Shiny Grey Monotone Interview with Conan

Conan answered some questions from Shiny Grey Monotone.

Here it is: Secret Friends are discussed, as well as Replicator, Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates all with candor and honesty.
Dale Crover, David Yow, Industrial guest appearances Radio NOPE and damn near everything else.

Also includes a weighty “awesome band” list is that would be a worthy homework assignment for any discerning rocker. I can already think of at least a half dozen bands I forgot to include. Damn!

Here it is.

conan neutron.
you may recognize the name.
and even if you don’t you’ll still find yourself saying “that’s a pretty kick-ass name. why couldn’t my parents name me conan neutron. i hate my parents!” and then running into your room and slamming the door behind you and then cranking up the stereo. and this is the point where’d you’d forgotten that you hadn’t taken out that BEST OF ABBA cd and now everyone knows your dirty little secret.

moving on.

and before all of this begins i need to clear something up: conan is in no way shape or form related to jimmy. don’t bring it up.  the last time that happened it wasn’t so nice. you may have heard about it on the news.

also: never mention that pointer sisters song either. just don’t.

moving on.

some of you may have heard of some bands with names like:
replicator
mount vicious
victory and associates

you may have even seen them around here on SGM island.
and if you haven’t you’ve just been voted off.

nowadays he’s fronting/playing guitar in a band with some of his secret friends.
and no i’m not going to tell you who they are.
that’s his job.

Q: seeing as how you and your secret friends league have just been brought up…tell us all about that.

A: Sure, this is like my weirdo rock version of the Avengers, or something. Every player is a superstar totally capable of badass acts of heroism and power on their own, but coming together for a greater purpose. I suppose that would make me Captain America. I guess Tony Ash is Iron Man and Dale Crover is the Hulk? Wait, no Thor. Toshi Kasai is… uh… Nick Fury?
Wait… this is dumb.
Another way to look at it, is this is my version of the the Bad Seeds or something. The players sometimes change and cycle in, but the basic core remains the same and the songs come from me originally before being twisted, contorted and shaped into whatever dark forces come together at the end. It’s my version of rock ‘n roll. And that includes a world where Melvins, Bon Scott era AC/DC, DEVO, Unwound, The Jesus Lizard and Thin Lizzy all should be lauded equally. You get me? It’s rock, but with the no bullshit or excuses attitude that can only come from people that live and breathe punk rock/noise rock or whatever the hell you want to call it.
From my standpoint, it’s a little bit of every band I’ve ever been in, and a little bit something entirely different, I’m writing the kind of music I’d like to hear and trying to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to make that a really cool thing. I’m surrounded by great and brilliant people and one of the best rhythm sections a guitarist could hope for. Pretty cool.

Q: dale crover. does he still like to stand around the water cooler and wait for folks to walk by so he can tell some of his grunge stories?

A: oh, constantly! He’s always like: “Man, this one time Tad and I pants-ed Krist Noviselic and he…” and we’re like: “OK! COOL DUDE, WE GET IT.”
No, in all seriousness Dale is one of the sweetest dudes in the world, and all of us have tour stories or crazy back in the day stories. It just so happens that some of his involve people that are incredibly, incredibly famous. It’s easy to forget because he’s such a nice fella.
Although he is always shouting: “ok boys, I really want you to GRUNGE OUT on this next one.”
Don’t know what all that is about.

Q: and seeing as how the secret friends are somewhat embedded into the melvins mythos…could there be a possible tour or collaboration of some sort?

A:Well, as far as collaboration. Buzz does backups on two of the songs on Art of the Murder, so that’s sort of already happened… it’s just under my banner so far fewer people paid attention. HAHAHAHA. That said, even with Dale playing drums for me it’s important to note that Melvins are one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s not lost on me, you know? There’s been talk. So far, that’s been it. That said, I think the two acts would compliment each other in interesting ways. Not just for the obvious shared member either.
Who knows? If it did, I would consider myself very lucky indeed to be even further involved in their world. They are the real deal as artists and humans and work harder than any band I can think of. I respect the hell out of their art , their fearlessness and their process, bands could learn a lot from how the Melvins work.

