This one time I asked this old lady who was in my work if she wanted her nickel back after buying something and she said no rather rudely, so I shoved the nickel down her throat which caused her to die of poisoning. Now kids, for my next bedtime story…
Ah, another story of my youth of which I must tell you! First let me set the scene, it was 1985, or so I believe it to be. I was a young, fresh faced man who had just moved to Montreal and was beginning to get to grips with life in such a beautiful city. It was there that I experienced something that would change my life: jazz music. I had heard of the reputation Montreal had for it’s thriving jazz scene and when curiosity lead me to delve into this scene I was immediately in love with it. Every weekend I would attend any possible jam involving several jazz musicians, or go to one of the many jazz clubs and even perform in many different venues spanning across the city. The jazz scene in Montreal at the time was also at the cutting edge of the genre, such as the growing “Jazzcore” scene which had captured the imagination of many, I even had the pleasure of playing with John Zorn once. As time went on I became friendly with a few guys who I meet through local sessions, slowly we practised more and more and became more frequented with each other until we became friends. This was the formation of what became the jazz group that I was in and performed with for many. The sound we pursued was one unlike anything that had gone before it in jazz. We combined music concrete, weird noise passages, doped up funk grooves, alternative tunings and stream of consciousness playing that transcends improvisation, all to make something completely unique and original. Since we were part of this thriving scene with it’s avant garde tendencies we thought we would make an impact and find admiration. The exact opposite happened. We were mocked for everything and anything we done with out music, some felt the need to even slag my luscious hair off! The rejection of something that I had put my sweat, heart and soul into was being openly mocked by these so called liberal music scene. With the bands back against the wall we took shit but stuck through hoping we’d come out in the end, even maybe appreciated at the most. Eventually we gave in as we found the harsh criticism too much and it was becoming difficult to find places to play at without being booed off the stage. I left Montreal in the winter of 89, disillusioned and without a home. A place that had promised so much had instead given me nothing and spat back in my face, and I was weak enough to give in to this. From that day forward I promised myself that no more would I give in to the cultural bully snobs who continued to persecute me. For Montreal broke me and my heart, but with that it made me stronger and was a life forming experience which makes me who I am today.
There is nothing more satisfying than running over that annoying kid in your neighbourhood with a big ass car and looking at their cold dead body afterwards.
It has come to my attention that there is a story about how I named my band. The story as far as I am aware is that I worked in a cafe and would often ask customers for their nickel back. I tell you now that is entirely false and I am unsure of how such a story came about and developed. For the tale of the Nickelback’s name is anything but this, as there is the real story of how my band got it’s name, and it is one full of sadness. Few will know the story of the Indigenous Peruvian nickel miners who, under the reign of the Spanish Empire in the 15th and 16th century, worked mining for nickel in what could only be described as hellholes. Whole families, villages and communities would be forced to work in these god forsaken dirty pits, where there was next to no light and the working day was 18 hours. Each worker, regardless of age, would be set a ridiculously high quota of nickel day in day out. At the end of each day the workers would put all the nickel they mined into a worn out bag, climb up these dangerous, faulty wooden ladders and lift up tons upon tons of nickel in these poorly made bags. Some fell to their deaths and for those who survived those years of torturous work there was one mark left on them, and that was the colour of nickel on their backs. This was due to small pieces of nickel that would slip through the bag and grind against the back when it was being carried by someone up the ladder, causing the back to go that colour. For that is the story of how the band got it’s name. I cried for days on end hearing this story, and so in the memory of those people I named my band after them to carry on their legacy and make people aware of their struggle. This is a heavy task on my shoulders, brothers and sisters, but it is one that I must accept in order for justice to prevail for those people.
I can remember in my youth, like many young minds that had yet to experience full existentialist consciousness, discovering a book by Nietzsche in a second hand book store in the typical college town that I frequented. My eyes gazed into those wild, maddening, deep eyes of the portrait of Nietzsche on the tattered, pre-owned copy of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, and immediately I was grabbed held of by that rare beast known as curiosity, calling me to delve into the works of those maddening eyes and into the soul of the fire. From then on my life has never been the same since. Years later I remember receiving a postcard from Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse inviting me to “Juggalo Island”, a hang out of some sort for ICP and their associates. After a long journey my eyes set upon this fabled island. The first site was like witnessing the Stargate sequence from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. For my consciousness had stared into infinity and infinity stared back on me (yes, a play on Nietzsche’s quote on The Abyss, my fellow intellects) and a world of opportunity that I couldn’t grasp at was at hand. The moment I stepped onto that island I was free: both physically and mentally. At this point you will wonder what Nietzsche ever had to do with Juggalo Island. Well, explain I shall to you, you of all the meek and the herd. This island known as Juggalo Island was proof that Nietzsche’s ideal of the Ubermensch was no longer an idea, but a living, breathing thing which was achievable by those willing to suffer and struggle through their own will. These people had been born with that spark in them which destined them to the path of enlightenment and greatness, if they chose to that is, of which was often thought could only lead to suicide or madness. These people also embodied the Dionysian spirit. For drink floweth from the gold cups of joy and people dance the dance of life! I would like to fill in and sketch the details of my short lived days at that paradise, but an end it quickly reached as I found. Long story short, I found this place to be not what it appeared to be and I only realised this when I awoke one morning to find a crocodile passed out beside me in the lake after having so much Buckfast. It then struck me that I had gone on one of these spring break events organised by the Insane Clown Posse, and in fact it was nothing like I imagined. I found that when not intoxicated, along with the others, they appeared to me as simpletons of the worst kind possible. Devastated and distraught, I left the island as soon as possible. All my dreams and hopes which were eventually realised were false! Oh the utter shame and heartbreak that my soul felt itself. My disciples, for I tell you the point of the story, never let your senses fall so easily to what seems good and true, for it may be your undoing!
All the Right Reasons came from reading Camus’ Le Mythe de Sisyphe in its original language when I was in Toulouse with some friends. All of the songs came from me realizing I was living Sisyphus’ absurd life, pushing meaningless songs back and forth. I accepted the absurdity and futility of life and became an unconscious being from our society. That was when I reached my happiness and that was when I reached my songwriting peak.
I have never been fond of Insane Clown Posse. The irony in their music is often smothered by the in-your-faceness of violent imagery and proud misogyny. For while I, the few individuals who truly understands their intent, admire their attempt to reflect society’s ills and horrific attitudes, I find that it often gets lost in the long winded diatribes against society in which they indulge in. Such a shame that the intellectuals of the today’s music often take irony to the point where they are no longer being ironic and are unaware of it.
Little did you know that I have made sweet love to Annie Clark many a time. For this is something I am rather discreet about as the experience feels so intimate and special that I would dare not shout it from the roof tops, but rather keep it close to me, like a tiny, delicate flower held in my soft palms to protect it from the sunlight which could cause irreversible damage to such a pretty thing.
John Cage’s prepared piano, Paul Lansky’s work with electronics, and the minimalism pioneered by Steve Reich are my main musical influences. However, as any good musician will do, I have taken these influences and skewed them beyond recognition. Hence, in the process creating something very original and fresh.