Seriously, these are filthy. Don't read them if that's going to bother you.
John Fried's Manifesto (excerpt): People of Earth, listen well, for a great change is coming. No longer will it be enough for you to live your squalid little lives, tending to the brainless tasks with which you have been charged. Your neo-corporate identities are not long for this world. Who are you: the mail clerks, the middle-managers, the software developers, and the professional wrestlers of a mediocre globe. Soon, yes very soon, I, John Vincent Fried will change all of that. The signs of this new revolution towards an age of enlightenment --an age of Aquarius, if you will-- are patently obvious if only you would take the time to observe them. Think back to the fate of the people in Atlantis, and I'm sure you agree that we cannot afford to look change in the eye and glance away to our collective shoetops. If only I didn't have to spell it out for you. If only you understood on your own. But, in a way it's not your fault. You idiots. Soon, you will all be working in my glorious sulphur mines and space camps. Victory is an instant whose crossing grows nigh. My capacity for mercy is limited. Do not offend me.
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Interview with Cody Weathers by Griffin Buboe (excerpt):
GB: When can we expect a new album from Flip?
CW: You mean "Flip Band?" The Bolder Boulder sent us a check made out to "Flip Band," and I couldn't cash it. I had to drive back up to Boulder into their little Space Bank to cash it. It was TERRIBLE.
CW: Well, we're tentatively supposed to do a film score for an upcoming movie called "Flame Cow."
GB: How did you get involved in that?
CW: It's through Brian Costello productions. When I was living in Oregon....
GB: In college?
CW: Yeah, back at Lewinsky & Clark. I had worked a little on another Brian Costello/Elise Skelton Production called "The Super X-League Wonder Justice Friends." I wrote the theme song for this pilot for a TV show they were doing.
GB: Did it go on to become anything?
CW: No, it was the strangest thing. They recorded it and everything, and it was looking good, then the Humvee they hired to take the tapes to the NBC Studios in Burbank was involved in a terrible accident.
GB: What happened?
CW: Well, it passed near --I swear I'm not making this up-- a "vortex" in Southern Oregon where the laws of physics apparently don't apply.
GB: What do you mean?
CW: I guess that a plumb weight hangs out to the side or something. Anyway, the driver got curious, drove too close and POW! Burnt by lava.
CW: Craziest thing. Anyway, I took the song and made "Leave Me Be" out of it. Originally it went "Who's going to save me now/That Superman is gone...." But you know, Brian knows I'm the best, so he contacted Checkmate and we put a little deal together. I was happy to help him --I've read the script, and I really think it speaks to our generation. David Bowie's in it, even.
GB: Have you ever though of doing anything with David?
CW: Oh, he likes to be called "Mr. Bowie." He's a nice guy. We've talked, but our schedules never really free up at the same time. I mean, he's touring for Earthling, and we've got to start working on the new album in time for this year's Exemplathon.
GB: What will the new album be called?
CW: I'm not sure yet. The working title is "Deutscheland Nookie."
GB: What will it be like?
CW: Well, we'll probably be re-recording "So Will I" and "Coyote." We've already got one other song, "Cruel," in the can that was on the Monkey Eat Monkey Sampler that the label put out in conjunction with the first Exemplathon. Beyond that, I don't know. We have about 30 candidate songs, and we'll just have to see what works on tape, you know? Lately, I've been writing more songs with experimental sections, but I can't promise anything specific will make it.
GB: What sorts of experimental sections?
CW: Well, I've been trying to find ways to sneak microtonal things in under the radar. I feel like I've been able to find some really pretty dissonances using twelve tones, so why not twenty-four? Oh, and that's not EVEN the most pretentious thing I've ever said. I liked the structure and speech experiments on River Dreams, so I'm doing more with that, but again, I don't want to have anything purely for academic reasons --I want to really like it for what it ends up being.
GB: Why do you think you're pursuing this more now?
CW: I think it's because it's just me and Speranza here right now. Fried is normally the one who brings out the bat and starts cracking skulls when I get too high and mighty.
GB: But Speranza encourages it?
CW: What are you, my fucking therapist? What's that one kind of therapy --you know, the response-based one.
GB: The response based one?
CW: THAT'S EXACTLY IT! You know --the robot-psychologist one where the robot just repeats back part of what you just said as a question. What the fuck is that called?!
GB: What do you mean?
CW: Fuckin-A, Griff. It's like I'm the patient and I say, "I don't know, robot psychologist, I think I hate my father." And then the robot says, "You think you hate your father?"
GB: I don't know.
CW: Interview's over; you're creeping me out over there.
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Griffin Buboe takes a moment to interview Leaky Joe:
GB: So, Leaky
LJ: That's Mr. Joe to you, panty-waist!
GB: Um, yeah, Mr. Joe....Now that you've seen the amazing success of your recording on Monkey eat Monkey..
GB: Excuse me?
LJ: I said bastards, what are you deaf? I may have the blues son, but you're gonna have the traction if you don't shape up. Bastards is what I said....bastards is what I mean.
GB: I guess what I'm getting to is whether you have anything new planned for Checkmate's Winter line-up?
LJ: Listen, boy, I said bastards, what do you need, a picture? I'm gonna show you the winter of your discontent soon. Oh, if I aint got the blues.
GB: I see....so I should interperet that as a no?
LJ: You should interperet that as a fistful of blues up your ass as far as I care.
GB: Ah...well...thank you Mr. Joe.
LJ: Piss up a cat, boy. There's a party over here, and I'd snatch it, if I didn't so have the blues.....
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WARNING TO READER: Cody was forced to answer these questions seriously.
I don't scat --those are all real words. Hmmm.... I didn't always do it as much as I do now. I guess it came from the acoustic format that Speranza and I got into during our big open stage period in High School. I had first really learned about it as the drummer for the Jazz Choir in High School. In Rook, I had done a little bit, but primarily as a novelty to break up the million guitar solos. But in an acoustic format in which you have one voice and one guitar, we needed a way to expand some of the songs, and it was something that I felt OK about. Plus, nobody ever came up afterwards and punched me in the mouth, screaming, "You're ripping off Ella Fitzgerald, you string-bean fuck!" And that's pretty much the biggest thumbs-up you can get from an audience. Then, as I went to college and was really forced to become a competent guitarist, I was still faced with the same problem of how to stretch the material and make it a little different. For me, scatting was a natural choice because I'm a much better singer than a guitarist, and I'm used to using scatting in the pre-lyrical stage of writing songs as a tool for writing vocal melodies or testing how they sound with my voice. However, you'll notice that there really isn't much of it in the band recordings --it's primarily something that permeates the live show either as a substitute or supplement to guitar solos.
Who are your biggest influences musically past and present?
Motley Crue --specifically "Home Sweet Home"-- made me want to become a songwriter. That's still my favorite song. I've liked a lot of different bands: Shotgun Messiah, The Beatles, King's X, Boom Crash Opera, Tin Machine, Suzanne Vega. I always appreciate people who break the rules harmonically --who are particularly geometric or polytonal. I also really like Charles Ives as an orchestral composer, as well as Harry Partch and Steve Reich. The more something is like the blues or Mozart, the less likely I am to be interested in it. I mean, if that's your thing, then great, but it's not for me. It's funny, because to make money in Denver, your best bet is to join a blues band. So I've joined a few, and I always feel like I'm in the Hitler youth, and everybody's trying to feel out whether or not I'm really as fervent a blues BELIEVER as they are. "So ja, Hermann was not really working out on die harmonika. Ja, I shot him in the pants. I do not believe he truly loves Hitler as much as WE do, ja? Cody, you are not sieg heiling...." Leaky Joe is about the only blues I can really stand.
Still, I think it's a good thing that I wasn't really good enough to sit around and figure out other people's songs all day long, because my completely incorrect early assumption that every single song must have its own unique set of chord changes and even brand new chords has probably been more influential to me than any of the bands I listened to. As an arranger, I think I exhibit some jazzy tendencies, especially since figuring out that John Fried is an unstoppable bass-playing machine. I like the interplay, and I like the activity of the bass. But there are a lot of things I hate about jazz, too.
What are you trying to accomplish with your music?
I really want to impress girls. Failing that, I'm trying to operate in my own alternative tonality. I think harmony is the equal of melody. I don't think it's true that tonal music in the vernacular sense is necessarily music that --a la Mozart or Muddy Waters-- centers around the I-IV-V-I relationship. I nearly shot myself in Music Theory class in college. If it wasn't for my giant crush on Renee M., I would've definitely been a casualty. Oh my, she made me drool on my voice-leading exercises!
In college, you have to take a Music Theory Course. I don't care if you're an Econ Major --you have to take Music Theory! If you didn't, you'd better surrender your diploma because your degree is counterfeit! But in this odious little course, they bang you over the head with this notion that V-I, which is to say G Major Chord to C Major Chord, is the most beautiful relationship in the entire universe. This strikes me as bullshit. I think there are a lot of other beautiful relationships that --to me-- sound better. By that, I mean relationships with Renee M., not the contextually-strained "harmonic relationships" that it might seem like I really meant.
I love the way chords change contextually. I love unexpected resolutions, unexpected melodies. In my own writing, I often operate geometrically, such that adjacent chords acquire cadence relationships to the tonic. I also use movable tonics and secondary focii. I also love the juxtaposition of major and minor and the use of non-triadic chords. I think I still have a long way to go, though. Again, I'm talking about Renee M.. I should point out that she wasn't really very impressed with me, either, so I failed in my first goal.
What new music do you like?
I think Garbage is very good. I also like Jonatha Brooke, Failure, Red House Painters, Me'Shell N'dege-Ocello, Beth Orton, Paula Cole, Abra Moore.... There are some bands with promise out there, too. I think it's just a matter of time before Ben Folds Five and Fiona Apple each release something brilliant. Also, I continue to be a big fan of most of my old favorites. King's X recently released a great album, and I hear they're getting ready to release another.
Why do you think music seems to be so bad these days?
You mean besides Flip Nasty? We're as bad as we wanna be! I think that music on the radio is still stuck in what I would call "Nirvanna Syndrome." Kurt Cobain was an excellent lyricist --extremely clever and insightful. Certainly, for the time that Nirvanna came out, that was something that was generally lacking, and he brought it to the table in bushels. Some of my favorite bands from that time --Motley Crue being among them-- were at best lyrically mediocre. But, on the flip side of that coin, Nirvanna is very uninteresting to me musically. Nobody in that band was really a very good player, and the songs are extremely homogeneous. Essentially, there's "Something In the Way," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and eight more songs essentially like "Teen Spirit." Nevermind set the mold for a lot of bands to follow --even now. And to me, a lyrical talent like Cobain is so rare that what you're typically left with is a band that's taking care to sound like they can't play for shit and have ten versions of one song. It basically comes down to whether or not that song's any good. That's one thing that's refreshing to me about Garbage. They have a style that's certainly distinct, but there is a lot of variety within that style, and they can play. There are good bands out there, but there's a lot of crap. Our kids will be making fun of Bush like our little brothers and sisters make fun of Poison.
Will metal return? What do you think/hope will be different about it this next time around?
It never left, baby. I wish we'd see that heavy sound and the virtuoso element return and couple with the lyrical focus of today. I mean, there are still good hard rock bands out there who do exactly that --Failure comes to mind. However, I think it's unlikely that we'll see a real return. I know Lita Ford would disagree with me on that.
What's the biggest musical lesson that you think you've learned in the years since college?
Don't be intimidated by other musicians. I'm finished with having people tell me how to play or what's wrong with my writing. Are you listening Pete?
How would you divide up your music into periods? Or do you even see a clear differences from your early writing, "mid" writing, and later writing?
I like to call them the four seasons of Cody. No, I don't think there are clear periods so much as a particular song comes along and becomes a new branch of styles, but I don't really ever abandon old styles. Certainly, my lyrics have changed a lot since "Overboard." I've also become less and less key-oriented. I think that, early on, my songs were primarily within one key, using the constituent chords of that key, but maybe in an unusual order. "Fire and Ice" really opened up my next phase, wherein I played a lot with major/minor simultaneity. "Dreamscape" freed things up even more with a near-absolute key liberty. The best thing about these examples is that they're not available for anyone to hear, so you have to assume I'm correct!
Where are you going with the next album?
