Jester: I'm supposed to ask you to start off with your NIN jokes. One of the members from the audience said that they were a little bit amusing to say the least.
Jim Marcus: We had some extra time when were on stage so I asked if anyone wanted to near a NIN joke, and they said yes. How many nine inch nails does it take to change a light bulb? None, they like it dark.
[laughter, then interruption by the annoying waitress demanding that we order food.]
Jim Marcus: I thought it would be entertaining but it was wrong really.
Jester: Are TVT ever going to release any singles of the new album?
Jim Marcus: No.
Jim Marcus: TVT doesn't really have a whole lot us use for us. They don't really get us. I tried to pin the people at TVT down for a couple of months as to whither or not they liked our record. I asked them "Do you like our record?" They said, "We think that songs of the songs might have some good radio potential." I said, "No, do you like our record?" They replied, "We think the reviews are showing up very positively?" I said again, "Do you like the record?" So no one has actually give me an answer. I'd say no, definitely not. No one ever seems to understand why we put records out.
Jester: it doesn't really fit in with the money making ideal?
Jim Marcus: It really doesn't fit in with their plan. I used to think that it was a simple one to one relationship between an organization and what it manufactured, like a widget company, who just made widgets. And it doesn't work that way. It's not a one to one, we're a record company we make records sort of operation. I'd say no, and boy does that depress me tremendously. Ed Finkler: I hate to say this, or even bring this up, and maybe we can even leave this out of the interview, but are you looking to get off the label?
Jim Marcus: We're not on TVT any more. We've never really had too much luck with any record label. I used to think that when I was younger that record labels were there to help artists put out records, and it is not like that. They are not their to put out records, for the most part what they do keeps you from putting records out. There have been a hundred times in the past few years when I have just wanted to put a record out like Oxygiene 23 for example. We did this record, some of these songs were written while we were doing Big Electric Metal Bass Face and I was in New York, and I had a piano there and I wrote a bunch of songs with a piano with my girl friend at the time. We just did a bunch of songs. I thought that this was a cool record to do and we'll just do it and put it out. So we were going put it out on Invisible Records and our record company just descended and made life difficult for us. So several months later we were sitting there unable to put out the record. I was talking to Jared one day and he said why don't we just put it out, and I said okay, and we did it. We just told the record company you can sue us if you want. we don't have any money, we just want to put this record out okay? Your welcome to sue me. I don't have anything you'd want. I have a bed. You can have it. Record companies are not good at putting records outs I've noticed. It is sad really. if their not, who is?
Jester: So your mostly in it for the music and getting it out to the people?
Jim Marcus: I am completely into it for the music! I suspect that I'd make a really bad rock star, so I'm not in it for that. I'd also suspect that I'd make a really bad rich person, so I'm not in it for that either. I don't think that I am anything but a simple musician. We are starting our own record labels. Entirely and totally to produce collectable records. Each pressing will only be a five thousand run, all autographed and all numbered.
Jester: Is it all LP, or CD?
Jim Marcus: It is all on CD. No jewel cases. They are all packaged in environmentally friendly packaging. Every release is going to be really radically different and unusual. The first record that we are doing is a band called Gifthorse. Rodney Fizenfeld(sp?) from Seattle. The second record is an AIDS benefit compilation. Most of the records that we are probably going to do on this label are going to be benefits. And the third record will be one of my bands, a project called Deep. And then this other band I'm working with called Everplastic. We're just going to just put records out. We have no desire to deal with major record labels, or minor record labels thinking that they are major records labels. It is ridiculous. There is no reason to do it any more. They have no idea what kids want. You can buy a record for a lot of different reasons. I buy records all the time because I love the cover. I buy records all of the time because I like to hear things that I've never heard before. And how am I supposed to find a new band that I've never heard of before that isn't anywhere near being on MTV unless I go in and say, "That's the most amazing cover, I'm going to buy that!" I'm almost never wrong. I've almost always enjoyed the record that I bought. Record companies will sit there and say that no one actually buys a records because of their covers. Well you don't! When was the last time someone at a record company bought a record? The problem with this industry is that everyone gets records for free. So no one ever buys a record. So they have no idea why anyone buys a record. You buy a record because you need it., because you see it and something about it speaks you, because you want it to be your friend and you want it to be a place you can go. A good record is something you can put on and it is a different place entirely to go to. You can spend time there and it means something to do, whither it makes you cry or make you feel something. it is nothing to do with whither or not we are on MTV, or we've sold two million copies or which stations are playing us, who added us recently, that's bullshit!
