The In-progress Album with Matt Francis & Ken Stringfellow, working in isolation, the challenges of the creative process, Matthew & Devin’s friendship going back to High School, working as a full band, the lost first album, keeping track of new songs, The Beatles & wearing your influences on your sleeve, Working with Ken, Flavor of The Year album,Been There Seen It Lived It Licensed It album, Matthew’s past mental health battles, touring with Green Jelly, Dysphasia album, unusual moments of fame, the challenges of coming home from tour, holding yourself to high standards, working with Blackhouse Records, the problem with local press and the local scene, more stories about working with Ken, problems with sexism and racism in the scene,what should I be listening to to get prepared for what’s coming from the Colourflies.
A short introduction, Jeremy’s work with Locative Narrative, GPS driven text, and other experimental formats, the creative process, The Ghost In You (with spoilers), and many other bits about being an artist, peppered all throughout.
Introductions, 30+ years as a group, discovering improv concurrent with songwriting, using influences to come up with something new, Ken Nordine, “Perfect Angel,” the fear factor when improving, absent bass players (Colin & Fred), “truth is a tiny hunter,” Art’s hammer-on technique, “Dr. Pavlov,” giant worm eras & “Old Red.”
Black Cactus, reclaiming physical media, the changing music industry, music as a forum of thought, playing collaboratively, the evolution of Instagon, starting out noise and becoming a jazz-jam hybrid, playing with Greg Ginn, an evolving line-up, creating a live happening, how venues respond to noise, Luna’s Cafe & Juice Bar, noise as the new punk rock, the supportive NorCal NoiseFest scene, starting to organize the event in 2005, “it’s more like a convention,” the early NoiseFests in the mid-90’s, the tape trading scene of the ‘80’s feeding the ‘90’s noise scene, the Japanese noise scene, Masonna & Merzbow, Nurse With Wound, the school of punk rock, the Green Day wave (the post-Stiff Little Fingers wave), the Epitaph Sound, the vastness of noise as a genre, the variety of acts and sounds, unique audio happenings, situationist & dada, NoiseFests past, the samurai sword story, The EMRL, the importance of stage managing, Rubber-O-Cement, Monte Cazaza, Floyd & The Conceptual Music Union, Sidewalk Brujeria, Big City Orchestra, Radio TroUBle/dfm, Salty Sea Shanties, Lob’s poetry & poetry readings, how Instagon got started, the metal band version of the group, The Temple of Psychic Youth, Instagon’s four initial faces, running out of places to play, the various phases of the group, discovering bass, becoming a band leader, Lost High Desert Tortoise, avoiding band drama, Lob’s varied tastes, his record store years (1985 to 2002), being 15 in 1980 in LA, zine and cassette culture, and making connections through trading physical media.
Started at KALX in 1975, Mick & Marc’s Noise 30 Minute radio show in 1976, starting The Jars, working at Rather Ripped Records, making records, The Jars evolving into The Art Faggots, Bo, the difference between SF and LA, Crime, the difference between punk before and after 1980, Syncopated Pandemonium radio show in the early 70s, breaking records on the air, KALX flips to Punk Rock, (The band Austin was thinking of and fails to mention at this point in the interview was The Dictators), The Museum of Unfine Art / Sonar Map radio show / Shawn Mediaclast, The Sunday Morning Hangover, archive.org, Honey Vizer, getting bored with the status quo, the problem with college radio, Rumours & Fleetwood Mac, record rummaging and shopping by cover, The Sunday Morning Hangover TV show, retro vs new music, Time of the Assassins, records vs digital life, rebellion and culture, Christmas & religion, the influence of being lied to, and digital life vs real life.
Krackwerk album, 10 years in solo, Noisegasm five year in, Master’s in Music Composition, started playing music at 13, the sonic & visual pallet of finished work, learning technology to create new work, the wider range of Noise music, working with Doug Haire & Sonarchy radio, Dark Energy, Juiced, Goldenrod, driving long distances for a show as there are fewer places to play, and listening to music.
The House of Records “Switched-On Eugene” release event, the Numero Group approach, three years on the project, started playing classical as a child, skipped out between 11 and 19 to pursue architecture, graduated U of O with a BS in Music (piano) & sang in the choir, discovering Stratosfear by Tangerine Dream at 15, began pursuing electronic music at various college labs parallel to his other school work, actually stolen recordings, the intersection of sci-fi & electronic music, doing it all yourself with a sound you like, Carl Juarez introduces Brian Eno & Pere Ubu, the New Dreamers on KLCC, meeting people and discovering music, starting Another Green World on KLCC with Nathan Griffith in 1984, the legendary Halloween shows, Waiting For Toast, The PM Show, Carl & Brian’s xerox design aesthetic, Diane Arbus, the packaging of Switched-On Eugene, the influence of DIY punk aesthetic in Eugene at the time, The Carrion Commandos, recording bands and booking shows, where the comp misses the mark and what it gets right, other impending releases, Phyllyp Vernacular is retired, the influence of the reel to reel recorder, outlying industrial areas, Clock Facelift & Fervent Torpor.
Touring and the practical aspects of being on the road, living on the road for over a decade, activist throughout his youth, the interconnectedness of everything, “The Hundredth MONkEY Generation, Difference Between Everything Anarchist Can-Do Whether or Not the Cops Will Let Us Bicycle Band,” rebelling in different ways as you get older, improv & anarchism, composition vs. improv, being creative at times and in ways that aren’t traditional, Bob Bucko Jr. & Personal Archives Records, being human, Rent Romus & Edgetone Records, an impending Nels Cline collaboration, working with Sarah Lund, grew up with punk & Jazz in San Jose in the early ’80’s, collaborating with Andy Kaufman through dreams in 2002.