Q: now let’s travel back a bit. when i mention the name replicator what kind of feelings does it invoke? you were together for 8 years. what brought all of that to an end?

A: Great feelings! I loved that band and loved my time in it. We did everything exactly the way we wanted to do it and did a bunch of weird stuff that some people seemed to enjoy. It was completely on our terms and ended when it should have, cool. It meant something to some people, and I’m pretty sure we left the world a wee but better than how it was when that band came into being, or at least more confused.
I still love Ben and Chris and we played a one off for the PRF BBQ West Coast year before last that was a damn fine time and probably employed a good amount of bay area baby sitters.
What brought it to an end? It was time for it to end. That’s it. No drama. We broke up with plenty of advance notice and recorded an ep of our last songs that is one of the better things we did. Not a bad way to call it a day, right?
The weirdest thing is probably talking to young people in new noise rock bands who think that what you are currently playing is somehow the only thing you ever have, or ever will do. Nope. Settled that land, moved on. Still enjoy visiting and looking at the postcards though.

Q: and during your time together you’d played a show as the jesus lizard and you went by the name of the jesus replicator. what kind of training did you go through in order to become david yow? how far into did you go? how long did it take for you to shake all of that off afterward? are you still in the shower trying to wash it away?

A:If you are trying to ask if I learned how to do a Tight ‘n’ shiny, I did not. In all seriousness though, I think Mr. Yow is not only a very gifted vocalist, but a hell of a front man. Some people seem to get it wrong, thinking that his presence is confrontation and violence, there’s just a strange ebb and flow to the energy between him and the crowd. He’s a masterful performer and full of genuinely thrilling unexpectedness. I once saw him sing an entire song from the inside of a t-shirt box at the Merch table. It was an inspiring moment for me.
That isn’t a joke.

Q: and then i’d seen that you took on the yow again at the 2010 PRF BBQ auktoberfest. there’s footage of you on the youtubes performing “puss” with a band called the hype. and i have to say that if someone were to close their eyes and place you and david yow under cups and shuffled you around you’d never be able to tell who was who.

A:ha! Yes! The Hype… a superstar PRF Karaoke band. Full of members that are in plenty of great bands themselves. Frighteningly accurate. In a better world they’d be the house band for a late night talk show. Maybe hosted by Mark Arm of Mudhoney or Eugene Robinson of Oxbow or something.
Anyway, thanks… it’s a hell of a song. I remembered all the words from that Halloween thing. I thought that was a pretty hilarious move to do a song by Chicago royalty when I’m an Oaklander/California boy through and through.
OH! Something that isn’t on youtube, but I was reminded of… in Replicator, we played with Qui some, both before and after David Yow joined the band. We actually asked him to play Wheelchair Epidemic with us one night. That was cool.
I think that exhausts the David Yow part of the interview.
Oh wait! He’s a great visual artist and did the art for the first Secret Friends record
“the enemy of everyone” too.
SEE? IT ALL COMES BACK TO ME AND MY MUSIC IN THE END. RECORDS STILL FOR SALE AT THE MERCHT TABLE!

Q: and that brings us to mount vicious. the band had 3 guitar players. which of you was the eddie van halen of the group?

A: Ha! I’d say… Alli for sure. IF, and only IF… Eddie Van Halen was played by Rowland S. Howard of the Birthday Party.

Q: the mount vicious bio reveals that mount vicious deliver a powerful live show and are very good at sex. was that in fact true?

A:Yes.

Q: the band didn’t seem to have been together all that long. what happened? did one of you finally get to the point of not being very good at the sex and just wanted to stop?

A:No, we were still all very skillful at it. We had a song called “We Enjoy Fucking (To This Music)” for Pete’s sake. We did more in a year than some bands do in their whole life. That also includes bitter, acrimonious break-ups.  It was my fault, but it was a good run. We made a good record. I learned, licked my wounds and moved on.

