EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHLOË LUM OF DA BLOODY GASHES! RICHARD SUICIDE EXHIBITION! DIVINE TRASH! MONTREAL COMIX JAM! AMERICAN DEVICES' 20TH ANNIVERSARY!
All contents © 2000-2001, Rick Trembles
UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION STRICTLY FORBIDDEN
November 30, 2000
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHLOË LUM OF DA BLOODY GASHES! (Photo of ChloŽ by Mia Dee)
SNUBDOM: Your band has described itself as "art-punk." Define art.
CHLOË: There is no such thing as art per se. Art is simply a term created to justify the upper classes' interest in pretty things and/or to foster a sense of intellectual superiority amongst certain types who profess to understand concepts that are not there or simply transparent. We call ourselves arty because we feel that these legions of pseudo-intellectuals will be less likely to throw things at us.
SNUBDOM: Define punk.
CHLOË: Punks are the rowdies who throw things at bands.
SNUBDOM: Who's your favorite BACKSTREET BOY; Billy, Timmy, Mickey or Ralph?
CHLOË: Those aren't the REAL Backstreet Boys! Yr a fraud! Besides the only rock star I lust for is Rick Trembles.
SNUBDOM: The occasionally confrontational, sexually transgressive nature of DA BLOODY GASHES' stage demeanor (particularly yours) helps determine for prospective audience members that no set pattern of behavior or responsiveness seems to be sought after, compared to the often oppressively staid and/or predictable conduct between most spectators & performers. Is the engendering of such an air of spontaneity & nihilism deliberately calculated to increase genuine receptivity overall, or simply the personification of an internal strife, the kind of which it's expected & hoped that only a strong minority will relate to & identify with?
CHLOË: A bit of both. As a band we actually do try to entertain & even play shows (gasp!), so we hope to offer a full package. Also, as music fans we've all noticed that often bands will have an either/or attitude about showmanship. Often at the best shows the same bands have the shittiest records. We want to do both: a can't-miss show & cerebral, innovative music that kicks ass. At the same time, in my lyrics & in performance I touch on lots of heavy, personal territory that a lot of people might not feel comfortable with. Well too fuckin' bad! For me, performance is cathartic & if that serves as a way of weeding out the weak so be it! I believe in total honesty at any cost, whatever the socio-personal losses it might cause. Otherwise, what the hell is the point in even living?
The BARFLY's a snug Plateau hole-in-the-wall on the Main where there's no escape from groups that play there 'cause it's so minuscule you have to pay the guitarist a toll for use of the can pinned against an amp. That's what makes seeing the likes of monthly house-band DA BLOODY GASHES there such a pack of wobbly fun. Do park your carcasses at the Barfly for their gig next Thursday (December 7, 4062A St-Laurent, 993-5154) because opening for them will be Chris Burns' fresh new baby; CRACKPOT, who've only played once or twice thus far & consist of DETROIT METAL & STEAK 72 members. CRACKPOT almost got called PUMP UP THE APES when Chris was sitting around one night channel surfing on pot clicking back & forth between PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990) & PLANET OF THE APES (1968). The other members nixed it in a hurry but Chris threatens to at least entitle a song likewise. He's also been in THE TERMINAL SUNGLASSES (Frank Zappa dug 'em), BUBBLEGUM ARMY, SLAPHAPPY FIVE, 1, 2, 3, GO! & my own band, THE AMERICAN DEVICES among a multitude of additional undertakings (one of which will be sitting in on guitar during a portion of the GASHES' set).
November 23, 2000
RICHARD SUICIDE EXHIBITION!
