Hey! This is that interview guy, Mark.
How ya doin'?
Do you have time?
Yeah! About how long?
`Til you wanna throw me off.
So I got the new album. I love it, of course. I've been buying all your stuff since Lactating Purple. That was the first one I heard, and then I went back after that -
And I put this new one in, and immediately my dog went up and sniffed the stereo speaker because of that really, really high-pitched tone going through "Space Sexy."
What is that from?
That was a little experiment I did where I recorded some little thing at low speed and then I sped it up and sped it up. You're never gonna hear it anywhere else.
It's really high. At first I didn't know what he was doing, and then I heard it and I was like "Jeez! It's all the way through the song!"
Aside from the usual sci-fi-type concerns, what are some of the - you know, it's hard to hear your lyrics on a lot of these of course. Are there any songs that, you know, you really would like people to - like "Trailer Park Zombies" or "Lady Deville" - what are some of these about? Like your favorites on here?
Just about different events and things in my life, you know. Projections. And just some things that sorta came out of nowhere.
I read online a little back that you did have a UFO sighting - was it in Hawaii?
And that was kind of what put you on the road to this stuff, sort of?
Sort of, but I sort of had a hankering for it anyway.
Okay. What kind of kid were you growing up? Were you really into horror movies and that type stuff? Or just listening to Hawkwind or -
(Yawn) Excuse me. Did you mention Hawkwind?
Yeah, I know you played with -
Yeah, I used to be into them.
Yeah. Where did you grow up? Which island?
Mostly on Oahu.
And what is it like there? I've only been on the Big Island and Kawaii, so..
Well, as a kid, it was wonderful. But now I don't know. Now it's like a big Disneyland.
Yeah. But I mean you can still go to nice beaches off Kawaii and Maui and stuff. But stay away from the touristy stuff as much as possible. I think you'll have a better time.
When did you move to - was it California that you moved to immediately? Or -
To? Or from?
Oh, I'm in Kansas right now.
Yeah. When you left Hawaii, where did you go originally?
When you first left Hawaii.
Oh yeah, yeah. I was like 13 or 14 when I moved there. In high school and stuff. So I did a lot of growing up there.
And what made you move back to Kansas?
My parents got transferred back to here, and I couldn't stay there. In Hawaii.
Oh okay. What do you do in Kansas? Are you able to make a living just from music or do you have to do other stuff?
Mostly it's just been music. Just selling back catalogs and new stuff. And getting money in advance to make new stuff. So I've been doing pretty good, you know? And occasionally I tour when I can get away with it.
I remember I saw you live, it must have been about eight years ago and it seemed like you had a big briefcase full of effects or something.
How many different effects do you tend to use when you tour or when you put new records together?
Oh, about five or six.
Yeah, different things. The amps have them built in.
Do you only play when it's time to get a new record together, or do you constantly play everyday?
You mean -
Like just playing the guitar.
Oh, probably when I'm working on projects and doing shows. That's a lot of playing, so - Unless if I get ideas, then I pick up the guitar and play.
What other hobbies are you really interested in?
Yeah, I just joined a railroad club here in Manhattan, KS called The Train Shop. They've got this huge layout and I'm able to run trains there. I've been into that ever since I was a little kid, so it's nice that they have one in town. Because there's not much in this town. They said they might have to leave, which is a bummer.
Do they have one huge railroad set?
Oh yeah, it's huge. To the scale, I'd say it's two and a half miles all the way around, and then around twice it would be five miles. It's a neat layout.
Wow! Do they keep that inside? Where is there room for all of that?
It's a storefront. It used to be a flower shop. They got it just going all around the place. It's pretty cool.
Interesting. I also read that you had a car accident or something recently?
Yeah, just recently. Let's see. I think it was the 29th of July. I smashed my finger. It's all put together and it's getting better, so yeah, that was pretty tough to play without one of my fingers on the road. That's one of the reasons we ended the tour early. My finger was giving out.
How did it happen?
I don't know, to tell you the truth. It was some kind of a rollover - he was hit-and-run or had a flat tire? All I know is I was driving and the next thing I remember is my car is smashed up and it did a rollover and my finger was out the window. And that's basically all I remember.
I also read something about a sickness you had. I don't know if it was two years ago -
Yeah, Hepatitis C. Yeah, I have that too.
You still have that? Do you still have to deal with that?
Not as much as I used to. I try to do shows anyway and make records anyway. I try not to let things like that stop me, you know?
I have a few albums under the name Chrome that you've done even after Damon passed away. How do you approach those projects differently from your solo projects?
You mean the ones after Damon?
I try to keep what I consider to keep the Chrome vibe. Whereas Helios Creed records are more rock, Chrome is more experimental techno-rock, I don't know what you'd call it. I like to keep the two things semi-separately sounding genre-wise whatever. Maybe Helios is just a tad more space. Does that come off to you?
It does. It does seem like, on the Chrome records, they definitely do seem more experimental. I do get that. There's long stretches of just total weirdness on those.
I suspect that since I make both records, they're still gonna have the Helios flavor even though I got some guy who really does a good job on doing what Damon used to do. Likes to sing like Damon. Tommy Grenace from Farflung? He's a really good replacement for Damon, I've thought.
