Some time back in the mid-90’s I met this scrappy fresh faced kid named John Laux. I was working at a video store that he frequented and we would discuss Italian horror films for hours on end. John was constantly toying around with 8mm cameras and working part time at a local rep theatre. Here he was making some odd film about murdering housecats or something like that. After one of our film geek-outings, John slipped me a 45 of a band that he and his buddy had recorded in high school. Supposedly they pressed like a 1000 of these platters (sold some thru MRR) and were still sitting on a closet full. The duo would go on vacations, road trips, etc. and drop the lil’ suckers off anywhere they could. Like the record equivalent to Killroy or a graffiti tag. Thrift shops, antique malls, grocery stores, peoples homes, public restrooms…nothing was sparred. They had plenty to go around. This was the beginning of SLICING GRANDPA. World Domination: Phase I.
Years past and John & I went through bands together. Stores close, friends move, cities collapse…but SLICING GRANDPA somehow maintained. Over time, this on/off /on side project grew and grew stronger; even though one mysterious member (Lance) never seemed to surface (did he even exist?). They surpassed their goofy beginnings and became a grinding outsider rock outfit…mostly by accident. Or so it would seem.
A billion releases later: this is their story.
TB: State your names and what you do. Who’s considered Grandpa and who’s Slicing?
John: John Slicing, Esq. I do a lot of stuff.
Lance: I'm Lance Tarr/Lance Grandpa, Th.D. I'm the main lyricist and "vocalist" in the band, but I also occasionally operate the drills and belt sanders.
TB: I know you’re both from Elmira, NY. I’ve been there. There’s a mall with a Sam Goody in it. Anything else worthy of mention?
John: Well, the Sam Goody is no longer there. Now the prime attraction is the Elmira State Prison, which brings the wonderful families of 20-to-lifers into our town..and then basically turns the city into a war zone.
TB: Hey! That’s where Rat-Fucker Armand Schaubroeck was incarcerated. The Church Mice guy...You guys were in good company. (I ramble about Schaubroeck and his recordings. They seem interested to research and possibly make a tribute record. Success!)
Lance: The only other thing worthy of note about Elmira is how many people grow up and leave.
TB: Anything else that you feel lead to the forming of Slicing Grandpa there?
Lance: I guess the boredom and uber-conservative atmosphere helped to inspire Slicing’S "fuck it all" mentality right from the start.
John: Actually, the formation of SG stems from both of our distaste and displeasure with the direction of our then-current band, The Rebellion. We wanted something edgier and more dangerous...something funny and experimental.
TB: The Rebellion was the high school band you guys had that played Post Office holiday parties?
John: Ahhh…(No comment)
Lance: “Hellmira” is an easy place to be angry.
TB: So how come you both moved so far away from each other? What made you want to keep the band going?
John: I just wanted to get the fuck outta’ dodge and we had decided SG was kind of dead in the water.
Lance: John had the opportunity to escape with some friends to Seattle in the summer of 1997. I was really proud of him for being one of the first of our peers to break out.
John: When I moved to Seattle, I started distributing copies of our first 7" ('Glue Farm Autopsy' – in many colors) and it started to make the rounds. Once the record started getting some good feedback (N.P.I), it renewed our interest. We just started doing the project long distance.
Lance: John would come back for his yearly visit and we would always make it a point to records as much as possible.
TB: How does the songwriting occur? Obviously practices have been few and far between...until now.
Lance: Usually, I write some lyrics and John comes up with the basic musical structure. Then we just masturbate all over the track until we like what we hear!
John: He’s kidding. I always shoot alone. But sneer-iously...I usually come up with (don’t laugh) a riff and Lance is good with stream of consciousness-style writing. We just put it all in a bowl of Cheet-os and turn that sucker on high...
TB: I know you guys are really into Ween (for better or worse) and The Butthole Surfers. Do you feel like these are major influences to your sound?
John: Dean Ween & Paul Leary are two of my favorite guitarists. I’d say they’ve both had tremendous impact on my playing.
Lance: Those bands showed us the ways to make unusual, yet still compelling music. They were major influences for us from early on.
TB: Any other notable influences: musical or non-musical?
John: Non-musical for me would have to be Harmony Korine films and the acting of Werner Herzog.
TB: Herzog sniffing shoe glue...
Lance: Other influences of ours, include the Misfits with Danzig...it sucks that I even have to qualify this answer this way these days! Sonic Youth, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (the original), early Eighties horror flicks, the writings of Camus, Poe and Burroughs, drugs and alcohol in general.
TB: I’ve notice that over the 15 years SG has been together, there’s been a drastic shift in the sound. Early stuff seemed more noise for noise sake, sound collage with samples and electronic drums. Then there was the blues influenced sludge years. Now, it seems more like a sci-fi thug rock outfit with an occasional full band. Any reason for the evolution?
John: We just like to keep people guessing. We kind of pride ourselves on being like an experimental (and uglier) version of Ween. Just trying to keep things interesting.