Jester: I was talking to Jay at Fifth Column and he was saying you did the entire cover for the Oxygiene 23 album.
Jim Marcus: Yes, I do all art for all the covers.
Jester: What is the fascination with naked women on the covers?
Jim Marcus: It is a fascination with naked people in general. In the case of the Oxygiene 23 cover that is the vocalist on the album. It is part of a photo shoot. This whole project was supposed to be an art performance type of deal. We did a performance of it last year at the Vic Theater in Chicago which was kind of a ballet. I used to have a grant for the arts and it was taking away. Mostly in part with this fascination I had for putting naked people on stage. I kind of think that once people were really mortified I kind of did it more. It seemed liked a reasonable thing to me. Everyone has a body. I think that there is a lot you can communicate with it. I got in a lot of trouble with the stuff that I did in Chicago. What I did was effectively a ballet. With the people from the Joesph Holmes Dance Troupe and the Joel Hall Dance Troupe and some really amazing dancers. We had some nudity going on onstage and some really bizarre stuff. We did a play around some of this music called, "Mother Universe" in Chicago that ran for five months. It was long and it was non-liner. It was simple progression. There were like twenty-five people in it. Half of them performance artists and half of them were actors. It was kind of strange seeing performance artists and actors working together. So a lot of these pictures were from that show or evolved from it.
Jester: Were some of those pictures on the Sister Machine Gun singles?
Jim Marcus: No. That was entirely different. Some of the pictures from Nothing I took with one of them being an ex girl friend of mine. I'm a photographer. The cover for Wired was one of Sandy Sagers photographs someone I work with. We do a lot of work together. She also shot stuff on the Mind Funk record cover as well as one of the pictures on the Oxygiene 23 cover. She is really fun to work with. She shoots everything. She has shot stuff for Dessau as well.
Jester: I thought that the Oxygiene 23 album showed more of a musical progression, sort of more of what you can do musically. Perhaps more so that the Die Warzau material which seems to be locked at a more constant structure.
Jim Marcus: Considering that the 0xygiene 23 record was written entirely on a piano, it was an entirely different way of doing something. I was a very mellow experience in writing the record. A kind close all the doors, turn the lights out, sit around a piano. Then add other drums and rhythms later. It was a whole different way of writing something for me. The Deep record which is going to be coming out in a few months is an entirely live ethnic record. There is not a single instrument used twice on each track. It is pretty interesting.
Jester: Do you have a favorite project? Something that is more important to you, something the speaks to you at a higher level?
Jim Marcus: Die Warzau has always been the project that I spent the most energy on from the beginning. The studio kind of got carried away and became a large entity in itself. We started doing a lot of other work there. With Swans, Sister Machine Gun, Paul McCartney. I'm not a very good studio owner, operator type person. I don't know I'm kind of moving away from that. I'd rather do a record in my living room most of the time. I'd rather just sit there with my flutes, my piano and just write a record.
Jester: What was the motivation of the cover in association with the name of the new Die Warzau album?
Jim Marcus: I collect foreign money. All these are part of my collection of money. This is something that I guess you wouldn't really understand the connection between Engine and the cover unless you read George Matai (sp?). He calls money the engine of commerce. The engine of human interaction. A lot of this record has to do with money, with economy. Economy is something that defines every element of human interaction. Some sort of economy, whither it is economy of movement or the economy of dollar bills. The simply interelational economy. It was really exciting for me. Some of the songs on here you need need to write them down and sit there for a few minutes to understand what they actually are about. It's really kind of hard to tell that "heroina.d" is really entirely about quantum physics. If you write it all out you'll probably figure it out. I really liked the cover for that. It was really fun to do.
Jester: Some asked why the last track on the CD was a distinct track on its own rather than together with the previous track.