Q: i’ve always thought that victory and associates would’ve made the best name for a law firm. had you ever toyed around with maybe making some sort of a promo for the band in the form of one of those infomercials you only seem to see on the tv at 3:00am? because i would’ve totally watched that while sitting there with my bowl of cereal and nuQuil.

A: Only if we could flash our number really quick with a very long and disconcerting amount of disclaimers played as fast as possible afterwards.

Q: what brought about the demise of the victory and associates?

A: The other three dudes were wanting to work more collaboratively, writing more in the practice room. I wanted the exact opposite, to work more off of demos and concentrate on arrangements when we in the same room. Musical differences! HOW THRILLING!
Plus, people just get tired of people you know? Everybody parted as friends, brothers, etc. That’s the stuff that counts, that and the body of work.
Band breaks up, Ultimately not a lot of people cared. Replicator was important to a lot of people, Mount Vicious was starting to be when we called it a day. For the most part V and A just grinded, we never connected that deeply with most people. I don’t know, we liked it! V and A wasn’t really hard rock, post-punk, punk rock, noise rock or any of that. It was a little bit of all of that and totally it’s own thing. It was important to me that it exist as it’s own entity without relying on previous bands. Worked out great! Hahaha.
It’s tough to be a band that doesn’t have a gimmick, hook or schtick these days. You aren’t just competing for people’s attention with what came out that week, you are competing with all of music. That band was all heart and probably deserved better, but the world will keep on a spinnin’ none the less.
I do think Better Luck Next Life is a way better record than most people give it credit for. But damn, if that was the metric… that’s like: most of music.

Q: did i read somewhere that you’d been involved in something called “bitch stole my time machine”? and were you involved with a “band” called caustic?

A: True on both counts! Jesus, nice digging there Columbo. “Bitch Stole My Time Machine” is a song by the excellent Industrial band Everything Goes Cold, who I toured with a few times as a keyboard player and backup vocalist. It’s not really my genre, but they are very good at it and the shows were a blast. Lots of crazy lighting and smoke machine and chicks in bondage gear and what not. I met Matt Fanale (AKA: Caustic) on one of those jaunts and we bonded immediately over old school Touch and Go stuff. All the stuff you would expect. We became pals and he asked if I would contribute a guitar track to a song on his album “the Man Who Wouldn’t Quit.” He wanted it to be somewhere between Wax Trax and T&G when both of those labels were doing legit aggro and heavy stuff. I said: “You bet!” and I gave him a guitar track that sounds like the things he asked for, with maybe a little Andy Gill thrown in.
It’s a fun track! I played it with him once, and was wearing a feather boa on stage. True story.
Oh! “Bitch Stole my Time Machine.” I played Thingamagoop on that, which is a cute little light activated oscilatting synth that looks like a robot. It makes excellent obnoxious noises. It’s very chaotic in a good way. I think it’s the only thing by EGC that I’m on that’s recorded. That band is really Eric’s baby though.
Man, that’s a whole lot of time I just spent talking about other people’s crap. ERIC! MATT! Where’s my check?!?

Q: besides the musician thing…what else do you have going on in the neutriverse? also: feel free to use that.

A: The “musician thing”. Oh, you mean the thing I devote my life to? hahahaha. Well, my radio show/podcast “Conan Neutron’s Protonic Reversal” is entering year 3, I think? Every time I’m about ready to quit it, I get some really nice feedback about some episode or another. So I’m going to continue to do those, talking to people that everybody SHOULD care about and what it means to be an artist and do what they do. Playing new and old tunes I love, that kind of stuff.
There are worse ways to spend time.
I launched a 24/7/365 radio station called Radio NOPE early last year that has achieved the purpose of being my favorite station ever! (that’s http://www.radionope.com kids!), there’s currently no ability for profit of course, but I kind of consider it a public service. Hey! Maybe there should be a SGM show on it? (hint, hint!)

Q: another PRFBBQ has come and gone. tell us about that business.

