Pull Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 2
Photos, Interview & Text by Zac Shaw
Interview & Text by Bill Hartman
Text by Morgan Evans
Welcome to the IndustrialJunglePussyPunk Revolution
“She don’t even know who the hell I am!”
In a back room at CBGB’s, vocalist Little Jimmy Urine (James Euringer) is screaming over the din of about a dozen friends and fans, who are deep in a totally different discussion on the aesthetics of genitalia. “She’s better during Clarissa than she is during Sabrina”, he concedes of Melissa Joan Heart, the teenage sitcom superstar, “…although she kind of got bigger breasts.” It’s no surprise that the conversation takes a sexually deviant turn for the better backstage after a concert by Mindless Self Indulgence, self-proclaimed inventors of industrialjunglepussypunk. As an argument erupts in the background concerning who has the prettier vagina, Urine thinks of the actress voluble “Fuckin’ shit, man! Melissa Joan Heart! Now she drivin’ you crazy with that stupid new movie that probably closed in a day.”
Urine is of course talking about the star of such teen sitcoms as Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All and UPN’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I wouldn’t have even asked him about it if he hadn’t penned “Clarissa”, one of 26 songs that appears on the band’s new Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy album, due out in early 2000. The album’s alphabetically order track list also includes “Bitches”, a song in which Urine declares, “Bitches love me cause they know that I can rock/bitches love me cause they know that I can rhyme/bitches love me cause they know that I can fuck/bitches love me cause they know that I’m on time/throughout the projects” – all that plus a quick Souixie and the Banshees sample. Of course, the lascivious lyrical list continues. On “I’m Your Problem Now,” Urine croons, “I love my mommy cause she fucked the shit out of my dad.” “Cocaine and Toupees” contains the undeniably catchy line “I got the balls in the sack and the crackers in my crack.” And we can’t forget “Dicks Are for My Friends”, which pretty much just contains the phrase “dicks are for my friends when they come to my house.” “I’ll show you how official midgets jack me off,” is another passage of note, taken from the MSI masterpiece “I Hate Jimmy Page”.
As I pause and to think about how exactly to start dissecting the seemingly insane inanity of Urine’s lyrics with the man himself, guitarist Steve enters the room and joins the dispute over which gender has the nicer sex organs. Urine is distracted.
“Even if you have a nice cock, it’s gonna lock terrible with those fuckin’ balls hangin’ down,” he shouts. The female fan who was yelling about how pretty her chocha was a few minutes ago suddenly starts a monologue about Urine’s penis which the budding rock star shrugs off modestly. I take this opportunity to ask Steve a question or two–beginning with the most obvious one. “How do you play some of the most obscene and cacophonous music imaginable and avoid getting shot by anyone with a shred of morals?”
“We get some shit, but it’s ill-founded. We’re not about that at all. People take everything we say the wrong way. A lot of stuff we’re making fun of, and people don’t even realize it,” he tells me. I have to agree that my initial reaction was not to be shocked, but to laugh incessantly. Yet music critics and basically anyone else not a part of MSI’s potential fan base tends to dismiss the music as “shock rock,” claiming it cheaply uses inflammatory lyrics like “mom, dad, why don’t you finger me, too?” to capture the short-attention span of the teens that fall into the trap of the band’s ridiculously crazy live performances.
Anyone who saw Urine live up to his name by drinking his own piss onstage the other night knows what I’m talking about. That’s right, during the performance he urinated into a cup facing the audience, drank its contents and then asked the crowd, “who wants to make out with me now?” Three girls and one guy took him up on his offer.
I don’t know about you, but if an audience is willing to taste your urine, you’ve got to be on to something. I ask Urine for an explanation.
“If you don’t understand it by now,” Urine grins, “you’re very much like me, I have no clue.”
Back to Steve, I guess. I’m curious as to how MSI managed to get signed to Elektra records, what with their lead singer urinating and cursing left and right. He told me the majors “just started shown’ up, and then we started going to dinners, and now all this.”
