May is generally full of tricks and surprises, reasons to be lonesome, new loves found, icy beer as a substitute for coffee, hanging out with friends in the yard/porch and more, but I've rarely known this month in particular to bring such finalized, concrete offerings to the ear and the eye via Spring's ephemera. I like being surprised, though. Here's what I've learned. Don't drink on an empty stomach, count your blessings, all the adages your great grandmother told you are true, and once you've checked in to the Hand Hotel, you may never return "the same" as you were before...
S.M.P.~ How long have you been envisioning or actively working on Four Hands?:
R.W.~ I discovered Four Hands on the evening of Friday, February 15 during tape preparations for the song "Crooners" in the tail end of the final performance of Dinner Music. Some blink-of-an-eye spiritual interference entered through the instrument cables, traveling into the second channel of a Portastudio where it confused and agitated the prerecording, afterwards bouncing back and curling through the cables and leading to the power strip, where this strange, quick, and unidentifiable energy / disturbance knocked the power out for a thousandth of a second. At the time I blamed faulty wiring. Later on I began to superstitiously suspect its presence coincided with the death of a newfound friend and neighbor.
The true culprit was fingered when I relocated from the North Shore to MLK in March. Immediately after loading my hardware in, I checked into the Hand Hotel, in the midst of a "loner weekend" with the Perfect Man. I'd already spent some hefty time in St. Louis during the LOGE VIDEO BLACK TENT productions with some of the residents of the Hand Hotel, so it came as no surprise that my new workspace located in a former boy's bedroom also housed the immortal immaterial hotel. They had traveled all the way from the Midwest to the South with me. No wonder power was acting funny that night in the Beast Hole. Some of those gnarly and convoluted creatures had gotten into the woodworks. It seems wherever I go, the hotel follows.
S.M.P.~ With this project, I hear a kind of supernatural progression from Dinner Music and Ruined Frame that I was very much hoping for, with elements of so many different types and dimensions of song/sound structures. Do you have any releases in progress, or would you like to catch folks up on any other recent works?
R.W.~ Trotter Huff, H.H.'s head of marketing, has me working hard to make the sales. Trotter makes it clear that I must have all bases covered. Currently the Hand Report featured in the online periodical "And Some of His Sons Were Horses" handles words, as does the Hand Hotel Welcome Kit, a shallow introductory package offered through Loge Media and Human Conduct containing writings, a welcome letter, a comic about the Perfect Man, the final full-length soundtrack by Dinner Music in bootleg CD-R form, advertisements, and Trotter Huff's debut as professional crooner. The last Dinner Music full-length is scheduled for prim and proper release on Spleen Coffin. The full-length is the soundtrack to Blood Quantum, a video which fictionalizes events involving the residents White Ghost, Lila Maria, Shadow Brother, and Fuzz. I am currently producing Stardaddy Dixie's rock full-length, "Tennessee", featuring his signature ham 'bare' bone rhythmic style, which will be included in the second night of the Welcome Kit serial. Bezoar Formations will be getting a master for the full-length "The Perfect Man" any day now. Other releases in the works include "The Secular Arm", a spoken word split with Moth Cock's Doug, and "The Living Stereo".
S.M.P.~ Do you see yourself touring as Four Hands soon? (If so, would you enlist any additional hands to help you?)
R.W.~ Unfortunately, I've been punished by Lila Maria for excess in material pursuits and collector's relapse. The sentence is a 9-to-5 position at the Pushtown Pharmacy. Although I've been demoted to "Weekend Warrior" status, I do suspect the H.H. gang are employing additional night auditors and customer service representatives to take care of their business.
S.M.P.~ Would you tell me more about the cast of characters you mention in the outro on your recording session?
R.W.~ I may inform you only with that which has been revealed to me through the "greeting card glints" of Lila Maria. And of those dim fragmented half-eye revelations, I am limited in that which I am permitted to inform you. May I?
Trotter Huff, as stated before, is the head of marketing and a dilettante crooner. His vocal cords were ripped out by the Growler during the battle of Bierce Ridge. The Growler converted them into black velvet tent paintings of villi. The paintings were used as decor and ticklish prophylactics and dangle on the walls of the singular room in the Hotel. Due to this incident, Huff relates and resembles the classic and scandalous crooner "Whispering" Jack Smith, whose voice was diminished by poison gas in World War I. The invention of the intimate microphone has allowed singers like Huff and Smith to communicate a low level dynamic of singing which otherwise would be buried in the mix of speakeasies and ringtones. Folks used to call the crooning style "cheating", but crooning has stood the test of time as a perfect intimate union between voice and electricity.