The House of Records “Switched-On Eugene” release event, the power of self-released cassettes, started studying and playing classical guitar at 13, Andrés Segovia, discovering the potential of guitar, discovering guitar tones, libraries and late night radio on WRPI, wanting to escape the East Coast, arrives in Eugene in late ’70’s, The Eugene Guitar Association In 1982, Editing the EGA Newsletter, meeting Brian Magill and the Eugene Electronic Music Collective, the New Dreamers on KLCC, Peter Nothnagle‘s electronic music class at LCC, the niche world of electronic music in the early ’80’s, Tangerine Dream, The Hours Away cassette, mail order tapes and ‘zines as the Internet of the era, the flexibility of electronic music and being able to make the whole song yourself, Northwest Passages comp, the change in the scene after midi and the shift from composers to pop performers, Mythic Sky, teaching classical guitar and playing around regularly, pooling gear, thoughts on the compilation, Carl Juarez’s version of what happened and the revisionist historical document, recording “Shimmer,” more on composers and the diversity of artists in the EEMC, Yes, the staleness of modern music, The Complete Guide To Sythesizers, Steve Rappaport and “The Martian Hop.”
It’s time to reflect on the Octob-tour, and we need to start by rolling the clock back to the end of What’s This Called? on KPSU. I recorded this track live in my studio, and sent it to Ricardo Wang for the program. On air, Ricardo played it from his phone into the mic in the studio, so there are two versions of the recording. This was created using samples of Ricardo’s program, including bits from the first “What’s This Called?” broadcast on KPSU, and other odds and ends associated with the program. Thanks again Ricardo and KPSU for helping give me some radio love to help ramp things up when things were just getting started.
I was invited to perform over the phone on KDVS to help promote the impending NorCal NoiseFest, on the program “He Hates Music, He Loves Noise,” hosted by Robin Redbeast. I recorded my performance off of my mixer, so there are two versions of the performance, too. Special thanks to Lob Instagon, Denise Chelini, Chopstick, The Stolen Elk, Smite & Collapsist for making this happen.
Rachelle Schmid invited me to perform on KPSU‘s Live Friday program, a show that goes back to the early 2000’s, and one I used to host for a number of years. But this was the first time that I was a guest performer, on this or any other program (outside of calling in). For this show, I invited my friend Red Panda Death March (Joe Peg) to jam along with me, and the results broke down into three separate performances. The sound is not perfect, unfortunately, and there’s some digital distortion on every recording that surfaced. However, I’ve done some re-mixing after the fact to patch things up as best I could, and they don’t sound all that bad in the end. The videos (ironically) have the best sound of all. Special thanks to Vicky & Joe for making this possible.
NorCal NoiseFest is always a lot of fun, and this year was no exception. I’m hoping I can keep making this a tradition, as I had an incredible time, and my performance was great. This recording is from the board, so it sounds better than it did in the room! Special thanks to Lob Instagon, Marla for doing the driving and AV, Andrea for streaming live video and giving me a place to stay, Ninah & Das for filming and including my performance on their episode of UB RADIO SALON, Denise & Chopstick, and everyone else for showing up and having a good time. Same time next year?
All throughout NorCal NoiseFest attendees could pick up a CD of “From The Island of Misfit Noise,” where Mini-Mutations was lucky enough to have this track included. It was a collaboration between Red Panda Death March (Joe Peg) and myself, and it was a pleasure to be included on a collection like this, with so many other incredible artists. This disc is now sold out in physical form… except I have a few copies squirreled away that I may be willing to sell. But otherwise, you’ll have to pick it up here or on the NorCal NoiseFest Bandcamp Page (see the comments), where they are also hosting all the live recordings from all the performances at the fest. This was a fun track to assemble, and I’m happy to share it with you all. (Do I need to mention that Lob helped make this happen?)
I had to cancel one of my radio appearances. (Sorry Phineas Narco, next time?) So to make up for it, I performed this livestream from my cousin’s house, who was letting me stay with her for much of my tour in California. (Thanks again Andrea!) She also supplied the room and the stereo that I used to make this stream possible. This is a reflective, slow-paced performance that I’m quite fond of, and has a mood and a vibe that I really enjoy. This is a board recording, and sounds better that the audio on the stream. I want to pursue more sounds like this, so until I make that happen in the future, this is your chance to hear a new direction for us. Enjoy!
Northwest Notes on KMUZ is dedicated to Northwest artists in a way that few other shows are, so getting a chance to play on the program (hosted by Mick Hickman) was a real treat. I was lucky enough to get to perform three pieces over the course of the two hours program, so in addition to my piece on Kavanaugh that I had prepared, I took another stab at the “Forest Jam” that I did on KPSU, and then a condensed version of the piece I did at NorCal NoiseFest. In addition to the audio, there is super-grainy “security cam” footage of these, which are sort of eerie to look at. Hanging out with Mick is always a treat, and I really enjoyed this radio performance.
I have been a fan of Don Haugen‘s work since I first met him in the ’90’s, but it wasn’t until recently that we reconnected in person, and entertained the idea of collaborating. We had done this once before on my program, but for this tour the idea of doing a performance together was very appealing, and to that end we cooked this gig as a sort of rehearsal for our show at the Cowfish Dance Club the coming weekend. Additionally, it was a good excuse to play on KWVA, where I first cut my radio teeth, and was therefore meaningful to me for other reasons. Special thanks to Don for taking the idea seriously, and Chris Gierig for setting it up and hosting us. (You can see him lurking around in the video.) This was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do something like it again.
My next stop was an incredibly fun hometown show, at a venue I’d never played at before, and the rainbow flags going in only made me more happy and comfortable. Shotski’s Wood Fired Eats is a pretty huge stage, so a Mini-Mutations gig feels a bit disproportionate, but I did get to share the bill with Katy & the Null Sets(who are always a treat), as well as Motorcoat, who were out on their first tour, also, and that more than made up for my botched recording. Special thanks to Marla for doing the driving and handling the AV, Jared Sheridanand the United Sound Collective for setting it up, and Katy for playing a killer opening set. I’m looking forward to more Shotski’s shows, especially considering how close that place is to my house.
