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….
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!
I’d love to get any feedback from you.
When I get stuff in the mail, it also gives me fodder for making zines and things.
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.
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.
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.
“All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I’m an additive person—the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can’t see the connections, but they are there.”~ John Zorn
Continuing in a pastiche-composition style as Frank Zappa (although neither actually invented it) avante-garde jazz composer John Zorn has always interested me, since I first heard about him in the 1980’s.
His early career in the 1970’s included playing modified duck calls into buckets of water, as well as his improvised saxophone performances.
That alone, piqued my curiosity enough as a teenager to investigate further.
“The Big Gundown”, an imaginative reworking of Ennio Morricone covers, was his first big “hit” record in 1985.
Ennio Morricone, himself, praised the album.
His later hardcore jazz groups Naked City and Painkiller really made me into a big fan.
He was also instrumental in the release of Carl Stalling’s Merry Melodies / Looney Toons cartoon soundtrack recordings.
I am guessing that those projects are why Mr. Bungle chose him to produce their first album for Warner Bros. Records. in 1991.
I think I have to agree with Mr. Zorn’s philosophy of musical composition.
I was always an obsessive record collector.
Everything that I listened to felt interconnected on some level, even if they seemed separated on the surface.
William Shakespeare isn’t James Joyce or Dr. Seuss.
But, they all speak English.
Something like that.
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.
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 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.
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.
“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.
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 is also a Ko-Fi fundraising link there for anybody who wants to support my creative efforts.
Mike Nobody =^.^=