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Reviews of “Protons and Electrons”

“Much like the aforementioned 1990’s record labels- it’s a different concept applied to the fundamental core of rock music. So, let’s be clear- this is ROCK- like the Stooges, Radio Birdman, Melvins, or Runaways. Sure, some bits are a bit “Noise Rock”, or “Grunge” or ‘Garage rock’ or even ‘post hardcore”- but if you don’t hear “ROCK” in ALL CAPS, all the time, it might have been a little too long since you heard rock music. That’s not to say it’s dumb, teenaged, or facile. Again, check yourself sport- real rock music can simultaneously appeal to several glands at the same time. Brains include both the frontal lobes and cerebral cortex – get the idea? This is as smart as some sneering punk intellectual, but with the same swagger and balls as any bare chested Rawk Gahhhd.

So, if like me, you want to get back to the meat of the matter- I think you won’t go wrong, here.”

” – How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Culture

“Neutron and friends have released 12 7” split singles over the last 18 months in a series called Protons and Electrons. This endeavor includes 12 other bands taking care of the b-sides, and it’s just been released as a two-disc set. Mr. Neutron wastes no time on the first disc, Protons. “Jilted Dragon” and “Armies of the Mind” attack with melodic earworms and deliberate urgency that recall Bob Mould from his Sugar days. Branding Electrons as a collection of b-sides would be unfair. Bands such as The God Eaters, Cartographer, and Quivers among many others offer top-notch songs from post-punk, metal and indie rock genres. P&E throws the sheer ferocity of its rock ‘n’ roll in your face without any fear.

The Bigtakeover

Reviews of “The Art of Murder”

“[A]s solid a rock record as you will hear this year…Stunningly good stuff.” – How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Culture

“Great Stuff! expect lots of sludgy and meaty grooves and a lot of references to Hannibal Lecter!” – I Heart Noise

“Veteran Oakland, CA singer/guitarist Conan Neutron has hit paydirt with The Secret Friends. This follow up to 2015’s debut The Enemy of Everyone bellows forth with, chianti-swilling swagger. Tunes such as ‘Eat The Rude’ ‘The Census Taker’ and the closing ‘Chair of Antlers’ with its Wings ‘Jet’ like shout-along chorus give a Thunderous thrill! The Art is a Blast!” – The Big Takeover

“Here’s what’s more crucial: this thing is tight, with a seamless collection of the most tasty hooks, and the best delivery possible. The best in rock, and I mean that. Think about it- from Alice Cooper, to UFO, to KISS, to the Misfits, to The Melvins, to Tilts- there is a type of rock music where everything just fits, perfectly- where the production, the songwriting, the performance, heck even the tuning all just come together perfectly- that sense that everything is exactly what it’s supposed to be- this record has it. There’s nothing extraneous – no 3 bar solos that have to be in another key, because they won’t fit, otherwise, nor jazz fake out drum bits, nor yodeling, nor throat singing, nor funk odyssey- it’s all mighty, mighty solid rock. It’s beyond genre- again, like the sadly departed Tilts, this isn’t cheap nostalgia for the dearly departed music from when I was 15- instead, it’s trying to take the materials at hand, now- indie rock, stoner rock, sludge, noise, punk- and infusing it with a healthy dose of what made that “classic” rock classic to us, when we were 15. Heroic harmonies on the chorus, heart-stopping riffs, and the tightest fills that can be mustered. I have listened to it about 10 times in a row, now, and I don’t skip a track, and I don’t wanna miss a second of it. I have been late getting back from lunch because I don’t want to stop listening mid-song to anything, here. Just mind-blowingly solid- and top notch throughout. Sincerely- if you like big, loud, tight rock music- not pop rock- not metal, not punk, not alternative- hard rock music- with melody, and balls aplenty- I cannot suggest anything else- get this, now! I mean, sure, I dig all kinds of music, so, if you’d rather catch up on Merle Haggard’s music, by all means- that’s a good endeavor- but when you want rock music, you really must start here. I realize that the worm that destroys you is the temptation to agree with your critics, to get their approval, but you cannot reduce this rock to a set of influences- it stands as a solid thing on a slippery planet.” – How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Culture

From Razorcake

“The music has muscle, with tough guitars and solid drumming, courtesy of Dale Crover of the Melvins. There are hooks aplenty on most of the songs, the kind that will have you repeating the refrain in your head the rest of the day, even if you don’t know what the hell they mean.” 