For several years I’ve been a sometimes-performer in the Dead Air Fresheners, and for even longer a behind-the-scenes collaborator, so it made sense to try and work with them on my Portland stop. To this end we performed a livestream from their practice space, where we got to jam out to our hearts content, and have a pretty great time. I had planned two “instrumental” pieces for this tour, where I don’t focus on “vocal” samples, but instead create a soundbed through “painting with sound.” I’m quite fond of doing these, and this one was no exception. Special thanks to Ryan A Ray & Ricardo Wang for making this happen, and Kiisu & Kim for offering me a place to crash out afterwards. Ya’ll are the best.
Chris (Corvallis Experiments in Noise) always manages to assemble some impressive noise shows on zero budget, and so it was incredibly exciting to be a part of this evening, where I could to open for Mark Hosler at Interzone Inc. I have a special fondness for Smokey The Bear, as well as our forests, and so this felt like an important piece to perform, and I think I was among the right crowd to grok what I was trying to say. The line-up was incredibly excellent, including nOiZepHyZiX, The Sabrina SiegelLarge Ensemble, Project Aisle, myself and Mark Hosler, and thanks to the genius booking at Interzone, we where done by 10 PM. Special thanks to Marla & Don for doing all the driving, Jim Whittemore (Luthor Maggot) for the sound reinforcement and table loan, and all the amazing patrons at the Interzone who really love to foster the noise scene. Ya’ll are amazing.
It was certainly a huge accomplishment to play a live gig with Don Haugen in his home town, but to open up for Mark Hosler in Eugene at the Cowfish Dance Club was a delight. This was an incredible show, with an excellent turnout, and well hosted by Shawn Di Fiore, whom I had not seen in far too long. (And my, what an excellent host he was.) Everyone sounded great, there was an excellent crowd, and I had a ton of fun. This set is different than the radio set we did previously, but they are certainly a matched set, and I think we have fun with them. This might have been my favorite show on the tour. Special thanks to Devin & Rachel for offering up their home as a base of operations for the Eugene portions of this tour and in general for being amazing folks, Kim for doing the wrangling and driving, and Chris & Colin for being excellent moral support.
One of the unexpected treats of this tour was getting invited by Marc Time to appear on The Sunday Morning Hangover with Don Haugen & Mark Hosler, to talk about the show at the Cowfish Dance Club, our tours, our music, and other things that come up during the two hour conversation. As a fan of Marc and his show, and incredibly jazzed about opening for Mark at a number of shows, this was a very cool way to spend Sunday Morning. Marc was an excellent and attentive host, and he even played a Mini-Mutations track during the program. You can hear the entire show at the link below. Special thanks to Kim for doing the driving and wrangling. Can’t wait to appear on the show again!
The Space Concert Club is an incredible local venue, and I was incredibly excited to be able to open up a show with Mark Hosler and Don Haugen, all of us doing solo sets. This performance was a refinement of a piece I love performing, “The House That Man Built,” and to have all my friends in town there to watch was a lot of fun. Special thanks to Summer Keightley for the excellent food, Stan Keightley & Taylor Gene Quackenbush for the incredible sound, and Douglas Hoffman for setting the whole thing up. It was an amazing night, and one I’ll never soon forget.
Growing up, Olympia seemed to be where a number of my favorite bands were from, so it seemed like a good idea to try and book a show there on this tour. Ashley Shomo put me in touch with Zach Zinn, who set up a late-night gig for us at Le Voyeur, one of the few places I’ve actually been to before. Sharing the bill with us included r33k (Jason Lazer) and the magnificent Brad Anderson, and all of us performed an intimate show for a discerning Olympia audience. I’d been considering unleashing this piece about microdosing at some point on the tour, and the more I thought about it, Olympia was perfect for just such a thing. Special thanks to Brad Anderson for going above and beyond the call of duty, and giving me a ride all the way to SeaTac after the show. He had no good reason to do so, especially considering he’d already purchased a fair amount of merch, too. You are a champion, Brad, pure and simple.
Probably the wildest show on the tour was the 24-Hour Art Show at the Alternative Library in Bellingham. This event combined music, performance and a number of other things to create an atmosphere of decadent acquiescence to all things creative, and to that end Forrest Friends and I developed a presentation where our two sets blended into each other to create an hour-long presentation… beginning at about 2 AM. On the heels of having seen Mark earlier in the night, and the ominous storm that we had to drive in to get there and back, it was curious that I wanted to perform a séance on this night. But there we have it. Special thanks to Futureman for setting the whole thing up, Garrison for doing a monumental amount of driving that night in the wind and rain, and everyone who was dancing to a wild Houdini cut-up at such an hour.
I’ve been a fan of Arvo Zylo‘s work ever since Bob Bucko Jr clued me in, so being invited to contribute a track to a No Part of It release was very exciting to me. “Pussification” contains music about or inspired by cats, released by a wide range of artists, and being on a comp with Fhtagn and Forrest Friends just felt right for an early Mini-Mutations release. At one point, Arvo referred to me as, “The Mr. Rogers of Noise,” and I let that steer my inspiration while I made this track, which was recorded over an afternoon between prepping for this tour. I have a handful of these discs for sale, Arvo has them too, and you can always pick it up form nopartofit.bandcamp.com.
While opening for a member of Negativland on several stops on this tour was very excellent, this show with Blood Rhythms, Sacred Signs, Marcus Price & Blevin Blectum was not only good enough to get a write-up in The Stranger, but was good enough for Mark to check out on his night off. As we were in prime Halloween territory for this evening, I wanted to do a little Vincent Price / Nathanial Hawthorne mash-up, and while it wasn’t my strongest performance, it was certainly a lot of fun, and very well received, too. There was no streaming live video of this performance (unfortunately), but Matt Orefice shot a brief clip, which I used and mixed with all of my “traveling” footage from the tour, which you can see in the video (linked below). This show was incredible, and could not have happened without Garrison Heck and the excellent staff at Gallery 1412, who put it all together. A massive thank you goes out to Tanner for the ride into Seattle, and my cousin Brandy, who offered up a place to stay while in Washington, making this part of the tour possible. Thanks again!
