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February 22, 2001

GASH FOR A DAY! Also; FUNNYBOOK REVIEW: MAOW MAOW: A COLLECTION OF DREAMS! (Pictured top to bottom: gash bassist Yannick, guitarist Suhrid, singer Chloë & surprise guest drummer Nip Trembles)

Chloë's fed up flashing her boobs in the name of rock 'n' roll so I thought I'd alleviate some of her PR chores by offering up my own handsome kuh-nockers this month since I've been asked to replace Da Bloody Gashes' drummer for a gig (no joke). Dawned on me I'm almost twice these gash's age; I coulda pert' near very-well brought 'em up meself sucklin' on my ample nips, yes indeedy, if it weren't for the fact I'd rather croak than procreate. So when my middle-aged appendage muscles threatened to atrophy those first couple practices I actually considered (brace yourself:) exercising to get in shape for the show, but perish the thought! I soon discovered tiredness can be numbed to nullity as plainly as pain can; all that's needed was beer to well oil my turgid flab & placebo in me some adrenaline (not to say the excitation the songs incite doesn't suffice). Real drummer Katie swung her finger at me at their last gig warning not to get any funny ideas while she's out of town, but I assured her I couldn't even come close to her brand of pummeling. "I really like your drumming, it's got an organic feel to it 'cause you were there when the songs were being written… I can't fake that," I told her, "you're integral." Me & my big mouth. A scant couple o' weeks I was given to learn half a dozen songs on the skins + a couple covers when I've barely even tapped my toes in years. To my pleasant surprise, the studio version of one of these covers, (Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Gash") coasts on autopilot drumwise just like the catatonic method I plan to adopt throughout the set. They sure likes their cacophonics these gashers & so I plan to provide an unobtrusive, minimalist, machinelike backbeat (as if I have a choice) that's impenetrable for them to screech all they want over. Getting from A to B per song = priority numero uno: no frills, no spills, no fuss, no muss, like I like it. Cum watch my zombie beer-tits jiggle March 1st at the Barfly (4062A St-Laurent, 993-5154). Opening up'll be Mtl "freezone" allstars, NUTSAK (Chris Burns, Sam Shalabi, Andre Asselin & Howard Chackowicz).

DECOMMODIFY ROCK 'N' ROLL (lyrics © 2001, Da Bloody Gashes)

Long hard day, can barely stay awake, Empty pockets, empty stomach, cuz I'm underpaid, Long hard week, feelin' pretty beat, Don't wanna go to bed, don't wanna go to sleep, What's that crazy band playing in my head, I wanna go, wanna go to a rock 'n' roll show, If you wanna be, say no to apathy, If you wanna be, say no to the music industry, I pray to you, urban soul; decommodify rock 'n' roll!

My contributor's copy of Toronto-based MAOW MAOW: A COLLECTION OF DREAMS just came in. "How do comic artists dream?" asks the intro, "do they read your facial expressions as thought bubbles hovering over your head as you walk down the street?" Over a dozen cartoonists of drastically disparate styles offer up adventures in dream logic inside this handsome 64 page anthology. So far, most etched in my mind's a drawing depicting a poor little girl doing math on a blackboard in front of deriding classmates while trying to stretch a T-shirt over her buck-naked tush to no avail, from a series of eerie B&W single panel wash illustrations by Shary Boyle. Cute & mildly disturbing all at once (as are the rest of her splendid pages). Hit a nerve I guess. I used to have the same dream. Hasn't everybody had "caught nude in public" dreams? I dreamt I'd arrive at school in the buff but for huge pants you could peek into if you got close enough (pictured left from Sugar Diet #2). Some of the contributions feel unmistakably like genuine dreams recounted while others come across as the products of individuals simply working in a dream state (John "Corpusse" Ashton, for instance). An exhibition of submitters' pieces is presently on 'til March 17th at Toronto's Reactor Gallery. Besides 3 acrylic painted pages of mine, the book boasts disorienting work from Tim McGregor, Shary Boyle, Chris Hutsul, John Ashton, Mark Connery, Vesna Mostovac, Lorenz Peter, Jean-Guy Carisse, Marc Bell, Roxanna Bikadoroff, Billy Mavreas, Fiona Smith & a silk-screened cover intertwining each. Get it at Fichtre or write Maow Maow at 119 Spadina Avenue, PO Box 71, Station B, Toronto, Ontario, M5T-2T2.

