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: Artie Mondello of The Delusionaires, Dishes on the Booty Shakin’ Stank and Twisted Taunting Tunes ‘Yer Mama Warned You About and Slingin’ that Floozy Sleaze at The Star Bar

Posted on: Jan 27th, 2015 By:

by Melanie Crew1421822531794
Managing Editor

Artie Mondello, dodgy, low-down guitar slingin’ transmitter of mischief and raunch, along with his partners in crime, The Delusionaires [Nadeem Khan on upright bass, Winthrop Fist (a.k.a. Dennie Carter) on drums and Lil’ Jimmy Ivy on tenor saxophone] will be causin’ a ruckus of a one night stand at The Star Bar this Saturday, Jan. 31, at 9 pm with garage rockers Tiger! Tiger and smut slingers Bad Friend!

Artie, northern by birth and reborn into the land of debauchery (the Dirty, Dirty!), the king of raunch has been delving into the nitty gritty since ’93, with turns in bands such as The Exotic Aarontones, The Vodkats, The Del Spektros and the still-active Mondellos. The Delusionaires formed (initially) in 2000 and have shared the stage with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, the Dex Romweber Duo, Shannon & the Clams and the King Kahn & BBQ Show. They also have graced the stage at the 2003 Hukilau and were a featured act in the 2014 Coney Island Mermaid Parade Ball. Their ample releases to date include their 45 “Pistol Whipped”/”Fifth Kiss” (Dec. 2000) and LP “Destination Poon” (June 2003) on their own previously-named Zanzibar! Records; LP “Flooze Party” (Jan. 2013) by Beaverama! Records and their most recent 45 “Scrump”/”The Worm Whispers” (Spring 2014) on Baltimore’s Hidden Volume Records. In sum, The Delusionaires have earned that below-the-belt reputation they’ve fought tooth and nail for (Actually, it seems they’re pretty much a natural in that department!) and which works perfectly for our ears here at ATLRetro!

L-R: Dennie Carter, Artie Mondello, Jim Ivy, Nadeem Khan

Photo Credit: Jim Leatherman L-R: Dennie Carter, Jim Ivy, Nadeem Khan, Artie Mondello

ATLRetro caught up with Artie for a quick interview about his take on Las Vegas GrindThe Delusionaires’ maniacal craving to deliver a night of debauchery, drankin’ and booty shakin’; his retro rock ‘n’ old-school influences; and everything else we could think to ask about the naughty little band that could!

And while you’re takin’ a gander at our little Q&A with Artie, get an earful of The Delusionaires’ “The Scrump” and “She Crawls on Her Belly Like a Reptile.

ATLRetro: The Delusionaires’ sound, in essence, has been described as having a “Las Vegas Grind”-style with a twist of the low-down and dirty that’ll make your mama cry and your daddy beg for more. What exactly is “Las Vegas Grind” and how would you describe the band’s sound?

Artie Mondello: LAS VEGAS GRIND was a series of comps that Tim Warren [Crypt Records] put out starting in the late ’80s, foldercollecting sort of the slime beneath the underbelly of American popular music. You could simply call it “stripper music” but not, like, David Rose’s “The Stripper”; that’s way more uptown than what we’re talking about here. This stuff is completely devoid of any socially redeeming value, and I mean that as a virtue. All the hyperbole that the early critics heaped on rock ‘n’ roll and R&B – like, you know, leering degenerates shambling through moronic chord changes against drunken jungle drums – is actually true here. They’re records played by drunks looking to get drunker and hopefully laid, usually written in about the same time it takes to listen to it, and forgotten by everybody involved by the time last call rolls around. Very much like a cheap pulp novel – lurid, crude, prurient and totally artless. Of course, that’s everything in the world we hold dear, and that’s The Delusionaires‘ sound. The time-honored strip joint lineup of a sleazy tenor sax, thudding bass fiddle, flailing drums and greasy guitar. No attention whatsoever to song craft or polish. This isn’t music meant to be listened to; it’s for dancing, if not dirtily, then at the very least drunkenly.

Photo Credit: Aloe Vera, L-R: Jim Ivy, Dennie Carter, Artie Mondello

Photo Credit: Aloe Vera, L-R: Jim Ivy, Dennie Carter, Artie Mondello

As the guitar player and someone who admittedly subsists off a “cultural diet of monster movies, stag films, horror comics and Hollywood tell-alls,” can you let our readers know what exactly drew you to play music and when you picked up your first guitar?