Definitely more live animals. Beyond that, there will be more freedom with form. I think that's one area of songwriting that I take too much for granted. My songs tend to standardize in a very vanilla AABA [Verse+Chorus]-[V+C]-[Bridge]-[V+C] kind of way. I'm trying to write more songs that break out of that in one way or another. Also, the songs will be longer in general, and more of them may contain experimental sections. I want to continue that trend from the songs on River Dreams. Oh, this is a funny story! So, at the end of "Lost," the idea is that we've travelled to a different planet, so I wanted to make the little Welcome song that the aliens sing --a la the Family Von Trapp. I thought for a long time about how it should be different. I ended up deciding to make this structure wherein all of the elements playing or speaking had three items in their agenda --one instigator and two neutral responses. The way it worked was, if anyone used their instigator, then everyone else had to respond, and otherwise they could use anything they wanted. So I've got these three friends down there in the studio --Speranza, Cat and Eric--and each of them has three words to say. I figured it would take about five hundred takes to get something where someone didn't stop in the middle to say, "Cody, this is stupid." But we actually got it in two takes. The only reason we didn't get it in one take was that Cat said his instigator, then Speranza said Eric's word by mistake, and Eric looked at him and looked at me like, "Are you going to let that GO?!"
And we all just lost it. As if anyone could tell which of them said "She" in this cacophany of thumb chimes. They've been hanging around me too long, I think.
For this album, I've also written more songs that have speech sections, and I've written in more microtonal sections. Still, there are about 30 candidate songs right now, and only a few of them are really in left field, so who knows which ones will make the cut. That in itself is something different this time. We keep saying that we'll over-record and really pick the BEST 10, but it always comes down to deciding in pre-production what those songs probably are and just recording those. Very few songs end up being recorded and unused. This time, though, I really want to stick to the plan and over-record.
At times you quote or reference earlier songs in new material both lyrically and/or musically. Why? Are you playing with an old idea? Trying to update it? Inside joke?
Right-wing conspiracy. It can be for different reasons. It might be that a part of a song that I know we're never going to do is otherwise something I want to use. Often, it's part of the album ideal. The quotations in River Dreams tie different songs back to each other in the context of that album. Similarly, some of the recent material I've written ties back to a song called "Afraid of Love." In these cases it's again, a loose reference to a central idea that I anticipate being a focus of the next album. Other times, it can be a way of referring back to a person or a theme. For instance, I consider "Leave Me Be" and "Footsteps" really to be the "sequel songs" to "Coyote." It's the same set of symbol characters describing new instances of the same problem. The same problem with ME. It's not usually playful, in the way Sting seems to use self-reference --I typically mean to loosely connect the two songs somehow. I've always admired the way that is done on Abbey Road and also on Sting's Soul Cages album.
What would you say your biggest strength is in writing? In playing?
In writing, I think I'm a good harmonist. As a singer, I think I have a good range. As a drummer, I think I'm reactive to other players.
What would you say your biggest weakness is in writing? In playing?
I think my lyrical idea palette is slim. I have trouble writing sincerely about topics other than love --and really depressing love at that. I still can't make an A-type bar chord, nor can I solo on guitar. I will never be one-tenth the player Speranza is, and you can't even measure me as a decimal Fried. The scale doesn't read accurately at those tiny margins.
You seem to have gotten away from the piano emphasis of some of your earlier writing. Any chance that that will be coming back?
Maybe. College REALLY soured me to it. I practically didn't play it for a whole year after graduating, and I used to play almost every day. To graduate with a music degree, you have to pass "piano proficiency." Nobody has to pass "rhythmic proficiency," but that's just a drummer's complaint. In piano proficiency, there are two parts --the prepared piece, and the sightreading/transposition/harmonization part. Well, I was able to prepare a piece OK and pass that part of the test on the first try, but the harmonization part is fundamentally contrary to my entire musical philosophy, so in having to prepare for that second part of the exam --which essentially was the last thing I had to do before graduating-- I just worked up such a rage for the whole thing. I don't know what will happen. You also have to consider that Speranza is not a big fan of it, and that live, we're pretty much a guitar show, so most songs that I write on piano get converted to guitar songs. "Daughter of Our Enemy," "Lost," and "Cruel" are good examples of this trend.
What do you think of working the coffee shop "circuit"? As a musician, what's the upside and downside to it?
The downside is definitely the money. The upside is that they're easy to get, and the spaces are a little more friendly than your typical bar. Also, some of the most gorgeous girls in the world work in coffee shops. Honestly.
Is there one song that you would say comes closest to capturing what you're about musically and/or lyrically?
"Puff the Magic Dragon." Because I'M from Honalee. No. There are a bunch. I think one called "When" that's a candidate for the next album is a pretty good indication of what I'm typically going for. "Up To Her," "River Dreams," "Daughter of Our Enemy," or "Amazon Women." I don't know, I'm about to rattle off half the catalogue. Every single Renee song is absolutely brilliant.
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Guitar Magazine "picks" the brain of Flip Nasty string meister John Speranza
I: what of the rumors that you're dating Catherine Zeta-Jones?
JohnSperanza: jesus, have you seen her ass? have you seen Zoro? did you see the way she was looking at me? she's diesel.
I: so you two are dating?
js: yeah, I'm slipping her the free willy. Yeah, it's me. She wants me. Fuck you Bandaras!
I: Where did you two love birds meet?
js: Did you just say love birds? Jesus on a bicycle for two, what did you think? Yes we have no fucking bannanas.
i: Let's shift the topic to music.
js: No, no. I wanna talk about all the carpet I'm munching. Ask me another one chumpy.
i: You seem to have left your Andy Summers Fender squire sound behind in favor of a hollow body Roy Orbison groove.
js: Do you even fucking listen to music?
i: There's no need to get hostile.
js: You can eat the penuts out of my shit.
i: What can you tell us about John Fried?
js: What can I say, he's a fucking head case. One of these days he's gonna have to make up his mind?
i: about joining the band full time?
js: No about joining the CIA. Does anybody from your magazine listen to music? Maybe we should slow down and talk fashion. Jesus.
i: why not. how did the versace murder affect your playing?
js: fuck you and your little dog. i slipped it to like 10 super models while they were blind with grief. those chicks go down. i'm hung like a jury my friend.
i: what can you tell us about the upcoming album? cody has been so tight lipped. give us the scoop?
js: cody has some bug up his ass. it's like a fucking moth up there. he can't fucking sit still. he's all figity and shit. i don't know. he pays, i play. what am i saying. he hasn't paid me in like 3 years. overhead my ass. plus he yanked the plug on the most genuine musician i'd ever met. the guy was a genius. cody and i backed him up at paying gigs. we're talking change here. but cody has a sack like a coin purse and couldn't take the heat.
i: musically what's the new music like?
js: it's like an over the hill american screaming tired british rock while masturbating with a guitar. i look at that guitar and i think fucking Lenny Kravitz. Not becuase Lenny Kravitz is a joke to me or anything, but just because I think that the bass player from "are you gonna go my way" has that exact same guitar.
i: what are you talking about?
js: i came with certain answers prepared. i'm just trying to give the answer that best fits your question. i'm a musician, you got a fucking problem with that?
i: do you understand any of cody's lyrics? why doesn't he put them in the liner notes?
js: i don't know. i think Passing Through is about a trojan whore. yeah, i'm sure it's in there. i heard him say trojan whore. he thinks he's so deep. what a loser prick, do you know the last time he got laid? it was like five years ago. ask him about it. he'll lie his ass off, but he knows it's true. he's gotten like one phone number in the last three years and she was in junior high. she left him this saucy note in his tip jar. then i'm like over at his house and he's like, "should i call her?" "do you think i have a shot?" I'm like, "dude, burn the evidence before they press charges." fucking grow up. then another time i'm over there again and he's got the note out on the table, and he's drawing hearts on it and shit. i'm like dude, that's greasy. and he keeps dialing like 6 numbers and hanging up. i think he wrote a bunch of songs about it. they make me feel dirty every time i play them. we were on tour of texas and i had to drive in his stinky filthy van, and he wouldn't ever put the air conditioning on. he's like, i think there's a problem wtih the oil pressure. Dude your fucking oil gauge is busted, and the atmoshpere has been replaced with fucking luke warm water. and he kept singing those fucking lolita, jail bait, titty songs in his stupid adam sandler falseto. he's like, "it makes me feel pubescent". then he would go in the back and spend time in "meditation"". i don't fucking know. but i found a bunch of these junior miss bathing suit catalogs, i mean real jean bonnett creepy. fucking grand jury should look at him. yeah, where's my fucking reward. she lived near my apartment. you think that's a fucking coincidence? he doesn't put the lyrics in the liner notes because his lawyer told him not to. fucking pedophile.
i: so... really... do you actually play with Cody on any of those albums?
js: actually all of the playing is done by non-union russian stand ins. at concerts I just stimulate myself with the back of my guitar.
i: your patented wiggle move?
js: that's the one. it's all natural and all good.
i: is there someone else that I could talk to?
js: why don't you talk to john fried 2000. there's a cubs game coming on.
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FLAME COW FAQs
Flame Cow is the epic tale of a heroic cow (in the classic tradition of heroic cows), a jaw-dropper gorgeous brainy milkmaid, and a cratchety old farmer who together must save the world from a deadly plague of clones unleashed in secret by a dark and brooding supervillain whose inky nebulous influence transcends geographic, political and cosmic borders at an alarming rate. Despite rumors circulating on the internet, the script was absolutely not written by robots.
FLAME COW: Directed by Alan Smithee. Produced by Frumples Pictures/Cosmonaut Films. Screenplay by Script Applicator 4.1 (TM)
Flame Cow: Brian Costello
Milkmaid Petra: Corinna Bucholz
Farmer Johanssen: Krandler
The President: A. Boring
Gringor Stynx: Himself
"David Bowie": "Himself"
The Vice President: Mannequin Man
1. Will Flame Cow be playing at my local theater multiplex chain?
A. Maybe. Be sure to write 1-10 letters to your theater proprietors demanding that it be shown on the big screen.
2. Does Flame Cow have a girlfriend?
A. We think so.
3. Does Flame Cow like carrots?
A. Not as a rule.
4. If Flame Cow and R2D2 had a fight, who would win, and by how much?
A. Flame Cow. 40-Love.
5. Who plays Flame Cow?
A. Flame Cow is not so much played as lived for real by Brian Costello.
6. How does Flame Cow go to the bathroom?
A. In much the same way as Incendiary Otter.
7. Why did George Lucas create Jar-Jar Binks?
A. It's unconfirmed, but we believe Lucas may be just another clone.
8. If Flame Cow and Jar-Jar had a fight, who would win?
A. It's tough to say. Jar-Jar is obviously at least as tough as a Wookie.
9. If Santa gets sick, will Flame Cow save Christmas?
A. No, there will be no Christmas that year.
10. Will there be a Flame Cow II?
A. No. As you have probably seen in the exciting and enticing trailer that gives everything away so that you'll want to see the movie even more desperately than if it was all a surprise, the surprise ending is that all the characters are killed --some of them twice.Back to Table of Contents
VIVE MAGAZINE INTERVIEWS CODY WEATHERS
INTERVIEWER: So this new album is quite a departure from your previous efforts.
CODY WEATHERS: I guess you could look at it that way. I mean, there's a lot more speech-rhythm stuff....
I: Yeah, yeah. You know what we call that "speech-rhythm stuff" here in the office?
CW: Well, I think that in this case, the difference is that I'm using natural speech rhythms to affect the music instead of the other way around....
I: You know which song I like?
CW: Cinderella Dream?
I: That "Bom-dida-bom da Bam-de-bam" song!
CW: Excuse me?
I: Oh, I don't know what it was called, but the chorus goes "Bom-dida-bom da bam-de-bam nikki-nikki...."
CW: Is that Kid Rock?
I: Right! That's the one! That "Kid Rock" song. Hey, you got anything you want to shout out to your homeys in Cell Block 6?
CW: You've got the wrong guy....
I: Right on! Fight the power, dude. Marijuana is a naturally occurring substance with medicinal properties --when are the pigs going to get that?!
CW: No seriously, you've got the wrong guy.
I: Exactly, man, that's what I told 'em, but they're all like "assume the position." Fuckin' cops, man! Sorry man, but I gots to represent here: Look out piggies because we totally outnumber you. Like ten to one. One day you're going to get it right up the ass! Rise and make your voices be heard! Bom-dida-bom!
CW: Have you even listened to the advance copy?
I: Totally, man, I dig it like pussy! I'll tell you, I love it when white guys rap --excuse me "speech rhythm." You know which other song I like?
CW: Oh, let me guess, the "Cowboy" song?
I: Abso-fuckin-lutely! Man, right on! I mean --and don't take this wrong, 'K?-- I was definitely not looking forward to this assignment. 'Cause I listened to some of your other albums, like Songs You Hate, and man, they suck! I was like, "Dave, man, don't make me interview these guys, they suck the shit out of my ass, man!" And he's like, "Chris, this is your last warning!" Man, imagine my surprise when I got this in the listen bin! You've like --I don't know-- saved rock and roll! I mean, like, rock on, dude!
CW: Hey, thanks.