With the last day of the tour being on Halloween, and knowing my own particular inclinations, it was obvious that I needed to do a ghost story for this final show. So I dusted off a couple of Halloween treats and did my best to represent the holiday on this exciting bill at the Re-bar Seattle. Talk about a silly dream line-up: The Weatherman (Buddy Runyan) DJing for an hour, myself doing a set, Mark Hosler AND The Weatherman performing together (for the first time in 18 years!), and then a massive closing set by Monster Planet, which included all of us jamming together. This was an incredible night, with an excellent crowd, and could not have happened without the incredible help of Marla, who made this entire tour possible. It was also amazing to meet Cindy Reichel and Leah Gold, and in general have the kind of Halloween few people get. Check the links below for sound and video. This was the end, the climax, and the incredible come-down for the tour, all in one night.
Here’s the raw numbers for those who like playing that game:
Releases: 5 CDs, 1 Cassette, & 2 Compilations Tracks, all in preparation for the tour. The CDs contained bonus tracks not available on Bandcamp or elsewhere online. (The Bandcamp versions had bonus tracks not on the CDs.) The Cassette was not available in any other format (or for download) anywhere else. 2 of those CDs were of “ancillary” material that were not strictly Mini-Mutations. (1 MKU release, one “spoken word” release.) All “self-released” by WTBC Radio In Beautiful Anywhere, Anywhen.
Octob-Tour: 10 Live Performances in 9 Cities across 3 states. 7 Radio Broadcast Appearances. 2 Live Webstreams, 1 Podcast
Screw-Ups: I had to cancel two gigs due to transportations issues. Both were “made up.”
The unsung hero of this tour is none other than Marla, who went above and beyond by doing a tremendous amount of the driving, by doing a tremendous amount of the moral support, AND by handling a tremendous amount of the A/V responsibilities. This tour just wouldn’t be possible and wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been into the idea, and while I might have been theoretically capable of doing the tour on my own, having her there at so many of the shows really made this something that I could pull off. Runner up is certainly a tie between Brad Anderson & Garrison Heck, who each did Herculean Shifts driving in Washington (during storms, no less). Thank you, everyone. (But Marla more, for obvious reasons.)
Housing is the #1 expense while on the road, and if it weren’t for the various people who were willing to put me up in the month of October, then this tour would have also been incredibly difficult to pull off. A massive and very huge thank you goes out to: Amy in SF, Andrea in Sacramento, Linda in Oakland, Kiisu & Kim in PDX, Devin in Eugene, and Brandy in SeaTac, who all opened up their homes to me smelling like the inside of a tour van and begging for the use of a shower, laundry, and a flat space to stretch out for a few hours. All of you are owed more than I can adequately compensate for as a meager artist, and I can only say that ya’ll are amazing.
There’s a ton of people I’m sure I’m forgetting – perhaps Amtrak & Greyhound need a shoutout? – but I’ll close by saying: to everyone who came to a show, to everyone who picked up some swag, to everyone who helped me out, and to everyone who even remotely enjoyed some aspect of Mini-Mutations: thank you. Ya’ll are amazing. For reals.
FAQ & Final Thoughts on the Octob-tour:
The question I’ve gotten the most on tour was: Who Did The Booking? Who set up your shows? Who did you work with? How did you get these shows?
The answer is, unfortunately, boring: I set up the tour myself. I called, messaged, and e-mailed people who were setting up and / or booking at the venues, and cold-called most of them. A few I knew from other stuff. In a few cases, I contacted friends in relevant cities and asked for a show. And, once a few things got strung together, the holes began to fill in themselves. In two cases, I was asked to play a show. But I think that was largely due to the momentum of the acts I was opening for, and not so much due to my “draw” as an “act.”
So, to reiterate: I looked up phone numbers and e-mails, and I cold-contacted people And many said yes. If you’re wondering how to make a tour happen, or how to book a show, now you know how I did it. I didn’t know most of the people booking the shows, and in a few cases, the people booking didn’t even ask to hear my music. So you don’t even need a demo or a Soundcloud page or anything. Just enthusiasm, and a willingness to have most of your phone calls and e-mails unreturned.
While most of the “shows” were in bars, two were in art galleries, and those two were excellent performances and shows, and at each of made a fair amount of money, too. (Compared to the bar shows, where I rarely made anything.) I feel like this is food for thought. While the radio gigs universally did not pay, I enjoy seeing radio stations and playing on the air so much that those are almost like vacation stops for me. I will say that, personally, I like being able to get a drink for free after I play, and you don’t get that if the show isn’t in a bar. And some of my favorite shows were in bars. But the success of the shows that were not in bars has really given me pause when considering my next move.
I should probably recognize my privilege here. I’m a white, middle-aged male, who had financial resources I could lean on in emergencies and who what a support network of family and friends to help make it all work out. And, I’ve been working as an artist for 25 years, so I had cultivated a couple of contacts in that time. Full disclosure: I leaned on that financial resource a few times, to procure transportation on short notice. But I tried to remain as self-sustaining as possible, making as few excessive purchases as possible. All of that said, I did have advantages working in my favor; even in a weird neighborhood in a strange city, I can usually get a car to pick me up and drop me off without any trouble.
On that note: I had a largely uneventful tour. Early on I had two cock-ups, one involving transportation, and another where the gig fell apart after a car was broken into. But aside from those problems, the worst thing I had to deal with were the long bus and train rides between gigs. Occasionally I slept on uncomfortable couches or floors, but nearly all my creature comforts were met, even when I was away from home for long periods of time. So touring was fairly easy for me. But aside from asking politely and being willing to inconvenience myself, I hardly had to go out of my way to get everything done. Certainly, buses, trains, and Lyft will get you everywhere in this country.
