This actually doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas, but I read a cool interview with Circle X yesterday at Dusted. Couple choice bits below. First topic for consideration — they were “real artists”:
JNM: The shows you were playing became more performance-oriented. Could you elaborate on some of the more memorable gigs from this era?
RL: At the time, we had a storefront on Clinton Street. We frequented [a club called] the Pyramid. They had three bands a night. We were getting these gigs doing our 20-minute sets. And we went to Brian Butterick, who was running the joint, and said, listen, give us the night and give us a thousand dollars. We’ll do three sets. It took a while to get him over to our side, but he said, “OK.” So we prepared three different sets, with three different physical sets that could be used onstage. For the first set, we built a giant wheel, like the Leonardo da Vinci wheel with the man across it, and we tied Tony Pinotti, our singer, to it. We rolled him in from Tompkins Square Park, though the doors, up onto the stage, and propped him up. He sang his first song tied to that. On the stage was a giant two-dimensional head built out of 2’x4’s, with a big slot and chains for teeth. For the second set, that got propped up. And there was an obeah figure played by our friend Frank Butler, who spit dirt out through the mouth. There was a puppet hanging from the center of the ceiling of the dance floor – half a body with two arms – and a little platform with a 50-gallon metal drum. The puppet’s arms were operated by the singer, through ropes, and he beat out the rhythm of the song. It had a wedge in the head on one side, and the other side was a Super 8 camera. The wedge on the other side was filled with calf’s brains and firecrackers, which exploded at the end of the set. It mixed with the mud that was spewing out of this mouth. There was a ramp going up, and Bruce was playing Sisyphus, trying to ascend that. It was kind of elaborate. After the first set, Brian Butterick came downstairs and glared at us and he said, “That was really good. The next two better be just as good.” After the second set, he came down and glared at us again and he said, “I’ve been doing this for a while, and I’ve never had an empty bar. This is the first time when a band played and everybody was in there to see it.” At the end of the evening, he was well pleased and he said, “You guys wanna do this again?” And we said yes, and we did it again and proceeded to kind of blow it. Our antics got a little more wild. We actually cleared the bar at one point with some road flares.
Second excerpt is yah, predictable, but I can’t resist.
JNM: In 1992, either you or Bruce told me that Circle X had a real “disdain for the venues of recognition” in the music scene here. Please explain this.
RL: That quote could probably be attributed to Bruce, although it might easily have been Tony, or even myself. And you can see it every day now, in the self-promotion of the little shits who have not read more than three books in their whole lives. They just click on their little computers and talk into their little plastic fists. They don’t look up. They don’t ask questions. They think their shit doesn’t stink. It’s all self-promotion, but they’ve got no sense of history and no sense of culture besides what they’re wearing or what’s on YouTube or what’s being passed around. They’ve got no feeling for their fellow man, no heart, and absolutely no soul. It’s so superficial. They’ve got nothing.
Well put, LOL. But not very Christmas-like in attitude, I suppose. So as a counterpoint, I offer Darlene Love on David Letterman last week, complete with soldier’s greetings to a fam back at home #fuckthepigs