I also bought some of the records that he did after you left. Or after he moved to Paris or whatever.
Yeah, yeah. Damon's stuff.
Aaah. I don't mean to - I don't want to -
Oh go ahead, rag on them. Everybody else does.
They're terrible! They're not very good.
He seems to be going for some sort of mood that he's not quite reaching or something.
Yeah. Yeah, I don't think that much of `em too, but believe it or not there's a lot of people out there that really think highly of them. I, you know, that's great but if you look at the Chrome message board, you'll always find some Damon Chrome fan that's just searching for his records, you know? Some kind of collector or something. But it's hard for me to believe they sit around and listen to the music over and over again.
I know! I know.
I don't know what they get out of it. But maybe it hits a spark that nobody else can hit. I don't know.
Yeah. Was part of your reason for taking back the Chrome name the feeling that he had kind of -
Messed it up?
Yeah! I wanted to repair it. I wanted to - I never did get it back to its former glory, but at least I tried. I tried to make some good records that maybe people would vibe with. But it would have to be like almost a new generation to appreciate it. And the younger generation now doesn't seem to be into that kind of music, you know? Unfortunately. But you never know; things might change. But I also felt like it was important that somebody was making that kind of music. So that kind of responsibility. And I'll always do the solo stuff, I suppose, til I can't do it anymore. Which - it is actually getting harder to do that even, with marital problems, legal problems, partner problems, money problems - they all just seem to be getting in the way.
Oh, that's terrible to hear.
But I'm still trying.
Well, you seem to be putting out albums really regularly.
Yeah, that's the bottom line. If I can do that, that's pretty cool, I guess. Even though some of them aren't as appreciated as others, I still think it's a good idea to at least be putting something out, you know?
I know that it's been very hard for me to find your more recent stuff in stores. I've had to buy them online.
When you say "less appreciated," do you mean just less distributed? Or are there people saying that your newer stuff isn't as good as your older stuff?
Oh, there's always gonna be that, but I haven't gotten a lot of that.
But in what way? I think the new one's really strong. I don't think there's a bad song on it, and there's a ton of songs on it!
Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think it's like, well, young people buy records and they're getting this shit that really doesn't have anything to do with the kind of shit I'm doing. So maybe it's just gonna have to come around again. Or people are gonna have to start liking what that is. Who knows? I always meet people that hate the new modern rock music and really dig what we're doing. Young people, you know? So there's always some - whatever generation, there always seems to be somebody out there that likes what we do. So that's kinda good, that it's beyond a generation thing. I think that's where music should be.
Do you have any idea how young people first hear about your stuff? Has there been any indication?
If they get to hear it?
If young people come up and say, "Hey, I love your stuff," where would they have first encountered you? Not from the radio!
No, not at all! I have to give it to `em, and then they check it out and come back and tell me the next day, "Man, that shit is the fuckin' shit, man! That's the shit!" You know what I mean? And if they COULD get ahold of it, maybe they WOULD like it, you know? But you know how the music industry is now, and they're just pumping the same crap down everybody's throat. And the poor kids - they don't have a chance to experiment or hear anything new, or look at somebody else's point of view or whatnot. Personally, and not just because of the music thing, I feel sorry for them on all kinds of levels. I think they're getting the raw end of the deal. At least the punks and the hippies and the beatniks and whatever subculture was before that developed their own scene. These kids aren't even allowed to develop their own scene, you know? You know what I mean.
And I think that's a ripoff to them.
You mean because it's already created for them by advertisers and MTV?
Yeah! Exactly. It's all crammed down their throat by, you know, Jordache or Nike or Pepsi, and Puff Daddy pushing it for them. Everybody they have to look up to is a bunch of fucking sellouts. They don't have anything real. That's the way I feel. At least when we were young, we had a few things that were real. Something we could be proud of and relate to and identify and maybe even have some kind of spiritual feeling from. And these days, I don't see that. I mean, I'd like to see it, but I just don't. So, I don't know. Maybe it's an end of an era, and the beast is taking over. But the kids - the kids are scary too. They all wanna be "pimps" and have some "ho's" and all that kinda crap. It's all so negative. I don't know what it's gonna turn into, but I know guys like that - who are just inspired by a bunch of thugs. When I was a kid - I don't know how old you are, but -
Oh, then you understand a little bit what I'm talking about. I mean, you were in the punk era, right?
Yeah. At least our heroes were like frustrated, say what they mean - like Jello or Johnny Rotten. At least they were somebody -
Somebody with intelligence.
Yeah, intelligence! Idealistic ideas. Nowadays it's just a bunch of fuckin' gangsters that the best thing they can show you is their fuckin' Mercedes with their two babes on each car, and how much dope and who they can kill, you know what I mean?
Yeah. And the white bands just look like a bunch of bullies. A bunch of fratboy bully types.
Yeah, like jocks on guitars.
Dude, it's just not the same, man. I persist in doing what I'm doing because.. Like Hawkwind - they've been doing their shit ever since before Hendrix, so I admire that kind of thing. Even though it seems like a waste of time, and a lot of people think you're a fool for doing it, I still think people should stick by their guns, even though we're living in an era where there's no cool trends or anything like that. You know what I mean?
