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Carter Theis interviews drummer Puppy Mills
Puppy Mills: Wouldn’t you be bored as hell seeing a band play their album from start to finish while standing still and staring at their fret boards so as to not miss a note? Of course you would, that’s why you have to be stoned as hell to enjoy Phish. So we do the opposite. You can sit at home anytime and listen to masterfully constructed layered musical textures with clever introspective lyrics.
But you come out to a show to have a fun time and see your favorite song transformed when the lyrics veer from the written and turn into a loosely rhyming rant about a group of frat guys yelling and playing Big Buck Hunter during the set. Then you can hang out and see if we get beat up after the show too. That almost happens a lot.
Enoch Magazine) If we asked you three questions to which your response was 1) Van Halen, 2) “Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it” and 3) red
What would those questions be?
Puppy Mills: Q1: Who would win in a fight, Freddie Mercury or Fred Durst? Q2: Are you guys really gay? Q3: Who is the only realistic character on That 70’s Show?
Enoch Magazine) Your blatant creativity in music and performance continues on through to your photo shoots and album artwork. Could you talk about these excellent images extending from DeLoreans and Horse Racing to erased eyes and illustrations?
Puppy Mills:To be honest, we just happen to have (and have made on the road) a ton of really talented friends, who in turn happen to have a ton of really rich friends, who in turn happen to have a ton of expensive things like rare cars, purebred racing animals and crayons. They are incredibly generous and have done so much in helping to represent our personalities, however multiple they may be.You can check out our super creative & rich friends here:
http://www.nicholasforker.com – Nicholas Forker (album art for Ghosts and TGB Shirts) http://megancedro.com – Megan Cedro (album portrait for Ghosts and TGB Shirts) http://www.kingpinphoto.com – Joel Didriksen (DeLorean photos) http://www.flickr.com/photos/luciaholm – Lucia Holm (TGB/Animal photos and photos for Ghosts)
Enoch Magazine) We have begun doing mission work in Skid Row Los Angeles, which is home to thousands of homeless people, many of which struggle with addictions. Have you ever been to Skid Row? And do you have any general thoughts or opinions on homelessness?
Puppy Mills:We’re from New York, and we travel a lot. We just went through Portland and Seattle last week. Seattle, Portland and New York (among other places) have large homeless populations who struggle to survive through harsh, wet winters each year. Our opinion is this: If you are homeless, whatever the reason, be homeless in a city where it’s warm and the weather is nice. What better place than L.A.?
But on the real, we applaud you for your mission work. Anyone who volunteers their time or resources to help people less fortunate than them are special people.
Enoch Magazine) President Obama ends his speeches with “God Bless America.” Do either of you believe in God, or a God?
Puppy Mills: We try to spend our time making change happen, instead of asking someone else to make it happen for us. That’s why we spend our free time [rewarding] those who help the less fortunate. You don’t see God running around [rewarding] everyone in the Peace Corps, do you?
Enoch Magazine) I believe in Jesus, but lately I’ve noticed that the basic things he (Christ) said to do like tend to the poor, the sick, people in prison, orphans and widows – doesn’t seem to be at the top of most “Christians” lists or agendas. What’s your perception of “Christians” and/or the actions of people today claiming Jesus?
Puppy Mills: People just seem to take some religious texts wayyyyyy to literally.
The general idea in most religions seems to be to try to be decent people who help out others where they can, right? How is the guy wearing the “God Hates Fags” sandwich-board helping again? We just wish that some of the “Jesus is Love” people would do a little less hating.
Enoch Magazine) If you are playing a show and the audience doesn’t seem to be “connecting” with you and your performance, what goes through your head during the show vs. after?
Puppy Mills: Maybe you notice that the crowd isn’t connecting with you while you play, and you just do your best to do more until they care. Sometimes they just never do. The good thing about realizing that you’ve reached that point is that you can really be as ridiculous as you want. These are usually the shows where we will wind up making up songs on the spot where the lyrics loosely detail the experience at hand.
Or sometimes we just drop our instruments and wrestle on stage for the remainder of the set. The genius of G.G. Allin was that he had already reached that point by second 1 of each show. Afterwards, all we can really ask ourselves is “did we spill enough blood on that stage to leave a memorable impression with people?”
Enoch Magazine) Our managing editor Nate Smith lets his strings hang at the end of his guitar, just as I have seen on Clark’s guitar. I’m not a guitarist, so I have to ask: Is it just the equivalent to like “not shaving?” Or is there a technical advantage for doing so?
Puppy Mills: We always saw Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine do it back in the day, so we did it as a tribute, and as a reminder to always rage against the corruption of the American machine. Though now we’ve elected an African American Democrat to the highest office, so I guess now we’ll have to start trimming them.
Enoch Magazine) You’ve been quoated as saying, “If there’s anything The Gay Blades can teach somebody, it’s to do something different.” That statement is of course awesome, and ironically not the norm in music today. What experiences did you have growing up that equipped you creatively?
Puppy Mills: Mostly listening to a million and one pop-punk bands at all the local shows we played and went to growing up. One summer of that crap will give you a lifetime of anti-influence.
Enoch Magazine) I’ll end with a terrible question: I actually like White Castle. What obscure or mainstream fast food are you down with?
Puppy Mills: We try not to spend too much money on the road, while at the same time trying not to turn into fat pieces of crap, which is easy to do with all the greasy dollar menu burgers available these days. So usually it’s van-made PB&J or burritos.
It’s pretty crazy how affordably you can eat on the road when you try: two $0.89 cans of refried black beans, one $1.50 jar of salsa and a $2 bag of wraps yields about 10 surprisingly tasty and filling meals. Also having had White Castle available all over New Jersey doesn’t make it much of an obscure eat for us. But as far as something you can’t get at home that is pretty much as greasy as it gets, Jack in the Box seems to be a pretty good west coast bet. If you were betting on diarrhea, that is.