I have received many inquiries about my equipment, influences, personal information, etc. So, I will add this below, if anybody really wants to know:
Gear Geek Stuff:
I don’t have a rehearsal space, just a tiny apartment that serves as my home studio/office (aka The Spacejunk UFO). My recordings tend to have an unpolished lo-fi production sound, as a by-product of the makeshift equipment used.
I have two multi-track machines;
- one cassette (Tascam 488 MKII 8-track Portastudio)
- one digital (Roland VS-1688 Digital Audio Workstation)
The computers that I use are kind of an unreliable crap-shoot, rebuilt from multiple discarded PCs manufactured in the 1990’s-early 2000’s. I use whatever freeware programs that are available online. Mostly, they are used for sampling and drum programming. Two old broken boomboxes serve as studio monitors. I also collect various types of tape recorders (cassette, micro-cassette, reel-to-reel, 8-track, etc).
I prefer recording electrical instruments directly, via preamps or cabinet emulators, and mic-ing up an ambient “room sound” for acoustic tracks. Analog tape is good for getting a saturated compression sound, well-suited to percussion instruments or creating tape noises. Digital is good at preserving a cleaner sound. I record the bulk of my material at home. My original plan was to lay basic tracks on tape, bounce them to digital for overdubs, then take the tracks somewhere else for mixing & mastering (maybe at a higher quality studio with a good engineer) when I can afford it or figure out how to do it myself.
I mostly have shitty quality microphones;
- A modified telephone receiver, with an XLR jack installed
- an old abused Radio Shack mic, that I bought secondhand in 1985
- another stolen from a karaoke machine
- two USB microphones, from Guitar Hero, I think
- several consumer-grade tape recorder mics from the 1960’s-1970’s
I finally got one decent professional microphone, though!
- A Shure SM57 (and a high quality pop filter to go with it)!
My bass / guitar setup has evolved over time into an unusual hybrid rig, splitting the instrument signal three ways, combined with various effects, into a “sonic sandwich”;
- one through a bass amp (SWR)
- one through a lead guitar amp (Marshall)
- one direct to mixer (Line 6 POD)
Miscellaneous samples and noise collages are prepared on cassette tapes and played back with a pair of foot-controlled Dictaphone machines fed directly into the mixer.
I have two basses;
- 1987 Guild Pilot with Kahler tremolo. I use 1mm recycled copper/nylon picks, for more attack and articulation.
- Jay Turser replica of a Höfner’ 500/1 (similar to Paul McCartney’s violinesque “Beatle Bass”). I use this shorter-scale instrument mainly for clean fingerstyle techniques.
I have two guitars;
- Line 6 Variax, to achieve a wide variety of tones.
- Ibanez RX60, with a Seymour Duncan Humbucker I installed at the bridge. I regularly use it for alternate tunings.
Two other guitars are on loan from a friend;
- BC Rich Masterpiece
- Ovation 12-string Acoustic
I prefer GHS Pressurewound or Brite Flats (ground round wound) strings, for their smooth feel, yet bright tone. Stainless steel armored instrument cables are also very durable and minimize ground noise.
I built a homemade drum kit, affectionately referred to as The ShitKit. It is a hodgepodge of crappy drum parts acquired from thrift stores, with a collection of scrap metal junk added… for a clunkier sound.
I have a Korg M3 Music Workstation / Sampler, given to me by Marshakat. I still don’t know how the Hell to operate it (She never did). The manuals are nearly as thick as a phone book! I am learning very slowly. I have a bunch of 1980’s-1990’s Casio keyboards and toy electronics from thrift stores to mess around with, too.
My collection of effect pedals and rackmount gear varies. I have sold things when I needed money really bad. I have fried others beyond salvage. Sometimes, I can replace these. Sometimes, I can’t.
My attempts at custom building circuit-bent & experimental instruments have yielded mixed results. I can get some interesting sounds out of them, if the darn things don’t self-destruct first.
I also have design ideas for a few custom basses & guitars that I would like to get professionally made for me (if I can ever afford it). Adding other instruments to my arsenal would be fantastic. I continue to work with what I have and accumulate more tools as I go along.
My songwriting style is a mix of eclectic influences juxtaposed together. I like combining a bit of everything, when I can.
Sometimes it is harmonious.
Sometimes it is schizophrenic.
Sometimes it is simple and accessible.
Sometimes it is noisy and irritating
It can be almost anything, depending on the song. I am writing within three basic categories;
- Solo: material that I can play alone without additional players.
- Band: material that requires other musicians to perform live.
- Album: material that is very difficult or impossible to be played live at all, created solely for recordings.