I got my first guitar when I was 18, for Christmas from my parents. I’d never displayed any sort of musical talent whatsoever and had no designs on ever being able to play an instrument. But, when someone gives you a guitar, you kinda have to learn it! Family, friend and foe alike would rue that day for years to come, ’cause if there was anything everyone could agree on when I was growing up, it was that I should never be allowed anywhere near a musical instrument. That was actually the main reason I did learn: just to be an asshole. That’s pretty much the entire reason I started actually performing, too. If there was anything less popular than my guitar playing, it was my singing, and I’m just enough of a dick to do both onstage just because everybody says I shouldn’t. I always maintained that I don’t have any talent, just a helluva lotta balls.

Photo Credit: Jim Leatherman, L-R: Nadeem Khan, Dennie Carter, Jim Ivy, Artie Mondello

Photo Credit: Jim Leatherman, L-R: Nadeem Khan, Dennie Carter, Jim Ivy, Artie Mondello

Even though the bulk of the retro rock revival pretty much died off in the late ‘90s, The Delusionaires seem to have made a niche for themselves in Atlanta’s thriving surf-sleaze-nitty-gritty underground music scene. What draws you to the mischievous underbelly of Atlanta’s music scene?

People here tend to drink a lot and they tend to shake their ass when they’re drunk. That’s the magic equation right there. Plus, with 3/4 of the band living out of state, we don’t get to play here all that often, which gives audiences plenty of time to forgive whatever we did at the last show.

You’ve been a member of several musical outfits [The Exotic Aarontones, The Vodkats, The Del Spektros and the still-active Mondellos] since 1993. What sort of maniacal mojo does The Delusionaires have that even after 15 years of breakups and reunions, makes you want to keep dishin’ out that “swampland sleaze”?

My guess is that one of us ran over a gypsy and we got cursed to spend eternity together. Outside of that, it’s the work of two factors. First, we’re lifelong friends, co-dependents, drinking buddies and essentially brothers, so there’s only so long we’re gonna stay apart. Second, and most significant, we just plain love playing this stuff. It’s not like a genre we choose to play; it’s not calculated, there’s no effort to create a certain sound, it’s just literally what comes out when ya put the four of us together. It’s my favorite sound in the world, literally the sound that’s running in my head all the time. That’s probably why we can exist living in two different states, never practicing and never planning anything out. This slop’s so natural to us, we don’t have to learn it.  It’s just what we are.

Photo Credit: Gretchen Wood, L-R Nadeem Khan, Jim Ivy

Photo Credit: Gretchen Wood, L-R Nadeem Khan, Jim Ivy

Who would you say are your top three musical influences?

God, there’s sooooo many, and what makes it harder is that a lot of ’em I don’t even know the names. Probably more than anything, I’d have to say the soundtracks to TV shows and exploitation movies circa 1950-1965, just that kinda generic rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm & blues that usually didn’t even get credited. The movie, THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (dir. Joseph Green, 1962) is a classic example; just the awesomest, sleaziest incidental music you could ever ask for. Also, the main title to THE DEVIL’S HAND (dir. William J. Hole, Jr., 1961) – I could listen to that for six hours straight. Throw in the AIP teensploitation flicks and just about any bottom-rung television show that got rerun in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and you’ve summed up at least half of every musical influence I’ve ever had.

Another major influence is the stuff Sam Phillips recorded in Memphis in the ’50s, not so much the Sun Rockabilly stuff (which is still a huge favorite and influence on me, don’t get me wrong) as the blues and boogie sides he cut, mostly to lease to other labels. It’s just phenomenal, almost frightening to hear. Crude as can be, with the minimum number of personnel he could scrape together, cheap amplifiers literally self-destructing over the course of the song, the musicians not only obviously, but audibly drunk. Anything with Pat Hare on guitar is just better than sex, pure psycho genius, and if there’s any dirtier, drunker, more louche sound than Willie Nix‘s records, I’m man enough to tell you I couldn’t handle it. Greatest stuff on earth.

Narrowing it down to a single person, I’d hafta say Link Wray, no question. I was never a lead player, never practiced any licks or anything, and discovering Link taught me that I didn’t need to feel bad about that for a second. I’m still no great shakes on guitar, but I’ll tell ya, I’d be totally unlistenable without the lessons I picked up from his records. No question.

The Delusionaires’ earlier releases, Dec. 2000’s 45 “Pistol Whipped/”Fifth Kiss” and June 2003’s DESTINATION POON LP were both released bya1192730836_10 your own record label, Zanzibar! Records. Tell our readers a little bit about your record label and what they’re up to now.