I: All right! Hey everybody, 911 is a joke, but these guys are for totally fucking real. Flip Nasty, check them out. See you on the flip side, sucka! Back to Table of Contents
ALAN SMITHEE TALKS ABOUT THE MAKING OF "FLAME COW"
Interviewer: I've just seen the film, and I've got to confess that I don't understand it.
Smithee: Have you considered that your brain may be undersized?
I: Oh, I recognize the genius --I just don't understand it.
S: That seems to be a common reaction from the undersized-brain crowd.
I: Can you tell us about how the project got started?
S: Well, Brian Costello, who plays the lead in the film, has a chemical imbalance in his brain.
I: Excuse me?
S: If this is too fast for your undersized brain to process, I can slow down.
I: What is it with you and brains?
S: I find that most people I meet have some manner of brain problem. Brian's brain problem is a chemical imbalance. The nature of this imbalance is such that he approached the people at Frumples Pictures and told them that he wanted to do an adaptation of the popular Norwegian comic book, Bål Ku, which roughly translates to "Flame Cow." The higher-ups at Frumples were very keen on making this happen because Brian is, hands-down, the best --or even "only"-- dramatic talent ever to be attached to a Frumples Production. Furthermore, they were encouraged by the fact that Brian claimed to already have the Bål Ku adaptation rights, and they knew that in the current cinematic climate, comic book adaptations are solid gold --just think of The Phantom, The Saint, Batman & Robin, and As Good As It Gets, just to name a few....
I: I guess I don't see how this has anything to do with a "chemical imbalance in Brian's brain." It seems like a pretty standard pitch-and-catch to me.
S: Sure, to the tiny-brained. Let me ask you something: in all your travels to Norway, have you ever heard of a comic book called Bål Ku?
I: Well, I haven't actually been....
S: I don't have time to wait for your answer. Of course you haven't. That's because there is no Bål Ku comic book. Brian Costello is a seriously delusional baboon.
I: So did you tell Frumples Pictures?
S: Are you kidding? I'd sat in on meetings with Brian and the executives where everybody was going on about how much they liked the books, and how we should try to stick to the original look and feel as much as possible.
I: So what did you do?
S: I paid my son $15 to draw a couple of Bål Ku comic books.
S: Hey, it's twice what he gets to mow the lawn. Anyway, he drew a couple of books --I had them printed up real nice, then we started talking about story.
I: Tell us about the writing process.
S: Well, I'm not allowed to tell you that it was written by a computer. Contractually forbidden to tell you that they scanned in one of the comic books, gave the thing a cast of characters and let an algorithmic drama generator crunch the thing over Labor Day. What I can tell you is that the first draft had a lot of problems, including the fact that all of Milkmaid Petra's lines were just "I prefer beef" written in binary ASCII text. So we definitely didn't purchase an upgrade to the software and do a rewrite, that's for sure. So we went through a few revisions, then we ran out of money, and just shot it. Although it might seem like each scene was written entirely independtly of any other scene, that's definitely not the case. I think --despite the poor first draft-- we've managed to really make a pretty meaningful statement about clones and cloning.
I: Wow. So where can people go to see Flame Cow?
S: The film will be shown at a variety of secret times and locations around the country. Basically what you should do is try to just randomly walk around, looking for it. It could be anywhere: the side of a building, an access tunnel, projected on the ground from a moving airplane, your office, the back seat of a Datsun, even a movie theater. Just look for it, and you can't help but find it.
Back to Table of Contents
CODY WEATHERS DISCUSSES LIFE IN LIMBO: THE FLIP NASTY HIATUS OF 2000.
interviewed by Griffin Buboe
T&B: What led to the decision to hiate?
CW: Is that the word: hiate?
T&B: I'm not sure. It seems like it should be.
CW: Maybe we could be kind of cool and adolescent girly and call it hi-8.
T&B: OK. I'm comfortable with that.
CW: So ask me again.
T&B: OK. What led to the decision to hi-8?
CW: So I can't tell from you just speaking whether or not you're spelling it the new way when you're asking.
T&B: I am.
CW: Good. What was the question?
T&B: What led to the decision to hi-8. And by "hi-8" I mean to say little "h" little "i" hyphen number eight.
CW: Excellent question. Our hi-8-s really came about because of several entirely unrelated reasons. First, I have this dog Moses. He's huge. He's this giant white German Shepherd. He weighs 125 pounds. He's massive, and he loves dairy. Dairy and chicken. Anyway, he also smells very sweet and nutmeggy when he's been napping, and I don't know if it's because nutmeg is a hallucinogen or if it's because Moses is really wise, but he just said to me in his sort of worfly doggy voice, "Co-o-o-dy, shake it up. Woof!" Also we can't find Speranza, and Fried and I got into a fistfight. But mostly it was Moses.
T&B: What are your plans for the break?
CW: You mean the hi-8-s?
T&B: Yes......................what are your plans for the hi-8-s?
CW: Well, I'm going to move to Buffalo for a while. I plan to assume a new stage name and nerd the place up. Swank it down, if you know what I mean. I also plan to start working on the next album --maybe with more of an acoustic feel. I'm hoping to mix down a quick album with The Stunt Beatles, pending finishing basic tracks in Denver. And after that, I will probably take some time to help the Executioners finish up their new album h_ngm_n.
T&B: How did you get involved with that project?
CW: Well, Clayton VonSickly is the Vice President of Artist Production at Checkmate. Obviously, I've known him since he was a producer. Now, it's just part of our own underground sound, and the nature of our boilerplate with Checkmate that I've produced or co-produced all nineteen Flip Nasty releases. Furthermore, last year, I produced Leaky Joe's Checkmate debut. Anyway, the Executioners are a very unique group. They're basically an experimental punk band. They're very smart and crisp, and they work a lot with hyperserialism and pastiche, which are philosophically at odds.
T&B: What exactly do those two musical philosophies entail?
CW: Well, hyperserialism is an extreme form of serialism. Serialism is basically a method of liberating yourself from traditional tonality developed by Arnold Schoenberg earlier this century. His thinking was that his ear was incapable of being truly atonal because of the environment in which he was brought up, and so he created this system for serializing the twelve tones of the octave. So basically, you'd come up with some core melody, called the row that uses all twelve tones once each. For instance, you could use: A-C-F-Ab-Eb-E-G-Bb-B-Db-Gb-D. I don't even know how that sounds, but it fits the rule --every note is used, and each is used only once. Well now that you've got your row, you can transpose it, run it backwards, run it upside down --do a bunch of stuff. But you stick with this row and its mathematical variations. Anyway, some students of serialism moved into an arena in which other elements besides pitch were serialized, such as rhythm and duration. This is more what hyperserialism is about. In the case of The Executioners, they serialize more than just pitch. For instance, in the first half of Two Make One, they serialize pitch, rhythm and lyrics. Lethal Injection wrote twelve twelve-word poems and applied variations of the melodic row to them in order to extract the lyric of the song. The chorus came from applying the row to twelve words written by Noose. Furthermore, they have a method of row manipulation that I haven't encountered anywhere else, which they call powers of the row. What they do is they'll take a row like the one above, which numerically from A translates to: 1-4-9-12-7-8-11-2-3-5-10-6. So now, they'll re-apply that sequence to the row, where the row is now expressed as 1-12 consecutively. So for instance, they'll take 1, the first degree of the row is A, then 4, the fourth degree of the original row is Ab, and so forth, arriving at the row squared: A-Ab-B-D-G-Bb-Gb-C-F-Eb-Db-E. And that can go on and on. But then, here's where their punk mentality comes in. Although the method at which they arrive at the musical materials used in the hyperserialist portions of their songs is extremely complicated, they eschew the sparse, mathematical landscape of orchestral serialism, where the row is often disguised and played out over extremely long periods of time. Instead, the executioners hit you right in the face with the row and its variations. This total rock-and-roll aggressive serialist music. It's really quite exciting.
T&B: And the pastiche?
CW: Well hyperserialism is all about control and pre-ordained mathematical choices. There's a loss of some control, but at the same time, there's a very distinct order to the availability of material. Pastiche, on the other hand, is more of a West-Coast philosophy, that comes from the legacy of John Cage or Karlheinz Stockhausen. This is really what Pigeons and Firing Squad bring to the table. They come out of this very guided-improvisational tradition. You think of a song like Grip of the Pete and this really exemplifies pastiche. They'll play literally hundreds of takes and lay seconds of these events at a time onto the track. It's like Jackson Pollack --letting texture hit the canvas. You end up with this field of sudden events and surprises. It's very interesting to participate in because typically, your job as musician or producer is to capture everything good, but in pastiche, you know that the net's not wide enough. You know that you're going to lose a lot of really great things, and keep some horseshit, but you just have to have the strength to let it be what it is.
T&B: That sounds like a difficult job as producer.
CW: It really is a challenge. Hyperserialism demands a very hands-off approach, but pastiche demands split-second decisions and a real commitment to brevity --a real willingness to abandon things mid-stream for the greater effect of the eventual mix. They've run into some producer problems, and Clayton asked me if I'd like to have a go. Of course, I've met the band before --Pigeons even played with us on the infamous 17-minute version of Make Still your Wings from the first Exemplathon [Ed: this version is only available on the Checkmate Sampler, Monkey Eat Monkey]. So I respect their vision. It remains to be seen whether or not I can participate in it effectively enough to really bring it to tape.
T&B: Any other plans for the alpha-numeric hi-8-s?
CW: Who knows. I recently wrote and directed my first feature film, Colfax, and I might take a bit of a musical breather and work on another film or a novel. I've written several short stories, like Robotica, Mine, but never any real long-form fiction. Flame Cow and Clapping Sold Separately really took a lot out of me --they were both monumental projects-- and I've always found that redirecting my creative energy into a different media gives me a certain freshness when I come back to songwriting. There's an actress in Buffalo that I may try to shoot Who Is Jarbus Forquim with, but her window of availability is very small, so nothing's set. Also there have been some development plans for shooting Drunken Dove, but again, nothing specific has come together yet.
T&B: Why Buffalo?
CW: Three little words: beef on weck. My two best friends live in Buffalo and San Diego, and the San Diego guy is --well-- an astronomer, if you get my meaning [toking motion]. But the Buffalo friend tells me there's still hope for Nerd Rock along Lake Erie. She practically begged me to come out there and rock the kids with my nerd. Wouldn't leave me alone, and then Moses sealed it.
T&B: Will Flip Nasty reunite?
CW: Well, you know, Speranza has run away from home or is on the lam or something. We're thinking about putting his picture on something. It's actually prohibitively expensive to put it on milk cartons because of the Got Milk? people, so we're exploring alternatives. The cigarette people are kind of desperate for cash, so that's one option --plus smokers are generally more "can-do" than sissy milk-drinkers. Another option is for me to come out with my own line of Spaghetti Sauces and Salad Dressings with snazzy names like "Hotcha-mama-mia!" or "Where the Fuck is My Guitarist-Caesar!" I don't know.... In the meantime, I'm going to have Fried cryogenically preserved --there's no sense in risking him to diseases that we will one day be able to cure.
T&B: Won't you be exposing yourself to those same diseases?
CW: Oh no. I'm invincible.Back to Table of Contents
CODY WEATHERS PUNCHED IN FACE BY JUNKIE: HIS ACCOUNT
I was, in fact, walking down the street, minding my own business. The street? Elmwood. For those of you from Denver, it's like Old South Gaylord, or 2nd avenue in Cherry Creek. For those of you from Portland, it's like NW 23rd. For those of you from Buffalo, well, you know what it's like. In any event....
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Excuse me, Cody, but what was the business?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: I think if there's one thing Dr. Lee Garrett taught to us ever so well in Music Theory it was that balance --*balance*, Cody, are you even listening? BALANCE is key. This is what Fuchs instructs us. Not bach, Cody. bach doesn't make the rules.... are you not listening?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Fuchs! Fuchs makes the rules. You can't write a fugue without balance! Where's the counterpoint? You told us the street. Now tell us the business.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Fuchs! Fuchs!
I had just rented some videos, which I was carrying in my hand.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: That's good, but now give it some DETAIL. What *else* was in your hand?
I had the receipt for the videos. It was under my thumb, pressed against the cover of the video.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Good! Now your counterpoint is literally singing to me. Singing like this: hello, my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal.... Continue!
So I was walking down Elmwood the other bay, having just rented some videos. When all of a sudden, this scruffy-type character about my age gets up and mumbles something, which I presume to be "do you have any cigarettes." But I didn't quite hear him, so I said, "What?"
Next thing I know, I'm opening my eyes. I'm on my back on the ground. I get up....
ROBERT MCINTOSH: What about the videos?
I didn't even drop them.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: and the receipt?
