Why isn't anyone afraid of the "big one" anymore? In light of our current political situation - daily reminders that some nuclear warhead could be headed for our homes, Reagan's vice presidents kid is running our country, emo is controlling our airwaves - everyone seems content to sit in front of their TV and let it come to them. Well, I for one am not, thanks to the Epoxies. Their songs are laden with desperate lyrics (executed beautifully, and at the same time powerfully, by Roxy Epoxy), but the music that it's set against makes you dance. I'm not kidding. You try to listen to their album without one little bop or nod. I dare you. I have to admit that I was skeptical about listening to their album. People kept labeling them as new wave, which isn't exactly a selling point for me, but I did put it on, and I haven't gone more than three days without listening to it since. Ususally on repeat. And that was in February.
There is a very good reason the Epoxies are consistently escaping a solid categorization: they're breaking new ground. Sure, you can hear the strong influences of Adam Ant, The Rezillos, Kim Wilde, X-Ray Spex, and a host of others, all depending on the song, but there's something more there. Everything they do has a complimentary, and necessary, opposite. Are they a band with a schtick, and if so, what the hell is the schtick? Roxy's vocals jump from crooning to yelling to pleading to - hell - yodelling and back again. And it works. FM Static somehow found a way to make keyboards not only compliment some rockin' tunes, but to drive them. Hard. Dr. Grip is so focused on playing that you rarely see him open his eyes during a set. Both the Viz on guitar and Shock on bass, which are a little played down on the album, are nothing less than fierce live.
They are the perfect band to listen to when you're breaking hearts, healing your own, cleaning your room, stuck in traffic, or taking on the world. The music is immaculate, the lyrics intelligent. The Epoxies make you realize that, yeah, we're gonna die, but we have options for what we do in the meantime. We can sit and wait for it to come, or we can dance into our distruction. You have a choice. I've already made mine.
Shock Diode-bass; Viz Spectrum-guitar; Dr. Grip - drums; FM Static-keyboards; Roxy Epoxy-vocals
Megan: So, initially Viz and FM started the sci-fi garage band involving refrigerator boxes as costumes. How did that come about?
FM: You did some reading ahead. We need to change that rumor right now.
Dr. Grip: We're actually from Poland.
Viz: Most people think it's Portland, but it's not.
FM: But our English language skills have improved considerably since the advent of mind reading technologies, which we stole from the Soviets. Hence our ejection and subsequent…
Viz: Don't talk too much about that. We don't want to arouse anyone's suspicion.
FM: Oh, back to the question. Yes that's true. Originally, Viz and I had some idea about starting a band and we didn't know exactly what we were doing. We had a whole host of influences and ideas, but robot garage rock is sort of what we're calling it now, for lack of a better term. I think the Epoxies are halfway between what we imagined and a real band.
Dr. Grip: Yeah.
FM: You know, once we figured out that would be too much work.
Dr. Grip: I don't know about that. The robot thing was still in play when I started.
FM: Well, it was kind of a joke.
Viz: I don't think anyone thought it was a serious idea.
FM: Yeah, until we get roadies. Then we'll turn that joke into a terrifying reality.
Dr. Grip: They needed a drummer and not just a drum machine and I started playing with them for just a couple of weeks and then Roxy came in and sang one of the songs and everything just sort of fell into place, really.
FM: Yeah, minus the money.
Dr. Grip: We realized we might be able to be a real band at that point.
FM: There was a definite moment of realization when we all listened to it and said, "Oh, this sounds good. Now we need to stop fooling around quite so much."
Dr. Grip: No more dryer boxes full of dryer hose.
FM: Yeah, instruments are much more difficult to play wearing refrigerator boxes with dryer hose arms.
Megan: I would assume so.
FM: So we had to find some sort of balance in there.
Megan: So if those ice capading robots vs. the world had been send here to destroy one band, genre, or person - who would that be?
FM: What band would be the worst band for us to shit talk right now?
Viz: [joking] The Spits!
FM: [also joking] The stinkin' Briefs! We hate those guys.
Viz: I hope the Spits and Briefs are destroyed.
FM: We're so all inclusive. That's the thing.
Dr. Grip: We love everybody.
FM: We enjoy all the meats of our cultural stew. There has to be terrible awful bands that are hateful in order to make anything work. It's kind of like censorship. It's kind of necessary.
Dr. Grip: I'm kind of voting for Live, actually.
FM: Toad the Wet Sprocket. Dr. Grip: They're already gone. They pose no threat.
FM: Yeah, but there's so many Toad the Wet Sprockets in existence still.
