DEVICES/SHLONK RADIO CKUT 1990! 1993 INTERVIEW WITH RICK TREMBLES OF THE AMERICAN DEVICES on RADIO C.K.U.T! "OUR OWN PERSONAL MAP"! POETRY CORNER: "When I Was Liddle"! Burnt!
All contents © 2000-2002, Rick Trembles
UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION STRICTLY FORBIDDEN
May 30, 2002
DEVICES/SHLONK RADIO CKUT 1990!
The Devices Hall of Shame is a bottomless pit that's tough to deplete. Here's an excerpt from yet another interview with The American Devices, this time along with Shlonk, from Lorrie Edmunds' C.K.U.T radio show "AACK," spring 1990. (Pictured below: the late Colleen MacIntyre of Shlonk)
Members included were Devices bassist Dave Hill, Devices drummer Carl "Cups" Von Helm, Shlonk bassist Colleen MacIntyre and Shlonk vocalist Al Warnock. (Interviewer Lorrie Edmunds insisted that Rick Trembles of The American Devices not be included in this interview and the only flaky, moronic semblance of a reason anyone could get out of her was that it was because she thought he was "too weird"!)
Lorrie: Y'all can say hi...
All: HI! (a Shlonk song is played).
Dave: Ugh, that was horrible.
Cups: I think the singer needs a diaper.
Lorrie: Or does he need a padded bra, this is the question.
Cups: Probably both.
Al: You calling me fat?
Lorrie: No, not in the least. Actually, he's less fat than where there should be. Anyways, the big thing y'all are here because of is the show tomorrow night.
Al: Yes we are...
Lorrie: So Corpusse is opening?
Al: Yeah, I don't think he's aware of that yet. I think he's planning on headlining, it says so in the Mirror this week.
Lorrie: Ha ha ha, that could be fun. Umm...
Colleen: Do you know if he got a dancer yet? He was phoning all these women and asking for a helper or something...
Lorrie: A dancer type thing.
Colleen: He said she had to hold something. He didn't ask you?
Lorrie: Hell no! I wouldn't do it.
Colleen: Well maybe he'll phone you now.
Lorrie: The phone is ringing and I'm not going to answer it, I'm going to talk to y'all. Umm, Devices, what's up with you guys. Dave Hill has joined the band.
Dave: Dave Hill's joined the band, isn't that cool?
Lorrie: Isn't that cool, Dave Hill?
Cups: Yeah, Dave's a Device now.
Lorrie: When did this happen?
Dave: Last year, last summer. They nagged me. They spread rumors so I figured it was easier to join the band than deny the rumors.
Lorrie: This is true. So Louise left the band and Dave joined.
Dave: Uhh, not in that order.
Lorrie: O.K., Dave joined and Louise left the band.
Dave: Well, it's not as simple as that. You'd have to ask Louise.
Colleen: She didn't play bass.
Cups: Yeah, so it's not relevant.
Dave: Yeah, don't confuse me.
Cups: We didn't ask Dave to play keyboards so it doesn't make sense. Ask another question.
Lorrie: So who are the members now?
Dave: Ricky Trembles, Rocko Love and Chris Burns. Three guitars.
Lorrie: Power cords.
Cups: Rough and ready for that total screwed around sound.
Lorrie: How long has it been since you last played as the Devices in whatever form?
Dave: About four months. We opened up for The Meat Puppets in February.
Lorrie: That's right... of course...
Lorrie: Well... I didn't see it so I can' say anything about it.
Dave: It was great, we were the surprise of the evening.
Lorrie: Are you writing any new material at all?
Dave: Always writing new material. When our muse calls, we're there for it.
Lorrie: Right, but is anything being committed to celluloid or tape at least?
Dave: Why, you got a contract? You got money?
Lorrie: No that's one of my questions, will there be another album? Do you have money for another album?
Cups: Never say never.
Lorrie: I didn't say never.
Cups: There's always gonna be another album, another film, another video...
Dave: It's our life.
Lorrie: Another video? What was the first video?
Dave: I got a question... How come Shlonk gets on the poster before The American Devices?
Colleen: Because we made it.
Dave: Yeah, that gives you the right? (Laughter).
Al: We're a better band, we've been practicing more lately.
Dave: Your dick's bigger than ours too.
Cups: No, it's just fatter, that's all it is.
Al: You calling me fat?
Dave: Only your head. (Shlonk is interviewed for a while).