Anyway, that's the way I see it. And all this anti-drug crap they pour on TV. Mother forbid letting their kid smoke a joint - OH MY GOD! And all this fucking crap. "Then I'll sneak around and do heroin!" "Okay, that's fine!" I don't know. Priorities of everybody is fucking wacked. Do you do music?
Not in a band. I tried to get a band together and it didn't work. But I do play the guitar and record stuff on my 4-track, and I got a 16-track. Yeah, I've been playing the guitar for a long time. I just didn't have anybody -
Are you good?
I've never taken lessons. I kinda developed my own -
Neither did I!
Yeah. Yeah, okay! Then I guess I'm pretty good in terms of coming up with weird -
Do you do the power chords and the lead riffs and the demented - all that shit?
I kinda do the demented. I like to put two or three guitar lines together that don't really go together.
You know what I want to do?
I want to make a new band.
I want to make a new band, and I'm looking for a bass player, a drummer and a guitar player. I want a band with not just me being a guitar player, but another guitar player. And teach that fucker everything I know, and have him teach me everything he knows. Make a whole new - `cuz man, nothing sounds fatter (phatter?) than two guitars on stage if they're done right.
You could have keyboards, guitar, bass and drums, but it's hard to hold down that awesome wall of sound if you only have one guitar. If you have two, and the right kind of music.. Well, take Ministry, for example. Alright, they had their problems and shit, but when you go to see them play, and they have those fuckin' awesome guitar loud things? They're all playing the same chords? That's not really my kind of music or anything like that, in a big sense, but it fuckin' was awesome.
I feel the same way about something like AC/DC.
Yeah, AC/DC! Things like that. Well, you can take that whole fuckin' formula and make something cool out of it, and just blow peoples' minds. What if there was two Jimi Hendrixes on stage? One doing the fuckin' backup chords and one doing the fuckin' leads? Or both of them doing leads off and on? You know, shit like that that's never been done!
Yeah. Are you trying to form a band in Kansas? Or are you looking to -
I sorta did that. I got a bass player, a good drummer and a pretty good guitar player. When I showed him the way I played, he'd pick it up right away. But he didn't respect my music. He thought he could make better middle-of-the-road music. Wrong people. And then it turned into a nightmare, which we won't go into.
Why don't you wanna go into it?
If you want, you can pick it up on the Internet. Bits and pieces of it.
What, with the guitarist?
Something with the guitarist happened?
No. The shows went really well. I was really proud of each and every one of them. It's just that they'd never been on the road before and they didn't know what the money thing was, and they got paid most of it at the end of the tour, and they thought I was being too much of a boss. And I really wasn't! I was just trying to make sure everything went right, you know? And I wasn't grumpy at `em hardly ever. I'd always find the pot and smoke `em out, you know? I mean, really. That's just the way it turned out. I have no hard feelings or anything, but they just couldn't hang.
Oh. Was this the same bassist and drummer on the new album?
No, no. I played bass on the new album, along with a guy named Jeff. Yeah, Jeff from Laramie! Laramie Cigarettes! (laughs) You ever watch the Simpsons?
And they have Laramie cigarettes?
Oh, I don't remember Laramie cigarettes.
Well, it's sort of a Marlboro spoof or whatever.
And I have a friend in..umm..I don't know what the fuck it's called. Uhhhhhhhhh.. Laramie! And uh - shit. What'd the cats do with my cigs?
Anyway, they're real big fans over there of the Simpsons. I mean, you can imagine - what the fuck goes on in Laramie? You know what I mean? So they wrote `em a letter saying, "Yeah, we're from Laramie and you got a lot of fans here!" and "Please keep it up!" and all this shit. So they noticed a few weeks later, they were watching a Simpsons series - or a while later, and all of a sudden, there were Laramie cigarettes in the Simpsons!
And they thought that was so funny. They wanted to invite Matt Groening down for a party and shit. That was pretty cool.
You said your cats took your cigarettes?
Your cats did something with your cigarettes? Is that what you said?
Oh no, I got three cats. And they knock them off the coffee table. I found `em. Hope you don't mind if I roll a cigarette while I'm talking to ya.
Ahh, the smell! I can't deal with it! Ugh.
I can't deal with the smell of that smoke! Ugh!
I know. I was that way too before I started. That's the way it is.
Do they let you smoke in restaurants there? You can't smoke anywhere here in New York.
I'm in New York. You can't smoke anywhere here.
Yeah. I'm in New York. They don't let you smoke anywhere here anymore.
Oh, I know! I was just there!
Yeah! They wouldn't let us smoke. I lit up a cigarette inside - I wasn't thinking. I go, "This is New York. You can do anything in New York." And the guy said I had to put it out! So I pretended to put it out and I went outside. Fortunately, it was a nice day outside and I didn't mind smoking outside, but I go, "I don't know about this `No smoking in New York' thing." California, yeah. They're all a bunch of liberal assholes out there. But New Yorkers, man! They gotta take their city by the balls and say, "We're not putting up with this shit!" Ahhh, so a few people don't get cancer. Big fuckin' deal! They can walk around the corner and get their heads blown out by some thief or whatever. And not only that, but the waitresses and the bartenders aren't gonna get the money they're gonna get, `cuz people fuckin' have a drink, then they have to go out and have a cigarette, and by the time they're out having a cigarette, they've probably split. They miss out on like fuckin' $20 tips that night. It seems great for the politicians. Shitty for the people. As usual.
