weasel walter

What DOESN'T this man do?? Drums like a goddamned.. something fast! I don't want to say "cyclone" or "hurricane," because that's just too easy, and you'd see those tired descriptions in a million different other places anyway. Suffice it to say, this man plays the drums, and he plays them VERY fast. And he's played them for about 2 million bands, and that's really not an exaggeration. The Flying Luttenbachers, Hatewave, Miss High Heel, currently with To Live and Shave In LA.. in addition to playing various instruments with Lake Of Dracula, no wave glam horror Vanilla, Adam And The Antz, the list goes on and on.. In addition to being a very busy drummer, he is also a talented multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer (of sorts), and all-purpose people hater. He probably hates ME, and you too, just out of principle. Here he is, Weasel Walter.
Take 'em or leave 'em.

(questions highlighted in pink, answers in white)

SOO.. the NEW, very good Arab On Radar album “Rough Day At The Orifice” is produced by you,
Weasel Walter. Is this your first time as a producer? Would you even consider yourself a “producer,” or what you did with Arab “producing”??

Not the first time, per se. I guess I "produced" the Luttenbachers and Lake Of Dracula
records (recording, mixing, editing, mastering) Hatewave tape and mastered the Miss High Heel thing from crap, etc. I don't know that I'd take credit for being a producer for "Rough Day" -- I didn't have enough clout in the final AOR product to be considered a producer by "industry
standards". I was just there to help facilitate sounds the band wanted, basically. I gave 'em a
little advice here and there. If I had been left to mix that thing on my own, it could have been a million times better sounding in my opinion. I think I'm only interested in "producing" a band if (1. I think they're really great and (2. if they give me complete control and veto power. I don't know anyone who fits this lofty description, so....

Was there a particular sound you were striving for with this album, and if so,
did you achieve it?

The sound was one that was a compromise between what the band members wanted.
Everybody hears the band in a different way. I think the record sounds too thin and the vocals
could have used some major production. The band wanted really undoctored mixes in the end. I
did some real weird ones that sound like Revenge or LOD, but they didn't want to use 'em 'cuz
they thought they were too far of a sonic departure and had too much reverb. C'est la vie. If you want to hear these mixes, feel free to bug 'em about it. I don't have them, personally.
I finally convinced the guitar players that thinner and trebly-er doesn't equal visceral impact. You will hear this on their next one out next month called "Soak the Saddle" on Load Records! I think that "Soak" is their first really great record. It comes close to capturing their live sound/impact and the massive creative stride they've taken in the last year. It is big sounding, like they are live and we got good clarity.

When you listen to the album now, is there anything about the production that you particularly
like or dislike?

I like the bass sound. I don't like the snare sound although I believe it has good transient
impact like Craig creates. The guitars are too thin. The vocals sound like crap. This is why we
keep making records... to improve. The new one is a lot better. I've learned a lot of stuff about recording in the past 15 years, and there's plenty more to learn. I need to study microphones urgently.

I am a technical saprophage, so I can only put this very simply: were there any special “tricks” you used when producing, any little tweaks or extra-somethings to bring out certain sounds?

Hmm. Well... "Rough Day" is pretty dry sounding. Everybody wanted the most tinny, prickly
sound imaginable and I had to fight with them to get Andrea's bass big sounding, like it is in real life. There really is no funny stuff on that record, but there is some very subtle balance/mix concepts that I chose to employ. When I mix, I often wind up putting dirt back into overly clean recordings to get a more natural live sound. I like to overdrive the trim pots on the board and use the pre-amps in compressors to get garlic. There is very little actual compression on the record - just Eric's vocals, which I still haven't figured out a good mike to record him with. Condensers have too much sibilance for his style and a 57 is too crappy sounding... the search continues. I might do another record with them in October if time permits.

Any plans to produce after this?

Maybe just the AOR thing this fall and whatever new Luttenbachers stuff I come up with. I'd
like to do more "producing", but I don't want to be an engineer for bad bands. I'm against
music. Period. I just mixed a bunch of stuff for Billy Side's band Exzoskeleton which is an
assault free jazz band that I play reeds in. It sounds good and fucked up. The mixing process
was really ass backwards. I had to resynch tracks visually on the computer and do weird
one-shot, guess-timate compression procession because the rendering time sucked. It turned
out good. I think the Exzo CD will be extremely unavailable soon.

I noticed the very diplomatic, nice credit given to you on the album’s lyrics sheet, it says “made with Weasel Walter,” so it sounds more like you were IN the band, or maybe used as an added ingredient for better flavor. What was it like to work with Arab, on a personal level?

I love those guys (and girl). They're the real mccoy, for sure. They care about fucking
aesthetics, unlike most idiots who play in dumb bands. This time period sucks for music/culture
that meets my standards. AOR is one of the few non-Death Metal bands that are any good in
the world that I'm aware of. I like Danielson Famile, Whitehouse, Usurper, Sarcophagus,
Cryptopsy, live US Maple, and some other death metal bands. I like the free music things I play
in, but pretty much stifle a yawn at most of that stuff made by others. Noise is so dead -
It's not 1990 and no one cares about listening to "extreme noise". It sucks. There's already a whole bunch of Hijo Kaidan records. There's no more unstructured white noise to be made!