Lorrie: Devices... What's happening on the film side of things? Is Rick still going crazy?
Dave: Well, as a mater of fact, we just edited the sound onto the video yesterday and we want to put some more animation in it, but it should be ready maybe this year if things go well.
Lorrie: What video is this for?
Dave: Trigger Off.
Cups: A real roller-coaster ride.
Dave: Work will continue on Rick's funhouse motif.
Lorrie: Funhouse motif? What does this entail? ...or can you say it?
Dave: Well, have you ever been to the funhouse at La Ronde?
Dave: Where have you been?
Cups: You're really uncool.
Lorrie: Underprivileged and working.
Dave: Well, if you've ever been there, it's a sort of a continuation of that sort of theme. Coming to a music video channel near you.
Dave: Ah, when we finish it, it'll be there.
Lorrie: Whatever happened to the Shirley Pimple film?
Dave: I don't know, you'd have to ask Demitrious about that.
Colleen: He's editing it.
Dave: Coming to a film festival near you.
Colleen: In six years.
Lorrie: Six years in the making...
Colleen: No, it's already been ten years or something.
Cups: Is already had its jubilee.
Dave: Shirley Pimple is now a twenty two year old woman.
Colleen: I heard she was in jail for stealing a car. She's in the big house. (Laughter).
Dave: Making little ones out of big ones.
Lorrie: Oh my god, ummm...
Dave: Why don't you play an American Devices song? (Song is played).
Lorrie: American Devices on C.K.U.T. (All cheer). (Sarcastically) …Was that ever wonderful.
Dave: Hey! Watch it, there's only a piece of glass between you and me.
Lorrie: Three pieces of glass. Plexiglas that's not supposed to break.
Al: Well, we'll open up the door then.
Dave: We'll see you outside.
Colleen: Do you have any Corpusse to play?
Lorrie: I didn't pull it out.
Lorrie: I think we should spare people.
Al: How about I recite some? "When you find yourself moshed and unemployed... pull out a gun and blow his-"... Oh, I can't swear can I?
Lorrie: Blow his pa-toot.
(Shlonk is interviewed until the end of the show).
May 23, 2002
INTERVIEW WITH RICK TREMBLES OF THE AMERICAN DEVICES on RADIO C.K.U.T! (spring 1993)
Chris Burns (presently of the band Crackpot) used to have a great afternoon show called "Salade a L'Essence/Gas Salad" on CKUT. When our drummer of 13 years, Cups Von Helm, decided to get married & become a real american device by moving to Frisco, Chris thought it'd be fun to do a Devices retrospective in his honor...
Rick: I got into punk rock from reading all the rock mags and stuff saying punk rock is coming up and all this stuff... and then Normals posters for their local shows.
Chris: How did you know that it was gonna be a punk band... just from the look of the poster?
Rick: Yeah, yeah, it had that whole look and everything down.
Chris: What was the music like?
Rick: The music? I don't know, it was punk rock sounding and stuff. Ummm... buzzsaw guitars, real basic, not many guitar solos... They were accused of sounding kinda British. I remember seeing a show where they even put on British accents, it sounded like, in between songs. But I don't know if they were just trying to parody that kind of thing, because everybody was trying to look like British punk rock or sound like that. I don't know if they were actually trying to pass off as being like that or if it was just tongue in cheek. It must have been tongue in cheek judging from their sense of humor and stuff getting to know them later.
Chris: Was Rob playing bass or guitar?
Rick: He was on guitar and he sang a couple.
Chris: And Scott was playing bass?
Rick: Scott was playing bass and sang a couple.
Chris: So Tracy Howe, the Rational Youth Dude, was playing drums?
Rick: Yeah. That was my first exposure to The Pogo, too. I remember seeing Rob standing around the stage and he started tapping his toes to a really good sounding punk rock tune or something and then the toe tapping started going to his legs and then he started jumping a bit kind of springy and then he started actually Pogoing in one place, just hopping up and down in one single place. It wasn't like slam dancing or moshing or anything, and I thought, that must be The Pogo I've been reading about in the magazines. It's like a Pogo Stick.
Chris: Where do you think he learned it?
Rick: I don't know, he probably thought that must be what The Pogo is from the magazines. And then I'd go to other shows and "do The Pogo" and look like a complete fool jumping in one place. Actually, Sid Vicious was supposed to have invented The Pogo, right? The way he did it, didn't he just go around attacking people?
