This was originally intended for a compilation. But, I missed the deadline. So, I reworked it into something different, a bit longer, for an upcoming issue of “Theee Urban SpaceCat” #3 cassette-zine. I’m working on more material that I can perform live. But, this plunderphonics style track is still pretty good and I didn’t want to waste it.
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….
It has been quite awhile since I said anything about other bands that I like. So, I guess that it is overdue for me to mention Distorted Pony. They are an industrial / noise rock group that began in 1986, then disbanded in 1993. I began listening to them in the early 1990’s, but frankly knew nothing about them except that I liked their music. I looked into their background many many years later, after they had long since broken up. Surprisingly, they are very similar to my ideal group to be in; two guitarists, a bassist, and a guy banging on oil drums & metal junk. They began with just two people, bass player Dora Jahr and guitarist David Uskovich, accompanied by a drum machine. Eventually, they were joined by London May on drums, Theodore Jackson on percussion, and Robert Hammer on guitar.
I was also unaware, for a long time, that London May had played in so many other well-known groups (Samhain, Dag Nasty, Circle Jerks) and is an actor.
They have briefly reunited a few times, since 2010, and began to perform reunion shows. But, I think that their current European tour will be for the last time. So, check them out, if you can.
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.
Hello, I received a message from David Liebe Hart, from the Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! He finally raised enough funds to publish the comic book that I and others contributed to several months ago. The text is below, if you are interested.
Hello friends of David. We are excited to announce the Kickstarter campaign for our comic book, Heartman, starring David as the superhero who, along with his sidekick Chip, must save the universe from his evil nemesis Dr. Pain. Each of the beautiful 44 pages is illustrated by a different artist including DLH himself. With about 5 days to go we’ve reached our goal to raise enough money to order 250 full-color, finely crafted copies for $1500. You can order your David-signed copy now. There are also some exclusive rewards for donating extra $. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/884844058/david-liebe-hart-of-tim-and-eric-in-heartman-comic
August’s west coast tour will go from San Diego CA to Bellingham WA, and will have David joined by a 3-piece space-rock band led by Mo Troper. September-October’s tour, ranging from Las Vegas to Detroit to Boise, will feature me, Jonah, playing David’s backing music and video projection, along with support acts Chip The Black Boy and Whatever Your Heart Desires. Details and tickets for all the shows will gradually be updated at http://ArtByLiebeHart.com/shows in the coming weeks, but at the bottom of this I’ll paste complete details for the August shows.
And your subscriber’s exclusive this month is an alternate version of the song “Martin Lawrence Show Dream” from the forthcoming David & Jad Fair album – http://hartandhartmann.com/martin%20lawrence%20show%20dream%20-%20draft2.mp3
for David Liebe Hart
LOS ANGELES CA 8/5
The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm (7pm doors), 21+
Support: Adult Karate, Martin Martins, R. Clown
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1998647383500067
SAN DIEGO CA 8/6
Queen Bee’s, 3925 Ohio St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), all ages
Support: Legion X, The Gay Agenda
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/183111978991169
PALM SPRINGS CA 8/7
Ace Hotel, 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, FREE, 9pm, 21+
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1671011319634987
SANTA CRUZ CA 8/8
Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave, $8 advance, $10 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/782810778569921
SAN FRANCISCO CA 8/9
Knockout, 3223 Mission St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Support: Chaki, Tabor Mountain, Eric Cash
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/808613952664895
SACRAMENTO CA 8/10
Highwater, 1910 Q St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Support: Skrrt, Vandalaze, Awkward Cougar, Mike Calvin, Mars Parker
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/621323151563336
ARCATA CA 8/11
The Miniplex @ Richard’s Goat, 401 I St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm, 21+
Support: Dr. Foxmeat, TBA
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2525707037454841
MEDFORD OR 8/12
Johnny B’s, 120 E 6th St, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm (7pm doors), 21+
Support: Iconoplasty, The Juniper Berries, Sound Of The Skeptic
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/596976843996587
EUGENE OR 8/14
Secret location TBA, $8 advance, $10 door,
Support: Steak Richardson, Turtlenecked
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/213568989257551
SALEM OR 8/15
The Space, 1128 Edgewater St NW, $10 advance, $12 door, 6:30pm (6pm doors), all ages
Support: Chief Crow & The Flat Earthworms, Percy Lounge, Vortex Remover
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/274364716461600
PORTLAND OR 8/16
Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm, 21+
Support: Nasalrod, Dim Wit, Tig Bitty, Jay Shingle
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/165262840990750
OLYMPIA WA 8/17
Le Voyeur, 404 4th Ave E, $8 advance, $10 door, 7:55pm (7:30 doors), all ages
Support: The Deceptives, Sunstang, Skrill Meadow, Bananas Foster
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/647291162277542
SEATTLE WA 8/18
Highline Bar, 210 Broadway E, $12 advance, $14 door, 9pm, 21+
Support: Hangry Hayrabs, Porn Bloopers
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/460140871102922
BELLINGHAM WA 8/19
Bellingham Alternative Library, 519 E Maple St, $10 advance, $12 door, 8:30pm (7:30 doors), all ages
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/485319701871368
SPOKANE WA 8/20
Big Dipper, 171 S Washington St, $8 advance, $10 door, 7:30pm (7pm doors), 18+
Support: Itchy Kitty, Bandit Train, The Midnight Goats
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1660854887334011
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
FIDLAR - 40oz. On Repeat
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
Katy Perry – California Gurls (ft. Snoop Dogg)
Björk – Human Behaviour
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!