Lyrics are kind of an afterthought for me. I’ll write down any ideas I get and return to them later if I am working on something. But, the music comes first. My lyrics are often a mix of the personal, political, and surreal. Overall, it is “the little world”, “the big world”, and the creative use of language. I like leaving things a little open to interpretation rather than always being explicit.
I’m a huge record collector and music fan. I love attempts at all genres and styles – constantly finding inspiration from diverse albums that are just all over the map … and I’m all about that. I’ve played with musicians from many genres at every level of proficiency (or lack of it). Everything in my output is interconnected. It just comes out mixed-together, filtered through my limited skills and resources. It is a bit like combining Frank Zappa’s Freak Out List and the Nurse with Wound list into one twisted mutation! Some notable influences include;
- Alice Donut
- Amon Düül
- Andy Warhol
- Anton Webern
- Arnold Schöenberg
- Bad Brains
- Bad Religion
- Bebe and Louis Barron
- Béla Bartók
- Berry Gordy (Motown Records, The Last Dragon)
- Big City Orchestra
- Bill T. Miller (Orgy of Noise, Out of Band Experience, Kings of Feedback)
- Billy Childish (Thee Headcoats, Thee Mighty Caesars, Thee Milkshakes)
- Bipolar Gentlemen + Toxic Water
- Bob Log III (Doo Rag)
- Bobby McFarrin
- Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic)
- Bran Flakes
- Brian May (Queen)
- Brian Wilson (Beach Boys)
- Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop)
- Buzz Osbourne (Melvins)
- Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening, K Records, Dub Narcotic Sound System)
- Captain Beefheart (The Magic Band)
- Carl Stalling
- Chris Squire (Yes)
- Christian Marclay
- Christian Vander (Magma)
- Chuck Mosley (Faith No More, Bad Brains)
- Cliff Burton (Metallica)
- Colonel Sanders
- Colonel Tom Parker
- Comets on Fire
- Comparative Anatomy
- Cop Shoot Cop
- Corey Rusk (Necros, Touch and Go Records)
- Crash Worship
- Crispin Glover
- Curt Kirkwood & Cris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets)
- D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles)
- Daft Punk
- Dale Flattum (Steel Pole Bath Tub, Tumor Circus, Milk Cult)
- Daniel Johnston
- David Bowie
- David Grohl (Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
- Dead Milkmen
- Deja Voodoo
- Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper)
- Destroy All Monsters
- Doris Fish (Vegas in Space)
- Doug Henderson (Krackhouse, Spongehead)
- Duane Denison & David Wm. Sims (Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard)
- Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys, Beck)
- East Bay Ray & Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles Records)
- Ed Hall
- Ed Wood (Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space)
- Edgard Varèse
- Einstürzende Neubauten
- Evolution Control Committee
- Fat Mike (NOFX)
- Flying Saucer Attack
- Frank Zappa (Mothers of Invention)
- Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre)
- Gary Modlinski (Junkie Munky, The Mod)
- Geddy Lee (Rush)
- Geezer Butler & Toni Iommi (Black Sabbath)
- Gene Simmons & Ace Frehley (KISS)
- Gerald Casale (Devo)
- Greg Ginn & Kira Roessler (Black Flag)
- Greg Sage (Wipers)
- Hal McGee (Dog As Master, Cause And Effect cassette label, Haltapes)
- Happy Flowers
- Harry Partch
- Harry Partch
- Hazil Adkins
- Helios Creed (Chrome)
- Hide (Ultra Bidé)
- Hound Dog Taylor
- Ian Mackaye (Minor Theat, Fugazi)
- Iannis Xenakis
- Ichirou Agata (Melt-Banana)
- Iggy Pop & The Stooges
- Invented Thing Quartet
- Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report)
- Jad Fair (1/2 Japanese, Strobe Talbot)
- James Joyce
- Jared Warren (KARP, Big Business, Melvins)
- Jason Martin (Brown Cuts Neighbors, Power Animal System)
- Jay T. Yamamoto
- Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
- Jimi Hendrix
- Joe Meek
- Joey Agresta (Joey Pizza Slice, Son of Salami, Salami Junior)
- Joey Shithead Keithley (D.O.A.)
