#17, NOVEMBER 2004



Fat Worm of Terror

(Some stuff about Bromp Treb Sound System, Fat Worm of Error, Yeay! Cassettes, and general Western Mass. Mayhem, via an e-mail interview with THE Neil Young, conducted by THE L. Dolman.)

So what's going on with your scene in Western Mass? It sounds like a real freak show. There are fat kids, bearded ladies, & cows with holes in 'em. There's this psychological "Tofu Curtain" that surrounds a central psuedo-liberal, pseudo-utopia of three college towns in one stupid valley. To the west there's hills - dotted with tiny hippy holdouts, summerhomes for the rich (BILL COSBY!!), a couple rustspots, & some genuine newengland hillbillies. To the east is a giant valley that was flooded for a waterworks project (Quabbin Reservior) by the fatcats in Beantown, punishing the ancestors of Shay's Rebellion. (You could start inserting footnotes here, mr. editor.) [Naaah. -- ed.] To the north & south western mass fades into Vermont & Connecticut with a set of run down, economically busted mill towns, and super-bummin' small cities - some sheltering their own mini-enclaves of weirdness that reports back into the folds of said "Tofu Curtain." As voracious yuppie demand for quaint boutiques & tacky entertainments increase, the real estate has slowly been pricing the freaks out of these central valley collegiate lands and pushing them further to the edges and in the past five years or so, more cool shit has happened in places like Easthampton (Flywheel Collective -- performing arts space & gallery), Hadley (Schoolhouse, Breaking World Records HQ -- homey atmosphere cos it's their living room), Florence (Yod Mill Outlet -- low key, "high profile" acts on your lap, surrounded by books + records in an old factory, run by B. Coley, T. Moore, & C. Corsano), Montague (Montague Bookmill -- a new collective has begun booking some psyche, folk, old time shows), Palmer (the Oldstore Shed -- great punkspot run by some hyper kids whose mom + neighbors let them hold shows in their moldy backyard shed, also form the key ingredients of the Western Mass Revolutionary Drum Core), etc. Western Mass benefits from being far enough away from NYC & Boston that some of the more fashionable elements overlook us, plus we don't have either of their wretched regional accents, like we don't "caul anyone to tawk on the phone" and rarely do we "pahk tha cah while scahfing chowdah." However, we do benefit from being in close enough proximity for touring folks to pass on through, and a nice little circuit has been from Boston - Providence - Western Mass - Brattleboro, VT - Albany/Troy, NY - New Haven, CT - NYC...

Okay, forget the music scene, tell us an interesting story from the history of Western Mass. Oh there's lots, are they interesting? There's UFOs & abduction stories about the town of Washington, from a hilltown stoner reiki healer; rumors of the swingers' club in Montague; the church with the upside-down crosses obviously built into its structure by early Pittsfield Satanists or if you look across park square, on warm late-evenings, you might be able to see the cross dressing Ghost-Hooker who walks faster than wind - she hides by the bushes outside the Berkshire Public Library; there's the haunted Hoosic Tunnel, where alotta workers supposedly died trying to make a really long train tunnel thru the mountains; man i'm drawing a blank on the good, cohesive story -- i bet my friend Mugy who lives out in Lake Pleasant would know a few, the village he lives in has this intense and weird community of Spiritualists who've been living there since the early 1900's... way back in the day, the entire village burned to the ground, plus there's a fucking steamboat at the bottom of their pond -- there's gotta be some good stories in there.

Those are all good! Now, back to the music. Are you Bromp Treb Sound System? Is anyone else in the band? Yep -- Bromp Treb is me.. ..and frequently a duo with Tumble Vry (aka Tumblecat Poof Poofy Poof), but generally it's recording and pushing tape around, sometimes in our underwear. Very glamorous.

