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The Fleshies

Punk as middle-of-the-road as a sodomized yak

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It can go a couple different ways with an e-mail band interview. One of the advantages is that it gives band members more time to compose their answers. That’s also one of the disadvantages.

Conducting an interview in person or over the phone gives the interviewer more room for follow-ups on questions raised by responses to the original question. But some bands just aren’t very interesting in group interviews. A lot of them, especially the younger lads, just don’t have as much shared experience under their belts, and all too often members feel nervous or slightly ridiculous sharing their opinions in front of one other. Topics where everyone is in general agreement, like origins and influences, generally produce boring inside jokes and sad attempts to self-mythologize. There’s no group more eager to self-mythologize than a band, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is rarely anything interesting in reading about influences or who got drunk at whose house and asked whom to be in a band, etc.

There’s a level of snotty self-deprecation in zine interviews today that makes all the tedious holding-forth of bands getting the Rolling Stone treatment sound like a bunch of pompous puffery in comparison. It is in this spirit that I present the following excerpts from a Fleshies e-mail interview for the UC Davis college radio station, KDVS, conducted by a fellow calling himself “RiotMoshGuy.” Anyone familiar with the grubby ebullience of the Oakland punk scene (Strychnine, Filth, Blatz, Black Fork and about a billion other bands who have made a virtue out of not giving a crap) can hazard a pretty good guess where the Fleshies are coming from. Everybody else: Run for it!

Vocalist Kenny Loggins (!) on his preferred venue: “My favorite shows are the ones where there are lots of fights and things get shut down five minutes into the first band.”

Loggins on the band’s recent signing to the Alternative Tentacles label (and cleverly invoking past legal battles for controversial punk rock art): “The probability of being attacked by the government for our content is exponentially increased now. Especially since our next album cover is a Mike Diana/H.R. Giger drawing of George Bush sodomizing a yak which is giving head to a dead cop.”

Guitarist Mattowar, on the Fleshies sound: “We are slower than old DRI. Not as gay as Turbonegro. Not as heavy as the Melvins. We are very middle of the road.”

Bassist Vonny Bon Bons, on highlights from Fleshies shows past: “A girl in Montana threw a bottle at my face in the middle of the set, really hard. It hit me in the eye, there was blood everywhere. She’s my friend so it was cool. I have a scar now.”

Loggins, on the downside of the Internet: “The Internet has made it so that now I must use a computer at least once a day to book our tours, check in with our label, and even talk to some of my friends who seem to have lost the ability to communicate in any other way. To one who does not have the means to actually own a computer (such as myself), this means waiting in long lines at the public library with other low-income victims of the ‘information age’ who have all been forced by corporate coercion into adopting this ‘new, essential’ mode of ‘communication,’...alienating us from human contact even more than the telephone does. At least with a phone you can hear the pauses and inflections inherent in the human voice.” Mattowar, on the current state of the musical mainstream: “Everything else blows except Neil Diamond.”

The Fleshies play Jay’s Upstairs Wednesday, April 24 with the Reptile Dysfunction and Known for Nothing. 10 PM. Cover TBA.

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