Sunday, October 30, 2022

Betty Bathory and Daddy Issues, plus Witchy Sister (and burlesque!) at Bully's

Aren't many performers I consider geniuses in Vancouver right now, but high up there is Betty Bathory, whose (main?) band Daddy Issues performed in New Westminster last night at Bully's (a small, cool, colourful venue down near where 6th St. joins with Columbia). It was part of a Hallowe'en "gore-lesque" event, also featuring the band Witchy Sister, so my wife and I went out in costume - her as Frida Kahlo and me in a Betsy Johnson dress she got for $13 at Torrid, done up in drag. 

We didn't stay to the end of the night, with Erika and I ducking out around the PJ Harvey song (I think it was) that Betty performs in regard to MMIW (previously discussed here). Sadly, my camera battery had died long before that, so I also missed getting pics of Betty's burning trick bible (wait, is a "trick bible" a sex worker thing? What should I call it - her burning bible prop?). I missed Betty being annoyed at us, as an audience, for missing out on singing the "Hail Satan!" chorus in the song about smoking meth. (I am hoping that was no more meth in the pipe she demo'd the act with than the poop she smeared on me at the GG Allin show was real poop. Actually, it smelled kind of similar to that poop - vaguely floral and patchouli-ish. But do I recall that smoked cocaine smells like burning roses? Hm). I also missed her flinging her devil tail around (a whip mounted on a dildo? What exactly was I seeing?), then tucking it into her crucifix-adorned panties (where does one buy those?) and admonishing the crowd that any injuries they sustained from the tip of the thing were their own fault. 

But we got to see a wicked mini-Devo set - Daddy Issues' cover of "Uncontrollable Urge" is a classic - and a killer "Be My Baby," which kind of echoed off a burlesque performance earlier in the night, by Angora Phobia, involving a baby doll. Angora (initially be-snouted and cute) cuddled the doll, then, stripping and screaming, violently beheaded it (and rubbed it on her cunt a bit: nice!). It one of the various "bestiality-themed" moments in the evening that Betty quipped about in her capacity as emcee.... 

If I ever interview Betty again, I've gotta dig into some of her originals - there was a song about being "touched inappropriately when you're underaged" that I can't imagine was written by anyone but Betty...

I think that the other burlesque performer I snapped a pic of was called Candy Cadillac, above. Between the sets of Witchy Sister and Daddy Issues, we went out to the car to adjust my makeup, and somewhere in there took a few shots of Erika's Frida costume, against the cool, shroomy murals on the Bully's back wall. There was also an interesting trip to the washroom where I had to tuck my dress under my armpit in order to pull my leggings down to pee. Female clothing is built for display, not comfort or convenience, it seems. And I got to hold court about my tongue cancer operation with a few interested punks while waiting for Erika to emerge from the washroom, after me...

Witchy Sister had a bit of an 80's metal meets Johnny Thunders vibe. The band I mostly thought they sounded like was Australian rockers Rose Tattoo - their ample tats would make "Scarred For Life" a fine addition to their set - but there were moments of Dolls, AC/DC, Guns'n Roses and definitely a bit of Van Halen in how the singer presented (he didn't do any cartwheels but had a bit of a Diamond Dave vibe). Enjoyed their set, but didn't make note of any songs - there was an agreeably sizeable amount of profanity in them, though, and the attitude and delivery was just right. 

As for the costume prep, amazingly, Erika and I hadn't even committed to the idea until that very afternoon. But Erika had her Frida gear already ready, for the most part - it's a costume she had used before, and she'd just stumbled across her wig in the closet (she made it herself, note, adjusting ponytails into braids on a wig she bought, then glue-gunned plastic flowers on). My own issue was simply a lack of commitment to the concept; I'd suggested we do me up in drag earlier that week, because - believe it or not, never in my 54 years have I done it before; but how much was it going to cost for a wig? How much of my body would I have to shave? Could I borrow a brassiere? (It was the one Erika got married to me in, it turned out, which had an underwire like an eight-hour long, slo-mo punch to the solar plexus). 

Truth is, I have always been a bit cowardly about experimenting with the codes of gender and sexuality, but when you have a cancer scare, you start thinking about stuff like bucket lists and things you've never done that you've always been curious about. When I was in hospital earlier this month, getting my recent neck abscess drained, and wondering if in fact there WAS new cancer in there - which is a perpetual possibility - I thought about death and things not experienced (and who was gonna get what of my stuff and what Erika should do with my ashes and things like that).  My specialist had really put the fear into me when he said he thought the cancer had come back, and the abscess was exactly in the area of prime concern (though it now seems to be unrelated thing - we don't know, but it still scared the shit out of me). And while "dressing in drag" was not exactly an item on my bucket list, is was something that I at least considered - do I want to PUT this on my bucket list, along with seeing Greg Godovitz, the Meat Puppets, Camper van Beethoven and the Young Fresh Fellows, and maybe checking out a Japanese giant salamander?

So - this is my "I'm not gay" disclaimer, here - though it wasn't actually a bucket list item, it was an item on the list of things I might consider putting on my bucket list. Which in fact I never finished, so it wasn't even technically ruled out. But I could cross it off my POTENTIAL bucket list item, amuse Betty (who I don't think recognized me until I took my wig off to air out my sweaty head), and give my wife a fun outlet for her creativity, so... what the heck? To paraphrase Fight Club, how much can you know about yourself if you've never once crossed a gender boundary? 

Happily, for either of our costumes, the only purchase required was a wig, which I got for $5 from Value Village about two hours before we arrived at Bully's. Everything else we had at home. It was way easier than I'd worried - once I made the commitment. 

There were, in fact, various things worth contemplating that came about from my night of dress up. I feel a bit more sympathetic to those few gender-subverters I know whose Facebook posts are nothin' but a cavalcade of sexy selfies, for one. I would generally deem that sort of behaviour "suspiciously narcissistic" even from a cisgendered person - you can only post so many selfies, and if that's ALL you post, well... - but something about crossing the lines here really does make you want to see how you look, to play up those performative aspects of gender. Do I pass, even for a night? Am I sexy? Am I cute?  I likely took the most selfies I've ever taken in one night, and this counts as posting them online... rest assured that I will go back to posting OTHER things now, though, having gotten this out of my system...

I didn't really try to fool anyone, mind you, but Erika did a pretty damn fine job, considering we weren't even sure we were going for it until we bought the damn wig earlier that evening. At the end of the night, as she drove us home, I looked over and said, "Thank you for making that possible," and explained about how the drag thing wasn't really a bucket list item for me, but something that was on the long list, say, of things I might PUT on my bucket list.

"And now you can cross it off!" she replied. 


As we turned onto Imperial, Erika asked, "So what is on your bucket list?"

I thought for a second. "Wanna peg me?" (Also a long list item, not technically a bucket list item itself, but it sprang to mind, what can I say). 

"Not really my thing," she said, grinning.

"But there might be poop!"

"Exactly my point."

"Jeez. Who should I get to peg me, then? I guess I could ask Betty."

Erika - who had enjoyed Daddy Issues a ton, and who I am very happy will no longer primarily associate Betty with the worst milkshake she's ever had, chuckled. "Well, she seems the type! Don't tell her I said that." 

I made no promises.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Cronenberg at the Cinematheque: Take the Skin and Peel it Back, plus Halloween Trivia Contest!

The last time David Cronenberg had a retrospective of any length at the Cinematheque, I got to speak to him for the Georgia Straight - a gigantic conversation that I actually struggled a bit with, because I wanted to challenge him about misogynist elements in The Brood, but found myself feeling it inappropriate in the context of an interview. There was one point, having done my homework - asking about his representation of women in the film, and whether Samantha Eggar's character is not a grotesque caricature of the female, the female body as source of horror - where I was entirely prepared to say, "Yes, that's the answer you gave Susan Ayscough in 1983, when she asked you the same question, but I don't buy it, because..." (and enumerate my reasons). But I chickened out, let the words die in my throat, because, I mean, my job was not to FORCE HIM TO CONFESS THAT ONE OF HIS FILMS WAS MISOGYNIST, it was to draw him out. If I'd pushed it, maybe he would have just hung up? If he didn't, it would maybe have made the interview much more interesting, but... 

I do still think, Ayscough answer aside, that The Brood is misogynist, and I actually did send Cronenberg (by way of the publicist who set up the interview) a long essay I wrote dealing with Robin Wood's objections to his cinema, most of which I overturn, but some of which stick, especially around The Brood. Truth is, I actually found writing that essay more enlightening and useful to developing my thinking about Cronenberg's cinema than actually talking to the man himself, though he was very pleasant and witty and an interesting conversationalist, the interview could only go so deep. The critical piece, however, had no constraints on it (like my feelings of intimidation or deferentiality). It initially ran under a slightly different title in CineAction magazine, but when I was going for my first round of cancer surgery, back in 2017, I put a few of my more important (to me, at least) articles onto this blog, lest they be lost. 

As I've said, Cronenberg sure has helped me come to terms with the aftermath of my various surgeries. His films prepare you for the weirdness of changes to the flesh in surprising ways, help you take an aesthetic distance from it - such that the most disgusting or uncomfortable things that have emerged from my body or been done to it have also been more interesting, worthy of contemplation - a sort of "that's disgusting, but just LOOK at it, it's also fascinating and strange. It came from ME!" (Go back to late December 2021 to January 2022 on this blog for lots of gross photos; I don't want to re-post any now).   

Crimes of the Future - which will get a free, likely VERY crowded screening at the Cinematheque this Thursday, complete with a panel discussion on the film - deals very much with surgery, and tumours, and "artists" who grow new organs that are a key to social change (one of many themes in the film that hearken back to Cronenberg's early work, from the parasites that are supposed to function as replacement organs in Shivers to the armpit vaginapenis in Rabid to the external wombs in The Brood - all three of which will also screen at the Cinematheque over the coming week or so, but not for free). As I mentioned in my blogged first response to the film, Crimes of the Future plays even more like "Cronenberg's greatest hits" than eXistenZ did, with Saul Tenser being a fairly clear analogue for Cronenberg - the artist who is ambivalent about accepting his new growths, who produces them almost compulsively but then rejects them and has them cut out by his partner, Caprice, as a sort of performance art. There is one point where they discuss the need to tattoo each novel organ, where Caprice claims that each tattoo must be uniquely "self-referential," tying back to Tenser's own work and history. This is the decoder ring I had hoped for, but missed, when first writing about the film, a key that the self-referentiality in the film is not just Cronenberg repeating himself (which is how eXistenZ felt on first viewing) but a deliberate tabling of his own art and position in society, and the relationship of his art to critics, fans, and bureaucrats. eXistenZ feels self-aware, Cronenberg consciously employing the Cronenbergian to deliberate effect, but it doesn't feel like it is about the Cronenbergian per se, whereas Crimes of the Future does. The film is so self-referential that it seems foolish to try to talk about the film at all without talking about the filmmaker; if I could revisit my interview with him, I'd definitely ask him about the sort of fawning fan encounters he satirizes in the characters of Wippet and Timlin (Don McKellar and Kristen Stewart, at their quirky best). I mean, does he get people wanting to show him their surgical scars and tumours and such when he goes out for groceries? (Is that, ultimately, why Tenser dresses like a ninja - because he's hiding from his fans?). 

And besides the obvious, aforesaid idea of the "new flesh" most memorably asserted in Videodrome, or riffs on the concept of Inner Beauty that were first explicitly tabled in Dead Ringers, the film is loaded with motifs echoing throughout Cronenberg's body of work. The umbilical connections between Tenser and his bed suggest the tubing used in eXistenZ. The thematic elements of going undercover - as Tenser does, as an expression of his ambivalence, reporting to the New Vice police about his infiltrations of the art scene - also feature in Scanners, Videodrome, Naked Lunch, and Eastern Promises. You have in Tenser and Caprice the idea of a couple in the process of reinventing a relationship based on their own chosen ideas of norms, which you see in Crash and to an extent Naked Lunch. The "Breakfaster" chair looks like a set element from Naked Lunch, perhaps (though of actual things shown in that film, it reminds me most strongly of the Julian Sands centipede-monster, for no reason I can defend). There is also the sense of factions each with their own agenda operating around Tenser, from the New Vice unit to the LifeFormWare technicians to the New Organ Registry bureaucrats to the art scene itself, which most powerfully reminds us of  Videodrome (as does the stomach-vagina "zipper" that Tenser has surgically implanted for ease of access to his guts). It's kind of dizzying, maybe a little narcissistic on Cronenberg's part, but has proven with each successive viewing (three complete ones at least, since that first, though also several partial ones) to have grown much funnier and more pleasing to behold.

Anyhow, if you're interested in reading about Shivers, Rabid and The Brood, I hope you'll check out the CineAction article that I linked above. You may also want to note that The Fly, maybe Cronenberg's most perfect "fusion" of the Cronenbergian with the mass-appeal thriller, will be screening twice, once on Halloween night proper along with a trivia contest. Having had more than  my share of moments in the last few years where I looked at myself in the mirror, as Seth Brundle does, and said (or at least thought), "What's happening to me? Am I dying?", The Fly has become an ever more poignant and powerful experience for me, a film I am very much looking forward to seeing on the big screen.

I might participate in the trivia contest, too, but that remains to be seen... 

