Kool Kat of the Week: Madness Takes its Toll at The Earl this Saturday with New Orleans’ Swampy Mad Scientist of the Musical Variety, Quintron, and Miss Pussycat’s Puppet Pandemonium

Posted on: Jun 10th, 2015 By:

by Melanie Crewqcar_web
Managing Editor

Quintron and Miss Pussycat, hailing from the Big Easy, will be dishin’ out a night of interstellar swampy electro mischief and Technicolor puppet mayhem and pandemonium this Sat. June 13, at The Earl, along with punk rock outfits Predator and Enoch Ramone & the Ebola Boys. They’re bound to leave you mesmerized and begging for more of that garage rock spacey avant-garde swamp noise!

Quintron, mad musical scientist and inventor of his own instruments [including his patented Drum Buddy (a light activated analog synthesizer), owned by some musical notables as Laurie Anderson and Nels Cline (Wilco)], has been delivering his New Orleans “genre-defying noise and swamp tech dance music” for over 15 years. Insert Miss Pussycat, who adds her own twisted eccentricities by way of her Technicolor puppet shows, and you’ve got one helluva electrifying live performance! Quintron’s latest LP SPELLCASTER II: DEATH IN SPACE (October 2014), featuring Miss Pussycat on their garage-rock-y “Do the Raid,” was released by New Orleans’ Pizza Burglar Records and is the successor to his 1996 LP AMAZING SPELLCASTER (Live at Pussycat Caverns) (Bulb Records). And if that isn’t enough, you’ll just have to get your grimy little hands (if you can) on his other earlier releases [1994’s INTERNAL FEEDBACK 001-011– released by Bulb Records; 1996’s THE FIRST TWO RECORDS – released by Bulb Records; 1997’s PLAY 9 SONGS WITH MR. QUINTRON – released by Crypt Records; 1998’s SATAN IS DEAD – released by Bulb Records; 1999’s THESE HANDS OF MINE – released by Rhinestone Records/Skin Graft Records; 2000’s UNMASKED ORGAN LIGHT-YEAR OF INFINITY MAN – released by Bulb Records; 2001’s DRUM BUDDY DEMO VOL. 1 – released by Rhinestone Records/Skin Graft Records; 2003’s ARE YOU READY FOR AN ORGAN SOLO – released by Rhinestone Records/Skin Graft Records; 2004’s THE FROG TAPE – released by Skin Graft Records; 2005’s SWAMP TECH/ELECTRIC SWAMP (with Miss Pussycat) – released by Tigerbeat6 Records/Rhinestone Records; 2008’s TOO THIRSTY FOR LOVE – released by Rhinestone Records /Goner Records; and 2011’s SUCRE DU SAUVAGE – released by Goner Records)].

db300_webATLRetro caught up with Quintron for a quick interview about his latest album, SPELLCASTER II: DEATH IN SPACE; his long list of musical projects [Weather Warlock; First!]; and his upcoming show with Miss Pussycat at The Earl! And while you’re taking a gander at our little Q&A with Quintron, get an eye ‘n’ earful of Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s Face Down in the Gutter”!

ATLRetro: Science and puppetry! What a great combination. What’s the scoop on how you and Miss Pussycat got together to entertain the masses?

Quintron: I was touring as Quintron through New Orleans back in the day. At that point I was doing more of a power noise and percussion thing with this huge home-built drum rig and a bunch of electronics that I had built into the octopus. I booked the tour myself on the phone and so I talked to her about my show in New Orleans at her secret 9th ward club (now defunct) called Pussycat Caverns. I think I kinda fell in love with her on the phone actually. Best voice in the biz. The rest, as they say, is a footnote to actual history about wars and politics and shit.

We’ve read that the majority of your 14 full-length albums are filled to the brim with that psychedelic soul of traditional New Orleans party music. Who would you say in the realm of traditional New Orleans party music are your retro music influences?