Making mistakes are inevitable. You learn what you can from them and try not to make the same ones twice. But, as I’ve been told, I “never know when to quit.” I guess there are upsides and downsides to that. I’m persistent.
I’ve always hated the business side of art & music. There are some aspects that I don’t mind doing myself. But, most of it I’ve always left for someone else to handle (booking shows, collecting the door, etc.). I’m just really bad at it. But, as a club owner once told comedian / performance artist Andy Kaufman, “This is show-business. Show… Business! Show…Business! Without the business, there’s no show.” It took a very long time to beat that into my head. But, I still relied too much on others to get things done.
I’ve always known how important it is to have backup gear; strings, cords, cables, picks, etc. But, I never considered having a backup for other contingencies. A friend would set up a show for me and I’d prepare to get by at that one show. If something went wrong, though, I’d be fucked. I’ve been stood up by bandmates at booked gigs. I’ve had important pieces of equipment fail. If something CAN go wrong, it usually does.
I was, recently, reading a blog explaining the pros and cons of touring alone vs touring with a band. It got me thinking about how I can better prepare myself. I should ALWAYS have a backup plan ready for when shit goes wrong, “Always have a plan A, B, C, and D.” If an offer comes along and I don’t have a backup plan for it, then I probably shouldn’t accept it. I’m not ready. The best way to avoid this from happening is to DIY all of the work, as much as possible. If I’m bad at it, then I’ll learn how to get better. I’ve always been bad with cars, but eventually I had to learn shit or it didn’t get done…period.
If I’m setting up a show by myself, I can control the variables and take precautions. If bandmates flake out or cannot show up, I can still do it alone. If a piece of equipment fails, I can do something else instead. Whatever happens, I got this.
Part of this mindset is influenced by my “prepping hobby” or whatever you want to call it. I liked the TV show “Doomsday Preppers”, while it lasted. Sure, there were lots of nutcases on there with too much money to waste and not enough common sense. But, the general principle is a sound one, “Be prepared…for anything.” It got our grandparents through the Great Depression. The pioneers survived travelling across the wilderness because they prepared for it. Shit’s gonna happen, inevitably. What are you gonna do? Cry about it? No. If something needs to be done, get it done. No one else will do it. Think ahead, then you won’t have to worry as much.
I have repairs & replacements that need to be taken care of. But, I would like to set up a few mini-tours down the Midwest or The East Coast. Whether that is with a group or alone (or both) I’d like to somehow make that happen. If I can secure a decent-priced rental van and insurance with Roadside Assistance it would make a world of difference. Would it be a deal-breaker if I can’t? I’m not sure.
Another thing that has taken me a very long time to learn is, “If you can’t do it the way that you want to do it, find another way to do it. Then, do it anyway.” Being stubbornly perfectionist can really hold you back. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I’ve had some great ideas which would have been fantastic to see materialize, “only if…” It’s always some details that prevented it from happening, when I could have done it in some other fashion and at least gotten SOMETHING done – instead of nothing.
This kinda goes back to my point of being more self-reliant. I’ve often needed someone around to break me out of my depression, get me motivated, and to bounce ideas off of. If I had simply recorded & performed everything myself, all along, I could have accomplished so much more! I thought that I NEEDED other people to do things. But, I really only WANTED them. That is a big difference. It is a huge mistake to wait for anyone for anything, if you can avoid it. “Don’t wait around for help, because it isn’t coming.” Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there, forever, Waiting For Godot.
One of my favorite cartoons is “Rick & Morty.” I think that the best episode, so far, has been “Pickle Rick.” In this episode, the title character (transformed into a limbless pickle) is physically helpless, trapped down a sewer drain, but manages to save his own life through sheer ingenuity and persistence. Just like one of my other favorite TV characters, MacGyver. He could have simply despaired there at the bottom of the sewer, hopelessly crying to himself, until the rats and roaches ate his lifeless corpse. But, instead, he used his environment to escape and survive. I’m a little envious that I don’t have more positive moments like that myself. It is something to strive for, though.