There wasn’t exactly much “press” for the shows. I think Eugene covered Mark, and Seattle covered him and Blevim, but any mention of Mini-Mutations was limited. In spite of that, I got a pretty great response from people online, and I think live streaming the performances helped. In spite of all of this, my favorite responses to my work came from my cousin Andrea, who said that I was, “woke as fuck,” and from Arvo, who described me as, “a cartoon character come to life.” I got may other positive responses throughout the tour, and it seemed like people generally liked what I did. But those comments will certainly stick with me.
While on the road I met a very different kind of America than I do while I’m in my hometown, or on the Inter-Web-A-Tron, for that matter. I met people who were smart, savvy, woke, and excited about music. People engaged with the performances, asked questions and inquired about what I was doing, and I made money for the work that I was doing. (Not much, but a little.) I met humanity largely at their best, where nearly every club I performed at flew a rainbow flag, and the ones that didn’t were queer friendly and incredibly progressive. I was overwhelmed with gifts of food, music, art, and great conversation. Most importantly, I met people who were not white dudes, I was exposed to a number of ideas and points of view, and I gained a new sense of how artists should relate to the world at large in 2019.
It is a lot to take in, but compare this to the kinds of things we encounter in the Oregon Mid-Valley: racism and sexism, Red State thinking, small and unfunded art / music scenes, and a general suspicion of anyone who looks or acts differently. Oregon might be “Blue” due to a few key cities, but most of the state is dark Red. It was certainly cultural whiplash to go from San Francisco, to Seattle, and then back home. I met more strangers on the road that were willing to give me a wad of cash and drive me 150 miles to my next gig than I do when I’m at home, and while that certainly has to do with the size and density of big cities, it has been something to consider what I do next.
Strangely enough, the city that I had the hardest time getting a show in was Portland, the supposed “music town” in our state where I booked shows for almost 15 years. Contrast that to my hometown, where I was able to get two gigs (and a radio spot) fairly quickly, and Salem is not exactly known for “experimental” music. So there are always exceptions to everything.
I had a lovely time traveling, and in many ways this was an extended creative vacation. (Or, at least, cost the same.) Who knows if this will happen again, but I will say that I really enjoyed it, and wouldn’t mind taking another swing at it. Who knows? We shall see…
Some thoughts on the “two-disc set” audio document of the Octob-tour:
One of the central concepts behind Mini-Mutations was that I wanted to bring the ideas of Mid-Valley Mutations to a live audience at a venue, instead of on the radio. (MVM itself is my interpretation of Don Joyce’s incredible Over The Edge radio program.) With that in mind, I set out a number of ground rules for what this project would be: sample heavy, as live-mixed & mutated as possible, and lastly, lets try not to repeat ourselves. It was a pretty lofty goal, certainly, and perhaps even unattainable. But it wasn’t something I was gonna back down from, and to that end, I approached the Octob-tour with that same intention: let me create a series of shows that are enjoyable each on their own, but are each completely different. All of this planning was building up to a climax with a huge Halloween performance in Seattle.
“Ambitious” is probably the wrong word for it, but however one could refer to it, I was determined to make sure that each show and performance was unique. For a variety of reasons, I did accomplish that, and I’m proud of the results.
In this collection of 43 recordings, you can now hear all of the Octob-tour performances… AND, every live performance by Mini-Mutations since it’s inception. (One from before the group had a name, and several from before the name was shortened to something less ego-centric.) This is everything that was documented, everything that survived, and everything else that could be found from other sources. It’s a massive amount of audio, and in its own way, tells a story. In spite of a few technical shortcomings & fidelity issues, it is a collection of which I’m very proud.
Disc 1 includes everything leading up to the Octob-tour, and the first two stops. (Plus a bonus track from one of the compilation tracks released in October.)
Disc 2 includes the remaining performances from the Octob-tour, and a couple of bonus bits that relate to the tour. (Plus a bonus track from the other compilation track released in October.)
Each of these performances are different, with a couple of exceptions. (Here and there I did a second take on a theme, or repeated a piece with a new interpretation.) I put a lot of care and thought into each of these, and I think it comes across in these recordings.
You can pick up each individual performance for a very small amount. Buying one disc allows you to pick up over forty dollars of recordings for a cheaper, nominal fee. If you want to support Mini-Mutations, and help us recoup the costs of the tour, please consider picking up something from these collections.
You can also still pick up all our releases that we had on the tour, too. So please, help a mutation out.
Familiar, working with Dieter Mobeius, Negativwobblyland, 2012, touring with Fred Frith, working with Tim Story, Music From the Hearts of Space, Cluster, Mobeius’ directness and studio habits, collaborations vs. solo work, People Like Us, the benefits of working with others, more solo vs collaborations, playing recordings of other people as art, expressing a culture’s voice in the art we make, joining Negativland and working with them, honing your own creative voice, going to Negativland camp, Variations Radio Program and the culture wars, Kenny G (ubu.com), artist’s rights and the ownership of culture, the concept of the author, self expression through social media and the evaporation of owning our own expressions and data, the changing politics of culture jamming, post-vaporwave data profiles dictating our reality, artistic merit slipping away as time moves on, generational sea-changes, culture tacking to the libertarian center, It’s All In Your Head, the changing technology and gear, 100% iPad album, his residency at the S1 Synth Library in Portland, the ergonomics of devices (for the audience), a Don way of doing things, more history about the original booper from 1974, The Booper Symphony, the live Negativland Experience, Over The Edge with Wobbly & KROB, Puzzling Evidence, Don as teacher, doing radio with him, making art and remaining open, how to stay confused, listening as a creative tool, a live performance every time you press play, making a “mix” show on live radio and why that’s difficult, radio and music reporting killing the mix show, KPFA supporting mix radio, approaches to sampling, discovering sample sources, natural record shopping habits, finding music under your own power, our varying radio styles, Over The Edge stories, archive.org’s collection, more episodes being uncovered, Tim Maloney’s role behind the scenes, Don’s vision for the show, KROB’s role behind the scenes, Wobbly’s new record Monitress, the surveillance state, a Zeena Parkins record of duos, Sagan’s second album in 2018, Cosmos, Who Speaks For Earth?, pseudo-obscurity, the impulse behind these interviews, working on the new Negativland Record.