“The most surprising aspect of The Art of Murder were the melodies, which isn’t something I recall Neutron playing around with so much in the past. It gives the tracks more depth and shows that the band can hit hard as well as pull back. That diversity within the sound (punk, indie rock, rock’n’roll, whatever you want to call it) that Conan Neutron fills, makes for a strong album. –Kurt Morris 

From Razorcake

“The music has muscle, with tough guitars and solid drumming, courtesy of Dale Crover of the Melvins. There are hooks aplenty on most of the songs, the kind that will have you repeating the refrain in your head the rest of the day, even if you don’t know what the hell they mean.” 

“The most surprising aspect of The Art of Murder were the melodies, which isn’t something I recall Neutron playing around with so much in the past. It gives the tracks more depth and shows that the band can hit hard as well as pull back. That diversity within the sound (punk, indie rock, rock’n’roll, whatever you want to call it) that Conan Neutron fills, makes for a strong album. –Kurt Morris 

Reviews of “The Enemy of Everyone”

From Mxdown

There are some clever lyrical turns of phrase, such as “If I didn’t look back in anger/I doubt I’d look back at all” on the incisively choppy “Hindspite is 20/20.” Throughout the album, the trio sounds like they’re having a ball, especially on the more rocking songs, like “All Your Nostalgia is Killing Me.”

The Enemy of Everyone ends with “R.I.P. Anger,” again making it clear that the purpose of this particular brand of rock and roll is not to feel bad for oneself or relish in one’s darkness, but to cast it aside with the magic of music.

From Shiny Grey Monotone

It’s a mixture of things that seem very familiar, but synthesized in the way they are they take on a new life, even though you could swear you’ve heard this, or something like this somewhere. At some point. Start with a very solid base of mid-late 1970’s power pop-esque hard rock. Think, Cheap Trick or Sweet…bands that celebrated the good times with big catchy hooks. Then layer in some mid-late 1990’s post grunge kind of stuff. Think…bands that had some dirt under their fingernails, but ultimately were playing relatively accessible riff rock. And finally, and this is the most important element as it elevates what would be mundane into something altogether enjoyable and interesting, play the previous elements through your heavy riffing thud rock record collection. Think, Melvins, C Average (second C Average reference in a week!), or Big Business…bands that troll the bottom end to drive their songs into your brain and out the back of your skull.
Make any sense? It’s catchy music with a gnarly edge…it’s ok to like it because it’s not simple pop (even though that’s ok to like too, just don’t tell anyone I said that). You might just have to hear it.

From How Much Longer Much We Tolerate Mass Culture

See, once you add the proper context, what you get is a beefier, crunchier take on AM rock of the early 1970’s. Like Sloan on Steroids, or the Tight Bros from Way Back When on a Scissorfight bender. Yes, Dale is drumming, so, Melvins comparisons are apt, but really, I think Sloan, circa Navy Blues, given a strong dose of Marshall Stack will get you closer. That is to say- super tight power pop songcraft made to be in service of big rawk aspirations. As Conan would have it, “Casually Intense”- it’s like Cheap Trick runs into Billy Squier, but gets assaulted by Tilts, along the way.



Weird music by weirdos, for weirdos: Chatting with Milwaukee-via-Oakland musician Conan Neutron

Despite the decentralizing power of technology, there still exists the un-killable notion of musicians leaving whatever flyover states they grew up in and “making it” on one of the coasts. Conan Neutron has it all wrong: Last June, the Oakland, California punk musician packed up after 22 years in the Bay Area and moved to the Midwestern climes of Milwaukee, taking the spirit of his band (if not all the members), Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends, with him. A revolving super group of sorts (the current recording lineup features Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover, and former Coliseum and Trophy Wives member Tony Ash), Neutron and company are no strangers to Milwaukee, with the singer-songwriter’s former band, Victory And Associates, once a part of Milwaukee’s Latest Flame Records. But now, as much as any group with members spread throughout the country can be (other Secret Friends call Athens and San Francisco home), Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends are officially a Milwaukee band.

