Damn! I wish that this coronavirus pandemic were just an elaborate prank. That would have been awesome. Self-isolation hasn’t changed my life one iota. It does mean that some friends are now unemployed, bored, with nothing to do. So, they want to collaborate with me, again, playing rock and noise. At least that motivates me to get more stuff done. So, I’m actually a little happier with that aspect of this. The empty streets and parking lots are a bit of apocalyptic fantasy fulfillment for me, too, without the zombies or vampires.
I am spending some time taking stock of the progress in my various projects. It helps me to re-evaluate and refine my workflow, from time to time. The changing landscape caused by COVID-19 is a pretty good reason to plan out a new approach to everything, right now. Many venues, comic book shops, book stores, art galleries, etc. are not going to make it through the effects of this pandemic. The economy, and everything it touches, are going to be drastically transformed. The old models of doing everyday activities, of making and performing our art, are not going back to business-as-usual. The next couple of months are going to be VERY interesting.
People are stuck at home, with nothing to do. So, I hope to produce more completed work to post online. That is where the audience is going to be, for awhile. Maybe when this plague blows over we will be out playing house parties or something, until regular venues can make a comeback.
Anyway, I will share some music from my collection with you. This is Local H and Britney Spears, each doing Toxic. I have been in a Britney Spears mood lately. Dunno why.
Time still flies when you aren’t having any fun. I am absolutely certain that time speeds up as you age. That is why old people wear clothes that are out of style. It was still in fashion just a minute ago, for them.
I was planning to include a vlog today, since vlogging is meant to be half of these posts. But, honestly, I don’t have anything worth videotaping right now. I also don’t have any new paintings to show.
2019 is speeding by, just like the past few years have. WTF is wrong with me? Besides the usual shit? Things actually are going pretty okay right now. I had a few rough months between December and February. That mess is finally settled, notwithstanding my growing piles of debt.
I have a list of folks waiting for Theee Urban SpaceCat cassette-zine. I have been digging through stacks of demo tapes and gigabytes of incomplete data trying to finish it. I have enough material already done for a complete issue or two… or three. But, I have spread it out over several zines. I didn’t like the way it was when I compiled it all together. So, I am filling each issue, finishing each song, one-at-a-time. A friend suggested that I do this to get myself focused, instead of hopping all over the place like I usually do. Get one thing done. Then, move on to the next thing. This approach seems to be pushing the process along, I suppose. Creating the equivalent of two double albums every few months is kinda hard when doing it all alone and you keep shooting yourself in the foot. Everything is absurdly late getting it out.
I asked around about getting my mixes mastered. But, I cannot afford to do it, not entire albums anyway. I might have one or two singles mastered for radio… maybe. The rest will just have to be a raw mix.
I am waiting for the government to process some of my tax shit, so I can finish setting up the business side of things. They’re still catching up from the Trumptard shutdown a few weeks ago. It has delayed everything. I’m never happy dealing with that sort of stuff. But, I anxiously want to get it done and out of the way.
Here is a Daniel Johnston song from my record collection for you. I get the same feeling myself sometimes. I am always starting my life over again… and again… and again… and again….
One of my biggest strengths (and weaknesses) is persistence. I have been told several times that I “don’t know when to quit.” That can be either a good thing or a bad thing, I guess, depending on the circumstances. I may have setbacks, which slow me down, change how I do things, or have to fight with my own brain, sometimes. But, I still keep trying.
A really cool drummer guy has unfriended me on FB and dropped out of our FB group. Admittedly, it is entirely my fault. I have been lost in my own headspace again, losing touch with everybody for too long. He feels like I have used and neglected him, which wasn’t my intention at all. I honestly get fixated on one thing or another and lose track of everything else. It happens to me all of the time. Does that make me a bad person or just a bad friend?
My social skills are shit and my behavior can sometimes be erratic.
So, I don’t think being in bands long-term are ever gonna work out for me.
It never does. But, the music scene is just about the only social life that I have, playing with other musicians, performing at gigs, etc. So, I guess doing short-term projects with other people is the only way I’m going to remain active in that community. I mean, I’m stubborn. I know this shit isn’t going to work out. But, I keep doing it anyway. Maybe admitting that, to myself, is the only way for me to move forward with anything.