Tuesday I went to Cheval Blanc for a couple beers & to see Richard Suicide's exhibition & comic launch. He put out a wacky mini collab with Guim called 950ML COMIX. 3 bucks each. You can most likely pick it up at the only decent comix shop left in Montreal; Fichtre. Suicide's huge works draping the walls are eye-poppingly gorgeous. They should be up for a week or so. I had my eye on "Fisher Price," about a rampaging toy/monster careening down a city street, but it's out of my price range. Henriette Valium was hanging around the merch table & we talked about a possible collaboration somewhere down the road. It just occurred to me that I've been in quite a few bands over the last couple decades (none of them "went anywhere"). In the seventies I played guitar for THE ELECTRIC VOMIT (hey, the name got us gigs & laughs from a couple of dailies). In the early eighties I played guitar for THE D-VICES & then guitar/vocals for THE AMERICAN DEVICES (who've "survived" to this day). Late eighties I played guit-box for DECIBEL HELL (pictured below is the late Mimi Re/Tardif who hollered vocals). We used to cover The Mad, Johnny Thunders, Alice Cooper & Thor. In the early nineties I was a guitar prop for CORPUSSE, drummer for MOTHER GOOSE A GO GO (we opened for Jesus Lizard & broke up the next day) & I made a fool out of myself for improv/noise art-gallery house-band ONE, TWO, THREE, GO! with the indefatigable Chris Burns & current rising star of guitar-heroics, Sam Shalabi among many of the rotating local musicians who'd spew. I'd dress in drag & spout intentional gibberish into a mic gargling down my throat (I was fumbling thru a lot of situationist theory back then, that stuff'll rot yer brain). And in the mid-nineties I was drumming for "all girl band" MEN WOMEN & CHAINSAWS. OK, I admit it: I only brought up these groups as an excuse to namedrop & post Mimi's awe-inspiring, melancholic, 18 year old glamour-puss.
November 16, 2000
I finally caught the John Waters documentary DIVINE TRASH last Saturday & it's unbelievable. There's actual behind the scenes footage of the making of PINK FLAMINGOES that looks better than the original film! The doc spans Waters' earlier days up to P.F. & features plenty of amazing & inspiring footage of the zero-budget post-beatnik/pre-yippie director at work. Former Dreamlanders like "The Singing Asshole" are interviewed (he could make the inside of his anus pucker onscreen as if it was mouthing off). He was filmed in the shadows to protect his identity, kind of like another singing asshole in a recent doc (Johnny Rotten in THE FILTH & THE FURY). The Kuchar Bros. are interviewed and snippets from their highly influential 60's prehistoric camp/underground films are shown. They look incredible. I guess that's as close as I'm ever gonna get to seeing their intriguing & rare trash classics as long as I'm stuck in this city. For about a year I tried to bring their films (& Mike Kuchar for a personal appearance) to Montreal, pestering every art-house cinema in town to no avail. Divine Trash is available for rental at the Boite Noire video store in Montreal.
November 9, 2000
MONTREAL COMIX JAM!
Made it to the Casa Del Popolo Montreal Comix Jam last night & kicked back w/a couple too many brewskis doodling alongside the likes of jam organizer Salgood Sam, Bernie Mireault (The Jam, Blair Witch Project) & Montreal Mirror's Rupert Bottenberg among many others. I split my page in 4, filled the first & last panels with odd critter contraptions peopled by happy nudists & offered the empty center of my story up for grabs explaining that whoever takes up where I left off has to insert an intro & a punch lineÖ in the middle. I believe Rupert & D. Bilos (Image Gun) filled in the blanks. D. Bilos' girlfriend Nicki showed me her Ralph Steadmanesque sketches & gave me a fossilized dead moo cow's tooth! So the dead tooth became the topic of my next scribble (pictured above), the continuation of a Rupert design depicting a gnarled gesticulating Madball. The walls gradually filled up with everybody's efforts making S.S. happy to have accumulated so much to choose from to post on his official Comix Jam site. The tooth has a permanent home on my knickknack shelf.
November 2, 2000
AMERICAN DEVICES' 20TH ANNIVERSARY!
My Montreal band finally had its two 20th anniversary shows. We even made the cover of the Mirror. I'm the dork in zebra-print twiddling the hairdo. Gosh, and it only took us two decades. They got me to adorn the borders with colorized cartoon zombies & I did the cover story as a comic strip (who the hell else are they gonna get to write about my band: nobody... & I'll leave it up to you whether that's an asset or a detriment). The strip can be found in the Motion Picture Purgatory archives under "Devices' 20th." Halloween 2000's over now so it's time to hunker down and complete the long overdue animation to my Goopy Spasms movie but here's a couple of afterthoughts about our annual grand tour of the Plateau Mount-Royal...