Chris: What I heard anyhow, was it was the same sorta thing, not knowing how to dance, getting excited by the music, and just not having a lot of space and just jumping up and down.
Rick: Yah it was funny, cause it had nothing to do with touching anybody, you're totally taking as little space as possible.
Chris: That's funny though, Rob Labelle introduced The Pogo to Montreal... or to you anyhow. How old would you have been in 77?
Rick: Fresh outta high school I guess. Sixteen or seventeen or so.
Chris: So the whole thing was pretty new to you at that point. You brought some of that stuff, right?
Rick: Yeah, The Normals, a really obscure, raunchy sounding demo-copy of a copy of a copy, but you get an idea. There's a movie out there on them. I saw a documentary someone made on The Normals. Someone should dig it up. Really crispy clean and beautiful looking.
Chris: Who made that?
Rick: I don't know, some student in the late seventies tried to do a documentary on Montreal punk bands and it's out there somewhere.
Chris: Any other bands in it?
Rick: Could be, cuz I think they ended the movie with a live show with other bands and stuff.
Chris: That would be neat to see, someone should stick that out on video or something. Well let's listen to a crappy recording, sound-wise anyways. What's the tune we're gonna here?
Rick: Noisy Neighbors.
Chris: This is a song called Noisy Neighbors by The Normals which is maybe Montreal's first punk band and Rob Labelle who later became an American Device was in this band along with Tracy Howe and Scott Cameron. He went on to play in what, The Heartdrops and things right? Is he playing in a band now?
Rick: I don't think so.
(Song is played).
Chris: Right on...
Rick: I think that was Rob doing the back-ups. "Noi-zeee, Noi-zeee!"
Chris: Yeah, yeah, chant along kinda vocals there. It makes you wanna do The Pogo. Well that's cool, I never heard any of that stuff.
Rick: Yeah, someone should dig up the masters, they're out there somewhere.
Chris: Was that done in a studio somewhere?
Rick: Yeah, it was from a demo, but I only got a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.
Chris: Kind of adds to it though, all that hissing makes it seem like archival stuff. Historical value. All right, so that was The Normals which had Rob, and you went and saw them and decided what... you wanted to play with Rob, or...
Rick: No, just make my own band with my own stupid friends from high school and try and make the stupidest band and call it the stupidest name which was The Electric Vomit.
Chris: Was that pretty much shortly after that, like around 77 as well?
Rick: Umm, Umm, we were probably talking about it for a whole schoolyear and then when school was over, we had to do something cuz we didn't know what to do with ourselves, and that's when it started up.
Chris: Did anyone own equipment or did you have to start right from...
Rick: Aw, we just got really cheesy stuff, just the worst equipment you could imagine. Bits and pieces from everywhere. We used to decorate it with garbage and stuff.
Chris: Where would you play, in somebody's basement or a rehearsal space?
Rick: We'd play in basements and stuff at first. When some of us had jobs we were able to rent a space.
Chris: When did The Electric Vomit finally get a gig?
Rick: We got asked to play a punk rock festival just because there weren't that many bands doing that kind of stuff.
Chris: How did anybody know about you?
Rick: We just probably blabbed a lot, maybe said something in the paper. The name might've helped because it was so extreme. You know, "The Electric Vomit", you gotta make some kinda comment about it if you're in the press or something and have a laugh. "Oh this punk rock stuff, now they got a band called vomit something."
Chris: Sure, especially then. Who was playing this punk rock festival?
Rick: Umm, umm, umm, I think The Normals had split up by then so it was a bunch of offshoot bands from members of that. Heaven Seventeen, Chromosomes, jeez, I don't know...
Chris: Where was that?
Rick: It was at McGill, actually. It was the McGill punk rock festival, and Gerard from Deja Voo Doo reviewed it.
Chris: Was he going to the school?
Rick: I think so. He was writing for the school paper. I was interviewed in this very radio station like in 79, right where we're sitting probably.
Chris: So who was in The Electric Vomit then? Any other American Devices?
Chris: Just you and some friends from school.
Rick: But some of the riffs we play in The Devices we butchered from Vomit songs. We're still playing some of the same kinda riffs and stuff. They still survived this long.
Chris: Waste not, want not.
Rick: Or be lazy.
Chris: So you brought along a Vomit tune called Evolution Revolution?
Rick: Yup, and some of those riffs ended up in a Devices song called What Is The Meaning Of Life.
Chris: O.K., well we'll play that one after from The American Devices album. Now what year would this have been, seventy-nine?