Still between my thumb and the cover of JAWS. So I get up, and calm as the deep blue sky, I say to the guy "Now why'd you go and do that, man?"
"Do you have a fucking problem with me?!"
"Are you OK?"
"Of course I'm fucking OK! Do you have a problem with me, motherfucker?!"
"No." And then I just resumed walking.
About half a block later, I had what James Joyce would refer to as an epiphany when I started tasting blood in my mouth. I suddenly realized that HEY! I WAS JUST PUNCHED IN THE FACE! THAT FUCKING NUTJOB JUST PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE! WHY THE FUCK WOULD THAT WACKOID ASS FARMER DO A FUCKING THING LIKE PUNCH ME IN THE FACE?! ASS- MUNCH! WHY DIDN'T I REALIZE THAT I'D BEEN PUNCHED IN THE FACE?! WHY DID I THINK I WAS LYING ON THE GROUND --TO TAKE A MID-MORNING NAPPIE-POO? WHY DID I, THE PUNCHEE, SEEK TO ENGAGE HE, THE PUNCHER IN A CIVIL DISCOURSE ABOUT SOME "THING" HE HAD DONE TO ME? WHO DO I THINK I AM: JESUS? WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER BEING PUNCHED IN THE FACE? WAS I PUNCHED IN THE FACE BY ALIENS?! WILL I HAVE TO UNDERGO HYPNOTIC REGRESSION TO ONE DAY DISCOVER THAT I, LIKE THOUSANDS OF OTHERS ACROSS THESE UNITED STATES AND EVEN CANADA, HAD BEEN PUNCHED IN THE FACE BY A SKINNY-NECK ALIEN BEING? IS THERE NO JUSTICE FOR CODY?!
So then, this old couple brushes by me and I say --well, I probably could've phrased this differently. Yes, in hindsight, i definitely should've found another way of saying this, but instead, what *I* said was:
"Can I give you a word of warning?"
To which they gasped and looked at me like I was some kind of random face-punching street freak strung out on "the crack cocaine."
But I continued, "See that guy? I was just walking by and for really no reason, he socked me right in the mouth. So you might want to cross the street."
ROBERT MCINTOSH: And that's how it ends?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Well *I* don't feel particularly satisfied with this.
What would you like?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Well my biggest question is probably *why* did he punch you in the face?
I don't know. I was knocked out.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: But you didn't even drop the *videos*. Am I to infer that you were actually *knocked out* when you didn't even drop the *videos*?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Well, does ANYBODY know what happened?
Presumably HE does.
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Did you get his phone number?
ROBERT MCINTOSH: Well I want there to be a contest. I want the *people* to tell me why he punched you in the face. And I want you to post those reasons on your website so that a team of eScientists like I've seen on IBM ads on TV can decide which reason is true.
THE PEOPLE'S TOP REASONS:
- I hate vikings! I fucking hate them, motherfucker! Gary Gunter
- The man, who used to be the most successful Kato Kaelin celebrity look-alike in Buffalo until business dried up, had just been pondering how the homeless are the "invisible people" of America today. What Cody didn't really hear but thought might have been a request for cigarettes, was actually the man murmuring under his breath, "If one more bastard comes out of that video store and acts like he can't understand me when I talk to him, I swear I'm going to punch him so hard..." Steve Vahl
- You were wearing your "I have a problem with crazy violent people" T-shirt. That's asking for trouble, Cody. John Addington
- The man on the street had actually acted in JAWS as a small child (as one of the revelers on the ill-fated beach), and was extremely traumatized by it, seeing as how he was too young to quite grasp that the styrofoam shark wasn't real. Anyway, he moved from Cape Cod to Buffalo when it became clear that his very strong and irrational fear of sharks prohibited him from living near the sea, but it didn't help...he actually because more frightened of sharks, convinced that they were following him around, spiking his coffee, bugging his house, watching him via satellite (hence the tinfoil lining his pants, you didn't notice that did you?) and the like. And then you walk by, innocently holding a copy of JAWS, with a picture of the ringleader of all sharks, THE GREAT WHITE TOOTHY ONE HIMSELF, which convinced him that you were a shark-minion, come to finish him off finally. So he punched you. Kathy Reeves
- I object. "Robert McIntosh"
- Man is actually alien. Fell to Earth. Forgot anal probe. Horribly embarassed by mixup. David Bowie
- Cody was punched because the puncher was actually channeling the spirit of the average working man. Cody is currently not working, and I want to punch him too. Eric Rorem
- I'm suprised he didn't kill you, after all you WERE standing on his dick. Joh3n O'Meara.
Back to Table of Contents
AND NOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH BACKUP VOCALIST/NOVELIST CAT "TAC" MAYHUGH
G: Begin interview with "Tac" Cat Mayhugh.
C: Actually, it's Cat "Tac" Mayhugh.
G: Right, Tic Tac Mayhugh.
C: No, Cat "Tac" Mayhugh.
G: Kit Kat Mayhugh?
C: Is that thing on?
C: Maybe we should just get on to the interview?
G: Right, I'm here with "Tac" Cat Mayhugh, backup vocalist/novelist/producer/keyboardist for UFO Catcher.
C: Actually, I'm not going to really have a whole lot to do with UFO Catcher, I've mostly worked with Roque/Splat Monkey/Flip Nasty....you know, all the fundamental Cody/Speranza/Fried incarnations.
G: Whatever, let's get down to business. What juicy tidbits do you have for us today?
C: (silence)..............................huh? I don't....
G: C'mon, you can tell me....
G: What's new in the life of "Tac?"
C: Well, I just finished my first novel, called The Secret Book of Designs. I'm trying to find an agent.
G: Hmmm....what's the album like? Is it reminiscent of your work with UFO Catcher?
G: I'm sorry, maybe the cat's not supposed to be out of the bag yet! (laughs) It's just, after talking with Cody recently....he really lamented some of the directions that the band's taken after you produced their album, "Checkmate." That is, I mean, he liked the "Checkmate" production quality and feels.... They've taken a nose-dive since then. On a personal note, I have to say, the tripled-up guitar and the garage quality, raw sound you brought to that album was a good two or three years ahead of it's time. People...people, like, but not quite anybody associated Kurt Cobain, but people LIKE Curt Corbain have cited that album as one of their primary influences. I don't use the word often, but some might even call it "genius."
C: It's a book.
G: Right, right....Sort of like your work with Flame Cow.
G: Well, I assume you let Script Applicator 4.1 write the book as well.
C: Hell no!
G: It has wonderful production quality. It's turbulence brings excitement and moisture to my water-life.
C: What? That's not even a question. I mean, what sort of mockery is this?
G: Ummm, well, yes, of course. You're "Tac" Cat Mayhugh. Let me see, it says here you're an erstwhile backup vocalist on just about every album....
C: Actually, that's not true. I didn't sing on "Less Yakin'" or "Snausages" (which personally, I have to admit I wish was called "Sinus Sausage") Even "The Flame Cow Soundtrack." I wasn't on Flame Cow. I've been absent for most of the really great albums.
G: BUT, you ARE listed as contributing backup vocals on the soundtrack.
C: Yeah, but that was just Cody being nice.
G: Hey! Hey! No need to leave! Here, just sit down. Alright, let's get down to business.
C: Do you have any real questions for me?
G: Well....there's....I could....OK, here's one. What can you tell me about the new, top-secret band that's so secret that the members don't even know that they're in the band?
C: What could I possibly tell you?
G: Are you going to be in that band?
C: How would I know?
G: Are the band and the book related?
C: No. Although....
C: I can't really say....I suppose I could say. Cody's bought the rights to turn the book into a rock opera/movie. Like the Wall. Or Flame Cow. But I don't think that the Secret band and the Secret Book are actually related. I think UFO catcher will be doing the soundtrack for the book. But, then again, what do I know? They always keep me in the dark. That's why I miss whole albums....
G: Will you be producing either the secret band or the secret book?
C: I doubt it. You know, legal complications have kept me from really doing any producing.
G: AH! Now, we're getting somewhere! What legal complications?
C: I'd rather not say. I don't need Blue Oyster Cult on my ass any more than they are. Ever since Pearlman produced the Clash....well, I won't go into it. Really, I can't. The whole Imaginos fiasco....
G: So the work you'll do with UFO Catcher is all hush, hush.
C: I'm not DOING any work with UFO Catcher! God, how many times do I have to say it? I've never DONE any work with UFO Catcher.
G: Are you still a pimp?
G: Cody told me that one of your strong traits as a...."producer" is your ability to get really high quality whores in the studio when it's really, really necessary.
G: Is it true you pimp out some of the big celebrities like...
C: Wait, wait, just a minute! I....I AM NOT A PIMP!
G: Oh, c'mon. It's off the record. Completely off the record.
C: I'm not a pimp.
C: (silence)..............................OK, but completely off the record I can get you anyone at any time.
G: Julia Roberts?
C: I can't say any more till I see some dough.
G: We'll, I've got....(end)
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EXCERPT FROM JOHN SPERANZA'S HOBO DIARY:
I received this excerpt by Hobo post on May 12th, 2000, approximately two months after Flip Nasty guitarist John Speranza ran away from home. At the risk of repeating widely-reported newspaper accounts of his disappearance, I will summarize a few salient facts here. They are these: on or about March 11th, 2000 -- the long-awaited release date of Flip Nasty's groundbreaking live album, Clapping Sold Separately-- John's parents, "Mr." and "Mrs." Speranza, noticed that they were missing a broomstick and bright red handkerchief from the hamper. Fearing the worst, they rushed to John's room, where they had believed him to be listening to music. However, their terrible nightmare began with the realization that John was not at home and many of his favorite toys and knick-knacks were conspicuously absent from their usual places. Trying not to panic, they combed the neighborhood. The truth was, John had "run away" on at least two prior occasions. Once in January of 1981 when his mortal kindergarten enemy, Shawn Sacker, was accidentally invited to his 6th birthday party. Then again in August of 1998, when Flip Nasty announced a Texas tour, and John --in a hysterical phone message to Cody Weathers-- confessed that he was "afraid of Houston." On both occasions, John was found in a nearby King Soopers grocery store, attempting to burrow into the lettuce bin of the produce section. His mother notes how "....John has always liked lettuce. I used to give it to him as a baby, and he used to say he was going to be a lettuce policeman when he grew up." But the scene of his second discovery was hardly as proud as the brave tradition of lettuce enforcement: "Leave me alone. I hate Houston. I hate you. I just want to stay here in the lettuce," John told a sympathetic Weathers upon his discovery. "Dude, we won't go to Houston, I promise." But Weathers tricked John and the band played two shows in "Brownsville, I swear" before John noticed a local newspaper. The betrayal was devastating, and Speranza never truly trusted Weathers again. And so the Speranzas --their hearts in their throats-- returned to the grocery, but John was nowhere to be found. Not in the lettuce, not in the cabbage, not even the green peppers! A furious Mrs. Speranza left a threatening message on Weathers' erratic answering machine: "This is all your fault! You're always pushing him! Always pushing, never pulling! Pushing and shoving him to Houston, you prick bastard! If anything's happened to him, I'll eat your fucking eyes!" Search parties were formed, but no trace of the scamp was ever turned up. Until 5/12, when I received this account of his whereabouts, written on available paper from fast food wrappers and railyard debris, and loosely bound with dried rubbery rat sinews. What follows is a harrowing account of a frightened boy and his dream of a hobo lifestyle.
--Randy Napkin, COO Checkmate Records
Day 1: I woke before the dawn and gathered my important things: Dr. Bearyskin, my hockey cards, my nude Catherine Zeta-Jones magazine, and my pinhole camera. I wrapped them up tight in a bundle and tied it to the end of a stick. I'm tired of my life here and the pressure of being the best guitarist in the world in the most important band in the history of music. I want to be a hobo like my hero, microtonalist Harry Partch. Harry Partch built his own instruments and tempered them to his own microtonal scales. I wish I could play the Boo or the Spoils of War, but it's not so bad --I always have the pedal rubber band guitar that I invented. As with all fretless instruments, its tonal possibilities are theoretically endless. But I need rails under these tired bones. Rails and the rattle of the freight car through the moonless night.
Day 2: Snuck past the Railway Billies and hopped the Burlington to Kearney, NE. This country is so vast and full of the promise that only open land and clear skies can bring. I pity those fools in Europe with their precious industrial trains. This is a real train. The iron horse. The great hundred ton buffalo that drops you along the arteries of the greatest nation in the world. I skipped off just outside of town and shoeshone the rail the rest of the way in. Found my dinner behind Burger King. Found my first hobo knife there, too. Sure it's plastic, but I sharpened it. I figure tomorrow, I'll get fat on squirrel. I'm so glad to be away from Cody and his incessant whining. "Record this, film that, let's go to Chucky & Plucky's!" Fried was right about him --he's neither pickle nor chicken; he's the vomit.