Bromp Treb Sound  System, live in concert

Are you also in Fat Worm of Error? Tell us some good Fat Worm of Error tour stories. Yes, I drum & play the tapes too. I've got a feeling that I'm not gonna give any particularly good story again, lessee, there was this one time a friend was so lathered up in a frenzy over our performance that he very recklessly hurled a cinderblock very high up into the air and onto my arm and thru my drumset. the song stopped, i figured out what had happened, and began squawking at the kid like a wounded jackass, at which point, my drumset was in shambles and i was raging adrenalized, so we finished the set with a song with me banging on the cinderblock on the floor. I was wearing a monochromatic, hypertight dayglo-green outfit complete with matching stuffed monkey animal around my neck. from all angles, it was an idiotic incident, and luckily nobody was hurt... Up to this point, we’ve only toured round the northeast & the midwest, & the hijinks have been minimal – lemme get back to ya after our tour this summer w/ Metalux.

I've never seen Fat Worm of Error play live. Does the audience usually get lathered up in a frenzy, whether cinderblocks are involved or not? Are you generally able to "get the crowd going"? Well, different folks do different things, but I think we play better when there’s some sort of ‘on the verge of berserko’ activity in the crowd, usually in the form of the blissed-out tard-fag siezure rather than the tense, throat-puncher beef-fisting of a hardcore crowd. I babble and slobber a lot. Goddard, she gets the brunt of the audience love – she changes her costume for almost every song, a sort speed-cabaret calisthetics, plus there’s lotsa props, which usually don’t work or get squashed, as in the case of our Six Foot Squid-that-eats-the-leprechaun-Baby, which, at our texas ballroom show in chicago last summer, was ritualistically devoured by a lubricated audience of touchers. On one hand it was a bummer, cos, well, some of us spent alotta time making it, & on the other, we no longer had to carry it up & down the stairs, in & outta the van etc. Maybe as long as there is love involved, these destructive flailings can be forgiven.

Listening to the records, I get the feeling that you guys practice quite a bit. How often? Twice a week.

Fat Worm of Error, live in concert

Who came first, Bromp Treb or Fat Worm? What got you into music? What got you into WEIRD music? Bonzo Dog Band? What non-weird music do you like? Bromp Treb came first and at its earliest stages, was a lame attempt to make a rub-a-dub danceparty out of some CD-loops, a drum machine, & some hotwired/bent toy keyboards. A few years later it mutated into a more respectable noise/tape/beats type thing that continued to develop alongside FWOE. Fat Worm came outta wanting to start a rock band, being friends w/ coop (gtr) & goddard, getting kinda tired of the pleasant listening audiences of the improv/noise/freejazz scenes we were rolling with, coop meeting sheldon (gtr) thru playing together in the Smith College Gamelan, the four of us making up like 5 songs in one long night’s session, & finally finding & holding onto Donnie (bass). . . I remember my 2nd or 3rd grade music teacher, a hefty irish woman, turned off the lights in our basement music room and played us a record of Henry Cowell’s “the Banshee,” totally creepy at the time, and I remember her explaining that he would crawl into the piano to make those sounds – I thought that was so fucking cool, plus it amazes me that I even remember being exposed to shit like that in the context of a honky suburban public school. the rest of my youth was spent digging metal, punk and eventually into jazz and noise and weirder shibby. As cheesy as it sounds I try everything, I’m way more open & into afrobeat, funk, early dancehall, whatever has a cooked or poly beat. Is that “Non-Weird” music? What’s weird? Curtis Mayfield or Super Blowfly? UROY or Arthur Doyle? The Kinks or Hair Police? Bring it on, all of it.

Blowfly is pretty weird, that's for sure. Is it true that your certified name is Neil Young? Were you born before he was famous? I was born, he was famous, my parents were squares, & they just thought the name had a nice ring to it, plus they knew some guy named Neil who seemed pretty cool. and so i was named. There is a part of the story that involves a tantric sex cult that my parents nearly split over in the mid-seventies, but I'm not really comfortable talking about that. I've gone by a few different names, all trying to somehow shake the reference, but some version of “kayleen” is what I’ve loosely settled with.. Neil is fine too, altho for the rest of this interview, I am Insrahn Cornuck.

I'm really sorry to stretch this into two questions, but I have to ask: did you get into Neil Young albums at any point growing up? If so, was it weird? Oddly, no… & no.