The ecosystem of Forrest Friends, developing a mode of creation and performance, halloween records, the Forrest Friends origin story, 11 years in, outside forces as another band member, developing a musical language, pulling yourself out of a comfort zone, balancing the chaos vs. the mundane, Nathan Pepperoni w/ CEOs Inc. in Bend OR, discovering improvisation, warbled Confusion Is Sex, Trout Mask Replica, Caroliner, Sun City Girls, Tult, Mr. Powers & his “music theory” class, high school influences, and the banjo.
Aldo, Tim & Jayson, Beef Kitchen & Mickey leading to the original Paintings line-up, Aldo’s garage prog with Mitch Duafa & Breviamor, Live Streaming and the problem with bars, Tim’s time in the Hundred Dollar Jayhawks, Aldo & Jayson’s new friendship, Jayson’s re-introduction to the scene, recording as a part of songwriting, timing of shows, the long lost outdoor stage at The 50 Pub ‘n’ Grub (a venue that has since passed), the problem with music scene in Salem, having fun when you play together, scheduling, Kelly & Mick, Schizophonic Records, other venues and closing bits.
Finding yoga after rehab, Bikram yoga, becoming a yoga instructor, establishing a studio in Salem, getting into music, Skate Rock & Metal, seeing a Metallica show and buying a guitar at ABC Music, Sister Saw Double, Shiner, the wealth of bands up and down the I-5 corridor, Salem Armory shows, playing in Plaid Pantry Project, concurrent lives, getting into LivBar, ’90’s revival weekend and getting back into music, Jayson’s daughter Willow, getting into The Paintings, design work life, the change in technology, the family / city connections.
Statesman Journal story, stand up for a year and two years in improv, watching sketch comedy, the impact of the first laptop, comedy personality types, Beth Stelling‘s impact on Tina’s voice, “borrowing” instead of borrowing, going to open mics at first, Dash Thompson, changing for the audience, Katy & The Null Sets, “blue” material, specificity grenades, the details, describing creepy dudes in a funny way, Date Night, single comedy vs. couples comedy, a fart cannon, Facebook.com, a unique last name, voted class clown in High School, and being the Volcanoes’ Mascot.
Introducting the band (Steve, Sascha, Gordon, Scott, Tash), ‘Musical’ chairs, choreography, The Alice Project, Mankind Is Obsolete meets Lotus Rain, then started writing new material, the diversity of projects and events, making videos, Breath (Part 2) video, new record, a new release every full moon, the motivation of a ticking clock, the value of imperfections, “tour tight,” AL1CE boxed set, social media, AL1CE Tours Dates, The Labyrinth Masquerade Ball, the USB Keys, the outdoors and making videos, putting on shows, Happy Poo Time, AL1CE philosophy, playlists on The Road & driving.
Getting into editing & writing, Jan’s college path, High Performance magazine, Art In The Public Interest, psychology, editing and the technological changes, how the writer / editor relationship begins and develops, working at Pacifica Graduate Institute, bringing Jungian ideas to real-world social problems, psychology students processing their own issues through writing & editing papers, the varied career paths of writers, Breakin’ II: Electric Boogaloo, Michael Ventura, Cannon Films, Julie Reichert, interviewing the actors and seeing the sets to inspire the script, standing her ground on the story, using Dick Powell musicals & Fred Astaire as a model for the script, the longevity of Breakin’ II as a phenomenon, trying to get other films made, writing & editing process talk, getting into the rhythm, pushing through creative blocks, the High School teacher influence, the hope found in creativity, other script ideas, Step Up movies, painting to music, jazz music, Stan Getz & Bill Evans.
Every week, our podcast will feature the new Dial-A-Song song as a part of our show. If you want to catch all our great interviews, and great music like this, then you’ll want to listen to our show every week.
Previous chat, Halo // Run single, Dusks Embrace vs The Paintings vs Solo, Michael Windows, remix philosophy, rhythms and minimalist beats, polyrhythms & other time signatures, psychedelic electronic, spiritual experiences making music, process talk, getting started, BitWig, not playing live, the listening experience, convenience as a human fault, the digital audience becomes an international audience, Destroy All Bring New, not fitting in, Salem as a rock and roll town, politics, intellectual anarchy through music, morality and making mistakes in life, America’s teenage phase, rock & roll’s complacency, The Paintings being different than most “rock” bands, the challenge of singing and playing, Dusks Embrace not being an average “metal” band, getting stuck on old records, Led Zeppelin, making accessible music, telling someone else’s story vs making it your own, the internal experience of listening to music, digital platforms, and needing breaks between creative experiences.
Environment and location, what sounds are music, the philosophy of improvised music, re-evaluating percussion, moments of zen while performing, playfulness vs. silliness, art causes listeners to reflect, communicating complex emotions, being in the moment, the future and recordings, playing in pro side-gigs, the common ground between mainstream and experimental music and exceeding the limitations of self.
(Here is a short list of the people who have – and in many cases, regularly – shop at Guitar Castle.)
Allman Brothers, X, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, John Fahey, Joe Strummer, Smokey Hormel, Sean Lennon, Tom Waits, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Social Distortion, Mudhoney, Neil Young, Decemberists & Typhoon.