Stardaddy Dixie is your cookie cutter rebel, still adhering to the old novel ways. He says "Daddy's got you licked" and boasts and purses his orifices and points his drunken finger at you, stating absurd and idiotic statements like "I'm more captivating than the Canterbury Tales." I find his self-conscious obsession with his "Whiteman Southland" identity repulsive. Whenever I tell him anything directly straightforward and obscene, to his face, without any of that sneaky read-between-the-lines Southern Hospitality, he whomps me with his microphone. His main interests are religion, racism, and bedding your woman in the form of a snake. When he whistles inside of me, I must give the man what he needs.
Dial & Joy are two of my co-workers in the Pushtown Pharmacy. Joy is a beast of a lady who finds the most unusual places to eat crawfish and put out her cigarette butts.
Rich Bank publishes the punk zine, "Street Shiner", which houses his convoluted political views and schizophrenic opinions. Don't say that to his face though, unless you want to end up in his front porch mirror maze of eternal point / counterpoint. Like Daddy, Bank jumps at every chance to take his clothes off. Another "vanity spirit". He is not to be confused with the esoteric, prolific, and pitch perfect session musician Rich Bank of the Silver Palace Songsmiths.
Growler, Blue Boy, and the Maverick I must skip for the time being.
The Healer is Jeff Host (aka Jeffrey Leader, the Golden Host), who performs solo as Chemtrails. His sync-perfect synth sets on the Form A Log, Moth Cock, Chemtrails tour healed me every night.
Time of Death refers to the event described in question one. "Vernon knows his weather"
"greeting card glint" refers to a method of revelation Lila Maria Veve employs. I have seen the tactic utilized in the flesh by Fred Lonberg-Holm.
S.M.P.~ When did you reach the decisive understanding that music was likely to take over the majority of time and thought?
R.W.~ I don't recall. I'm not sure it does.
S.M.P.~ Tell me a little bit about your recent film-making experiences.
R.W.~ Megan Hollenbeck sent me footage of the late great wizard Dennis Palmer to edit into a new video form with the intention of showing it during his memorial at Barking Legs Theater. The month and a half that I knew him as a neighbor was barely longer than the length of Cabin Boy, but it housed some intense, fiery moments and conversations. I kept those powerful and vortical experiences in mind during editing. I had extreme anxiety leading up to the screening, since I was a new guest at his creative table. I wasn't sure if my naive expressions and recollections, coupled with the violent splicing of his face and voice, would offend his much closer friends and collaborators.
I dedicate it to Evan Lipson, Bob Stagner, and Melissa Johnson.
Technically, the video came up shy of expectations. I've realized video 8, while textural and abstract, does not translate chaos as well as digital cameras probably can. The tempo is too slow. Ideally, I'd love to edit a human animation frame by frame with HFR in 3D. This problem of tempo has slowed the work down on a video begun in December for White Suns, which I've been working on the final 5% since December 4th, its original day of conception.
S.M.P.~ If you had to choose one art form (aside from audio or video) to express yourself through as a primary, what would it be?
S.M.P.~ Dream collaboration? Can be with you and anyone, or between others.
R.W.~ A spoken word split with Moth Cock's Doug.
S.M.P.~ Care to disclose Human Conduct Records ordering info or other ways to get in touch with you?
R.W.~ I'd love to. firstname.lastname@example.org http://humanconductrecords.blogspot.com 812 Park Ave Chattanooga TN 37403 443-812-2602
S.M.P.~ Thanks so much for your performance and your company, you are really one of a kind. I hope to hear more Four Hands releases soon! Anything else you'd like to share?
R.W.~ Yes. I once caught a glimpse of the Hate Hotel, basically a sleight of hand / descent into pure evil chasms, and I hope for the audience's sake that that permutation of the Hand Hotel never leaks out ever again. I'd also like to thank you for the questions and the airtime, as well as the experience surrounding the session. Birds, paintings, licking lizards, New York cut, roosters, fully loaded coffee, arugula, a near scan of "Chances", did I leave anything out?
S.M.P.~ All bases covered, crowd is thrilled, until the next time! ! !