Jim Marcus: The explosion noise on the last track on some stereos is loud enough to blow your stereo because it is digital distortion. I think that it was important enought to give it it's own track.
[ We took a fifteen minute break while Jim did sound check and continued on with the interview. When Jim returned he dragged half of the Sister Machine live band with him as we continued on amidst the fury of the restaurant owner.]
Jester: How have the first two dates of the tour gone apart from the absolutely horrendous heat?
Jim Marcus: (deep sarcasm) It has been absolutely brilliant. We have played some huge places to huge crowds and it has been absolutely brilliant. We're getting to the roots of rock'n'roll. It has been a very blues experience. We all slept together last night. Last night was fun. I slept on the picnic table which gave me new insight on how a picnic lunch feels. It was pretty exciting. I was on the picnic table and was afraid of rolling off of it. I can imagine how Chris must have felt. Rolling off the van would have been pretty disastrous. So yes, it has been a pretty amazing tour. I think the universe wants to make sure that I don't get to haughty.
Jester: Are you only touring these two weeks or are you going to be touring with Sister Machine Gun on their fall album tour?
Jim Marcus: We don't know what the plan is. We're just playing some shows. I don't suppose that this is an actual tour. It is just a few shows. We're all testing out new bands so after a few days we can figure out if we can keep them or kill them. Hiding the bodies is the hard part. If you have to hide the body it is almost better to just fire the band. We can't actually expect any tour support we we are not actually not thinking about this as a tour.
Jester: Do you actually have any merchandise then?
Jim Marcus: Well we have T-shirts, and of course the ever famous Sister Machine Gin Zippo lighters, which I designed. I designed the T-shirts as well. We are really having a good time on this tour I think or we will. I like to tour but there always seems like there is so much stuff going on. Two nights seemed like forever ago.
Nick: Do you work primarily out of Chicago?
Jim Marcus: Yes because Michigan has some ugly, ugly prostitutes! It doesn't seem very economically feasible. One pimp to a hooker, there must be an incredible markup on that sort of thing. (laughter all around)
Jim Marcus: Can I have a look at those questions? (Jim borrows my list of questions)
Jester: Half of those are for you and half of those are for Chris.
Jim Marcus: I think I can answer Chris's. I believe that I know more about Chris than Chris really does. Who came up with these questions?
Jester: Some are mine and some are those sent to me by people off the Internet after I posted to rec.music.industrial asking for questions.
Jim Marcus: We all miss Chris's beautiful wife. Does she cook? She never cooked for me.
[Chris Randall walks into the restaurant.]
Jim Marcus: Hey Chris. We're answering your questions. We just finished saying that "Yes, We all miss your beautiful wife." She never cooked for me. Why is that? Sascha and Michelle cooked for me, and that was really bad.
[Organized chaos about how bad certain food along with hurried introductions to Van Christie and the mingling of just about everyone in both Sister Machine Gun and Die Warzau currently playing this tour.]
Jester: I know Chris is big on the Internet. Have you placed any interest in it?
Jim Marcus: I just finished designing the web pages for a small record label.
Jester: Is it due to come online shortly?
Jim Marcus: Within two weeks. We don't actually have web pages ourselves because I simply haven't gotten around to designing them. I've also doing some web pages for the Internet Radio Network. We're putting radio stations on the Internet. Eight bit sound, six second delay, real time. So, yes. I program computers on the side.
Jester: I am beginning to wonder if there is anything you don't do?
Jim Marcus: A lot of things very badly. I don't do anything terribly well. However, I generally tend to have a pretty good time whatever I am doing. This tour has kind of been an exception to that rule. In the fact that I have a lot of work to do. Some friends of mine agreed to clean my house while I was gone. My house is trashed. I kind of live in one huge room and the place is a mess. Before I left and my place got trashed. So some friends agreed to clean it for me. My one friend Mary and my other friend Marilyn are cleaning it for me. I'm not sure if they are just going to throw everything away. Almost everything I own can be construed one way or another as trash. Even my computers in a lot of ways can be seen as junk. I am kind of concerned. Actually it is very strange to be away from a computer for this long. I did bring along my Newton, but it has been three days without a computer and I might just kill myself.