For more information on Take the Skin and Peel It Back: Halloween By Cronenberg, go to the Cinematheque website

Thursday, October 20, 2022

3am health notes

Photo taken two days ago, Oct 18; friends have joked on Facebook that I look like I just got back into general population: "You should see the other guy."

3am - isn't there a Guadalcanal Diary song about this time? I've been listening to them an awful lot lately. Never made it out to see them live, was shocked to read that around the time of my renewed interest in them - securing cheap vinyl of two of their albums that I didn't have, spinning the hell out of Jamboree in particular (how could I have forgotten "Cattle Prod?"), guitarist Jeff Walls was, in fact, dying (Wikipedia is a bit obscure here but pancreatic cancer was a factor. Somehow, a ton of people whose music I've been spinning heavily these last few years - Zappa, Zevon, Guy Clark - died of cancer... lot of it goin' round...).  

Anyhow, Erika's still in bed. I got up to pee then quietly, using my cellphone light, made my way to the kitchen to get yoghurt and probiotics, taking a generous amount of both to re-forest my gut culture, decimated by the antibiotics I'm on for my throat infection (novelty gift idea: instead of "I Voted" buttons, make, "I Sharted" buttons). I have begun to have a sore throat, as well, and a bit of a stuffy nose, but they've lingered so long, without fever or other full-on signs of illness - no fever, aches, weakness - that I have no idea what to make of them. Did I catch COVID in hospital, perhaps when my neighbour/ roommate had her whole family on the other side of the curtain, none of them masked? (People mask in the hallways but not in their rooms, even though these are shared). Is it merely a mild cold? Is it just all down to tissues being aggravated by smoke inhalation? (We're in the midst of an unusually hot and dry October that has spawned several wildfires, and the air quality has been lousy enough that you can see smoke hanging in the air around you if you step outside). I have tested twice. I've told a friend we could do a belated Thanksgiving thing on Friday, if I don't test positive. I'm also supposed to see my cancer specialist, though I'm not thrilled about the idea of making him sick. He works very hard, six days a week, and his health is vital to the lives of his patients, including me. 

I might see if he'd prefer to do a phoner. 

Of course, speaking of cancer, one of the symptoms of my tongue cancer, both during the original outbreak and then the recurrence, was mild coldlike symptoms that lingered pretty much exactly like these are doing. My specialist, when I saw him a couple of Saturdays ago, prior to going into the hospital, seemed pretty sure that this was recurrent cancer. Draining a cup of pus out of me is no proof that he was wrong, alas: one can have both cancer and infection at the same time. I mean, something set me off, in there. 

Not sure if I explained this below or not, but the most important thing about this infection from my current standpoint is that it's going to delay my PET Scan by some weeks. My specialist was talking about scheduling one of those on second to last appointment (I wrote below that that was Sept. 25th, but it was actually the 24th - he sees patients on Saturdays) - that before I had noticed any lump, a sheer precautionary measure. They give you a radioactive dye in a sugar solution and make you sit still for a chunk of time before scanning you, because apparently cancer likes sugar and absorbs it faster than the rest of your tissues, causing it to glow with the radiation on the scanner or such (strictly a layperson's explanation, here, but you get the idea). But - one of the doctors who attended me last week explained - the infection and inflammation will heat up the area and make an accurate reading impossible for weeks. 

Giving the cancer time to spread.

I wonder if it bothers my specialist, if he thinks about it: he had wanted, initially, for me to have radiation and chemo. The radiation and chemo doc at the Cancer Agency balked, however - it would be too debilitating for an ailment so local - and there was apparently a discussion of my case in a Zoom call with a bunch of other specialists where it was decided to go with the surgical option, which left me talking like I do, now. If I'd understood how deeply my speech would be impacted I'd have probably argued for the radiation option - because friends of mine who had radiation for tongue cancer DO have miserable side-effects, from a lack of saliva to problematic dentistry, but AT LEAST THEY SPEAK CLEARLY. 

Plus now if this is a recurrent cancer - I mean, maybe radiation would have stopped it? The doctor could only harvest so many lymph nodes when he dissected my neck. If he left one behind that was just starting to mutate... it could have been growing and spreading since last December. 

And it probably won't be until next December - two months from now - that they can actually do a PET Scan on me (that's what the ENT at VGH said, anyhow; we were looking at eight weeks for the area to calm down). 

3:40am. Yoghurt done, pills taken, next antibiotics due for 9am. Should I even try to go back to sleep? 


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Movies I saw at the Stardust Theatre in Maple Ridge, 1979-1985

There used to be a movie theatre right downtown in Maple Ridge, in the area on Lougheed near 224th where there is now a Dairy Queen with a bigger parking lot than it needs. That parking lot used to be the Stardust, a single-screen theatre where I had my first theatrical experience - a traumatizing, terrifying, mind-altering experience known as The Wizard of Oz (those flying monkeys fucked me RIGHT up, and Mom and Dad had to take me, about five, out of the theatre because I was crying too hard in fear for poor Dorothy. No shit, it probably made me the horror movie fan I am today). As far as I know, that was my first theatrical film experience - which I have written about previously - but I finally thought, hey, I should list the other movies I saw at the Stardust. The Wizard of Oz was not first run, but the rest of these were; honorable mention goes out to An American Werewolf in London, which I tried to get into back in 1981, having already seen it with my Dad, but I was only 13 and didn't tell lies, so they wouldn't let me in. If there are others, I've forgotten them, but this may in fact be a complete list: 

The One and Only 78 - Rude Henry Winkler star vehicle, lot of kids went because we liked the Fonz, but my friends behaved badly and it pissed me off. Probably the first time I said something along the lines of  "Shut up so I can watch the movie!" 

Every Which Way but Loose 78 - haven't seen it since. I announced on Facebook that my first theatrical Eastwood experience was Pale Rider, but I was just wrong.

...And Justice for All 79 - first experience of Al Pacino? Liked it. Watched it with my Mom again a couple years before she died, liked it then, too, but she liked it more.

Kramer vs. Kramer 79 - Didn't really care about it, haven't seen it since

Escape from Alcatraz, 79 - not only was Pale Rider not the first Eastwood I saw theatrically, it wasn't the second, either. It's possible I saw this at Lougheed Mall but more likely the Stardust, since - why travel out of town, when you have a theatre that's in walking distance? 

The Octagon 1980 - shitty Chuck Norris movie. I didn't know better than to see it, but I don't remember liking it, even at age 12.

Hangar 18 80 - is this any good? Completely forget. Area 51 UFO movie starring Darren McGavin. I was a Kolchak fiend on the latenite teevee, so that's probably why I went, but the film is fog and whispers now. 

Popeye 80 - My first Altman!? (It's funny, because I thought I'd seen Nashville and Streamers on VHS, but we didn't have a VHS player in 1980, I don't think. So it might be I started here. Weird.

Ordinary People 80 - one of my first "favourite films," great character drama, still very fond of it tho' it's pretty mean to the Mom.

Fatso 80 - totally rude, forgettable Dom Deluise comedy. 

80 - probably my first encounter with Robert Redford and Yaphet Kotto, I remembered the maggot scene years later. It had some grittiness to it. Might watch this again, it holds up, though it gets a bit feelgood
...All the Marbles 81 - Almost forgot this one! Great Peter Falk role in a tale of tag team lady wrestlers, was surprised how good it was. 

Honky Tonk Man 82 - yep, Pale Rider wasn't even my third theatrical Eastwood. I knew Marty Robbins from my Dad's record collection but wanted to hear El Paso or something. 

Big Chill 83 - Another movie I was obsessed with as a kid, one of my most-viewed films ever, actually - still love it. I have never seen a film that so skillfully interweaves theme through a story with so many characters without feeling really contrived. Saw it before it played the Stardust, I think, on a foray into Vancouver, and saw it many times on VHS, but I am almost certain when it opened in Maple Ridge, having already screened elsewhere for a few weeks, I went to see it. Remember telling Phil Balcaen, my science teacher, that I went. He'd been to Woodstock.  

The Outsiders 83 - I remember coming out of the theatre and really noticing that my visual field had changed, like I had a hangover from the gorgeous magic hour cinematography. First time I remember having that experience. 

Maybe Jaws? - Pretty sure there was an anniversary screening of Jaws that I went to at the Stardust, probably the 10th anniversary in 1985. It felt like an "old movie" back then. 

Pale Rider, 1985 - If in fact I saw this at the Stardust, it was the last film I saw there, because pretty soon they were closing it down and demolishing it. The article I linked above doesn't specify when. 

Other titles that I saw theatrically, but maybe not at the Starlight, include Whose Life is it, Anyway, The In-Laws, Neighbors, Buddy Buddy, and Gremlins - pretty sure I caught all of those first run, but I was also sometimes going by bus to cinemas at Coquitlam and Lougheed Mall (now both also long-defunct) and even catching the bus to Vancouver now and then. Plus somewhere in there we got a VCR (1982? I remember Star Wars had just come out and that came out on home media in 1982, so that makes sense). But I'm fairly confident that I've gotten most of my Stardust experiences down here. I miss that theatre!

Good friends who want to comment are invited to list their own early theatrical experiences. 

Murray Action Interview re: the Dayglo Abortions Hate Speech: Nerds are Dangerous (in which we talk Putin, Obama, Shamu and much, much more)

The Dayglos can use some Canadian press, so my German editors have given me permission to publish this, the "long" version of my conversation with Murray Acton, in advance of the article running in Germany. Hope you enjoy it - note that it was written FOR a German magazine, so takes a bit of a distance from the band, explaining who they are a bit more than I might for a Canadian publication. Their next BC date seems to be in Cranbrook, November 5th, followed by a show in Hope, November 7th, while the next Vancouver show appears to be November 25th at the Biltmore, but I think there are more tour dates in November; I'd track them down on Facebook if I were you. All photos by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission. 

The Dayglo Abortions L to R: Murray, Marc, Matt, at the Upstairs Cabaret, Victoria, 2022. Photo by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission 

Not all punks have responded well to the Dayglo Abortions. Murray Acton, the lyricist, lead singer and guitarist, talks below about Jello Biafra’s early opinion of them; even despite his stepping up for the band around their 1990 Canadian obscenity trial, Jello found fault with them for the targets of their humor. Songs like “Proud to Be Canadian” and “East Indian” used to unsettle me, as well (though there’s quite a bit going on under the surface of both songs, which Murray and I discuss at some length below.) And one first-gen Vancouver political punk (who prefers to remain nameless) has expressed disapproval for how “aggressively apolitical” the band was on albums like 1985’s Feed Us a Fetus and 1987’s Here Today Guano Tomorrow.

If you know your Dayglos, no explanation is required there. Murray – whose punk sobriquet is “the Cretin” – has written songs about the olfactory consequences of feeding dogs limburger cheese (“Dogfarts”); has a song with a chorus of “I like stupid songs;” and when touching on topics that most punks – especially those sensitive to the plight of Palestinians - would take dead seriously, like Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, has done so dismissively, as the Cretin has a “bigger problem much closer to home,” namely that his shit stinks, in the song, “Fuck My Shit Stinks” (and if you think he means “shit” figuratively, like he’s singing about not criticizing others because he is too aware of his own flaws, how do you explain the line about his diet of beer and tacos?).

While, as Murray notes below, the early albums are not entirely without political content, things began to change in 2004, with the release of Holy Shiite, on which a re-invigorated Dayglo Abortions– from whom Murray had been absent for a few years—weighed in on America (“America Eats Her Young”), religion (the title track), and hostage-taking (no, wait, “Release the Hostages” is an invitation for the girls in the audience to show the band their boobs; nevermind). Their subsequent album, The Armageddon Survival Guide, took on social media (“Your Facebook can Kiss my Assbook”), and Barack Obama (he’s “The New Black,” which observation rhymes with “he’s got Oxycontin for whitey and the brothers get crack”). And while it is a Canadian tradition to be more focused on what goes on south of the border, politically, than what is happening up here, as for his country’s own shit stinking, he also takes on Canada’s Conservative Party (“Canadian Hatriot,” about Stephen Harper, Canada’s then-Prime-Minister, whom Acton describes as a “corporate whore” with a “racist agenda”).

 Dayglo Abortions at the SBC, 2019, photo by Bob Hanham, not to be reused etc

The band’s newest album, 2022’s Hate Speech, is even richer, lyrically their meatiest offering yet, with songs about white privilege (“White People”), the overzealousness of leftist cancel culture (“Raised on Chest Milk”), sociopaths in positions of power ("Sociopath"), the hypocrisies of religion (“God is Love”) and even, will wonders never cease, touching on the plight of factory-farmed animals (“Smart Food,” which proposes with darkly Swiftian humour eating human children’s butter-fried brains as an alternative to the pain we cause pigs, cows, and chickens). The whole album can be heard for free at - and for some very tasty guitar licks, be sure to linger on “Sacks of Meat,” which Murray describes as being about how we

are programmed essentially from birth to never reach our full potential. Our education dummies us down and punishes us for creativity, free thought, and individuality. All of the mainstream media has been co-opted by governments and the corporations that own them, and it keeps hammering the message home. Obey, don't question authority. If an opinion attempts to contradict the official narrative it is labelled “fake news” and called a conspiracy theory.