Lance: I think its all part of what you could call natural progression, though I hate that phrase. People sometimes think that a lot of our stuff tends to sound the same.
TB: Really? Sometimes I wonder if even it’s you two still in the same band?!
Lance: Yeah, we try not to repeat ourselves. We get restless rehashing things we've done before, and over these many years we've tried to experiment with a lot of different sounds and ideas. I'm really excited about where we are at now. We've become better musicians over the years, and can add just enough technique to make our brand of noise more atmospheric and dynamic than we could before. Though I must say, I still really enjoy the hell out of our early stuff. It's a riot!
TB: Do you prefer having a solid line-up of band mates or being just a 4-track duo?
John: We would like to have a solid back-up band. We used to play with the lovely and talented Charlotte Aurevoir (of Kount Fistula and Arachnid Arkade) before she creepy-crawled to San Francisco. Recently, the members have included Gerald Hansen of Brigham fame, along with the Martinez Bros., all of whom are behind the up and coming Scatological Liberation Front Label.
Lance: The core of the band will always be John and I, although we love working with our friends and having them either guest on recordings or play with us live. Currently we’re working on having a more or less permanent backing band for shows, and possibly for recording duties. It's gonna’ get insane. Power squared, y'all!
TB: Who makes up the live act these days?
John: Well if Ann Margaret isn’t coming down then it’ll be Gerald and maybe the Martinez Bros. At least one of them.
Lance: The last gig showcased the Martinez Bros. for the rhythm section. Power cubed!
TB: Lance just moved to Seattle. What made you guys finally decide to live in the same town?
Lance: I'd fucking had it with Las Vegas!
John: I think he finally just snapped.
Lance: Eight years of living in the world’s largest kitty litter box had me going bonkers. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sorry, I'm better now. The time was just right to make the move.
TB: Does this mean more live shows? Tours?
Lance: Fuckin’ A!
John: Shows, definitely. Tours could be a little tricky. I think it will happen eventually.
TB: Positive live response?
Lance: The live response has always been good or better than I ever expected. With each show more and more people seem to get what we're about.
John: Stan from Blue Sabbath (Black Cheer) said our Laux Fest Monster show was our best, and I would agree with that. I was wearing this old orange army helmet with a wolf head strapped to it. The snap broke during the first song and I had to pretty much balance it for the rest of the show, and it only fell off once. I was also in a robe…
Lance: Response is great and the momentum is building. Fuckin’ A! Again!
TB: John - Seems like you have become the house musician around The Funhouse these days? Secret Brian Foss man-crush?
John: I don’t know about that, but Brian (The Funhouse booker) seems like a pretty cool guy. He’s always helping bands out, fighting the good fight against those pay-to-play schmucks.
TB: Seattle’s been getting’ bad with that again. Any peers or acts you guys really dig on record or playing with?
Lance: We have many musical friends we admire and enjoy working with. Although, it is a funny coincidence that John happens to play in just about every band with these people. How did that happen, I wonder?
John: Arbitron is rad! I have been playing with those good sirs in a project called Poor Spores (first show was at Laux Fest). Also Octagon Control is amazing! Two keyboard and drum hysteria! I love it! And, of corpse, Penetration Camp.
TB: What’s on the horizon for Grandpa?
Lance: The future for us right now holds at least two new album projects, 'Poor on the Grits' and 'Diaper Down'.
John: We just released the "Le Hardcore” single on Strain Theory.
TB: Any word from S-S or Siltbreeze? Those labels seem to be cheerleading for y’all.
John: S-S might be doing something with our early cassette tapes.
Lance: We got a couple of cover tunes for comps on SLF and with Penetration Camp, respectively. Some more shows. General promotion of our stuff until we become as big as Smegma, if that's possible!
TB: How much of what you record actually gets released? Seems like there’s something popping up every couple months.
John: We always try to record and utilize our time as much as possible. I mean when you play once or twice a year, you have to take advantage of it.
Lance: Pretty much everything we record ends up being used for something at some point. We seem to have new stuff coming out all the time because we have such a library of material saved up over the years.
John: Since Lance is in Seattle now, we might up the practices to three or four times a year!
TB: Preferred: improv or written/rehearsed?
Lance: I like to flesh out the idea for material first, and then just improv/fornicate it to death later!
John: As long as it scares us or makes us laugh, we go with it!
TB: Any idea of what your discography is? How many items exist?
John: That’s a tough one, Lance?
Lance: I would guess and say we have at least 35 releases to date. Though the exact discography needs to be nailed down by us one of these days!
TB: I think I got it pretty complete (see below).
TB: Favorite releases you guys have made?
John: I really like the “Electric Shitstorm” LP & “Chaos Midnight” 10”, but the “Le Hardcore” 7" might be my new fave.
Lance: I'm proudest of “Glue Farm Autopsy”, “Chaos Midnight”, and the new hardcore 7" that just came out.
TB: Proudest moment?