How long have you been doing Yeay! Cassettes? What are a few fond memories of this endeavor? As long as I’ve made music, I have taped things and made packages and treated them like “releases.” It all started in elementary school with my friend doug, banging on plastic buckets, sticking paperclips in the strings of my dad’s acoustic guitar to get a fuzz tone and recording us shouting songs over our vigorous plinking onto a crappy mono cassette recorder . We were way into drawing comics at the time, and I think this all came as an extension of our fantastical sketches of fake robot/mutant animal punk band cartoons. The tapes we’d record would have covers with song titles, and once we figured out photocopiers, and got our first electric guitars and gorrilla practice amps, it was only gonna get worse. I think we were still playing make believe, around our freshman year of highschool (1991) when we actually settled on a name for a “label” - Yeay! Records. We had finished a 10 song tape in one night and thought that it might be something we could actually share with more than 5 friends – so we pasted up a cover, went to the local 5+10, bought 100 cut-out cassettes (they were cheaper than buying blank tapes!) and without any sense of irony or knowledge of the RRR recycled series, we taped over these shrinkwrapped cutouts, inserted our j-cards, and sold em for a buck each around school. Come to think of it, that may have been the first and only Yeay! release to pay for itself.

I know very little about all the personnel who are doing all the stuff on all the Western Mass compilation tapes and cdr's and whatnot. Are you Angst Hase Pfefer Nase? I am Insrahn Cornuck. Angst Hase Pfefer Nase is a lifeproject of one of Fat Worm's guitarists, a Mister Chris Cooper (no relation to the actor - see all of our name issues?). He mangles tapeloops and synth-o-sizer-mo-graphic-er-ators and makes a terribly lovely racket. He's
very deliberate & likes to take his listeners on journeys as fancy as his flouncy waxed 'stache. There's a fine LP of his on Menlo Park & i think there's also some sorta 7" was out way back in the day on some label. He and Goddard (Fat Worm's singer/magician/electronicist) used to roll with the
punx of SF, & collaborate with/in Grux-y projects like Caroliner, Primus, Deft Billcocks, & Commode Minstrels In Bullface. To make matters worse, that lil fucker's in Barn Owl too. I think i get to that below.

Are you Arthro Rex? I am Insrahn Cornuck. Anthro Rex is short for Anthropaphagus Rex (i think it means 'cannibal') - and he is the accumulation of a childhood of saturday morning cereal junk media saturation, adolescent videogame gore fixation, & teen heavymetal nihilist sexploitaion - in short, he is obsessed with sloppy youth damage, & his project has devolved from angsty songs played on a $10 guitar in highschool to ground chuck noise & pure audience baiting. One of his latest tapes (on Breaking World Records) is noise from his job at a hummus factory & a collage of tuning/feedback noises from a bunch of old misfits live bootlegs – a fairly brilliant stew.

Anthro Rex, live in concert

Who is Diagram A? Not me. Diagram A is yet another solo project, only that this one's not a transplant to western mass, but a hometown boy. He's been cranking out brutal shit since the early 90's. he was out in Chicago for a bit (school), & is now back out here with us. Back in the day, he was more about the white noise, feedback squall, and drum machine business, but now he's more about the malpractice of surgical operations on all things electronic - he frankensteins the internal organs and transplants them into these boxes & twitching meat sculptures. His whole thing is a bit more visual and visceral live, but his records are some fine juice. RRRrecords has put out a real good CD a year or two ago, but more recently he's on the new RRR 20 year Anniversary, 5-LP Boxed set... He's got shit out everywhere, including two split CD releases with Noise Nomads (one they put out themselves for a tour & the other just came out on BWR)...

Who is x.o.4? x.o.4 stands for "Xanadu Octet 4." that's total bull, i have no idea what it stands for, but it's a duo that's primarily been a studio + tapemail collabortation between a mr. Bill Nace & a mr. John Truscinski. The cut on RAP POUCH was while Bill was livin in Brighton, England & T. was holdin' it down out here. While in England, Nace met up with Dylan Nyoukis and Karen (Lollipop?) and formed Ceylon Mange, who is incidentally, gonna briefly tour out here in a coupla weeks. John Truscinski is half of another great duo called Slaughterhouse Percussion, and they bring the serious poly jams, unfortunately they were unable to bring em to the RAP POUCH. x.o.4 just finished a full length thang for a label in Belgium (AudioBot)...