I know that I need to put myself out there more if I want to accomplish my goals. My natural inclination is avoid everybody, though.
Procrastination is another big problem of mine. I “rack disiprine.”
I try REALLY hard to do better. But, I’m my own worst enemy. I self-sabotage everything.
I have put myself on a regular schedule, of sorts, to take care of everyday things, so I don’t have to think about it much. I make myself a daily to-do list. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d get anything done. But, it isn’t foolproof. I still get sidetracked with something else a lot. I tend to fixate on something, to the exclusion of everything else, and lose track of time.
I was thinking about the creative process, the thinking process. If I document it, publicly, maybe this will help to keep me motivated, creative and honest. When I write to friends or collaborate with other people I seem to get more stuff done. It helps, I guess. I might be less likely to throw everything away before I’m finished.
I’m blogging for my Patreon-supporters (the Superduper Secret SpaceCat Blog) almost every week-ish . I share things to keep it interesting.
I had a busy week or two, making a bunch of horror movie themed paintings for a show at the Phoenix Cafe’ and putting together a short movie for the Planet 9 Film Festival. Now that it’s over I’m catching up on neglected housework and van repairs.
Moving on to the next thing or so;
- Working on issues #1-3 of “Theee Urban SpaceCat” cassette-zine. It has been held up for a ridiculous length of time already. It was always my intent to publish new issues every three or four months. But, I never have any money to do so. I’m considering just posting MP3/PDF versions online until I can get enough cash together. I have a growing backlog of material to do something with or discard.
- Building new custom instruments, ShitKit 2.0 and miscellaneous noise machines. Everything was taking up space and had to be moved. My grandmother needs her garage back.
- “The Island of Misfit Noise” movie might make a little more progress. The recent experience of making and showing a short film has been educational.
- Recording new music for collaboration albums: David Liebe Hart (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) and The Residents!
- Of course, I will continue to collaborate on other things as well. I may have found a new drummer!
I doubt if I will perform alone again for awhile. Had a bad experience a few weeks ago. Was offered another gig in two months. But, I’ll pass, just stick to recording for the time being.
I saw these two perform at the Gold Dollar twenty years ago, today.
I could not find a single bit of information about them beyond their discography.
But, anyway, here is a link to their Discog page. Enjoy!
Sorry for the long absence.
My computer died.
I gave it to my aunt to work on.
She does IT work for the local school district.
Unable to fix it, she gave me another one that a school was getting rid of.
I tried to salvage what I could from the old one.
But, most of my programs and files were lost.
I’ve been searching for the missing software and restoring what I can.
My scanner/printer didn’t want to cooperate with the new computer.
I tried replacing it.
But, the replacements didn’t work either.
After a couple of days messing with it, I finally got it running.
My van has a million problems.
But, at least I got the front tire fixed that kept going flat.
I’ve replaced that tire THREE TIMES and it still kept going flat.
I thought maybe the rim was bent.
I had it looked at and they found a piece of metal lodged inside.
They patched it up.
Now, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
Only cost me $15 bucks (thank God)!
I tried to repay my grandmother $700 dollars I owe her.
She forgave some of it.
My ex forgave the $200 I owed her, too, since I’ve been helping her relocate and move her stuff.
Not sure how I’ll get my other debts paid.
But, I try not to get stressed out about it.
That really fucks up my creativity.
I was gonna record a vlog to go with this (including a new song!). But, I didn’t get around to it. I’ll try to get it out this weekend, maybe. I have been digging through my old practice tapes and recording new demos for a couple of months now. I am not happy with a lot of it. But, you always have to dig through a lot of shit to find anything useful. Since I haven’t put out anything in a long time, I have been contributing to other people’s projects. I was asked by Uncle Ghoulie to provide some artwork and sounds to Truth Porn Militia – No Budget Radio Podcast. So, that is cool. I will be getting that out soon. There have also been some zines and other things requesting my input. So, I haven’t been completely unproductive, I guess.
I’m really beginning to wonder if maybe I should just give away my notes & artwork to let someone else make my movies. At least then they would get produced SOMEHOW. Tim Burton had almost nothing to do with making Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, yet his name is still in the title. He just gave his old sketchbook to another director and said, “Here. Knock yourself out.” Good idea? Bad idea? I don’t know. But, it looks like if I’m gonna produce it, it will likely be a few years until it it is done. Even if I cut costs to the absolute bone and it looks like dogshit, I don’t think I can get it done.