The Sound of Tomorrow & Easter eggs, 10 years in, WAYO as the show’s new home, KMUZ and the changing face of radio, podcast talk, talking about noodles vs news, hunting for news stories, meeting Ross at work, wanting to do a talk show, starting out and figuring out how to do it, Mixcraft, Audacity & Garage Band and workflows, figuring out the Sound of Tomorrow content, live vs pre-recorded, figuring out audience, talking about topics outside the straight-white paradigm, more voices being added to the conversation, podcasting and radio supporting each other, The Squires of Subterrain and The Spacebridge, skit production, long running short stories and writing jokes, playing ukulele, having musical guests and taking calls, solo Uke recordings, decoding Bowie, using humor to deal with now, supporting WAYO, Radio Garden and They Might Be Giants.
Hobo Sandwich * I Fucking Love Sand * An Object In Grind Stays In Grind * Newsworthy * Fuck You Drummer From Brudos (You’re Just Pissed You Have to Live In Salem) * McNasty
Interview 2 (by phone): Topics Include:
/root_DIR tour update, Salt Lake City show, drums and bringing in other styles, pizza in Redmond, cauliflower mash, wrapping up the band (for now), Semi-Colin’s photography, the Boise scene, Greg Saunders in Vale Oregon, The Old Girl, DB Crust & Jinglecore, /root_DIR road tunes, Budweiser & Memory Foam sponsorships, Sacramento show, Reno show, sausages & sauerkraut, & “Four beers in!”
Set 3 (5 January 2018 at The Twilight Cafe):
SOPA v2.0 * Technically Death Metal * Beau Fucking Lucas * Book Learnin’ * Face Fisted * Monsanto * SwearPoint (Feature Creep) feat. kiisu d’salyss
Introductions, Improcreations, Amao history and line-up changes, guided improv and song development, the SoundCloud page, inviting guests to play with them for shows and recordings, live collaborating in real time in two different places via Skype, the art of listening, learning and challenging each other, experimental music scene in Brazil, no overdubs, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify & Facebook, “Voce Morto” short film, getting Improcreations in a physical form, collaborations, Brazil and current politics going crazy, building strong scenes, the “Ciclo” single, solo work, scientist musicians and playing instrumental “air guitar.”
The 10 Albums Meme, On The Beach and Neil Young, listening to the radio & records as a kid, starting out in radio in college, discovering punk, punk as a gateway to other stuff, what his early radio shows were like, Under The Floorboards, writing songs & feeling alienated, Evan Cantor & moving to Colorado, Ed Fowler, Walls of Genius, The Dave, cassette culture, releasing 30 tapes in three years, Little Fyodor begins to emerge, meeting Babushka, being funny and serious at the same time, writing “Everybody’s Fucking,” depression as an entertainment device, touring with Negativland, playing the SubGenius X Day Shows, making a name for themselves in Denver, fashion talk.
What is Noise? Fest March 31st, the monthly Interzone noise shows four years running, creating a space for art to flourish, breaking gender expectations and cultivating diversity, the Willamette Valley noise scene, The Majestic Theater, The Halloweener and artists working in experimental fields, gathering the non-audio artists, Camas Swale / Hobby Knife, sound worshipers, Don Haugen & KLOWD, an encounter with the police, trying to keep money out of booking shows, negotiating with venues, growing up with drums in the house, Don’t Say Anything They Won’t Sue You, finding free-jazz through noise, Goblins, experimental is the new punk rock, Luther Maggot, the butoh dancer story, making your own gear, and complaints putting on shows.
Tour stories, We The Lepers EP, Still Not Broken, fighting illnesses, rotating drummers, 11 years as a band, “FDA Approved,” learning from people on the road, the anonymity of the Internet, being a couple as artists, show stories, future plans, how to live on the road, getting robbed and the power of the punk scene, punk DIY tips, Bridge To Poison breast cancer awareness record.
Meeting Thor, helping with the 97 / 98 tours, making websites in the early days, I Am Thor, getting into music as a kid, seeing KISS live as his first show, doing shows & concerts right, first tentative bands, Rabid $alesmen, Silica Gel, Krapper Keeper & Banana Twins, Motor Tic Posse, the influence of Mr. Jaws and weirdness, farts from 1982, discovering punk through rock magazines, recording Silica Gel, Devo-Obsesso and seeing Devo in 1998, meeting Devo, making shirts for Devo, updating Devo’s website, meeting Negativland and releasing Silica Gel’s CD, designing the Silica Gel vinyl reissue, the Devo book, the Devo visual aesthetic, FB live videos, Hardcore Devo reissues & pinbacks.
The Ghost in You,music and writing, art and weather, discovering conceptual art, absorbing philosophy as a kid, discovering the relationship between music and making art, making music, playing in a tribal speed metal band, playing in Snail (SF punk band), hanging out at radio stations, making digital and augmented reality art, inventing locative narrative, GPS Narrative, 34 North 118 West, writing art textbooks, experimental electronic literature, his use of social media narrative, impermanence in performative literature, Poems Made From Gifs, trying to ‘break’ social media, Tech Theorist, realizing that he’s a writer, writing short stories quickly (I Am The Ghost Here), Lisa’s cameo, the perils of trying to hit a creative home run, What Remains, the inspiration of classical music, more about The Ghost In You, being bad at school as a kid, taking on writing challenges, music and meteorology and papers that were almost written.
Meeting the Puzzling Evidence crew, discovering Escape From Noise and KPFA, becoming a caller on Over The Edge, Puzzling Evidence & Crack o’ Dawn, the characteristics of good and bad radio, the characteristics of live phone interactions, Over The Edge then and now, discovering the SubGenius books, how different weirdness is now, working with Dr. Hal and Doug, the balance between host and show and bad radio habits, Crosley Bendix and Don’s cast of characters, Wobbly’s role on OTE, Don’s callers, buying all of the OTE backcatalog from Don, taking over OTE and KrOB’s version of the show, the story of the Firewood show, Richard Lyons on This American Life, more about Don and OTE, and the problems of receptacle programming in the modern era.