It seems as though you always have something new (musically) going on. Are you touring soon?

I'm touring with To Live and Shave in L.A. and then leaving for Europe with the Luttenbachers
around that time.

It would be safe to assume that you are looking forward to touring with
To Live And Shave, no?

Yes, I will. It should be total fucking chaos. The line-up is insane.
(for more on the To Live And Shave line-up, check out our news section, or visit Menlo Park Recordings.)

What will you be doing in the band?

Second bass guitar, twelve-string electric, saxophone, drums.

Do you know who TLASILA is sharing shows with? If so, are there any bands that you are
going to enjoy or absolutely loath playing with?

We are kind of touring with Leslie Q, who is a great person. Cock ESP will do some shows.
They are great friends of mine and brilliant performers and thinkers. I hate most bands. They're all a bunch of useless shit. I think musicians should be beaten on the street for wasting so much time.

Does this music business ever get tiring? It is your love and your life’s work, to be sure, but are there ever days that you just feel like giving it up?

No. I can't give up. If I were to give up, sucky music would momentarily triumph. This is such a bleak fucking era for aesthetics. Nobody has a clue. I know I'm capable of a whole lot more
and I'm trying to make a logical progression towards it. Right now I'm working on a lot of
electronic/computer music... not gay dance/electronica bullshit or noise junk, but
hyper-structural insanity. It's the first time I haven't had to complain about lazy untalented,
unmotivated musicians! It's just me and my imagination...

Is there ANY music out there to look forward to anymore? How’s the outlook for adventurous,
balls-out ROCK these days?

Sucks. Americans are all a bunch of fucking morons. They wouldn't know greatness if it stuck glass rods up their urethras. I find inspiration in classic stuff like Magma, old no wave, old free music, my own stuff, black metal, etc.

A friend of mine was lucky enough to pick up the ONE copy of the Hatewave LP that Vintage
Vinyl, our local music dump, had, and this album is awesome. Any plans for a CD release, or
forthcoming albums?

CD should be out on Skin Graft this fall with bonus tracks from the demo. I don't think we'll
have a new album before late 2000. Our songs are increasingly complex. Our new stuff makes
the album seem like "Louie Louie".

Do you feel more at home working with a metal band?

No. I like working with aggressive music makers with distinctive voices trying to impart a unique creative focus.

In general, has Hatewave been well-received by Chicago, or has it achieved a more selective
popularity with just metal fans?

We aren't popular..

What are you going to see when you go to a Hatewave show?

When you see a Hatewave show you are going to see three guys playing a half hour of blazing insanity and you'll see the singer's guitar become unplugged, generally. We are so fast live, most people cannot make heads or tails of us. It's like a freak-show to most people.
They can't relate to it. They can't relate to the commitment and energy involved in doing this. Americans are lazy and stupid.

Is death and/or black metal dead, or languishing? Or are they flourishing, I honestly don’t
know.. And furthermore, does it really matter??

I have no comment. I am unconcerned with movements and the wishful thinking that comes
along with it. A few bands are good, most are not.

Is anything new planned for Adam And The Antz?

Ah, we slugged it out for 2 years and got preoccupied with our real shit. We did re-record and
re-release their first seven inch on the correct date 20 years later. The record turned out great.

Is it true that you did not contribute an AC/DC song to a Skin Graft compilation, in order to
avoid waxing nostalgic? Couldn’t drumming for an Adam Ant tribute band be construed as
slightly nostalgic?

First off, I don't appreciate AC/DC and I have no desire to be part of a project
that pays "tribute" to them, period. I don't like their boring songs, so I don't want to play them. I don't need to make clever allusions to bullshit. Drumming in the Antz was not nostalgic. It's fucking sick. The detail work involved went totally unnoticed of course! We were playing perfect renditions of songs that were never legitimately released! It was more about determination and discipline. The medium was totally arbitrary -- it was just an interest that most of the players had in common. We could have done The Eagles just as easily. It's not really about the "band," it's more about how much farther we will take an idea than everyone else. Nobody else could conceive of this.

(he’s right, you know: check out the Adam And The Antz page for more details concerning the
painstaking time and effort Weasel and company put forth into re-creating an entire band’s
history, music and visual aesthetic)

What is forthcoming from The Luttenbachers? I know there is ALWAYS something.

Yeah. It's sometimes a bit challenging to be motivated in this environment. The new record will
be out soon and we'll tour our butts off.

Are you satisfied with current Flying Luttenbachers line-up and/or sound?

No. Of course not. There are lots of new possibilities to be explored though. That's crucial. The last group went as far as it could in my opinion. I'm waiting for the other players to realize their own intensity and deploy it unsparingly.
It's really base one for this group again.

What I’m about to ask, these are very broad, possibly inane questions, BUT: what do you
like, and what do you dislike? About anything at all. Literally anything.

I like finding hidden jewels. I like "unusual" sexual practices. I like feeling like I'm doing
something worthwhile. I like being moved emotionally by things. I dislike the world and most
people. I dislike stupidity.

Weasel Walter

Contact Ug!Explode Records:

P.O. Box
82 Chicago, IL 60690-0082 USA


-interview conducted by Richard Jaspering, all contents copyright 1999, Richard Jaspering and Pie Records.

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