I know that your site is called “ATLRetro” and I do not mean any disrespect here but I have always shied away from anything which attempts to blatantlyMT2 (1) Miss Pussycat recreate the past – and that is what the word “retro” (in music anyway) means to me. I do think it is important to acknowledge, appreciate, and study the past but as an artist to live in it is a form of death – and he’s my enemy.  So, just saying, I’m not really gonna play along with that word. But I think what you are asking is “Who from the past has influenced me musically in New Orleans?” That said, my biggest New Orleans influences are Ernie K-Doe, King Louie (who is actually younger than me), and Mannie FreshK-Doe was one of the all time great New Orleans R&B singers, and I had the honor to be able to play and record with him in his later years. King Louie is a punk rock god of a songwriter (Kajun SS, Exploding Hearts, Kondor, Missing Monuments, Black Rose, etc) who actually broke away from a band that, in my opinion, was so obsessed with the past that they kind of neutered themselves artistically. They were great, just not exciting to me personally. So I watched Louie break away from this band and do his own thing, and it had a huge influence on me. He started making real vital immediate punk rock that was still referencing his musical roots in Louisiana but the lyrics weren’t about ‘50s shit. Mannie Fresh is the musical genius behind all of the early Cash Money Records hits. You know him even if you don’t know you know him. I actually think he lives in ATL now. I got to jam with him once or twice too – incredible.

Photo by Gary Lavourde

Photo by Gary Lavourde

Your sound has been described as being an eccentric, artsy twist on swamp rock, which you like to call “Swamp Tech”. Can you fill our readers in on what exactly “Swamp Tech” is?

I didn’t make it up – some writer in the UK did, and I liked the sound of it. I think they mean that it is a drum machine-based take on traditional Louisiana / Texas style “Swamp Pop.”

We see that you’ve played organ on a number of other artist’s records, even having one of those albums nominated for a Grammy (Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys’ “Grand Isle”, which contained your song “Chatterbox”). What is your go-to instrument?

I was a drummer first and an organ player second, but at this point I’m much more comfortable on organ than anything. I’m also playing guitar in Weather Warlock. I’m a pretty remedial guitar player.  Actually, I’m pretty remedial on everything.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about your latest LP, SPELLCASTER II: DEATH IN SPACE?

I was commissioned to score a science fiction film soundtrack for a local filmmaker named Brent Joseph and ended up recording so much material thatquintron2014 I decided to put some of it out. The title is a reference to my second LP called AMAZING SPELLCASTER – LIVE AT PUSSYCAT CAVERNS. That album was also a soundtrack “mood” type album, and I had always wanted to make a continuation – a part 2 – and this is it.

You seem to have a lot of musical projects going at once, from your solo act to Weather Warlock and First!, which is a hardcore band consisting of you, Miss P and three other New Orleans musicians. First of all, how do you find the time?! And secondly, can you explain the method to your musical madness?

I am VERY VERY sorry to tell our Atlanta fans that FIRST! will not be performing at the show due to a death in our guitar player’s family. It totally sucks because if anyone would get FIRST!, it’s you people. FIRST! is just me and a bunch of my best friends making the most simple punk we can on instruments we are not comfortable playing, and the lyrics are of supreme importance.  It’s almost like a really, really fast poetry reading with some 8-year-olds trying to play like Fang in the background.

Weather Warlock is a heavy drone / noise / metal  improv band based on this weather controlled synth I have been building. You can listen to it online 24/7 here.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about the time you shut yourself up in The New Orleans Museum of Art for three months to create your double LP “Sucre Du Sauvage”, released by Goner Records in 2011?

I can tell your readers that I do not recommend attempting to get any actual work done in a public place full of noisy, rude children and tourists. I did most of that album at night after the doors were closed. Never again will I conduct such an idiotic experiment. Taking drugs and sleeping in the park was fun though. I got a lot of good duck recordings.

Photo by Tony Campbell

Photo by Tony Campbell

Miss Pussycat’s new album and VHS tapes are being released by Terror Vision in the near future. Can you tell our readers a little bit about her album?

The album is called ANTHROPOMORPHIZER and it’s a pretty deluxe gatefold / color vinyl thing. It’s all puppet story soundtrack stuff – like a very psychedelic kid’s record. And a bunch of her older films are being released by this label Terror Vision who only do VHS – which is kinda retro, huh? The label seems to think it will work and people will be into it.  Based on merch table sales on this tour, I would say that a lot of people got their VCRs fixed.

If you could put together a dream line-up of bands to play with [still around or not], who would it be and why?