Meeting Mark & getting to know Negativland, studying performance art at Evergreen and playing in punk bands as a youth, sound engineering, what punk signifies as we get older, Little Fyodor’s words of wisdom, touring with the SubGenius in Europe, making a living DJing in Berlin, playing in Noisy Pink Vagina, Vagina Jones & DJ Vaginasaur, getting hooked up with The Church of the SubGenius, moving back to the US, taking classes in animation and learning about filmmaking, working as a trapeze artist, getting connected with Ryan Worsley, having Vicki Bennett as an editor, changing the focus from the whole band to just The Weatherman, what a Weatherman performance is like, playing in bands in Olympia and dining with The Weatherman.
What attracts William to art and creative philosophy, getting into punk rock and seeing shows in the late 70s, finding minimalist composers and post-punk, discovering films as a kid with his grandmother, finishing Media about Media about Media, Unsound zine, starting Problemist, meeting Chris Rankin, finding David Lawrence for the album, Mark Hosler’s tape edits, The Industrial Handbook, being a collector, how exhausting making art can be, taking the ‘90s off, making TV commercials and other projects, the difficulty in a Problemist show now, the intentions of artists, getting into teaching and autism activism, what makes people on the spectrum so interesting, The Great American Cassette Masters, Too Sane For This World, The New Punks, Ziners, the lost Noise Nation TV Show, meeting Negativland for the first time, the digitized Unsound, possible new music from Problemist and the coming Hunting Lodge documentary.
This is my interview with Aaron Stern conducted by phone on 14 March 2018.
Making music with friends, high school musical growth and progressive death metal, home recording, being sidelined by injuries which lead to inspiration, the influence of punk rock and not caring what people think, setting goals to keep things moving, booking with the line-up in mind, April 7th at The Space, @starfish_hospital’s art and considering the visual component, confronting your own ugliness, making personal art, finding earnestness in heavy music and The Mystrionics mini-tour.
Instant Pot, how Summer got interested in cooking, cooking shows, how Derek got interested in cooking, making carrot stew, The Glad Cow Cookbook and its future sequel, Summer & Derek meeting, bringing punk and DIY into the kitchen, planing their first event at The Space, demystifying the unglamorous parts of kitchen life, the eating habits of chefs, vegan yogurt, Rob Groves and the deep fryer, the problems of ambitious meals, the music in the kitchen of Vegan & A Butcher, Derek playing in Mouth, the Isle of Treasures Garden, Vegan & Butcher Brunch May 20th.
*I do mention in the show that we should include some pictures of The Space Concert Club, but I realized that our previous episode with Sadgasm highlighted what the place looks like when a band plays. I do suggest that you look at the photos on their Instagram & Facebook, where there are a number of photos of their shows and brunches.
Firesign Theater Live, Phil Austen did not fly, stumbling upon Firesign albums in record stores, Taylor’s comedy radio show on 89.3 in Moscow Idaho in 1993, hearing Firesign for the first time, funny nightmares, interviewing Phil Proctor in 1995, writing about Negativland in college,moving to LA and lunching with Phil Proctor, earning the trust of Firesign, archiving Firesign performances at KPFK’s Pacifica Archive, The Razzberry Show, the dangers of archiving and collecting, Carlos’ Archive,the problem with major label archives, How To Speak Hip and The Cherry Red Records story, the Box of Danger and becoming the Firesign’s archivist, Peter Bergman and the Dear Friends era of Firesign, and The Duke of Madness Motors, Richard Metzger, Firesign & Negativland, Everything You Know Is Wrong DVD project, The Bob Sideburn News story, The Les Crain Show story, the secret true origin of Firesign Theater, Jack Poet Volkswagen dealership, the vinyl problem, the Berkeley Firesign fan, digitizing Negativland’s raw archive reels, working for the mouse and the Disney crank file, and The History Channel Story.
School band, Indigo Hearts, Alex Preciado, Aldo Calrissian, searching for new sounds, the old and new Orchards, playing new music for kids, A Shallow Birth, college, Brave The Weather, the original Orchards, Jackson Blair, the emotional creative journey, The Blog That Celebrates Itself, fighting drug problems, the concept behind A Shallow Birth, band personas, Brides & Jocelyn Paige, The Cure & other Daniel bands. (Jocelyn & Pussidan make short cameos in this episode.)
Blood Rhythms live vs. recordings, object permanence & death, the inner lives of cats, Assembly LP, aesthetic choices, Art School experiences, realizing that popular culture is garbage, Aadams Family & the Munsters, being aware of time, the economics and scheduling of making LPs, 333 and working with Yasutoshi Yoshida and Jason Ogawa, media formats, Sequencer Works on Personal Archives, Bob Bucko Jr., discovering music, touring and playing live, No Part of It Records, insomnia, making art until it is finished, radio, Halloween Records, recording with Blake DeGraw (FHTAGN), Chicago vs Seattle, traveling and crossing borders.
This is my interview with Zander Schloss, conducted by phone on 22 December 2017.
This program is sponsored by LivBar. Go to LivBars.com for more information.
Dear Blue, Gus Seyffert producing, the limitation of options, that analog sound, the long play experience, doing things the old way, Jake Blanton & Josh Adams, the essence of angry punk rock, “I Have Loved the Story of My Life,” the great mysteries, learning from Joe Strummer and collaborators, meeting Alex Cox, playing funk & soul in LA, hitting the road with the Circle Jerks, Straight To Hell and Zander’s Latin phase, working with Joe Strummer, What makes a great man?, writing “Salsa Y Ketchup” with Miguel Sandoval & Joe Strummer, Pray for Rain, Dan Wool, Walker, Repo Man, working with Ted Hutt, beyond dollars and cents, working with Alex Cox, and Karl the wiener man’s death.