There’s even a very personal song on the album, arguably the most horrifying because it’s the most real: “What’s for Breakfast, Mom?” about the plight of parents whose children have become addicted to heroin. "It is a very painful and complex subject," he says, explaining that opioid addiction:

is a pandemic of greater magnitude than COVID in my neck of the woods, and the big pharma companies had a lot to do with causing it. Now everyone thinks they are our saviours when it is very possible that they were at least partially responsible for creating the mess in the first place then gouging us for their vaccines while they oppressed any suggestion of alternate approaches. And go figure. The vaccines barely had any effect on it and people are still catching new variants of COVID regardless of how many times they have been vaccinated.

It's all pretty heavy, serious stuff, coming from a guy who once wrote about dogfarts. [Murray inserts here parenthetically in his defense that "our early albums aren't completely devoid of social criticism and personal struggle," and he offers the examples of  "Bedtime Stories," "Wake up America," "Ronald McReagan," "Üsed to Be in Love," "I'm My Own God," "Religious Bumfucks," and Die Sinner Die," "just to name a few... I suppose that I wasn't as good at getting my point across back then."]

But Hate Speech is still very much recognizable as a Dayglos album, loaded with dark humour and sarcasm, as well as hyperbolic, violent, vulgar excess.

 Dayglos 2022 by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission

And Murray is an interesting interview subject, a born raconteur with a fast patter, laden with sound effects, vulgarities and slang (like “shit tickets,” a term for toilet paper I had never encountered before, or the Canadian tag question “eh?” – which Murray uses more than most other Canadian punks I’ve interviewed). He also has a tendency to digress wildly, depending on what he’s been smoking. I do not necessarily endorse everything he says – his distaste for Obama outsteps that of most Canadians, I don’t honestly know what I make of his regard for Putin, and I really just flat out don’t have a firm stance on COVID (I’m vaccinated, and have had it; would it have been worse if I hadn’t been vaccinated? That’s what we’re being told, but…). I haven’t fact-checked many of his claims, though the errors I did notice tended to be things like “The Idiot Bastard Son” being on We’re Only in it for the Money, not Weasels Ripped My Flesh, which is what he had originally said (I tidied that particular error up). Oh, and I don’t think Tom Lehrer ever got thrown out of Harvard, either, but Lehrer (alive and retired, aged 94) doesn’t respond to emails, so —you’re on your own, folks!

Murray and I spoke in the early spring of 2022, as the Canadian trucker’s convoy protesting vaccine mandates was winding down, at the East Vancouver apartment of Dayglo’s bassist Matt Fiorito, who occasionally chimes in and for some time practiced the drums while Murray and I were speaking, sitting right next to us (but what can you do, we were in his apartment!).

Allan: So we’re probably going to touch on things you’ve talked a lot about a billion times before—like the 1990 obscenity trial, or what happened to the hamster on the cover of Here Today Guano Tomorrow [shown blown to smithereens with a handgun on the back cover; it actually lived to a ripe old age at the Fringe Records office, Murray had explained to me in a previous conversation].

Murray: You bet. I was just doing this podcast with a guy last night—I love doing that shit. It gets you to go over all the things you think about stuff you have haven’t thought of in years. And the story gets better every time, too [laughs]. It enforces things, makes a few more neural connections; these are things that are important to me, and I don’t want to be forgetting this shit in my old age! So I kind of get a kick out of it.

Good, because this is for a German magazine, so they may need a bit more context than a local punk ‘zine.

Yeah, I know Ox–I think we played a festival they put on. I can’t remember the town it was in. But one of the funniest things was, you know how they tell you about the toilets in Europe? There’s some pretty old-school, weird public washrooms, where there’s an old Turkish lady waiting, watching as you’re taking a piss to clean up after you. And then you’ve got to tip her as you leave! Weird shit. And this fuckin’ place… the festival is kind of in an open area. And there’s this old building, and it’s nighttime, and I’ve had a few beers; but I’m just bustin’ for a shit, looking for a can [=a toilet]. And on the second floor of this old building I find what looks like a bathroom, probably: a tiled room. There’s maybe five people and a couple of dogs in there, and they’re just standing in the corner, drinking wine and talking. And there’s two holes in the floor, surrounded by porcelain, with a couple of handles on the side, and there’s nothing else, just… no shit tickets [=toilet paper], no water, no nothing. And the five people there—I go “Hey,” but they’re all talking in German and they just sort of ignore me. And I’m, like, “Okay, uh…” I’m looking around, and I’ve gotta go NOW, eh? So what the fuck, eh—I take my pants right off, because I can’t get over the hole without shitting in my pants, so I’ve got one leg off, and I do it. And these people are just ignoring me, chatting amongst themselves, and I can’t believe I just did this. And as I’m getting my fuckin’ pants back on, just as I’m getting my belt done up, this woman goes, over her shoulder, [adopting German accent], “Ha, no one has pooped in zat toilet in 200 years! There is a vestern one downstairs!” I’m like—“What the fuck! And they said you Germans don’t have a sense of humour…” And I’m walking out of there traumatized; I can’t even shit in a gas station anymore without thinking there’s some Turkish woman hiding behind me…

Heh. What year would that have been?

It was a few tours ago, it would have been in 2005 or around then. I can’t remember the name of the town; I only remember a few towns in Europe, the rest of them are like, “Kershploofenberg.” I’m not good with any kinds of names. I can remember ridiculous things that happened, like, the details like there was litter on that side of the street that I walked down, but I can’t remember the guy’s name that we dealt with there, or the name of the town…

[Matt Fiorito: “One time we were in Quebec and he forgot the place we were going to, and it was Murray Street.”]

Yeah, yeah. That’s what my brain’s like—“that’s a name, we edit those out,” so I just hear, “Hi, I’m _________.” [Murray falls silent]. Mostly I just hear “Blah-de-blah-blah blah,” and I’m like, “Okay, sure!” “Right, of course.” “Yeah, dude.” “Have a good day!”

Have the Dayglos toured Japan?

No. We got kind of a line on it, too. My buddies the Gnar Gnars from Victoria went over there years ago, and got a little a network. There’s really no money in it. You’re basically playing for a plane ticket, $10,000 of so to get a fuckin’ band over there – 10 or 12 grand—and then everything is phenomenally expensive. But their bands are just outrageous. Like, whatever: GG Allin wouldn’t have been boring and not even noticed. These guys are getting fucked up and weird and doing wacko shit. Really funny people, having a good time; and they love everything, they love the culture of other places. There’s something almost alien about the Japanese, and the things they do are different and weird; but they do it with gusto.

I was mostly thinking about the squat toilets.

I went into one of the airports in Asia there—this is super funny. The first stall I looked in had one of the European self-cleaning toilets that tries to clean itself if you move on it: “Okay, cleaning,” and it rams that thing up your ass—“I wasn’t expecting that! It’s a little bit hands-on, this toilet...” Then I opened up the second one, and [it’s a squat toilet]: “What the hell, what the fuck is that thing?” Then I opened up the third one and, “Ahh, a western toilet.” So I go in there and take a dump, and I come out, and just as I come out of the can, there’s a fuckin’ American guy, and he comes in and he’s hammered—he’s been sitting in a bar, this sorta business guy, travelling—and he opens up the fuckin’ first door and goes, “Holy fuck, what the hell is that.” I look at him and go, “Yeah, dude toilets here are un-fucking-believable, aren’t they. Just relax and go with it.” And he goes in there and sits down, and there’s this New Zealand guy, I’d guess, who comes in right behind him, and I go, [whispering] “Number three is a western toilet.” And he looks at me with a smile, very quietly, nothing said. And the other guy is like, “Yaaugh! What the fuck?!” screaming and shit out of his stall. It’s like… you gotta go with humour. Everything is funny.

We have a couple of things in common on that front. I’m a Zappa fan.

Ah, me too—I grew up with that stuff.

And Tom Lehrer!

God, he was so good, eh? I used to have this little fuckin’ 10”, weird little thing. It was from the 1940’s or 1950’s, post-World War II, a math prof at Harvard, got booted out of Harvard [see above]. He was a bit of a radical, funny funny shit, just hitting the nerves [with his songs], like “The Old Dope Peddler,” have you heard that one? Oh my god. And I like the one about the nuclear test zone, “The Wild West is Where I Want to Be.” It’s kind of a country song, it’s really funny. I love that guy.

Me too! What Zappa do you get into?

I got turned onto Zappa when I was a kid, my cousin had it—the first one I heard was We’re Only In It For the Money/ Phase II of Lumpy Gravy, with “The Idiot Bastard Son” on it. Before I even put it on, I’m like, “’The Idiot Bastard Son?’ What, he wrote a song about me, for Chrissake!” And I’m listening to this shit, and it threw me off at first, because I had heard about Frank Zappa, and that’s kind of a doo-woppy album, not weird heavy shit. But then I noticed that the lyrics had this major league sarcasm going on. That’s one of my biggest inspirations, really, the sarcasm. He wasn’t a big fan of punk rock or anything like that, but he had a way of looking at the world. In many ways he was not a particularly nice person, he had some issues, but he was fucking smart. He saw through everything: he was, like, “If you guys don’t smarten the fuck up, you’re going to end up in a world like…” Like we have now! He didn’t miss a fuckin’ beat, either. Amazing guy.

The snideness of some of his lyrics put me off at first.

Yeah, it did me, too. The one that really bugged me was “He’s So Gay.” I thought it was funny at first when I was younger, until I got enough of a world view to start thinking things through really clearly, and realized, “That’s just fuckin’ mean, is what it is, really.” It’s sort of funny, and if you look at the cliché’d thing in the gay community in San Francisco, It was out of hand, it was very gay, eh, but you don’t have to be mean about it! And… one of his old bandmates, that old doo-wop guy that was his favourite fuckin’ guitar player and shit [I am thinking Murray here means Johnny Guitar Watson], this old black dude, I saw an interview with him, and he goes, “I was Frank Zappa’s friend. Well, actually I was Frank Zappa’s only friend, because Frank was not a real nice person. He had a lot of shit to say, and he said a lot of shit about a lot of people.” He sorta summed it up. But when I first started listening to him was in the ‘70’s, when I was a kid, I was just an innocent child in the 70’s, doing way too many high-end drugs and having a good time: LSD, woo!

But Zappa’s badass and had some amazing musicians who played with him. I ran into the guitar player who played with him, the big black dude who sang “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee” [Ike Willis] at a coffee shop in town, after seeing them play. I had seen them in the arena, when Joe’s Garage came out, in the old Coliseum there. And just the next day, we ran into the guitar player; we were smoking a joint and he came out of this coffee shop: “Hey, you’re the guitar player from Frank Zappa’s band, wow, awesome show last night!” [Murray no doubt gestured the universal gesture signifying do-you-want-a-hit-off-this-joint” at this point, but the recorder didn’t pick it up]. And he goes, “Frank piss tests us randomly throughout the trips. Fail it for anything and you never work with Frank again.” And I’m like, “Ohh, I am so not working with Frank!” Scratch that one off the old list, there.

And I’ve heard of other people who approached him for autographs, and he’s like, “Pfft, out of my way, waif, you’re not here to suck my dick, are you? Begone!” There was a real nasty side of him. But a genius at the same time. You don’t get to pick your heroes, or pick everything that’s in them. You can respect them for something they’ve done, I think, or more importantly, disrespect them for things they haven’t done; you weigh it all out, you know? I suppose Hitler could have been a good artist, for all we know. We never got to see that, because he got kicked out of art school, didn’t he?

I’ve seen a few of his paintings. They’re not bad. Kind of boring, really.

Oh? Not surprising that they’re boring. He’s got a bit of a cap on the imagination, there, in many ways.

The Dayglos are a great guitar band, actually. Hoping we can talk about songwriting a bit.

Okay, well – I’m an old hack, but… uh, we try and be. It’s important to have a good riff for a song. It’s not, like, rocket science how they’re arranged, really. Essentially, you get a good riff—the song idea usually just comes first, it’ll just be kind of a melody line, a rough melody behind the words, the way they come in but you need a way to make it exciting as it starts up: “Da Dahhh!” Get a good riff, a good rockin’ na-na-na-da-da-da-na riff [Murray half-sings something resembling the hook of the Dead Kennedys’ “Too Drunk to Fuck”], a verse, chorus, guitar solo… Usually I’ll do two verses than repeat the first verse again in the end, or some shit like this. And keep the point simple. If you want to say something with the song, if you want a piece of information to be transmitted, make it really obvious, don’t be fuckin’ around and hiding it behind a bunch of weird riffs, keep it right on the straight-up and just put the thing there on a platter, so it’s just “blaaat” – so they don’t have to do an interpretation of metaphors and all of this.

I mean, you can do that too, sure, it’s funny, you’ll hide stuff in there. But mostly, just get the point right on the thing like that, and blammo. It’s a super-powerful way to transfer information to people. Because when you’re telling people certain things, and you start infringing on their belief systems, like, “I don’t think this whole transgender thing is…” If you start a conversation with a social justice warrior-type like that, it’s a fight; they have a mental breakdown, they’re screaming at you and shit. So you don’t! You don’t start it like that. You validate their beliefs, right away, and come up and get things goin’ really nice: play them a bit of music, la-la-la, look, it’s groovy, melodic, everyone’s rockin’, your friends are rockin’, and now that everything is relaxed and all the walls are down, all of a sudden, like a vat, you start pouring in all of this: Mwah-ha-ha, like mind-control. It’s exactly what the television and what everybody’s been doing to us forever, so why not?

