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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RETRO REVIEW: The PREDATOR Hunts Some Schwarzenegger Again at Splatter Cinema at the Plaza Theatre

Posted on: May 13th, 2014 By:

Splatter Cinema presents PREDATOR (1987); Dir. John McTiernan; Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Peter Hall, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura; Tuesday, May 13 @ 9:30 p.m. (photos and merch table open @ 9 p.m.); Plaza Theatre; Trailer here.

By Aleck Bennett
Contributing Writer

Splatter Cinema has partnered with the Plaza Theatre once again to take a rare field trip out of the horror landscape and into 1980s action cinema territory. This time, we’re treated to the sight of Arnold Schwarzenegger beating the holy hell out of an alien invader in PREDATOR!

For a movie that started out as a joke, it’s not half bad.

See, what with Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa having just taken down the Soviet Union in ROCKY IV, the joke started going around that Sly was going to have to take on an alien in his next picture. Hollywood being Hollywood, someone said “that’s not a bad idea!” and moved on it before Stallone could. Hollywood again being Hollywood, it was developed into an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, and its cast peppered with only-slightly-less-alpha personalities like Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Mix well, and you’ve got yourself a 1980s action movie stew going.

And it’s really not much more complicated than “Rocky vs. Alien” when it comes to the plot, either. A paramilitary team is sent into the jungles of Central America, ostensibly to rescue a government official, and gets picked off—one at a time—by an interstellar hunter looking for human trophies.

What, you were looking for subtext and depth? C’mon, it’s a movie whose express purpose is to have a bunch of sweaty, muscle-bound goofballs throw one-liners at each other in between action movie setpieces. If you were to analyze the movie’s blood, the results would show that it’s made up of 50% testosterone and 50% adrenaline. Now, that’s far from a condemnation: when it comes to this kind of movie, PREDATOR does everything right. It may not transcend the sub-genre of “80s Action Movie” into mainstream consciousness quite like LETHAL WEAPON or DIE HARD does (indeed, unlike those films, it was widely panned upon release), but what does set it apart is its willingness to transcend its genre in other ways. Instead of aiming up like the other movies mentioned, it reaches out laterally into the other fields of science-fiction and horror to make its mark. And, like any good exploitation movie, it doesn’t waste any time letting you know why it’s reaching out laterally, it just does it. It steals whatever elements it wants to take and then rocks along at a million miles an hour before you can even think to question anything about why it’s doing what it’s doing. It ain’t got time to bleed.

And it’s got a metric ton of visceral thrills. The special effects are grisly and effective (the Predator does skin his victims, after all), but beyond that, the entire movie feels like these people are literally fighting to stay alive. Part of that may have been due to the absolutely abysmal filming conditions. First-time director John McTiernan helmed the picture (writer/director Shane Black was cast in the movie in order to keep an eye on him and to provide some last-minute rewrites), and the jungle locations proved difficult to shoot in. Heat lamps had to be used constantly because of the near-freezing temperatures of the season, the water filtration system broke down and everyone was suffering from explosive diarrhea, actor Kevin Peter Hall was blind inside the Predator suit and still had to pull off fight scenes, and everything and everyone was covered in mud and leeches.

Not that this was any APOCALYPSE NOW, mind you. Schwarzenegger did manage to fly off in his private Lear jet for three days to marry Maria Shriver in the middle of filming. But it also doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to work on, either.

The end result, however, is a lot of fun. And that’s all it’s really supposed to be, when you get down to it. It may sound like a near-insult to say that it’s among the best of a disreputable genre, but to paraphrase Joan Jett, who gives a damn about a bad reputation?

Not me.

Aleck Bennett is a writer, blogger, pug warden, pop culture enthusiast, raconteur and bon vivant from the greater Atlanta area. Visit his blog at doctorsardonicus.wordpress.com

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