CAROLINER RAINBOW HERNIA MILKQUEEN Interview by Eric Cope and Marie Hayden
WD: Would you call what you're playing music?
CR: Yes, each piece has music and rhythm and flow even if it's complicated for the listener to listen to one drum beat with another disguised drummer tooling into your inner ear with another, it's still music.
WD: I feel you are trying to disgust people more than play music - you see it that way?
CR: No, we use a lot of our own free time in working out the nuts and bolts of a song's basic movements and then baking that in the belly of each of our cooking stove beasts until we have a complicated piece rewarding for each band member and sometimes the audience.
Disgust I can only picture in some of the songs' lyrics but the topics we deal with is some of the stories directly from the parables and historical facts that were spouted by the singing bull Caroliner. Our band Caroliner is just a reminder of the crap that went down back then and live it's just natural to pee and play with mooshy stuff, we're just children.
WD: Would you say that some of the noise bands (Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, Blue Daisies etc.) influenced your band musically?
CR: Not one bit. Each of us has a different opinion about the aforementioned bands (from pleasure to complete hatred) and each has a personal musical deity except for Testecott who doesn't seem to enjoy anything but pitch-dark rooms. The music we do is either straight out of 1800's songbooks (a good example would be "My Buck's a Greasy Grey") of the shit the singing bull sang, or variations on the 78 rpm 10" that Barrel Gordon Trio put out which we all draw influence pretty much; it's in real bad shape and is only played on rare practice get-togethers, the muddy grooves improve the sound.
CR: Why are you all in Caroliner?
CR: Everybody has a different reply:
PINK BOY: Like art everyday.
CLAYTONIA: I don't know do we have to be analyzed on this?
BERJUMS: It's the stupidest band in the world, it's the lamest band in the world, 'cause I'm crazy.
TISCO VAN: Caroliner is the new way of self-expression.
CUDSKIN*: I'm in it to sing the songs and play the music. Let history be set straight.
WD: Where'd you get this Pink Boy calliope player?
CR: Well in group therapy we all kind of hooked up and Pink Boy had an outstanding record of being a lot like the 1840's Pink Boy, as he was also raised by animals' menstrual blood (wolves in this case) and likes to play with wires too. He was definitely into arming dogs and birds like us so it was natural that he start making little knives and weapons with us.
WD: How is the record coming along?
CR: Most of it has to be recorded again because the things recorded on cassette was eaten by a drunken sound man's dirty tape deck when we played a country-western bar up in Redding. Don't put all your eggs in one basket etc. However we are on a steady week-to-week schedule of working on the fucker and will call the album Manure and Paste Stew Suppers and have over 30 mins. of sing-along songs with some wonderful old time sounds thrown in throughout. The tentative plan will be to have a readymix packet of manure and flour in with the record in a small box so you can cook and smell the recordings while singing along to the record. We hope it'll be a hit.
WD: Let's talk about your songs.
WD: What about "Climbing Jacob's Ladder Through the Fireplace"?
CR: An illiterate family were sitting in front of a fireplace praying for hours as they had since they had put together the house they lived in, then they all had a vision of capes with fences and teeth in them climbing up a gold ladder which seemed to reach up the chimney. The family all got horribly burned and quit praying to anything and were shunned by everyone.
WD: Anything else?
CR: "Stacked Up Skeleton Growling Flat Broke" is a cool one. It was some inventor's personal demon who was wrecking works. The lyrics got "20' tall stacked skeleton here running high rib cages stacked up on white legs I see from a distance running nigh/That thing keeps coming in and ripping up my tins whose copper touches the precious instruments/Click clack shit shat as soon as I gain money I'm back onto flat where hills should hold mansions I'm 'n a 10 split shack/Gunpowder I had left to give that rat distress but only my porch was laid in a mess/Growling in shot from my ear just slapping the hands of ideas Stacked old thing never touched me at all/The skull has a natural grin and it tips off unstraightening my working bench. The saddest thing that you'd ever saw/Big clubs won't hurt it nope, striking away has flattened my hopes. The genius I thought it was upset now and completely broke"
WD: Benza Passover has popped up on your flyers. Have you ever had it? What is it?
CR: The bible talks of Moses asking for food in some session he had with heaven, some people in the early days of pioneering had a similar plight of not having any food to eat so for 20 days they prayed for food other than grass, bark, and leaves. What showed up was a thing called Benza that laid open its stomach and fed them. Its foods were puffy vegetable chunks, new manure, and chewed-up animals also. Two months later nicely written note with asking for an elaborate gown.
Everyone took Benza for granted after the first month that the gown request was unheard and a boy named little Cake Chris ended up eating a pie (which had never appeared before) that had glass in it which killed the boy off. So people tried to scare it and kill it so it quit coming around. 80% of the people starved afterwards and the rest moved into a different area. We had a few fake Benza suppers with fluorescent red grapes and chopped-up road kills which were buried after the show. One brave person ate some of the grapes and puked later, but no one else touched our feast.
WD: How do you know about Benza?
CR: Recorded history. It's one of Caroliner's told stories in history books.
WD: What is this speech about the gasoline opossum Knuck Knuck?
CR: Knuck Knuck is an old term for something to be warned of. The Opossum Knuck Knuck was saturated with dirt and gasoline. It was a nuisance to people and crawled up pant legs and dresses, but everyone was afraid to do anything because of the fearful mythology surrounding it. Fear of the opossum went unheeded when it ruined the banner and wall tapestry of a woman who made banners for a living. Her things soiled, she was so upset she built a fire and tried to roast the animal alive. The creature exploded and left her arms broken and unable to work for a few months. Pay heed to Knuck Knucks.
WD: What was the shitty "Bloodshot Third Eye Juggling Act" that opened your last V.I.S. show?
CR: We just decided to juggle weird stuff and facsimiles of some of the Caroliner characters under black light to an accompanying sound piece we put together. Once again it was probably too dark to see the milk sacs we broke open during the cow sound parts. You probably didn't see it did ya?
WD: Nope, I was too far back, I guess.
CR: Stand up front idiot.
WD: What are some of the props that you use when playing live?
CR: We have the Mint Thug that shakes hair and bones, the two black light hypno wheels which do actually hypnotize after one hour of continuous watching. We have the gentle old Fart also, whose hand moves real fast and some more that you'd have to see.
WD: There've been many interesting descriptions of Caroliner's music following that tape released through Subterranean Records. How would you describe it?
CR: If the Statler Brothers had all gotten gonorrhea and empathized with Jay Statler because instead of regular hemorrhoids he got prickly cactuses growing in his bum, and if they all read lots of history books and talked to old people of what they knew about the singing bull and sang their findings, and expressed the pain of day to day living by way of bass, banjo, guitars, mellophone, calliope, and foodstuffs then they would be very much like us. Also country-western soaked and drowned in cod liver river.
WD: How can anyone obtain your tape.
CR: Go into Subterranean Records and yell, "I want to buy that wonderful piece of genius cassette that Caroliner put out!" and hand over about a dollar fifty or send 2 dollars to Caroliner, c/o Subterranean/577 Valencia/SF CA 94117.
WD: Anything else before ending this?
CR: O dog O raven what will I do Thinking is acting is throwing for a loop Sleeping and Math using the reals that I hold Thinking of it is having it is my 650 lbs. gold.
WD: Anything else?
Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-23-95