Jan 19, 2017

Smashin' Transistors Classic Interview: Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones

(Editors note: It's been a quite awhile since Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones have played in these parts. They're coming around to play the SchwonkSoundStead in Port Huron March 23rd though. This interview dates a even couple years before that. It originally appeared on the original Smashin' Transistors site way back then. 2006, I believe. That site is loooong gone but I did manage to exhume the interview thanks to some crafty tech moves.) 

There ain't much excitement living in a small town. There's comes a point in time where what one does to kill the boredom even becomes boring. You can only tip cows, set fire to ice fishing shanty's, drink budget booze and make prank phone calls for so long til a new kind of kick is needed. Algoma Wisconsin's Casey Buhr found himself in such a prediciment after the band he was in, the Tears, called it a day. What could he do to keep every minute of every day from dragging so much? Well, he get's ahold of fellow Algomians Gus (both of whom were in the Strong Come Ons together), Ted (the three of them were 3/4 of the Knockers) and a math teacher named Josh. With two guitar players and two drummers they formed Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones.
-Interview by Dale

Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones. Interview by Dale
Describe the last time you were (physically or metaphorically) kicked in the teeth.

Ted: Well, Dale, and I address you as such because I know you well mentally and spiritually. I’ve never been K.I.T.T. physically, as I’ve never met a man with the salt. The realm of the metaphorical, though is a very different place: Last week this girl that I totally dig showed Casey her tits. I’m still considering whether I should kill myself. Leaning towards not.

Casey: Recently, on the edge of a flake out there was a crisis moment. Contemplating life tends to metaphorically, in a figurative way literally kick me in the teeth.

Josh: I got stabbed in the neck with a toothpick last week amidst drunken roughhousing. I looked down at my hand and saw half a toothpick and wondered where the other half went…turns out, it was sticking out of my Adam’s apple

Gus: The ride home From the Nathaniel Mayer show.

After getting kicked in the teeth did you feel you lost or won?

J: I lost, but it was worth it for the sake of the story

T: I lost big, my friend.

G: I lost.

C: Though I consider the outcome a draw I understand it is impossible to win. That is the point: existential crisis becomes existential reaffirmation, and with this re-realization there was no flake out and this is why any of this or anything else matters. No bullshit.

When's the last time you shoplifted?

T: Last week Tuesday - a packet of powered beef gravy mix.

C: Stealing fishing lures at the local Hardware Hank. I was fourteen or older.

G: Stealing from Work doesn't count; so I'm gonna say last year, a pair of shorts.

J: Ok, the Mobil doesn't count, ‘cause Gus runs it. I stole some Whisker Lickens’ cat treats a couple weeks ago at Wal-Mart.

Cowbells. I heard Hue Blanc's drummers stole theirs from actual cows.

T: Preposterous to explore the impetus behind an ultimately, wholly false rumor.

J: That’s bullshit. We took the whole fucking cow.

G: Yeah, Cows are stupid.

What role of importance does John Cougar Mellencamp play in Midwest rock-n-roll?

T: For my part he really doesn't play any role at all.

G: Absolutely none.

J: The Bono of the Midwest. Inspiration for bands to give a little back and help out the farmers. Should have stayed Johnny Cougar. If he is such an average joe, what’s with all the name changes?

C: There was an ill-fated (never transcribed nor delivered) interview conducted by Mr. Kellner (Trickknee records mogul) where, I pontificate on the virtues of Mellencamp, it’s much too long and pure to recreate here. In short his importance as far as Midwest rock and roll is concerned: "very little overall" but to me personally, being from the Midwest and playing some semblance of rock-n-roll "very little" but as far as me waxing nostalgic, very essential. Car rides, contemporary radio playing he, and others like J Geils and the like. My formative years. Five or Six years old. It was the early/mid eighties. It was Northeast WI. I played pots and pans on the linoleum of my parent’s kitchen and was immensely pleased with my existence. How things have changed. My mother tried to coax me into saying the word "shit", by asking me what he said in "Play Guitar," or whatever the song is called, the "forget about all that macho shit, and learn how to play guitar" line. It was all repercussion free, and I didn’t do it. That was the beginning of prolonged regret. How things are still much the same.

The story is that you all grew up together in Algoma, Wi. Is that true?

T: Not really.

C: Not exactly. The truth is youthful exuberance, and nescient twatery prevented what Hue Blanc obviously created. He found himself redeeming something in us all.

J: Not really. I moved away from the ‘gomes at a young age, only to gravitate back in time to catch the grunge wave

G:Yeah, Josh used to be one of those Door co. country boys though, he's lucky he met us.