Day 3: Still heading east. Made it to Avoca, IA. Got so hungry I had to stick a board out the door and help myself to nature's plenty. Within minutes, the board was sticky and heavy with splattered bugs. I used my hobo knife to liberate this glorious meal. This is exactly the sort of thing that Harry Partch just intuitively knows, but Cody will never understand. Hopped the train and went to find Cat's farm.
Day4: Cat wasn't there, but I broke a window and helped myself to some new clothes and some Count Chocula. It felt good to eat something wholesome. It's too bad he wasn't there --we could've talked at length about how we both hate Cody and his domineering insistent manner. I remember when I first joined the band, back in '90. Joh3n O'Meara had produced Roque & Roll and Separate Ways, but bossy Cody (big surprise!) made him go to Germany to "work on his craft," leaving us without a producer with the fans --the people!-- clamoring for more nerd rock. New nerd rock! Well, what now, Mr. Bossy Boss Bossman? Who's going to produce us into the next level? Huh? I'll tell you who. Cat Mayhugh. It was such a thrill working with him on Checkmate, and I guess that was the high that kept me in that horrible horrible band for so long. Cat's innovative "hands-off" approach really "anti-guided" us into uncharted three-guitar rock territory --it was an amazing journey, and I eagerly awaited an opportunity to push ourselves to the next level. But even as I was building new instruments --the Frisbee Celeste, the Vacuum Hose Butt Trumpet, and the Pearls Up My Nose-- Mr. Bossity Bossity Bossity Bossity was calling a band meeting. Oh, whine! "I don't like Cat's production!" Boo-hoo, you tonal pansy! "I don't think he knows his craft!" Shame! "I'm demoting him to backup vocals!" Well, I should've known enough to leave then. The butterfly of record producer Cat Mayhugh cut down by a leaf blower before it could fully arrive. I thought that maybe out here on the farm, he could be Gunnar Johansen to my Harry Partch, providing the ranch and food and video games for my microtonal genius. But he's not here. I hope he knows the tragedy unfolding.
Here, there is an abrupt disturbance in the force, and there were no more entries into the journal for quite some time.
Day 92: Skincollector Ernie taught me to be an eHobo, and I was tempted by the shiny lure of Torch & Bacon. I see that my disappearance received a couple of sentences, but Cody's relocation to Buffalo is covered at length. "Hiatus." This band ain't never getting back together! Not if I have anything to say about it. Oh, I suppose if Cody and Fried make kissy-face, they'll call it Flip Nasty, but really, it'll just be fucking Solar Zundap. I find new bark for shoes and start walking North to the Great Lakes. I'm so cold, mother.
Day 110: I make my droppings on his fire escape and watch him work in the new studio. Working on The Stunt Beatles' new album. Sellout. Not one handmade instrument. You're just a tool of the man. A tool of the equal-tempered man. Harry Partch would eat you with beans in the desert and make marimbas of your hollow bones. Then at last you'd be making a musical contribution. Monkey. I stir my feather stew and contemplate Cody's redemption. I shall redeem him.
Day 126: They tell me it is the 4th of July. It doesn't matter to me. It doesn't matter when you're just part of invisible America. I clutch my ratskin coat close to my filthy hide in the blistering heat and await my vengeance. I paid a junkie to punch my nemesis. Paid him with his life! I said, "you punch that guy and I won't scrape you!" "I don't want to punch some guy." "You punch him! You will or I'll gut you like a tasty gutted rat that I ate for breakfast! Punch!" "OK, crazy dude, you sure are crazy with your little knife there." "Punch!" "Calm down. I'll punch him, although it sure isn't the Christian thing to do!" "Punch him, you monkey, and you tell him it's from Speranza." I wait for my satisfaction. The oaf Bossity Boss Boss comes out of Blockbuster. He's carrying his lame videos. Jaws. Please. Those films are just used to tell you a story or sell you something. Free yourself. Film is a fluid visual medium. Even down the road Mondo Video claims to be about finding real films, but it's all just porn. Where's my Stan Brackage? Jaws. This is gonna be good. My servant rises from the bench. "This is from Speranza." "What?" POW! He clocks that bastard Cody right out of his shoes and he goes down hard. Hits his head on the pavement and just lays there, twitching. Then he gets up and he says, "What did you do that for?" POP HIM AGAIN, MY DESTITUTE PUNCH SLAVE! POP HIM OR GET SCRAPED! But he doesn't pop him. I creep up behind my lackey and I scrape him good. Junkie pie for a week. I'm coming home to the world. Coming home to Colorado. The clatter of the rails awaits me. I'm finished with that ape. Just know this --he's no composer, and he's no songwriter, and he's no artist!
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Flip Nasty is Dead; Long Live UFO Catcher!: 3/8/01: Partial Transcript of Checkmate Records CEO Wally Haht-Caulkie's surprise press conference regarding the dissolution of Flip Nasty:
WHC: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It was brought to my attention that we forgot to tell anybody that Flip Nasty broke up permanently a few months. Checkmate plans to release one final archival live album, entitled If Flip Nasty Falls In The Forest.... and production of the Flip Nasty Unreleased Box Set, begun with Disc 1: I Hate You will continue unabated, but the members have made it clear to each other and to the record company at large that they will not work together under any circumstances ever again. Rest assured that every method suggested by our collective lewd imaginations was attempted to reconcile the increasingly-disparate geniuses, including --but not limited to-- a rooftop concert, a nude pleasure cruise, and a special guest appearance on Felicity, but none of these dangling carrots could overcome the verbal and physical animosity between the creative elements of the band, and ultimately, their choices were made with their fists and not their purses or little tight skirts. Oh, they'll tell you in interviews that it was because of John Fried's decision to return to grad school or John Speranza's nomadic and sudden relocation to San Francisco or even Cody Weathers' impending marriage to former backup "speechist" and Miss Teen Oregon, Vaunne Ma, but ultimately it comes down to the infamous backstage fistfight at the 2000 Checkmate Exemplathon in Red Desert, WY and ensuing contract-style vagrant-for-hire punching of Cody by a ruffian in league with Speranza. And though these kinds of gripes may seem petty to those of us who live in the real world and deal with everyday problems like oil changes and shopping for groceries, let us remember that these are rock stars, who have been coddled in soft plush teddy bears full of $100 bills since they were teenagers, and who may have lost some of their perspective on the workings of the real world. In the meantime, Checkmate Records is proud to announce the signing of the first official Flip Nasty splinter band, UFO Catcher, formed by singer/guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/drummer/songwriter Cody Weathers and participant Vaunne Ma. UFO Catcher is already hard at work on their first studio release, tentatively titled Have You Fed The Monkeys?, with a projected release date of Christmas 2001.
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Attention audiophiles: Checkmate Records announces the futuristic re-release of Flip Nasty back catalogue on new 21st-century digital "CD" media!
Checkmate Records --always one move ahead of the competition-- has never been shy about embracing new technology. Says CEO Wally Haht-Caulkie, "when I first told our people that I wanted to welcome in the twenty-first century with something high-tech and cutting-edge like releasing all the old Flip Nasty albums on CD, I was practically laughed out of the room." He adds, "now I guess I know how Edison felt!" The new CDs feature extended liner notes and --often-- additional bonus tracks not included on the original cassettes. "I would consider it a 'must-have' for the discerning gentleman or gentlewoman," insists Haht-Caulkie. Torch & Bacon has correspondingly expanded the album listings and store to reflect the expanded material and several attractive price packages for fans wishing to update their collections. Asked what we can expect next from this visionary record company, Haht-Caulkie responded, "The sky's the limit. By that, I mean, we're limited by the fact that there is currently no means of travelling across the sky, but I plan to have my people look into the creation of a 'mechanical bird' which could carry passengers, cargo, and --most importantly-- Flip Nasty records from city to city in a fraction of the time it currently takes by horseless carriage."
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Surprise ER Guest Performance! (excerpt from Vital Signs)
Friday, 9/19/03: For one brief, shining moment, the Emergency Department held the focus of up to ten mesmerized onlookers as mild-mannered research assistant Cody Weathers performed the stirring, hyperactive songs of the wild nerd in celebration of Employee Service Excellence week. Of his newfound fame, Weathers says, "I won't let it go to my head --even though overnight I've become a multi-dollaraire, I still plan to continue working for the department because it keeps me grounded and makes the music more real." The brief, shining moment was said by some sources to have lasted for approximately one hour.
Prior to moving to Portland in 2001, Weathers served as frontman for Denver nerd band Flip Nasty, whose albums have sold literally hundreds of copies worldwide. His latest project, UFO Catcher, is currently working on the followup to their 2002 debut, The Tale of A Sad And Lonely Boy Who Dreamed of Love. Cody's rise to musical prominence, culminating in this modern-day Buddohsukan, is the subject of a forthcoming biography from Checkmate Music Press, available in stores this holiday season.
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Cody Answers the Tough Questions with your host, EZluvR
EZluvR here. Cody Weathers is the artist. Fortnight is the album under discussion.
E: Why write an entire album in 3 days?
CW: It's actually a song a day for 14 days. It seems over the past several years that the writing process has been steadily elongating for me, and I wanted to get back in touch with my Checkmate-era methods, when I was at my most prolific. I originally thought of this album as an experiment or exercise, expecting a lot of poor songs to come out, but I'm actually very pleased with the results.
E: Are you paid by the song or by the hour? Isn't this just horrible way of short-changing your audience? When I buy an album I always assume I'm buying a big chunk of that artist's time. Sometimes I'll even mentally picture the artist chained to their instrument for me. Usually they're dressed in rags or even some sort of leather harness. In fact, I'm starting to see you right now, on your knees...
CW: Well, in answer to your first question, I'm actually paid by the bright idea. As far as part two goes, I don't think these are lesser songs by any stretch. In the past, I've always had songs which were written in one sitting --two notable, incredibly popular examples being "So Will I" and "Blue As The Moon." There's probably at least one such song on every album I've ever put together. The only difference here is that I've never set out to write that way specifically. I guess I can understand the skepticism, but no matter how hard you yank on my dog collar, I'm not going to believe that these songs are less than album-worthy. From a writing standpoint, this project has been a very successful one. And I'm going to have to disagree with you about "buying a big chunk of the artist's time." There are many great bands and/or albums that get their spark from a spontaneity of performance or composition. Similarly, I have personally known some bands who agonize over their material and end up beating it into the ground. I think the bottom line is whether or not the songs and performances have that elusive je ne sais quoi which perks your pickle. Results, not effort. Pert pickle.
E: I'm sure you'd have us believe all of that. But allow me to be even more antagonistic. Haven't you really just shifted the time and effort to the production side? How many Fortnights have gone in to the recording and mixing side? Rumors have it that you've frittered away most of the studio time mastering exciting new instruments like the spoons or doing stunt takes like blindfolded drumming. What else could have possibly caused the delay?
CW: Well, since you're 33% of the audience, I knew I needed to sell you a big chunk of my time to make you happy. It seems like pretty soon, I'm going to have to stop supplying serious answers to these questions if I want to survive the barrage and stop sniffling, but I'll hold out just a little longer. Since the writing was so quick, I wanted some time to rehearse my performances and familiarize myself with the songs themselves. To that end, I recorded a full "rough draft" version of the album with guitar, drums, and vocals. After extensive review of the rough draft, I started my normal pre-production routine: writing parts, making clicks, laying down tracks. Learning the anal ukelele. To prevent you from interjecting, I'm going to now segue into answering the question you should've asked: "What's the production direction this time out?" Well, I'm glad you asked. This is going to be a return to a heavier sound --no acoustic guitars, going for a power-trio feel. I'm really happy with the guitar sounds I've been getting for the final tracks, and I think this album may finally be my peace with the ROQUE purists out there.
E: The music industry is a school of hard knocks. Take your lumps. Take 'em! Anywho... Power trio. Any guest musicians this time out? Are you manning the ax yourself? More atonal fun? Backing vocals by the Codettes again? Enough. I stain the divan.
CW: Hasn't Mariah Carey suffered enough? I'm required by our legal department to tell you that all instruments and vocals will be performed by myself or Vaunne, who plays no instruments. There will be one guest scat by Cara Weathers, who I discovered. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, a la CHECKMATE. One thing that will be different vocally is that I'll be doing more doubling [singing the same part in unison], like I did on My Every Dream's Come True.
[INTERVIEWER TAG-TEAMS SIMON COWELL]
SC: Sounds to me like you'll merely be increasing our suffering. Seriously, I don't know what to say about you. I thought William Hung was the worst singer in the world, but you may be the worst singer in the proud history of the British Empire. And you honestly think the answer is to record more of your voice? Incredible.
