LAUGHING SOUP DISH interview
«Princess flower child dressed in bells and beads comes down from her treehouse to plant a silver seed are you really dreaming or is it in your mind see the flower goddess colour in her mind...»
I began listening to all these psychedelic groups of 60’s, (Ultimate Spinach, Maze, Elevators, (Doors I heard far before I started listening to music, who gives a shit anyway) etc at the late 80s. That was then when respective bands such as Steppes, the Bevis Frond, the Yellow Sunshine Explosion, the Things the Dimentia 13, and a few more, carried me away, and since I was a genuine child of 80s the result was to stuck with these groups. One of my favourite groups (maybe the most beloved) was (is and will be) the Laughing Soup Dish. I was then involved with a young girl and I had given her a list of Lps I was looking for (Dimentia 13, Dukes Of Stratosphear, The Inn, Chud, United States Of Existence etc.), so she could offer any of them as a gift since I was a nice looking man to her words. She found first of Laughing Soup Dish, the ”We are the dish”. A unique lp with incredible cover and more incredible content. Inconceivably in arrest songs which to me had eradicated the brain from the head. The blow was very strong and the results appears even today on me. Accidentally, after few years I found also their second album (I bought it myself, I was solo) with the title Underrthrow The Overground. Soundly it was not the same but the songs were once again incredible. In the meantime I had also bought the unique 7inches with two of the most amazing songs that I had ever heard: the psycho' Teenage Lima Bean and Rainy Day Sponge. After all these years, and after I acquired certain relations with the Suzy Shaw (Bomp/Voxx records) I dared to ask her if she could bring me in contact with them. My joy was genuine when she brought me in contact with Wayne Larsen (leading form of LSD). It was something that I could never imagine that it would ever happen!
Wayne Larsen is an irreproachable person, and he answered the questions to me with very friendly mood, he also sent the tape that they had recorded those years and he gave me the authorisation to use any of the songs I want in my cd. In the end of interview there is a text that Wayne Larsen sent to me and I transfer it without compunctions in you. Now I shut my big mouth!!
When I had listened to your first lp I was shoked! What “condition” was inside your minds during in that period?
The first line up of the band had just broken up. Elena Papavero (bass), my former girlfriend, and Marc Saxton (vocals, guitar) were seeing each other so the last 6 months of the first line-up of Laughing Soup Dish had been tense for me (and them). So Kyle Zimmerman (drums) and I made that record in my basemant on a DoKcoder 4 track reel to reel macine using and old Peavy mixing board. Some tracks were layed down by Kurtis Kile (guitar) and David DeSantis (bass) but, it was mostly me and Kyle Zimmerman. My mental state was not great but I was determined to move forward. I had assembled a lot of sound collages and so I wove them into the record. Some of them sounded pretty scary. They were kind of troubled times, I guess.
What was the rainy day sponge talking about?
"Rainy Day Sponge" is about a person who just sits around waiting for something to happen, dosen't really make much effort and is a selfish person. Marc wrote those words although we were working pretty closely back then so I feel like I can answer that. And the dangers of the real world ("rainbows lurk behind the hedges, flowers hide their razor edges").
All that "motherhood pie" stuff. I loved that song. I played an e-bowed guitar and sang harmony. That was the whole band.
How did you make this incredible sound (mainly for the first lp) in your songs? Who was in “charge” for the final results of that sound?
I was in charge, I made up the name of the band (I got it out of an old dictionary of 1920s slang..."laughing soup" was a term for liquor) and Elena and I formed the band. The sounds are huge collages made by slowing the track from an open-tuned guitar through Echoplexes. It created huge, ambrient walls of sound. I played the scary backing tapes for a filmmaker friend and they wanted it for soundtrack material, but I couldn't just give them away. I worked long and hard on those tapes, they took a long time. I still have them all and they were heavily mixed into the first L.P.
In the same lp the rythms are unbelievable. (When I heard it I thought that my turnable loosing rounds! Who was writing the lyrics and the music?
Why thank you. I wrote all the music for the first L.P., "We Are the Dish." Greg Shaw (founder of Bomp Records picked out the name for album and its cover art). I played lead guitar, rythm guitar and bass and engineered it. By then, Elena and Marc had split and were forming the Watch Children. I talked with Greg Shaw after the initail sucess of the"Teen Age Lima Bean" 45 and he said by all means record an album. Kyle Zimmerman played drums to my bass (an old Rickenbacker 4000) and I overlayed everything else on top. We had a total of 6 tracks and various sound washes. Most tracks have 2 or 3 instruments on them. Daniel Mintz played bass on the "Princess Flower Child" track. He also wrote the music for the song.
In that period many groups were members of the revival. Did you feel that you have been like these groups?