I read you saying that humour is great as a way to get past people’s defenses...

Oh yeah. Standup comedy is the perfect example; the best platform for the delivery of politics is the standup comedian. And if you look at them, they give you about the most accurate idea of what’s going on, too. Because the reason that they’re talking politics is that they’re concerned about something, and they’ve done some research, they’ve looked at things and they might not be right, but quite often they have a pretty good handle, they’ve checked out their sources, they’re working it into their humour, and quite often, they’re more accurate than the news is. The news you can’t believe a word of it, not anymore.

It's become quite painful sorting out what the truth is, sometimes, finding sources you can trust.

And some of it’s important. Even in Canada, we’ve got the one [media venue] that is directly funded by the government [the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation]. Someone said to Trudeau in the House of Commons, “It doesn’t matter what you do, the CBC always make the Liberals look good!” And Trudeau—I didn’t even think he was this witty, myself—says “Well, I should hope so, I give them $100 million a year.” It’s like, “Well, duh!” I didn’t think he was even that honest, I was shocked. It’s like— “God, ouch, that’s the truth and it kind of stings; Trudeau, what are you doing, you should be dressed like a fuckin’ East Indian woman, or something…” [Murray is riffing on scandals in which Justin Trudeau was shown to have worn brownface at a party in his youth, and on his appearing in India in traditional garb, which invited accusations of cultural appropriation].

Where do you get your news?

For political stuff? From comedians! For American stuff, there’s this comedian, his name is Jimmy Dore, and Jimmy Dore is, like, uber left-wing; I’m a pretty social democratic-kinda-leaning guy, myself. I’d be well to the left, anyway: social structure support, the government’s duty is international relations and infrastructure, and making sure that everybody in their country is healthy and strong and educated; that’s their responsibility. And we give them tax money to do those things.

But everything else, forget it; none of this other shit do they have anything to do with. And that’s neither left nor right when you look at it. Except for - there’d be things that they have to monitor, but I think, really, an AI should be used for all of this, too, because there are no emotional decisions, just cut and dried, “what is the best for the majority” kind of decisions. Not critical issues where they get to decide the makeup of neighbourhoods or how kids go to school, you still leave that to people, but for big international deals and these money things, get a machine to do it, so it can’t be corrupted. You can’t lobby a computer! So it makes decisions at that level, and then humans do the other obvious stuff that requires the human side of things, that would be the best way to go…

But Jimmy Dore, the thing about him is, he gets independent journalists on his show; there’s this guy, Max Blumenthal [see note below this paragraph], he’s just a ballsy dude; like, he went to Syria, when they had the chemical attack. He watched the chemical attack not happen, and he was there when the UN went there and they found no evidence of anything. Lots of ISIS, lots of the fuckin’ guys in berets who are basically British mercenaries, pretending to be this volunteer support team; they’re setting things up for ISIS. They had done something a few days earlier, but there was no evidence of sarin gas, for fucksake, because there would have been bodies everywhere. It’s deadly, deadly gas, it would be residual… none of that happened. So the inspectors put this in their report, and before it could be released, the appointed head of that, related to the UN, told the Americans it was coming out and that it completely contradicted everything they were saying; and the Americans immediately had him replaced with another guy, who changed the report and said that it was sarin gas coming from Assad that had caused this. Blumenthal busted them on all of this shit.

[NOTE: Murray, reading through this, says it was actually not Blumenthal who he was thinking of, but Matt Taibbi of the Useful Idiots podcast - tho' Murray does also respect Max Blumenthal, and further recommends Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, and John Pilger as journalists he admires]. 

[Note also - while I just sort of listened to Murray through what follows, his views here are not mainstream; it is widely believed that Assad did use sarin. We may be going down a conspiracy theory rabbithole here...). 

What they figured probably actually happened was chlorine gas out of Iraq, because ISIS had taken over these areas of Iraq where Saddam Hussein had had chlorine bombs. So that’s what they figured it probably was. People had to go to hospital with respiratory irritation, because they had breathed in chlorine gas, but it was ridiculous to think it was Assad, who was like, “I wouldn’t do that to anybody, let alone my own people. What are you saying? We don’t have any of this shit, what the fuck are you talking about?” And he was a democratically elected guy! Did you know that while they were being shelled by ISIS, and the Americans were trying to engineer a coup, they had an election, and had something like a 90% turnout at that election, just about the highest percentage of voters you’ve heard of from anywhere, while they were being shot at for voting, who unanimously put Assad in power. And the US is trying to overthrow him: “He’s a ruthless monster dictator! He harbours terrorists!” Whoa, who harbours terrorists?

Like, where does ISIS come from? Libya, from you toppling Qaddafi… who had pretty near the highest standard of living of any country on earth. Their education system – they would send you to Oxford, anywhere you could get access to. They’d pay for your whole trip, accommodations, the whole thing, for everybody in the country: If you can do it, we’ll pay for it. Hospitals on every corner.

Granted, he didn’t take no shit, any opposition or anything… he ruthlessly got in power, and did some horrible things to the Kurds. I don’t know what everyone’s got against the Kurds. Because the Kurds have no country; they’re the oldest standing democracy on this planet, and they don’t even have a country. A real genuine democracy, and they’re nomadic and all that. And they kicked ass on ISIS. You know what they did? They were smart, they found out the guys who want to be martyred believe that if you get killed by a woman, it’s all cancelled [ie., all the promises of rewards in the afterlife]. If you get killed by a useless woman, you’re not a fucking hero, you go to hell. So the fuckin’ Kurds sent out a platoon of women against them, and they dropped their guns and ran for it! [Laughs]. Seriously…

Coming back to Qaddafi, I think I’ve seen Qaddafi and Assad compared, that the problem the US has with them is that they’re nationalists who don’t cooperate with US interests.

Right! You know what Qaddafi was going to do. He had a lot of gold, and everybody in the country got a cut from the fuckin’ petroleum sales, they had shares in it, it belongs to the whole country. And he was about to retire; his son was going to organize democratic elections, that was about to happen. And he was about to swing a deal with China and Russia with Libyan oil and start using gold backed-currency of his own, that he set up, and not use the American dollar. It looked like it was probably going to fly because everything was working.

Okay, so… targeting America – let’s talk about
Hate Speech. I love it, but there’s a few things that confuse me. In “Sociopath,” you single out Barack Obama, who—even if I didn’t have problems with him, he’s kind of old news, while Trump is right there for the picking, and far more current.

I know, I know—that’s too easy. But the scary ones… Like, I’d love to hang out with Obama. I bet he’s awesome company, he’s witty and funny and incredibly charming. And just bought. His soul is so owned by the fuckin’ people that put him in power. Like, he was groomed for the job. It goes to show you how real the American election system is. After two Bush presidencies in a row, and the fuckin’ Iraq wars, they were starting to think, “Jesus, we might just be the bad guys, here.” “No, no, we’ll give you a saviour, a black guy, a super charming black guy,” and it’s like [gasps in orgasmic relief]. The best one was, in his first inauguration speech, he said, “I hear it’s rumoured that I come from Bethlehem” or something like this. “No—I’m from Krypton.” And I’m just like, Whoa, this motherfucker is a total sociopath: “Look at me, how charming I am.” He’s like a narcissistic psychopath, a machine of success in this world. He’s ruthless, with a beautiful smile, like the fuckin’ antichrist, for chrissake. I saw right through it. He’s not a black guy. What he is, is he’s a real nice happy smiling face on a multi-death corporation, on the whole weapons industry. And look at what he did? Holy fuck, he upped the ante on the war shit, he started really pummeling everybody. They were in nine countries or something like this, dropping more bombs than you could count. And then Trump gets in after that…

I mean, I can’t even imagine what it would be like if it had been Hilary Clinton. We’d already be at war with Russia if it was Hilary Clinton. She was chomping at the bit. And she wants to use tactical nukes, she thinks it’s entirely cool to use some tactical nukes, because we can control the amount of destruction…

And Russia has said flat-out – one thing about Putin is, he doesn’t bluff, really. He’s fuckin’ hardcore; I wouldn’t want to be playing some gambling game with the guy. He’s very sharp. And he goes, “If you even use the tiniest tactical nuke anywhere on earth, that’s it, it’s on, we’re pushing the button. Mutually assured destruction. So don’t go there. I will consider that the first strike, even if you drop it on a bunch of pygmies in Africa, and I will push the fuckin’ button. So if you want to use tactical nukes, that’s it, it’s over, we’ve killed ourselves. Mutually assured destruction. Am I bluffing? I wouldn’t bet on that one.”

He’s ex-KGB, he’s like George Bush, the next generation, and he’s the richest leader on earth, worth $700 billion. $700 billion, because he’s got everything behind him. And he’s the only real opposition to this fuckin’ globalist one-world whatever-you-want-to-call it: “We get all of your stuff, sweep everyone out of the way.” It’s all so they can get access to resources everywhere without regulating them. That’s what this open world thing is, it’s not for humans. We’re not going to be able to go around and see everything like this. No, we’re gonna be put somewhere, and it’s not going to be anywhere near as nice as the rest of the world, which is going to be just theirs to rape.

And for why, I do not know. I don’t understand what fuels that kind of thinking. Like, what’s anything worth to these people? Money’s not worth anything to them; they make the money, for fucksake. They change the stock markets just to make them go their way. Everything is in their control, so it’s like, why would they bother?

The thing is, it’s such a fragile thing they’ve got, because all we have to do is just stop listening to them and stop buying their shit, and it’s over. But it’s an addiction, like drugs, I think; people don’t want it to be over. They’re like, “No, look at what we got, here.” People are sitting in poverty-stricken places, somewhere, going, “No, you know… I think [we’ve got it good]!” and they’re kind of buying it, almost. Like in China, for instance; people are behind their government, for the most part. They’re just consumed with it. Because they’ve figured out how to control people, how to make the masses all think in the same direction.

Going back, so – you think Putin is the last hope for the world against global capitalism? It sounds a bit like you admire him.

I don't think I said he was our last hope. But I think he is almost the last holdout. I know he went through the Davos crew and came out of it quite against their agenda. I don't think he is the unhinged dictator that the Americans would like to have us believe. I don't think he has plans to recreate the Soviet Union, but he has been quite open about not allowing the Ukraine to join NATO.

And I wouldn't say that I admire Putin. His background from the KGB and the fact that he’s become the world's richest leader makes me think that there could be a criminal side to him.

He does, however, make the politicians over here in North America look like they don't even know what they’re supposed to be doing. When they’re asked a question, they never answer it. Instead, they talk in circles in an attempt to change the direction of the conversation. They openly practice insider trading, accept bribes from their corporate donors, and behave as if the laws they make don't apply to them, and they never accept responsibility for the consequences of their horrifying foreign policy. They just double down on the lie. Putin at least knows the issues that concern the people of Russia, and regularly speaks to large gatherings of people negatively affected by trade deals and other world events. Often these people are unhappy about the way things are turning out, but Putin faces it. He appears to be very knowledgeable on the subject and talks to them straight up about it. If he doesn't have good news for them he doesn't bullshit them into thinking that things will improve when they won’t, but he does offer suggestions as to what they might do themselves to improve their lot.

You were expressing disbelief that Jello Biafra voted for Hilary Clinton, but, uh, I interviewed Vic Bondi of Articles of Faith, and he voted for Clinton. He was saying – I haven’t checked this, but I believe him – that Noam Chomsky voted for Clinton.

I'm a bit shocked that Noam Chomsky did, he knows that both parties serve only their fuckin’ corporate masters. But as far as I am concerned these people that voted for Clinton and Biden to get rid of Trump are either just blind followers or they are already corrupt and want to get in on the money by showing party loyalty. They thought Trump was great until they found out they couldn't control him. Or they at least gave him non-stop press, making his populist run a possibility. When it got down to starting another war, both parties were 100% behind it. When it gets to helping their citizens through the pandemic by getting them medical care or helping them financially, or rebuilding infrastructure, or god forbid solving the homeless problem, both parties again agree 100%. None of those things are going to happen. It was estimated that it would cost $20 billion to end homelessness. Well they happily sent $50 billion to the Ukraine, and they don't even know what was done with it.

Vic also commented that Putin was a “malignant force in the world.”

To call Putin a malignant force in the world after voting for Hillary Clinton is laughable. The crimes she is responsible for, and those committed by almost every president the Americans have had, especially the last five, completely outshadow anything Putin has ever done to my knowledge. For them to pretend that this whole conflict is all because of Putin is absurd. Any high school student can simply look at the media coverage over the last ten years to see how deeply the Americans are implicated in the regime change in the Ukraine and also that right up to just before the war broke out much of the media was running articles about the Nazi influences in the Ukraine. This is all just more bullshit to weaken any potential opposition to American hegemony by bleeding Russia for as long as possible and making big bucks for big Daddy Warbucks. They don't care about the Ukraine, or anyone else. If they did they would work towards a diplomatic solution but they just shoot them down as soon as they are suggested. They will keep pumping weapons into the conflict for as long as they can, and leave the Ukraine like every other place they go to: a destroyed nation no longer able to support a society.

