Interview with American band Admiral Porkliver
by Jacob Silverman
September 21, 2009
In August of 2008, I found myself rather bored with the music scene in Bratwurst, Ohio. The small city, home to Adlai Mortensen College, one of the Midwest's premier institutes for interpretive basket weaving, had seen a steady decline in the quality of its live music scene since the departure of famed polka-metal band Nazi Sex Zombies in January 2007.
Although NSZ returned to Bratwurst in March 2008 after an unsuccessful tour of the Dakotas, they have not resumed their famed live shows at Uncle Steve's. In the course of a phone interview with NSZ lead singer and rhythm guitarist Pete Wilkinson in June 2008, I learned that the members of NSZ had gone their separate ways for reason of "creative differences." Apparently, Wilkinson encountered stiff resistance to his efforts to infuse girlfriend Hoshi Yamamoto's traditional Japanese flute into the polka-metal roots of NSZ.
With the departure of NSZ, our live music scene consisted of two tribute bands (Good Times Bad Times as Led Zeppelin, and Crash Into Me as the Dave Matthews Band), Kirby and Coney (Simon and Garfunkel without musical ability), The Rocking Dudes (who only play twelve-bar blues instrumentals), and a few solo acts, such as Beatrice McIntyre (country fiddle act) and Norm Fabian (a cappella Lebanese lounge act). Frankly, I had become pretty bored overall with the live shows at Uncle Steve's, and I was even halfheartedly considering giving up my unpaid role at Uncle Steve's as stage manager, and quitting my poorly paid adjunct position as an English instructor at Adlai Mortensen, and moving somewhere more creatively vibrant, such as Steubenville.
It was at this time that Admiral Porkliver were scheduled to play their first show at Uncle Steve's. Much to my regret, I missed that show because I had stayed home to watch reruns of Laverne and Shirley on television.
What followed was a legendary performance of epic proportions, which was captured in its entirety by my good friend Joe Minsk on video camera (Joe plans to post it on his web page soon). Word quickly got back to Adlai Mortensen that Admiral Porkliver was weird as hell, that their style of music was indescribable and for the most part unlistenable, and that their live show was capable of inducing mass nausea. Since Admiral Porkliver was unable to restart their tour bus after the concert due to the disintegration of its timing belt, they decided to settle in at Uncle Steve's until coming up with the necessary funds to replace it. Thus began the current tenure of the band as reigning live music champions at our beloved house of music.
The following interview with the members of Admiral Porkliver was conducted on September 15, 2009 at Uncle Steve's, where the band members currently live. Admiral Porkliver consists of Stoughton Finney, lead singer and lyricist, Reverend Red Butts, keyboards, Dr. Roscoe Hogg, drums, Melvin Mayo, bass guitar, Ricardo Brezhnev, guitar, and Willy, kazoo.
Silverman: Where is Admiral Porkliver from?
Finney: That's an existentialist question, and therefore capitalist.
Silverman: Can you answer it?
Finney: No. Next question, if you will.
Silverman: When was Admiral Porkliver formed?
Finney: The band has an essential preexistence in which puny mortals such as you can have no share.
Mayo: I think that we did our first show in Wilmette in 1992. But we were called Bestial Undergarments at that time.
Hogg: No, you're wrong. We played first at Hot Stick in Kalamazoo back in 1991. Back then we were known as Tongue Depressor Flambeaux. But Stoughton wasn't with us at that time.
Finney: This is all useless conjecture. We have no beginning and can thus have no end.
Silverman: Stoughton, can you tell us about your tenure as bandleader?
Finney: My rule is absolute. I can tolerate no insubordination whatsoever. Democracy is the nefarious tool of those who can only mislead and corrupt the helpless masses. Only an enlightened dictatorship can properly guide a fructiferous musical collaboration. All must rise upon my command at precisely five o'clock every morning, after which we do two hours of painful calisthenics. Musical practice sessions last for eight continuous hours and those who whimper are hosed down with cold water. Use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited.
Butts: I get up when I damn well please, and I don't do those frigging calisthenics, thank you very much. Sure, the rest of the band does them religiously, but that's just because they're all mindless slaves to Stoughton. And I don't practice one damn minute more than I want to. Plus, I like to drink hard whiskey all damn day long. How about that?
Brezhnev: Drugs are most definitely not prohibited in the band, no way, man. If they were, I would be so totally out of here. I'd be gone, big time.
Silverman: Rumor has it that Admiral Porkliver will leave Bratwurst as soon as the timing belt on your tour bus is fixed.
Finney: Such a rumor is unsubstantiated. In actuality, when a local mechanical technician inspected said vehicle, we were duly informed that it also needs to have its engine replaced, so our stay in this fine burg has been indefinitely extended until we can procure the funds necessary for making our means of intercity transportation fully operational.
Butts: Actually, I got my cousin to take out an unsecured loan at his local credit union, and he sent me the money so that we could fix the bus, both the timing belt and the engine. So, I gave the money to Stoughton so that he could pay the mechanic, but instead he blew it all on something incredibly useless.
Finney: Incorrect. That money has been wisely and strategically invested in the important activities of the Anti-Dictionary League, of which I am president. Dr Hogg, the good Reverend Butts, and Willy are all sworn and initiated members.