John: Maybe our first show. I mean, 12+ years is a long time to go without performing live, so when it was over it was quite a big relief.
Lance: Whenever we decide to try to pull our crazy shit off live and don't screw it up is no small feat for us!
TB: Best song in yer minds?
Lance: I don't think I'm in a position to judge what our best song is...
John: “Osage Ryan” and “Clown Hand” are good ones.
Lance: I have some favorites, but I like to keep them to myself. Not all my masturbating needs to be done in public.
TB: You guys seem to take the whole SG thing with tongue-in-cheek. How do you feel playing with the more "serious" noise musicians?
John: Personally, I hate it when someone thinks they’re the only ones doing experimental music. I enjoy shows and recording when there’s more of a “community feel” rather than the whole “Me! Me! Look & listen only to me!” attitude.
TB: Are there side projects brewing for Lance?
Lance: (…wanders out to the street and screams at an oncoming Metro bus…comes back and drinks more coffee. John doesn’t even flinch.)
TB: Uh..I know John’s got his hands in a lot projects, like in the ten band range...name ‘em John...
John: Poor Spores, Sizzling Mansions, Krash Un Lurne, Telethon Murders, Plain, Beyond the Soul of the Demon Goddess, Thee Wickermen, Des Moines (new soft rock project), and Slicing of course.
TB: Modest kid. I think there’s more.
TB: Any final thing you’d like to add?
John: Do you know what it's like to fall in mud and get kicked...in the head...with an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does. It never happens. It's a dumb question...skip it.
Welp. That’s something for ya. Other bands (the dead ones) include: Kount Fistula, Sampsonknight Feathergun, Tractor Sex Fatality...all of which John is sitting on a demo-CDr treasure trove of unreleased goods from. Hit him up for trades, he’s always down for it. Be prepared for the possibility of a “24 hours of Laux Rock” KDVS radio show. DJ Rick has been threatening for a while now.
SLICING GRANDPA DISCOGRAPHY:
Skunk Cassette (1993)
4-Trak Album Cassette (1993- Unreleased)
Sourpuss Cassette (1993)
Scrambled Eggs & Ash Wednesday Cassette (1994)
Tissue Box Cassette (1994)
Caterpillar Ink Cassette (1994)
Pacemaker Cassette (1994)
Slicing Grandpa Cassette (1994 – Not the same as “Best Of” with same title)
Jazz Album Cassette (1995)
Glue Farm Autopsy 7” (1997-Strain Theory)
Silo of Blood Cassette (1998)
Pig Blood Blues Cassette (1998 – Strain Theory)
Slicing Grandpa (Best Of) CD (2001- Strain Theory)
Apt. 4 E.P. CD (2001 – Strain Theory)
Electric Shitstorm CD/LP (2003 – Strain Theory)
There's No Place Like Home Compilation CD (2004 - Geek Scene)
Family Restroom CD/Cassette (2005 – Strain Theory/SLF)
Urination Crane 7” (2005 – Strain Theory)
4-Trak Album 7”/CDr (2006 – Strain Theory)
SG/Rubber O Cement Split 7” (2006 – Brutal Sound F/X)
SG/Penetration Camp Split 7" (2006 – No Label)
Live @ Meth Fest Cassette (2006 – Strain Theory)
Electric Shitstorm +3 CD (2006 - Scatological Liberation Front)
High 70’s/Showgirl Vomit Cassette (2006 – Enteruption)
Live @ Electric Heavyland Cassette (2006 – Electric Heavyland)
Greatest Hits CD (2007 – Tanzprocesz)
Mobile Bones Disposal Unit CD (2007 – Tanzprocesz)
Chaos Midnight 10” (2007 – Strain Theory)
SG/Sparkle Girl Split 7” (2007 – Soccer Mom Ebonics)
SG/Sparkle Girl Split CD (2007 – Soccer Mom Ebonics – Not the same as 7”)
SG/Placenta Popeye Split Cassette (2007 – Strain Theory)
Slicing Placenta CD (2007 – Scatological Liberation Front)
Mruofekis Cassette (2007 - PsychForm Records)
Meth Set 7” (2007 - Daisy Cutter)
Spirit of Doug & W CD (2008 – Scatological Liberation Front)
Big Monster Canadian Coat Cassette (2008 – Goaty Tapes)
In The Restroom Cassette (2008 – Attic Tapes)
SG/Harshcore Split Cassette (2008 - Smell the Stench)
Le Hardcore 7” (2008 – Strain Theory)
Lauxapalooza Cassette (2008 –Phase Tapes)
All Along the Crotch Tower Cassette (2009 - DeathBombArc Tape Club)
Greatest Hits LP (2009 – S-S Records)
Poor on the Grits LP (2009 – Strain Theory/SLF)
SLF Compilation CD (2009 – Scatological Liberation Front)
Penetration Camp Compilation CD (2009)
Visit Slicing Grandpa online.
Scatological Liberation Front online.
Interview by Rob Vertigo.
Pics graciously provided by Slicing Grandpa.