I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that I can get Theee Urban SpaceCat finally going this month. I should have enough raw material for a few issues already. I’ve been continually painting, drawing, recording, writing, etc. It really comes down to paying for putting it out there. I’ll deal with other expenses later, if it becomes necessary.
After over a year of keeping my stuff in storage, lacking enough funds, I recently had to let go of my storage unit. I have downsized a lot of it. So, at least I can fit everything in my grandmother’s garage (between the Christmas decorations and patio furniture). She gave me a nice bookshelf that was no longer wanted. So, I finally have somewhere to keep what is left of my vinyl LPs. I was very disappointed to realize how much of my collection that I’ve sold off.
She also gave me a free pizza promotional card that she got in the mail from Domino’s Pizza. I later brought the pizza back to her house. She, my nephew Michael, and I enjoyed a large deluxe. Mmmmmm.
I gotta finish cleaning up here, soon. There is an apartment inspection coming Monday. The landlord is making sure that no bed bugs have returned. Thankfully, the place has been pest-free for a year now. As a matter of fact, it was during the bug extermination last winter that I began renting my storage unit. So, it lasted one whole year.
I just got a small loan to cover my rent problem (last month’s check bounced!). I needed to pay two month’s rent and late/returned check fees IMMEDIATELY or I would get evicted. I’m not sure how much more financial Jiu-Jitsu I can pull off before it finally catches up with me. The van has a lot of mechanical problems needing fixing. I still cannot afford to put insurance on it. I’m risking jail time for driving without it (a misdemeanor in Michigan!). I’m in debt to my eyeballs to doctors & hospitals, credit cards, collection agencies, etc.
I set up a Patreon account. Maybe, I can find a little help from some folks, to fix my money situation. It is a long shot, I guess. But, what have I got to lose? I will post music, videos, and other stuff for patrons that won’t get released anywhere else. I’ll be adding more bonuses for supporters (t-shirts, stickers, magnets, flamethrowers, meat cannons, etc.) when I have them available. Any assistance is appreciated! Thanks.
When I am jamming with other people, they motivate me and kinda help focus what I am doing. So, I am always bouncing ideas back-and-forth with them, trying to see where their talents and interests are. If half of the group is into a specific style of music, that gives me a vague reference to work from. I know what will work and what won’t.
My improvisational skills are kinda crappy, though. Ironically, I need people to get out of my way and let me work alone when I am writing original music. Cutting & pasting jam sessions into songs kinda works. If I have no one to work with, I am kind of at a loss. The music can go in all sorts of different directions. So, finding my own “sound” can be difficult sometimes.
I am trying to shape what I do into a cohesive sound of my own, without tying my hands too much. I would like to maintain the freedom to play whatever that I want. Near as I can figure it, I guess that I kinda sound a little like Beck with a weird bass setup and tapes, maybe.
My working process and available resources probably have more to do with any real style that I may have than anything else. I don’t have a drummer. So, for percussion I must rely on drum machines and whatever found objects that I can bang on. I do not have other band members. So, I rely on recordings of myself on guitars, noises, and sampling, to fill out the sound. I dabble quite a bit in plunderphonics.
Compositionally, I like the free jazz “cut & paste” approach of artists like John Zorn, Carl Stalling, Magma, Cardiacs, Omoide Hatoba, Boredoms, Melvins, Ruins, Mr. Bungle, The Mothers of Invention, etc. and “mixtape style” of the Butthole Surfers, Ween, Faith No More, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc.
I like a mixture of Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi in recordings = Mid-Fi! But, I prefer a specific squashed compression sound found on early Primus, Ween, and Butthole Surfers records. I was able to ask guitarist / producer Paul Leary once about how he achieved that sound for the Butthole Surfers. He said it was due to cheap tape recorders, and only having one microphone. So, I think they recorded directly from their preamps a lot. I know that Primus did. That works great for me, since I only have shitty cheap microphones anyway.
Vocally, I have a kinda nasally high-pitched voice that I never liked. It’s kind of a bit like Neil Young, Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Curt & Chris Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), etc. I try to give it a little bit of a Tom Waits-like growl on the lower end. I also compensate for my voice with cheap microphones and whatever vocal effects that are available, trying to bury it.
Visually, of course, everything is very cheap by necessity. I like papier-mâché and cardboard props and sets. Puppets and miniatures can be very useful, too. Green screen, data-bending, and other cheap effects.
My mixed-media paintings and artwork kinda have a cheapniz aesthetic, too, I suppose. I use stuff from thrift stores, garage sales, dollar stores, and found materials a lot.
I tend to visualize the exterior world, the “real” world, in black & white colors. A cold, decaying, dying, world.
The interior world, the world of the mind and imagination, by contrast, is warmer and more colorful. It is vast and endless.