Silverman: So, what exactly did you do with the money?
Finney: It is now being put to very good use in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Silverman: Please explain to me the objectives of the Anti-Dictionary League.
Finney: Dictionaries are infernal compendiums of linguistic prescriptivism. They should all be burned at great public gatherings throughout the globe.
Mayo: Like, why should the word "chocolate" have to refer to sweet brown stuff? Maybe you want it to mean snow. Like, the weather forecaster might say that two inches of chocolate are going to fall tonight. That would be so cool. Nobody should force them to say snow if they want to say chocolate. It makes perfect sense.
Silverman: Is Melvin a member of the Anti-Dictionary League?
Finney: No, he hasn't demonstrated the necessary psychic aptitude for membership. Nonetheless, we allow him to cheer us on from the sidelines.
Silverman: What activities has the League carried out?
Finney: We led an assault against the Mortimer Feinstein Public Library in Smithville, which is just one of countless vile and contemptible institutions dedicated to dictionaries.
Silverman: What exactly was done?
Butts: Willy peed all over the circulation desk. We had to get Stoughton's uncle to pay for his bail.
Finney: Which he was more than pleased to do.
Silverman: What are Admiral Porkliver's musical influences?
Finney: I am an ardent admirer of thirteenth century monastic chants.
Hogg: I'd say we're heavily influenced by Liberace and Lawrence Welk.
Brezhnev: Richard Nixon is my biggest musical influence.
Silverman: So tell me, when the band is not playing music or involved in anti-dictionary activities, what else do you like to do?
Finney: I enjoy countless hours playing Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix on my Nintendo Game Cube.
Mayo: Just for the record, that was my Game Cube until he confiscated it.
Butts: I like watching NASCAR races and World Wide Wrestling. Plus, I enjoy snake handling and speaking in tongues. Check this out. Bludduh zeekaboo jimeringa venderbangull gerk sefrill mangerbingtoo simprill dangduk blistabooda brandleblang.
Hogg: I like collecting beef jerky sticks. You'd be amazed at how many different brand names there are out there. What a lot of people don't know is how good they still taste after fifteen years in the package. I think that the older they are the better the flavor, kind of like fine wine. What else? Oh, yeah, I enjoy revising Einstein's Theory of Relativity. I've made a number of important corrections to it.
Mayo: I can't say that I really like to do anything at all when I'm not playing music. Mostly I just sit and stare and try to think of something. When that doesn't work then I sit on the toilet for awhile. I used to listen to music until Stoughton made doing that forbidden. But I understand that it's for my own good.
Brezhnev: Cultivation of smoke-able and snort-able plants is my thing. Since the bus has been broken down, I've turned it into my own personal greenhouse.
Hogg: Just so you all know, he's never grown anything that's gotten anyone high. I tried some of that stuff and it didn't do a thing to me. He picked up a bunch of freaky seeds from a health food store in Cleveland. The swami dude that runs that place filled his head with a bunch of nonsense.
Brezhnev: He's more enlightened than any of us will ever be.
Hogg: Maybe so. He knows how to make good money off of fools, and I doubt that we'll ever figure out how to do that.
Silverman: What about you, Willy? What are your hobbies?
Silverman: Do you speak English? ¿Hablas español? Sprechen Sie deutsch? Parlez-vous francais?
Butts: Tingloobring zenkburgle blinkerblong?
Butts: He knows how to speak in tongues, no doubt about that.
Silverman: Can any of you understand what Willy is saying?
Finney: You must listen to Willy with your subconscious.
Silverman: How did Willy become a member of the band?
Mayo: He showed up at every concert that we had with that kazoo of his and he was playing along with our songs. He used to follow us around, sneak on to the bus, and crawl under our beds. After awhile we realized that music didn't sound right without the kazoo accompaniment, so he became official at that point.
Silverman: I have a hard time understanding the lyrics that you sing at your concerts. Do you just improvise as you sing, or are there set lyrics for your songs?
Finney: The lyrics to our songs are as immutable as if they had been carved into fine Italian marble at the Vatican, which they will one day be.
At this point we concluded the interview, since Admiral Porkliver was about to begin that night's show at Uncle Steve's. However, before he departed for the limelight, Stoughton Finney handed me a sheet of parchment on which he had written, with a quill pen, the lyrics to one of the band's songs, which I reproduce here. As you will see, they are no easier to understand than Willy.
WINCHESTER BACKLOG ENAMEL
Curious mammalians find with lackluster surprise
A powerful mechanism for tenderizing thighs
Ten thousand fathoms and squid stew with fries
Weighty anchors cast off and strict discipline advised
Without which when and why to extricate
The thorny multiplication and division exacerbate
Invertebrate and vertebrate all inveterate
Leaking and sprinkling ketchup on potentate
Winchester and Lester breast her and best her
From all dark cavernous castles and palisades wrest her
Pustules sores scabs and whores to fester
Cockroach climbs for dime and foreign investor
Backlog for the hog and dog of Samuel
Broken and crusty dish bin enamel
Rubber gloves doves in bramble
Eyeballs spin leave digestion in shambles
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