Rick: Yeah, and it's our one and only demo, we only lasted about a year or so, we didn't get asked to do too many gigs, just whatever was titled punk rock something or other cuz of the name. We had Carlos from The Nils playing bass on this demo.
Chris: Oh, yeah? Only in the studio?
Rick: I don't think we ever ended up doing a live show with him but he was actually "in the band", meaning we hung out and got drunk and blah blah, talked about how we were gonna take over the world. He contributed a lot of great riffs. He's got some catchy hooks in his head, that's for sure.
Chris: Alright, well let's listen to Evolution Revolution and then hear what it turned into several years later in The Devices.
(Song is played).
Chris: Was that that Roy guy singing on that Vomit song?
Chris: And he stutters when he talks, but not when he sings.
Rick: He also had problems with some of the lyrics in there, cuz it says something about how religion stalls man's mental evolution, but he was religious, so he prostituted himself there by singing those lyrics.
Chris: He didn't write the words.
Rick: No, I wrote them.
Chris: What were you playing on that?
Rick: Guitar. We had a drummer for that that ended up in the first Devices demo.
Chris: We're gonna hear some of that pre-Cups Devices, is it with that same guy?
Rick: Yeah, and I switched to bass for that. All these people were hanging out at the same kinda local and when stuff would fall apart we'd latch onto each other's other bands. That's how the Devices started, when The Vomit was sorta deteriorating.
Chris: Is that how you hooked up with Rob?
Rick: No Rob wasn't in it yet, he was in something else. I think The Eighties. I think Carlos joined The Eighties with Rob so we were left without a bass player, maybe? I'm not sure, I'd have to check. As if anyone cares. But Phil Nylon was hanging out at the same local, there was a bunch of bands in the same building, he was playing bass with something called Keith Strange and The Ulterior Motive. I don't think it lasted too long but he'd come in every once in a while, I think he liked some of the riffing we were doing. The way the Ulterior Motive did it, Phil had a whole bunch of songs and Keith Strange had a whole bunch of songs and they'd split it right down the middle. They'd have a set with really different songwriting from each other, and I think Keith just wanted to do one thing. Phil wanted to do just one thing and uhh... I wanted to learn how to play bass and Phil was good and stuff. He taught me some good stuff on bass. He was into a funkier sound. I was getting into a lot of No-Wave, this sort of late seventies anti-classification music or something. I used to worship the bass player in James Chance And The Contortions which is a lot funkier. Cups was into funky music and stuff too. He latched on from hearing us or something. He probably was attracted to the music more than he would've been if it was just punk rock. He was more into New York Dolls and R&B and stuff. The punk rock stuff at first he didn't think it had enough of a swing to it, but we were trying to get more of one going with The Devices and stuff. Phil didn't really like the out-and-out punk rock kinda straight ahead buzzsaw stuff, he wanted to figure more twisted convoluted riffs.
Chris: So I heard Cups was working where you guys were practicing in a photo lab or something, and your regular drummer just didn't show up, so Cups just sat down and started playing with you guys?
Rick: Something like that. Actually, the singer of The Vomit did a couple of gigs with The Devices, but Phil was so particular about how the songs would be done that the singer got fed up and wanted to do his own band so he took the drummer with him. So Cups was hanging out and he was really getting into some of the tunes and he just started learning from scratch. He just picked up the drums and we all liked it cuz it had a real nice feel to it, you know? Spontaneous sounding... a nice warmth to it as opposed to just metronome sounding, too pro-sounding kinda session musician kinda stuff. So we just fooled around with that for a while.
Chris: Well let's just listen to this early pre-Cups Devices on tape, a song called T.V. Screen. Late 1979-1980.
(Song is played).
Rick: It's funny what I was saying about Cups having a funkier kinda looser, warmer sound but The Devices, the way they sound now it's completely hyper and opposite of that. He always wanted to write a smoother sound with us but we never got around to it.
Chris: I was gonna say before when we heard the early version of Meaning Of Life, Evolution Revolution, it's kind of slower, it plunks along and then Cups gets in and it's wham-wham-wham... The first time I saw The American Devices I was just blown away by how fast Cups could play and how steady he could keep it. It was unbelievable. He's like a machine sometimes. That four-four time on his foot pedal, his foot's always going buh-buh-buh-buh, it's great. But he's still got that sense of swing, some of your tunes are swinging in a different kind of way I guess. Let's get up to when Cups joined the band.
