Well here it is ladies & gentlemen, are very first interview (please hold applause until the end of the interview)! This little conversation took place in the A&W at Harbor Center early one morning. Now, I was supposed to pick up Buttercup and then we were going to go meet Keith at Scratch's retail store on Cambie. I got up, got ready, and then phoned Buttercup and told him I was on my way. So anyway I battled traffic (I live in Coquitlam, the Princess Buttercup lives in Vancouver) and got down to Buttercup's apartment. I rang the buzzer to get in, no answer. So I tried again, and again, and again... Anyway, after what must of been an eternity (actually it was only 15 minutes) I gave up and went to meet Keith. Once I got to Scratch I called Princess Buttercup again. He answered, It seems that Mr. Responsibility (as I like to sarcastically refer to the Princess Buttercup as) had fallen back asleep after I had called him. So Keith and I decided to start Breakfast without the lazy SOB. Just so you know, the stuff in brackets are my own thoughts from the interview.
Elvis: When did Scratch open?
Keith: Is this gonna be just a cold hard facts type of interview?
Elvis: No these questions are just kind of guidelines to help the interview flow better?
Keith: Officially, Dec. 19, 1987.
Elvis: Tell me about the new Superconductor album? I heard that its gonna be a double concept thing.
Keith: That's the story, and brother it is excellent!
Elvis: How many guitarists on this one?
Keith: 1,2... There's five. Just five.
Elvis: So you cut back a couple from before.
Keith: I guess so. Pat quit, he didn't like the way the band lived on the road on the last tour. Brian has been out of the band for a long time. Shawn is a big question mark, we don't know if he is going to be involved or not.
Elvis: Have you recorded anything for it yet, or are you still writing?
Keith: We've recorded just a little bit. There will be some guests on it. Joe Preston (ex-Melvins and Earth) will probably be on it. Patrick from Blowhole in Seattle will be on it. Gene Smith (Mecca Normal) if she is in town, will probably be on it. She is in New Zealand right now. You shouldn't ask me too much about Superconductor because all I can give you is embarrassing excuses why the new album isn't out yet. It should have been out months ago. But, due to a number of reasons its not.
Elvis: With that many members it must be really hard to schedule things.
Keith: Ya, that's probably the big one. Shawn's biggest problem is being part of an embarrassing rock record as he reaches his late twenties. The rest of us aren't so concerned about that.
Elvis: Well you never put your real names on your releases anyway.
Keith: Haven't we?
Elvis: Well I don't know about your first 7 inch. On the second 7 inch you guys made up bizarre names and on "Hit Songs For Girls" there is nothing listed at all, as far as who played what goes. Any plans for new Twerdocleb stuff?
Keith: Yes! There is a full album that is coming out on Traction Records. Tentatively, its the original motion picture soundtrack for a movie called "Hard Lunch".
Elvis: Is this an actual movie or just something you guys made up?
Keith: Yep, its an underground movie from Norway that the music is featured in.
Elvis: Is Nardwuar going to be on this one or was that just a one time guest appearance on the 1st 7 inch?
Keith: He has been a live guest many times, but, he's just a guest on the first single. Also Twerdocleb will possibly be doing a split LP on Traction with Bugskull from Portland. And what else... Compilations here and there. We’ve got tons of Twerdocleb stuff done and ready to roll.
Elvis: Any other side projects your involved in besides Twerdocleb?
Keith: I sit at home in the basement and play with a bunch of different people or on my own, but I really wouldn't call that a full side-project.
Elvis: (Evil expression in my voice because I know this one will bug Keith) Any plans for a Jeff reunion (Jeff was the band that Keith played bass for once, and they only had one song which had the simple lyrics, "The name of the band is Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!", repeated over and over and over again until they were finally asked to leave the stage after a good 20-30 minutes or so). Keith: (with anger in his voice) You would have to track down Paul (Jeff’s vocalist and guitarist) for that one. Elvis: Well how about a Jeff 7 inch. Actually I guess it would be hard to make a 7 inch with only one song. Keith: (on the verge of killing me) I have nothing to do with Jeff anymore!!!
Elvis: Tell us a funny story about Wozzle (Scratch employee and local hipster).