Dr. Grip: What's that one band? Creed!
Roxy: I'm not fond of any of the nu metal either.
FM: How about every rock'n'roll band?
Dr. Grip: Ummmm…that would include, like, us.
FM: Yeah. It would get rid of a lot of really good bands, but it would probably be really good for music. If every band, including us, was wiped off of the face of the earth so something interesting could happen.
Megan: I've heard that Portland has a pretty big bar scene. I'm assuming that you guys also have karaoke bars. Have you ever seen a karaoke fight?
FM: I'm not sure how that would take place.
Megan: People can get pretty serious about it.
FM: As in "the mic is mine" type thing?
FM: I was thinking more of an operatic duel.
Dr. Grip: Like a musical. Like that Ozzy/ Lita Ford song, what was it?
Megan and FM: "If I Close My Eyes Forever."
Dr. Grip: I've seen that turn into something more like a duel, or more of an attack on the audience, you know?
FM: I've seen a lot of fights between the singer and the audience.
Megan: Because Roxy started out singing in karaoke bars to get used to it, right?
Roxy: Yeah, I was just too petrified to do it, so they started pulling me out and getting me drunk and getting me to sing in front of people.
FM: Yeah there's this really crazy karaoke bar in Budapest, where we first saw her sing.
Roxy: Yes. Yes.
FM: We were able to purchase her for a very reasonable price. There's attitude problems that decreased her market value.
Megan: Did you have a favorite song?
Roxy: I would sing "867-5309/Jenny" because I was confident that it was within a very narrow range that I could hit and wouldn't make a full ass of myself although the song itself did a pretty good job of that.
FM: I was fond of the "Break Up" song by Greg Kihn, that was my favorite of yours. She does a good "99 Luft Ballons" too.
Roxy: I never sang that. You sang that.
FM: I didn't do a very good job, as I recall.
Megan: One thing I've noticed is that you work really hard to support other bands. Did you get that support when you were starting out? Was there anyone in particular that helped?
FM: Everybody practically that we've ever interacted with has been unbelieveably supportive and helpful. I don't know if it's true that we do all that much for other bands. It just seems to be the thing to do. Everyone takes care of one another. Certainly we've all been there before and know that it's a real drag to drive 500 miles and not get paid. It's just a matter of respect.
Megan: I know you've taken pictures for bands like the Exploding Hearts and the Automatics. You did one of the covers for the Automatics, right?
Roxy: I did most of them.
FM: Pretty much all of them. I think all but one of the covers.
Megan: How many of you were involved with the Automatics?
FM: I was. Dr. Grip: I was on one of the covers.
FM: That's true.
Roxy: I was on one of the covers, then I shot the others.
Megan: I actually have one question about one of the albums, "Ten Greatest."
FM: "Ten Golden Greats."
Megan: Why do you thank the state of Maine?
FM: Our bass player is from the state of Maine. A more interesting fact about that record is that we're not actually inside the barrels, but in fact behind them.
Megan: Oooh, trivia!
Dr. Grip: Trick photography, it's trick photography!
Roxy: I am so good.
FM: I also maintain that it's the best album the Automatics released.
Dr. Grip: I like that one, too.
Megan: Yeah, I just listened to it the other day. Before you were the Epoxies, you were playing out as the Adhesives for awhile.
FM: For a little while yeah. 'Til we found out that there was another Adhesives about a hundred miles from us.
Viz: They were none too happy about it.
Dr. Grip: We started crackin' skulls.
FM: In a side note related to both of the last two questions - I just got an email from one of the British Automatics' guys, including like…
Dr. Grip: "We're gonna fuckin' kill you."
FM: Yeah, basically. He called me gay and gave me a giant cease and desist speech and threatened to beat me up and said litigation would be forthcoming.
Roxy: Really? When was this?
FM: This was the day before we left. I didn't bother to respond to him.
Roxy: Oh my god, like everyone came out to see their reunion shows expecting to see you guys?
Dr. Grip: Maybe because they haven't been a band in twenty years.
Viz: They did tour the U.S. Their bass player was on Fresh Air.
FM: I really wanted to go see them. I'm sure they got really pissed at us by the end of the whole thing.
Dr. Grip: Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people showed up to see you guys.
Megan: So, what are you a doctor of?
Dr. Grip: Rhythmology.
Megan: I hear you're also a bit of an inventor.
Dr. Grip: That's Viz, actually. I'm a bit of a hack inventor. Viz is the real genius.
Megan: Was someone working on a bottle cap button maker?
Dr. Grip: Oh, that was me.
Megan: Did that work out?
