Monday, September 16, 2013

The Folks Behind the Music; Spotlight on ChemoMonk - PoDunk Radio

ChemoMonk is his name.  Buddha Stole My Turntable is the show.  And is the place to check out all the madness.  The show is so inspired that it led the Ripple's own Pope to declare, ""ChemMonk makes GG Allin look like a Catholic School Boy.....can I get his address??"

Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of radio?

About 5 years ago I became familiar with Itunes .  A friend of mine turned me onto music Podcast.  Specifically Podcast that were being done exclusively or being re-aired by The Garage Punk Hideout.  Flying Saucer Radio, Radio Oblivion, etc.   There was another one called PDR (which was a roundtable of about 4 DJ's that used skype to interact) that was being done at Real Punk Radio, along with some other ones, that I found that you could listen to LIVE.  Not only that you could interact via a chat room with other listeners and also the DJ's.  I found that fucking incredible.

Months went by and these people started becoming my Facebook and online friends.  It was amazing.   I had moved back to my little small town a few years before this from Grand Rapids, MI where I was slightly more into the music scene.  I had only one friend nearby that had any real music interest, knowledge and love as I did.  It was a very refreshing to find all these people at Real Punk Radio and Garage Punk and eventually Facebook.  I wanted badly to do what they were doing but thought there was no way I could do it.  It must cost lots of money for equipment, etc.  One night I mentioned this in the chat room while listening to a great show called Sonic Nightmares out of Bern, Switzerland hosted by Reverend Beatman, Gringo Starr (a.k.a Chris Rosales - drummer for the band Get Lost and The Jackets) and a dude named Panti Christ (he designs women's underwear ....seriously).   Chris responded in chat and said I should.  I explained I have no equipment, etc and he went on to explain that need a USB microphone and all the software necessary I can get for free (i.e. Audacity).  I could even get a mixing board for less that $50 if I wanted to go that direction.  I was on my way.  My Real Punk Radio friends and it's owner at the time set me up with knowledge, advise, SAM Broadcaster software so I could do a live show and most of all encouragement.

Four years I am.

We're all the product of our musical past. What's your musical history?

I was born in 1970 and had (at the time) one brother 7 yrs older.  As a young kid I remember him playing Chicago, War, Aerosmith, Foreigner and Disco shite.  The older kids in the neighborhood were playing AC/DC, Reo Speedwagon, Kansas, Led Zeppelin and your typical arena rock .......popular stuff at the time.  When I got my record player I pretty much listened to the same stuff along with my Kiss records, Surf Music, Country and Pop 45's.  When I was in 5th grade (and my brother had left the home) my parents started taking in teenage foster kids.  They turned me onto Judas Priest, Def Leopard, Van Halen (beyond Diver down), Iron Maiden, etc.  That music drove my parents nuts.  Devils music.....hahaha.  By this time my record player was gone and I was now listening to stuff on cassettes, radio, and the foster kids had turntables and records they brought with them  They used to hang the album covers on the walls like posters.  It was both good and bad times.  Musically influential for sure.  In High School punk rock (Ramones, Sex Pistols, etc) , hard core punk (DOA, MDC, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy's etc), and New Wave (Talking Heads, U2, Violent Femmes) started trickling into our small town as it was actually on a downslide in the cities.  Still listened to LOTS of Pink Floyd, The Doors, Zeppelin, Queen, your basic "Classic Rock"  I never could get into much of the "Hair Bands" coming out at the time.  I did like Whitesnake, and Guns and Rose "Sweet Child o Mine" When I graduated in 1988 and went into the Army I found a few like minded people and got turned onto more Punk, Hardcore and "Alternative" bands.  I was listening to a lot of Fear, Flipper, The Cure, The Cult, Ministry, Love and Rockets, The Church.  The big happening was when I stationed at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma Washington.  Just a hop skip and jump up to Seattle.  A little further north to Vancouver and south to Olympia.  Great scenes at the time.  Found another kindred spirit that was from the Bay area and was very much into the Punk scene there before joining the Army.   Went to many, many shows.  This was just before the break of "Grunge" and got to see Mudhoney, Nirvana, NoMeansNo, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Poison Idea (more times than I can count),  and many more.  I literally left the Army and came back to Michigan days after seeing Nirvana play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at the OK Hotel.  I thought the show sucked because it was too crowded.  I am a gray blurry speck on one of the videos on youtube that someone filmed of that moment in time.  As I got older I started to appreciate and enjoy Classic Country, Americana, Folk, Jazz and Blues. 