Jester: It sounds like us. It's that classic keyboard twitch. Your hands kind of start to shake if they away from a computer for too long.
Nick: Do you have any particular occupation more than anything else we've talked about?
Jim Marcus: I prefer directing plays. I just finished a screenplay and I might do my first movie, but for the most part out of all the the things that I have ever done in my whole life. The one thing I prefer is directing plays. What I like about it is because I don't like to keep records about things. You just do it and it is done. To me there is something so romantic about ephemeral art. One second it is there and one second it is not. In some ways that bypasses all the elements of art that I don't appreciate. Which general tends to be the distribution elements. The act of making art widely accessible to many people as opposed to the people that it is more urgently desired by. I love improv. I love non-recorded works. I enjoy doing a play or a musical performance work and having no record of it.
Nick: Do you prefer your live performance to your albums then?
Jim Marcus: In a lot of ways, yes. I prefer live performances where we improv. We did an off the cuff version of "Car Wash' a few nights ago. To me there is something more exciting of that. There is something there that defeats the whole cartoon of the music business that I am constantly fighting with. There is this cartoon. There is this tendency to stayed locked into this cartoon in the music business. You go on tour and you meet a lot of people who just know as a person from a band. They think that you want them to know you simply a a person in this band. They think that somehow that you want to be involved with this distortion of human condition that the music industry creates and I want no part of that. I want to be an artist. I an never going to be a rock star. i don't want to be anything else but an artist. I know that means not making any money, but that is okay. So, Yes I love directing plays. Theater is so urgent and so necessary at the moment. It speaks specifically to the individual people that are there. There is no connection to this extraneous world. However there is a tendency in the distribution industry to treat music, art, theater as a commercialized product. I like that. I hope that made some sort of sense.
Jester: Yes it did. If you have ever read any other interview with you, you will notice that you have this sort of tendency to take a single topic and run with forever.
Jim Marcus: I think I have a tendency to do that in real life as well. My friends know when to tell me to shut up. So did you like Oxygiene 23 record?
Jester: Yes, I did. It was totally unexpected when I put it in the CD player. I was caught offguard.
[Cut off discussion about the influence of several of the tracks on the Oxygiene 23 album as the tape stopped at the end of a side and I failed to notice for several minutes. We continued discussion musical influence on the Die Warzau album as the interview continued.]
Jim Marcus: Liberated off "Engine" was written for my mother who died before the record was finished of cancer. I sang African funeral hymns at her funeral. There was no music, it was all acapella. I remember thinking that after the funeral that i didn't believe a word that was said at the whole service because it was a very Catholic service. I wanted to write a song about what I felt was actually happening. So I could feel good about what was happening with her even thought I didn't believe that she was going anywhere. I didn't believe that her identity was going to survive intact into the next world. I wanted to try and find a way to deal with what was happening. So because of that that song kind of make me sad. I feel very confident in this time in my musical ability that I can write song that can affect me deeply in this way.
Jester: I've reached the end of the questions that I have, is there anything that you wanted to add?
Nick: We could just throw topics at you like Chris suggested, sex and politics.
Jim Marcus: We sex and politics are the same thing. It is in the best interest of your government to remove the ability to value, justify and control your own sexuality just like it is in the best interest of your governing body to remove the value which you place on death. There is no legitimate reason for suicide to be against the law except that you government wants you to value the death of individuals as opposed to allowing you to have complete authority over your own death. Even the death penalty is this way. There is a saying on the back of our T-shirts which says, "People who believe in the death penalty trust the government a whole lot more than I do." it is totally true. Every time in history when the death penalty has been instituted people have gone crazy. Even right now the death penalty is a really effective way to remove black men from our society and poor people. Rich people do not goto the chair. O.J. Simpson is not going to jail. If he were Tyrone from the south side he would already be serving his time. Everyone knows that. That is not even a point of discussion. It was nice talking to you guys and I hope this discussion was of some value to you and I'll see you after the show.
