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.

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