Rick: O.K., well this is live and with Rob. I think it's the same night that John Lennon got shot, I remember someone coming up and saying "John Lennon just got shot!" ...just great. No, I mean like, you know... party-time or something. There weren't too many people in the audience to begin with. Play On Guilt, this is called. This is the kind of more convoluted sound we were aiming for, and Cups' funkier style of drumming. I think this started establishing the kinda sound we'd keep going with.
Chris: So Phil Nylon singing and playing guitar, Rob's joined the band and playing guitar, was he singing at all?
Rick: He might've done some back-ups...
Chris: Was he writing at all?
Rick: Yeah, there was a couple that were written by him.
Chris: And you too, some of your songs?
Rick: Uh, yeah, some of the Vomit stuff again, but Phil would put on new lyrics and stuff, he couldn't stand the childish Vomit kind of stuff.
Chris: And you were playing six stringed bass, and Suzy Joseph on keyboards. And this is live at Blues which is a Crescent Street bar or it was, right? How'd you get that?
Rick: I don't know, it just happened to be a hangout at one point. There weren't many, and when word got out that there was a place playing decent music, everybody would just flock there.
Chris: It says here on your tape, December 1980, that makes sense, that's when John Lennon was killed right?. So, 13 years ago... holy shit. So here's some early, early Devices, before they became The American Devices.
(Song is played).
Chris: Right on, that's really mental. It really does have that sort of Contortionsy sound with the Farfisa sound going away especially too, it reminds a lot of the stuff on that No New York record. That's neat to hear that old stuff. So that's Cups' first gig with you guys?
Rick: No, last gig with The Devices in that formation. Then we went on with a different singer. I switched to guitar. For a long time we had no bass. The keyboards just did all the bass, just two guitars and keyboards doing bass. Rob sang the majority of the stuff after that.
Chris: That would've been by the time I would've gotten to know you guys.
Rick: Our first piece of vinyl that we ever put out had no vocals on it at all.
Chris: You carried on that way and decided to become The "American" Devices, once there was a new line up? That went for four or five years?
Rick: Aw jeez, I don't know...
Chris: Well, the "From Montreal" thing, that was your first piece of vinyl ever, and that's an instrumental song that you put on there called "Hitler Was A Jew" and that came out in 84.
Rick: On Og Records.
Chris: I think it was one of the first Og releases. Og was Deja Voo Doo's label, Deja Voo Doo were on it of course. On the "From Montreal" compilation along with Condition and Terminal Sunglasses and American Devices. What kind of reaction did that get? I mean that was your first official release, and it got some reviews left, right and center I would imagine?
Rick: It got good reviews and stuff. Og didn't like the title after a while. They put it on like that and everything but they started complaining how it's some kinda right wing this and that. As far as I'm concerned it's pretty ambiguous. There were words. There's no words on the record.
Chris: So why were they taking offense to it?
Rick: Just the title. They didn't want to have anything to do with us after that.
Chris: So right away after your vinyl debut you're ruffling feathers and getting into trouble. Umm, some people have been calling my house to wish Cups a farewell. The American Devices in the lineup that they're in now, which is almost the same Rick, Rob and Cups, but they also got Dave Hill now playing bass. He used to be in Ulterior Motive and Three O'clock Train. How did you guys know him, just from being in local bands, basically?
Rick: Way back from The Ulterior Motive and all that.
Chris: Dave used to put out a fanzine, didn't he?
Rick: Yeah, Surfing Bird. He used to do local scene reports and stuff. He'd gab about some of the bands that we talked about today.
Chris: That'd be something to see too, dig up those old Surfing Birds. They must be collector's items.
Rick: I almost brought a couple.
Chris: Anyhow, The American Devices are playing on Monday at Bar G-Sharp (note: now called The Barfly), and it's gonna be their last gig with Cups the drummer, so some different people have called my house and left little messages for Cups, so we'll run some of those too, cuz he's leaving. He's going to San Francisco, right? But the Devices will continue with your new drummer Jackie. It'll change things though cuz nobody can drum like Cups.
Rick: Yeah, it's gonna be strange. We have a song that's half written that we've been working on with Cups and it's gonna be strange finishing it off with a different drummer. It'll always be "the song that was half done by Cups."
Chris: You gonna call it that? Let's listen to that piece of vinyl that came out in 84, "Hitler Was A Jew," again, going from Cups' little sorta swanky drumming to supersonic full tilt hardcore kinda drumming.