This Friday at Club Garibaldi, the group will celebrate the release of their first “Protons and Electrons” split seven-inch, backed with a track from Trophy Wives. Eleven more seven-inches will be released over as many months, eventually adding up to a full album. Before the tour-kickoff show (which will also feature sets from Body Futures and Guerilla Ghost), Milwaukee Record spoke to Neutron about his music (“Weird music by weirdos, for weirdos,” he says), moving to the middle of the country, and doing other “stupid” stuff.

Milwaukee Record: So let’s get the big question out of the way: Why move from California to Wisconsin? What are your ties to Milwaukee?

Conan Neutron: Basically, they’re all from touring. My old band, whenever we’d come through town, we would always play Milwaukee and have a great time. Some of my closest friends are from touring, a large portion of which live in Milwaukee. The IfIHadAHiFi guys being some of them.

We didn’t leave the Bay Area because we disliked it, it was pretty much a matter of being priced out. It was a choice between having a life where you can really lay into the things you really want to do, or fight as hard as you can just to stay above water. Moving to a place with a lower cost of living makes it easier to do that kind of thing. Especially for me, with my main creative pursuit being Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends, we’re all spread out anyway, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to stay in Oakland, especially with everything skyrocketing. So we narrowed it down to a bunch of different cities, and Milwaukee was definitely attractive because we had an existing base of friends. There’s a lot in common between Oakland and Milwaukee—there are a lot of differences as well—but that’s how we ended up heading east from the Wild West. [laughs]

MR: What are some of those differences and similarities between the two cities?

CN: The Bay Area is very concerned with technology, with apps, and with things along those lines. That’s where all the energy is focused, whereas actual art…The Bay Area is world-renowned, for good reason, for being a hotbed of different types of art, whether its visual, comics, music, etc. But the focus in the past decade has changed toward tech, and there’s so much going on at any given moment in time, that there’s almost too much of everything. Which, by the nature of availability, kind of devalues the experience. Not necessarily devaluing playing for the sake of playing, but it makes it a different kind of thing.

This isn’t a new thing. I think most bands, or most bands that tour, will say, “People didn’t really get into us until we got bigger around the country.” That’s a pretty common refrain, and it’s that way for a reason. Outside validation. There’s a record label named World Famous in San Francisco. And that’s totally a thing. [laughs] It happens in a lot of areas, where a local band is very well known. But the World Famous in San Francisco attitude is hilarious because it’s so true, because people don’t even go to Oakland for shows, or go to Berkeley for shows. That’s kind of against my mindset.

I’m a communitarian at heart. I got into punk rock to give back a little bit, to give back to something that’s given to me in so many ways. I don’t consider it a musical genre as much as a lifestyle ethos. I don’t mean liberty spikes and bullet belts, but critical thinking, looking out for a community, etc. It increasingly became known to me that I could do a lot more good out here than I could back in the Bay Area, and provide a better life for ourselves while doing it, and have more resources to actually do those things. More resources to tour, more resources to put out records.

MR: You mentioned in an email that people are always confused when you tell them you moved here from California.

CN: [laughs] People are always looking for a specific reason. “Oh, I moved out here for a job,” or, “I moved out here because of a long-distance relationship.” But nobody ever asks that in California. Nobody ever asks, “Why did you move here from Wisconsin?” There’s always the soft tyranny of diminished expectations that comes from being a working-class, Midwestern city. But it’s like, what are you talking about? There are plenty of reasons to live here! It’s great!

MR: How does a band that’s spread across the country function as a recording unit versus a touring unit?