We are on tour with NOTS from Memphis right now and I can’t think of anything more dreamy than that actually – and Hawkwind, and Keith Frank (Zydeco gangster from Lafayette), and Manatees, and Babes, and Gary Wrong, and the Willem Breuker Kollektief, and Barreracudas, and COPS, and umm – the original Ramones but with Markey AND Tommy playing drums and Andrew W.K. kinda off to the side singing but without a mic, so you can hear Joey but you can kinda see Andrew too jumping around. Oh and Brian Eno is our touring sound guy, and he has free license to do whatever the fuck he wants – like backwards phase-verb on everything – whatever!  Also, we will have at least one or two days off in between every show and all of the major museums in every city will open their doors to us at any time of day or night at no cost. Oh yea and The Black Lips would be there too, because they like to party. This is gonna be awesome.  Still working out the details with agents and stuff.

Anything special planned for your show at The Earl on June 13?

Miss P & Q

Miss P & Q

Brand new puppet show and lots of new songs! Otherwise, we are not big planners. Who knows, I might punch someone in the face or make out with a dog – but it will be totally unplanned.

What’s next for Quintron and Miss Pussycat?

Weather Warlock will be releasing a full-length this week (I will have it at the show) and will be touring in September. Miss  P is working on a new puppet film and has several releases in the can ready to come out on Terror Vision. Also a full Q and P tour of the Gulf Coast and Florida in December.

Can you tell our readers something you’d like folks to know that they don’t know already?

There is no possible way I could know what all others don’t know already and if I did know such information, why would I not have publicly disclosed it many years ago, unless it was a secret which I desired to keep to myself.

What question do you wish somebody would ask you and what’s the answer?

Q: What question do you wish somebody would ask you and what’s the answer?
A: Can you repeat the question please?

All photos courtesy of Quintron and Miss Pussycat and used with permission.

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Kool Kat of the Week: They’re All About You: Getting Happy, Sad and Metaphysical with Jason Elliott of Spirits and the Melchizedek Children on the Release of Their New LP and Tour

Posted on: Sep 25th, 2014 By:
photo by chad hesss

L-R Jason Elliott, Ryan Odom, Bryan Fielden, Joe McNeill. Photo credit: Chad Hesss

Spirits and the Melchizedek Children have just released a new LP, SO HAPPY, IT’S SAD was produced by Benjamin Price (OutKast, Little Tybee) and has been receiving more than a little buzz from the music press as a creative breakthrough. Recently dubbed a “Southern Sigur Ros” by the A.V. Club, the Atlanta psychedelic dream-pop outfit is about to embark on a tour, but locals can get a sneak preview at a free gig at 529 in East Atlanta on Monday Sept. 29. 

ATLRetro likes what we’ve heard and heard just enough of a dynamic merging of  classic sounds that we made vocalist/guitarist Jason Elliott Kool Kat of the Week. In the last few days before SAMC’s departure, we found him happy and maybe a little sad, too, to muse about the band’s influences, double meanings and new directions.

ATLRetro: Some bands like to be compared. For others, it’s a limiting proposition. How do you feel about being called the “Southern Sigur Ros”? 

Jason Elliott: We were honored to be compared to Sigur Ros.  Adding the adjective “Southern” next to the Icelandic voyeurs implies that we may have a little bit more dirt and heaviness within our sound, which we do. While yes, I, in particular, am a fan of Sigur Ros, as well as many other dramatic, post-rock groups, the “southern gothic” undertones are also a very strong influence. The South is viewed by many as a strange and backwards place. That’s very true to some respect, but as a whole, the South offers little hidden secrets for finding ones self.

SATMC_SHIS_TourPoster_Fall14You have a diverse set of influences including — Steve Reich, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Can, Neu!, Eric Satie, Tchaikovsky, Brian Eno, The Beatles and Velvet Underground. Yet they all make sense because we’re listening to many of them right now. What binds those musicians and groups together for you? Is there a rediscovery/renaissance of mood-driven ‘70s  rock? 

History has and always will repeat itself. And today it seems that everything will repeat at least three times. People are dying for true innovation and mystique. While every generation has innovation and mystique, we feel that it is important to listen to timeless music so you can learn from those that have done it right. We strive to make timeless music and have little time to make a pop song that people will quickly like and then lose interest in what seems to be the same amount of time. We constantly turn back to the classics. Listening to the little things that were totally ahead of their time is a vital aspect to our listening habits and inspiration. Taking those little headphone treats and embellishing on them and making them our OWN.