Dr. Grip: I don't have the funding currently to pursue that project, but I still maintain that it could be a really great thing. How did that get out? How did you hear about that?
Megan: I dug.
Dr. Grip: At this phase they're extremely labor intensive. They involve a pair of pliers and some contact paper and a lot of pen and ink drawings. I didn't even make decent printouts or anything. It'd probably be cheaper to just give someone twenty bucks to make 'em.
FM: We're really interested in mechanization anyway, so it's appropriate.
Megan: Okay, this one you all have to answer: What's your favorite book?
Dr. Grip: Goodness sakes.
Roxy: The Guide to Getting It On.
FM: What's the most pithy answer I could up with?
Roxy: I do enjoy the Sweet Valley High series.
Megan: Don't we all!
FM: Right now in the van I'm reading The Sawtooth Letters by C. S. Lewis and I just got done reading You Are Going to Prison (Jim Hogshire).
Dr. Grip: Which I'm currently working on. It's very entertaining.
Viz: And informative.
Dr. Grip: Yeah, primarily informative.
Roxy: I also enjoy text books on abnormal psychology.
Viz: Oh, I know….
Dr. Grip: Ferdinand the Bull (Munro Leaf).
Viz: I don't know if it is really my favorite, but I guess it is
Dr. Grip: It's a children's book. It's fantastic. I recommend it to everyone.
Viz: That and On Food and Cooking (Harold McGee).
Dr. Grip: It's not an M. F. K. Fisher book, but…
FM: I like books about TV.
Megan: Like TV Guide?
Dr. Grip: Exactly! FM: No, informative books about TV. I don't care about what's on.
Dr. Grip: I like books based on late seventies television shows.
FM: The Starsky and Hutch series.
Dr. Grip: The Grease photo novel.
FM: What's Happenin'. That's a good one.
Roxy: Okay, that deteriorated quickly.
Megan: Turbonegro said, "Why do American punk rock boys always go out with the American new wave hooker girls? I don't know. I don't like it." Respond.
FM: "In Norway we only go" - how does it go again? - "In Norway we go out with ourselves and commit homosexual activity." They can teach us all a lesson, Turbonegro.
Viz: Because new wave girls are hot.
Dr. Grip: They always have spikey hair.
FM: And stickers in all the right places.
Megan: On the same topic of romance, If you placed a personal ad for the entire band, what would it say?
Viz: I'm not a ladies man.
FM: You want to take this one Roxy?
Roxy: No way!
Dr. Grip: You might want to hit pause on the tape machine while we try to think of a clever answer for that one.
FM: I had this idea that we should all take out personal ads.
Dr. Grip: I remember that.
FM: And put them up on the website, but also put them up on Yahoo and whatnot and see what kind of responses we could get. Mine said, "My superior technology will enslave you." I think that's a pretty good one right there.
FM: Yeah, let's go with that.
Megan: Since you don't have any of your lyrics in your liner notes, what's been the worst mangling of lyrics that you've heard?
Roxy: "I make some molded plastic." I think it was even more mangled than that.
Dr. Grip: "I make some moldy plastic."
FM: I can only imagine.
Dr. Grip: Actually, one that I've gotten was, "Talking with your toes" on "Need More Time." "Time can go slow" is what I think it actually is, right? Which I fully believed were the lyrics for quite a while.
Megan: Have you ever had anything blow up on stage? Or have you had to get all McGuyver?
Dr. Grip: Have we ever had anything NOT blow up on stage?
FM: McGuyver happens every single time.
Megan: You've got the duct tape.
Viz: I think Spinal Tap is probably the main…
Dr. Grip: Pods and touchstones.
Viz: We're working towards that. Somewhere between McGuyver and Spinal Tap. We've used the Stonehenge pieces on several occasions.
Roxy: Every show.
Dr. Grip: Isn't that great? It'll probably happen tonight.
Viz: It'll be more like the pods tonight, though. It won't be as big of a deal, but…
FM: What you're gonna see is us spending like an hour and a half trying to make something work that wouldn't be that cool even if it did work, but then it'll half work, so it'll be way less cool than if it didn't work at all.
Viz: Which makes it cooler than that.
FM: We had a bubble machine that we spent eons on and no time getting ready and finally when it was time for the big moment - this is actually the feather projecting device - we finally click it on and four feathers go, like two feet, gently waft onto the stage. Tadah!
Roxy: When the bubble machine worked it was fabulous. People were like, "Shut that off!"
FM:Yeah, the bubble machine was kind of overpowing.
Dr. Grip: We had an incredible bubble machine for a few shows.
