by Adam Warner
The Oddity Faire just started a few weeks ago, so how’s the tour going so far?
Actually going spectacularly well. Ya know, a lot of eye candy as well as ear candy; it varies from region to region. It’s been a great experience for me *laughs* when the audiences are having as equal a good time.
What kinds of things can fan expect to see at the Oddity Faire that they maybe haven’t seen before?
Well, the Oddity Faire is a little different than anything I’ve done thus far and will do the rest of the year. I mean there’s art performance that has it’s own bells and whistles to it. I mean, I’ve wanted to do a festival for many years, that is for lack of a better term, for the oddball and weirdos. I mean, I’ve been dubbed the odd man out in my industry. But there are many like-minded individuals that I’ve always wanted to get into one place; and that’s what the Oddity Faire is. Slice of “Burning Man”, slice of “Barnum and Bailey”.
The new album “Of Fungi (long “e”) and Foe”… or do you say Fungi (long “I”)?
I think the proper pronunciation is Fungi (g sound with long “I”) or Fungi (j sound with long “I”), there’s two. If you say Fungi (g sound with long “I”) it’s correct or if you say Fungi (j sound with long “I”) it’s correct.
Interesting, aright, well “Of Fungi and Foe” hits streets March 17th and what can your ever so loyal fans expect from the new album?
Well, a good portion of the material is based on some soundtrack work that I did for a few projects that were very eerie and somewhat creepy. The record is pretty moody, it’s supplemented with some stuff that I did with Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello and some random things I was picking away at. It’s a pretty moody record, ya know its got the characters that are normally in my recordings. It’s a dark, moody slice of Americana.
I know some of the samples that we had gotten to listen to seemed more like audible soundtracks rather than traditional songs.
For me it’s like a bee fart meets the residence trying to rip off Ennio Marconi, it’s got some abstract elements to it. Even in the instrumentation, I mean there’s only guitar on one song and that’s Eugene Hutz slapping away on his acoustic.
Everybody knows Les Claypool as the master of the bass, but you do play other instruments on this album, correct?
That is true.
And what all would those be?
Oh man, I have to remember now. A lot of percussion… a lot of ARCO instrumentation, just a lot of different types of basses, there’s the whamola, I have a doe pro bass on there, some banjo bass, a lot of ARCO upright… my son [Cage] plays some pretty mean slide whistle on one of those tracks.
How old is your son now?
Is he following in the music industry like dear old Dad?
I don’t know about the industry but he plays the upright bass for a few years now. I just got him his first bass guitar a couple months ago and I’ve been showing a lick or two.
Very cool, following in the footsteps. Is the track “Ol Rosco” based on anyone in real life or is it fabricated?
It’s sort of a composite of people I’ve known. Unfortunately where I live, and I think it’s indicative of rural living that there isn’t a lot of people taking cabs home from the bar. So unfortunately there is a lot of people driving around in our area with a few more booze drinks in them than they should probably have. I find it to be very frustrating and annoying.
That certainly comes with being out in the country. You are a very open advocate for not drinking and driving, are there organizations that you side with to help promote that?
I’ve tried in the past and it is really amazing how unorganized and unenthused some of these organizations are. I actually wrote a letter to MADD about a year ago asking some questions wanting to know some things and it took forever just to get a response and I finally did get a response. I know we’ve contacted some of these organizations to set up a booth or be present at some of our New Year’s shows because obviously New Year’s is a big time for drinking; and we’ve never really gotten much of a response.
Some people think you as an eclectic weirdo while others think of you as a creative visionary, how do you come up with the concepts that are in your songs?
Musically, a good portion of this record was based on others peoples vision; their artwork or scenes from the film. And then what I did was took that music and let it inspire me lyrically and some of it just meshed up with some stuff I already had written. Others I wrote for the band to support the music or vice versa. As far as drawing inspiration, as I’m getting older I just write things down in notebooks whenever I’m feeling inspired or if I think of something original and clever or just interesting. It pops into my head and I write it down because unfortunately I spend a good number of years in a dense fog and the old memory’s not quite… my hard drive is fragmented, let’s put it that way.