As far as a musician.....not really.  I have been in bands......I have tried my hand at guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, etc and barely was tolerable in anything but drums, bass and harmonica.  I own guitars, drums, keyboards, baby grand, etc and mess around with experimenting with stuff or trying to play along.  I find I am more of an appreciator of music than a musician. 

I guess that has been the Historical touchstones in my History and some current insight.

First album you ever bought?

I do not remember the first Album I ever bought with my own money.  I do remember my first memory of buying a 45.  It was Foreigner and it was either Cold as Ice or Hot Blooded.  Can not remember.  Bought it from my Cousin.  

First musical epiphany moment?

Listening to Surfin' Bird for the first time.  That is when I fell head over heals in love with music and wanted more. 

 First album that terrified the hell out of you?

AC/DC Highway to Hell or Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.  It felt "Dirty" & "Bad" with so much of the sexual innuendo in the songs.  I thought I was in on some kind of secret the adults did not understand and if they ever listened close enough to the songs......We were ALL going to be in trouble. 

What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?

Been many years for that.  I think QOSA self titled album.

What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?


The large labels are shit.  They create entertainers and do not mold musicians and artist.  No hit first album...your dropped.  Can't sing?  No problem....that what a studio and auto-tune is for.  Can not play??  We have studio musicians and we are going to sample a no worries.  Just lose 10 pounds and we will get the stylist.

We have much more access music as fans now on the internet and artist have more of an ability to turn people onto their music either DIY or with smaller labels.  It cost less and is easier than ever to put out a couple 100 7" or CD's and sell them online.  I guess a couple drawbacks off the top of my is 1) trying to filter all of it and 2) Musicians and smaller labels getting greedy.  I am sorry.....I am rarely going to buy your 7" for $10 and I will not pay $50 for your double LP even it is colored vinyl and the artwork is done by whoever and cover is some "Special Glossy" bullshit.  There is one label I like that is kind of doing that as I write this and it is annoying and they are cutting their own throats.
With so many music sites, how would you describe what you do? What's your unique take on the music and writing?

I do not know if I am unique or not.  I am a lover of music.  Not just Punk......or Blues......or Sludge.  There is some music I can not stand but I fairly appreciative of most of it.  My shows are a reflection of that I would like to believe.  Most shows I have heard are not that way.

Illegal free downloads on your site. Yes or no, and why?

I neither confirm or deny that I have used illegal downloads for my show.  Overall......I am torn about it.  Truthfully I think many new bands trying to get themselves out there should offer free downloads.  Let their songs used on free compilations.  Once you get exposure......and someone is turned on by your music......they will invest in a CD, LP, 7".  Drug dealers know how it works.....give a taste for free.......they will come back for more and that is when you can get that blowjob.....or money for your music in this case.

What's been your all time greatest "Find"? That band you "discovered" before anyone else and started the word spreading?

Not really a find really....well....I lived in Tacoma just before the break of Grunge.  Moved back to Michigan before it actually happened.  So....I was going to see Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, etc. before they blew up.  It was bittersweet.  I liked the success the bands got, but they were MY bands. 

I am not sure grunge "Fans" always got it.  I had a Girlfriend who's brother was a huge Nirvana fan.  Went and got his flannel at Abercrombie and just was a huge fan.  He was a conservative, racist, douche prick.  He is a cop in Louisiana now.  "He's the one who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Knows not what it means and I say"  Nirvana - In Bloom

If you could write a 1,000 word essay on one song, which one would it be, and why? What makes that song so important?

That is a hard question.  Crossroad Blues by Robert Johnson.  Without Blues there would not be most everything we have today.  Since Robert Johnson is kind of the "Face" of traditional blues.....and Crossroad Blues is probably his most well known song....just seems fitting.  I know...that was the pussy answer to the questions.   

Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.