I’m not dead, yet. Just thought I would remind everybody….who gives a shit. Family members sometimes call me every couple of months, to be sure that I haven’t passed away, unnoticed, since I keep to myself a lot. I can’t really blame them.
Anyhow, been stressing myself out to get things done and, counterintuitively, I got less actually done. I talked with a motivational coach about this, a few weeks ago. Getting an outside perspective sometimes helps. I have considered finding a new therapist, not having seen one in several years. But, this consultation was free. So, I tried him out first.
Basically, he suggested I break the problems I’m having down into more manageable pieces, working my way up to bigger chunks as I feel better. Most importantly, I just need to take my time, take my mind off what’s bothering me, and come back to what I’m doing later – when I feel like doing it. So, I’ve been spending more time with some hobbies, trying to chill the fuck out. Financially, I’m back in the hole again. That is adding some of the stress that I’m feeling, lately. I’m trying not to let it get to me, though. I’m trying to have fun… if I can remember how.
I have been rearranging my daily schedule, after I fell off of it for awhile. I missed doing a lot of things that I wanted to do. Maybe this will make it easier for me to stick to my plans and build better habits. We will see.
On a side note, I have been playing along with a FB request to list my top 10 albums. I am enjoying that. I thought about listing my favorite music videos, afterward. But, why wait? I will just list them here for you. I have different reasons for liking each one. These are chosen for being the best music videos overall, not just because I like the songs. It began as a Top 10. But, I kept adding more. Maybe I’ll do another one of these, sometime in the future.
Commander Cody – Two Triple Cheese Side Order of Fries
Barnes & Barnes – Fish Heads
The Residents – Third Reich + One-Minute Movies (Moisture, Act of Being Polite, Perfect Love, The Simple Song) It was a toss-up. They’re both good.
Billy Joel – Pressure
Cyndi Lauper – She Bop
Weird Paul & Ben Blanchard – Maybe You’ll Find Some In the Garbage
ZZ Top – TV Dinners
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Voivod – Psychic Vacuum
Twisted Sister – Be Chrool To Your Scuel (ft. Alice Cooper, Brian Setzer, and Billy Joel)
Van Halen – Hot For Teacher + David Lee Roth – Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody (I couldn’t decide between these two, either. It was a tie)
I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.
As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.
The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.
I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.
The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way, it shares some similarities to The Banana Splits, The Archies, or Green Jellö.Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.
I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.
My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.
I thought I would give you some GOOD news, for a change.
My van has been returned and drives better than it did before. My aunt loaned me enough money for the tire. I think they tightened something up to stop the wheel from wobbling. It helps. But, I got an estimate for repairs to the damaged tie rod and related issues that still need fixing. I do not think I can do this by myself. It looks like more than I can handle. The van still has trouble starting up. Someone said that the teeth on the starter may be worn out. I have a new one to replace it with. I couldn’t get the old one off. It is too tight and I’m not strong enough. But, it doesn’t have as much of a transmission problem as it did before. That could just be because they added enough fluid to it, finally.
My bank account balance is not in the red for the first time in months! I think I’m finally catching up, at least a little bit.
I’ve gotten a bunch of new pen pal letters, lately. I’m looking forward to replying to all of this mail. I’ve also been mentioned by some very prominent YouTubers, lately (Wow!). Maybe I’ll get more traffic on my site.
I have found and fixed my webcam problem. It was a system glitch. Not sure yet if I will include a vlog with today’s blog. Maybe I will post one after I finish this new painting I’m working on.
Today’s song from my collection is a Nirvana cover by Flipper. Enjoy!
Vehicle repair has been the bane of my existence, for decades. I can usually only afford cheap transportation. So, I get nickel-and-dimed to death keeping them running. On the rare occasions that I have had decent quality cars, they always got totalled within a year. My current ride, a 1994 Chevy Astro Van, has been with me for four years. That is a pretty long time compared to most of the others I have owned, which were replaced very frequently. I’ve made a few modifications, like taking out the rear seats and discarding some panels. But, that is an ongoing process. I had hoped to prepare it for full-time living, for extended periods of time, should I suddenly become homeless. I’m paranoid like that.