Okay, let’s talk about Canada for a second. You mentioned Chinese obeisance to the government – did you catch that thing where Trudeau said he respected Chinese tyranny? That was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser.

Have you heard this Klaus Schwab guy, from the World Economic Forum? The Great Reset? I was watching him just a couple of weeks ago, he was giving a talk about how so many of the world leaders have been through his school, where they groom them for the new future. And he named Obama, and all these people, and said, “But the ones we’re really proud of are the new generation. Justin Trudeau and his entire cabinet are all graduates of our grooming program.” So there you go.

And Trudeau’s not a fuckin’ brilliant guy, he’s an imbecile, really. He’s just this, “I-think-I’m-so-important-because-I’m-rich” kind of elitist twat… And these powerful, successful world leaders are taking him under their wing, and are all, “Here you go, little boy,” and making him feel even more important. So he’s dangerous as fuck and it’s shitty, and everyone’s behind him. He’d win an election hands down if they called one. Jeesh. I can’t believe how fuckin’ daft people are. I’m almost to the point where… [Murray trails off and seem to contemplate giving up].

Like, I really love when I’m playing music, but it’s a lot of work, and we suffer a lot: we sleep on floors, all kinds of shit like this goes on. It’s not the easiest thing! And I’m 60 years old. I don’t know a lot of 60 year olds who could even fuckin’ handle one song on our setlist, let alone a 60 minute set, driving all day, doing everything that goes on. Do I really want to go out there? Like, I love doing it, but looking at the way people are treating each other right now, do I even really fuckin’ even want to go and entertain this shit? Like, what the fuck?

That’s kind of where Hate Speech is coming from, because everything I see is hate, hate. Fuckin’… “You’re a Nazi! You’re a…” Ridiculous stuff from everybody. It’s not really their fault, but they’re letting it suck them in and they’re getting manipulated by shit. Y’know - it’s distressing to look at.

The reason I got into punk was because of the celebration of the individual. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a good musician – “What do you mean, you’re not good enough?” It’s not about being good or anything like that, it’s about just going “Woo hoo,” and expressing something you’re not allowed to express in public. We just let her fly, y’know? And some of the very best bands I’ve ever seen could barely play a fuckin’ note on their instruments. I’ve seen bands that can barely do what they’re doing, but it’s so pure and it’s got so much energy in it that it makes it incredible. And I’ve seen virtuosos that just suck balls, eh? So punk rock brought a beautiful thing into a stagnated, elitist music world. And we fuckin’ thrived on that, until a few years ago, when all of a sudden, it became – “Whaddaya mean?” and the rules of groupthink started to encroach. I’m not going to fit in anything like that, anywhere, anytime, so….

But one thing that I really can’t figure out is that – I seem to be able to really just speak my mind. I’ve been letting loose on them on fuckin’ Facebook about all of this shit [for example, about COVID vaccines, more on which below] and I haven’t been cancelled. I’ve got people arguing with me, and I’ve started people yelling at each other, but at least they’re talking about it. I may be on very thin ice, but so far at the worst, they go, “It’s okay, it’s okay, he’s being sarcastic; we know about Murray, he’s just really sarcastic. You have to be careful how you interpret this.”

And I’ve actually stirred the pot, even, trying to test this. I did one [Facebook post] during the Clinton/ Trump election: “Oh my God, you haven’t heard the news; this is not that fake news shit that you hear everywhere, this is the real thing. I got it from – well, I’m not going to tell you who I got it from, because it’s kind of a secret, but you remember Richard Gere and the hamsters? [A popular urban legend of the 1980’s was that Richard Gere once had a rodent shoved up his ass for sexual gratification, as per the Dayglo’s song ‘Hide the Hamster’ – though the original version of the story apparently had the rodent as a gerbil, hence the gerund, ‘gerbiling.’] This is kind of the same thing, this is the grownup version of that, this is the real deal; I got this from an unnamed source, but you can trust those ones! We found that Hilary Clinton is running a daycare centre, and [lobbyist] Tony Podesta and her are in there, and he’s sticking babies up her ass. It’s like a waterboarding park for the babies. They get the baby in there, but they have to pull it out really fast, because babies breathe quicker than we do; you don’t want to suffocate it. And they stick It back in, and pull it out so it can get a breath, and stick it in, and… it just drives Hilary wild, thrashing its little arms in there, she’s just losing her shit, eh? And her husband Bill likes to have his babies drugged, though, so they’re much calmer, so they’re just going “num-num-num-num-num” with their little gums on his prostate. “Num-num-num-num-num.” And that’s the real fuckin’ deal – you can take this to the bank!” And the next day, it’s like, 1100 fuckin’ comments, shared a thousand times, sorta thing. The next thing is, I get a message from Facebook saying “We noticed that post you made yesterday really got a lot of comments. For fifty bucks, you can bump it up to a bigger audience!” I’m like, “Yeah, baby!’

I know people that were being banned from Facebook for less than that. I know this one chick who started a post with, “All men are garbage.” And then she goes, “…or at least that’s the way we treat them.” But because of that first statement, she was banned for a fuckin’ month, right there. And I saw that, and that’s what inspired me, the day after: “Really, that’s awful, let’s see…”

[Dayglo’s band biographer] Chris Walter gets banned all the time for rude memes. Wendy Forsythe [AKA wendythirteen, former proprietor of Vancouver’s hardcore bar, The Cobalt, and onetime booker for other Vancouver venues, who frequently booked the Dayglos] got banned for calling the trucker convoy “domestic terrorists.”

Banned by the bots!

Since we’re on the topic, a question about “Hide the Hamster.” I noticed something kinda interesting. I brought the album, and look: “Hide the Hamster” is missing chunks of the lyrics on the lyric sheet. The line about drinking rodent semen is removed from the lyric sheet on the later pressings. I don’t know if it was there when it first came out.

I wonder! The thing is, Unrest changed the layout. Unrest got the art, they used the art off the previous one, but they repackaged it. But they made sure everything was on there. That is quite entirely, possibly an accident, I would say. The guys off Unrest wouldn’t intentionally eliminate anything like that. They’ve done an awesome job on these. These are Czech Republic pressings, one of the world’s most prestigious pressing plants. They did our whole fucking catalogue, brought out Feed Us a Fetus again with the poster again... I was pretty impressed.

Do you still have a deal with them? Because your vinyl seems to have dried up, locally.

They’ve been working on the pressings, but I think the issue now is the lineups at the pressing plants.

Jason Flower has told me about some of the trouble he’s had with the Supreme Echo reissues he’s been doing.

Jason’s putting his back into putting out a lot of stuff out that’s not gonna make much money. But he’s just doing it to put it on vinyl. It’s such an awesome thing to do. Jason’s a rad guy.

What was that 7” he put out, was that pre-Out of the Womb? [Wake Up, It’s Time to Die, with seven songs, credited to “Dayglow Abortions,” with a W; currently out of print, but with a planned repress later in 2022].

It was in-between Out of the Womb and Fetus. Scott Henderson recorded it on the same machine that he did the fucking Neos on [Victoria proto-hardcore]. It might have been the week before he did the Neos album. Jason is putting out those, too, with the live shit – have you heard it?

I have not.

Oh my God, it’s got this awesome recording of the Neos live. It’s just a million times better than the studio shit. It’s fuckin’ so good – I was just, “My God this is awesome!” Billions of miles an hour. All I remember thinking, the first time I saw them live, was – “Wow! Easy there kid, you’re gonna hurt yourself if you keep doing that!”

Scott is in the band now? I noticed his name in the credits.

No. Scott was the bass player – he was going to do the whole album, but the thing about Scott, he’s had serious heart problems, eh? His lungs filled up with blood, he almost died… He was in and out of the hospital, so it’s a miracle he even got to do the tracks that he did. Me and Matt did the fuckin’ bass on it, and there’s a couple of songs that Scott really liked on it. And Scott helped out so much with the thing, we’re old friends, and he co-wrote “Drugged and Driving” with me and shit like this. So we’ve got history, and he’s a great musician too, eh? And he got out for a couple of nights and did the tracks at his place – we sent him the rest [via email] and he did his tracks on it. And it fuckin’ rules – he’s on “What’s for Breakfast Mom” and “Sacks of Meat,” those are the two he played bass on. It was really nice that the guy who mixed it was a good friend and knew the situation, because it was a bit of a hassle, delayed everything to actually get him to do the tracks and get them back so they could do the mix. But the guy who did the final mix, I notice he bumped the bass up just a little bit so it’s really quite prominent in the one song (“Sacks of Meat”). Fuck, that made me feel good! I’m sure Scott was very happy with what happened there. We’ve known each other so long. Now he goes, “Finally I can say that I’m in the Dayglos.” Apparently it’s a big rush!

Who is in the touring band?

Me and Matt and Marc [AKA Blind Marc, sometimes referred to as Blarc, the Dayglo’s drummer and the frontperson for Mutated Earthlings, more on which below; they apparently have a new album on the way, and Marc is putting up a bandcamp, so stay tuned]. It’s just a three piece – that’s how we started, y’know? It was pretty fun doing it with Matt playing second guitar, too. We had had Walter [Mason, AKA Charlie Goler] from the Golers playing bass across Europe with us. But, apart from snoring so loud that you couldn’t even deal with it, what really ended it was… on tour, things aren’t divvied up right on the spot, so much. You’re not thinking about that so much. But then [after we got back from Europe], we played a show in town at the SBC [=a resuscitated version of Vancouver’s legendary Smilin’ Buddha], and at the end of the night, they hand us the money and Marc’s counting it. Marc always handles the money. And when it gets to divvying up the pile of money, it’s sorta sinking in: “Well, this amount of money divided by three and this amount of money divided by four are very noticeably different!” [Laughs] And Matt goes, “Look, dude, I can play bass better than any of these idiots can, and I’ll fuckin’ do it for free!” [Laughter]. And I’m looking at him, thinking: “Yeah, you’re right.” And Marc’s all about the finances: “Yes, he’s right.” So it’s like, “Okay, well, we hafta pay Walter tonight, but that’s the last time.”

And I tellya, Matt is a fucking monster on bass guitar. He puts his back into every note he plays onstage, for real. And it’s hard work, we’re not up there checkin’ our goddamn fuckin’ social media shit.

I gotta go back and check something. I don’t know much about being blind. Marc handles the money, but Marc is blind.

Marc is the best of us at counting the money. I can’t handle it, I miscount things; every time I count it, I get a different number, eh?

Is there Braille on it?

Yes, on Canadian money, there’s a little bit of Braille. And Marc makes no mistakes, it’s perfect every time. When he says “It’s this much,” it is that much, exactly. He’s infallible on it. He’s honest to the core, one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever known in my life. Also, because he’s blind, he’s really good at organizing everything, because he’s got to keep things carefully where he knows them. And he remembers his routes: if you take him out for a drive somewhere, he remembers every turn, how far we went approximately, and he can pretty well walk his way back. He’s said, “If I didn’t figure that out, I would obviously already be gone. I would get lost and I’d die,” or whatever. So he had to figure that out. I’ve led him into things and got him in trouble occasionally, but apart from that, he’s the least handicapped guy in the fuckin’ band. His memory is intact, he’s not like me or Matt, we’re like, “Woo hoo,” we have our heads in the clouds, maybe would be a polite way to say it… no offense Matt.

Blind Marc with the Dayglos, 2019, by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission

Plus, this is the best part of it, these guys running some of these clubs are pretty shady dicks, and can you imagine trying to shortchange him? “You’re trying to pull a fast one on a fucking blind guy, dude? Like, what the fuck?” It’s an inverse passive-aggressive assault on the scammer. And you can’t barter with Marc: “No, this is what the agreement was, period! No, you can’t suck my cock or anything; this is the agreement.” He’s just flat out: “It’s got to be what it is. I’m not an idiot, I’m not dumb, and I’m dead sober, unlike these other guys. They’re funny and everything like that, but I wouldn’t give them the money for a second, because…” [Murray does a brief routine where he pretends someone is handing him the money and he is excitedly looking around for some way to spend it]. Whereas Marc is on it [=focused, responsible]. So he handles the money.

Are you on his bands album, the one with “Skateboarding Blind” and “Swearwords in Braille” on it…? What were they called, Mutated Humans?

Mutated Earthlings. No, that’s the first one. I was on the second one, Mutated Earthlings On the Fucking Moon with No Thumbs Dave, and the picture on the cover, we’re in a spaceship…[Blind Marc tells me the album was not actually released, but you can find the song “Miserable Midget” on Murray’s Youtube channel, where his handle is “TheCretinDayglo”]

Hang on: No Thumbs Dave?

The bass player. The thing about the Mutated Earthlings is, everybody is mutant in the band. Marc is blind. No Thumbs Dave has no thumbs, had horrible birth defects as a child; he had something like sixty operations on his spine, because he was born curled up, like his spine was in a coil, so they had to do all these operations on his spine to straighten him out. They altered his hands so one finger, the joint would go in a bit almost like a thumb on both hands. And he’s this little dude, he’s a pretty wicked bass player, actually, and he doesn’t even have a thumb. He plays with his fingers. And his humour – what do you call it, gallows-pole humour, self-deprecating jokes. And chicks love him; he’s just a dog when it comes to the broads. He’s like kind of a Tyrannosaurus [Murray mimes Dave showing off his arms, as if he’s talking to girls]: “You might be thinking ‘Thalidomide,’ but no, I’m way more mutated than that; like, I’ve got three legs even!” And the chicks are all, “We’ll have to see that! We will have to examine that third leg of yours…” [Laughs]. He does pretty good! Funny guy, good bass player.