You come across as a brutally honest person, do you find your honesty to cause conflicts?
Haha, ‘nuff said!
Yeah, not terribly, it’s not like I’m a dick or something. But ya know, I’m the guy that if you have a piece of food stuck in your teeth, I’m gonna say “hey, you’ve got some food stuck in your teeth”. If your friends as humans on this planet, we’ve gotta kinda call each other up on our shit every now and again.
You have a pretty massive list of other artists, musicians, filmmakers, so many people that you have worked with over the years. Especially so now with “Of Fungi and Foe”, who do you still want to collaborate with someday?
Oh I’m sure there’s tons of people I’d like to collaborate with. What’s leaping to mind, I’m not really sure. For me, I’m so into the visual aspects of things, so there’s all these people that I admire like the Cohen Brothers and Wed Anderson, Jared Hess, as far as contemporaries. I mean, I got a call from Seth Green’s people that wanted me to do some stuff for his show which was “Robot Chicken”, and I did the theme for that. These things just pop out, it’s like I’m up for that; Adrian Blue giving you a call or hey I’m in, that sounds good to me. But as far as people that are waiting for the calls from me, I don’t really think about it that much. There are people that I talk to about doing stuff and we talk about doing another Oysterhead thing someday or when is Primus going to do something again. I’ve been talking to Eugene Hutz lately and the song we did on this record came out so well that we’re talking about doing a project together. We did a thing together last year for Bonnaroo with a couple of his guys and a couple of my guys, we did a late night set with a bunch of obscure Tom Waits covers; it was phenomenal, I loved it.
You’re a pretty huge Tom Waits fan too, right?
I am and I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with him on many an occasion. He’s become a friend, his wife and my wife are good friends, we’re all friends. That’s the amazing thing, to work with and be friends with your heroes.
Now the new album is based on a video game soundtrack [Mushroom Men] and a movie soundtrack [Pig Hunt]…
Not the whole thing, just a good portion of it.
For the movie, did you have any direct association with it? I mean, did you star in it?
I play a small role in it, this sort of inbred, redneck preacher that’s vengeful.
A lot of people may not realize it, but your also a book author. Are there any other books on the horizon?
I’ve been writing a lot of short stories lately, publishers have been after me to gather them together and make a book from that. But I don’t have quite enough right now to do that, I have just been too busy to organize that stuff.
Is the Oddity Faire going international at all or only staying in the U.S.?
At this point it’s a U.S. thing. We wanted to start this thing off and flying it under the radar, not playing big giant venues, we’re playing moderate venues and it’s fairly low key. We don’t have a bunch of sponsors or any of that shit. But it’s been phenomenal, it’s really been a kick in the pants.
So the shows thus far have been good with respect to the crowd responding well to the new songs?
Yeah, it’s been amazing. People have been coming to these shows have been getting their minds blown. Where are you?
Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Twin Cities.
I’m not sure who all will be at that stop, we have different people joining up at different places. I think it’ll be Devotchka and Saul Williams.
Yeah, there is obviously you, but then Devotchka, Saul Williams and something 3.
Oh yeah, Secret Chiefs 3. Who are phenomenal, that’s Trey [Spruance] from Mr. Bungle band.
Oh cool, I didn’t even realize that.
Yeah, it’s going to be an awesome show.
The Twin Cities is really looking forward to seeing you and just like all the others cities, the fans are going to be really excited to see you up on stage again. Are you doing all songs from this new album or are you mixing it up with some older tracks?
It’s different every night, a lot of old stuff and a lot of new stuff; maybe a few surprise bits here and there.
Speaking of surprise bits, are there going to be any celebrity appearances joining you on stage?
It sort of depends on who’s around. Ya never know who’s going to pop in, Eugene Hutz popped in the other night on one of our shows, and Lonnie [Meganut] Marshall popped up at one of our shows; ya never know who’s going to pop up.
We definitely look forward to having you here and it should be a fantastic show.
Yeah, it’s going to be a real freakshow!