Speaking of politicians, are you enjoying Mr. George W. Bush there in the White House?
Oh, he is just a load of fun. He's all gonna get our asses fuckin' smoked sooner or later, I figure. Of course, uh. I don't know, man. I think he's an idiot. I don't know. I mean, I admire the fact that he's able to show the rest of the world we're not gonna put up with any shit. Yeah! If there was any shit to put up with! You know? We had a few people take out our planes with carpet knives, and the best we can do is fuckin' spend 80 billion dollars on trying to fix the problem? I don't know.
Yeah. And our economy's still - everybody's still out of work.
Yeah. Huh. I don't know, man. What do you think?
I've never really trusted him. I've never really liked him. I don't think he or anyone that works with him knows what it's like to have real problems. I think they all grew up rich in their rich oil families, and I really don't think they have any idea what it's like to go hungry or worry about money or to -
Yeah, or to worry about getting your electricity shut off and your power shut off and your water shut off. But damn! Make sure that oil line's moving! That's important! "It'll trickle down!" You know?
I know. And for him to keep sending all these soldiers over to get killed, and to say "Bring it on!" when we're already getting killed over there? Remember when he said that - "Bring it on"?
Yeah, how many kids did we lose already?
Over a hundred, I know.
It's fuckin' phenomenal, man. He's just having a big show.
For what? What do we care? We're over there just to keep the oil moving, right?
That's all it is. And it's getting worse for us too, man. They thought, when we came into the country, "Oh, we got it made. We run the country now!" It's worse than ever. Those guys were just waiting for us to come in! And Saddam? He's long gone, planning something else with Osama somewhere probably. Or not. They're both planning - and what about this guy from Libya? He's gonna jump on the bandwagon, and I'm sure China and Russia will say hell with us too.
Yeah, we don't have a whole lot of friends right now.
No, we're not making friends. They're pushing around their weight, and I think it shows our stupidity. Alright, they can take us out with a couple of carpet knives, but we can't even get `em with 40 billion dollars worth of high-tech weapons. What does that tell ya? It's like brain over brawn, as far as I'm concerned. Now tell me something - when those guys took out the two towers with pocket knives, didn't that sort of somewhere inside you say, "God, I mean that's a terrible thing and they killed a lot of innocent people, but boy that's very admirable."
It didn't make me think "admirable." It made me think -
I mean, if you were on their side. If you were getting screwed over, and there's not much you could do to get these fuckin' Christian fuckin' Fundamentalists off your ass, so you think of something as simple as that to fuckin' show `em a lesson. If you were on their side, it would be a whole different feeling than you have on our side. Of course, they killed tons of innocent people, but they claim we kill a bunch of innocent people all the fuckin' time. And that's their point.
Yeah, that's true. I didn't think "admirable." I thought "incredibly intelligent."
Yeah! Incredibly intelligent. And we're fighting that kind of intelligence, and our so- called intelligence doesn't seem to be very intelligent, you know? That's all I gotta say. And my dad was a high wig in the Navy. He says we're being stupid. We're being about as stupid as we've ever been since he's been alive.
In terms of not getting any allies? Or just not having any idea what we're doing? Like, in Iraq -
Well, they probably think we're a bunch of snoots, you know what I mean? Shit, it's just a bunch of crap. And it seems to be turning into more crap everyday. I even see less American flags being waved.
Yeah, that's a good point too.
And I'm in the middle of the country, where you're supposed to see them anywhere. No, you don't!
Have you done any international touring since that happened?
I can't! Because ever since I've been arrested, I haven't been able to leave the country in two and a half years.
Oh okay. I didn't know you got arrested. I didn't hear about that.
Yeah, I got arrested about terroristic threatening, believe it or not.
A cop came into my house, and I was just sitting there with a bag of weed trying to mellow out. I was a little drunk, and I told him to get the fuck out of my house. It's my castle and you have no right coming in here. And it just turned into a skirmish. Next thing I know, they beat the crap out of me and took me to jail and arrested me for terroristic threatening.
Yeah! `Cuz I threatened `em to get out of my house or I'd throw my COUCH at `em, of all things.
How can you bring terrorism into something like that?
Yeah. They can.
Good lord! So what was the punishment?
The punishment was 100 days in jail and five years probation. That means - I've been on two and a half years probation - that means if I walk across the street and get a jaywalking ticket, I could go to jail for five years. Or if I get a speeding ticket. Or if they caught me smoking a joint. Or anything happens. I'll go to jail for the full five years - not even the time that I've even done.
Yeah. It's scary shit. Not only that, but they're building tons of new prisons for people like me. People that they just know are gonna slip, and they're gonna have, you know -
And they're privatized, right?