I bought it in 2014, from an aunt’s neighbor, for $700. It had been dormantly parked in her driveway, untouched, for several years. I knew it would cost me a lot more, over time. When I bought it, it already had a bent frame, oil leaks, radiator problems, and a thousand other things wrong with it. Most of those I STILL haven’t fixed. Then, there are more pieces falling apart all of the time.
A few days ago I had a flat tire, again. The same wheel keeps going flat. I have replaced that tire at least five times, by now. The rim was inspected and I was told that it was okay. So, I just kept replacing tires when the old ones gave out. This tire kept getting low every couple of days and I would air it up at a nearby Belle Tire before it went completely flat. But, this last time, I tried to inflate the tire and it was totally shredded! I had no way to get the van home without bending the holy fuck out of the wheel. So, I went inside and told them my problem. I also told them about the wheel wobbling all of the time, possibly due to a bad tie rod or ball joint. So, maybe they will look at that, too. It could cost a few hundred dollars. But, either way, I have no money… AT ALL, to pay for it. I applied for credit there, hoping to make payment arrangements. Haven’t heard back from them, yet, about the van or the credit. I’m not very optimistic.
I asked if they would check my transmission. But, they don’t do transmissions. I’m still hoping that it is something minor I can fix by myself.
Things like this keep me perpetually in a bad mood. As negative as I always am, I don’t need much to already be in one and this doesn’t help. I’m trying to take my mind off of it with music & art. I opened a Ko-Fi account online, specifically for such repairs, if anybody wants to chip in a few bucks. There are no obligations. It isn’t a monthly pledge service, like Patreon. I’m only using it for specific goals – in this case, fixing the van.
Guess I will get back to work and leave you alone. Later.
I posted a blog yesterday, immediately regretted it, then promptly went back and deleted everything. It was just too negative (more than I usually am). I know that I can be a downer, sometimes. You don’t need to be reminded of that. But, I did want to leave a few updates for this overdue blog.
I spent a couple of days trying to shoot a vlog. But, the webcam is broken. I kept fiddling with it and looking for a software solution. It has got to be the hardware, though. Everything else is fine.
The transmission on my van is going out and the wheels wobble. I don’t know why, yet. Yesterday, I aired up a flat tire, drove my decrepit van to the post office, got the mail, changed the cat’s litterbox, fed her a can of food, busted a guitar string, wrote some letters, etc. Mostly, I’ve been sleeping a lot. I think I missed taking my meds three or four times this week, including today (and I really feel it). I hate when I do that.
Tom Zarzecki, of Death Cat, is planning another film festival later this year. I think I will pass on that this time. I wasn’t very happy with how my previous contribution turned out and the festival itself last year was kind of a bust. Practically no one but the filmmakers themselves showed up. It was an insightful experience, though. Now I’m more aware about some mistakes to avoid when I’m performing live.
My homemade drum kit (aka The ShitKit) has a problem. The bass drum pedal is totally broken. I was building a wooden base for the kit when I noticed that pieces of the kick pedal were missing. Shit. I don’t have any money to replace it. Maybe someone would accept a trade? They could possibly repair it if they have the parts.
My friend Max Grean is putting together a Glam-Core group (whatever that means). Not exactly sure where he is going with that. He asked me to contribute to it. So, I guess that I am the keyboardist. I have one decent quality keyboard (on loan from my ex). The rest that I own are cheap crap. We will see what happens.
This is a mixed-media painting that I finished a few months ago. It will probably end up as a zine cover, at some point, eventually. Just to have SOME consistency here, I will continue to show you my paintings & artwork in each blog, w/ a song from my record collection included. Maybe that will help me, somehow, to remain in a better mental state.
“Cute, cool, and creepy”, is how I have been described by some folks.
Usually, I am classified by my contemporaries as an outsider artist-musician.
Davin Brainard (time Stereo) and Warren DeFever (His Name Is Alive) observed that I do not intentionally TRY to be perceived as weird, that I just naturally AM….. making comparisons to Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston. I guess that I will just go along with those descriptions.