Keith: I'd have to think about that one. Think of one that wouldn't get him in more trouble than he already is. The last time I saw Wozzle was at Scratch bowling night last week and he decided to continually bombard the CITR team with cigarette butts and they got very troubled and upset by this and eventually blamed some people who were not involved and made some threats. Wozzle was behind it all, sitting there smiling and slyly hitting these somewhat uptight folks in the head with cigarette butts and disrupting their bowling game. But, that was kind of an innocent, juvenile, fun, Wozzle thing. Elvis: I guess Wozzle never tries to cause problems on purpose (Keith laughs). Well, not in the local punk rock community so to speak. Of course when Wozzle and I were going through High-School he tried to bother the teachers. Keith: He didn't like that fashion show, did he (Wozzle organized a public protest against it)? He got beat up because of it. Elvis: Actually the guy who beat him up and threatened him was the nephew of the teacher who put on the fashion show. So one of the teachers was behind Craig getting beaten up. Opps, I mean Wozzle. Craig doesn't like us to use his real name. Keith: Hey, a man should be proud of his name. He has some cool parents and they named him Craig for a good reason. It's a lawyer kind of name, and that's the vision they have for young Craig. Craig has always has a strong respect for the Canadian legal system. Elvis: I remember the time that Drisleyland got raided by the cops and shut down. Craig was out there arguing with the police that they didn't have a proper warrant. It was pretty hilarious. What was the coolest thing you got for Christmas this year? Keith: Nothing I got from my mother. She got me the usual thing ten pairs of socks and underwear, blank video and cassette tapes, and a pair of ski boots. That was real nice. But the coolest thing? That would probably be this repeating parrot. You say something and this parrot records your voice and repeats it back at different speeds. Sped up and high pitched, its got an annoyance quotient that is off the map. Sometimes we sit at home and prop the parrot up on the TV speakers and it makes watching the most unwatchable shows a whole lot o’ fun. I also got this voice changer, which is very nice. What else? Keg gift certificates, pretty damn nice! Can't think of anything else. I instantaneously forget what I gave and what I got. Some riot grrrls gave me some incredibly tight clothing and some weird records. Elvis: So what's the story on the first Superconductor 7 inch? Why is it no longer available?
Keith: There aren't any, we sold them all. Why haven't we made any more? I guess as far as the Scratch label is concerned, for us to sell 1100 records is a really successful 7 inch. When there is not a lot of money to play around with, you forsake making more of something like the Superconductor & inch, that you know we could obviously sell more of. We forsake that in favor of making something new that we haven't made before. Spending the money we have to make a new 7 inch as opposed to an old one. There are also some people who have problems with the artwork on that 7 inch (some girl threatened to sue over a picture of herself on the back cover). Also the place where we pressed it, Alberti, is the flakiest record plant on the planet. Also if we wanted to make more, it would be a real nightmare for them to find the tapes. The masters have probably been lost or destroyed. I guess if you hound me enough (and i hound him a lot), I'll look in to finding the masters. Anything's possible. Elvis: What do you think about the Nardwuar/Skid Row thing?
Keith: That "Take Back the Toque" thing wasn't my plan of attack. We were willing to take a little bit more "direct action" on Nardwuar's behalf. We were going to take the Nambler Rambler (Nardwuar's dunebuggy) out to Vancouver Studios where Skid Row were recording, stake it out until Mr. Sebastion Bach came out unguarded and we were going to chloroform him and throw him in the back and take him out to Surrey, or someplace like that, shave off all his hair, and just toss him in an alley. Nardwuar was very troubled by that notion and asked us not to do that. Or we wanted to use the phones at that Commodore benefit Skid Row was at and call in a bomb threat. You know, cause a lot of trauma. Better that standing out in a cold, pissing night picketing and saying they were very bad people for taking the toque. It doesn't seem like my style of retribution. Though, I do support Nardwuar, you know. Elvis: Why does Scratch not sell corporate rawk (at this point Princess Buttercup shows up)?
Buttercup: Howdy, is there a bank machine around here, I must have breakfast (I lend him a few bucks)!
Keith: What do you mean we don't sell corporate rawk? We have Weezer and Ween!
Buttercup: (as he heads for the counter to get some grub) Do you really?
Elvis: Actually I just bought that new Weezer album, and i think my copy should be in the used bin at Zulu very soon (where most of my corporate crap ends up eventually).
Keith: We don't actually sell that much corporate rawk. The reason isn't because major labels are bad, because most indie labels are just as bad. They're run the same way, they just don't have as much money to screw people with. How can a small store survive without selling your Nirvanas, or Babes in Toyland, or Urge Overkill, or Weezer or Ween. People want to hear that stuff more than they want to hear Jesus Lizard or Fugazi. We don't sell much corporate rock for financial reasons, like who is a popular alternative band right now? Veruca Salt. What does their CD sell for at A&B or Sam probably $12 or $13. Our wholesale cost is like $15.50 to buy that. What would we sell it for? Even if we took a loss and sold it for $14, we would still look bad for selling it for more than the big guys. Most people don't understand that. The majors don't do any favors for the "Mom and Pop" type stores, so we don't do them any favors by stocking their stuff. If you do carry it they have these obnoxious guys who call every week and say, "Dude, this is whoever, and we want to know how your displaying our product?" and they won't refer to something as the hot new item, instead they will talk about product numbers. They act like they're selling a candy bar or a broomstick. They'll pretend like they like the music, but that's just because they're trying to sell something.
Elvis: Any touring plans in the near future?
Keith: Well, we'll be doing a few out of town Twerdocleb shows and we might also do a tour with Nimrod. No local gigs planed for any of the standard bands, but I will be in the backup band for the Harvey Sid Fisher band in March. Were bringing Harvey Sid Fisher to town. Have you heard the Astrology songs?
Elvis: No, not really (at this point I was thinking it would be cool if he changed his name to Harvey Sid Viscous). Keith: Well Harvey Sid Fisher is a 54 year old unemployed actor from Los Angeles who has an album out with 12 songs, one for each of the Zodiac symbols. Its a pretty amazing thing.
Elvis: He kind of sounds like a lounge singer, ya