Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Interview with Happy Jawbone Family
How did you come up with the name Happy Jawbone Family Band ?
Well as for the happy jawbone part that all started in this true story of this girl in australia who killed herself by jumping into the polar bear cage at the zoo. i read about it in an authoritative report on bear-related violence. then i thought alot about it and about whether or not she had been influenced by inuit literature. and then i thought about a group of concerned citizens that would censor inuit culture as a result, and the sorts of tactics they would use. one tactic i thought up was a rock and roll band called "happy jawbone" that would hide subtle anti-inuit messages in their songs. i don't know, i guess at the time i was really into inuit culture and it was good for me to step back and think about its influence on me.
It was around this time i started playing rock and roll with francis and bobby and elspeth and alamo schuman, under the name "muslims in space" and it was mostly kinks covers and fugs covers and it was a mess. alamo actually punched me in the face at our first and only show because i was hogging the microphone. you see we only had two and we had three singers and francis wouldn't share his. but then we started writing more of our own songs and ditched alamo cause he was a lousy drunk (since then he got heavy into the occult and he really pulled himself together and got a small dog.) then it got to be something and we had to name it so i had this band name in my head. everybody liked it. it stuck. but not the anti-inuit thing. we only include positive references to inuit culture now.
As for the family band part that was francis. he just put it on our internet site at the time. i guess he had noticed that alot of the people who were playing music with him were related in some way. it's worked out in our favor because most people tend to take us less seriously. also it's like the ramones. they were all brothers, did you know that?
I recently picked up your Album The Return of Hotel Double Tragedy.... Why is it you choose to release it in Cassette form?
Tape is the softest of all recorded media. that sort of album is the kind that just needs to be that soft. i mean so soft that you just disappear.
Can you tell us where Julia acquired her piano?
Pick a few of your favorite songs you wrote and tell us the background stories behind them?
People always ask me about "don't tread on the museums of your youth." and i tell them, "you know the museums of your youth are generally quite nostalgic areas. this really disgusts people. it's a natural reaction. they are pulled into these museums almost as if against their will and they are confronted with an unbearable coziness. a sort of heavy, suffocating coziness. the kind that can sink a person. as a result they attack the museum as a whole. it is better for them to just get rid of it all than to have to sort through all those trinkets and souvenirs. but this is the easy solution. it never works. there is always a new museum that always turns out to be the same museum after you explore it for a while."
Then there is the song "fireflies made of dust." this song is basically about my distrust of fireflies. people seem to accept them on the whole. they find them pretty and they ritualize their appearance. but i'm not convinced.. i'm uneasy around them.
How would describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I usually call it rock and roll music, but sometimes i call it mer-punk.
What would you like to see floating inside a mold of jell-o?
You know it's funny you ask me this right now. we all just moved into this new house which is a duplex. and i thought cause we're in a band we need all the help we can get. i wanted to make this guy a jello mold. but i didn't want to come off as a wuss so i thought i would put plastic snakes in it. i never did make that jello mold but the neighbor turned out to have 6 boa constrictors. i figure how many snakes can a guy have?
Can you tell us a bit about your newest release "O.K. Midnight You Win".. How did you come up with the Title? How did you go about writing the tracks and recording them? Where are you able to obtain a copy?
So after we stopped being "muslims in space" we just recorded for a while. then we realized that no one would listen to the songs if we didn't play them somewhere. i started getting really mammalian feelings towards the songs. so we manipulated some friends into helping us play. but it's never sounded like the recordings. i always thought it was cool, but it's not the same. then, at a certain point it started getting better than the recordings and then ted from feedingtube records said i'm gonna make you big stars! screw all this small time stuff! and he had us record with justin pizzoferrato who records j mascis and people like that. we were gonna call it "live from the hotel double tragedy" and make it a fake live album by fading in audience noise but we got lazy. as for the big stars thing i think ted was kidding but it does sound really good. it's really different than anything we've done and that's cool. just the other day my friend kyle said it's cool to do different things. i agreed with him on that one and i still do.
the cd just came in today, so if you look it up on feedingtuberecords.com you will find it under CDs. the vinyl should be in real soon and that will come with a free download card. i think there will be a straight up download option as well. you can also buy it somewhat cheaper in the feedingtube store in northampton MA. it's a real good record store. you can go there and buy thurston moore's old records. i bought one of his old records that was english rap about butts. i gave it to some lesbian friends.
well that name comes from a book about a boy and a horse. the horse is called midnight cause it was black and also it was a bad horse and it was cruel the way that midnight is. but the boy loved that horse. he had to have it. his parents warned him about the horse. i can't remember if he died but there was this one picture where midnight bucks him off and the caption says, "OK midnight, you win!" and that's where i got that one.
What else would you like people to know about you guys?
I think i would like people to know that we are there for them if they need us.
Happy Jawbone Family Band