- John Bonham & Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
- John Cage
- John Coltrane
- John Entwistle (The Who)
- John Oswald (Plunderphonics)
- John S. Hall & Bradford Reed (King Missile)
- John Spencer Blues Explosion
- John Zorn (Naked City, Painkiller)
- Jojo Hiroshige (Hijokaidan, Alchemy Records)
- Juan Garcia Esquivel
- K.K. Null (Nux Organization, Zeni Geva, Absolut Null Punkt)
- Karlheinz Stockhausen
- Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin, Riot grrrl zine)
- Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black)
- Ken Butler
- Kevin Rutmanis (The Cows, Melvins, Hepa/Titus)
- Kevin Strickland & Larissa Strickland (Laughing Hyenas)
- Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
- Kramer (New York Gong, Shimmy Disc Records, Bongwater)
- Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone, Graham Central Station)
- Larry Mondello Band
- Legendary Stardust Cowboy
- Lemmy Kilmister (Motörhead, Hawkwind)
- Les Claypool (Primus, Sausage, Oysterhead)
- Lightning Bolt + Black Pus
- Lisa “Suckdog” Carver
- Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh)
- Lux Interior & Poison Ivy (The Cramps)
- Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols, New York Dolls)
- Malcolm Young & Angus Young (AC/DC)
- Marc Bolan (T. Rex)
- Marilyn Manson
- Mark Sandman (Morphine)
- Masahiko Ohno (Solmania)
- Masami Akita (Merzbow)
- Michael Winslow (Police Academy 1-7, Spaceballs, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie and Nice Dreams)
- Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk)
- Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE)
- Monty Python
- Muddy Waters
- My Bloody Valentine
- Nash the Slash
- Nick Blinko (Rudimentary Peni)
- Nihilist Spasm Band
- No-Neck Blues Band
- Ohio Express
- Omoide Hatoba
- Ornette Coleman
- Pain Teens
- Pat Smear (Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters)
- Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers, Melvins)
- Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy, The Greedies)
- Phil Spector
- Public Enemy
- Pussy Galore
- Quintron and Miss Pussycat
- R. Stevie Moore
- Rahsaan Roland Kirk
- Raymond Scott
- Rob Wright & John Wright (NoMeansNo, Hanson Brothers)
- Robert Fripp (King Crimson, Fripp & Eno)
- Robert Smith (The Cure)
- Roky Erikson (13th Floor Elevators)
- Roman Gabriel Todd
- Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band
- Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite, The Human Tornado, Disco Godfather)
- Russ Stedman (Teenage Slots, Minor 2049er)
- Scott Lucas (Local H)
- Shannon Selberg (The Cows, Heroine Sheiks)
- Shonen Knife
- Six Finger Satellite
- Skeleton Key
- Sonic Youth
- Space Streakings
- Stan Lee & Leonard Graves Phillips (The Dickies)
- Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever, Animal Logic)
- Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac)
- Sun City Girls
- Sun Ra & His Arkestra
- Syd Barrett & Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
- Tall Dwarfs / Toy Love
- Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins, Zeni Geva)
- The B-52’s
- The Bobs
- The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
- The Electrifying Mojo (Charles Johnson)
- The Frogs
- The GTO’s
- The Locust
- The Los Angeles Free Music Society
- The Monkees
- The Ramones
- The Residents
- The Shaggs
- The Space Lady (Susan Dietrich Schneider)
- The Tape-beatles
- They Might Be Giants
- Throbbing Gristle
- Tom Morello & Tim Commerford (Rage Against The Machine)
- Tom Waits
- Tragic Mulatto
- Trans Am
- Velvet Underground
- Victims Family
- Violent Onsen Geisha + Hair Stylistics
- Voice Crack
- Von LMO
- Wall Of Voodoo
- Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips)
- Ween + Moistboyz + Z-Rock Hawaii
- “Weird Paul” Petroskey
- Wendy O. Williams (Plasmatics)
- Wesley Willis
- White Mice
- Wild Man Fischer
- William S. Burroughs
- Yamatsuka Eye (Boredoms, Hanatarash, UFO or Die)
- Zach Hill (Hella)
- Zen Guerrilla
- Zev Asher (Nimrod, Roughage, Flying Testicle, Bustmonster)
- Zoogz Rift
- ZZ Top
- etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.,..
I will play almost any instrument available to me. I might not be good at it. But, I’ll play it anyway. My attempts at drumming have been pitiful. My foot coordination is terrible. I finally positioned the kick drum sideways, playing it timpani-style.
My vocal type is in the Baritenor range (I think), kinda high and nasally (sometimes off-key). But, I give it a little growl on the low end, sometimes incorporating wordless mouth sounds, screeching, gurgling, screaming, babbling, and electronic effects.
My guitar / bass playing skills are, pretty good, not virtuoso… but still, pretty good. My techniques aren’t meant for showing off, just to be used as an accent. I believe that I’m a better bassist than a guitarist and a better composer than a musician.
I visualize music as abstract sounds, in waves, shapes and colors… like a rainbow oscilloscope. Tape editing / manipulation is often used as a composition tool. Sheet music feels a little too rigid to me. I’ll sometimes score pieces out on paper, such as percussion instruments, for example. Sometimes, I’ll jam riffs onto demos and pick out the best ones later. Sometimes, I’ll sing everything a capella, bang on junk, make noises, and interpret it later. On rare occasions, I’ve had entire songs pop into my head while I scramble to get it recorded before I forget.
