Late in the Evening with Moxy Fruvous
The Internet's Interview
It's 2:00 AM on a Thursday night and the guys have just finished performing four shows in two nights at the Bottom Line nightclub in Manhattan, opening for Loudon Wainwright III. The interview takes place between the lobby of the nightclub and the corner of 4th St. and Mercer where the Frü-bus is being loaded. There's a cacophony of noises and passersby seem to find their way in throughout the interview. The only Früvii absent is Murray.
Outside of the Bottom Line with sound tech John Shotwell, donning a handlebar mustache and red Dr. Seuss hat.
MIKE: Is it rolling?
BILL: We're rolling.
MIKE: Well, I must state it's Bill with microphone, and Mike, and special guest in this interview John Shotwell, who is standing to our left and wearing a magnificent smile.
JOHN: Good evening.
MIKE: Hello listeners.
BILL: How's New York City's been treating you? What do you think of this fine....
MIKE: of this fine....
BILL: ...of this fine city of ours.
MIKE: We think it's fine. We think New York City's just fine. And it's got a groovy kind of back-beat skip shuffle.
JOHN: Groovy's definitely the word for it. Groovy.
BILL: We're about a block away from Broadway as we speak. It's been mentioned by the band that you're considering bringing a musical....
MIKE: Hey...(breaking into song) "That crazy quilt that Wall Street Jack built, come on along and listen to..."
BILL: Any truth to the rumors?
MIKE: Well the rumors are deep, pernicious and they're all...it's a question of who are the players, ya know. Who are the players, ya know? The Früvous Corporation umbrella would like to make a serious mega-musical stance, within the next two months and uh, if we can get the backing and the right players--we don't wanna--we can't talk about what hasn't been ratified.
BILL: Two months. That soon?
MIKE: We're talking big, big scary...well, the name is "The Comet."
BILL: So it's coming?
MIKE: "The Comet" is coming. The full title of the show is actually "The Comet"-bracket "The Blinding"-bracket.
BILL: There was an obvious departure from the music on Bargainville to Wood. What can we expect from the next album?
MIKE: More arrivals than departures. Some rough arrivals though. It's a little bouncy on the tarmac.
BILL: How far along are you?
MIKE: On the next recording? Just starting up on some stuff. Just starting up the process and having fun at it. Got a nice little space in Toronto. It's under a mushroom and it's a good spot.
BILL: Jian mentioned a target date of next March.
BILL: Is that too early?
(Dave makes his way outside)
MIKE: We can put that album out in seven months.
BILL: Oh yeah?
MIKE: Name that album.
BILL: Are there any songs from the current tour we can expect to hear on the new album?
MIKE: Hard to say. We were playing some of the brand new ones a little bit within the last three weeks.
(A beautiful young lady walks by and the interview pauses while Dave says hi)
DAVE: (to the girl) Good night.
MIKE: Good night.
DAVE: Thanks very much....
MIKE: And then one of New York's loveliest beauties walks off. It's a very fine city with a cool back beat.
BILL: How is your fan base doing in the States?
MIKE: It's attenuated nicely. The fan treble is a little squeaky.
DAVE: It's growing.
DAVE: So they say...It's growing nicely. When we go back to a city often times we have between double and a third more of the people.
MIKE: And that's when we have to get the lawn mowers out.
DAVE: That's right.
MIKE: And really mow 'em down. Trimming it. You need a more landscaped environment the larger the number of the crowd.
BILL: Are you tracking the demographics at all? The reason I ask is because it seems like the farther south you go, the more people want to see Moxy.
MIKE: We're experimenting with ladling them, and we also label them, but tracking hasn't kicked in yet.
BILL: How did you determine your target cities? I know...
BILL: I understand you picked about 10 cities in the states to tour in....
DAVE: Well it's really simple. It's a simple risk-oriented strategy whereby you work in the areas that are closest to you naturally.
MIKE: If you're going to take Pakistan, do you come from Siam or...it's a total risk situation.