Yes, over the years very much so. We played at the "Mind's Eye" shows with lights by Captain Wizzo. These shows were put on by Ivy Vale daughter of the "Time to make the Doughnuts" guy of Dunkin Doughnuts fame and we played with "The Headless Horsemen" the "Creeping Pumpkins", Rick Sullivan's band. Of course, we were billed with the Secret Syde alot as well as early Monster Magnet. We played at CBGB’s and we also played on the same bill with "Lord Jon," another Voxx band from New Brunswick. Yeah, it was a real scene and we played with many fine psychedelic bands whose names escape me 20 years on. We were not so aware of the California bands like Rain Parade. They really never made it to the New York area.
I believe that you don’t know that Princess flower child was been playing in a bar in Athens all the time (maze) in the late 80s. How do you feel know about this, after so many years?
"Princess Flower Child" was writen by Daniel Mintz and the Lyrics were written by me. Wow, no, is it a Greek 45 of some kind? I can't imagine some bar in Athens playing that on their jukebox. Maybe Athens, Georgia but, not Athens, Greece. I must say, I am quite flattered. Daniel had written the song as "Princess Frankenstein" about one of his girlfriend's but I thought the lyric didn't fit so I re-wrote it 5 minutes before singing it. The lyrics are about a girl I knew who was a total hippie back in the 80's, Mindy McGirr, the mother of my son.
Besides of the two lps and the single what else did you have release?
We recorded "Walking by the Sea" on the "Shadow Mouth" record out of the English Department of Monmouth college, spoken word and music put out by Kevin La Mastra somehow using the English Department's own funds. We did "the Secret Team" LP on Voxx. The song "No one Home" was from the first
LP.Then there was the great "Liquid Salad Dinner" tape put out by John Mc Bain on Cool Beans Records. I provided the recordings from live gigs and rehersals from '84 to '86.
Tell me some things about the covers of your lps
The covers were controled by Greg, he would send us a rough proof to show us mostly as a courtesy, we really had little say. We wound up loving the covers and the artists that did them have gone on to fame themselves. The only disappointment was that Greg didn't want to pay for the proposal and proof from Paul Maverides, a cracked baby doll head in a bowl of nasty green soup. I still have the proofs from that.
What kinds of music were you listened in that period?
I was listening to "The Red Crayola," "The13th floor Elevators," "The Chocolate Watchband," "Small Faces," "The Zombies," "The Monkees". a lot of Pebbles bands, that song "Why" by the "What Fours" and my own personal Pebbles band, "The Inmates" (my older sister's boyfriend was Sammy Falvo, thier drummer). "The Velvet Underground," "The Fugs," "Electric music for the Mind and Body" by "County Joe and the Fish," "The Beatles." and on and on and on. I guess everybody.
I played in a number of bands including "The Straight Satans" with Jon Davies, "Square Knot Sally," "Target 7" (whose demo was produced by Ramones' Producer and friend, Daniel Rey), "Bag of Vipers." These bands
have been both punk and psych. Since I have moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland I am playing with a great girl bass player named Tessa and a singer named Lauren. We are called "The Blue Marys." I own a music store in a small town in Denton, Maryland called Denton Music Gallery. I've been a vintage guitar dealer for the last 25 years. Prior to moving to the Eastern Shore, I owned a guitar store called Guitar Emporium in Long Branch, New Jersey.
The first lp had released in 1987 and the second in 1990. What happened between your two lps?
During the recording of the first L.P., I began to form the second lineup of "The Laughing Soup" Dish, consisting of myself on lead guitar and vocals, Kurtis Kile, my fiery lead guitarist, David DeSantis, formerly
of "The Secret Syde" on bass, and Kyle Zimmerman on drums. We played extensively over the tri-state area, concentrating on gigs in New York City and New Jersey. We played on the back of a flatbed truck on a huge pot party for the University of Delaware in '88. We played on the beach with the magnificent skyline of Manhattan as our backdrop and lighting and generally did a lot of drugs. Once the sub pop thing came along around 1990, we knew we were toast, even though we were using big muffs and Echoplexes. All the bands
started to sound like "Black Sabbath." By then the band had been around for nearly 10 years.
Is the name “Laughing Soup Dish” (lsd) an accidental name?
As I've already said, my grandparents owned a very old dictionary that had a section on slang in the back. I found the term, "laughing soup" one night after rehearsal and added the "dish" for "D."The band at that time consisted of myself, Elena, and a guy named Timmy Glutting, who used to throw up before every gig. We were mostly a "Velvet Underground" cover band at that point, formed in 1981.
Who your relation with the initially of your name?
You mean my own relationship with LSD.? Well, I was a weekend tripper mostly, through high school. I last took it when I was in my early 20's, I will eat magig mushrooms but a full blown acid trip at this point in my life might be a bit much. I took enough to have that feeling for life anyway. People thought I was tripping as a young kid even before I did any. I guess I was way left of center even as a child.
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