T.J. Ghoul: I went out in the middle of the night once, on a whim, to find Son House’s grave which I had just heard was at Mt. Hazel Cemetery in Detroit. While stumbling, these two women come out of the dark screaming and attacking me. Turned out to be these Asia and Queenie, who happen to be in the cemetery doing whatever. They scared the shit outta me. Naturally, they seemed like my kind of people.
What have been some challenges of being a band in Detroit?
T.J. Ghoul: I think one of them would be with so many bands in Detroit, they’ve just kinda become a dime a dozen, you know? Bands are almost a disposable commodity. Every band is easily replaceable by some other band. So, it can be difficult to not be “just another band”. It’s kind of hard to garner any value, I suppose. Even the good bands I feel aren’t always appreciated for their musicality, but rather as the background sounds for a social scene. When people gush about how much they love our band, I still find myself being suspicious of their sincerity, ha.
I’ve been more conscious than ever of the “scene etiquette” and “social standards” involved in Detroit. The good side of those things create a community, but the bad side creates a rather oppressive environment that requires yer submission to it. That sounds dramatic, maybe it is. Either way, I’ve never been fond of that aspect of the Detroit scene, I’ve never played well with it. And I know that’s left me on the outside of a lot of circles, but it also gives me the freedom to set my own standards and do things how I wanna do them without feeling obligated to anyone or anything else.
T.J. Ghoul: HA!
Tell us about your first show.
T.J. Ghoul: Our first show was August 29, 2012 at the Painted Lady. We wanted to do our first show there because Timmy Vulgar did Timmy’s Tacos every Wednesday night (it’s since moved to Kelly’s Bar) and we would often go there after band practice. And every week Timmy would be like “when’s the first show, when you gonna play, you gotta do it here, you gotta do it on taco night!” and so that was inevitable.
Mz. Mockery: I just remember Timmy getting us shots afterwards and everyone being loud and crazy. I wore a hat.
Li’l Queenie: It was great. Timmy ran up and gave us a big hug. I thought everyone was gonna hate us, it was so great when they loved it.
Gear talk : instruments/pedals/amps/microphones
T.J. Ghoul: I use a Gretsch Catalina Club Jazz kit. It was always my dream kit. Partially because Brian Muldoon played one, and so did Maria in the Decks. But I’ve stripped it down to just snare, bass, floor tom, and ride cymbal. I regret even including the one cymbal. I’m trying to use it less. I feel cymbals and hi-hats are largely unnecessary, you really have to justify them. Most drummers use them wrong. Ringo did it right. If yer a drummer out there, and yer using cymbals….yer no Ringo.
Mz. Mockery: I rely on my vocal chords until they pop.
Li’l Queenie: I use a shitty old Kent guitar. It’s from the 60’s and twangy and all banged up with lots of character.
T.J. Ghoul: Oh my god, you have no idea how serious of a question this is for me, ha! I could spend weeks analyzing the possibilities of this.
Li’l Queenie: Can I be Nosferatu?
T.J. Ghoul: That’d be good. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari would also be good for you.
Li’l Queenie: Asia is….
Mz. Mockery: Something nuts!
T.J. Ghoul: Frankenhooker!
Mz. Mockery: You’re a hooker! I wanna be the shaman that puts the curse on the dude in “Thinner”.
T.J. Ghoul: I have so many ideas for myself, they’re all getting clogged in my brain. Maybe an early Cronenberg film, like Shivers? I really liked how he paced his movies. They had a very methodical and tense build up resulting in a big jaw dropping finale. I’m trying to be more conscious of the “build up” in our songs with my drumming, which I think is important considering how minimalist our set up is. But sometimes it’s just full on Stuart Gordon craziness, like “Re-Animator” or “From Beyond”, or Roger Corman, who is actually a big inspiration for songwriting.