AMERICAN DEVICES 20TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW with CHINO & STEAK 72 at Casa Del Popolo, October 27 (with Devices' home movies): The Casa's a cozy vegetarian restaurant/avant-garde music venue that holds 75 people tops. The show was sold out by the time the second band was on. We charged 5 bucks & made enough money to pay each band $120.00. (Ex-Nils) Chino played their pop rock, Steak played their experimental pop rock, we showed our home movies without a hitch & did our set flawlessly all but for one encore that crumbled a touch, but we saved our asses with the following tune. Former Devices' singer Louise Burns' kid Detroit was documenting us on video & so was a professional documentary filmmaker. Still cameras were flashing often as well. The sound was great on stage & off. Saw some old faces but not nearly as many as I'd hoped for the coverage we got. Danny Darling's little sister Meredith was there, looking very cute. At one point, Detroit (He's taller than any of us now) was eyeballing her because she was wearing the exact same T-shirt as him; a vintage green devices one designed by Rob from the mid-eighties. Not even any of the members have any of those left. They've all deteriorated. The 2 didn't know each other, the devices shirts were an icebreaker for them & they started talking. Did I ever feel weird looking at both of them representing 2 different generations preceding my own. Both of them devices fans. That made my night & sure hit home how long we've been around.
AMERICAN DEVICES 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPLIT SINGLE RECORD LAUNCH with PHYCUS, CORPUSSE & DETROIT METAL at Jailhouse Rock, Halloween night, October 31: The fuck-up factor came trick or treating this night & stopped by for good at this disastrous Halloween gig. For starters when my ex-girlfriend Mia gave me a hug & a kiss at the (excellent) Casa show a few nights before, she also gave me her cold & I've been sick ever since. Miraculously, the phlegm streaming from my yap began to lose it's ferocious flavor the day of the show and I was able to regain some energy. A nasty frog in my throat still threatened to sabotage my vocals, but I made sure to gobble constant cough drops the whole night through which flavored my pre-show nerve tonic (beer) in a nasty way. Hours before show-time I'd learned that industrial noise band Phycus would be a no-show because of members that couldn't get it together enough to drag their butts to MTL. Phycus has people spread throughout the country & excuses varied. The ringleader of the record launch & Phycus front man, (customs broker by day) Brian Damage, explained that since this would be his final show with the band, he wanted to do it right or not at all, despite the fact that he's improvised shows before without them. Our sound check went OK even though we were using Detroit Metal's unfamiliar equipment. Our crappy gear is spread out across town so we shared to cut down on moving costs. I insisted on the only tube amp there & the stage levels were clunky but workable. Opener Detroit Metal played nice improvised noise rock that got their friends dancing. I'd asked them to stall before going on because Corpusse hadn't shown up yet & he'd be needing time to put on his face. We got on around midnight to a decent crowd (for a weekday) & I found the settings sounding different on the guitar amp despite the girl in the preceding band who owned it telling me the knobs wouldn't be fiddled with. For a tube amp, it suddenly sounded dry, stark & crappy as can be and that made me pick at my strings harder to squeeze some sustain out of them. When I pick at my strings hard to squeeze sustain what often happens is that I break strings. I broke a string & had to use a Detroit Metal guitar that I found unplayable for 2 songs & I flubbed up as a result. Miraculously, former Corpusse member Marc Peetsma offered to restring my guitar & I got it back in time to do the only decently executed number of the night, which happily also ended up being the song released on the 45 that night. We suffered through the set as the audience dwindled & even did an encore despite the lack of applause. I ended our 20th anniversary show by defiantly/pathetically announcing Corpusse was next up even though I knew he hadn't shown up. I didn't see any old faces in the crowd. Nobody crawled out of the woodwork to come see us even though we were cover boys on last week's Montreal Mirror. This show was an embarrassment. We could've left it with the Casa show celebrating our 20 years with "dignity." Instead whoever saw us at Jailhouse that might've been unfamiliar with us would've had all the rumors about our bad reputation confirmed for them. Dismal. (Note: I'm always hard on myself "the day after." People I know who saw the show have since told me it sounded just fine). I estimate maybe a grand total of about 150 or so people showed up for these shows. That's showbiz. Or should I say that's Montreal. When are we gonna be flavor of the century already?