We created Zanzibar Records solely to put out that first 45, which we always knew was something we’d have to do ourselves because there was basically zero demand for it. 7″ singles were an all-but-dead medium back in 2000; I mean, nobody wanted ’em, least of all from a marginal outfit like us. Only an idiot would’ve wanted to put out a Delusionaires 45 at the time. And, of course, we had four idiots. Anyway, it wasn’t all that ruinous; back then, you could press up a couple hundred singles on red wax for like $500, and as there was no other expense involved in the record – I recorded it in my kitchen on used tape and “mastered” it through my VCR – it didn’t, like, ruin our lives. A couple years later, we had the bright idea to record an album, which probably was an even stupider idea, ’cause by that time, we were really pariahs on the scene. But again, it was something we wanted to do, for our own kicks, at least, and we dusted off the old Zanzibar label again. But that was the extent of the Zanzibar Records line, one 45 and one CD, and a whole lotta cornball “promotion” to make it sound more impressive than it was. I woulda loved to have made it an actual, active label, but honestly, I could barely afford to buy records, let alone release them.

Fast-forward to 2012, when we recorded the second album, which was the stupidest idea yet — the band wasn’t even officially together, and with me in Atlanta and the others down in Orlando & Tampa, there weren’t any plans on changing that. There really weren’t any plans on even releasing it, but Nadeem [bass] insisted it needed to come out, on vinyl to boot. Obviously, nobody was gonna volunteer for that kinda sacrifice, so we again put it out ourselves. Unfortunately, an actual, legitimate label named Zanzibar Records had popped up in the years since we’d split, so Beaverama! Records was born. I’d love to do more releases on this one, like, what they used to call “Adult Party Albums,” but as usual, I can’t even consider something like that when I can’t even afford to fix my windshield wipers.

Photo Credit: Jim Leatherman, L-R: Nadeem Khan, Jim Ivy, Dennie Carter

Photo Credit: Jim Leatherman, L-R: Nadeem Khan, Jim Ivy, Dennie Carter

We at ATLRetro dig your gig posters! And love the twisted throwback to ‘50s and ‘60s pop art echoing the darker side of Hollywood. Can you tell our readers who the artistic genius behind your show posters is?

Heh, thanks! No genius behind ’em, just me, screwin’ around with stuff till I like how it looks. I’m not an artist or designer or anything. It’s just fun, especially since we’re the only ones I’m looking to please. I’ve done a couple posters for other people’s bands or events, and man, did they suck. Total disasters.

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

That basically already happened a couple years back, when Bryan [Malone] at The Star Bar put together a bill of the Dels, Dex Romweber and Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Seriously, that was like the bill I would have doodled fantasy posters of in my notebook in high school. Outside of that, I think my dream line-up’d be The A-Bones, The Royal Pendletons, The Trashwomen, The Brentwoods and Les Sexareenos, with the Dels backing Barrence Whitfield. Now, THAT’D be a festival even I’d go to…

Anything tantalizing planned for your rowdy throw down this coming Saturday at The Star Bar?

Photo Credit: Terran McCanna - Anonymous fan drawing left onstage in Jacksonville, FL

Photo Credit: Terran McCanna – Anonymous fan drawing left onstage in Jacksonville, FL

The Delusionaires never plan anything out. I don’t remember the last time we even had a set list that wasn’t just a cheat sheet with a bunch of random titles. We never go into a show having any idea how it’s gonna play out. It’s not by design, it’s just that we’re that disorganized. The one time I remember us actually plotting something out was the night we strung up a trapeze in the old Bodhisattva Social Club, and that was a catastrophe.

Actually, I lied, we do have at least one thing planned for Saturday – Buffi and Susanne from Tiger! Tiger! are going to sing a couple of numbers with us, I think, and we’ll hopefully get Shane to play second sax on a couple as well. We did this at a show in St. Pete a few months back, and it was insane, just sick in all the right ways.

What’s next for you and The Delusionaires?

As usual, the Dels have almost nothing planned, just waiting to see what screwy new misadventure pops up. The one solid item in our future is a micro-tour of the Eastern seaboard at the end of June, centered around the Midnite Monster Hop in NYC on June 27, and even that hinges on none of us dying before then. I myself am playing a solo set as a one-man band in St. Augustine on Valentine’s Day, as part of a record release party for the amazing Kensley Stewart. Like pretty much every gig I do, in any of my bands, the set itself is just a MacGuffin, basically an excuse for me to go places and do things that I’m too lazy to do otherwise.

Photo Credit: Terran McCanna, L-R Artie Mondello, Jim Ivy, Cecilia Bravo (Fluffgirl Burlesque Society)

Photo Credit: Terran McCanna, L-R Artie Mondello, Jim Ivy, Cecilia Bravo (Fluffgirl Burlesque Society)

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

God, if anything, they probably already know too much. Maybe that, no matter what we might tell you after the set, we actually are all married.

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

Q: “Here, ya wanna take the rest of this keg home and finish it off?”
A: “Why, yes. Yes, we do.”

Actually, that did happen once after a gig, and it was a disaster…

 

 

Photos provided courtesy of Artie Mondello and used with permission.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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