CN: There are two distinctly different things. By nature of my name being on the marquee, so to speak, this is more my thing than any band I’ve ever been in. As a recording thing, it started out with me writing a bunch of songs. I was inspired by my old band that was not doing anything and was kind of taking a break. I was getting really frustrated. I kept seeing all my friends’ bands, a lot of them out here, just really killing it and stepping up their game and putting on great shows. I was very inspired, but I had no outlet for it. So I decided to write and arrange a record, and if it sucked I didn’t have to tell anybody about it. [laughs]

And then I put together a band to do it. I decided that a band starts with a drummer. Good drummer, good band. I was kind of blue sky-ing stuff, starting at the top and working my way down. Dale Crover is one of my favorite drummers in all of rock and roll. So I asked him, my number one choice, and he said yes. And I was like, “Oh! I didn’t expect you to say yes!” [laughs] Tony played in Trophy Wives, who were label mates with my old band on Latest Flame. When I thought of who fit these songs, I kept thinking of Tony. And that immediately became the core of Secret Friends.

The original idea I had was that it would be a different lineup for every record. And then we immediately upped the stakes and did a second record. It was better, deeper, weirder, more messed up. And then I, at what in rock and roll is a very advanced age, realized that I can work in a way that I never expected to work. Part of it was me unlearning things. Stop being such a control enthusiast, when in doubt take it out, the first decision is usually right, etc. I found out I had good instincts, even though I used to second-guess myself and overthink things.

MR: And as a live unit?

CN: Live, Dale’s job is being in the Melvins. He’s a pretty goddamn busy dude. They’re one of the few bands in the game that tour for a living, and they put out a new record every year. That’s their living. He’s a father, there’s a mortgage payment, etc. So he’s not always going to be available.

From a live perspective, the songs come from me, and Tony is part of the core of the band, so the thinking was, “Why don’t we just grow and expand the lineup as needed and get whoever’s available?” We’ll get people who we know are total badasses who will treat the material with respect and put their own take on it. I’ve seriously lost count of how many lineups there have been. [laughs]

Don’t get me wrong: Nobody gets invited in that doesn’t fit the oeuvre, or schtick, if you want to get more vulgar, of the thing. I don’t know. I keep trying stupid stuff and it keeps working!

MR: Speaking of that, what was the thinking behind releasing twelve seven-inch singles over the course of a year?

CN: You mean why do things literally the most difficult way possible? [laughs] You know the pain in the ass of doing one release? Yeah, let’s do twelve of them and then compile them all into one!

The “Protons and Electrons” series is a series of twelve split singles, digital and on seven-inch, where the b-side is a band that’s important to the story of Secret Friends. The reason for the name is protons and electrons and neutrons make the atom. We recorded all of our sides all at once, literally the day after our current President was elected, which was a pretty surreal time to be…well, to be doing much of anything, like drawing breath, but especially to be making music.

For people who are into the Pokemon aspect of collecting them all, you can buy a subscription to “Protons and Electrons.” When they’re gone they’re gong. Some of them are going to sell faster than others. And for people who don’t care about any of that you can listen to it all on Bandcamp or Spotify or whatever the hell people listen to these days. And for people who like albums, but they’re not single people, at the end of all of it, it’s going to be compiled into two records, “Protons” on one side, “Electrons” on the other. It’ll be a Secret Friends record on one side, and then a really cool comp of the other bands on the other.

Our second record, The Art Of Murder, is a concept record about Hannibal Lecter and the world around him. Because of that, everything about it, including where the songs sit, and certain things that happen, all kind of happen for a reason. They all happen in a certain sequence to reward someone who likes the experience of listening to an album beginning to end. “Protons and Electrons” is totally the other way. The conceit of this is, “Let’s have a noisy song, a poppy song, a psych song, songs just all over the place.” Each song has to get in and get out. A real “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” situation. [laughs] They all have different facets of what this band does.

Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends kick off their “Protons and Electrons” tour at Club Garibaldi Friday, March 16 with Body Futures and Guerilla Ghost. Vinyl copies of the first single will be for sale. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $7 at the door.

Interview with Shiny Grey Monotone

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:
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.

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?


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 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.