A:Which one? Oakland? Chicago? Louisville? Hahaha, they are all excellent. So many amazing bands, so many great people. I don’t know, anybody reading this is like the total target demo for these things. It’s just all badassery and your new favorite bands.
New discoveries for me this year were:
West Coast – The Tunnel, an already really great band totally stepping it up by mixing some serious Big Black into their late period Birthday Party. Impressive stuff! Also Quivers, who have kind of a Chavez plus Archers of Loaf thing going on.
Chicago-Rented Rooms who kind of slayed my mind, the songs of the dude from the Mekons Jon Langford… who I’ve never paid much attention to.
Louisville- Vibrolas, just really good down and dirty rock and roll, Multicult… kickass NYC noiserock, Them Teeth and War Brides. Great NR bands.

Q: are there any stories that you’d like to regale us with?

A: I’ve met Andrew Dice Clay in person, he’s a remarkably intelligent and soft spoken dude who asks a lot of questions about YOU. Well, not you… me. I guess. No, he did not tell any limericks.
We played Krist Noviselic’s signature Gibson Ripper on both the first two Secret Friends records, by that I mean it was the one Gibson actually gave to him and he later gave to Toshi and the Melvins for the studio. That’s a damn fine instrument there.

Q: so. music. i’m going to assume that you like it. are there any bands out there that you’d like to lay some lip service to?

A: Hurry Up Shotgun (Oakland, CA), B. Hamilton (Oakland, CA),  Porch (Oakland, CA),  Reptoid (Oakland, CA), Oxbow (San Francisco, CA) The Cell Phones (Chicago, IL) Nocturnal Habits (Justin from Unwound with Sara from Unwound on drums), Vibrolas (Lexington, KY), Motherfucker (Athens, GA), Lardo (Chicago, IL), the rutabega (South Bend, IN), Dead Halos (Louisville, KY), Trophy Wives (Louisville, KY), Waxeater (Louisville, KY), John Congleton and the Nighty Nite, SAVAK (Brooklyn, NY), Melvins (duh!), Whores (Atlanta, GA), Multicult (NYC), Manhandle (Alabama or some crap!), Nonagon (Chicago, IL), Buildings (Minneapolis, MN), Magpies (Missoula, MT), SEMINARS (Seattle, WA), Beat Drun Juel (Chicago, IL), THE HAND (Minneapolis, MN), Thoughts Detecting Machines (Bloomington, IL), Minutes and OUT (Those are two different bands, Kalamazoo, MI) Future of the Left (Cardiff) and Falco solo as Christian Fitness are both way legit. Oh! Quivers (San Francisco, CA) I’m sure I’m forgetting something really obvious, but that’s a pretty damn good listening list.
Just go Ask Jeeves all that stuff and you’ll be listening to new stuff before ya know it.
Anybody that says there isn’t any good new music needs to pull their head out of their ass.

Q: and now we’ve come to the part of the show where if’n you have any science you’d like to drop on the folks…..

A: Look! Just because my last name is Neutron doesn’t mean I’m a REAL scientist. That’s just a CHARACTER… Hahaha! Just joking kids, stay in school.

well,mr. neutron. i’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for stopping in for this interview. it was fun. now please exit the building before security has to be called. and don’t forget to stop by the front desk and take a complimentary anything you’d like out of the lost and found.


Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends: The Art of Murder SW014

Hello, we’ve killed again… I MEAN… put out another record. This is another Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends album.
As per normal:
I play guitar and do vocals.
Tony Ash plays bass.
Dale Crover plays drums.

Toshi Kasai produces and engineers.

We like it, perhaps you will too.
The whole thing is a concept record about and around the world of Hannibal Lecter.
CDs ship immediately, vinyl in June of 2016, Spotify and all that pretty soon…
Easiest thing is to buy it through the band “bandcamp” site, it’ll be available other places soon enough.
ok? ok.

Notes:

This record was written and mostly arranged leisurely between November 7th, 2014 and March 7th 2015 by Conan Neutron. Tracks were given final arrangements and recorded at Sound of Sirens studio in Sun Valley, CA between May14th-18th, 2015 by Toshi Kasai. Mixing was done at Sound of Sirens between June 12th- July 28th. 2015 by Toshi Kasai.

