly these men to Australia already!

NGL: Why the fuck did you move from Philly?

Jim: 2 reasons. 1: Because I have spent my adult life moving to and from Philly. Its this magnetic force that always pulls me back. And this time around I am determined never to go back; It is a personal and cultural reason to leave. The state of affairs in this nation points me out of the megapolitan of the east coast. 2: My gf at the time received a golden ticket career move for us to move from philly to SF for free. I wasn't necessarily ready but sometimes there is no perfect time.

NGL: Why the fuck are there so many lame party punk bands in San Fran?

Jim: Funny you mentioned that. I was just thinking the other day how when FNU Ronnies first started the Philly music scene blew big blue gay balls....except for us and Clockcleaner....
then I move to the Bay Area and Philly gets better and the SF blows bigger blue gay balls in the music scene, outside of the Hospitals (RIP).

I guess its an inherent fill in the typical template of what is already done in a bourgeois competitve money making city. Boogsh, nothing new, nothing to write home to mom about. I wish the Residents would blow up these fuckings stupid gay party bands. Geezzz..I love fun, but give me something interesting to chew on as a new paradigm.

NGL: Why the fuck haven't you come to AUS to meet me and hang out with Sharkey?

Jim: Money. I hung out with a Perth resident, but that was here. Damn and I missed the UV Race. When Sharkey goes back I will stop by to say hi; while on my way to New Zealand to get krunked on wine and speed before I retire to a micro-nation

NGL: Why the fuck isn't there a 'Ronnies LP yet?

Jim: It's being mastered this week. :). It will slay heads off. It's on Load records. Ben of Load rules. Straight up gentleman. I have to work on the art for the cover, insert etc. There's talk of doing a video as well, which I will partly manhandle, since I gotz mickedumicated in video while attending secondary skool.

NGL: Why the fuck don't the Bloodhound Gang get props in the retardo world when they are the obvious extension of 90's era Butthole Surfers? Hell, "Pepper" might as well have been on 'Use Your Fingers' or 'One Fierce Beer Coaster'.

Jim: I don't know. I'm not in the know. But sign me up. Love the Butthole Surfers, I own one CD of theirs. But yeah, I like retarded brilliance of such types. Like Factorymen, and Sockeye, maybe even Taco Leg?.....

NGL: It's all cut from the same cloth, man. I'm telling you, mark my stupid words, Bloodhound Gang have it.

Why the fuck don't FNU fit into this category?

Jim: Huh..why the fuck would you think we fit into any category? We don't. We can't be co-opted period. It's our DNA imperative. We don't want to have anything. Categorical imperative my ass. Too cool 4 skool.

NGL: Yo, I got you. Last one man, I gotta drink some water real bad. Why the fuck don't you tell me what the LP is going to be called?

Jim: Cause we haven't received most of the mail in ballots for the erection of the election. Rohmm. Hmmm.... “Men Are Babies”? “Babies Are Us”? “Babies”..”God Bless the Children of the Yeast”? Oh, I know, “DULL MUZIQUE FOR BORING SHEEPLES”. “People”, “Skull is Dull”.

How's the water in Aus?

NGL: It's OK. I think the water restrictions have been lifted. I got one of those purifiers in my fridge, yuppie.

Jim: Who requested you conduct an interview? Who the fuck? And WHY THE FUCK?


This blog will be used to print interviews/reviews etc that didn't make the "cut" for proper NGL issues, thus giving them a chance to breathe in the world of digits, mass-code and hardcore pornography.

Also will be the home of Negative Guest List records. Visit often for order details and updates.