By the way, I just reorganized the archives so that it doesn't take a half-hour to download anymore (where you can locate my purgatories alphabetically now).

February 15, 2001


"My dad, mom & sister were preoccupied with perfection & I knew that I was really far from that, being physically deformed. So there's a connection, me fantasizing myself being perfect & visualizing that perfection being female," explains Stu Mead, about why he developed a fondness for superimposing likenesses of himself over drawings of little girls under age 15. Speckled throughout this perfectly peculiar digest-sized book out of France from publishers Dernier Cri are what appear to be excerpts from an obscure confrontational late 80's Minneapolis D.I.Y. zine called Manbag by Mead & his former art teacher Franky Gaard, both part of decades-old art collective; Artpolice. Gorgeous, obsessive, color paintings of melancholic lolitas looking like subverted single-panel stroke-mag gags minus the punch lines make up Mead's generous portion of the book, some of the most disquietingly haunting images I've ever seen. "But… but… he's been officially exhibited," is what's rehearsed in my head in case big brother wants to crash down my door & haul my ass off to jail for proudly displaying Mead's gentle, albeit potentially incriminating toilet humor alongside my porcelain crapper. I keep Manbag at my fingertips there, because what better way to sit on the throne egging on a bowel movement, I figure, than by comfortably perusing Mead's sublime renderings of naughty nymphets nonchalantly defecating in breathtaking storybook fashion? His depictions of innocent, scantily clad, poo-pooing underage cherubs going about their daily routines while being secretly leered at by overage scoundrels are alarming, but in a brilliantly subdued manner that evokes pathos & pleasantry over (or abreast of, depending on your proclivity) perversity. True, his work's been exposed in small galleries, according to an enclosed '98 interview w/Mead, & it has attracted young enthusiasts but sadly not the kind that happen to fork over the moolah for original artworks. He's had pieces confiscated, only to be deemed legal once it was determined they were just paintings.

", sexuality isn't considered something cerebral. People are more & more scared to be outside the norm. It seems to me in Europe they accept more the idea that fantasies happen in your head. You can have ideas that you wouldn't realize in reality. Here there's no distinction on that level..." -Stu Mead on America

I first saw portions of Mead's work in Dernier Cri's incredible one-of-a-kind experimental comix anthology series, Hopital Brut, & he's even participated in their most recent animated film. Can anyone tell me more about him? Where can I find more of this mysterious work? Manbag came with several eye-popping fold-outs. Good luck seeking this rare artifact out. Try inquiring at Dernier Cri's web site. (Pictured above: roll mouse over Manbag cover to uncover a salacious sampling)

February 8, 2001

MY FIRST PAYING GIG! (Pictured right: 11 year old Rick Trembles pops his cherry)

"Dear Richard…

COR-gratulations! Your entry for PICTURE YOURSELF has been judged a winner & I am publishing it in COR!! Be sure not to miss the chance of seeing your name & photo in print. I'm happy to enclose a postal order for 25 pence & I am sure it will give you just as much pleasure to receive it. I sincerely hope COR!! will remain your favorite comic for many years to come.

Your friend, The Editor."