Now that we're smart enough to stop dragging our women by the hair into caves to fuck them, maybe we can start paying them equal wages for equal work. Human Beings have eaten, worn, shot, blown up, screwed, tortured and generally annoyed enough animals on this planet to inspire the genetic imperative to rise up and kick our stupid donkey butts. I hope this happens while republicans are in office. The most significant and insightfully gathered piece of knowledge you can pick up in school is how much it sucks to blindly obey someone else's rules. The smart thing to do would be to learn it. Some of the models in Sears underwear ads are actually worth looking at for extended periods. Bill Gates is the Devil. Parents who buy their children toy guns are mostly just speeding their own departure from the gene pool. Animals do some of the same things we do but for totally different reasons. The basic difference between paying for sex and paying for food is that you can eat alone. Talk show guests are paid by the pound now with bonuses paid out on a case by case basis for each missing tooth. My father's advice on sex never actually graduated from "keep it in your pants" but in the most expansive of all possible senses I never realized how reasonable this could really be. Until prisons start paying for themselves, we'll never get prisoners to accept responsibility for their actions. There are enough men in this country who pay women to step on their wee-wees in tiny leopard skin panties and whip them to qualify as a legitimate voting block. If they elect me, I'll see to it that they all get beat like bunnies. Aliens gauge how intelligent a species is by how few alarm clocks they own per capita. Guns don't kill people. Soup doesn't kill people. Guns with people loosely attached to the butt by virtue of an appendage and used according to their legitimate function kill people. You can't say the same thing about soup. One of the two million principal differences between Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons is that Warhol had the sense to notice he was dead. In the Disney tradition, Mickey mouse looks progressively more like Hitler each Generation. Smurfette needs a hobby and no innuendo please. Everyone I know whose seen his father's penis has been irreparably scarred by it. I want to have a child just to imbue my genitals with that kind of power. I want peace on earth but will settle for my own talk show. When programming for the Macintosh, don't ever move the pointer for a text block without moving the handle. If this means nothing to you, be grateful. I want Cicciolina as the fourth person in line for the presidency of the United States and Newt Gingrich being bopped up the butt by buff studs. How can I get this? I'm starting to believe that Adam and Stuart Chandler are played by different people. Wouldn't it be great if there were some way of getting Jody Foster's attention that somehow didn't involve shooting someone? If we put all the crazy people who believe they are Jesus Christ in the same room together, we could very possibly cure all but the absolutely most convincing one. If we know for a fact that the final destiny of the human race is as hyperintelligent fish sucking supersaturated algae from the tops of rapidly cooling radioactive puddles, can we just turn ourselves into toasters now? Elvis is dead and he makes quite a handsome collectible plate. It doesn't take much imagination to suspect that trees don't like us much. I think having sex with Clive Barker would involve hand puppets of some kind. It's really easy to lie to people with multiple personalities. Rush Limbaugh isn't really worth talking about anymore but the resemblance to Barney the dinosaur is really staggering. Monkeys play with their feces and humans measure their penises. There's a planet somewhere where both of these are equally amusing. The entire history of the human race would be completely and absolutely turned on its head and our present world would be completely unrecognizable if human beings bounced. Limited pattern homosexuality is a positive response on behalf of a species to it's environment and can render that species more viable. Write me if you need me to tell you why. Very soon we will all agree on exactly when the good old days were. Ronald Mcdonald is pure evil and not a funny clown. Chicken places that advertise with a big anthromorphised smiling chicken-guy are really the next stage in our race's development toward cannibalism. More people should learn how to walk away when they're being yelled at. Being necessary is better than being sexy. Everything I ever needed to know I learned by fucking it up the first time. Abandoned missile silos would make great homeless shelters. I'm just saying. I have a special stapler for the testicles of parents who tell their children to shut up. If the rain forest had breasts it would all still be there but it might not be virgin anymore. please forget that last one. It shouldn't cost anything to run for president. A 27 dollar a pack tax on cigarettes would solve almost any problem I could think of off the top of my head.It seems pointless to spend 139 dollars on a vacuum cleaner when just 23,000 miles away, vacuum is free. People who can't cry at the end of Hair/the movie are either insensitive to the plight of the modern pacifist in an aggressive environment or just don't like Treat Williams. And for god's sake, Don't let your landlord make you pay for paint.