Rick: Cups at his hardcorest.
(Song is played).
(Phone messages are played:) Caller: "...to say something about The American Devices, this is Dan of Megalo just saying that the greatest thrillingest part of my life was jamming with Cups and The American Devices at the same time with two drum sets at Station Ten. It only happened once and I'm very saddened, deeply saddened that it'll never happen again. Goodbye. (Click)."
Caller: "Hi, I have an anecdote about Cups, it's Janet. It has to do with when I was filming a documentary on Rick Trembles of The American Devices. Cups is in that band so obviously I interviewed the other three members of the band to find out more about Rick's character and whatnot. I was talking to Cups and we were talking about Rick's personality, we're talking about comics and everything like that and off the record I just mentioned this group The Shaggs and I asked Cups if he knew this band cuz I wanted a record by them and he goes "Oh, The Shaggs, yeah! I know this girl, she loves The Shaggs!", and then he starts imitating their music, like he goes "Whap-bang-bam-pow!", and he's saying it's a bit like Captain Beefheart and stuff like that. So that was that. We continued talking about the music, talking about what it's like to be in a band in Montreal and more about Rick. At the end of the interview, I said, well thanks Cups for talking to me and he said "Well thank you for asking me about The Shaggs!", and that's my story, bye. (Click)."
Caller: "Hi, it's Detroit. What I like about Cups. His Drums. His toys. His cards. His comics, and him. Bye Cups... (Click)."
Caller: "When I was sixteen years old, me and my two best friends had the biggest crush in the world on Cups, and we went to all the shows and liked to see him make him shake the little little pasties dangling off his nipples, and we'd giggle and we'd sigh, and one day at a party he asked me for a light and I gave him a light or I passed him my matches and then I wanted to just give him my matches as a gift of love. (Click)."
Caller: "Cups was so funny staying up until four in the morning drinking beer and falling off his stool, then the next day he'd be at Steinberg's putting groceries in the bag, and nobody knew what he did at night. (Click)."
Caller: "The first time I met Cups was down in about 78, 79, round about them parts. We were on a fishing mountain trip, we had some buffalo and cantaloup and we had a fine time. Yeah, gonna miss that Cups, hope he have a good time out there in whatever he's decided to do and I just wanna say good luck... Bye. (Click)."
Caller: "Hello this is Koostoff Kahbooboola. I do not know Cups, and I do not know The American Devices, but good luck to both of those things. Goodbye. (Click)."
Caller: "They say Cups can fly and I never used to believe it, but there was this time when The American Devices were playing Station Ten and I got there too late to see the band and I happened to be in the alleyway behind the club when they were loading the stuff up into the van and Cups was kind of drunk and stuff, but I wasn't so drunk that I would hallucinate this, I swear it happened. Cups was putting his snare drum on to the passenger seat of the van and there was no one else around and I don't think he noticed me, he didn't realize I was there. He backed away from the driver's side of the van and he sort of looked up into the sky with this wistful kind of expression on his face, stuck his arms out away from his side and he just took off. I mean, he lifted off into the air and he circled above the club and looked down and then he was gone... through the clouds. That's what it looked like to me and um... within a couple of seconds some of the other members of the band were out in the back looking for him, saying "that cups". (Click)."
Caller: One of my memories of Cups is that... well I thought he looked a lot like Mick Jagger... a lot like Mick Jagger, and other people said that, except for the fact that his teeth were fucked up and they didn't look like Mick Jagger's teeth, you know... but Mick Jagger could afford to get his teeth fixed and Cups couldn't, but anyhow, one time I can remember being at Bar St-Laurent and we were all getting kicked out because it was time to go and it turned out this guy who owned Bar St-Laurent, the ex-wrestler there, who's name escapes me now... what's his name, he was saying "Micka Chagger, Micka Chagger, time to go! Micka Chagger, time to go!", and I went "Yeaaaaaaah! Even HE thinks he looks like Mick Jagger!" So, everybody thinks that Cups looks like Mick Jagger, even the guy at Bar St-Laurent who runs the place there, even way back then, even though his teeth are fucked up, although I think his teeth are better now. Heh... what do you know. Anyhow, goodbye to Cups, goodbye to Micka Chagger. Goodbye. (Click)".