I will probably post more about my gear setup & playing techniques later.
I was watching some YouTube videos lately.
I got very annoyed.
Other bands are doing stuff that I wanna do.
But, they keep beating me to it.
I hate when that shit happens.
Maybe it is just that everything has already been done to death and we keep repeating and reinterpreting what came before us.
I know that, financially, I am gonna be screwed for the foreseeable future.
I am robbing Peter to pay Paul for as long as I have to.
I seriously doubt that I will break even before summer begins.
I keep putting off working on and publishing the zine until I can get ahead a little.
But, that doesn’t look like it is going to happen very soon.
I may do a cheaper version, than what I had in mind, until it begins to pay for itself.
Just a thought.
I will probably raid my boxes of old tapes that I have in storage and dig around for some incomplete material to finish.
I have a lot of it, going back nearly forty years.
Since I have been tinkering with the analogue multi-track machine, maybe I will include some fresher stuff with it, too.
A guitarist whom I have not played with in years contacted me and is eager to jam again.
So, maybe he can give me a morale boost and help me get my shit done.
I am always willing to jam with other people if they are interested.
I need to find somewhere that I can paint and make loud noises too.
Maybe somebody can help me with that.
My mood ring broke again and I lost the color-changing part.
The next one I get won’t be as cheap.
My Buddha ring has taken its place, for now.
I would like to upgrade that one too.
I am working on some songs for an upcoming show in December.
But, I have been a little distracted.
I easily obsess onto something when I am stressed and it gets very difficult to move onto something else.
Both Mike Nobody and the Island of Misfit Noise will perform.
But, each will be a little different.
Since I am playing one set alone, I can prepare more details.
It may have a more complex, jazzier, sound.
The other set will be simpler.
I do not know if we will have a chance to rehearse together.
I want to make it as easy as possible on everyone involved.
It may have a more straightforward blues-based sound, pop song structures, with plenty of room for improvisation if desired.
I need to go make some coffee.
Life is funny sometimes. It lands some odd coincidences in my lap a lot, it seems.
I had never listened to The Clone Defects, although they have been around the Detroit scene for a number of years. I did not know that guitarist / vocalist Timmy Vulgar was also in a bunch of other local groups. He has been around the block as much as I have (and then some). I also did not know that he & I had met before, when he was in his first band The Epileptix. I still have their debut 7″ EP that I purchased from him. We talked about the band Chrome and guitarist Helios Creed a little bit. That is all that I remember from our encounter.
Anyway, I got an invitation on Facebook to see his most recent band Timmy’s Organism play at the UFO Factory next month. I did a little research, and dang! This is my kinda guy. Mostly, he plays a kind of psychedelic punk and employs the style of low budget freakishness that I am known for. If he ever needs a bassist, or wants to collaborate, I think I am up for it… if he is.
Thus far, I hadn’t given the plot of our film much thought beyond the original premise that I gave TomCat Z. and John Pirog. I had assumed that we could just continue to add material until we had enough for a complete film. It is possible that we may still follow that method to some degree. It may be a financial necessity. But, it also occurred to me that having a few characters that we could build stories around wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. I mentioned the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all those 1990’s bands who styled themselves as superheroes for examples.
One of my big influences on The Island of Misfit Noise movie is Japanese Tokusatsu (特撮) shows like Ultraman, Giant Robot, and the Godzilla / Mothra franchises.
Oh yes, there will be giant fighting robots and monsters. There will be.
If this is a group of heroes getting into constant trouble, I could sorta model them after characters from Doctor Who, Star Trek, Lost In Space, Josie And The Pussycats, and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, always arriving somewhere new and finding some shit to get into. If they are musicians, there will be four of them, like The Monkees or The Beatles. Each has their own character archetype, skills and abilities, like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Marx Brothers. When they get into deep shit beyond their capabilities, the giant robot comes to save them. Also, the robot is a fill-in drummer, because he keeps excellent time and doesn’t get tired. They are constantly losing and replacing drummers, like Spinal Tap.
Other big influences of mine is, of course, cheap B-movies and television programs. Sid & Marty Krofft‘s 1970’s Saturday morning children’s shows comes to mind as an excellent example. I even called the IOMN movie “H.R. Pufnstuf on crack”, once or twice.
So, there will be lots of green screen, cheap sets, cheap costumes, cheap, cheap, cheap. It is very likely that almost everything you see is gonna be made of cardboard, tinfoil, and papier-mâché if it isn’t something found or outright stolen.
Before we get started putting together any props or shit, I may publish the IOMN comics in my zine, Thee Urban SpaceCat. At the very least, it will give me an opportunity to work out some things that will eventually wind up in the movie. The Walking Dead TV series began as a comic. Hell, most of the movies out lately are based on comic books. They must be doing something right. It is also fitting, because the zine began as a concept for a comic book and I will probably be publishing through a printer that specializes in comic books. So, there is that too.