Roxy: It was a violent bubble machine!
Megan: It was violent?
Dr. Grip: It was so powerful that, literally, everyone in the first five rows were going like this [shields face] and begging us to turn it off. And that was constructed by Viz here out of …
Roxy: A soup can.
Dr. Grip: A lottery machine - what was it?
Viz: It was a lottery promo display of a guy who pulls tickets out of his stocking and smiles.
Dr. Grip: And a soup can, right?
Dr. Grip: And a juice bottle
Viz: And a couple of fans that we found.
Dr. Grip: That one was incredible. The one that was purchased was really piss poor.
Viz: We really need to make our own devices for that kind of stuff.
Dr. Grip: You can't trust anybody.
Viz: The commercially available stuff just isn't that good at all.
Dr. Grip: Or up to the Epoxies' specs at all. It needs to be annoying.
Viz: It needs to be annoyingly powerful and incredibly fragile.
FM: Extreme and in your face.
Megan: So, Shock, what's so special about you?
Shock: What's so special about me?
Dr. Grip: He's a clone.
Shock: That would be the answer.
Roxy: Cloned directly from Viz.
FM: He's only six weeks old.
Dr. Grip: And he plays bass like a motherfucker, man!
Viz: That was all part of the plan.
FM: He was programmed in utero, so that really helped him along.
Dr. Grip: Bioengineering.
FM: Bioengineering helped a lot, by all indications.
Megan: You guys have just toured the west coast so far?
Megan: Do you have any plans go east at all?
FM: Yes, indeed, we do.
Megan: Because I heard that you might be trying to escape your fate of getting married in D.C.
Roxy: Ahhh yes, I guess we will not be playing D.C.
FM: I've worked something out, so…
Roxy: Sounds like I'm going to be sold again.
Megan: What's the best heckle that you've heard at a show?
Roxy: "You're gay! You guys are gay!"
Dr. Grip: "Fuck you, just play!" 'Cause we'll stand around looking at our little toys.
FM: "Please stop doing your annoying shit!"
Dr. Grip: "Stop doing that shit and just play!"
Dr. Grip: "That was an Adam Ant rip-off!" when we were doing "Need More Time." It wasn't, actually.
FM: It's a complete Adam Ant rip-off!
Dr. Grip: "Need More Time"?
FM: Yeah the "oh-eo-we-oh"s.
Dr. Grip: Oh, the "oh-eo-we-oh"s, yeah. I talked to the guy afterwards and he was very happy that he'd noticed.
Roxy: Then there's Flip Off Guy in Seattle, who just stands there and goes like this [flips two birds up high], but that's kind of a common thing.
Dr. Grip: Yeah, the punk rock salute.
Megan: It's respect.
FM: At least he's not spitting on us. Gobbing.
Dr. Grip: True. It would be a really high compliment, though.
Roxy: Although he likes it when I jump on him. I heard he went into shock when I jumped on him.
Dr. Grip: Gobbing?
FM: A big loogie spit thing
Viz: That's just what they say.
FM: Back in the old days when it was slam dancing.
Dr. Grip: Right, 'cause you had punkers.
FM: They have it all worked out to a science.
Megan: Finally, I've got a little game called "Fuck, Marry, Kill." I'll give you three people and you have to put them each into one of the categories. We've got Faye Fife of the Rezillos, Josie Cotton, and Nick Lowe.
Dr. Grip: See, I don't know what Josie Cotton looks like at all.
Shock: She's not bad.
Viz: Is there a time frame on this?
Shock: Yeah, can we go back in time?
Megan: You can validate in however you want.
Dr. Grip: I don't want to kill Nick Lowe, but I don't want to fuck him or marry him.
Viz: I'd marry Nick Lowe, but I wouldn't want to fuck him.
FM: No, he's probably the richest one of the three of them.
Shock: So that'd be the guy to marry.
Viz: That'd be the most advantageous.
Dr. Grip: It wouldn't matter to me rich wise. I like his songs the best.
Viz: I'd probably fuck Josie Cotton.
Dr. Grip: I don't want to kill any of them.
Roxy: I think I'd fuck Faye Fife. I'd probably kill Josie Cotton.
Dr. Grip: Yeah, that might be the way to go.
Viz: And marry Nick Lowe?
Dr. Grip: He writes really good songs, too. He could write some really good songs for us I think.
Roxy: I hear Faye Fife is looking pretty damn good these days.
FM: I think Josie's gonna get the axe unfortunately.
Dr. Grip: Yeah, she goes down.
Viz: No offense to her, should she happen to read this.