What’s the secret origin story behind the band and what’s in the name Spirits and the Melchizedek Children? 

Melchizedek was something or someone that I had always heard about and looking more into the word,I found that it was quite endless. Melchizedek is talked about in all sorts of beliefs, religions, occults and books. And is always referred to as a “Holder of Keys, Keys to the Kingdom” whatever kingdom that might be? Who knows? It’s similar to the idea of Alchemy: there is no magic stone or secret formula that will change coal into gold or silver – it’s YOU! YOU are that piece of shit coal that needs to be turned into gold or silver. You hold the keys to whatever you desire. You just have to find away to use them properly, just like a child that’s trying to find its way. Or, I can give you the shorter answer. The word Melchizedek is mysterious. I wanted that to connect with our post-cryptic-quasi-cultist-mystique music.

Does the band have a mantra then?

YOU are here to save YOU

Slug Magazine referenced “the spectral folk of a doomed American West.” Is that something that particularly interests you?

Why? YES! That does interest us. I grew up out West and have only had seven wonderful years here in Atlanta. The West is a special place and seems to be very lonesome and wide. I think Modest Mouse coined the phrase by naming one of their best records THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST. That meant something to me. Moving and traveling all over the West Coast as a child, I had Always felt that certain Haunting that comes with vast, barren landscapes – always wondering if this was going to be our not-so-distant future. For me, storytelling through soundscapes and moods has always been the best way to convey that thought.

Photo 2 by Taylor Mumford

L-R Jason Elliott, Bryan Fielden, Ryan Odom, Joe McNeill. Photo credit: Taylor Mumford

SO HAPPY, IT’S SAD is a double-edged title. What’s the story behind it?

It was shortly after we had released our first record WE ARE HERE TO SAVE YOU! I was taking some time off to travel with my young son. We found ourselves in the middle of the Salt Flats on the Nevada/Utah border. I was very excited to introduce this part of the country to my Son. I had been to all of these places before, but wanted to experience the ever cherished “first experience” of anything magical. My son’s reaction to the barren beauty that day in the desert was something that I wanted to take note of. Experiencing his “first time” made me happy, then quickly realized that it also made me sad. I had spent so much of my life ignoring the simple things around me. Instantly I saw that my surroundings were everything. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, alone and silent. The beautiful emptiness filled us completely with memory and thought. At that very moment Amanda Emmo captured this experience in a simple photo of my son and I conversing with one another which later became the beautiful record cover of SO HAPPY, IT’S SAD.

Tell us a little more about the new release. How does it build upon your previous work? 

Our songs and sound have matured so much over the years. After writing and playing our new tunes live for a bit, we were able to really study what we needed to change and develop as a band. The first record was a introduction to what we wanted to sound like and gave ourselves enough room to grow. By the time we were ready to record SO HAPPY, IT’S SAD we were almost a totally different band. Band members had changing and we had a different outlook on what we wanted. Without straying too far from our haunted melancholy undertones, we were able to really look deeper into our songwriting capabilities. We had more confidence and knew exactly what we wanted our songs to do to the human mind and ear.

Jason_SATMC

Jason Elliot. Photo credit: Chad Hesss

What was it like working with Benjamin Price as producer? 

Ben is our guy! He got it right away. I have a hard time trying to explain my deepest thoughts, but Ben understood me through just talking with him and getting to know him as a person. All of us are Psycho-Naughts, and having him at the helm of our recording was a pleasure. We had our songs written and ready to track, but once we got in the studio we quickly found that Ben was a lot more than just some engineer that sets up mics and hits record. We all had the same mindset of wanting to make it a very spacious record, really capturing the overall theme of the record through depth and dynamics. Ben is a vital part in what we do now for sure.

Your Atlanta gig at 529 is on a Monday night, not always the best for bringing folks out. Why should they be sure to come out? 

Yes, Mondays are tough, But hey it’s FREE, We are leaving on tour the next night and two other great bands are playing, 100 Watt Horse and The Pauses. What the FUCK else are you going to do on a lame Monday night?