The “all this” he mentions is certainly referring to the incredibly eventful year the band has had, first touring with Rammstein in the summer and then opened for Orgy and Insane Clown Posse in the fall. Since we were on the topic of understanding, I wondered out loud if I could think of a less understanding crowd than a bunch of lemming ICP fans staring confusedly through their white face paint. And how much more pleasant was the Rammstein opening slot?
“Rammstein was same shit but not as bad,” Steve answered. “On the ICP tour I got called out by 10-year olds on a nightly basis. [In Red Rocks, Colorado] it was non-stop nachos ‘n cheese. [Bassist] Vanessa got a concussion. Someone threw something at her.”
With such wide national exposure, coupled with a rapidly growing fan base in their hometown of New York City, it’s no surprise that the band signed with Elektra records late in 1999–but it didn’t happen without their shock value being taken into consideration and out of proportion. Their first album, Tight, was supposed to come out on the Roadrunner record label, but Steve explains that “they didn’t want to sign us at the last minute. Not the staff–the staff was really cool–but the owner himself, at the last minute, pulled out because of the artwork. Everybody else was fuckin’ cool. We thought we were going to go with that–and that would have been a lot better [than releasing it independently]”
But Tight made its mark, and together with the band’s tried and true method of distributing 2-5 song demo tapes for free at shows, the fan base is expanding and the hype machine is beginning to charge up. A lot of ears were turned on MSI’s first single, a cover of Method Man’s “Bring the Pain” in which the pale white Urine squealed, “fuck it two tears in a bucket/niggazz want the ruckus? so bust it at me son now bust it/stylez I get buck wild method man on some shit/fuckin’ niggazz foul son I’m sick.” Did the Wu-Tang Clansman hear him say that?
“We got the rights to play the song, but I haven’t heard from Method Man,” he replies, “But Busta Rhymes liked it, Onyx liked it and Ice Cube was like, “Yo, this is wack! What the fuck is this shit?”
While the band has since cut down on the “nigga” references, they haven’t skimped in the musical department. Often times their incredibly inventive audio flava gets overlooked because of all the attention people pay to Urine’s vocals. He is indeed a pioneer of screen-rap, switching from a rubberbanded-nuts soprano howl to screechy yell, all the while filling in the silent gaps between words by mimicking a turntable and letting little moans and squeals escape from his rapidly moving lips. But besides all of his vocal audio acrobatics, one might refer to James Euringer (at long last, now you know why they call him Urine!) as the “brains” behind the MSI project. He programs all the drum loops, crazy synth parts and industrial samples that make up a good portion of the band’s signature sound. Over his jumpy jungle beats and industrially inflected synthesized sounds, Steve lays guitar tracks that leave a metallic taste in your ears. The guitar parts are usually somewhat simple chord progressions played in an original rhythm that both compliments and contrasts against Euringer’s syncopated nightmare of a background track. You can really hear the band’s progression from the band’s debut album, Tight (reviewed on page 52) to the new one, which has even more mind-boggling beats and catchier hooks that make the former seem simpler in some way. The whole new album also assaults the ears with great production and crazy cool new sounds never before heard on CD. How did it happen?
“On Frankenstein Girls we used all kinds of crazy shit. All kinds of fuckin’ stupid shit,” Steve explains. “We recorded Tight in two days. We recorded Frankenstein Girls over six weeks.”
The sound may best be described on one of the new record’s more infectious tracks, “Futures” where Urine sings, “A hundred beats per minute, baby/don’t mean shit to me/this ain’t no blast from the past/it’s a movement for the future”
Ever since the backstage sex talk got fierce, I hadn’t seen bassist Vanessa or drummer Kitty anywhere. As the female half of the MSI, the ladies balance the visual appeal of this very sexy group of soon-to-be rock stars. But the gender distinction stops there. These ladies rock more than most men ever could dream about, and have the attitude and talent to back it up. I bid farewell to Urine and Steve as I left the backstage area–I think they were comparing the smell of their sweaty balls at the moment.
