Why did Jonathan Lethem put a picture of himself on the cover of You Don’t Love Me Yet? As much as I like this guy, I’m not sure anyone should be writing a rock novel right now. Color me scared. Yes, I’m in a position to say this.
The latest chapter in I DON’T GET IT.
I just checked my “Book Proposals” folder and yep, I did remember to name an empty file, “The Truth About Outsider Artists.” If I start giving away pump organs to every rambling maniac that panhandles me, will that guarantee a glut of delusional documentaries in the year 2040? When taken as a whole, the music of Jandek (a perfectly sane man with a perfectly fascinating story, yet he makes perfectly pointless music), Wesley Willis, Daniel Johnston (a wonderful visual artist), and especially Wild Man Fischer has produced exactly five interesting songs, and they all come from Johnston.
Finally, I’m back from a hectic weekeed shooting photos for the Earles and Jensen Present: Just Farr A Laugh, The Greatest Prank Phone Calls Ever! Vol. 1 & 2 booklet….or book.
And finally, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman gets released on DVD!!! Thus far, it’s only the first season, but the plans are to release DVD’s of everything up through Fernwood 2-Nite.
Do yourself a big favor.
I once paid $150.00 for every MH, MH episode on VHS (eBay), and the show (along with Fernwood 2-Nite and America 2-Nite) were to be the cover story of the aborted Cimarron Weekend #00008.
Norman Lear’s greatest idea? By far….BY FAR!!!!
Let’s move away from the narcissistic, self-promoting banality to hit on some REAL funny bizness!!
As if I needed another reason to not care about some no-count, low-rent band like The Locust, take a gander at how this Decibel writer was treated by a guy that is clearly under the misconception that his band is doing important things.
(from the latest issue of Decibel Magazine)
Eddie Haskell, James Dean, and, um, cock: Justin Pearson delivers the strange buzz on the new LP from post-grinders the Locust
There’s a sure simplicity to insect politic. If we were talking about bugs, we’d note a streamlined brutality that clearly divides the world into that which can be eaten and fucked and that which will eat and fuck. Possibly you. Possibly not.
And Justin Pearson makes it quite clear: despite the multifaceted green eyewear, the masks and the band named after a biblical plague, he’s not joking. No. Not at all.
“I’d just rather have a discussion about something interesting,” he says in response to a query about cock rock, Fugazi and their theological connections to the Locust. “So you still need to tell me why we would put the blame on one band for this cock thing you are trying to get me on.”
The distinction between thinking, feeling and producing music that does one better than the other notwithstanding, Pearson’s resistance is a curiosity for a man and a band whose new album, New Erections, might be viewed by an unskilled eye as a virtual paean to cock. A paean and liberal tribute to bands and known associates he also widely cites as being general influences—from the jagged Japancore of Melt-Banana to the Tom of Finland mock-up of Chinese Stars.
“Not good enough. Still seems like some bullshit.”
Tough crowd. But here. From the LA Weekly: “Justin Pearson may not be the Locust’s official spokesperson, but he is clearly the star attraction. He’s taller than the others by a full head, rail thin, and has the cheekbones and gaunt scowl of James Dean; he also looks a bit like Leave It to Beaver’s Eddie Haskell.”
Doesn’t this make you want to punch you in the mouth?
“That was a strange and inaccurate article. The guy was with us for a matter of a couple hours and formed all sorts of opinions that went to print. If he is not some sort of psychologist, then I say his formulations are dogshit. But I don’t know that it makes me want to punch myself in the mouth. I mean, if I punched myself, I would still think I’m a jagoff and would continue being myself.”
And here is that beautiful moment of embrace where antagonism meets itself and makes a decision: eat, fuck, cut or run?
“Look, at least the journalist who came up with that load of crap did better then the usual ‘hey faggot’ that I’m usually called. And I always thought Eddie Haskell was cool. Better than those Beaver pricks. But maybe we should pass on doing an interview?”
And the scramble and the larding on of blandishments, true nonetheless, but still blandishments because, while the record is good with its crippled rhythms, trebly metallic jangle and choirboy shrieking, Pearson’s unceremonious attempt at the closing of the interview gates comes too fast. Or at least faster than we would have liked in order to be able to tell you why this record is maybe just a little bit better than a stick in the eye. Or back. Or a Justin Timberlake record. And it is.
So we rush back to Tiger Beat, and questions thereof: how long have you spent working on this new record, who produced it, when are you all going to tour on it, what’s the thematic basis for this new record?
And he, in rapid succession: “about a year, Alex Newport, late March 2007,” and “there are many for us as a whole and also individually. But I suppose it’s for the listener to create their own opinions on it as it’s art and open for interpretation. But I wanted to reach thinking listeners, to invoke a reaction of some sort.”
Yeah, yeah, sure… look, while not as gaunt and James Dean-esque as you, don’t you think that Eugene from Oxbow is about the handsomest man you have ever seen?
And a functional equivalent of sigh. “I have no idea who Eugine [sic] is or what Oxbow is. And I’m not doing the interview.”
More than an interview, now, a psychological plumbing of a grown man who screams and dresses up like a bug onstage, because surely this can’t be the worst interview experience he’s ever had. I mean, at least I haven’t tried to mug him. Yet.
“Look, I’m not offended. I just feel that I might be wasting my time—you are welcome to ask questions pertaining to this stuff if you want, but I just don’t see how the Fugazi thing or the Eddie Haskell thing ties into why and how we made our new album. And I’m working here at home, trying to do this interview, make it to the post office before 5 p.m., trying to get a ride to pick up my car that broke down and is sitting at the mechanic’s shop by my rehearsal space. And I’d much rather take a walk with my dog, read a book that I just got. There is plenty to do that is a bit more on the side of interesting.”
But when bullshit answers are proffered [to possibly bullshit questions], answers that say that art is whatever you want to make it, well, it says that you don’t know that the writers of the actual music are either motivated by that which quickens the blood or they’re motivated by the same thing that may motivate those who paint scenery oil paintings in parks: a desire to do something somewhat clever to wile the fucking time away.
“Well, a painter who paints scenery in parks is simply one person. And, well, it might not seem to be as complex as creating music. But, how about this? The painting is not as interpretative as, say, an entire album usually. And for us, there are four people involved. We all do our part musically and then there are three of us who have vocal duties. So again, I can’t really speak for the others. We create a song or songs, which are put into an album, and then it’s done. We all agree on what we have created. But as far as what its meaning is, well that is up to the listener and even with the four of us, we all see it slightly different from each other as well. For me, to say the general topic or theme of a song or album seems trite. I’d rather just put the art out there and let people figure it out for themselves. Maybe in a nutshell, and for the interview’s sake, I’ll say it’s a product of the world that we live in and it holds components of the social, political and economical place that we are part of. It’s our vision of this world.”
And the green, bug-eyed masks?
“They hide the acne,” says Pearson.
And because irony makes me sad, I wonder aloud about why the mention of cock made him so cranky. “Well, I tend to not use my genitalia as a metaphor for the music that I’m part of. And I don’t understand why or even how it would be underrated in relation to the Locust. Or rated at all. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose a social consciousness and opposition to patriarchy in the world that we live in would be a factor in who the Locust is. But I think that as a band we would identify more with the vagina, if that helps you out with your question.”
And just as quickly as it began we have: agreement.