But you don’t have any birth defects?

No, my mind was just so off-kilter they figure I qualified as a mutant, anyway. They were actually both kind of nervous alone in my company. My sense of humour gets a little coarse for them.

Yeah. There was awhile there where I didn’t know how to take the Dayglos, myself, with songs like “Proud to Be Canadian,” “I Want to Be East Indian.”

Yeah, there’s some weird stuff there, I know. One of the things is, “Proud to Be Canadian” could have been called, “Ashamed to Be A Canadian.” Like, the thing about the Eskimos [“pass me another Eskimo/ hold my seat while I fuck her up the asshole”] – it’s said because that’s kind of the way the Eskimos were treated by white Canadians, so why pretend they’re not? It’s not what I think. [Note: even the word “Eskimo” is politically problematic now, since the people it designates do not call themselves by this term, preferring “Inuit,” but Murray is not one for modifying his speech]. Each song is an act, like a little play. It’s like… I’ve never fucked a dog, believe it or not, never had sex with a dog, but I sang about it a few times! And I’m trying to make a point, to put a little idea in there – what do you call it, “Words of Mass Destruction,” WMD’s coming in at you.

And “East Indian,” well, for starters, my grandfather, my Mom’s dad, was born in Rawalpindi, India. But also, I really love Indian music. I always have, the weird spiritual link with the music is just mindblowing. Really into that. But then, early into punk rock, right at the beginning of the Dayglos, we’re driving by this high school in Victoria and spray painted in huge letters down the side of their gymnasium is, “Punk rock is East Indian,” and they’ve spelled “Indian” I-N-D-E-A-N, eh? Like, even that’s wrong. [Murray describes his reaction in his Bandcamp notes for the song by saying that it was the kind of “ignorant moronic racist stupidity that had to immortalized”]. I was like, “Wow, that does not make a lot of sense. But I get the jist of it: they hate East Indians, but they hate punk rock even more.” Because these were jocks, this is 1980 or so, and punk was not popular. That’s one of the reasons I have so many Native Indian friends, because I think we got knocked down just one rung below them on the social ladder, pretty well, for being punks.

And the only place they would let us play was the gay bars; so we’ve all kinds of background there, too. I have good old friends that were the owners of these gay bars, scene-building people. I’ve got a pretty open-minded, all-inclusive world view, as my humour is all-inclusive. I think I mentioned that on one of those albums: “If you feel you are part of a social group or religion or culture that was not fairly represented on this record, I’d like to know about it; let me know, and I’ll make sure I give you double on the next one.”

But I’ve been misinterpreted before, and I’ll be misinterpreted again…

In “Raised on Chest Milk,” there’s a line about how “you’re even telling gay people that they’re homophobic.” Was there a specific incident that was referring to?

Yes, I could tell you a specific incident… I can’t remember the guy’s name, he had sort of a Russian name. It had something to do with “tits,” his name, something like “Bigtitsov,” or something like this. Not exactly – that’s just my mind; I’m not good with names, as I said. But there was this guy, a right-wing, pro-fuckin’-Trump guy, queer as a three dollar bill, and he bragged about it, bragged about harsh gay stuff, about how gay he was, how he flaunted it: a militant homosexual, essentially. But really right wing, for reasons that were quite logical, because it was a constitutional thing about the individual and freedom of expression. He felt like the left were really kind of steamrolling over those, and in the guise of doing that, were doing quite the opposite. One thing was shutting down speakers like Richard Dawkins, who had a bit of a funny stance on gay things. He’d show up at a lecture at a university, and the social justice warriors who got offended by him somehow would get in there, and he’d try to speak and they’d shout, “SHUT UP NAZI! GBLARGGGH! FUCKIN’ HOMOPHOBIC GBLARGGGH!” And this guy was really opposed to that shit, and started speaking out against it; and they attacked him – “You homophobic supporter of Nazi whatever! Blah-be-da-blah-blah-blah!” He was open about his politics, and his reasons made sense; and even though I didn’t agree with his political decisions, I definitely had to say – “Who is the rational person here? Who is behaving appropriately?”

So let’s say you’ve got a debate: “I present my theory;” and the other guy goes, “Well, I have data that contradicts your theory.” Do you go, “Okay, well, let’s look at your data and we’ll test it against my theory” or do you go, “Nazi racist bastard! Get out of sight!” That reaction makes me think that somebody doesn’t want their theory to be tested, because they can’t defend it. But for some reason, that’s now the way you respond to people!

Have you had extreme responses?

I’ve had people try. But I know what’s going on here, eh? The big thing is to go, “Dude, no, you’re misinterpreting something. I completely support you on all that shit that you’re saying, 100%... to a degree.” I just believe, as Martin Luther King said, you cannot judge a person by their clothing, the colour of their skin, what they look like. And it’s not your business what someone’s gender preferences are. Like, the transgender thing – for some people, it’s like, “Okay, he obviously wasn’t born a woman,” but just out of respect for an individual, would you just not want to infuriate the guy? He’s not asking you to get in the sack with him, he’s just saying, “Treat me like a woman, call me this.” It’s not a fucking huge leap. Surely we have bigger fish to fry around here somewhere?

A lawyer buddy of mine got into the whole thing in court, and there are places where it’s just ridiculous, like having to always to refer to a person in court, which is a formal area, by their preferred gender; and you’re not allowed to ask what it is, you sort of just have to be able to tell what it is… So some things are ridiculous. But one-on-one, why can’t you just be polite to people? We can solve all of these problems. I wrote a song, it goes: “I’ve got a plan/ It’s going to be easy/ Not a whole lot of work/ It’s going to save the world/ Because if you notice/ We spend all our energy, just about/ being dicks, being assholes/ when it is so much easier to be nice, so much easier to be nice to your friends and your neighbours/ Help someone out, it will make you feel so good/ Turn that frown upside-down. Be a guiding light for all to follow/ Instead of persecuting those that aren’t.” And that’s it. Just hold a door open for an old broad, whatever - that’s the punkest shit on earth, for a guy with a big huge Mohawk to turn around and hold the door open for someone. Show grace and fuckin’ respect for each other, and everything is solved, right there. Because there’s more than enough to go around.

So what were you thinking of in particular when you entitled the album Hate Speech?

Hate Speech? That was because almost everything was turning into hate speech. It didn’t matter if you said a good thing or a bad thing. And there’s so much projected hate going in the world right now, where it’s not just “I disagree with you” but it’s, “I don’t just disagree with you, I hate you!” It’s like, “What the fuck?” So [on the album] we’ve got nine scenarios of hatred, and then kind of a thing at the end [“Calling All People”] where I’m just, “I don’t have a solution of anything like that, but really, we’ve got to fuckin’…”

Some of them, like “Raised on Chest Milk,” I actually thought were kind of witty: just, “You’ve got to toughen up, buttercup, because the world’s not going to be kissing your butt every time you turn around.” And this thing about free speech, that doesn’t mean, “Free speech for you and everyone who agrees with you,” it means, you’ve gotta give Donald Trump his Twitter account back and shit like that. Everybody gets it. And as for the thing with the Nazi skinhead white-power shit: you can’t hate away the haters. If you want to get rid of them, give them a microphone, because their position is un-defendable. You want to solve these issues and get close to the truth, honesty and open debate is the way that it happens. There is no, “You speak, I’ll scream” shit, like this. As Jello Biafra so pointedly put it the other day, “What we need is empathy in conversation and dialogue.” You can’t be confrontational in conversation all the time, especially now when people are so sensitive. You’ve got to drive it with empathy, and actually listen to them and care about what they’re saying, and if you disagree with it, explain why. But we’re all entitled to think what we think… So you’ve got to be a little bit more gracious.

And I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit of a bully in conversation at times; I’ve been accused of being a bit of an over-talker and whatever, I personally wouldn’t want to meet myself. I would hate myself, to be stuck in the same room with myself [chuckles]…

But I gotta admit, that was good for Jello. He's taken some weird sides on things, like, “We’ve got to vote for Hilary Clinton” is what he told me during Punk Rock Bowling, and I was like, “Jesus, dude, you gotta go back to Punk Rock Academy, there, and take some refresher courses, because wow, they’re both on the same side, what are you talking about, vote for one or the other?” But he was swept right up. But Hilary Clinton is going to get us in a nuclear war as fast as she possibly can, and Donald Trump is a deranged, narcissistic psychopath. Way to go, you leaders of the free world – I think there might be something wrong with your democracy, if this is the best you can come up with!

Jello once said you laughed at the wrong things, right?

That’s right. He said I made fun of the wrong things. I’ve sort of had a mixed relationship with Jello. He played the benefit show for the Dayglos when we got busted in the censorship thing – he sang for Nomeansno when they did The Sky is Falling And I Want My Mommy. Awesome fuckin’ show at the Commodore. And I got up and sang “Stupid Songs” with them that night. And I’d known about Jello for awhile, eh? But anyways, he fuckin’ refused to shake my hand that night. I had said, “I want to thank you! I know you’re not a big fan, but still, it’s not about me – it’s about the importance of the issue.” And he goes, [sneeringly] “I know who you are" and put his hands in his pockets, and I was like, “Well, fuck you, then, eh?”

But he's been really cool at other times; he’s an eccentric, fuckin’ weird dude… The guy who was really hard on me was Tim Yohannan of Maximum Rock’n Roll. He was a really political guy, and good friends with Jello. He ran a Maximum Rock n’ Roll radio show, and interviewed me three or four times on the show. And every time, It was a debate: Should we self-censor ourselves at a certain point? Should there be a limit to the things we say? He goes, “I know what you’re doing, and I understand the sarcasm and the humour, but some of your stuff is a little vague, and some of it is this and that…” I said, “Yeah, I know, I know. I’m getting better as I go along, for one thing. But there’s a lot limitations on expressing anything in the form of a song – you only have so many syllables, they’ve got to rhyme, all kinds of shit.” But anyway, I said, “Really I’m just seeing something in the world and portraying it, which is usually something that I see that’s an irritant: I’m going against the injustices I see in the world, and putting them there to be interpreted. And I think if I were to censor it in any way, I mean – like, I’m not sure where it comes from; it might just be coming into my head from outer space, for all I know; ideas just pop into my head. And if I were to censor it in any way, I’d be doing a disservice to the world, surely. I don’t have the right to change it. Because essentially it is a version of reality that warrants [expression].”

And [that goes for] the arts too. The art gets weird when a society starts to crumble; their art goes fucked up. Look at some of the Aztec shit – pictures of mutilations and some of the most horrifying atrocities that you can ever imagine, because of the way people can get under certain circumstances, this mass psychosis…

This guy [at this point, I’m holding on for dear life just to keep up and never get around to asking who, but I think Murray may mean Mattias Desmet], has a theory about what’s going on and why the world behaves this way… if society gets to a point where relationships are broken, people don’t have a lot of close relationships, their family ties are all broken or destroyed – and it was not accidental, that this happened; they wanted both parties working, to have more of a labour force. And so all of these things are fragmented, and people feel very isolated and alone, and it’s very difficult to get meaningful relationships set up. Then a big stressor comes in, eh? And there’s been one after another of those since 9/11… And if a stress-relief suggestion can be offered to the people right at this moment as the stressor comes in, like “the War on Terrorism,” or something that focuses their thoughts – then boom, it will trigger them into this hypnotized mass-psychosis state, because it relieves the stress they’re feeling, this vague thing from their situations. All of a sudden, they’ve got something to lock onto as a group. And they will. At those moments they will commit the most horrifying atrocities and be completely rationalized in doing it, like the Cultural Revolution in China and Nazi Germany, when the Nazis came in.

And right now in the entire western world, we are in this state. And he [the unnamed person Murray is citing] goes, “Not only that, lots of people are aware of this, and there are forces that control media that are using this phenomenon, and the state that the world is in, to manipulate, like waves, the direction that people go, at the behest of multi-national corporations, purely for profit.” And disregarding the outcome – it’s irrelevant, because corporations are not human beings. These corporations – once you have a group of people organized and all doing the same thing, it becomes a self-aware entity at a point, that will actually pass the Turing Test for a sentient lifeform. Even though it’s not in our dimension, this vague thing that lives in the stock market, it’s still an entity of incredible power.

And what entities do, once they become self-aware, they defend themselves, they acquire their food source and defend it, and they fucking breed and get bigger and multiply. And if you watch these corporations, that’s what they do. They don’t live in our world. They don’t care about us at all. The individuals in there may or may not, but they don’t have much control over the direction of the entity, at a certain point, once it becomes aware. It’s like a monster, eh?