RANDY JACKSON: Dude. Duuuude. Horrible. Seriously. This business is not for everyone.
SC: Some dreams need to be crushed. You have no place in this industry.
RJ: Goodbye, dream.
CW: I invoke my right of James Lipton.
[JAMES LIPTON ASSUMES CONTROL OF INTERVIEW]
JL: At the end of each interview, I ask my guests to respond to the renowned questionnaire du Monsieur Bernard Pivot. First Question: What is your favorite word?
JL: What is your least favorite word?
JL: What is your favorite curse word?:
JL: What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
CW: Creatively: songs that just float there like Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; crunchy crunchy guitars. Spiritually: vistas. Emotionally: Vaunne's kiss.
JL: What turns you off?
CW: Pulling rank.
JL: What sound do you love?
CW: When Cara can't stop giggling.
JL: What sound do you hate?
JL: What profession, other than yours, would you like to attempt?
CW: I'd like to own a Japanese-style American cuisine cafe on the Oregon coast with seating for 4-8 people serving the meals I love to cook made to order to polite applause and tastefully-framed rave reviews.
JL: What profession would you not like to participate in?
JL: What would you like to hear God say at the Pearly Gates?
CW: This is your home.
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The Making of Fortnight: Griffin Buboe interviews Cody Weathers about the ins and outs of recording Fortnight.
GRIFFIN: Let's talk shop a little bit about this album. First, how about you lay a little groundwork and tell those of us who don't produce hit records for a living a little bit about the basics of recording.
CODY: OK. I'm not a music historian, but since the early 60's the recording process has had at its core the use of multi-track recorders. This means that instead of everybody crowding around the microphone and playing the song at the same time, you can record each piece independently. Back in the old days, they only had 4 tracks to work with, so they sometimes had to get tricky (see every Beatles album). These days, studios can daisy-chain recorders together and keep them synchronized or use digital recorders, so it's not uncommon for professional studios to have 64 tracks at their disposal. I am currently recording on an 8-track Alesis ADAT, having previously recorded Archaeology and River Dreams on a 4-track analog machine. All of the outside-studio albums we did were 16-track analog, and our first three albums (and part of As Rome Burns) were 2-track analog, where we really didn't have a true multi-tracker, but instead gathered around the mic and played all the instruments together, then sang along with the tape in a live mixdown.
G: How does the multi-track recording become what you hear on the CD?
C: Great leading question. Well, I'll tell you. After you've recorded all your multiple elements, you do a mixdown. Simply put, this is the stage where you assign the relative volumes of each of the elements and also their relative strength in the left vs right speakers (this is called pan). Pro studios also assign effects like reverb and delay in this stage, but I've always "burned" my effects with the recording. This means that I make the effect part of the recorded sound, rather than a flexible option that the recorded sound passes through on the way to mixdown. So I paint it blue rather than put on my blue sunglasses.
G: Why? Also, why is reverb used at all?
C: Reverb and delay are used to create the natural-sounding illusion of distance. They mimic the auditory clues your ear is accustomed to hearing from the dissipation and return of sound in a room. In the studio, tracks are often recorded in such a way that can sound disconcertingly-nearby on playback if you don't give them some artificial depth. By adding reverb, you can make a sound appear to be eminating from further away from you or else make it appear to be resonating in a larger space. I burn effects in part because of the limitations of my equipment and in part because I think that I perform better when I'm able to react to the final complete sound I'm making.
G: What are the primary considerations you face as a producer? What does a producer do?
C: Generally speaking, a record producer is like the director of a film. They don't necessarily write or perform the material, but they make decisions about how the album should eventually sound. This obviously covers a broad range of responsibilities, which different producers emphasize to different degrees. The primary considerations I face are: planning and evaluating the performances, capturing the sound, and planning the overall feel of the album. When I work with an outside artist --say, Barry Shapiro-- I try to be as hands-off as I can. My preference is to make them aware of the checklist and let them fill it in. Similarly, in a band situation like Flip Nasty, I want to make sure that the players get as much say as possible, even if I've written their parts and envisioned the end-product in detail. I wrote almost all of Fried's parts out fully, but he still had a lot of say about nuances or alterations to the part. He was also very involved in defining the band's overall style. Speranza was a very liquid player who took what I wrote and made it his own. He was also a very flexible, gifted improvisatory soloist and we were able to discuss ideas together and have him craft something great out of those discussions.
Recording Fortnight, since I am --in truth-- the only player on the project, it comes down more to planning.
G: Is that easier or harder?
C: It's harder, but in a good way. I'm able to really put my own vision out there, but can't rely on other people's talent to fill in the gaps. If I want a guitar solo, I can't just know that Speranza will come up with a great one: I have to do it.
G: What are some specific production decisions that differed between "The Tale of a Sad & Lonely Boy Who Dreamed of Love" and "Fortnight?"
C: Now there are two titles that can't play on the see-saw. With "Tale...." I started by wanting to do more of an organic, acoustic feel. I wanted to capture the kind of performance I get live. So I didn't use clicks [metronomes] for most of the songs. I would start by recording voice and guitar together, like I do live, then add other instruments. This time out, I was really trying to achieve a specific set of goals. Iwanted to get a much tighter groove, a heavier sound, and more consistent group of instruments. I was really inspired by the infectiousness of Jumpin off of the second Poundhound album and also the bass part from Future Love Paradise off of the first Seal album. So I went ahead and recorded a full-length demo of the entire album, then made sequenced click tracks [metronome tracks with additional automated instruments for guidance], then mapped out the tracks and started laying down the material.
G: What does your track map look like, and what order did you tackle the instruments?
C: Here's the track map:
*Note: (S) denotes Stereo image of same source instrument
|1||F||The Sound My Heart Makes||more rock||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V1b(Dist)||V2||Voc1|
|2||F||At First Sight||more energy & expressiveness||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||Voc1||LeadG|
|3||M||I Don't Fear It Anymore||buckleyize||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V1b(Dist)||V1c(clean)||Voc1||Flab Bass|
|4||M||Love Is All The Gold||expand on demo||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V2||V3||Voc1||djembe|
|5||F||Catnip||fun it up||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V3||V2||Voc1||cooing|
|6||F||Avalanche||tighten, believe it||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V1b(Dist)||V2||Voc1|
|8||M||Goodbye, Dream||clip the groove||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V3||V2||Voc1||djembe|
|9||M||Happy||make it sing||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V3||V2||Voc1|
|10||F||Shark-Sad Circles||grease it up||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V3||V2||Voc1|
|11||F||Worth My Weight||tighter, more confident||Bass||Drums||G1||G1(S)||V3||V2||Voc1|
|12||M||Come Home Soon||electrify||Bass||djembe2||G1||G1(S)||claps||shaker||Voc1||djembe|
|14||M||Birdsong||crunch & shout||Bass||Drums||G1||G2||G3||V2||Voc1||G4|
|15||S||Lucky Man||keep 4t demo||G1||G1(S)||Voc1|
The notes are my brief critiques of the demos. The only place where I didn't really see something to improve was on Lucky Man. The demo was such a one-time spontaneous performance that I doubted I'd be able to truly replicate it and didn't think there was any need to, given the sparseness of the track. But to answer your question, after putting down clicks, the major elements were recorded in this order:
- All guitar tracks
- All lead, backup, and doubling vocals
- All drum tracks
- All bass tracks
- All other auxilliary tracks
My rationale for this order is that my rhythm guitar playing is pretty solid and pretty fixed. It's really the foundation of each song. The lead vocal is where I really improvise and invent most, so I want as clean a slate as possible for that. As a drummer, I'm best reacting to the ideas I invent in the vocal line. And finally, as a bassist, I want to make sure that I lock in with the actual performances of the other parts and come up with fills that are complementary to the remaining spaces and ideas.
G: Not to be a stickler, but what about the auxilliary parts you mentioned last?
C: I don't support auxilliarism, but am contractually-bound to include it.
G: Anyone familiar with the band knows about your past creative struggles with outside producers like Joh3n O'Meara and --more so-- Cat Mayhugh. How does your approach differ from theirs?
C: Mine is the correct, professional approach, and theirs is childish and stupid. [Rebuttal][Rebuttal]
G: Let's talk gear. You don't have endorsement deals, but what equipment did you use for this album and what have you used in the past?
C: All the guitar tracks are a Fender Stratocaster recorded direct (no amp) through a Line 6 Pod with custom patches for each song. With few exceptions, that's been the signature Roque/Flip electric guitar. My acoustic guitars (not used on this album) are both Ibanez Performance models, my 12-string acoustic is also an Ibanez, I think, and my other electric is an Ibanez Steve Vai. My bass is an Ibanez 5-string, and I can't remember the model. I liked the Line 6 Pod so much that I also picked up the Bass Pod, which is what I used for this album. The guitar unit is more useful, though. When I do record with a guitar amp on other albums, I use either a Peavey Bandit or a Marshall quarter-stack. All the drumset on this album is real playing on an electronic kit (i.e. not a drum machine, but me hitting pads with sticks unadjusted in real time) --I use a Roland V-Drum pro kit, pictured on the index page of this site. Prior albums have been recorded with a couple of different acoustic kits. Up until Guitool, I used a very cheap 4-piece Ludwig student kit with a variety of accessories. Starting with Guitool through Flame Cow, I used a 5-piece Pearl Export. I like the V-Drums for their sonic flexibility --they have great sounds. They are a little bit unresponsive when compared to acoustic drums, though. Let's see. Vic Firth sticks --5A on the VDrums, 5B on acoustic kits. I prefer nylon-tipped sticks on real drums because I tend to decapitate wood tips very quickly on the cymbals. I use whatever brushes or dowels I happen to have at the moment. I have a lot of different hand drums, but on this album, I used three djembes: a 14" Remo, a 12" Remo, and a 15" one-of-a-kind handmade drum with an animal hide head. I think Remo makes a great djembe, and the 14" is basically my workhorse. I record vocals and acoustic instruments with Shure condenser mics through a Peavey PA, burning the onboard effects from the PA. Vocal distortions are custom patches on an Alesis Quadraverb. I record with an Alesis ADAT and Behringer board, not that that matters much. I mix to DAT, but for crying out loud, what freakin' difference can it possibly make. My keyboard, which is only heard a little bit in Lullaby, is --man, I can't think what it is. I won't go in the other room and see, either, and that's not laziness: it's art.
G: What are some specific examples of things that an astute listener should listen for in these songs?
C: I'll give you a few tidbits on each song, trying to be as pretentious as possible with each one, and using the phrase "check out the mid-cycle conformity!" at least once:
- The Sound My Heart Makes: The lead vocal is doubled. I sang it once clean, then again distorted. The distorted version is pulled back in the mix a little, but makes the overall voice sound a little fuller. You can also hear, during the scat, where I break off from the main scat. Obviously, there's also a third voice that crops up to harmonize here and there.
- At First Sight: This was a really tricky drum part for me because the hi-hat part is offbeat 16ths, which I'd never really had to maintain before. I also am a terrible lead guitarist, but somehow managed to randomly pull off a very smooth Eddie VanHalenesque tap-hammer fill right before the last chorus which makes me feel downright competent.
- I Don't Fear It Anymore: This vocal is tripled, a la The Sound My Heart Makes, with two clean vocals and a distorted one singing the same part. There's a very subtle effect in the bass, where I doubled the bass part with a normal bass and a quiet track where I matched rhythm with the part playing a slack bass string. I totally ripped off that idea from a King's X song, Sometime off of Ear Candy.
- Love Is All The Gold: I love my djembe and couldn't totally leave it out. It makes a smattering of appearances, this being the first. Every now and then, I consider doing an album where I don't play any kit, doing everything with djembe. It's so flexible. It's the best.
- Catnip: Vaunne's most recent comment was that I've "ruined that beautiful song with your screaming." She further suggested that I "need to stop making your stupid loud albums, or make two --the loud screaming one for you and your friends, and the pretty, normal one for us." I think she's mad because I sang this song quite a bit to Cara when she was a newborn, and it was shaping up to be a family favorite. What can I say, baby loves to purr, baby likes the itch. And besides, Cara totally outrocks her daddy. How can you argue with that? In the outro, I didn't make any attempt to make Cara's babblescat "fit" with a performance sampler. Mainly this is because I don't own a performance sampler and --having donated most of my vast fortune to charity-- can't afford one just for this. I just took live audio from home videos of her little escapades, trimmed it into a more continuous stream of speech that was the right length, then just let it fall where it may. Of course --just like any time I made Speranza do a solo without hearing the background-- quite a bit of her activity finds its way quite accidentally into some deliberate-sounding rhythms. Not to take anything away from Cara's brilliance as a performer, because I actually do have a live take on video where I'm singing the song acoustically to her and she sings along in the scat. Genius.