“If there are two sides to every story”, I think to myself, “then I just crossed over to side B” I am now standing at the bar with Vanessa and Kitty, the female half of MSI. There are no insane groupies, no more horny little potty mouths, just a couple of folks chillin’ on some drinks.
I cannot dispense with the gender issue entirely, so I open with a probe into being female in a male-dominated industry.
“Guys used to tell me I had good taste in music, for a girl,” Vanessa tells me, and then offers up a related anecdote: “Someone who was working at one of the places that we played said to his friend, ‘Oh my god, she has a nicer bass than I do!’ What do you mean? Just because I’m a girl I can’t have a nice bass? It wasn’t even about the playing! I never really identified with male musicians,” she continues, “I didn’t really stand there saying, ‘Oh wow, I want to be like you!’ like a lot of guys did. And then when the girl bands came along, I was like, ‘No, but I kind of do want to be like Squid from Lunachicks.'”
Drummer Kitty has a more direct response to my line of questioning.
“I’m waiting until I can get tattoos all over my chest and take my shirt off like every other drummer,” she declares. Her reasons for picking up a pair of drumsticks are similarly simple. “I was never really good at string instruments,” she says, “but I was really good at hitting things.”
Of course, Kitty’s role in the band is much more involved than simply bangin’ skins. She has to keep the machine-like precision–quite literally–because she plays along with Urine’s pre-programmed beats.
“You’re always trying to keep up with a machine that keeps perfect time,” she says of her difficult instrumental task. “It’s especially risky when you’re playing live, anything can go wrong. I don’t play to a click track, I play to the tape. I might play the jungle part but leave the bass beat on the tape.”
On writing her drumbeats alongside such a mad scientist of a drum programmer, she explains, “It’s sort of a give and take each measure as to what I play. James does all the programming and then we go back over it.”
We talk a bit more about music and such, but while I can certainly conclude that Vanessa and Kitty are skillful musicians with sweet personalities, I can’t for the life of me find the part of them that stands up on stage next to Urine as he screams “Step up if you want to get fucked, hey, hey, hey!”
I hardly have time to reflect on my bizarre night as I exit CBGB’s and once again immerse myself in the calamity of New York City’s busy streets. I think about how accomplished the band must be in order to stick out in a city of a few thousand bands, and what huge rock stars they’ll become. I wonder if this will be the last time I see them face to face and if the next time I watch Urine flail about wildly will be on MTV’s 120 Minutes.
But I probably shouldn’t worry. If Urine keeps up his stage antics and continues to affirm, on record, that he’s “just another faggot fuckin’ around over someone else’s hard-on,” Mindless Self Indulgence will be hovering at the top of the underground dropping mad jungle beat mayhem and pulsing power chords on unsuspecting listeners everywhere. Rock my hole internally, externally.
The following serves as both a warning and a promotional come-on for Mindless Self Indulgence shows. I can assure you that we’re not making this stuff up–all of it was witnessed first-hand by at least one member of the Pull Staff.
- Bananas were thrown into the mosh pit to cause moshing fans to slip.
- Free fruit-print pantie giveaways.
- On Urine’s birthday he got humped and molested by a girl dressed as a giant bunny while he was forced to eat a cake shaped like a dick with candles in it.
- At the Bowery Ballroom, glasses were given to an enthusiastic fan whose face was then spit on. Urine assured her it was okay because she had “the protective goggles.”
- Chairs have been thrown at the audience when available by Steve, the guitars.
- Bassist Vanessa, while wearing a neck brace and bandaged like a car accident victim, spat Pepto Bismol all over the crowd. Later, Urine chugged the pink liquid and spat it all over himself, and then asked the audience, “Who wants to fuck me now?”
- Facing the audience, Urine urinated into a dixie cup and proceeded to drink it. He then picked up the mic and asked if there was anyone in the crowd who would like to make out with him. He proceeded to kiss three girls and one guy in the crowd, with a sloppy kind of passion that only a man who ingests his own piss can do.