What other musicians/bands are exciting you now?

We are constantly listening to Do Make Say Think while driving to the next city. I’ve been listening to them for over 10 years and they never get old. The War on Drugs‘ new album is amazing and so is the latest Helms Alee record. We’re constantly trying to find new music. It’s hard to keep up. We try to listen to anything that is recommended to us while we are out. We love when someone comes up to one of us after we’ve played and ask if we have ever heard of a certain band, just to quickly tell us that we would really dig ’em because of what we sound like. Its a good way for us to get an idea of what people truly think when they hear our music.

What’s next for Spirits and the Melchizedek Children? 

Writing, recording, touring, REPEAT!  Our fall tour will be our last of 2014, so we’re focusing on a few projects to keep our momentum strong. Next year is already starting to map out very busy. We have a music video releasing very soon, and have been finalizing an original film score for a short by Raymond Jones called BE HERE NOW, which is a subjective take on the self-titled book by Ram Dass. We plan on releasing an EP as well.

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Kool Kat of the Week: Gilded Trash-Talking with Amber Taylor of The Sexual Side Effects

Posted on: Jul 20th, 2011 By:

Return to the outrageous glittery days of ‘70s glam rock at The Masquerade this Friday July 22, from 9 p.m. into the wee, wee hours. The theme party promises not just classic hits from the likes of T. Rex, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Brian Eno—we imagine there’s got to be some Gary Glitter, too—spun by Glitterdome’s DJ Tiny Tears but also live music from neo-glam bands The Sexual Side Effects, Chattanooga’s The Unsatisfied and New York’s Starbolt 9. And that’s just the tip of the sequins as attendees are fully immersed in the glam-orous life with burlesque by the always provocative The Chameleon Queen, scandalous banter by model/artist Dax Exclamationpoint, body-painting by Erick Jara’s Dreamskin Art, gilded go-go dancers on the dance floor, a glam-inspired art show by Chris Buxbaum and vivacious vendors such as Diamond Star Halo and Aries Chain Mail.

ATLRetro tracked down Amber Taylor, the creative mastermind behind this glam resurrection and lead vocalist/guitarist of The Sexual Side Effects, to find out all the dazzling details about what’s happening Friday night, what’s new with her band and whether the rumor is true that she’s about to become a TV star.

When ATLRetro first saw the profile shot for The Sexual Side Effects Facebook page, we had to do a double-take because we thought that cute chick in the middle stomping her foot was Noel Fielding. We’re guessing you’ll take that as a compliment?

If you want to get it on with Noel then the answer is yes, because chances are I want to get it on with you too 🙂

OK, let’s get to Gilded Trash? How did you get the idea and why a tribute night to glam rock in 2011?

The night is about classic Glam Rock old and new—not ‘80s hair metal. I know a lot of really great musicians around the world who are influenced and inspired by the Glam movement of the early 1970s like I am. What better way to bring all of these people from across the globe together than to have a full-blown crazy club night with burlesque queens, circus freaks and half-naked body-painted go-go dancers where they can put on a real show.

Other glam-inspired nights I have seen or been involved with have everyone playing cover songs. While this is great, this is where we bring something different to the table by showcasing original music, hopefully cultivating a classic glam revival in the music scene. Even more important than that is to give the glam experience to a new generation that is bombarded at all angles by Disney princesses, hip-hop and dance-pop that has been run through so many record label marketing groups and filters that there is no real music or emotions left. This is about bringing classic Glam Rock into the hearts and minds of the 21st century.

You’ve put together a pretty diverse line-up of live acts, DJs, go-go dancers and burlesque performers such as The Chameleon Queen? How did you decide on the line-up?

The only way to create a magical night that is this big and have as much reach is to get as many people involved as possible. The live music is the core, but we didn’t just want to have another concert, we wanted to augment the night into something beyond that. We put the word out and started getting different types of performers and components involved with the night. It doesn’t stop at bands, burlesque, dancers, drag-queens, DJs and vendors. We have so much more we want to do as far as showcasing performers in the future, but we simply have ran out of room on the bill for this first night.

A lot of credit goes to the Gilded Trash team as well—David Dominick, our production manager, and Meredith Greer, our stage manager/talent coordinator. They have been the key in cultivating the talent and organizing the night.

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