Aren't the prisons privatized, so they're making money off -
Yeah, they're all privatized, and run by people that make money off people in prisons. So it's like not a good thing, you know?
What was he doing in your house to begin with? Did he have a warrant?
No, he didn't have a warrant, but me and my wife had a fight. Not a bad one, but she didn't want me to come home because I was drunk. I go, "All I wanna do is have a couple tokes and go to bed." I didn't think she'd really call the cops. If somebody calls the cops, that sorta gives them the right to come in and do whatever they want. Yeah, yeah! When I didn't do anything to them, they beat the crap out of me. I had bruises from my shins to the back of my neck all the way up.
Oh God! And you were in jail for a hundred days?
What was that like? What was the day-to-day there?
Man, at first it was really fucked up, man. At first, it was like - oh man. It was like being in a Japanese prison camp. They kept the temperature at 59 degress, which is basically freezing when you live in Hawaii, and they don't let it get any warmer. And it's like that for the first four days. And you don't have a bed; you're sleeping on the floor, because there's two other inmates in your cell already that have the bunk bed. And they give you a blanket and a pillow to sleep on the floor. You're getting stepped on by -
(at this point, the phone connection was broken, replaced by static. I had trouble getting through to his line for the next couple of minutes, and began having paranoid thoughts of the FBI running over to Helios's home post-haste to stop him from "talking." Eventually I got through.)
Hey, what happened there?
Yeah, my wireless - NOBODY IS AVAILABLE TO TAKE YOUR CALL - Oh, don't worry.
PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER THE TONE. My uhh. BEEP! My uhh.
Cordless ran out?
Cordless went dead. It's only got about twenty minutes battery on it.
(laughs) So it was in Hawaii that you got arrested?
Yeah. And another thing was there's some racism going on there. I had some Hawaiian guys go up before me that did the same thing, and they didn't even throw them in jail. They gave `em 90 days probation. Then when I went up, it was 100 days in jail and five years probation. `Cuz I was white. And I did spend 100 days in a Hawaiian jail. It wasn't actually so bad. After a while, it turned into kind of a country club, and I really liked the warden, believe it or not. And I made a lot of friends. Then I got out and transferred my probation to Kansas, `cuz I didn't have a place to stay over there. I lost my house and my car. My wife was nice enough to send my studio to Kansas, so I kept making records. But I've been on this probation where I can't leave the state without permission, and they don't want me to play in clubs that serve alcohol. And I'm really having a hard time with that now, because I've got this new probation officer that won't let me play in clubs with alcohol. My old one didn't give a shit. And that kinda fucks up my, you know -
Where are you supposed to play?
I'm trying to find a way around that, because I don't drink at shows. I quit drinking ever since this happened. And my other probation officer said, "I think you're a great parolee, and I'm gonna try to get you off after two and a half years." So two and a half years go by, and I'm still on it. And I just figure it's because of the 9-11 thing, you know? `Cuz it was terroristic threatening that I got arrested for. Now they're really hard on any kind of thing like that.
I can't believe they chose the word "terrorist" even before that happened.
Yeah, yeah. I guess it's been going around a lot. I'd never even heard of it until then.
What differentiates -
So do you have any more questions?
What separ - umm - oh, you need to get going, I guess?
Well, no. Just wondering if you, you know. Well, a little bit, I do.
Okay. Well, just if there's anything else you wanna say about the new album.
Oh, I really like it! I mean personally I really like it. Do you like it?
I think it's great. I think it's one of the best you've ever done.
Yeah! And I wrote it, you know, under what all that went on to me, you know what I mean? It was like, "Well, this has been so crappy, and maybe it's my karma and I deserve it. But I'm gonna try to take it and make something good about it." In the record, you can feel the frustration and the energy that's going on, the heartbreak - all the things that made me where I'm at today. And I figure that's something I would like to give to the people, and sort of relate that there's a lot of bright spots in the fact that I was able to make music. And I did actually manage to find some places to play that don't serve alcohol. But I'm getting tired of that. I wanna do everything legit, you know? It's only a career! It's only a way to make money!
Uh oh, what's that?
That's my answering machine.
Oh okay. So these songs - I guess I can tell what "Another Heartbreak" is about. Are some other -
Yeah, yeah. That's about the way my wife screwed me over. One of my friends accused me of making it sound commercial, and I go, "Naaah, well it's not commercial. Maybe it's accessible in the extent that it talks about things that happen to everybody, but other than that, I just had to get it out."
So are you guys completely split up now?
I actually talked to her last night. It was kinda weird, you know? But I don't want to say anything bad about her, you know?
Was she the one who played in the band with you for a while?
Oh. So how long have you been married?
Oh, we'd been together for 14 years, so. And I've been separated now for two and a half. There really isn't much around here female-wise for me to get into. So I've just been putting all my time into music and stuff. Hopefully people like this record and it generates enough interest and money to where I can kinda do another one. I really would like to do another one right, you know. But one of my codes is: Always make a record, no matter what.
Well, this is a really good one. I don't know if you had more time to work on the music or what, but there's just so many songs on here and they're all - you know, there's like the dark folky acoustic-sounding ones, and the fast punk ones that are great, and then just the normal weird guitar hero type weird acid-drenched type things. And then I also love the fact that you put videos of two of your old great songs onto the disc, to watch on the computer.