I do not know where all of my old tapes are. Here are a few. Despite my reputation as a pack rat, I do discard and lose a lot of important things. There is still a lot here to dig through, some dating back to the 1970’s. There are more recent ones laying around from making memos to myself, quick jams, meeting up to jam with various musicians, etc.
I learned to read music in elementary school. I forgot how, though, after years of just jamming with bands who couldn’t read. Also, transcribed music never felt like an accurate representation of “music”, to me. I always visualized music in waves, shapes, and colors, like a rainbow oscilloscope!
John Cage wrote music kind of like that. I preferred how he wrote down music. It just made more sense to me than traditional transcribed music.
Tatsuya Yoshida seems to have been influenced by Cage a lot. He even wrote a tribute song, composed in John Cage’s style. Of course Tatsuya Yoshida’s biggest influence would seem to be Christian Vander and Magma. His group, Ruins, borrows Magma‘s compositional style almost completely, adapting it to fit a drum & bass duo.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tatsuya Yoshida (吉田達也 Yoshida Tatsuya?) (born in Kitakami, Iwate is a Japanese musician; drummer and composer who is the only consistent member of the renowned progressive rock duo Ruins, as well as Koenji Hyakkei. He is also a member of the progressive rock trios Korekyojinn and Daimonji. Outside of his own groups, Yoshida is renowned for his tenure as drummer in the indie progressive group YBO2, a band also featuring guitarist KK Null, whom he also joins in the current line up of Zeni Geva and he has played drums in a late edition of Samla Mammas Manna. He has been cited as “[the] indisputable master drummer of the Japanese underground”.
Along with his participation in bands, he has also released several solo recordings.
I like the “cut & paste” style of composing. It offers a lot of freedom. I mean, it is nice when a complete song just hits you all at once. But, that seldom happens when playing in a group. I would be lucky if I found a really good drummer that I found a good groove with. Maybe composing alone will help me write more easily. I have plenty of raw material that I can draw from.
I think that, until I get some songs completed, I will accept new offers for gigs… performing improvised noise as Mike Damn Nobody again.
If I can get a new ShitKit started on, I will use it for percussion while I add other noises.
Max Grean (Uncle Ghoulie) said that he would help me to acquire an old gas tank from someone in Clarkston.
If I can get that, it will help me a lot.
I may do something akin to Black Pus (drums + vocals + noise), but perhaps more chaotic.
I like cheepnis.
Maybe it is growing up on a steady diet of bad movies and shitty TV shows.
We would go to the drive-in back when they had double features, triple features, all nighters, etc.
When home video tapes and cable TV became a thing, my mom got us to watch some the worst movies ever made.
So bad, they’re good… and went back around to being bad again.
Some of the films used on Mystery Science Theater 3000 are Shakespeare, by comparison.
I used to stay up late and try to watch midnight movies on TV, before cable came along.
Then, there was The Ghoul and Sir Graves Ghastly for cool weekend shows.
Ed Wood, Roger Corman, Herschell Gordon Lewis, John Waters, Lloyd Kaufman, Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Russ Meyer, it’s all good.
Comparative Anatomy are another group that I have liked for many years. Their 2010 CD Mammalian is really good. I have been waiting ever since for a follow-up album, which never seems to come.
They are an experimental drum & bass band from Charlottesville, Virginia. Known for their elaborate costumes, absurd humor, simple but diverse textures and unique sound, the band has become known in the experimental and noise rock scenes for their outlandish performances. Their early work has been referred to by reviewers as a “patchwork, cut-up style” similar to bands like Mr. Bungle, but recently they have created their own unique sound with robotic sounding bass lines, frenzied loops of animal samples, and beat-focused drums. To date, they are the only band to consistently use animals for vocals, recording their sounds in a variety of settings and programming them to the music, often altering the sounds and layering them in their more recent work.
Comparative Anatomy started as an experiment in 2009 between the two main members, Sir Puffers Rabbinald the Third and Ron Chickenbaby. At this time, the band name was not yet chosen. The original line-up went through several guitars and one real drummer, all of who were eventually eliminated. After deciding to work alone, the group took a different route, eliminated guitars altogether and moved away from the quirky, death metal sound where they started as well as completely scrapping vocals. Their musical direction began to take an experimental, drum & dual-bass approach utilizing special tunings, a drum machine, and various samples from a variety of sources. They’re known for its odd humor, which relies heavily on absurdist and quasi-dadaist dialogs with the crowd and symbolism focusing totally on animals.