BILL: How's the fan base outside of North America?
DAVE: It's the same. What you see here is what you see in London. (switching to a British accent) It's great. Good people coming out. It's lovely, it's growing. It's fantastic, fantabiola.
MIKE: Ten out of ten. Ten on ten bullocks.
BILL: What do you think of the presidential election in the states?
(Dave leaves Mike to fend for himself when the political questions arise)
MIKE: Needs more disco music.
BILL: How do you think it's going to turn out? Is it Clinton's to win or lose?
MIKE: I think anyone with any interest in the political process should throw all their weight behind Ralph Nader.
BILL: Oh yeah?
MIKE: Not as a joke. Obviously he won't be President, but if enough of the constituency says....
(A pack of sirens begin blaring from the street as if they're right on top of us)
MIKE: AHHHH!! They're coming! The fucking cops are coming!
(The noise subsides)
MIKE: If enough of the constituency says, "Yeah, we're behind this guy, this other guy," then the other leaders have to answer to that in their platforms in order to get that 6%. So it's quite exciting. Otherwise it's the same old drudgery.
BILL: How will it affect Canada?
MIKE: Good question. We'll answer that while we're loading stuff out.
(We begin to walk inside to help load more Früvous gear)
MIKE: How will the elections affect Canada Dave?
DAVE: How will the elections affect Canada? That is too deep of a question.
BILL: Is it?
DAVE: It is. sure.
MIKE: He's begging off.
BILL: Go ahead.
MIKE: It's a crazy world. North America's in some ways probably the craziest place.
BILL: You guys have had some time to reflect on the Mike Harris government. How has it changed Canadian politics?
MIKE: It's absolutely fucking ridiculous.
BILL: In what ways?
(Mike becomes distracted helping load more boxes. Politics did not seem to be a good topic at this hour. He breaks into Bruce Springstein's "My Hometown" instead.)
BILL: What can we expect from the "B Album" series?
MIKE: The B Album series? The alphabet without the letter A.
BILL: Oh yeah?
BILL: So the C Album, the D Album...
MIKE: All the way...
BILL: All the way down without the A?
MIKE: All the way...
BILL: You guys are four singer/songwriter's with amazing talents. Does ego ever get in the way?
MIKE: Not really. I'm sure it used to.
BILL: Have you seen any recent films you could recommend?
MIKE: "Fargo's" great. "La Confessional."
BILL: Where can we find that?
(Mike speaks a sentence or two in French. I didn't even try to write it out, but he mentions the movie is from Quebec.)
BILL: What gave you the idea for the Frü-Card?
BILL: Good answer. (Didn't remember enough about mercantalism to follow it up. Do you?)
You know what? Well, there's a couple more things. I talked to you a little bit last night about symbolism in your music. And someone wrote me: "Throughout literature there's always been debates about symbols and meanings. J.R.R. Tolkien once said, 'Any symbolism found in my works is completely unintentional.'"Could you say the same things about Früvous songs?
BILL: It's completely unintentional?
MIKE: Well in terms of symbolism, yes.
BILL: And then finally to wrap things up...I got on the internet last night about 12:00 and I posted an article saying that I was interviewing you, and if people had any questions, to go ahead and send them to me, and I'll check my mail before I come down to the show. I checked my mail, and there was a slew of e-mail...
MIKE: A slew.
BILL: A slew.
MIKE: With questions?
BILL: With questions. One of them comes from a good friend of mine actually. This is from Mike Kiniry in Ft. Myers, Florida. He wants to know, "If you were stranded on an island with only a walkman, what 3 CD's would you want to have with you?"
MIKE: I would have "Whale Music," by a group called Riostatics from Toronto. I would have "Brelle 67." Jacques Brelle from 1967. Or Brelle soixant-sept. And the third one would have to be...that's a tough one there...the third one would have to be...
BILL: Loudon Wainwright's "Grown Man"?
MIKE: Got it!