Outsider Artist / Musician;
Music, Art, and Zines
Videos, Movies, and Multi-Media
Voice, Tapes, and Noise
Bass, Baritone, and other Guitars
Keyboards, Computers, and Custom Instruments
Plunderphonics, Electronics and Junk Percussion
I enjoy creating what I refer to as “Prog-Punk Noise-Rock”, a strange pastiche of styles tied together. I have collaborated with plenty of other artists over the years with wide degrees of proficiency in many genres.
I have been obsessively into art and music my whole life; drawing, painting, playing with tape recorders and making noise. I built my first guitar from a badly beaten-up body & neck that I found in someone’s trash. A friend’s dad gave me the electrical guts from an unknown 1950’s guitar. Additional parts were improvised from pieces of found junk and purchased from a music store.
When I was a twelve year old kid, back in the 1980’s, I was just a runt of the Detroit hardcore punk / heavy metal scene . Lacking enough money to buy any good equipment, I purchased a cheap microphone at a pawn shop, built a homemade mic stand, and passed myself off as a vocalist. I sang in whatever groups that I could find, gaining experience and learning whatever that I could. Mostly, it was shitty cover bands, playing in basements, getting yelled at by uninvited drunks that we suck. Eventually, I improved my bass & guitar skills, playing in many short-lived groups that went nowhere.
I was a writer / photographer for The Jam Rag, a widely-read local music paper, while still a teenager and made friends with other artists along the way. During the 1990’s I was a cameraman, roadie, and occasional collaborator with Princess Dragon-Mom, Mog Stunt Team, His Name Is Alive, etc.. I also performed in a few experimental noise groups; Bionics, Edible Audio, Fresh Farm Raised Catfish, etc.
The Island of Misfit Noise began in the summer of 1998 with only Mystic MarshaKat and myself. She played keyboards & guitar (classically trained) and I played bass & guitar (mostly self-taught). Both of us were former members of N2-Submission, the backing band for our then-roommate The Impaler “Detroit’s Vampire Poet.”Our duo’s name changed a couple of times, before settling on the IOMN. Other musicians came and went during a period of 15 years, with she & I being the only constant members of the group. She also left in early 2013. MarshaKat and I remain friends. She may continue to assist in some capacity, just not as a full-time band member.
I resurrected the IOMN as a recording project in late 2014, with collaborators from Michigan to Australia. We exchanged material back-and-forth until some music was completed. The style that we made is very freeform. A few collaborators from the IOMN have joined me in other projects. Some of them have experience in film & television and are producing low-budget movies with me.
Island of Misfit Noise is an ongoing multimedia project, begun in 1998 as a musical group, with a constantly rotating membership. It has since expanded into no-budget film-making, music videos, and a series of comics. I will continue to add material to this as I go along, with additional collaborators. Live performances are very unlikely.
Theee Urban SpaceCat (Cassette-Zine) is a publication of my artwork, ramblings, stories, correspondences, miscellaneous found objects, music, commentary, and anything else packaged with a cassette tape of my recordings (compact disc optional)… whatever they may be. It is an outlet for all of my artistic endeavors, combined into one package, modeled after decades of correspondence with my friends.
Mike Damn Nobody is my experimental noise project; incorporating tape loops, circuit-bending, custom instruments, and anything else available. Live events have a more chaotic theatrical presentation than my other projects. Recordings are available on RecycleTapes (cassettes handmade from re-purposed materials) and digital download formats.
Mike Nobody is just me, by myself, performing somewhere with my crazy setup as a one-man-band. I’ll make that work, somehow, for now.
MykNobody is an alternate spelling sometimes used when I’m painting.
Subscribe to this blog and I will show & tell you more about the past, present, and future. If you want to check out upcoming events or new stuff available, and get some freebies, add yourself onto the mailing list in the sidebar. There are also fundraising links there for anybody who wants to support my creative efforts. More rewards are available for my Patrons.
I forgot to update everybody on this. A few months ago, the website for We Make Zines had to relocate when they lost their web hosting provider. I had been a member since 2014. So, I reopened an account at the new site. All of my previous postings have been lost. So, aside from my profile, there isn’t much of mine to look at yet. Zinesters and enthusiasts can find plenty of other information there, though. The link is above.