This is the second Reader Spotlight at mikeladano.com. Last time we spoke to Harrison from Australia. This time…it’s the man, the myth, the enigma…Holen MaGroin!
Mike: Holen, I’m glad you agreed to sit down and chat. I realize that you want to retain your anonymity. How would you like us to address you?
Holen: I shall be addressed as Sir Guybrush Threepmorningwood. Always address me as sir. I have a very fragile ego on account of my infamous pretension, and need consistent approval from my fellow human beings to function.
Mike: OK, Sir Guybrush…it won’t be hard to remember at all, thanks for that. Now there has been reader speculation that you are from Australia. Care to comment?
Sir Guybrush Threepmorningwood: Harrison needs to step up his deductive game if he ever wants to make it as a detective. I’m proudly a heartland American. Unfortunately I’m also in the Bible Belt though, so there’s a lot of evangelical bungholes here. My practicing religion is Transcendental Nihilism.
M: You’ve written some great reviews for us, but also some of the most bizarre. The Shining comes to mind. If I may be so blunt…what the hell, man?
SGT: I hope that greatness and bizarre intertwine. I’m not sure I quite understand what you mean, but I’ll put it this way. If you were a Blue Jay during a full moon on the last day of a leap year and you broke a bottle of water, what color would the sound make? You see? Now it is all clear, isn’t it?
M: Clear as mud. One of my favourite lyrics by the Canadian group Sloan goes, “It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.” Name that band for you.
SGT: That would probably be Nirvana. I don’t hate their music. I hated what they did by saying all the bands before them sucked, and Kurt’s “I’m so scared of fame that I signed to a major label and wrote a pop album” bullshit seemed so transparent to me. Nirvana does have quite a few tunes I enjoy. But their fans are a different story, especially back then. Any time a rock band reaches a mainstream level of success, they’re going to attract some crazy people. Nirvana certainly did, and Kurt decided to eat lead when they were still huge. So we’ll never see how their audiences would behave once all the fair-weather crazies just at the show for “Smells like Liquid Ass” had left them for the latest trendy group. It was those simpleton fans that ruined good music by deeming all rock that wasn’t hair metal at that point “grunge”. Seriously, any new band that didn’t have gang background vocals was grunge in the magazines. So a fantastically underrated band like Blind Melon gets written out of history because they’re seen as just a grunge band. Most people thought a grunge band meant a lesser clone of Pearl Jam or Nirvana. That’s why that scene burned out in a few years. The music was either a bad Nirvana copy, or it was being buried by bad Nirvana copies because everything was considered grunge now. Blind Melon put out two classic albums in their debut and Soup, and not many people have ever heard them because they’ll only ever be known for that single “No Rain”, which couldn’t sound less like them if it tried. It doesn’t sound like anything else they did. They’re not grunge at all! People categorizing things and forming groups ruins everything. I don’t hate Nirvana though, just the fair-weather fans that jumped on the rock bandwagon only to jump ship immediately after Kurt checked out of Hotel California.
I will have to add that people who worship Mike Patton piss me off too, they’re such fan boys. The whole “Patton is God” doesn’t mesh well with the fact that Patton is a total contrarian and the antithesis of a rock god. I love Faith No More and Mr. Bungle (Angel Dust is probably my favorite album of the ‘90s), but I don’t feel the need to suck Patton off for all of his zany projects of screaming and nasal whining. I just hate this whole worship culture. Worshipping stuff is creepy. Religious or not, having so much blind devotion for something just rubs me the wrong way. If you worship some dude, it’s like you’re trying to give the guy an oversized ego and elevating him to a status greater than a man. You can respect a guy’s work without spooning him. If I see a celebrity on the street I really don’t feel an urge to bug them. It just seems artificial.
M: As a huge Faith No More for most of my life, I totally get it. Do you have the gift of music? Can you rock an instrument?
SGT: I played the trumpet in middle school, but I quit because our band director wasn’t a character whose company I enjoyed. I can rock the drums okay, mediocre at bass, and I can come up with some decent song structures. I’m working on a single that will see the light of day hopefully by this Christmas.
M: I’ll look forward to hearing that!
I often talk of a moment of clarity. A moment when rock and roll suddenly “clicks” with a person for the first time. I wrote about mine in the first chapter of Record Store Tales. It was Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” and life was never the same again. Do you have a similar story?