During live performances, Comparative Anatomy is known for wearing costumes, which were at first simple designs made with dismembered, stuffed animals, but eventually became elaborate and full-body pieces hand-made by the two main members featuring everything from top hats to black metal guantlets. In addition, their live act involves a set of films and animations created by the band that follow the music and are projected behind them on a giant screen.
Another cool thing about them that I like very much is that they tour in a refurbished ambulance, playing their music over the PA system as they approach their performances.
If you ever wonder what a Mike Nobody solo performance looks like, without a real band onstage, this probably isn’t far from it… minus the costumes.
In the 1990’s, there were a number of bands who styled themselves as cartoonish action heroes, complete with a theatrical image and fictional backstory (GWAR, Supernova, The Aquabats, The Cocktails, The Amino Acids, Man or Astroman?).
I am not sure if this is the legacy of KISS or The Monkees.
The nice thing about these groups is that they are fun, for starters, and make additional income for the artist through merchandising. I wrote about merchandising before. Yes, there is a dark side to avoid. But, there is also potential to have a lot of fun with it. Comic book culture thrives on it. Go to any comic-con and check out the mountains of stuff available for almost any property. I cannot help that the inner geek in me likes collecting things. I blame Star Trek and record collecting for getting me started on that.
Mog Stunt Team were one of these groups, and were also close friends of mine.
I liked their music and whole schtick. But, I always felt like they put most of their energy into an image and not their music. I believed that I could write better songs, for sure. Bassist / vocalist Kenny Mugwump must have sensed this on some level, because he often asked for my opinion about stuff and wanted my input. I regret that I never asked to join their group. But, I was a bit intimidated. These were old pros with management, years of experience in a number of bands, touring, getting signed to labels, etc. I was just this weird kid who hung around a lot and helped when they needed a favor.
I kinda forgot about these sort of groups for awhile, then realized that The Aquabats were still kicking, and had their own TV show for two seasons! Christ, how did I miss THAT? I did a little research and discovered that the lead Aquabat, Christian Jacobs, was a former 1980’s child actor. He tried making a go of The Aquabats band for a couple of years in the 1990’s, unsuccessfully. In 1998 they made a failed Aquabats TV pilot with Bobcat Goldthwait. In 1999, he tried pitching Yo Gabba Gabba! to the networks instead. After belatedly appearing on the internet for a few years, it was a big success. Afterward, he was asked what his next project would be. So, he simply dusted off his VHS recording of The Aquabats! Super Show! and tried that again 15 years after it was originally made. Ta-Dah!
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to make The Island of Misfit Noise sort of like these groups. The IOMN movie certainly shares some of the same influences. I don’t want to wear costumes onstage or anything like that. But, I think that I could create different characters that we could make toys out of and stuff like that. Sorta like The Archies or Josie and The Pussycats. That could be fun.
As a kid growing up in the 1970’s-1980’s, I knew even then that most of the cartoons on TV were just half-hour commercials for toys. It was a little annoying, sometimes. I mean, c’mon, they made a TV show about a talking Rubik’s Cube! Really?! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were one of these shows. Literally, the show was only made so they could make toys. But, damn if it wasn’t still a good show! I think the fact that they had already developed it as a successful comic book for a few years gave them the chance to flesh out the characters more.
Anyway, I still look forward to writing songs with anyone who wants to add them into this. Not sure what will come of it. But, we will see.
I applied for another job again, Value World (aka Value Village).
Not sure if it will do any good.
They were the only place that required applicants to apply in person, instead of online like everywhere else.
I later walked to the store for pop & bread and actually did some housecleaning today, too.
I’m on a roll.
♛ ★★★★★★★★★☆★☆★☆★☆☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★★★★★★★★★ ♛
I am feeling kinda brave and pulled the Roland workstation out… seeing if I could operate it at all.
I may dig through some boxes of old tapes and see if there is anything that I wanna work on again.
I may lift some material directly from them for the zine.
I am thinking that I will just keep accumulating material as I go along.
Then, when I have enough cash to publish I will put a new issue out, hopefully every three to four months.
It would be easier if I had some extra income for this.
But, I am working with what I have for now.
Thee Urban SpaceCat CassetteZine may be printed by a company that did Death Cat comics, Ka-Blam is their name I think.
It seems like they work in all sorts of volumes with good quality.
The tapes may be recorded, mixed, mastered, and dubbed totally DIY, though.
I am undecided if I want to get them made at a duplicating plant or just dub them myself.
I guess it depends what the demand is for them.
If I get too many orders I will have to go with the duplicating plant.
I am making a distinction between the CassetteZine and the RecycleTapes, though.
The CassetteZine will use fresh normal bias cassettes, probably Sony.
They seem to be the most readily available.