- Can't Stop The Avalanche: This was the first song I wrote for the project, and the demo was very lacking. In the re-recorded final version, I really tried to insert a lot more energy into the parts. A consistent problem with my engineering skills is that I lack the foresight to bring the kick drum out enough in my mono drum image, and it often falls back in the final mix. However, this drum patch off the V-drum quite nearly saves my butt, and you can actually hear the motorboat-motorboat double-kick stuff I like on the choruses.
- Lullaby: Longtime listeners will recognize the chorus as stolen from Beautiful Smile off of Separate Ways. In that version, the song ended with a string trio of Jan Miyake (viola), Chi Lau (violin), and Terri Kempton (cello). As an aside and a tip of the hat, Terri also played cello and sang selected backup vocals on Flame Cow, sang backup and played dijiridoo on Fistful of Blues, and sang backup on Guitool, so she's been a session player with us for nearly the whole life of the band. Anyway, I re-created the arrangement on the outchorus here, but since Lullaby is in 6/8 and Beautiful Smile was in 4/4, I decided to make the string part (which I played on keyboard) polymetric over the pivot rhythm dotted-eigths in the bass part. So, in the context of the main ensemble, the bass sounds like duplets (ONE-two-AND-three....) but in the secondary context of the string arrangement, it sounds like quarter notes (ONE-TWO....). Totally geeky.
- Goodbye, Dream: So far, this is my personal favorite off the final mix. This is the kind of bass part that Fried routinely would practice once then play perfectly. I, however, am not Fried, and have to resort to a lot of autopunching, which means I play until I mess up --typically a few seconds-- then program the recorder to back up and resume recording exactly where I want. I keep doing this until finally I've made it through the whole part. This song took about an hour for me to do, and next to Birdy, was the most challenging bass part I've ever had to cover. I'm always trying to tap into my "Inner Pinnick/Wimbish/Wooten/Levin/Fried," and I think I very nearly did it. In case you can't figure out how I feel: John Fried is really a singularly amazing player, and I wish we were still living in the same state so I could kidnap him again and bend him to my will like before. I totally forgive him for touching my miniature soldiers (which can mean whatever you want it to) when we were eight.
- Happy: I've been looking for an opportunity to do a shuffle-within-shuffle since Live Bait.
- Shark-Sad Circles: I wasn't really into this song until I wrote the bass part, at which point everything else just came into place for me.
- Worth My Weight: I had a lot of fun with this bridge. I tried to strip the parts down and focus on tightening up the groove throughout the song.
- Come Home Soon: You can hear a good example of one of my standard tricks, employed liberally since Less Yackin' where I bring in additional parts and start playing a little louder as the song progresses to give the song a feel of building towards the end.
- Fortnight: I love this song, and I think that's my right. More vocal tripling to add power to the voice in the mix, although one of the voices does break off to be a harmony sometimes. Another song where I'm very happy with the kick drum in the mix. I really had to fight the urge to end every song with the enormous flurry of activity because I'd get so excited that I'd made through. I had to keep the one on At First Sight because --let's face it-- I'm never going to get my hands and feet going back and forth that cleanly again.
- Birdsong: I broke away from the power trio idea a little bit here to have a little more of a guitar texture ensemble, something I loved doing on songs like Eclipse and Love Is A Secret off of Flame Cow. Also, I have always liked that heavy metal muted 8ths guitar part with bass octave below --see Cruel-- and wanted to throw it in here. This is probably the best true lead guitar I've ever played, with the fill that's going on my resume right after the line "shuffle and heave your hammer to the rhythm" in the 2nd verse. I only point out my lead guitar successes because --you know-- that's all I'm likely to ever have. Not exactly Yngwie Malmsteen over here.
- Lucky Man: Having done the demo, I really wanted that to be the representative version, so I didn't re-record it. That is basically how the song sounded to me right after I wrote it. This is the only song that wasn't done to a click. I did the guitar and vocal together. A little flub I left in you can check for is where I accidentally brushed the pickup selector from the fourth position (middle + humbucker) onto humbucker alone for a few bars. Check out the mid-cycle conformity!
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Scott Farr Gets To The Bottom of This Nonsense
In the grand tradition of SETI, Scott Farr and an unnamed interviewer formulated these essential questions, beaming them across a broad range of frequencies using a radio telescope of their own invention in the hope that one day they would be received, deciphered, and answered. Today is the day of first contact. Except instead of unimaginably-intelligent beings from the far reaches of space and time, these will be answered in italics by Cody Weathers. In keeping with the spirit of such broadcasts, Cody will take approximately 10,000 years to reply.
Interviewer: Mr.. Farr, When did you first hear about Nerd Rock?
SF: First I feel it is only fair that everyone understand the strain that being a fan of the various "Cody" musical reincarnations has caused my family. To this day my wife can only say two coherent words... "DEATH!" and "MEANT!".....thanks a lot you surfy, no rhythm, class governing, off by 1/8th a beat Nick!!!!!
CODY: That poor, unfortunate, Harvard-educated lawyer and champion of the meek. You leave him out of this!
Interviewer: Right, anyway...
SF: I was given a copy of Less Yackin', by a friend of mine --the ever-spacey Neil "the Mac" Pherson. I heard "Too Much" and I was hooked. I mean Cody sold cookies door to door, he painted his neighbor's house, he used to go to daycares and read to children... would he really "lie to love her"? I've always wondered. (#1)
C: Wait, is that the first question? I haven't been told how this is going to work. My official stance of fibbing is "bad doggy!" It is, however, OK to kill to steal her.
Interviewer: Yes and back to this Drive By business... is there any truth to the fact that even though Neil and Cody are basically the only musicians that you know personally and respect...you missed all the rehearsals for "Blues in the Dark" forcing Cody and John (only after you ate the peanuts from out of their ****...) to pull their songs from the album and nerd "Drive By up from within."
SF: No, Cody and Neil are average musicians at best... just look at the 24 copies of "Short Interchangeable Liaisons" that I sold. People love my music. I'm a visionary. I'm the reason music is taught at school....
Interviewer: excuse me... but
SF: sorry... I"ll let Neil answer that one... I think it boiled down to the fact that Neil and I had 3 pretty good songs and that just didn't leave room for actual good music people might want to enjoy.
NEIL: I'm not actually present, but the parody version of myself would just like to say that I love to party. No, wait, I oppose the party!
C: What I remember is this: we started talking about the Shadows project around Christmas '92. At that time, Neil, Scott, and Dan had a handful of songs, but not enough for an entire album. The solution du jour was that I would write a few tracks to fill out the playlist. However, by the time rehearsals began in Summer '93, the situation had changed, and the three principal members had written enough material to fill the album, so my stuff was no longer needed, and was cut. I've never had a problem with that decision. In fact, Speranza and I viewed our role as secondary to the "big three" because we are average musicians at best. Those songs eventually made it onto other albums. And not to gloss over this, that album ("Blues in the Dark") is a pretty good fusion of a lot of different things. You've got this sort of heavy metal vibe from Scott meeting this very jazzy element from Neil and Dan's metal-folk thing, Dave Potts as a guest brings a real folk presence, then you've got me & Speranza melding through our little rock-ska groove thing. Bottom line, I think there are more than three good songs, and every song has something interesting going on. If I had to pull the singles off of it, I'd say there's some real spark and hop to "Here On My Own," "Silver Stream" is very memorable, "Blues in the Dark" has a good feel and hook, Dan's two songs ("Always in My Heart" and "Rightfully") are very memorable with a unique presentation. Speranza & I ran right out from the mixdown of this album and covered "Rightfully" at Mercury --that's how much we liked that. Neil's songs are very ambitious and interesting with a lot of odd-time breaks and through-composed sections, my favorite being "Insane," but I also like "Crackerjack Box" (OK, I know that's not the real title) and anybody gets my admiration for writing something in 5. Solid groove and hook for "Pain of Losing You." Overall, I think the album works.
Interviewer: Is there anything you would really like to ask Cody?
SF: Actually there are 10, you have to understand that a couple of years ago I ordered like 10 disks from Cody, and whereas it wasn't the "Whole Enchilada", it was essentially a #1, hold the tomatoes with a side of sour cream. So here would be the top ten (?'s) from those songs...
#1: Would she really have turned down cold hard cash to spit on you? I mean this is a bad time in the economy to turn down money, and should we be putting her on the pedestal for that? I don't think you want a girl like that Cody. You need to find someone practical and well grounded...It's not like you are asking her to swap saliva, you just want a donation.
C: Ah it's like a game! The answer is "the chorus of 'Spider Man!'" I win! "She looks good in violet, hair all like the rain/But I don't think I could pay her to spit on me right now/Chalk one more Muffet to the Spider Man." An important point that you've hit upon fairly early in this exercise (for which I applaud you) is that I never --and I do mean never-- write figuratively under any circumstances whatsoever. Furthermore, my songs are --as you so rightly discern-- entirely timeless and without socio-political context. By this, I --or even we-- mean that "Spider Man" was written yesterday, or might as well have been. The recession of 2001 and timid recovery that continues today can absolutely be viewed through the spyglass of this lyric even though it is copyright 1993. Also, what I say --when it comes to this basketball team-- is the law, absolutely and without discussion. Let me also interject a lesson from economics here: the market equation has two sides. I can offer you a trillion dollars to spit on me, but if I don't have a trillion dollars, you still won't do it. I do not have a trillion dollars. Not figuratively, not no-how. I think you know what I'm saying, and if you don't, it's not because I didn't properly explain myself.
#2: What in the hell were you thinking of when you wrote "Scared"? Great song, but when I sing it in the car, people around me speed up.
C: Scared is a masterful song of seduction based loosely on the mythological backstory I invented for a short story I wrote in college but have not yet posted on the Frumples site entitled "Ernie and Lenny at the Beach." It's a very stupid story about sharks, and this song has nothing to do with sharks, but you get the point. Don't you? Yes, of course. Anyhoo, all them blisteringly-fast words can be summed up likee-here: "Baby, me want you bad. Don't be scared." This kind of flattery makes the ladies weak in the knees for a hunka-hunka cheese.
#3: My wife wants to know if a girl really told you to "Swallow your pride and choke to death?"
C: No. Nothing like that has ever happened to me. I'm just full of feelings. Don't mind me.
#4: Every time my kids get in the car I have to play them "Spider Man" because they think it's part of the movie.... any chance you'll be tackling other superheroes in the future?
C: I provide a miniature analysis:
I am often asked if my song, "Spider Man" is based in whole or in part on the amazing adventures of the Marvel Comic character of the same name who, next to Superman, Batman, and the Jolly Green Giant is probably the most recognized crime-fighter of our generation. Spider Man, as we all know, fights villains by flinging a sticky curd-and-whey (or "squeaky cheese") residue at them until they are dead or otherwise incapacitated. Also, his ongoing passion for Mary Jane (see Williams, Ricky) is obviously mirrored in the classic Muffet/Tuffet struggle. Will she sit, will she stay, will she drop her curds and whey? She fears Spider Man, and yet she loves him. Loves him and hates raincoats. Why wear a raincoat when a braless T will do? Indeed she does hop from bed to bed without a thought for the bears. That is my considered opinion on the matter.
Also, as far as other superheroes are concerned, I did after all write the theme song for the pilot to the Super X-League Wonder Justice Friends, which can be heard on Tongue Meets Eyeball. And Flame Cow is a superhero. Given that both of these projects involve Brian Costello, the sky's the limit for future superhero endeavors. I think he may have optioned the rights to the obscure Wolverine spinoff comic, Badger. I probably wasn't supposed to let that out of the bag.
#5: Why can't you remember the order to the verses in "October Air" and for the love of God, if Fried has some sacred order that he can justify and you are going to mention it at least POST THE REASON ON THE SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
C: It's certainly not because the four verses say basically the same thing and I wrote the song 14 years ago. It's probably because I am an average musician at best. Anyway, I don't know Fried's trick. It's a secret. A sacred secret. A sacred secret sequestered securely in the muted minds of the other brothers of his monastery, honestly.
Interviewer: Let's stay civil here...
SF: sorry...where was I? oh yes...#7: How do you go about deciding which songs get redone? Can we vote on the site?
C: Wait, I missed question #6. These are out of order.
NEIL: Out of order?! You're out of order! This whole court's out of order!
C: Sustained. Let's just say that it went like this: #6 Do you like to eat candy? Answer: Though I occasionally partake, I am not partial to candy in general. You may have some of my candy if that's what you're getting at.