Actually, I have a science fiction story that I want to write about this, because this is kind of my own theory, in a way, too, about the way things are. It’s called “Awakening.” And what happens is, this reporter starts studying these companies, and wondering why they’re doing what they do, and this is what he figures out, “My God, they’ve become self-aware.” And there’s this one military defense company in particular that has AI robots pretty well running the company now. That’s how far it’s gone: it’s only got a couple of employees, and they’re all security guards and, y’know, a PR person or something; everything else is all automated. And it’s fully aware of what’s going on. And he [the reporter] is going – “Oh my god… Where does sentience come in?” Like, they’ve got machines that seem pretty smart, but they’re not, they’re just machines, they’re executing something they’re programmed to do, but they’re not making it up on their own, eh? But all of a sudden, with all of those machines working together… Sentience might not be as tightly in the flesh as we think it is, y’see. And they come alive, and it’s about this guy battling them. I’ve got all kind of room in there for all kinds of weird stories…

It sounds like the corporate version of “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.”

Influenced by that book heavily! Yeah, Harlan Ellison – one of the very best post-apocalyptic, nihilistic future dystopian dream/ nightmares. Whoa, that’s a good one… the computer…

So coming back to self-censorship, are there any Dayglos songs that you don’t perform anymore, because you went too far, got it wrong, said something you shouldn’t have said…?

There’s songs that I won’t play in certain company, because I know that they’re not going to appreciate it and that it would be treading on toes very heavily. So, like one of the not-so-early songs is “The New Black,” off The Armageddon Survival Guide. I will not play that down in the States, because my views on Barack Obama are one thing, but that’s not really a shared view down there. And people are not going to hear what I’m really doing. It takes an awful long time to explain what I really mean, compared to what that might come across as on first glance. And… I’m not foolish…

It's like, go to Nunavut [Canada’s Inuit territory] and play “Proud to be Canadian,” it’s not going to go over well at all.

Well, “Proud to be Canadian,” I get away with it! Like, we played down through Portland and Eugene, the hotbed of the social justice movement. We played in this bar, I think it was in Eugene, and – fuck, the first thing I notice when we get in there is this huge sign behind the bar that says, “This is my safe space.” I’m like, “Okay, I’ve heard about this.” And then I meet the woman that runs the bar. She was a little gruff at first - big lesbian woman, a little gruff. She seemed like a good person, wasn’t being hating or anything, but she was standoffish a little bit… Anyways, [the gig starts] and I’m looking at the backup band. I notice that the bass player, a really tough-looking punk chick, is not wearing a shirt, and like, daring you to stare at her tits. I’m thinking, “It’s okay baby, I can do it from the side of the room where nobody can tell,” but I can see what’s going on there. [Then we start to play]. It was packed, and a lot of people in the audience knew a lot of stuff about the songs. There was a bit of banter, sometimes. And then we get to “Proud to be Canadian.” But they’re rocking, they’re laughing, they’re joking. And I’m being very polite, eh? I know where I am, and at the end of “Proud to be Canadian,” the first real quip, she [it is unclear which woman Murray means] goes, “You’re making fun of Eskimos!” “Whoa, whoa, hold it a minute,” I say. “For starters, you ever met an Eskimo? I’ll tell you something about Eskimos. All the stupid Eskimos died off a hundred generations ago. I tell you, the Eskimos are the smartest motherfuckin’ people on this planet, because they have to be. They live in a really harsh environment. They are so fuckin’ tough, and the shit they can pull off is terrifying. If you think I’m making fun of Eskimos… I’m talking about the ice cream sandwich of love, baby, one below and one above, y’know what I mean? And I’m the ice cream!” They start laughing, and I’m going “I’m making fun of myself here.”

This is a big difference between you and Frank Zappa.

Oh, he’s got no problem making fun of people, and he’s not being nice about it. I know. I don’t want to hurt their feelings, I’ve got nothing… Eskimos, I’m telling the truth there. They’re fuckin’ geniuses, all of them - the ones that haven’t been sniffin’ a lot of gas. That’s a little hard on the IQ, there…

Have you played Nunavut?

No, I wish. We’ve played up north, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories and shit. Haven’t made it to Nunavut. Metallica played there. I heard for awhile that if you had a couple of kilos of really good weed, the chief in Nunavut would arrange for your plane ticket, because it’s difficult to get a flight there, even, and it’s otherwise astronomically expensive. But if you were bringing a bunch of really good weed with you, he was all over it… but now they’re growing their own there, so…

Matt grew up in Frobisher Bay, which is – what’s Frobisher Bay called now?

[Matt stops drumming briefly, says “Iqaluit,” then resumes].

Matt Fiorito by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission

But you would play “I’m Proud to be Canadian” in Nunavut?

I’d do that, no worries. Because, I’ll tell you something, do you know who loves “I Want to Be East Indian” more than anybody is East Indian dudes. When we used to play at the fuckin’ Smilin’ Buddha [legendary first-generation Vancouver punk bar, periodically resuscitated in recent years as the SBC Cabaret or other venues] – like the old Buddha, back in the day, it was run by this old guy Lachman [Jir], he’d be playing chess on the bar with his buddies, and his kid was always there, and he’d be shouting “fuckin’ play ‘East Indian!’” in the pit. We weren’t racist, nobody was racist there, so you could say shit like that, and they knew I’m not racist. And I’m not saying anything bad about East Indians at all. They do actually kinda tend to wear orange! And it doesn’t rhyme with anything, that’s why I put into a line that doesn’t rhyme… We played it in Nanaimo just a little while ago, and a guy comes up to me after the show, Indian-looking dude with long hair and a really strong Indian accident. He goes, “You know I live in Bangladesh. I’m here on holidays. I came to do the West Coast Trail” - or the Cape Scott Trail or something – “and I just got back into town tonight, and I see this poster. My favourite band on earth is the Dayglo Abortions, and you’re playing! And I just watched you! And I screamed the whole show! And you played ‘East Indian!’ My buddies in Bangladesh all love you so much – say hi to my buddies!” [Murray mimes the dude holding up his phone]. I’m like, “Hey, hi!” He was super-stoked, fuckin’ shook his hand. Fuck, that made me super happy, just made my night right there!

I bet. So, a different question: “Smart Food,” you talk about the suffering of animals. Are you a vegetarian?

I’m not, but I don’t eat very much meat, and also, y’see, I live on Vancouver Island, too, which has got some very beautiful things about it. Number one is, there are no corporate farms or slaughterhouses or anything, anywhere on the island, I don’t think. So it’s not difficult to buy food from people who actually raised the animal, gave it a name, treated it with care, and when the time came, they harvested it. It’s a little harsh, but if there were a reason for me to go totally vegan, I would do it because of animals. Not because I thought it was better for me… It would be really difficult.

But I don’t eat much meat, and fuck, I definitely don’t each much pork. That’s one of the worst atrocities. I’m not a big lover of pigs, to be honest, but they’re fuckin’ smarter than the majority of domestic animals, and they’re treated the worst, as bad as the minks in fur farms. It’s such a horror story, I can’t believe anybody could eat them for dinner and not feel like shit. You know the way the Native Indians say “Thank you for giving me your life force, brother, I will carry you with me forever?” [With pork,] it’s more a feeling of, “I’m so sorry for what you had to go through to get here on this plate. And – my God - how much of your life force is left in this? Ehhh.” But you can’t help but look at it like that.

I mean, when I was a kid, I went down to the Oak Bay Marina, and Tilikum [a killer whale, subject of the documentary Blackfish], I’ve touched his nose multiple times, and he spat water on me one day. And Tilikum’s the one where they changed the name to Shamu, who killed a few people. When the animals fuckin’ win – I was cheering for him so much: I’m like, “fuckin’ get another one, dude! You’re showing them what the fuck’s up!” It started with that little fat German kid on the pool deck [no idea who Murray is referring to; Tilikum is known to have killed two female trainers and a drifter who apparently wanted to swim naked stoned with the orcas. The following story also does not match the details of these attacks, plus Tilikum was transferred to Orlando, Florida, not San Diego. The story may actually involve one of Tilikum’s offspring, or Murray may know more than Wikipedia and I. You’ll get the point, it’s only the details that are dodgy]. The guy down in San Diego – it’s gorgeous: he’s got the dolphins in the big pool, and the killer whales are supposed to stay in their holding pool. They’re all supposed to know this. So they’re in the holding pool, and he’s holding up a sardine for a dolphin, and the dolphin comes up, and Tilikum – I can’t call him Shamu, it’s a stupid Walt Disney name – comes up sideways and with his lips, just takes the sardine perfectly out of his hand, then goes into the water again and comes around for another lap. And the whale is not supposed to be in the pool right now, so buddy gets the big cattle prod on the end of the pole; and when Tilikum comes up for the sardine, he goes – bzzt! – he fuckin’ shocks him with the thing. And Tilikum goes back into the water, and goes into the holding pool, and he just starts doing lengths – you see this wave in the fuckin’ pool. And then he comes tearing out of the pool, comes ripping around – you just see him suckin’ the water behind him, eh, and he comes up and buddy’s standing there at the end of the board with a fuckin’ sardine in his hand. And Tilikum just comes over the board sideways, bang, and takes his entire body in his mouth, and sploosh, he’s gone. And everybody right in the cheap seats is, like, “Ahh!” And then Tilikum comes up and throws the guy straight up into the air. He goes right to the ceiling, spinning, then, splash! hits the water. And Tilikum jumps up and comes down straight on top of him, bam! And takes him again and comes up a second time, and goes flip! Throws him right up into the cheap seats. There’s this fuckin’ person up there, and he is just absolutely pulverized. Just paste inside the suit. And Tilikum goes, “There, asshole.” Fuck yeah! One for the good guys!

And Tilikum’s a hero, too. Because of that Blackfish documentary, even the Russians got rid of the majority of their killer whales. Almost every one of them has been set free. Some of them can’t be set free, legitimately, but there’s no more demonstrations with them, it’s over.

I don’t remember that footage in the film Blackfish.

No, it’s not in Blackfish, this is after. Blackfish is about him being taken as a baby. It’s tragic. The entire whale pod came and sat outside the marina for a couple of days, wailing and crying and making all this noise about their baby. I bet they all know about it, too – generation after generation, they probably talk about it.

But – where did you see that? Where was that footage?

It was on Youtube for a fair while, but it’s not anymore. There are little excerpts, but you never get to see him taking the guy off the board. That’s where you’re on your feet going “yeah!” Gone, just like that: “Ouch, that’s going to hurt in the morning.”

And then they put him in a holding pool the size of his body for awhile, and put an add in the paper: “Want to get close to killer whales and be a trainer of this wonderful beast? …just don’t go in the water with him!”

I’ve only got a couple of other questions. “I Love My Mom” is my favourite song on
The Armageddon Survival Guide.

A lot of people really like that one, eh?

Murray Acton 2022 by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission

Is your Mom still alive?

Yeah, my Mom and Dad are both still alive. She’s 88, he’s 92. For my old man’s birthday this year, and he goes, “Is your mother gone?” “Yeah!” “Good – I’m going out on the fuckin’ paddleboard.” He’s got this paddleboard. He can’t swim for shit, refuses to wear a lifejacket – he’s out in the Esquimalt basin, there.wobbling around. I’m like, “Dad, whoa, I’m kind of busy. I’m not going to be able to hear you if you go in.” “Whatever, fuck you, I’m going in!”

I talked to his brother the other day, he’s 98 years old. He’s like, [adopting a gruff old man tone], “Are you still playing that shitty music, there, Murray?” And I go, “Yeah, I am, uncle Dunc.” “Good – I’m gonna call you Boxcar Murray, because I hear you ain’t got no cigarettes!” I’m like, “That’s pretty fuckin’ funny, uncle Dunc, but Boxcar Willie didn’t write that song, eh?” [Roger Miller’s “King of the Road”]. But they’re good and strong.

I have to live with them right now, because of the zero vacancy rate in Victoria. I used to have my own house in West Victoria, but I “fell out of favour” with the city of Victoria, you might say. They waited for me to go out on tour one day and came over and condemned my house and forced me to sell it. They just wanted to put me on the streets. $650,000 it was appraised for, a 1909 farmhouse in Vic West, a 20 minute walk from downtown, in one of the best cities on earth to live in. I was going, yeah, that’s my retirement plan, there... I got it for $159,000, and it was almost paid off, .5% interest on the mortgage… and they wouldn’t pull the condemning order, so I had to sell it with the condemning order on. And the reason they condemned it? Because an electrical box was not screwed to the joist, because I had moved this wall out of the way, and I had just left the thing dangling. And I was still using it – yeah, it wasn’t super safe, but one drywall screw would have solved that problem. But no: they condemned the house. Then they lied to BC Hydro, said “He’s got an illegal grow show in there” [= a marijuana growing operation]. And yeah, there was a grow show in there. It had been disassembled for a few years, but the hardware was sitting piled up in a corner. And they go, “And he’s stealing hydro! Come and disconnect him from the power source!” So I’ve got a $6,000 disconnection bill for taking me off the meter and a fine on top of that for stealing hydro. I would never steal hydro. I have a degree in electronics! And my grow show was immaculate.