SGT: I was into the rock in a casual kind of way for a while, just the singles and crap like that. I listened to the first few Van Halen albums quite a lot, but I didn’t feel like I was getting any kind of deep connection. It was enjoyable, but not much more. Then I got Permanent Waves by Rush and it all started to click. That’s still my favorite Rush album, every song is fucking spectacular. That’s when the album format revealed itself to me, and I truly took on the Kids in the Hall mantra of “greatest hits albums are for housewives and little girls” from their record store skit on The Doors.
I had a narrow mind of what I thought rock could be until I listened to Rush. They really opened my head because the next album I got after Permanent Waves was Signals. Signals happened to be way different than Permanent Waves. It had many more keyboard orientated songs and it didn’t rock quite as hard. Not nearly as guitar orientated, but I grew to love it because the songs were great. It opened my mind wide to diversity in rock music, and how it could incorporate influences from other genres and contemporary sources. It was also the first of many times I’ve pooped my pants listening to music. It was that good.
M: Changing gears for a moment. Farts: proud of ’em?
SGT: That depends on the situation and your relationship status. If you’re single and really looking to establish a connection with a nice girl, then it’s probably best to blame it on the dog. But if the two of you have been dating for a while, I say loud and proud, or as Pantera would say, “Hot and Heavy”.
Stand up and squeeze. That will single-handedly gain you the favor of her dad, more than anything else you could possibly do for her. If it turns out that it’s more than gas coming out, make sure to aim for the wall and do a terrible job cleaning it up. This will anger your girlfriend and she’ll ultimately just clean it for you. That way when you’re married you can shit all over the place and never have to pick it up, and you can still blame it on the dog for poops and giggles. Take extra care to miss the toilet when you’re in the bathroom. The more time she spends cleaning is less time she spends nagging. Just don’t get it on any of her things or you will feel the wrath.
M: Who’s the coolest person you’ve ever interviewed? How about the worst?
SGT: I don’t know about coolest, but I once contacted a dead guy using an Ouija board. He was pretty rude. But I guess when you’re dead you’re entitled to be rude. I don’t think I should tell you what he said because it’s pretty heinous. Actually, the body part of mine he wanted to use rhymes with heinous. Let’s just leave it at that.
M: What bands, still alive and kicking, do you still want to scratch off your concert bucket list?
SGT: I want Racer X to do another tour so Paul Gilbert can blow my mind with Street Lethal in person. That album slays, the riff to the title track is one of the coolest I’ve ever heard. So complicated and yet still pretty catchy.
M: What’s the last great band you discovered?
SGT: There’s this band that started up in the 1960s that I’m not sure how many people have heard of. I only found out about them because I read an article about them getting sued for this song they wrote called “Stairway to Heaven”. The band is called Led Zeppelin, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them? I don’t know if they were ever that big, but they had quite a few albums and a weird concert movie. It’s a fun time; you should check them out if you’ve never heard of them. You’re LeBrain so you might know them.
M: You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?
SGT: No, but have you ever rubbed another man’s rhubarb? Do you wanna get nuts? Come on, let’s get nuts! Honey-roasted preferably, those are the best kind. You’re buying, right?
M: I’ll play the nut allergy card. Thanks for doing this interview with us. In the last Reader Spotlight, Harrison listed the members of his “dream super group”. Care to take up the gauntlet and try your own?
SGT: Yeah, I can manage that.
Roger Waters – Bass, backing vocals
Geddy Lee – Bass, backing vocals
Billy Sheehan – Bass
Tony Levin – Bass
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bob Daisley – Bass
Sting – Bass, backing vocals
David Ellefson – Bass, backing vocals
Jason Newsted – Bass, backing vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Eddie Jackson – Bass, backing vocals
Derek Smalls – Bass, backing vocals
Ben Shepherd – Bass, backing vocals
John Paul Jones (he’s from that Led Zeppelin band) – Bass
James Lomenzo – Bass
Paul McCartney – Bass, backing vocals
Gene Simmons – Bass, backing vocals
Eric Avery – Bass
John Deacon – Bass
Jack Blades – Bass, backing vocals
Rob Grange – Bass
Billy Gould – Bass
Gary Karr – Bass
Flea – Trumpet
Glenn Danzig – Lead Vocals
Stewart Copeland – Hi-hat
Rick Wakeman – Keyboards
Bill Brufford – Drums
Phil Collins – Drums, backing vocals
Stephen Perkins – Steel Drums
Phil Rudd – Drums
They would ideally get up on stage and tour playing “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap. They would immediately leave the building after playing this one song. Hopefully one of the bass players would hit the infamous brown note and the entire audience would shit their pants. If Chris Squire was still alive he’d be on the list too.
Thanks Sir Guybrush Threepmorningwood also known as Holen MaGroin!