Describe the average Friday night of a 14 year old Algoma dude.

G: I don't know, walking around looking for twelve year old girls, or shooting hoops at the club. I think that's what I was doing when I was fourteen. That and Robotussin.

T: There is no average 14 year old Algoma dude.  The inbred history of this isolated town has mandated a perpetual caste of bubbling freaks who react to puberty, naturally, like it’s an atom bomb.

C: Drive circles around his heart and the heart of other fourteen year old boys whom wish to only have seventeen year old girls to chase. They claim to need you but in the end you’re left alone with people who are much more stylish than you.

J: Drink Robotussin. Walk around. Yell things. Go to bed at 11. Take booze from liquor cabinet. Replace stolen booze with water. Sneak out of house. Meet up with friends at the park. Combine stolen booze in Amoco cup. Walk around. Break stuff. Sneak back into house.

So what does nightlife in Algoma consist of for someone older than 14?

C: Thirty below zero wind chill, perceived danger, facial hair, ego, the ability to make lists of things, especially my jovial, flaming demeanor

T: Death, rape, Warren Zevon, cancer, etc

G:Usually parties at my house or hanging out in taverns. Occasionally Casey will do something to amuse us all, he's great if you don't let him sleep for a few days.

J:  Us- Booze, bowls, and broads.  Them- Some douche in a ski-doo jacket trying to slime his way into the drawers of a chain-smoking mother of two in acid washed jeans.

Which Algoma rock-n-roller owns the most flannel? Are they proud of this fact?

C: Whoever it is they are most definitely proud of it. Mostly for it’s functionality.

T: It’s probably someone I’m not familiar with. Is nickg still considered an Algoma rocker?

G: Probably nickg (Strong Come Ons, the Catholic Boys, the Tears), is he still an Algoma rocker? If not I would say Adam Przybylski, wait is he still a rocker?

J:  Probably Nickg. I used to have a ton. Nye on ten years ago, that shit was at a premium around here- but then grunge died and it all went back to Goodwill. Now the only flannel in my house is my sheets, because I’m so fucking domesticated.

The weather was pretty freakin' brutal cold today. How does one heat up an old minivan on such midwest winter mornings?

T: One sets it on fire

G: Bodyheat, space heaters, masturbation, tangerines? I don't know ask Casey.

J: Love

C: Climb in through the passenger door, crawl across and get settled in to the driver’s seat. Insert key into ignition. Turn key. Turn on heat. Drive and chatter for a while. Warmth is more of a problem for backseat passengers. Opening more than one door from the inside is also difficult. Adding windshield washer fluid, checking oil and anything else "under the hood" can be difficult on the crisp January mornings or on tepid July evenings. But isn’t it all beautiful. Did you see the sky today? Blue in the purest sense. You’d really have to be me.

Will Gus ever be the mayor of Algoma?

C: Yes, but with strings attached. Scandal, backroom dealings, puppet regime, and inevitably the most ridiculous felony conviction imaginable.

T: No. Explain why???

G: Probably not. I'm pretty fucking lazy. Besides I'm sure that job doesn't pay enough for it not to be a fucking huge waste of time. And who would want to do anything for the fuckwads that live here anyway.

J: It’s possible- We did elect Wayne Schmidt, who may be a bigger soak than Gus. Why? Because he will be our puppet, a wholesome face to appease the masses whilst we conspire and construct the secession manifesto. Although, Gus may have too many skeletons…

Tell me a story about a Culvers dining experience?

C: It was in Ripon, WI birthplace of the Republican party and home of Ripon Good Cookies. It was my only time, and wasn’t remarkable enough to recall what I had.

T: Again, a poorly worded question - so here’s this - Justin Obrecht is a young entrepreneur who is buying up Culvers franchises in the greater Chicago area like hot cakes and he is free with his money when it comes to helping out a friend, and he saw HBJO once and professed to like us very much indeed!

G: I know the dude who runs the whole Culvers operation. He's a super-rich douche bag, rich though.

J:  Not a fan, Krohl’s had the butter burger perfected long before they laid claim to it but I do know a guy who knows this other guy that owns Culvers and he saw some dude get killed by a bouncer in New Orleans on new years eve, although I suppose you can’t swing a dead frat guy without hitting a homicidal bouncer in those parts.

If Algoma was to erect a statue of Nickg what pose would you like to see him in.

J: Sitting on a step with elbows on knees and head hanging low, kinda like Ian in that Minor Threat picture, but not cause he’s pissed off at the kids for slam dancing, more like he just took a hit of crack and is about to puke.

