My Favorite Sub Pop Band

dickless

My favorite Sub Pop band is Dickless, an all-female group with only seven brief songs in their discography.

I could go on much further about how I feel about Sub Pop, Grunge, and the mainstream co-optation of underground culture. But, maybe that should be another post later.

From Wikipedia;

Dickless was a Seattle-based grunge rock band signed to Sub Pop records in 1990. Dickless is notable for their unique growling shrieking vocal style. Kelly Canary, the original vocalist, had a distinct growling scream that lead the quartet through short (approximately 20 minutes) and loud live performances. During their first few years, their loud and abrasive sound was new and unusual for an all-female music group. Simultaneously, their short discography included song titles and a song cover, “I’m a Man” by Bo Diddley, that were blatantly ironic given their abrasive sound and female members. The band name itself is meant to be satire. The group’s period of activity coincided with the emerging “Riot grrrl” music culture.

The original lineup consisted of Lisa Buckner (drums), Kelly Canary (vocals), Jana McCall (bass), Kerry Green (guitar). Lisa Buckner was soon replaced by Lisa Smith from Atomic 61 on drums. After a few years, Kelly Canary quit to form the Teen Angels. Lisa Smith would also join the Teen Angels later. Sub Pop employee Megan Jasper became the new vocalist after Kelly Canary’s last show. Jennie Trower eventually replaced Jana McCall on bass.

The group had a relatively short discography during their sporadic nine year existence. Their entire discography was seven short songs (most songs were between 1:00 to 2:00 minutes) spread across seven different releases (not counting the planned, but never released Anthology album).
Their release as Thee Dickless All Stars included Mark Arm of Mudhoney on vocals and Duane Bodenheimer of Derelicts on guitar. Their song Lumber Jack again included Mark Arm of Mudhoney on vocals.

Megan Jasper, it should be noted, was also responsible for a hilarious prank played on The New York Times.

From Wikipedia;

Grunge speak was a hoax created by Megan Jasper, receptionist for Sub Pop Records. Under pressure from a reporter for The New York Times who wanted to know if grunge fans had their own slang, Jasper, 25 at the time, told the reporter a set of slang terms that she claimed were associated with the Seattle grunge scene in the early 1990s, but which she had in fact invented on the spot. The information given by Jasper appeared in the sidebar of a November 15, 1992, feature article of the New York Times. The sidebar, titled “Lexicon of Grunge: Breaking the Code,” mistakenly said that Jasper was working for Caroline Records.
In truth, there was no particular slang language used in the Seattle grunge scene. Many [who?] had in fact resented the assumption by the Times that they even had a slang, as well as the claim that it was “coming soon to a high school or mall near you.”
Thomas Frank of The Baffler, a journal of cultural criticism, demonstrated that the list was a hoax. He revealed that Jasper had purposely misled the Times as well as the British magazine SKY magazine as a prank. Jasper had been sick of the attention that reporters were paying to people involved in the Seattle grunge scene, and thus pulled the prank to get back at them for their relentless fascination.
The Times demanded that Frank fax over an apology for claiming it had printed false information, believing that it was Frank who was the hoaxer. Frank instead sent a letter standing by the story. “When The Newspaper of Record goes searching for the Next Big Thing and the Next Big Thing piddles on its leg,” he wrote, “we think that’s funny.” Frank considered the article to be part of an attempt by mainstream culture to co-opt the grunge scene and felt that the Times had gotten what it deserved.
Shortly after the release of The Baffler‘s story, some people in Seattle began selling and wearing t-shirts with the words “lamestain” and “harsh realm” printed in the same font as the famous banner of the Times. The words themselves never caught on as actual slang within the grunge scene (though “score” and “dish” are in use elsewhere). One of the terms, “harsh realm”, was used as the title of a science-fiction comic book and a short-lived 1999 television series based on it, and was used by characters in The Dirty Pair comics written and drawn by Adam Warren as part of their futuristic slang (where it had the same definition as the one Jasper created for the term). The events of Jasper’s prank would be documented in the 1996 film Hype!, a documentary about the grunge scene of the early 1990s.

Grunge speak words

During the interview, Jasper made up the following terms and their definitions:

  • bloated, big bag of bloatation – drunk
  • bound-and-hagged – staying home on Friday or Saturday night
  • cob nobbler – loser
  • dish – desirable guy
  • fuzz – heavy wool sweaters
  • harsh realm – bummer
  • kickers – heavy boots
  • lamestain – uncool person
  • plats – platform shoes
  • rock on – a happy goodbye
  • score – great
  • swingin’ on the flippity-flop – hanging out
  • tom-tom club – uncool outsiders
  • wack slacks – old ripped jeans

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Hello!

“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

“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.

  • Music, Art, and Noise /
  • Videos, Movies, and Multi-Media /
  • Voice, Tapes, and Reed Trumpet /
  • Bass, Baritone, and other Guitars /
  • Keyboards, Computers, and Custom-Made Instruments /
  • Plunderphonics, Electronics and Junkyard 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.

MickeyBugsBand_1

I tried for ages to put a band together. But, I could never manage it for very long. I always needed to be collaborating with somebody, whether an individual or a group. It gave me confidence and motivation. I would bounce ideas off of bandmates, get a feel for their capabilities and preferences, to find which direction that we were going in. I depended a lot on their input to filter my ideas through. I was always looking for feedback, trying to be as democratic as possible. But, this approach slowed us down. In hindsight, it was a mistake, like driving a car with the parking brake on.

After years of trial-and-error, I have come to the conclusion that I simply lack the necessary social skills to keep a stable group together.  I am focusing primarily on composition and recording, for the time being. I will return to live performance when I am certain that the project won’t immediately disintegrate. Assembling the right line-up and keeping it intact is a big obstacle for me. I tried for a long time to arrange having dual drummers play together in a band. We managed to do it a few times, which was great while it lasted. Most drummers are not into that, though. I would like to eventually have a live group again. At minimum, I would prefer having (at least) a decent drummer to accompany me. I get uneasy being on stage alone. But, an ideal line-up would include:

  • Myself on bass, vocals, and tapes.
  • A creative drummer. Someone who is comfortable playing with additional percussionists, drum machines, noise, or other unusual stuff.
  • Maybe two guitarists who could also contribute more percussion, keyboards, samplers, vocals, or whatever other talents they may possess.

Maybe I will just go back to replacing musicians as I go along, again.

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 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 or compact disc of my recordings… 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 to make a racket with. 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.

This intro post was a little long, containing information that really belonged in the About / FAQ / Press section (influences, gear used, personal stuff, etc.). It has been relocated to a new sub-page there, under 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 are also fundraising links there for anybody who wants to support my creative efforts. More rewards are available for my Patrons.

Thanks!

Mike Nobody =^.^=

♛ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Prog ☆ Punk 🐱 Noise ☆ Rock ☆ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ♛