BILL: Is that it?
MIKE: Loudon Wainwright, "A Live One."
BILL: "A Live One." Ok.
MIKE: He's got the New York Islanders jersey on the cover. Check out...if anyone's reading this...
BILL: And they will...
MIKE: I mean I trust Bill that he writes it out...but Bill's a great guy so...it's an incredible album. And we just did these two gigs with Loudon Wainwright, here at the Bottom Line in New York. He's been my hero for-fuckin'-ever, expletive not deleted, and the guy....I was on this mountaineering course in Wyoming once and everyone had hypothermia...almost. We were getting there. You know freezing, something went wrong. So different individuals would get up and perform a song or two, or whatever--a joke. And I got up and I sang the song "The Red Guitar," by Loudon Wainwright and well, you know, people still froze.
But it was my moment you know. We made our own fun. You know you kids these days...We made our own fun.
BILL: It got you here. [Paul Sabourin] wanted to know what's the most God-awful gig you've ever played?
(Jian has been listening and lurking for the last few minutes. He along with my friend Ellen have joined the discussion.)
JIAN: It was the show that we did in Darlington. Jian just cutting in for this question.
JIAN: There was a show we did in Darlington, England, where four people showed up, and the promoter started heckling...got piss drunk and started heckling us like (adopting a perfect drunken British accent) "Those fuckers, fuckin' play a song 'bout fuckin Laika."
BILL: That was pretty good.
MIKE: That was it man.
JIAN: That was it man. That was like the end of the world.
MIKE: Just because we had a song that mentioned Darlington in it. So uh, we'll let this be a warning to songwriters...
JIAN: ...To not write songs with Darlington in it.
BILL: Careful what you write. [Colleen Campbell] has actually asked, "How is Mike juggling the demands of touring and his married life?"
JIAN: Oh boy.
MIKE: (with a grin) Oh, well it's off...off limits. Strictly off-limits.
JIAN: I'll tell you a little bit about how he's handling it.
BILL: I'll leave you with one more. This is from Niall MacConaill. He wants to know how far from the set list you guys will stray for a particular audience?
MIKE: Depends on...
BILL: I'm paraphrasing Niall here.
JIAN: You know what? One thing we should say is that traditionally...
JIAN: Traditionally, we've done a lot of shows where we did the same set list a lot. But we haven't been doing that lately. Every show has been a totally different one. And uh, it always was in terms of doing things improv and that kind of thing, but it's been pretty radically different. I mean those two shows you saw tonight, we almost played two sets of totally different songs.
BILL: And I was glad...
JIAN: Yeah, I was thinking about you guys actually (referring to myself and again my friend Ellen)
ELLEN: (testing them with sarcasm) Yeah, you guys thought of the two of us...?
JIAN: I did! No I did. Cause you think about...you know we meet you guys and we know you, and we think, "It would be good to give them something different."
BILL: We appreciate it. We really do.
JIAN: So every set is different.
(Dave has now finished packing and has made his way back over to the tape recorder. We are standing in a semi-circle next to the parked Frü-bus.)
BILL: That's basically what I have for you.... Hey Dave. Welcome back.
MIKE: Dave comes in for the end of the interview saying hello.
BILL: Any parting words?
MIKE: Say hello to 'the net' Dave.
JIAN: Ask Dave a technical question? Ask him about the inside of a microphone.
BILL: (to Dave) What about the inside of a microphone?
DAVE: The inside of a microphone is actually made up of a rare strain of a yeast organism that grows, and has ever since created most effectively the sound of the real thing.
JIAN: That's right.
BILL: I see.
MIKE: It's honest.
BILL: [Brett (firstname.lastname@example.org)] wanted to know what the King of Spain likes on his pizza?
MIKE: The King of Spain likes his pizza now.
DAVE: That's it.
MIKE: On time.
BILL: You guys have been great. Thanks so much...
(It ends with a "Take care," from Jian and handshakes all around.)
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