T: Contemplative

C: I would imagine Algoma to erect a large hologram that would show three positions of nickg: Vacant stare with hand down pants on balls... Confused walking, inhaling own scent (which is quite pleasant, like rosemary and a meadowlark’s calling)... "Atlas-esque nickg" He tends to control the weight of my world, and hold the freight of the rest. It’s nickg, I’m doing my best not to hate and get a plaster replication of his penis and hold him for the rest of days.

G: Jacking off next to our statue of Greg Cartwright.

So who's YOUR favorite Oblivian?

C: A slight edge to Eric. Given his lineage. In ill-guided minds he is a rock and roll prince. Jack and Greg are tied at a real close second, being a near negligible distance removed from the number one slot. No one gets hurt feelings.

T: I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that the Oblivians are a band great enough to steal songs from.

G: I don't know. Dumb question.

J:  Whichever one is singing at the time though, if I had to pick one to hang out with, it would be Jack, ‘cause he’s the funkiest of the three, although Eric has the BBQ lowdown, so he would be good have around too. Greg would intimidate me too much.

Out of the 4-who's the best power trio-Grand Funk Railroad, Rush, the Oblivians or Cream.

G:I don't think you can consider the Oblivians a power trio, so I guess Cream, because they are not GFR or Rush. I fucking hate Rush.

T: I’m not sure whether all these bands should be considered "power trios" but God knows I’ sure as damn hell like the Oblivians. Because they are (were)... fucking great?

C: I hadn't realized Rush was a power trio. Don’t they have keys? Isn’t a power trio Guitar, Bass, Drums? Grand Funk Railroad "Hey dudes, let’s get it on" and why not? They are truly an American band.

J: Is this a trick question? Doesn’t power trio connote having a bass? In that case, Cream. Because they were fuckin’ heavy.

Favorite Nazareth song?

J: "Hair of the Dog," by default, ‘cause I only know two, and "Love Hurts" is a total pussy song.

C: If you were asking favorite Meatmen song, right now I’d say "Crapper’s Delight"

G: "Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman"

What's your opinion on spandex clad rockers?

G:They remind me of wrestlers, you know like Brutis the Barber. Death and Taxes should wear spandex.

T: I suppose it would vary from one S.C.R. to the next.

C: Depends. And I say, if you’re far away, even if you’re working it, Mellencamp never wore spandex.

J: An extension of 70’s glam rock, but not nearly as fabulous. Good eye candy for dudes who like to look at other dudes dressed like bar sluts.

Ever notice how some spandex clad rockers do really acrobatic moves on stage? Any moves you are thinking about working into the stage show?

G: I'm not an acrobat, I play drums.

C: Saunter, mince,  sprawl, squeeze, shake and shiver.  Each one alone and then all together.  When we get together...

J: Finding a way to get behind the drum sets can be acrobatic at times

Midget porn star Lil' Napoleon is Algoma's greatest contribution to the Nation's (and maybe the world's) culture...Do Hue Blanc have such lofty aspirations?

T: I see now that you’re a truly perceptive cat. And let me just tell you this. Once when I was an adolescent and partaking in an afternoon at the "big park" I started to clown a local retarded kid who was shooting baskets. Lil’ Napoleon, who at that time fulfilled a supervisory role at the Algoma Parks and Recreation Dept wheeled a basketball at me that hit me hard in the ass. I then felt fast the sting of shame for clowning this retard for personal fame in front of my lousy friends, and it was a lesson that has stuck with me ever since. So before we quick to make light of this fat-cocked midget from parts barely known, let us first consider that his little soul may bare instincts more human than all our self-important art-rock crap could even begin to hint at.

C: Do you mean "Does Hue Blanc have such lofty aspirations?" or "Do the Joyless Ones have such lofty aspirations?" and if it is indeed the latter are you asking about the collective aspirations of the Joyless Ones or the individual wanting of the Joyless Ones? No rebuttal eh? Hue Blanc has legal issues to attend to. Other than that he has nothing but lofty aspirations, and we are doing his bidding. As far as collectively, the Joyless Ones hope to please Hue Blanc in ANY and ALL ways possible. That’s all we need. Individually I’d be glad to take a close second to Craiggy when it comes to contributions from Algoma to the World. I plan to dabble in Pornography be it writing, directing, performing, whatever is required of me. I have ideas, just not the ambition or connections. Especially not the ambition.

G: You can't top that. Craig is three and a half feet of pure fucking legend.

J: I don’t think our aspirations extend much beyond having something to do while drinking every Tuesday night…I think I speak for everyone by saying that not having to carry the stand bag ever again would fucking rule.

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