Off records, on the Record. ha!

From: "chris slusarenko"
To: "Bolts of Ungodly Vision"
Subject: Re: "The inter-view" (doesn't that mean the view between?)
Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 14:47:11 -0700
>1. Meltzer did an essay for the "Pumpernickel" concept album. How did you
>two get together?

I actually helped Meltzer in a bar fight before even knowing who he was.
Legally, I'm not supposed to talk about it, but while we were in the tank
together I figured out it was "that" Richard Meltzer and we shot the shit.
I told him about the project and he said sure--I knew that there was a good
chance he would hate it since it was mostly contemporary bands.
> >2. Obviously, he liked that album (right?). Which seems unusual to me
>because of the 70s-ness of the idea. Do you think that the way the disc
>worked rekindled an interest in rock for him? In most interviews he gives
>(about rocknroll), he seems rather... "eh." about its current state (which,
>at least at the time of punk's birth, was DEAD).
Richard is obviously a jazz head these days but he does really love Guided By Voices and a few other modern shakers.
But really I can't blame him for not really liking much post-punk. I can't
speak for Richard but I don't think you'll see him excitedly waiting for Elephant
Six offshoots or anything.

>3. Who was the prime mover behind the 4-way collaboration of Tropic of
>Nipples? Was Pollard easy to get a hold of for the project, given how busy
>he is in studio on his own side projects/GBV tuors/albums? How did you find
>out he was a big Meltzer fan, from his work on Pumpernickel? Were all 3
>music entities(pollard,smegma,antler) present for the sessions all the way
>through? or did they "take turns"or mix and match lineups as the tunes
>dictate?
Bob couldn't believe that Richard lived in Portland and was doing the liner
notes. So I asked Bob if Richard could read some of his works before GBV
took the stage at the Pumpernickel release shows. The night of the show Bob
couldn't believe Richard was there and it was a cool meeting of the minds.
The majority of the crowd were very vocal about their displeasure of having
someone standing in the way of more rock. So after a while Richard gave up
and said Fuck It and left the stage. Bob was pretty pissed at how the crowd
treated Richard and he even asked Richard to read another before the encore
(he did). Richard had never heard GBV up to that point but he fucking loved
it. I think he has almost every release in his collection now. But I got
me thinking how those two could really make something special together.
Another big aspect was to torture any of those idiots in the audience who heckled Richard into buying this piece of work because they just had to own the Bob aspect of it.

> >4. Was an EP always the plan? Can we look forward (or listen forward) to
>the sound Meltzer singing on ToN?
A 7" EP was always the plan and it was my idea to record it in different
locations, at different times and then to splice them all together so that
it wouldn't be a split ep. Richard is the singer in Smegma so yeah you will
hear Richard do his vocal thingy.

>4a. Meltzer is, on the east coast at least, "the real underground" of
>writing, imho. Do you think that his current residence in the NW has made
>his name acknoweldged for the work he's done by the NW? Given the calibre
>of the artists who reside there, it would seem like he'd have a better shot
>of people going up to him in the street and saying, "Wow! Richard Meltzer!
>You made me completely rethink the way I use sentences! Thanks!"

Well from the reaction to the audience at the Pumpernickel show I don't
know. The people who know and a well versed in his importance in rock
history defintely bow down to him. For instance, at the show Peter Buck of
R.E.M. could tell Richard every single track of the VOM EP that Richard sang
on in 1978!!! If you haven't heard Peter tell anyone that "I'm in love
with your mom" is a great fucking song than I don't know what else brings a
quicker smile to my face. Anyone who hasn't read the latest book by
Richard A whore like all the rest is missing out. Great tales on how the
industry really tries to bully the reviewer. It blows away any of the
current rock books out there.

> >4?. How easy/difficult was it to get Richard to venture into the studio?
>Was he comfortable working with rock groups? Did he regale one and all
>with anecdotes about being in the studio with BOC/StalkForrestGroup/Soft
>White Underbelly/VOM? (gotta ask the last q, due to the more well known BOC
>connexion.) Last time (I know of) he was supposed to record rock music was
>with the Minutemen just prior to d.boon's untimely death.

Yeah the Minutemen thing would have been great--very sad story.
But everyone had a great time in the studio trading instruments and
inspirations. It's a very cool, strange and slightly sick project. Richard
always has great stories to tell. Once as a joke I said, "hey richard you
ever met Geraldo Rivera?" And he had!!! He was on a boat with a bunch of
press guys and a bunch of hell's angels and Geraldo got freaked out that no
one was going to pick him up and he'd be stuck with all these hell's angels.