Caller: "Yeah, this is Mr. McGarretty, I was Cups' phis-ed teacher in high school and uh... I don't remember him very well but I know that he was as skinny as a rake and that he would get out of doing just about anything you could ever ask him to do and he was lousy on the teams but he got chosen anyway because I think that maybe he was selling drugs and he would give cheaper deals to people, no, no, no, I'm just kidding of course, but I do love The American Devices and I never thought he'd go anywhere, but my god, when I heard that album that came out a few years ago I thought, my god, Cups has really pulled through and he's done something great with his life and I'm very proud of him and I think back to when he was shortstop on the team and you know, who would've guessed, who would've guessed, because foul balls were his middle initials I believe, but ah... we'll leave it at that. (Click)".
Caller: "Carl... C is for Charisma, A is for Awww, he's going, R is for Really Really good drummer, L is for Let's hope he comes back. Oh Kay, have fun. (Click)".
Caller: "I remember me and my girlfriends dressing Cups up as a woman and then he ran around the apartment and he gave us piggy-back rides so that we could pretend that we were airplanes. So I always thought that he was a really good sport for letting us do that to him. Bye, Cups. You've always been my favorite drummer. (Click)".
Caller: "Cups was always the obstetrics sort of expert of The Devices as part of research for Womb Service and the Trilogy of Birth Films done on super-8. I was in the band and I was pregnant with Detroit. After having given birth, the baby was in the hospital because he was jaundiced and I went home. I was alone in my apartment and my breasts began to slowly expand, larger and larger, turning me into Dolly Parton, and as hard as granite. I freaked out, not knowing what was going on, phoned the baby's father. Cups was over at his house and he was sent to the rescue, because he was the obstetrics expert. I'm waiting on my balcony waiting for my night in shining armor and I see Cups hopping on a bicycle equipped with a breast pump and bombing down the hill to come and rescue me. Of course pain, fear, terror sort of overcame modesty as we both sort of pissed our pants laughing and tried to solve the situation with this contraption. It didn't work, but I will never ever forget the look of Cups' face which was a mixture of WAAAAAAA!, and embarrassment and total shock. That's what happens when you have girls in the band I suppose. Anyway, Cups was always the chivalrous one. He always remembered to stop playing when I fell backwards into the drums and for that I'll always be grateful, I love you, Cups. Have fun in San Fran. (Click)".
Chris: Rick, can you here me? What's this thing coming up that we're gonna play just before we go?
Rick: Cups' vocal debut. I was playing drums and he was singing. It's a song about benefits. "Benefits are Full of Shit."
Chris: Well here's Cups' vocal debut, and what did you say, Rick it's as close to The Shaggs as you could get? See you next week. (Song is played until end of show).
May 16, 2002
"OUR OWN PERSONAL MAP"!
Here's an interview with my band The American Devices from Sugar Diet #1 (1984). 13 original Montreal bands were interviewed, all were asked the same questions. Each band's answers followed per question, providing humorous comparisons. I've been thinking of putting together a 20th anniversary update asking the same questions to the same people (besides the late Dave Rosenberg of The Chromosomes for obvious reasons). So if anyone reading this knows the whereabouts of any of these people, please contact me before 2004! Bands interviewed were MEN WITHOUT HATS, THE NILS, DEJA VOODOO, THE TERMINAL SUNGLASSES, S.C.U.M., MACK MACKENZIE & THE PSEUDS, RHODESIA, THE HEARTDROPS, TERRY FOX'S RIGHT LEG, ACTION MEN ON ASSIGNMENT, THE PARADOTS & THE CHROMOSOMES.
From the original intro: "Since some of The Devices worked on the making of this article, they couldn't help reading everyone else's answers before submitting their own, resulting in obviously calculated answers…"
HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY YOUR SOUND?
We've been called shambolic, fierce & extreme… but mostly self-indulgent, part-time, "on cloud nine," masturbatory & middle class.
DO YOU WANT TO BE ENTERTAINING?
We don't have to want to be necessary! We just naturally are, & the sooner everyone in this fucken city realizes that, the better. We want to set the people free to satisfy our own self-interests.
DOES YOUR BAND TAKE ANY POLITICAL STANCE?
I guess… the politics of self-humiliation. We make up for what we lack in clarity & direction by trying to confuse people. We wanna disturb, but keep the joke on us, laugh at us, not with us. If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit!
WHAT KIND OF REPUTATION ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Like as if we have a disease that enables us to put across things that no one else can & that separates us from normal people. We want them to worry about us …we want people to think we can perform tricks that no one else can.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF SUCCESS?