I wish I was more "In the Know" to answer that more satisfying for people reading this AND myself.  Once again.....I live in a small town.   I will do right here and speak a few home state bands/muscians out of Grand Rapids, MI and East towards Detroit MI.  If you like Garage Rock/Punk the bands The Boss Mustangs and The Veloras.  If you like Surf/Garage music The FUZZrites and The Concussions.  If you like Rockabilly/Country I would suggest Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys.  Crazy fun ass rock....nothing better than The Potatoe Babies (  Pop Punk.......Midwest Skies, Switchblade Justice, Amy Gore.  Speed rock......Against the Grain (  I guess that is more than Three.  You can find them all on Facebook. I put links to two that are harder to find on FB or a better website.  Of course everything from Ripple Music!! 

Tell us about your personal music collection. Vinyl? CD? What's your prized possession?

I would say conservatively I have about a thousand LP's and 12", about 1500 7", and handful of 10" and a few odd shaped pieces of vinyl.  I also have about 500 CD's and a handful of cassettes.  Per Itunes I have about @ 4,000 albums on Digital.  I have to do some sorting and cleaning up of what I have.  So my current inventory will probably decrease. 

I guess some of my prized possession are my few copies of Surfin Bird by the Trashmen and I was able to get back a lot of 7" 45's that my mother originally used to own and used as payment to a cousin to babysit us when we were young and she was working at Woolworths.  They may not be in the best shape, In fact some were broke, but they were my mothers.  A lot of Sun Records, Elvis, Ricky Nelson, etc. 

What makes it all worthwhile for you?

If I can turn ONE person onto a song or band.  Plus the usual..... nice to people thank me and say they appreciate my show and what I do.  Free/discounted music and swag is nice also....but I do get as much as I thought I would get when I first started this.  I think I am alright by that because I get a good feeling when I spend my money to support a band as much as when I play their music.  Not saying some free shit would not be nice once in a while......hahaha. 

How would your life be different if you weren't involved in music?

No Doubt......I would either be dead or a sociopath colonel in the US Army.

Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?

I was taking pictures at a show in Seattle.  I think it was Gruntruck....but not sure.  I was off to one corner and the edge of the stage and this guy would stage dive then come over and start singing into my camera lens.  He never touched it....but like sang into it like a microphone.  Then he would go back into the pit, dive, and come over again, repeat.  I waved security away a couple times.....until he finally grabbed the lens. I smacked him upside his head and security took him away.  He looked back with a big smile on his face and for some reason I smiled right back.  It was a weird moment. 

In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?

I wish I went to more shows.  I am starting to go to more now.  Well.......I want to be remembered for what I have not done yet.  My goal is to have a better show.....turn people onto music.....especially new stuff......promote my "local" scene more. 

Many people may not realize the hours you devote to what you do for little or no pay. Is there a day job? If so, how do you find the balance?
I am self-employed and work only three days a week so it is easier to produce and do my show than it would be for many.  I also make fairly good money.  My problem is that I have major bouts of depression and I drink wayyyy too much.  So that interferes with the balance.  I can be honest in this interview right???

What's next? Any new projects?

I am in a transition of moving my studio area from a small room into a larger room in my place.  More room to have co-host, guest and even live performances by guest.  Have more guest, co-host and interviews as soon as I figure out how to use skype or my phone to record it without it not sounding like crap.  I also am in the planning stages of doing an ALL Blues show.  It is going to be called The Bloodhound Blues Show.  Traditional Blues, Roots, Country Hills Blues, etc pre-1970.

Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?

Fucking.....I like to fuck a lot...and Whiskey.  Seriously....I read a lot, listen to audio books.  Listen to health and music Podcast.  Watch a lot of documentaries.  Subjects are usually religion, politics, health......and music.  I am a nerd.  I am kind of this New Age Militant Hippie Tree Hugging Anarcho-Libertarian that likes guns and explosives (but not in the hands of police) and thinks corporations need to be regulated or abolished and Capitalism sucks but so does communism......just do not touch my guns and fix my fucking roads & bridges....just do it eco friendly while killing the serial killer.....and I am a closet listener of En Vogue....and I masturbate to their videos.   I am an Contradictory Enigma.  I am ChemoMonk.  (end "The Ride of Valkyries" here).  

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