> >5. What were the sessions for the record like? Good atmosphere? fun fun
>fun? How long did it take to record the tracks? Were they recorded/written
>fairly quickly ("we'll do one run through and then go on to the next?") or
>was it longer, like the way the Beatles operated (24 takes for one puny
>tune)?
Pretty damn fun...they egged each other on a bit cause i think they were
both so impressed with each others work. they were recorded pretty damn
fast due to everyone's schedule but the structure of the tracks were planned
well in advance. > >6. Did you produce and engineer the record? Who did the cool artwork?
I did not produce or enigineer the tracks but I did edit all the pieces
together like I did with Pumpernickel. Bob Pollard did the artwork.
> >6a. What sort of sound should we expect, a lo-fi (like Guided By Voices'
>"Kicker of Elves","Echoes Myron") sonic assault? or slickness? or none of
>the above?

Your lovely cro-mag studio sound that we know so well. we played a lot with
different songs mixing into others to create an endless patchwork of
freak-out.

>7. I remember asking about the EP in the fall, and you had said it was
>going to be flesh colored vinyl. Was that too cost prohibitive, or simply
>too hard to come by since LPs are not exactly the medium of the now? What
>shade of green would you say it looks, hunter green? or pea?

Doing any kind of vinyl is always a lose money situation. With Pumpernickel
I just had to have it out on double vinyl with a gatefold sleeve--it was a
concept album after all. And with this it was a labor of love too. I still
got two colors of vinyl swirling in there thouh. Bob and Richard were
really keen on the idea of the label breaking even in the end which is why
months later we decided to create the extra 23 minutes of the
extended CD release.

> >8. Do you plan on doing more rocknroll music-projects/spoken word things
>with Meltzer in the future?
>any plans for concerts of the material for those lucky enough not to be on
>the east coast?

not right now but i've got some other likeminded freak projects in the works
though.
> >9. Did he write the tunes' lyrics specifically for the disc? or was it from
>a backlog of material/poems he had? After all, TofN was a title of one of
>his books.

most of the spoken word stuff had been written for a short book that came
out earlier. so it was a matter of sifting and seeing which pieces floated
to the top.

> >10. For those who don't know (like me), who were/are Antler? and what
>LPs/CDs did they produce? can we readily buy them?

> sometimes on ebay i see one or two but haven't in quite some time. sadly,
after these sessions bob is no longer talking to the antler guys. they
thought his vocals were too high in the mix and wanted to shoot a video.
bob said fuck you and that was that. but if you can find a copy of the
brand of space buy it. it's a great record.

> >11. It must be nice to take the time and create rocknroll projects that you
>like to do.The brisk sales of the EP must feel good, like you're on the
>"right track" in terms of what discerning ears need to hear and what bands
>with distinctive identities want to do for the sake of doing something
>"artistically good." (aka who needs the marketplace? I wanna rock!) What
>do you do when you're not Off Records? How quickly did the Tropic sell
>out? Was there a lot of prep work involved? Can we look forward to an
>inevitable live Off records version of what the beatles wanted "let it be"
>to be? (a concert of all new material (like Kick Out the Jams, and zappa's
>first) (I don't know why that popped into my head, but in relation to
>conceptalbum-speil, this seems to be one of the things that HAS gone by the
>wayside, as live releases that have all the songs you have heard before
>dominate the marketplace.) What might a purchaser of CDs and LPs expect
>in the foreseeable future from your kickin' label?

oh man...there are some great conceptual goodies coming up (and some that
are so spanking new i don't want to spoil the gleem...) but the next one is
a record by GOLDCARD. it is charlie campbell who used to be in a band
called Pond that were on Sub-pop. Some of it was recorded with Quasi in
Portland, some in Modesto with Grandaddy but most of it is just Charlie.
It's his last musical statement--the nail in his lyrical coffin. Sad but
it's turning into such a wonderful record and I can't think of a better swan
song. That will be out by the end of the year. But anyone can keep tabs
at www.offrecords.com. because there will be some really wonderfully
strange musicial starpowered get-togethers soon.

>Thanks Chris for taking the time to tackle the ?s and the Mysterians, I
>mean typos in the above.