Who is Barn Owl? Barn Owl is a trio of noodlin' doods - namely, the aforementioned C. Cooper on prepared guitar/electronics, Andy Crespo on super-farty-squeeky bass, and Matt Weston (a chicago transplant!) percussion/electronics. They make good squiggly crakle raking improv noises - Crank Satori put out their 3" CD - and, finally, i think they're gettin' the credit they deserve, i mean, they've been around a while, and it seemed nobody gave a fuck. i was gonna rant here, but i think this'll suffice - let's just remember, "Barn Owl = good."

Who is Noise Nomads? Noise Nomads is Jeff Harford. sometimes i think he ran the underground railroad to Providence, RI. But he is, as Ben Jones put it, "our western mass sherpa," a sasquatch hunk, tough-skinned buffoon, broken, brutally embarrassed, a no-fi mistake, earnest, shrug. His performances are always most uncomfortable either in volume or in awkward confusion, but always incredibly satisfying and pretty much unlike anything else around here. His tapes are everywhere and he frequently splits it with Diagram A. i truly love this guy.

Are you Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof? I am Insrahn Cornuck & Tumble Cat Poof Poofy Poof is my friend and sometimes Bromp Collaborator. On his own, he plunks himself down on the floor like a kid getting ready to assemble a puzzle or play with a pile of legos, & gently messages reflective tones, sqwaks, pings, & beats out of
his junk of choice: halfworking boomboxes, low-grade drum machines, rusty glockenspiel, and cooing accordion.. his performances alternate between nervous intense & quietly cute, but endearingly so - maybe like having a warm smooth rock that you can obsessively fondle in your coat pocket.

Tumble Cat Poofty Poof, live in concert

Are you Steve Zultanksi? ok, the Insrahn Cornuck joke's old, no I'm not Steve Zultanski, but he was raised in wilds of New Jersey & relocated to our region seeking a graduate education... He's mostly known round these parts as a writer, but his songwriting and arranging skills have been on display on his debut solo CDR "Ghost Hole" on BWR. He also formed a wacky power trio called YONK YONK - which could be considered "psych" as a way to move more product, but really they're more an obtuse “pop” with very memorable melodies, and they don't have that omnipresent musk of the 60's that permeates the aforementioned category. other members of YONK YONK include the dynamic duo behind BWR, BenGeorge7 - who, despite your not inquiring [Oops! I meant to, honest! -- ed.], are quite worth a brief mention: BenGeorge7, graduates of Y2K, imperial soldiers of Yin & Yang, Pushers of the Wheelbarrel of Truth have been around as long as I've known em, most likely longer. They occupy a mostly-ignored space between folk performance/ritual & standupcomedy/audience provocation. Not quite the Smothers Brothers, hardly the Sun City Girls, maybe more like ALF & Andrew Dice Clay - either way, they're no fucking joke - they dress like masked zapitistas, dressed head to toe, ben in monochromatic red, george in monochromatic blue, both wearing those godawful huge old people glasses. Their BWR releases sparkle with studio dribble, field recordings, knife fights, medieval torture-dunkings, and I even got to master one of em (sing along with the windchimes) ... oh fuck i'm tired of writing, and answering your questions, and i'd like some editorial input, mr editor. thank you goodday.. neeef

Steve Zultanski, live (but not in concert)

Okay, okay, that's cool, but wait, I was just gonna ask you . . . . what's coming up for Bromp Treb and Yeay Cass. and Fat Worm? FWOE will tour the US this summer. We’re also working on an LP for Load Records, no date as of yet, cos we want it to be real thick. Bromp Treb is laying a bit low right now, maybe a show here or there but no new releases for a few months. Yeay! has a buncha new stuff lined up to be released: Tumblecat Poof Poofy Poof, Chemical Wedding, a Dark Inside the Sun studio release, a punk demotape by Jason Martin, maybe a new FWOE mixtape . . .

Yeay! Cassettes
Fat Worm of Error
Breaking World Records