Actually, back in '72 I might've already mowed a few lawns for spare cash by then, but getting my gag & photo illustrated & published in this British comic was definitely my first taste o' cheap newsprint & I've been hooked ever since. They even sent me back the original paste-up on board with brushstrokes & technical notes intact. I marveled at the mind-boggling masterpiece for years, pondering whether I'd ever draw as good as this uncredited hack. I learned what "bangers & mash" was from the handfuls of tab-sized comics from England my father used to periodically bring home like Cor!!, Beezer, Dandy, Sparky & Beano. Some Montreal book shops made them available in their mag racks back then but I haven't seen them around here in ages. Maybe they went the way of Quebec's "anglo exodus." They were kiddie comics for sure but there was something less patronizing & antiseptic about them than their American counterparts making them more akin to playful newspaper strips of yore. Ruffians & hooligans like Bully Beef, The Smasher & Dennis the Menace (not the Hank Ketchum sissy stuff) seemed like downright precursors to punk rock. Shag-haired characters had glaringly explicative names. Hungry Horace liked to eat (bangers & mash) & had a picture of a knife & fork on his shirt. Keyhole Kate liked to peep & had a picture of a keyhole on her shirt, etc… "Faceache" could contort grotesqueries from his ugly mug rivaling Basil Wolverton & Big Daddy Roth's noblest efforts. They'd occasionally use these propensities to save the day but mischief-making & sticking it to the man was more often than not priority # 1. The first thing that ever sucked me in about The Sex Pistols was how they reminded me of such cartoon characters; shag-haired Sid Vicious was vicious & had a picture of a swastika on his shirt, Johnny Rotten was rotten & his ripped up clothing was rotting off his body (see my review of The Filth & the Fury). I wonder if they read the same comics. I obsessively collected the tattered things for the novelty of it, finding back issues at garage sales. I'm sure they're worth fuck-all today, they were printed on such cheap-o paper they're in shreds by now, but I still pull 'em out of my closet from time to time to remind me how the cartooning bug first bit me. Incidentally, "bangers & mash" (from what I can tell) is British slop consisting of greasy sausages poking out of a mound of mashed potatoes & "cor" = wow. (Pictured right: "Faceache: The Boy With A Hundred Faces")

February 1, 2001


Gravy was a mid-nineties Montreal-based punkzine that lasted a couple of years & for their fifth/last issue they went from handmade photocopied mini to standard mag-sized glossy-covered format, deciding on an interview with yours truly to help pad the thing out. I insisted on a written one to more scrupulously choose my words as opposed to conversational cuz face to face I'm socially inept (not that I'm necessarily any more ept textwise, but I thought endless revisions could help clarify things all about my multimedia modus operandi promoting "perversities"). The Q&A exchange lasted well over a year until the following inflated preface was finally offered to shut me up, appease my expansive ego & put a stop to the endless anal nitpickings I was subjecting the poor conductor to. Since this article was published 4 years ago I no longer have a "Bride-of-Frankensteinish coif" (dying light streaks up my Eraserhead hairdo was repeatedly infecting my scalp to drip puss by the cupfull). Also, since '98, I've been churning out weekly comix for the paper I chided in the interview for kicking me out back in the 80's, The Montreal Mirror. And in '99, the Vice Magazine I bitch against for censoring my work, unceremoniously booted me out on a phone message after years of drawing monthly comix for them for free since their clumsy inception. "It's unfortunate, but we've got to move along," were their final answering machine words. Payday!

"For anyone who keeps track of Montreal's underground arts community, the name Rick Trembles is undoubtedly a familiar one. With his trademark flip-down shades & Bride-of-Frankensteinish coif, Rick's been involved in one way or another for the last 15 to 20 years. He sings, plays guitar & writes lyrics for his legendary "band that never was," The American Devices, which has managed to survive since Montreal's first punk rock scene in the late seventies. As an artist he works in a large variety of mediums, including sculpture, performance, animation, poster art, short film, painting & of course, underground comix. Comix art is sort of the Rosetta stone of Montreal underground art, the starting point for a large variety of both French & English speaking artists & as Rick will point out, the place where they most frequently all interact. As Kary & Sam started to plan this issue of Gravy I jumped at the opportunity to get together with Rick & ask him a few things about his comix work. We eventually began to trade questions & answers back & forth (he lives right around the corner from me). He'd answer my questions & give them back to me, then I'd respond to his answers with new questions & so on. In the end we managed to cover at least a few interesting subjects, such as bums, Robert Crumb, poop, jerking off & so on. (N.B.: Much of the interview concerns a strip by Rick called "How Did I Get So Anal?," available in Rick's own self-published classic, Sugar Diet #2)" -Rob Schacter (click below)

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