Have you done any readings recently? What’s the atmosphere like for those? Forgive me for using an overwrought term, but is it like a punk rock atmosphere?
I actually haven’t been doing any reading-readings. I did one poetry reading at a poetry slam once and it was really cool. I really wanted to do it and I did it and it went well, but I realized I don’t need to come back. [Laughs.] It’s cool, it’s fun, I like it and I probably will go back, but nothing really sparked in me to stick around.
Last winter in New England we had this really big snowstorm that cut the power on and off for about four days and I was taking care of my parents’ house, which is an old colonial house with that whole fireplace and the feeling of the wind blowing that you can kind of feel in the house. When the power went out, I decided to do a Gypsy Mile reading and take all the music that my friends and I have made that isn’t really appropriate for the band, but it’s still good and just put it behind the poems and spend that time stuck in the cabin just putting it all together.
When I was in high school, I liked some of the trippier music like Pink Floyd and sometimes Jimi Hendrix would have something more like sound art. Not necessarily meaning the songs, but [Pink Floyd's 1969 full-length] Ummagumma, which is just sound art and intentionally trying to be trippy and freak out your friend who’s in the back of the Volvo on something.
So that’s kind of the goal—to make the most sound art, out-there release. I really, really, really like it. What’s funny is that the power would come on for a certain amount of time, so I would record and record, but then it would go off. The only way to mix it was that I would have to go out in the tundra and go to my car and turn it on for a while and plug it into my car and mix it in my car. There was a huge blizzard going on outside and I’m mixing poetry readings with trippy music. It’s definitely an odd experience, but it’s two discs and it’s the whole first book spoken with the czar sounds in the background. It’s a mash-up of Jack Kerouac and Pink Floyd or if the beatniks ever had the technology we have, they might’ve sounded a little like that.
Sounds interesting. Getting back to the band for a second, what’s going on in Big D’s world? What are your plans going forward?
Our tour got shortened from that whole medical thing and that’s tough for us because the band’s always found ourselves in debt, just because a van will break or a trailer will break, different things like that, and we just made enough money to get rid of our debt and then when we had to fly home, that cost us $11,000, so it was just such a blow to us to go, “Oh, we’re finally on our feet and then that happened.”
So when we were home, the new record’s touring cycle got cut short and I was bedridden for a little while, so I just kind of sat in my couch or bed and went through all of our old b-sides because with every record we’ve done, we’ve cut at least one or two songs. So I found them all and went through different interviews we’ve done and cut them in between the tracks. We have the original recording of “LAX,” which is a song people like from us, which is cool because people don’t even know that it was recorded once before. And we just found all these songs from 1995-2011 that have been cut, put them all together and we have our “d-sides” and then come with the d-sides, we found all our trippy dub recordings and we have this other disc that’s just out-there dub mixes and stuff like that—it’s good driving music.
Then, I compiled all these different documentaries that have been done about us and we put it together on DVD. This July, we’ll have our Built Up From Nothing DVD that has footage from 1995-2011. Like, us recording our first record in the studio. We look ridiculous, we’re like 18 years old and all our clothes are XL. I think we should get applauded just for being brave enough to put out this DVD because we look so ridiculous. I watch it and I’m like, “How the Hell am I allowed to be out [in public]? There should be an adult here to be taking care of me.” [Laughs.]
Different era, man.
Yeah, so different. There literally is a documentary for each record. We’re lucky enough that people, including us, were always filming and it wasn’t just crap filming. We were trying to document things like, “Maybe we’ll put this out.” Fans will watch the newer stuff and be like, “Oh, cool. That’s the band I know.” Then when they watch the 1995 and ’97 stuff, I think they’re just going to laugh their asses off and have to pause and be like, “Is that really them?” This July we’ll have the DVD and the D-sides and I think it’s our most involved, have-a-good-time release. It’s like a journey of the band’s history.
Is SideOneDummy going to put that out?
It’s funny you ask. Today I find out if the label wants to put it out. They have me on the phone going [to them], “It’s awesome. It’s all the songs we’ve cut.” To them, that’s not a really good sell. [Laughs.] So they’re going to listen to it today and then we’ll find out. Vinnie [Fiorello, Less Than Jake] from Paper + Plastick we think is going to put out the DVD. If Sideone says no the CD, I think Vinnie will save us.
Then one more thing, this June, I think, June 1, dj BC is going to put out a mash-up record called Fluent in Mo. He did a mash-up of this rapper Mo, who’s this MC that’s pretty popular in Boston, with our record Fluent In Stroll. That’ll come out June 1.
That should be interesting.
I’ve heard it and it’s so fun to hear how he changes the arrangements and makes more instruments prominent than others. We’re like, “Oh, god. We should have turned up the organ.” [Laughs.]
Anything else you'd like to add?
One thing I have to add is that I’m working on a new book and if anybody knows any connections to any literary agents to please help me out. It’s the same quest [as trying to get our band signed]. It’s like, “Please notice.” [Laughs.] alt