Success has not spoiled us, will still talk to some of our old friends sometimes, but it's hard to find things in common anymore.
DO YOU WANT TO BE RICH?
We want the money to realize something so big & weird & fun that we make it back. But that would take time. The big decision is what to put your time into, if it's worth it, time is money… Rich enough to buy back the time we wasted trying to get rich enough to buy back the time we wasted (tee hee) ...But if you have the money, you have to make some big decisions & that could be dangerous to the well-being of the band!
WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T IN A BAND?
Just to keep our hands busy between shows, we keep coming up with brilliant "multimedia" ideas for the band that we figure will be irresistible to everyone, but often don't have the time or money to realize. All this experience we are accumulating will eventually result in a feature-length American Devices special effects movie.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE DOING TEN YEARS FROM NOW?
Learning how simulate explicit sex & violence through special effects or else pushing up daisies.
WHAT MADE YOU TAKE UP YOUR INSTRUMENT?
When punk rock started becoming a household word & told us if they can do it, anybody can, made us wanna have a sound that nobody can imitate, but I think that alienates impatient jerks… Or maybe it's just that they don't know how to play an instrument & need a character free from the mathematics of the group to relate to. I'm an impatient jerk & I wish I could see us for the first time without knowing who we are. Maybe we could play in front of an unbreakable two-way mirror where the audience sees us, but we just see ourselves.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
Most of our music is written under the influence of beer, but to make up for our sinful ways, like good Christian martyrs, we devise complicated riffs on purpose to give ourselves a hard time & make it a test of tolerance. A lot of the songs are made by drawing relationships between things we didn't know went together & we smile & conspire together like we're making a monster that we're gonna unleash on an unwitting public.
DO A LOT OF DRUGS? WHAT KIND? DOES IT AFFECT YOUR MUSIC?
"The drugs we take have made all my decisions, I'm feeling so upset, The days & nights we spend so blindly, In the field where we were stationed… Forever!! The drugs you take have made all your decisions, You follow everything I say & do so blindly, In the field where we were stationed… The radio couldn't pick up any stations!!" (…some of one of our songs entitled "The Drugs We Take").
GET A LOT OF GROUPIES? WHAT KIND? DOES IT AFFECT YOUR MUSIC?
All our friends are just petty little groupies trying to get at our cocks for free, but we grudgingly accept their parasitical behavior because not many people are as well hung as us.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR BAND HAPPY?
Nonstop simulated sex & violence & getting records out.
DO YOU WANT TO BE HAPPY?
I wish that there was more things about myself that I didn't know because that's what makes you act spontaneously. The stupider you are, the less complicated things are, the happier.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE LOCAL SCENE?
We still figure we need to get on the right track & hit the right nerve & blow people away & attract the right people to work with us, but we want it to come from Montreal 'cause we grew & evolved along with this scene, so we might as well flop & fail here too, if we do, but we aren't. It's on our backs to put Montreal on our own personal map.
AFRAID OF SELLING OUT?
Umm… Uhhh… The people who like us are simply making the right choice. We may not have it down yet but we're devising a way to get people addicted to us. We are certainly addicted to & like what we do, so I don't see why anybody else shouldn't. We're a no-name product at rock-n-roll prices, but no-body's buying.
May 9, 2002
POETRY CORNER: Here's some poems I wrote when I was liddle (pictured right):
I am a snowflake (1969)
I am a snowflake. Each day I get a broken leg, arm, ankle. And one day the only thing left will be my head. You know why? Because everyone steps on me. When it is going to be the end of winter I will be 100 years old!
The Ruler (1969)
The ruler is nice like sugar & spice. It is plastic, it is wood. It should be better, yes it should.
O is for snow (1970)
The wind starts to blow & down comes the snow. I went to the States & put on my skates. I went on the ice & the ice was nice. O is for snow & down we go! I paid a bill & slid down the hill.
Spring is nice (1970)
Spring is nice, there's no ice. I see a flower, nothing's sour. I go on my bike, I take a hike. Spring is the only thing I like. I have things to eat, I can walk bare feet. Plants can grow, there's no more snow. I can play with Mike, there's a leak in the dike. Spring is the only thing I like.
May 2, 2002
I thought doing a less-text-heavy-than-usual strip would lessen my load this week. What a goof. So instead I overcompensate with an IMAGE-heavy E.T.: The 20th Anniversary "review" & it takes me ten years to apply color to it. Too tired to blather. I'm going to bed.