30 December 1997 Interview
V: Tell me of the history of T.E.C. Tones.
SHEENAH: It started with the seed seed company called Ralph Records, which started in 1972 and was run by the Residents. And then it got turned over to Tom and myself in the mid-eighties, and then it just got turned over to Eric a few months ago.
V: And Eric, how did you meet these people?
ERIC: My upstairs neighbour called me one morning saying these people needed a bass player. They were recording and their guy didn't show up. They told me to come down to the studio ....
SHEENAH: And then he started recording with us. Then we liked Eric, and then we just started to be his friend .... and then he started to come over and work at T.E.C. Tones with us. As well as being in The Stinky Puffs.
ERIC: Then we played at the Yo Yo a Go Go festival.
V: Which I saw a record of today.
SIMON: We're on it!
V: Yeah, one song! So Simon, tell me about the Foo Foo Heads .... or do you remember?
SIMON: Noooo ....
V: C'mon, somebody tell me!
SHEENAH: I think it's just like a "rock blur" for Simon. The Foo Foo Heads .... when Simon was three, we wanted to help out his day care centre, which was like a community, YWCA thing. They always had bake sales and this sale and that sale and well, I couldn't do any of *that*, but I did say, we can record a song with the kids and then the kids could sell the tapes. And we'd make a little booklet, da-da-da-da-da. Simon had all these Don't Talk to Strangers books and how to deal with different people in the world, strangers, and how to read them and stuff like that and we just went over those books and got all the basic lessons and wrote a poem on it. Then just put it to a rap beat, went in and recorded the kids in his class and it was "We Don't Talk To Strangers". But we didn't have a name for the band, I asked Simon, and he said, "Foo Foo Heads"! Then Simon just started to record some stuff and he recorded "Animal Party". At the same time the Residents were rehearsing their thirteenth anniversary show and Snakefinger, the guitarist, was around a lot as well. Rehearsals were taking place every day and so Simon was around all that music. So that's really when he started wanting to be in shows and stuff. Then we moved to Maryland* and then he started to record with my then husband Jad Fair*. I went up to New York every so often and do business and what not and I'd take Simon with me. That's when Simon started recording with Don Fleming, who I think was still in Gumball at the time. We met Don through Jad. Then he recorded with Naofumi Ishumari, a Japanese noise artist. Then there was enough material to put together the first EP, which was Simon, Don, Jad, Naofumi. It was the same thing, here's some songs, Simon? Name this band! "The Stinky Puffs"! Okay, that's the name. Sounds like a cereal. Then we got the EP out. Then we moved to New Jersey and Simon kept recording and then one fateful day, the drum machine broke down! So then I, because I knew drumming from a long time ago when I was seventeen, was asked to fill in. Then I started recording with them. Okay, Eric, so what did we do in the last year?
ERIC: We did a recording with with Simon and Sheenah and myself and Don and Jad and not sure when or what we were going to do with it ....
SHEENAH: Played at Coney Island ....
ERIC: We did a little tour. Everyone loved Simon and Simon was having fun except for boring car rides --
SIMON: That was fun.
ERIC: So when we came back we played once in Chicago, et cetera and when we got back from that we played some local shows. And it was at one of those that Sheenah met our future guitar player Jeffrey Rotter who approached Sheenah.
SHEENAH: I was still at my drum set, and this guy came up to me, "You guys are so great, you guys are so great," blah blah blah. "If you ever need a guitar player". He worked for one of Simon's friends who was the music editor for Spin magazine.
ERIC: Then we went on tour on the west coast again but this time recorded a lot more shows. When we got back we recorded _Songs and Advice (for Kids Who Have Been Left Behind_). Then after that, we moved to California and have just gone on little trips down to Los Angeles a few times, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, basically the whole west coast. Then right now we're just of course playing in San Francisco a lot.
SHEENAH: The Bottom of the Hill, they like us a lot. I'm sure the reason Eric left out the whole Kurdt Cobain/Nirvana/Krist & Dave episodes is because it's just been so well documented already.
V: So tell me about some of your fans, some cool letters you've gotten.
SHEENAH: There was some really nice, beautiful things, especially after _Songs and Advice_, a lot of kids wrote "thanks!", and even adults. Oh, tell her about that letter ....
SIMON: Well, there was this guy .... and he wrote us .... and it was nice .... and it was for _Songs and Advice_ .... and crying is good .... yeah ....
V: That was tough, wasn't it?
SIMON: Yes ....
V: Any others?
SIMON: There was two girls who wrote at five in the morning.
SHEENAH: Oh, yeah, those Pepsi fiends! "It's five in the morning and we're writing to the coolest guy in the world!" The most was for _Songs and Advice_, though; as it turns out it was really something that people actually needed.
V: How do you write?
SIMON: I write about stuff that happens in my life like eating pizza* and we'll all go out together somewhere and just write about it, and dreams*, airplane turbulence*. As for the music, sometimes I'll just play some chords on my guitar and know it's good and the feeling of it.
V: What are your favourite Stinky Puffs songs?
SHEENAH: "Rubber Pen"
TOM: From the new genre, "Rubber Pen".
SIMON: From the young years, "Dick Tracey".
V: Would you like to clear up some misconceptions?
SIMON: First off, that thing that happened ....
SHEENAH: Cody Ranaldo is not in the band anymore because of the distance. We are the lamest band in the world. We don't take ourselves seriously at all and I think that's killing rock 'n' roll. They take themselves too damn seriously. They don't realize that they're all on this planet for such a short ride. They may as well be having fun.
[ interviews || i - simon | ii - all ]