I got caught by the police – my son got me busted one time. My son and his buddies had knocked over a pop machine up the street. I had just finished taking the shade leaves off and was about to start trimming the fattest crop you could ever imagine. And I come upstairs, I’ve got finger hash all over my fingers, I’m reeking of weed, and there’s the cops standing at my front door with my son by the scruff of the neck. I’m like, “fuck!” I almost went through the mail slot, “Take him to his mother’s house!” But I couldn’t do that, y’know, he’s my son, and I knew what was going to happen. And I knew how to get my son out of trouble, that’s for sure: open the door. “Yes, officer? I notice you have my son.” [Murray makes a robotic sound effect to indicate the cop dropping the kid and turning his attentions on the father]: Clunk! No longer interested in child! And he goes, “Uh, uh,” and I’m like, “It’s a little bit of an awkward time – we’re not really open for tours, right now, officer.” And he’s looking at me, and I’m being calm, he’s being calm. “Uhh… well, y’know, I’m going to have to call it in.”

“I know, but I had to open the door, he’s my son. I can’t just leave my son here like this.” And I go [to my son] “You, go and sit down in the kitchen, and I’ll talk to you later.” And he’s scared now; he didn’t really even know. He knew sort of, but it had never crossed his mind like that, that him and his buddies just got me busted. On December the 10th, eh? Just before Christmas.

But I had three rooms in the basement -five lights going, two rooms, a little bedroom, had running water in all of them, all wired up. The cop said, “Look, we’re not going to charge you as long as your wiring passes an electrical inspector’s test. I’m a ticketed electrical inspector, and I’ll be examining it, because you have children in this house, and if there’s anything fucked with your wiring, I’m charging you with everything I can.” And I said, “Fair enough – other than that, can you try not to wake up the kids?” He goes, “We’ll be cool, don’t worry. We’re not going to smash your place. Show me what you got, here.”

And the wiring was perfect. He was like, “No, no, no, this is pretty awesome. How much do you think you got in there, anyway.” I’m going, “I don’t know, half a pound per light?” “No, no, more like two pounds per light. I’ve never fucking seen anything like that!” “I know, me neither! And you want me to cut it all down and put it in bags and hand it to you. I’m not super-happy or enthusiastic about this.” It hurt.

When was this?

The mid-1990s. And it was the best weed in the world we were growing. This was like White Rhino, it’s 30% THC in the bud. It’s deadly weed, the buds were fat… [Some conversation is omitted here].

Murray, do I have this right – you worked for the government at one point?

Right. I got a degree in electronics and got a job working in this place called Defense Research Establishment Pacific, and it’s a military R&D lab for Canada. It doesn’t exist anymore, that’s why I don’t work there anymore. Because it was a lifer job: I was there for eighteen years. I was a tech for a material engineering lab, they were doing carbon fibre airplane wing skins and trying to figure out ways to do a maintenance schedule for F-18s, specifically. But the stuff I worked on was mostly metal-skinned airplanes, like passenger planes and stuff like this, with multi-layered aluminum skins. And I built gadgets that could find flaws and corrosion using magnetic fields, is what I was using, using a process called eddy current testing, which is using magnetic fields to induce eddy currents in the metal underneath it, because aluminum is a good conductor, and I could do it changing the frequency, I could go down in depth, I could go right through multiple layers and make images of, like, the fasteners going through the layers, and it could see cracks coming out from the side and foggy looking blobs of corrosion. It worked very well. I made gadgets for scientists. So I know all about the scientists. They’re nerds. And nerds are dangerous. Nerds are really smart at one thing and really shitty at everything else.

So I have to ask about COVID. I have friends who are not vaccinated, who do not trust the vaccines. Curious where you stand.

I stand pretty fairly on just looking at the evidence. I would say, number one, it definitely came out of that lab in Wuhan. I don’t think anybody can fuckin’ argue with that – if you do, you’re really deceived. And Fauci was all behind it, because those guys tried to get funding from DARPA first. Eco-Health went to DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], and their plan was to do the COVID one first, then they wanted to do it to MERS, which has a 34% mortality rate, but not very contagious. So they wanted to see if they could jump it like that.

You mean gain-of-function research?

Yeah. And that’s what they were doing. And DARPA, these guys who made cluster bombs and shit like this, said, “Whoa, dude, too risky. Way too risky!” But not too risky for Fauci and his buddies. And I’ve heard rumours - I can’t really say, but they came from some place, there, that the WUHAN lab now is working on a different corona virus, and a scarier one. That’s what MERS is, one of the other corona viruses, and a much scarier one. Like, that would be the end of us, right there. They would not be able to conquer that, if that got out, if it was contagious like Omicron, for fucksake? We’re lucky. We’re lucky that viruses evolve to become less lethal and more contagious. So… we’re lucky.

But it’s hard to come up with a reason that it accidentally came out, because there’s so much profit to be made here from an industry that was in trouble, after Monsanto losing on Roundup – it’s not pharmaceutical, but the same kind of thing. And then the fuckin’ Oxycontin thing, and Johnson and Johnson and a bunch of other companies are tied up in the Oxycontin thing, as well, because they were all doing it, and actually conspiring with each other, all aware of how addictive it was and letting her fly. And this is coming out. And Johnson and Johnson has 80,000 cases of cancer caused by asbestos in the baby powder, and that’s been going for years, and what they’re doing, they tried to set up a subsidiary company of theirs that they could blame it all on, and then they’d go bankrupt. They were going to walk away from it like that. They got busted doing that just a few weeks ago. And it’s like – so yeah, there’s our scenario.

I can’t say that they did it on purpose, but if it accidentally leaked out, y’know, well there’s trillions of dollars to be made here. And the way they’re selling it, the way they’re hiding any negative information, the way they immediately went after any kind of early-onset cures for it – because they could have stopped it in its tracks with Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine… These antivirals would have done the job. But they adeptly weaponized Trump right there – “What are you a Trump supporter?”

And I was not a Trump supporter at all, the guy’s a narcissistic nutcase. But he was right about some things. I can’t say that there was a lot of what Donald Trump did or said that was really that valid, but there were some things about it. He definitely was not invalid about the concept of the deep state, except he was kind of missing the boat on that: “Yeah, you and all your buddies are the deep state, your Wall Street friends. You act like you’re not one of them, for fucksake?” Whoa!

And all of the things he said that were intelligent and great, the things you want your leader to do, he didn’t do a single fucking one of them. He did quite the opposite, actually. And that’s the way they roll, eh. The politicians…I don’t think humans can be trusted for the job, not the way it’s going on in the States. God, you look at Obama’s group – when they started, the whole group of them were averaging a salary of $90,000 to $100,000 a year. And in four years, they were all multi-multi-multi-millionaires, like, $70 and $80 million in stock market worth, on a salary of about $150,000 a year. Now basic arithmetic…

And the insider trading that’s been going on through COVID - they’re not even trying to hide it. When they did the antitrust suit on Microsoft, they knew that that was going to pound their stocks, that the onset was going to be a big drop in their stocks, so if you’re a put option guy, you move everything into this one thing, sell them, and you watch them drop… then you come in and you buy them all back again, because you know the drop is going to be temporary. You see them doing this blatantly.

And – what the fuck, COVID, it looks like the vaccines – hmm. They’re a little iffy here. I listen to guys like [Robert] Malone that developed the technology and he talked about how the process was done, and the reasons for doing it: that they could very quickly deliver a concept to the gene. It makes a lot of sense, actually – deliver things to the genes using the MRNA. You could do a lot of nefarious things with that technique as well, that’s true, but let’s give them the benefit of a doubt. It made sense. And it can be done at very high-speed, because they’ve got the development process down, and you can just keep reintroducing new things to it. But there’s a very limited amount of immunity that it actually gives you, because all it’s dealing with is just the spike protein. Your immune system looks for that, is triggered by that, goes looking for anything with that on it. And that’s why omicron has got that beat, because it’s disguised the spike. Natural immunity is doing much better, because of the T-Cell/ B-Cell response. It detects the entire organism. It hasn’t changed enough to not detect it yet, though it’s changed a lot - six mutations or something.

The vaccines - I did get two of them, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play in public or anything if I didn’t [the Canadian “vaccine passport” system, now rescinded, had the effect of keeping unvaccinated musicians from playing shows, costing at least two local musicians I have interviewed work]. But I don’t trust the companies at all. I was very concerned. And I had a negative reaction to the second Moderna shot; I have a weird allergic kind of reaction that I’ve never had before, this huge hive thing, it stands up like a quarter of an inch like there’s a disc in there. It will pop up randomly, every couple of days, and it’s itchy. That’s a new one. Oh, my muscle in my right arm, it’s gone kind of weird. It changed shape. Just a weird reaction. I’m really kind of nervous about that. But I’ve done so much drugs, so much shit, and I’ve not got a scratch on me, so I’ve got some balls. They’re not going to take me out with a fuckin’ vaccine!

Anything else we should touch on relating to the pandemic? It’s been quite tough on musicians.

Yeah, I had set up a Bandcamp page a couple of years ago, before the COVID thing, and I’m just more or less giving away all my shit. You can download everything except for The Armageddon Survival Guide and the newest one – they’re a buck apiece for the songs off the newest one, and The Armageddon Survival Guide was paid for by Unrest, so I’m not going to start giving that one away like that. But the other catalogue and a solo album I did called COVID-19 Nervous Breakdown, you can download it for free.

But you should see how much money people started giving me! I think more people give me money for the free shit than take it for free, almost. And I’m looking at the money, and sometimes, it’s like - $50 for something they could have had for free! And I’m like, “Wow.” And I get these messages – “Dude, I hope everything is going good, when we get over this, we’re looking forward to seeing you play again.” So it’s a little bit of lovin’ coming in there, almost, and I didn’t even ask for it or anything. I can turn around and if I need a couple hundred bucks, there’s always a couple hundred bucks in my Paypal account. That’s pretty awesome.

But I know, it’s been really hard. And I know some artists who are struggling, too – I know some artists who have had it really bad, like my friend of mine in Victoria… plus my friend in Victoria thinks he’s on the side of the truck convoy, because at least they’re not judging everybody – so he just got driven off of social media, as well, for it.

It’s horrible, seeing people attack each other over their beliefs on this. People have treated each other vilely.

It’s despicable fuckin’ behaviour.

And it’s punks that are doing it, too!

I know! I’m well aware of it. And I’m like, “Dude, tell me that again, Mr. Nice Mohawk, what the fuck? That I have to trust my government and big pharma? You have the wrong number, I think! Excuse me, but wasn’t ‘fuck the government’ my middle name? What are you telling me to do?”

Even Jello; one time, he’s like, “Woohoo, I’m going to go out and get vaccinated.” I’m like, “Come on, Jello – Jesus! The CIA ate your grandmother, come on, what the fuck?”

But then I heard something sensible about him speaking out against cancel culture, and saying, “Look, now, canceling anything ain’t going to make anything go away, it’s going to make it come back, is what it does, unfortunately.” Plus, realistically, look at it: We’ve made some horrible mistakes in the past; lots of them. In fact, I bet you any money that any human being on this planet can look backwards at their history and see a big long chain of horrible mistakes they’ve made, no matter who they are, what colour, what religion, what culture, anything: everyone’s got this same non-stop chain of shitty shit that’s happened to get here right now. But that’s how we got here! Without what we did, we wouldn’t be here right now doing this. And sorry, I know that the process is a little ugly sometimes, and we’re all guilty of it. But as we advance, we’re supposed to be able to get beyond these things at an intellectual level. You can see why there’s racism. It’s the negative side of our social thing. We bind into groups, we support the group, we reject everybody who’s not in the group: “Sorry! Beat it.” But at a point in civilization, we’re supposed to be able to get beyond it. Well, why aren’t we…?

Really, the last question: we should talk about the
Hate Speech album cover a bit, with Horton and the Lorax and such being “re-educated.” It’s brilliant.

You should hear about the record company I had them almost talked into making, the one for the Trump-Clinton election. It didn’t happen because of COVID, but I was going to make it a split cover. First off, it was going to be covered in black plastic, and it’s got a warning on it. It says, “Warning: This Record Contains Extreme Pornography Involving Children and Might Be Illegal in Some Areas. Consult with Local Authorities Before Purchasing.” And stick it on like that. And you tear it off, and on the front cover, there’s a split cover painting of Tony Podesta ramming babies up Hilary Clinton’s ass [laughs evilly] – and if you do it like a kid’s pop up book, you can make the babies go in and out or the ass – and on the other side, it’s Donald Trump fist-fucking his daughter. Or maybe his autistic son, I haven’t decided. And you can make the arm go in and out like this, eh?

Under Canadian laws, that is child pornography. Any depiction, even a verbal one, even a fictitious one of non-consensual sex, really of any kind, is illegal pornography, according to them. So, bring it on, baby… this is a fun game: let’s change the law again! Let’s make you spend a lot of money to change the law to an even stupider law than the last stupid law.

Because laws are stupid, it’s backwards. Don’t raise your children by punishing them, that’s not an educational experience, in a positive way. Try nurturing and supporting, and you won’t need prisons… prisons make criminals better [criminals] than they were before they went into prison… that’s a big mistake.

That’s great, but – sorry – what I was really wondering was, did you get the permission of the Dr. Seuss estate – Theodore Geisel – to use his characters on the
Hate Speech album cover?

No. Actually I’ve found you get a lot more publicity when the big giant comes after you, right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. So bring it on. And – psst, it’s a secret, but: they go after the record company.

Murray Acton 2019, by Bob Hanham, not to be reused without permission

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