RecycleTapes are hard copy recordings of Mike Damn Nobody’s noise albums, dubbed on reused tapes and re-labelled by me.
I may have to create new artwork for the older titles.
I cannot find the originals.
I was thinking of when I want to take my recordings into a legitimate studio.
Money is a factor, of course.
But, when I am ready, I am thinking that I may only release vinyl singles and EPs like that for awhile.
If they do well, I can compile them onto CDs later.
The Weirdos are an LA punk band from way-y-y back.
They released only vinyl singles for twenty years before they put out their first full-length album.
“Weird Al” Yankovic says that he will no longer release full length albums.
He is only doing singles now.
It seems like that is the direction that the music industry will be going, eventually.
I haven’t been in a record store for years.
So, it is a little tough for me to gauge.
♛ ★★★★★★★★★☆★☆★☆★☆☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★★★★★★★★★ ♛
I am probably gonna upgrade my my video capture software and get a chromakey program added to it.
I need to get a green screen or some fluorescent green paint.
I have a few leftover projector screens that I could paint if I had something for fabric, that wouldn’t crack and peel off.
Here is another group that I like very much. I have been listening to these guys for years and years. Touring with them would be pretty awesome if the opportunity ever came up.
Japanese experimental punk trio Ultra Bidé was formed in 1978 by Hide Fujiwara (bass / guitar / vocals) and released their first song in 1980 on the five-band compilation Dokkiri Record. It’s sort of the No New York of Japan’s south-central Kansai region (which contains Osaka and Kyoto), and Ultra Bide’s contribution, the dissonant “1979!,” bolsters its babbling vocals and thwacking bass with thunderclaps of guitar. After the band’s debut full-length, 1984’s The Original Ultra Bide, it took them 11 years to put out another, at which point they dropped three between 1995 and 2003—and 2013’s DNA vs. DNA-c (Alternative Tentacles) is their first since then. These guys can still make a whole lot of noise (“Phase Is Massive Power Attack Weapon” consists mostly of reverberating guitar feedback), but they’re also great at cleaner, more melodic tunes built from blunt guitar jabs and driving, nimble bass lines.
For many years, they were a standard power trio of guitar, drums, and bass. But, in recent years, they have eschewed the guitar for a two-bassist lineup. It is a really bad-ass sound. Their last album was recorded entirely at home, then mixed & mastered in professional studios. Definitely my way of doing things!
I am stripping my rig down a bit.
Still a work in progress.
I am trying to fit everything onto the pedalboard.
There may still be a few things sticking out.
Ideally, I should be able to set up my gear in about ten minutes, give or take a few.
Fewer parts, fewer complications.
Gotta think like a NASCAR pit mechanic, in & out.
“The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”
– Scotty (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock)
My equipment has evolved a lot over time.
At one point, I had a built-up a huge Frankenrig from two old PAs, some preamps, and pieces of my current Mini-rig.
I got inspiration for my setup from a bunch of different bass & guitar players; Bootsy Collins, Chris Squire, Cliff Burton, Greg Ginn.
Some players have elaborate switching systems, with tons of pedals and rackmount effects.
Some players have truckloads of gear, insane shit.
Sonic Youth had a different guitar for EACH SONG.
I am trying to pare it down to whatever my live sound will be.
What do I REALLY need?
Other effects and sounds that I use I will probably just record samples of.
This changes the dynamics of composing quite a lot.
It is gonna sound way different than if I had everything plugged into the bass.
You can sort of hear how this is shaping my sound, so far.
But, this is for demonstration purposes ONLY (sorry that I got fat):
This is an unfinished song that The Riverviews were working on a couple of months ago.
I might re-purpose it into an Island of Misfit Noise song, if Mike Hayes doesn’t mind.
Stripping down the mini-rig.
Trying to find a compromise between my “live sound” and “studio sound”.
The strings are long overdue to be changed.
But, I haven’t got enough money for replacements.
“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) shared their observation about me that I don’t intentionally TRY to be perceived as weird, 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; Edible Audio (with drummer Mick Stone of 500 ft of Pipe) and Bionics (with John Nevermind of 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. I played bass & guitar. Both of us were former members of N2-Submission, backing band for 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.
♛ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Prog ☆ Punk 🐱 Noise ☆ Rock ☆ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ♛
Some of my current projects;
- 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 music videos, film-making, performance art, and comic books. I will continue to add material to this as I go along, with additional collaborators.
- 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. Recordings are available on RecycleTapes (cassettes handmade from re-purposed materials) and digital download formats.
- Painting, Drawing, Visual Art, etc.
This post was a little long, containing influences, gear, personal info, etc.. It has been relocated to About / FAQ / Press – Details.
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Mike Nobody =^.^=