Answer #7: In case you haven't noticed, this site remains a java-free museum distilling the early essence of the internet itself, the endless, mind-numbing, unstructured reams of totally unverified text that purists adore. No interaction, just publication. No java = no voting. This is a stylistic decision and not a technical limitation. Could do it, just don't want to. You may vote, but you will be throwing your vote away. There is no worse waste than a vote thrown away. I love that episode of the Simpsons --Halloween '96-- where the aliens try to rig the election by masquerading as Clinton and Dole. At the last moment, they are exposed as such, but it's too late to field another candidate. But wait! Someone in the crowd suggests that we, the people of Earth (or the United States --same difference) could avoid alien subjugation by voting for a third-party candidate. The aliens cackle with delight. "Sure," they ooze with space-sarcasm, "Throw your vote away! Ha-ha!" Well, gee, they've got a point, there, and ipso facto, we elect them anyway as Ross Perot balls up his little fists and stomps his little feet. Cat Mayhugh and I recounted that punchline to each other in the requisite James Earl Jones contra-basso approximately one-hundred-thousand times.
Not counting live albums or releasing alternate versions from long ago, the decision to re-record a song comes down to how long it's been since the original recording, if I feel that the current performance version would be an improvement, and if the song is good enough on its own to warrant doing again.
#8: With the invention of the "web" a lot of rumors about Cody have been resolved. Such as... I always was under the impression that "you would break your hands as a bridge for her"...which is ridiculous... now I know that it is "break my hands, just to reach for you"... however my question is if it were the other way and she walked on your broken hands, would have kicked her? Or been good to your word?
C: Excellent question. The larger question, of course, being what the heck am I saying at any given time? Is it "I wear a ten" or "I will retain?" I respond with this interpretation of the Huey Lewis classic "They say the heart of rock and roll is marimbas/And from what I've seen I believe it/Now the old ones may be barely breathing/But the heart of rock and roll, heart of rock and roll is the beat, 10-4." I've recently been informed, thanks to VH1, that it begins "The heart of rock and roll is still beating." I don't care. If I ever have to sing this song, I'm sticking the "10-4" like I've never stuck a line that wasn't really part of the song to begin with. And to continue with my sports-movie homage: She may get woolly/Women do get woolly/'Cause of all the stress/When she do get woolly/Try a little tenderness. Of course, this from a man who seems to be saying "What makes a man a little man" and "They lock their heart's windowsill." I'm totally positive I nailed the lyric there ("Silver Stream").
#9a: "Leave Me Be"... one of my all time favorites... What is the one heart you can be? Are you actually saying that being nothing is the only way you can be?
#9b: You are also nothing in "Bloom"... or at least "as close to no one as anyone gets!"...are you in therapy???? :)
C: Wait, are we allowed to do follow-up questions and emoticons? Has anybody cleared this with my people? It is my feeling that the contextual contrast of these two uses of nothingness will be demonstrated to have entirely disparate meanings. In Bloom, the entire chorus is "Baby, when you're in bloom, there ain't no one can resist you/At least I know I can't, and I'm as close to no one as anyone gets." In "Leave Me Be," the passage is "I know you think I'm nothing, but this is the one heart I can be./And you say, 'settle down, are you crazy? Listen up, understand you've got to leave me be.'" Whereas Bloom is a tongue-in-cheek reversal of the literal interpretation of the colloquial "no one can resist you," Leave Me Be is a far more somber (for an average musician at best) "I can't help what I feel, despite its futility" message. The sort of message championed by audiences worldwide.
#10: If you had a new listener and could only play them one song.... what would it be?
C: Actually, you've pretty much described every gig I've ever played. Oh look, a new listener! Let's play such-and-such! There they go! Different songs have been the "go-to song" over the years. Right now, it's "Blue As The Moon" that I feel is most likely to win over an audience. This is a decision based on observation and experience --people seem to pay attention and mention that song specifically to me. If I were at an open stage and had one song, that's what I would play. Just for fun, here's my mental list of other proven songs that I would go to in a regular gig set if I felt that interest in me was waning (I haven't really road-tested Fortnight yet, so I'm excluding those songs for the time being):
- Best of Days
- Underneath My Skin
- So Will I
- Leave Me Be
- No One Could
- Mad About You
Interviewer: Wow, you have given this entirely too much thought.
SF: Yes, but I just ordered 4 more disks, so the questions will keep on a coming!!!!!
Make-up #6: What was the inspiration for the song " Birdy"? I love that song. Don't get me wrong, if I make Lisa listen to it one more time I'll have to sleep in the bathtub, but it's a great song.
C: Birdy came out of wanting a quirky metaphor for being wrong for someone, yet insisting against hope that it could work. It stemmed from a short story idea that I never followed up on, although some of it came out in Robotica, Mine. The original idea is that this girl's sentient parrot falls in love with her in this very cerebral, complicated way, inventing all these manners and rituals which ultimately don't solve the fact that, well, he's a bird and that's just not going to pan out. I was visiting Joh3n O'Meara in Seattle and in the middle of reading Jeanette Winterson's "Sexing The Cherry" which has these bizarre stream-of-consciousness passages, got inspired, and just started writing little clips that I refined down into the verses.
Bonus: #11: Is Colfax about you?
C: No, although it's tempting to think that I had that much sex or drove that cool a car back then. Colfax tries to be a lot of things at once which --as any film critic will tell you-- is a surefire recipe for success. When I was writing it, I had several priorities:
- Make sure it could be shot.
- Get up on my soapbox about sexual morality.
- Make fun of my own creative self-importance.
- Be as pretentious as possible.
- Incorporate magic realism.
- Write dialogue that would be extremely difficult for the cast to perform due to its tongue-twister verbosity and objectionable nature.
- Become forever viewed as an autobiuographical pervert by the small fraction of my friends and family who can actually stomach watching enough of the film to get to the truly evisceratingly-uncomfortable monologues.
Done, done, done, done, done, done, aaaaaaand done.
In a nutshell, I wanted all of the sexual discussion to reflect my personal contention that since the Sexual Revolution, our society has become detrimentally dichotomous in our treatment of sex and love. We downplay the emotional importance of sexual intimacy and engage in "sex-first" relationships where our base attraction leads to vacant relationships of convenience that we then ironically try to paint as loving, when in fact the emotions and deeper connections therein are an afterthought which rarely materializes into something true. Obviously, this is not true of everybody, but I think it's the case more and more. I think there's abundant indirect evidence of this all around, from the continuing mainstreaming of hardcore pornography to the content of your typical Loveline (tm) call. I'm not suggesting that I'm a social researcher here --I have no numbers, and could be totally wrong, but it's what I see, and I wanted to say something about it. But knowing that I was not going to have the willing cast or resources to actually depict an interesting cadre of relationships, I instead decided to --even better-- write a picture where a bunch of nerds in a minivan and questionably-decorated apartment talk about it. This idea --people talking about their pathetic GenX relationships against a pseudo-nostalgic backdrop of listless activities and childhood reminiscences-- had never ever been done before, as near as I could tell.
Then I thought, why stop there? Why not also make a movie outside the movie wherein the brilliance of my morality play is actually depicted as (HA-HA!) ridiculous, offensive, and stupid! The cast mutinies and we're back to (SPOILERS!) the good old days of movies plotted around convenient excuses to hit me square in the face with cardboard tubes and phone books.
I will point out here that Mr. Brian Costello, whose job was for some time to watch terrible movies and provide inspired critiques of them, did not feel it necessary to complete his viewing of Colfax, further proof that it is elaborately fantastic.
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Buttal, Rebuttal, and Re-rebuttal with Cat Mayhugh and Joh3n O'Meara
EDITOR: It has come to our attention that the rebuttals [Joh3n][Cat] submitted as addendums to a comment made by interviewee Cody Weathers in a prior article were not, in fact, the actual rebuttals of the gentlemen to whom they were credited. In the interest of fairness, both victims have been afforded the opportnity to present their true rebuttals [Joh3n][Cat] and also to address the larger problem of character misrepresentation in an equal-time use of this forum. This concession represents a satisfactory, blameless, and non-litigious conclusion to the whole incident amenable to both sides of the debate.
CAT: This situation is preposterous. I am totally outraged and dissatisfied with your journalistic integrity. I blame you and your fanzine for this revolting slander, and plan to sue your ass for everything you've got. But I will indeed take my equal time, and well I should: I demanded it and you wisely gave it to me. And don't think a jury won't weigh that as an admission of wrongdoing, because they will.
E: All that aside, can we just....
JOH3N: Hello, Griffin. Can you hear me? I'm having trouble with the speaker phone.
CAT: This interview is being conducted by chat. There is no speakerphone.
JOH3N: You mean I'm on the interweb? How do I get started?
E: Gentlemen, let me start by offering the broadest and sincerest apology possible: our fanzine is so very wrong in so many ways and so terribly sorry for the vast oceans of harm we have drowned you in.
JOH3N: So what exactly happened? Why are we here?
E: It appears that the interviewee....
C: Cody. A spade a spade. Cody.
E: Cody. In the Making Fortnight article....
C: Stop linking to things you're talking about, you two-bit whore.
J: What am I supposed to do with these underlined words on my speaker phone?
C: For the last time, it's not a....
J: ....speaker phone, I know. We already estalished it's the interweb.
C: Dammit! Both of you stop your frivolous linkages! Dammit! I know for a fact that I am not initiating these linkages!
E: Gentlemen, gentlemen, please! To return to the reason for our conversation.
C: Cody's writing this, isn't he!
E: Not exactly.
C: What's that supposed to mean?
E: Define "write."
C: Write or type.
C: Your response is blank.
J: He may need more practice with his speakerphone.
C: My patience is just about worn out.
E: It's possible. He may have written or typed portions of this text.
WE INTERRUPT THIS TRANSCRIPT TO BRING YOU THE LATEST ON CARA WEATHERS.
CARA: fingers fingers ten of them fingers fingers ten fingers fingers en of them fingers fingers ten fingers fingers one two fingers three four five one hand two hands clap clap clap waving hi and bye. Sao-tse sao-tse sup gaw-dee sao-tse sao-tse sup sao-tse sao-tse sup gaw-dee sao-tse sao-tse sup sao-tse sao-tse yut yee sao-tse sahm sey mm yut sao yee sao tak tak tak jiao-la nay-ho ma!
CAT: Do not change the subject with punctuationless children's songs rendered in English and Cantonese. That translation isn't even correct. Cody did it, didn't he?
CARA: Hi, uncle Cat.
CARA: Hi, uncle Cat.
CAT: Hi, Cara.
CARA: It's aaaaaaaaalllll right. Don't be sad. Wear helicopter shirt?
CAT: (pause) OK.
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VIVE Magazine Celebrity Review: Stephen Hawking of Aerosmith Weighs in on Least Significant Failures:
INTERVIEWER: We're here with Stephen Hawking, lead singer of Aerosmith and closet Cody Weathers aficionado to hear what he has to say about Cody's latest release, Least Significant Failures. Let me first just say that you look nothing at all like what I expected. The transformation from your stage personna is truly amazing. You must never get recognized out on the street.
S: Actually, I would like to clear up a misconception you seem to have formed....
I: Wow. I knew that you recently had damaged your voice, but had no idea it was this bad. So you're totally unable to speak right now.
S: Despite its unconventional delivery, I find that I remain perfectly capable of speaking with this voice.
I: Dream until your dream comes true, eh? Anyhoo, how did you become interested in Cody's music?
S: In 2001, I was invited to introduce the debut of the band now known as Sunhouse Branch on the strength of my research into the elusive musicon particle. We recorded the track in Checkmate Studio B, in Buffalo, NY, and afterward, I attended a concert --I believe he would say "gig"-- he gave at Stimulance Coffee on Delaware Street. It was during that concert that I noticed Cody was actually crossing a fascinating line from mere performance into cutting edge research into localized quantum fluctuations and the creation of pockets of negative energy. That concert was one of the most impressively negative events I have ever witnessed, creating a Casimiresque energy vacuum which was nearly sufficient to alter the curvature of space-time and potentially permit the audience to travel into an alternate history where they did not even attend the concert to begin with. Catchy melodies aside, the physics of a Cody Weathers show are simply not to be missed.
I: Killer. Now the moment of truth. Give us your review of the album.
S: I have often spoken about the proliferation of external information supplanting Darwinian modes of physical evolution within our species, and posited that it grows increasingly difficult for any individual to fully acquire a meaningful percentage of the collected knowledge of our society. However, it stands to reason that --just as I believe the great unpredictable chaos of Universe to be governed by an elegant and ultimately simple system of natural laws-- there may be a distillation of human knowledge that rises above the minutiae of the accumulating undercurrent of published thought. It is my personal opinion that swank in general may indeed belong to this higher meta-category of human thought, and thus, Least Significant Failures as its most recent opus bears listening to by any serious student of universal truth.
That is all I have to say. Thank you for listening.