You like those videos?
Oh, they're great! Yeah!
I was a little bit upset about the performance. We had such better performance qualities, but that was one of our first shows right after we did a show. That was actually our first show in two and a half years, and I was breaking in new members. And I felt like those, in some ways, were our weakest songs, but I'm glad that you said you liked `em, you know?
Well, I.. I'm always blanking on the name of it - that (sings) "Duuuuuh duh duh duh - Duuuuuh."
Yeah, that was "Late Bloomer."
That's just one of your all-time classics, so I'm always thrilled to hear that one. Yeah, I mean since I don't have anything to compare those to, I was just thrilled to see them on there.
That's good. What magazine do you write for?
I write for a bunch of little zines. This one - well, I'm gonna post it on my web site, which is where I post a bunch of stuff. And I've also had one of the zines express interest in running it, so I'm going to shoot it over to them as well.
You might want to mention that I've been doing this since '76.
That's a long time!
Yeah, it is!
When you add it all up - '76, '77, well.
How old were you in '76?
Let's see. I think I might have been 22? I'll be 50 in a week.
Yeah, Motorhead's still going and he's 57, I think.
Yeah. Well, that's an inspiration!
Yeah! He's still doing his thing.
Yeah, I think that's important. We don't want all the little upfarts that think they're hot shit on guitar trying to take over, man.
They're not either! The new rock - at least the new rock on the radio - is so disappointing.
They can't even play lead guitar! I know it's square to be able to do that. I think it's square because they can't do it.
They just detune their guitar, play like three chords and scream. And it's popular.
Yeah, yeah it is.
It is depressing.
Do you hear any newer bands that even aren't popular that you like?
That aren't popular?
That are popular or aren't popular - is there any -
Oh, see I've been kind of out of it. I like Ween.
Oh yeah! They're great! Yeah.
I like Ween, old Ministry, I don't know. Butthole Surfers in their heyday. But I haven't really been up on anything new.
Back when you were on AmRep, were you into any of those bands?
Oh yeah. I loved the God Bullies, I loved the Cows, I loved quite a few bands - Boss Hog. Helmet were good buddies of mine. There's probably more, but I just can't remember `em.
Yeah, that label had a lot of good bands at the same time.
Yeah. I liked some of the Sub Pop label - some of their shit. A lot of friends of mine on that label that made it, and some didn't. It's just - you know, I just have a love for all the people that tried to make a difference in music and not sell out, but hopefully the masses would take to `em, you know? And it was a sad era in a lot of ways, in that people put out so much creative energy and got so unnoticed. And the crap that we were just talking about is getting hella noticed, and it's really nothing.
Yeah. Korn with a "K." Limp Bizkit.
Yeah, that stuff -
It's really awful music!
The negativity that it expresses is not good. It's just not. I'm a person that likes to put out lyrics that have some kind of - I mean, you know, there's some derelictal things going on, but there's still some positive outlooks I think, and that's important. Life isn't just a futile bunch of negativity. Maybe even spiritually we can hopefully get our act together, you know? On some kind of possible truth thing. But it's difficult. It really is. Because people just really like to dwell towards the negative energy, and there's not much you can do about that.
Especially if it sells.
Yeah! And that's all that matters. So -
Do you - oops, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
No no, I forgot what I was going to say anyway.
Okay. I was just gonna say - I know you have to get going - I was just wondering if you, going back through your catalog, do you ever listen to your old records? Is there a certain - basically, I mean, I know right now your new one is probably your favorite. I would imagine it would have to be, plus it's really great. Aside from that, are there ones that you pick out as like "That was a great period for me creatively"?
Well, Half Machine Lip Moves, of course. I love those two records - Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves. Red Exposure. I even like Blood On The Moon, Third From The Sun. I like all those old Chrome records pretty much. And let's see, I like Superior Catholic Finger. I like Last Laugh, Boxing the Clown, Lactating Purple.. I like Kiss To The Brain -
So are there any that you aren't as fond of?
Well, there's some I'm less fond of than others, but I don't wanna say, because I don't wanna ruin anybody's "Oh, that was my favorite record, and he didn't like it!" But yeah, there's other records I could have done a few things different on, but I don't think they're terrible. I feel pretty good about the latest one, because I think I did everything on it that I kinda wanted to do. I think I would have liked to have spent more time on Spider Prophecy and. I like Colors Of Light, for what it is.
What do you mean "for what it is"?
Well, I mean, umm, I was. you know, I was uhh. just. I had. uhh. you know, things that were getting in the way of making it. So I did the best I could. Money things, support things, Z wanted to move, and I had to sort of just like, you know, the kind of things that you know you shouldn't have to deal with `em so you could just work on it? Stuff like that.
I'm a big fan of pretty much every record you've done. I have a little harder time getting into the Dark Matter ones, just because that's not really my type of music.
Oh yeah. Yeah, that's not even really a Helios Creed record. It's just something like if you have insomnia?
It's so boring, if you put it on, it'll actually put you to sleep better than a drug!
Was that the point of it though?
