Interview With Tony Thaxton of the Bizarre Albums Podcast

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 24, 2020 06:55pm | Post a Comment


Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz
Tony Thaxton by Brian Keith Diaz

By Audra Wolfmann

If you're at all like me (and I have a strong suspicion that you, dear record collector, might be), then you enjoy a deep dive into the dark corners of music history AND you also love a good Novelty album. You grew up cherishing your Dr. Demento collections and World Wrestling Federation LP, but you also burned with questions about that Leonard Nimoy album your parents had next to the hi-fi in the living room. Well, there's a place for us and, of course, it's on the internet in the form of a podcast called Bizarre Albums. Hosted by drummer Tony Thaxton of Motion City Soundtrack, Bizarre Albums serves as a sort of VH1's Behind the Music for the novelties, oddities, and the just plain strange in the wide world of weird records. Since nothing could be farther up Amoeba's alley than celebrating the unexpected vinyl find, we tracked down Tony and asked him about his show and his own record collection.

Amoeba: What makes an album “Bizarre” by your standards?

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Unitarded: 20 Questions with the multi-talented Borts Minorts...

Posted by Kells, December 30, 2008 01:55pm | Post a Comment

A few years back I went to my first Borts Minorts show in San Francisco. I'm still not sure how to describe what I saw, how it happened or why I'll never forget it; It was, plainly speaking, singularly awesome, like nothing I had seen before! I laughed, I danced, I marveled -- I had an amazing time. Since that initial exposure I have come to hold Borts Minorts in high esteem as an artist, musician and uber-performer. He seems fearless, knows no limits and appears physically capable of accomplishing any feat no matter how extraordinary the act. In short: there is no telling what his next move will be, ever. It's not for nothing that he's been nominated twice for SF Weekly's Best Experimental Music award. One thing I know for sure is that anyone who can get their butt out to the Hemlock Tavern this Wednesday night, -- that's right, New Year's Eve -- will be in for a rare (Borts, alas, has relocated to New York) treat, as Borts Minorts will be showing you how he likes to party, performing live on the last and first night(s) of the year(s). I am so pleased he agreed to play 20 Questions with me:

1. How old is Borts Minorts?  It is thought that I am now 38,000 years old.

2. Where does Borts come from? Borts Minorts comes from the past and future simultaniously and only actually exists in this world when on stage.

3. What are your musical/artistic influences? The artistic collaboration of Michael Clark, Leigh Bowery and the Fall would possibly be my biggest influence. The movie Legend of Leigh Bowery changed my life artistically. Leigh Bowery was an incredible artist. Also, when I was a kid I saw Klaus Nomi on SNL and it scared the shit out of me. That always really stuck with me. Then when I saw Nomi Song and saw what he did on stage in the early days it REALLY inspired me to create something new and different.

4. What is your creative process like? The musical creative process has been a lot of late nights sitting in front of my computer cutting and pasting and creating beats and drinking strong Belgian beer and red wine and laughing hysterically to myself. Then there is the dance side to it which is some of the most fun I've ever had creating anything. With the dancers, we always try and combine the most wrong moves possible to create something really hilarious!

5. Why so unitarded? I can't help it. 

6. Do you feel you can relate to "Diamond" David Lee Roth as a brother in dance/vocal performance and as a lycra/spandex enthusiast? Totally! Diamond Dave would be one of my earliest rock frontman influences. What a showman he was back in the day and showmanship has always been really important to me on stage!

7. What do you think of Slim Goodbody? 
I god, where can I get one of those unitards??? I also think he was possibly a long lost relative to Richard Simmons and Leo Sayer. Slim was for sure an early influence.

8. What was the first record you bought with your own money? Kiss Alive ll! I was 7 years old. My parents took me to this department store and had me pick out a record with money I had saved. It was between the record with the guy spitting up blood (Kiss Alive 2) or an album that had a skeleton playing the violin (Grateful Dead Blues for Allah). It was a really tough choice. I ended up with Kiss Alive 2. I think it was the decision of a lifetime!

9. What are your musical inspirations? Iggy Pop, Klaus Nomi, Three Day Stubble, Magma, Cocteau Twins, Zeek Sheck, Tim Buckley's Star Sailor album, Naked City, ShostakovichJames Brown, Nina Hagen, Yoko Ono, Caroliner Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio, Frank Stallone, Ub Zub, Rod McKuen...

10. If you could choose to be any album cover art incarnate which one would you be? 
Herb Albert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights

11. What kind of music do you like better: Rock 'n' Roll or Free Jazz? Today Free Jazz...yesterday was Rock and Roll.

12. Do people often have misconceptions about Borts? if so what are they? That I'm some sort of alien.

13. How many hours a night do you sleep? Six if i'm lucky.

14. What would be your dream collaboration? Oh my...where to about...Kronos Quartet and Borts Minorts would be awesome!!

15. What's your favorite music for dancing? Late sixties early seventies James Brown definitely.

16. High kicks or headstands? High kicks! I like to fly on stage!

17. Trampoline or roller skates? Trampoline on rollerskates!

18. Who will be performing with you this Wednesday at the Hemlock and what will they be doing? The line up will be the West Coast All Stars! We'll have Rhonda and Punope dancing, then we will have our beloved Nordic flute Goddess, Melting Razor, driving up from L.A. to play the flute and sing operatic backing vocals, and we will have multi instrumentalist tennis instructor CHAD playing the Theremin, Xylophone, slide trumpet, bath house brass and other musical oddities. Also singing some backing vocals and pressing the space bar on the laptop between songs in full security professionalism will be Borts stage icon DOCTOR DOCTOR! This all of course is layered on top of the 700mph pre recorded jumbled up messed up beats that I sing on top. After the Hemlock show, we drive to L.A. and play a gig there Saturday night with Fort King at Pehrspace. The line up for that will be Helen Beard and Punope dancing along with Melting Razor on Flute.

19. Will you be playing your ski-bass or anything else exclusive to your repertoire? Yes! Of course I will be playing the 1 string electric stand up ski bass along with my newest musical invention called THE STUMPTAR! The Stumptar is an electric Sitar I made out of a tree stump with a guitar neck on it. I took the frets off the guitar neck so it gives it a Sitar sound. YOU MUST COME AND EXPERIENCE IT! 
20. If you were a hot dog would you eat yourself? No.

That's okay Borts, I know a lot of people who would! Thanks so much for playing 20 Questions, we'll be seeing you tomorrow night at the Hemlock...Happy New Year!