Paul: Heh heh...that was "Kitchen Sink."
Michael: Basically a piece like that comes out of necessity; it's not something you start out planning to do. You start working on a tune and you feel it needs something else, then something else, and this has to be done this way. You look back on the track and all of a sudden you realize you have fifty tracks of bass!
Evan: A lot of the record just has two bass parts, and some only have one.
Paul: On "False Information" I don't play any bass. It's refreshing and it takes the pressure off of me because I don't have to always be holding it down. It enabled me to get more into the spoken word thing and do a lot more like that knowing that Michael was holding down the low end.
Rob: Frees you up to have a cigarette.
Paul: Yeah, matter of fact!
On Good Day Bad Dream there are three songs revolving around a character by the name of Oscar: "Oscar Wins the Lottery," "Oscar Gets Laid," and "Oscar Goes Drinking." Who is Oscar and what is the parable behind him?
Paul: Oscar is where I saw myself twenty years down the line.
Evan: If shit didn't change...
Paul: If shit didn't change in a hurry...ha ha! It was a very tense time for me personally; the universe wasn't smiling on me that much. But I just figured what the hell, I'm going to farm what it's given me. I came over to Evan's house one day and we were listening to these tracks and I just started fucking around with the Oscar voice trying to get a rise out of Evan. He put a mic in front of my face and said, "Go!" So all the vocal tracks on Good Day Bad Dream are improvised first takes.
Evan, I know that you spent some time drumming for the Pleasure Elite--and I thought that Paul played for a little while with them as well.
Paul: I played a couple of shows with them.
Evan: Yeah, Paul also plays on a few of the songs on the re-released Bad JuJu, the one with the red cover.
Paul: That was a lot of fun. It's a challenging band because you have to not look at the girls they have performing with them when the tunes are going on because it's all sequenced stuff. If you get lost staring at a beautiful ass you're going to miss the change coming up. It's really funny to play in that band. You can't think any impure thoughts or you're going to miss it.
Stay focused...stay focused...
Paul: Which is kind of keeping with the S&M nature of the band. There it is--can't have it! There it is--can't have it! Think about baseball players!! I hear they're out playing around again but I haven't seen them.
I was at a show they played last Halloween at the Fenix Aboveground. I missed their set but I was later told by friends who saw them that one of the fire breathers in their usual circus of clowns caught one of the stage curtains on fire. Somebody up on the balcony poured a pitcher of water down the curtain in a noble attempt to put the fire out. Unfortunately all their midi and dat equipment was directly underneath and it all got fried.
Evan: That's horrible. Pleasure Elite was a fun band to play in but I got sick of doing the same exact set. It's kind of the opposite of Sadhappy because every Sadhappy show is noticeably different. Those guys want to play every show identical. If you play something different you'll get chastised.
Paul: We like doing improv because that keeps us from getting into a rut. I think that's one of the reasons we've had longevity as a band. We still work our asses off to give people a really good show, but if people come two nights in a row they're going to see two different shows. We come out of a jam into a song like "High Ball" and there's difficult changes and movements we've got to nail. Michael wrote most of that one, and it has some pretty formidable lines to pull off.
With the exception of the 7" put out on Belltown Records, all of your material has been self-released on Evan's Periscope Records.
Evan: It's really been me taking out loans since our first cassette--except at that time I think I was calling it Macabre Kebob Studios.
Are you happy with the setup and what you can do here in your studio?
Evan: Oh man...I love the sound of Good Day Bad Dream! I'm really proud of it. There's very few records I listen to that I like the sound of--even some old Sadhappy. I listen to Depth Charge and I think to myself, "The overheads aren't really that good. The mix is a little too reverby." I listen to Good Day Bad Dream and I think it's a pretty good sounding disc.
What's the story behind the 7" released by Belltown Records?
Evan: We just knew Archie [co-owner of Belltown Records]. He booked some shows with us and another band, and just asked us if we wanted to do a single. We never saw a penny from it, but it doesn't really matter because we got out of it what we wanted. I don't know if he made any money on it--he probably didn't.
It's the "Before We Were Dead" tracks with both Skerik and [Bill] Frisell. The difference is that it's Frisell on Live Before We Were Dead and Skerik on the 7". We tried to mix Skerik in with the Frisell tracks, but it just didn't work well. The intonation was strange and it just didn't quite work. I still don't think Skerik has forgiven me for that.
How was it working with Bill Frisell? Did he just come in and lay down his tracks and walk back out the door?
Evan: Yeah. Paul wrote all his parts for him. I sent it to him and he came in and laid down his tracks. It was great. He's one of my favorite musicians on the planet.
That's a really pretty song...and to have him add his guitar to it is a nice bonus.
Evan: Oh yeah, definitely. That will be on our Greatest Hits album for sure. Our Greatest Lack of Hits... Our Greatest Shits...
So you played "Wendy's Pumpkin"...
Paul & Evan: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Paul: Greatest Shits!!! Ha ha ha!! Print that one! Yeah, we're working on our Greatest Shits album. Will it be a floater or a sinker...
As long as it's not a scratch 'n' sniff.
[another collective groan]
You played "Wendy's Pumpkin" at both the Sit 'n' Spin and at the O.K., but with the exception of that song your sets have consisted mostly of the recent material you've written with Michael. Any chance of hearing the older songs again?
Evan: Playing "Wendy's Pumpkin" with Michael is totally inspiring.
Paul: We plan on bringing back a number of old tunes. If we write a song that people like and continue to like, we'll keep playing it.
I was listening to "Social Retard" [from Sideways Laughing] the other day. That song is just begging for some of Michael's voodoo.
Paul: I'm arranging some parts for Michael for that one. We're also going to bring back "The Accidental Family" and "Between Four Horses."
What about a Michael Manring version of "Before We Were Dead?"
Paul: Oh yeah...by all means!