Yeah! `Cuz I had this disease and I couldn't sleep, so I created this record that would just relax the hell out of me, you know what I mean? It wasn't really supposed to be a Helios Creed record, and a lot of people don't care for it. It's no big deal. It's just something I went off on the side, you know?
You really had insomnia?
Yeah! Yeah, I couldn't sleep for weeks, no matter what I did.
Were you just obsessing about it? Like you'd lie down and go, "Okay, I'm gonna sleep. I'm gonna sleep."
And it wouldn't happen. It was really weird. It was a phase I went through that went away, and the doctors didn't even know what it was. Now I sleep great! I don't know why. And if I can't, I get Xanax. They give `em to me so I sleep great.
So you really haven't drank at all since all that happened?
No! Well, maybe I had a couple of, you know, not to get drunk drinks, but a little drink. But I don't really even want to. I don't even like it. Like the smell of it makes me sick now, and when I see other people drunk and stupid, I kinda wish I was drunk and stupid with them, but I'm kinda glad I'm not either.
Oh wow! That's a pretty big change, isn't it? That's pretty interesting!
Yeah, it is a big change. And I'm not as young as I used to be, and I don't recover quite as well. How old are you?
Oh yeah. See, and I'm 50, and when you do stuff like that, you just feel like crap so much longer. So music is really the only most pure high I've got, plus a little bit of puff, you know? Mellow puff - it doesn't bother me at all. And I even have some doctors that can give me a medical card and stuff, so I'm pretty cool there. And I'm just trying to do what the doctors aren't too uptight about. If I can't sleep, they give me a few Xanax, and I try to keep on an even keel and make music, you know?
Um-hmm. And then not be able to play it live!
Yeah. I'm having a hard time playing it live because of legal problems, but I'm working on it. Why don't you give me your number, and - just a second -
(long, long pause)
Here we go.
Okay. My name is Mark -
(rest of my number)
Is that an L.A. area code?
Oh yeah. New York. Oh, what a great place to live. I love New York. I just noticed last time I was there there's a lot more yuppies there, which is a downer, but you know - the same with San Francisco and L.A. and all that. Hey, were you at the show?
See, I didn't even know - when were you here? I didn't even know about it.
Yeah, we played at some dive two nights in a row.
It was uh. I forget the uh.. good shows though! We had a good, good turnout.
No, I haven't seen you since -
Some dive nobody's gonna know about unless they happen to read the paper.
No, I haven't seen you since -
I haven't seen you in a long time.
Not since I lived in North Carolina and I saw you in Chapel Hill or whatever.
What is the main magazine you're writing for?
I mainly asked if I could interview you just because I've been such a fan for so long, but before I interviewed you, I got a magazine interested in possibly running it. I forwarded the info to staticwhitesound; he thought maybe he might wanna advertise in the same issue.
Yeah, he probably will advertise.
What kind of distribution is he gonna -
Oh, we've got a big distributor for the American record. It's the first one in years. So who knows? Maybe people will be ready for us this year. I sure hope so.
Is he shooting `em out to college radio stations and stuff?
Yeah, I've got some promos - we're gonna send about 100 promos, so you know -
Oh okay. That's where I first heard of you. When I worked at the college radio station, we used to play you. That's where a guy said to me, "You gotta hear this Boxing The Clown." That was back right when you put Lactating Purple out.
Yeah, around that time. The Good Old Days! I liked it in those days.
Back when your records were in stores all over the country?
Yeah, in stores, and there was a little buzz, and I could get a B. Job.
Heh heh heh. Oh well.
One last question before I let you go.
And this is one I meant to ask earlier, but the subject changed. Could you have foreseen that Damon was gonna go in that direction? That music? Could you tell he was into that kinda music when you were playing with him?
Well, I could tell when he was gonna leave me and do heroin. I knew something was gonna be different.
Oh really? Ugh. Okay.
Yeah, I mean I loved Damon, you know what I mean? I didn't like the direction he was going into, and I knew it was gonna be bad for him and me, and it was, so whatever. What can you do.
So heroin was a big part of it?
I think so. Heroin and attachment to a girl that was getting bored with him. It was a bad cycle all around. Plus obesity. When you're 360 pounds and you're doing heroin and drinking wine, you're not gonna last too long.
He got up to 360!?
I can't even imagine that. Wow.
Mm-hmm. He made Elvis look anorexic.
Holy cow! Did you interact with him at all during those years?
Did I what?
Did you ever talk to him during those years?
I did on the phone, but I never seen him when he looked like that. I did see a picture of him, however, and I couldn't believe it.
Oh my god.
Yeah, it was terrible. Sad. So much sadness in this world.
Yeah, well it's because you don't really focus on the everyday happiness. Most people don't. `Cuz it's like they expect it. It's like we deserve to be happy, so when we're not, we feel like we're being ripped off.
Well, I got over that feeling a long time ago. I just figure we're ALL eating it, you know what I mean?
Heh heh heh.
And I'm really happy for the people who aren't, but people like us that are struggling that all of a sudden find a little sanctuary somewhere for a few years, you know what I mean? Or us all getting together and making a better world seems like a pipe dream anymore, with the powers that be. But you know, who knows.
