|"Thin Air", that is now refered to as a cry for help.|
|The Straps crash and burn with "Fidget"|
|I've always had a pretty deep spring of negitivity, but music has given me relief and hope. So I think I'm actually pretty supportive of bands and their recordings. A few times I've been asked to review a show or c.d. Even though I have opinions and interest in the music, I can't seem to do it. Listening to a disc knowing you'll have to disect it and write criticism of it is destracting. I like to pop it in when I feel like it and give it time, naturally. With nothing at stake. The underground scene is like a garden. Sometimes there's a drought and the soil is not that good. So I'm a cactus? Maybe I'm like a cactus.|
|Early Magic Beans shows were dubbed "avante garage" or"punk & prog". I never thought that seemed accurate.|
| No, that's not accurate. And that label can stick too. Like when the Lounge Lizard's said they played "fake jazz". They've been "fake jazz" ever since and it tended to demean the public's perception of what they played. Like "post rock" or "emo".
We gigged with mostly punk bands and what we played was on the strange side. We always had new members and sometimes the gigs were more like rehersals. So we were "weird".
Also I've been known to buy prog albums which was never cool. Remember when everybody was into the Lounge scene and buying up Les Baxter and Esquivel albums for $50?
I started going through the bargin bins for prog and psychedelic albums. The cover art and the 15 minute epics caught my imagination. I can't even believe these albums were allowed to be released. They had chops, drugs, and no formula. Usually there was a few gems too. The rest was over the top and I found it really funny. Like watching Ed Wood movies.
To me, prog was something that usually happened in England around 1974. Even though some speedmetal has a prog influence now, punks hated prog more than anything.. We lived in punk rock city. And we were weird.
The early stuff strikes me as Pere Ubu dong old R&B. Then came noisy pop.
|Your first band was a punk band. What do you remember of The Straps?|
|After high school, I wound up with bunch of guys who liked playing punk. They didn't know that much about it either. I loved Husker Du, Dead Kennedys, and The Ramones. We practiced the whole summer and played Mr. Browne's and Bernie's at O.S.U. We pooled our money to record FIDGET. Then we self destructed. We played a string of parties. The last one was in the middle of nowhere. I woke up in somebody's car in a field, somewhere. I never saw those guys again.|
|My roommate in college had this cassette by I.D. Flux. It was funny and very odd. Recently I found out you were I.D. Flux and you don't seem like a total basket case. This stuff was pure outsider art with psychotic overtones like the Shaggs or Daniel Johnston. Some tunes belonged on Dr. Demento and others seemed on convey confusion or misery.. When did you become the Syd Barrett of Circleville, Ohio?|
| I had a bad experiance with an altternate reality. I was broke, hopeless, and having panic attacks. I didn't know what to do. I was freaked out. So my friend Patrick lent me his 4 track, bass, guitar, and ancient synthezers. I got out my notebook of scribblings and recorded songs ala Todd Rundgren. I played every instrument whether I could actually play it or not. Misery or manic happiness were the common themes. I craved the boundless freedom of Zappa, the sound experiments of Eno, and the creativity of Beefheart. I wanted to make a Trout Mask Replica. It was kinda D.I.Y. punk rock because I could barely play. But it didn't sound like punk, The guitar had every effect pedal I could get. It often sounded like a monster.
Then I would mix them all down, make a collage for the cover, and give them to people I knew. I was pouring my heart in to the music, not giving alot of thought about how it would go over. I regret giving it out like that. I thought I was gonna die or something. Which one did you get?
|"Control Tower", then "Meaningless Times".|
|Jeez! That was pure teen agnst. It was originally The Meaningless Times and I made a collage of bizarre and terrible newspaper headlines. I had to show everybody that the world was all messed up, for some reason. I was really feeling it.|
|Yeah, that really comes across. But songs like "I'm Anti" and "My Cousin Harold" were hilarious. Then the next song was about doom. "Control Tower"
sounded like The Boredoms.
|Back then people tended to make cassette tapes and tried to sell them in the cool record stores. It was all you could do. I was learning about all sorts of experimental music and listened to a radio show called U.S. Ear which interviewed these innovators. These guys were really inspiring but I wasn't going to a conservatory and I needed money.
I would try to add some of my material if my bandmates were receptive. As a drummer this usually meant to learn my 4 track demos. The period that I was recording "Meaningless Times", "Control Tower" and "Thin Air" was kind of a blur. I was trying out all sorts of things and I never meant for people to hear those tapes. I played some of the funny songs for my friends and they wanted copies. They encouraged me to put it all out and as an album it's really schitziod. For some reason I was compelled to shoot for a Troutmask Replica, a Sgt. Pepper, a Zen Arcade, or a Einstien On The Beach even though I could barely play the instruments and had panic attacks.
|Love Won't Last|
|The Magic Beans Fall Apart Again And Again|
|I.D. Flux by Elif Kale|
|"Art is anything you can get away with."
|It's probably appropriate that this quote of Marshall McLuhan's is carved in his booth at Larry's Bar.|
|James Hanlon has haunted this pub for years. Today he is armed with a brand new notebook, a cup of coffee, and chinese take out. It is time to reconfigure The Magic Beans once more.
I pick his brain.
|Are you o.k.? Straps era Jim|