“Thinking too much can ruin a good time” – D. Boon (Minutemen)
When I am creating music & art I probably do my best when my brain is just fingerpainting on “auto-pilot”. Everything that I am doing is sort of revealed to me as I am doing it. So, I don’t really know what it is until I am finished. Conscious messages don’t work very well for me. Stressing-out about money, transportation, food, and living conditions REALLY destroys my mojo, though.
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King
I used to tape our band’s jam sessions in their entirety, leaving the recorder running. Then, I would take that material home and edit it into a foundation for our songs. I’m not so great at improvising when multiple people are in the room, unless it is intentionally chaotic noise. In a collaboration it is probably better if I record a few incomplete things by myself. Then, we can pass it back-and-forth until it is finished. I let others pick out what they like and add their parts onto it (and vice-versa).
I may limit the amount of collabs that I do in the future. I think I may need to set specific deadlines for projects with other musicians. Typically, whenever I am working in a group, everything is left too open-ended. Everyone is usually afraid of stepping on each other’s toes, no one takes any leadership role, and nothing gets accomplished. I’m also guilty of procrastinating too much. I overthink everything, to the detriment of my productivity.
My drawings tend to be a bit stream-of-consciousness and surreal. My painting is often a mixed-media style, layering different techniques together, using whatever materials that are cheap and readily available; spray paint, acrylics, house paint, stencils, marker pens, found objects, and collage.
I have very little to no training at anything. I did well in high school drafting, wood shop, and art classes. That’s about it. Regretfully, I never attended an art school. I would have liked to. I am mostly self-taught, occasionally reading books on the subject. But, I don’t really spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s up with art trends these days. My work could be categorized as Outsider Art, Pop Art, Art Brut, Folk Art, Raw Vision, Abstract, Surrealist, Dada, Fluxus, etc.. These are labels found in the art world. But, to me… art is art. You either like it… or don’t.
In the past, my paintings & drawings were usually given to friends or destroyed and discarded. I started selling them locally in the 1990’s. But, not really understanding how the professional art world works, I only sold items in person at music venues or record stores, wherever I happened to be. I’ve been reluctant to take it any further than that. But, there seems to be a growing interest in my stuff. So, I’m making it more available.
Having a standard uniform of your own is useful. People like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Steve Jobs wore clothing everyday that was nearly identical to all of the other clothes that they owned. It saved time and brainpower finding something to wear, when their entire wardrobes were virtually the same.
My physical appearance doesn’t change very much, day-to-day, either. I’ve always been a t-shirt and jeans guy. Nearly everything I own is secondhand. If I can’t find an outfit for under $12, I probably won’t buy it. Sometimes I’ll try out new things, making small modifications to my so-called image. None of this is permanent. But, my typical everyday outfit includes;
- Goatee & long pageboy hairstyle.
- Black jeans with a black button shirt (black goes with everything).
- Converse Chuck Taylors (of course, black) with boot laces. They have always been my go-to shoes. Tying them around in a marine-style, with a surgeon’s knot, prevents them from coming undone.
- Belts adorned with a Captain America shield buckle.
- Mix it up a little with different t-shirts.
- Red glitter nail polish and mood rings add some color and sparkle.
Personal / Rules of Conduct:
My lifelong struggling with mental illness sometimes gets in the way. Clinical depression, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are a debilitating combination. Medications help to keep the highs and lows manageable. But, they aren’t a cure. Music & art is my other world, to deal with it.
I seldom drink alcohol (preferably alone, when I do) and I loathe beer. I don’t smoke tobacco or abuse any drugs. It doesn’t really matter to me if anybody else does, unless it gets in the way of working or becomes obnoxious. Marijuana and hallucinogens are more tolerated than harder drugs.
I am an atheist. I don’t believe in whatever Hell you think I’m going to, let alone your invisible friends. You can believe whatever you want to believe. But, if you’re a fundamentalist religious zealot (i.e., anti-science creationist who thinks that the flat Earth is 6,000 years old or 72 virgins await you in the afterlife because you won’t eat bacon) I would prefer not to hear about it. MAGA is a fucking death cult, too. Qanon and FOX “News” distribute their propaganda. Donald Trump would make Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite envious.
I am open to different ways of thinking – but aggressive sexism, racism, homophobia, or transphobia is not tolerated. I am LGBTQ+ supportive and have friends from all sorts of different backgrounds. Bigots are not welcome. Go away.
There are not many groups that I believe I would fit into if I didn’t begin from scratch. I never had any delusions about “making it big” or getting rich. Earning a decent living as a self-employed artist-musician would be great, if possible. I am content if I make enough money to eat, cover expenses, and pay a few bills.