Mastering was done at Chicago Mastering Company by Bob Weston: September 2015

Art and layout by Rick Froberg

This record was directly inspired by the Hannibal Lecter series of books by Thomas Harris. Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and the fascinating interpersonal dynamics between the characters within. As well as some of the other associated material around the characters of said stories. Certain phrases are cited in the lyrical content and are done so with the utmost respect and admiration.

Thanks to Lindsey Neutron, Stephanie Vogt, Jordan Sobolew, Michael Marchant, Erica Strout, Lindsey Charles, Kevin Burkett and the Electrical Guitar Company and to all of the rest of the Friends of the Neutron out there. Secret, explicit or otherwise.

www.neutronfriends.com

All songs © Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike 3.0 unported (CC BY-NC-SA3.0)
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
credits
released March 1, 2016

Engineering/Production: Toshi Kasai
Vocals/Guitar: Conan Neutron
Bass: Tony Ash
Drums: Dale Crover
Additional Synth/Organ and Strings: Conan Neutron
Additional Vocals on Avid Fan and Chair of Antlers: Buzz Osborne
Additional Vocals on Eat the Rude and Chair of Antlers: Tony Ash
Additional Harmony Vocals on Quid Pro Quo and The Doctor Will See You Now: Dana Poblete
Additional Percussion and Vocals: Toshi Kasai
Additional Percussion: Dale Crover


I Heart Noise – Premieres “Avid Fan” from the Art of Murder

It is true! Boston noisenik afficianados I Heart Noise are premiering a song off of “The Art of Murder”.

Their first premiere ever, EVER! What a premiere too, since this specific one also features Mr. Buzz Osborne on backup vocals.
What? Yes. Buzz.


The Art of Murder – Chesapeake Ripper


First song on the second record.

Engineering/Production: Toshi Kasai

Vocals/Guitar: Conan Neutron

Bass: Tony Ash

Drums: Dale Crover

“Organ”: Toshi Kasai


Secret Friends play PRF BBQ – Chicago 2015 – June 17th-21st

5 days, 6 venues, 50 some odd bands. Food and drink to satiate the most gluttonous kings and queens. Laughter, hugs, joy, awesome time with friends, new and old, all the regular PRF BBQ jam.

We will be sharing space with such notables as the Beauty Pill, the rutabega, Thoughts Detecting Machines, PORCH and many, many more. If you have never been to one of these events it is highly, HIGHLY recommended that you can go. There is no better concentration of awesome music and people at any event, anywhere. And that’s a Secret Friends GUARANTEE.

You will want to get your advance tickets here and become mayor of the Facebook event with your friendster account if that is your thing.

We play Sunday. See you in Chicago.
(more…)


We have cds.

Available through the bandcamp site.
Anybody asking for freebies will be referred to Mr. Eugene Robinson.

Eugene Robinson and Conan Neutron - Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends.

Eugene Robinson and Conan Neutron – Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends.


The Enemy of Everyone

This record was written and mostly arranged between June 22nd and September 7th 2014 by Conan Neutron. Tracks were recorded at Sound of Sirens studio in Sun Valley, CA between September 11th-15th, 2014 by Toshi Kasai. Vocals for Fight Math were done at Antisleep audio, Oakland, CA by Mr. Eugene Robinson on October 8th, 2014. Those were tracked by Mr. Scott Evans. Mixing was done at Sound of Sirens between October 10th-15th. 2014 by Toshi Kasai.

Mastering was done at Golden Mastering between Jan 27th and Feb 3rd, 2015 by JJ Golden.

Dedicated to the memory of Clay Wofford. R.I.P. (1977-2014)

The Butch Cassidy to my Sundance Kid,
A best friend, a wild heart, an untamed beast and a cautionary tale.
You truly were the enemy of everyone, and this record… my friend, is for you.

credits

released 13 January 2015

Engineering/Production: Toshi Kasai
Vocals/Guitar: Conan Neutron
Bass: Tony Ash
Drums: Dale Crover

Additional Percussion and Vocals: Toshi Kasai
Additional Percussion: Dale Crover