That's terrible about you and your wife. Is there any chance you think you might get back together, or are you just too far apart now?
Well, a friend of mine called me last night or the night before and said, "Hey, do you wanna talk to Z?" I haven't talked to her in over a year and a half. "I don't know, man. I mean, it's kinda weird - does she wanna talk to me?" And he goes, "Yeah." And I just didn't really wanna talk to her. He got her on the phone, and she's. not the person I knew.
And that really upset me. And then I said, "Well, you know -," and she goes, "Well, I feel up, I feel down, you know, I feel very good, I still love you, and sometimes I still love you, and in six months I thought you were gonna die!" and all this shit. And I go, "Well, it's nice talking to you. I think I'd better go. I love you too. Take care of yourself. Give me back to Brian." And that's sorta the way it went. She didn't sound like that at all. She was a real slow, direct talker before, so it was just really upsetting.
Oh man. I'm sorry.
You know, somebody that you truly loved and they just - I mean, they might as well be dead, because that isn't her anymore, you know what I mean?
Was that becoming an issue when you knew her?
I sort of thought I saw it, but I thought maybe she would get over it, but after she left me, it got worse and worse.
Did you ever have any problems with any of that? It seems like everyone you - well, like two people important to you ended up on bad drugs. Did you -
Oh yeah! We used to do drugs together, but then she got in a car accident and a doctor crammed her full of pain pills and she got addicted. And then she started doing the other drugs, and I didn't have any control. And every once in a while, I would do `em with her just to relate, but after a while I go, "Maybe we just ought to clean up." And she'd start yelling at me and throwing things at me, and it just escalated and got worse from there until finally it went the way of the dodo.
Yeah, it happens. But I'm happier now. I feel peaceful.
Oh, okay. You mentioned spiritualism a few times. Have you become more spiritual?
I think so. I don't know. Spirituality is still a big mystery to all of us, you know? And I'm sure not one to nail it on the head, because I certainly don't know all the truths. I just know that it's very complicated down here on this plain. But I do believe in higher, more heavenly places.
Oh yeah. Absolutely. And I believe we're probably in Hell right now on many levels. So I've just gotta deal with it, endure, keep your cool, see what happens. But try to play music and keep it going and do what you do.
Yeah. Alrighty. Well, I'll let you go.
Okay, bro. Thanks for calling, Mark! Any time, man, you wanna give me a call, I'm here.
Alright, brother. You're in New York, man.
Yeah, so if you ever - well, if you ever are able to leave Kansas and come to New York -
I can get out if I want to. I just have to have a place to go. You know? Something to do. Okay, bro. I'll call you and let you know if I do, but I do like New York a hell of a lot, where a beautiful girl is behind every tree. One of the few places I can say that. Alright bro, man, take care.
Okay, you too!
Nevertheless, it makes me sad to hear about him & Z. It also makes me sad that I can't find his new album in stores ANYwhere in Hawaii, and he used to live here, goddammit. However, it does make me happy that two old bags like Mark & Helios both share the same views on the current administration as well as the state of mainstream rock right now. Just so I know it's not only angst-ridden youngsters like myself.
I still haven't heard Chrome, by the way. How good are they?
or something...I know H was on 2 tracks on the Independent Worm Saloon.....
I enjoyed your site, I go way back, Circle Jerk, Black Flag, DK's, X. Misfits etc. I got to experience them all and your site has given me some great insight into the bands. I especially enjoyed the Angry Samoans interview.Math Professor.who would of guessed?
Like I've noticed all the old punk/metallic bands I liked are coming back and making hideous, just *hideous* albums (bands like Killing Joke, for instance, are a rare exception) and the utter crap they put out make the ones I used to enjoy very sour grapes. I don't know...it's a bad time to be a music fan...All the real scenes are dead, everyone and their grandmother is in a necoticular-cyber-goregrind zydec-emo band...I keep thinking maybe it's time we pulled the plug? There's no credentials any more, and theres no more real underground either...at least it seems to me that way sometimes.
Sometimes I think that I'd like to do the whole band thing myself, everytime I do there's just that spectre of mediocrity looming over me like a cyclops. Cause we all get old, and nobody can stay fresh and exciting forever....and hasn't everything that can be done been done before??
When you know what it's like to see all your 'music heroes' (you found before your time) grow grey and old and bad, it really makes you think...
...Thats why I've decided to become a cartoonist instead!
Helios is right up there with Jimmy Page and David Gilmour among my favorite guitarists. Guitar Player polls are for drooling fanboys anyway, though. So at risk of sounding like one myself...
Having never seen either of the former two (Gilmour and Page) live, It was nothing short of inspiring to see Helios land his Flying saucer in 1998 at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver. Four Microphones and a telephone reciever all for vocals, each running into seperate effects lines!!! Insano sounds, Movies and Space Rock!!!
To see that he had modified/created a lot of his guitar rig himself for his own radically different sound created a spark in my mind that I migh be able to give it a try myself. Not knowing a screwdiver from a solding iron then, I have since proceeded to make my own DIY audio devices with great success.
Click here to return to Mark Prindle, who coincidentally is ALSO lactating purple!