his name is a liar, part one of ?

Written by "chris" on Fri, 26 Mar 1999 15:01:09 -0800.

ok, ive been busy, so the is about 2/5 of the entire thing...ill finish the rest soon, in installments?

my t key is screwed up, so if a lot of t's are missing, sorry. also, forgive capitalization errors...(lots and lots of em)



His Name Is A liar (from orbit)

we all know about his name is alive. they're from livonia, theyve released several albums now on 4ad and the visionary of the collective, warren defever, seems to have a strange aptitude for lying. it seems that whenever the oppurtunity knocks-and even when i doesnt-there's some type of misinformation flowing out of his mouth. we decide to corner defever on a few specifics. in he end, we managed to wretch the truth out of him in some instances, while being told yet more lies at other times.

orbit: alright, buster, ive been doing some research.

Warren Defever: great! than you already know all of the facts!

o: NON-facts. like the title of your album, FT LAKE. you claim its named after an abandoned military fort, but where is it on the map? (exhibit a: supposed history, taken from a cd release flyer [it says some stuff about an old abandoned fort, they passed out the same flyer at noise camp -c])

wd: supposedly, its in goodrich, michigan. theres an exit off i-75.

o: but have you seen it?

wd: no.

o: have you seen it on a map?

wd: no!

o: how did you find out about it?

wd: i dont remember. its just something youre aware of if you grow up in michigan. ill have to assume you havent...

o: but i HAVE!

wd: oh. well its just one of those things. kids are born with it in their dna now. its just universal knowledge. whats the question?

o: its about the legitimacy of ft. lake.

wd: ok i think the real question is, "can you prove that there isnt one?"

o: ok can you? of course not, right? because there IS one, right?

wd: of course. theres never been any question in my mind.

o: my records show that your grandfather made you play the violin, accordian, slide guitar and banjo. (exhibit b: paper 9/96)

wd: yeah. he'd always play in bands. he was in a band called he westernaires. he had all these instruments. he would force me and my brothers to play them. this was really my first introduction to music. [i was] four or five. i have really no recollecion of music before sitting down at his house, and him saying "ok, this is a polka, this is a waltz, this is country-western music." we learned hank williams and every rotten old song that i now love again, but there was a long stretch where i hated that. as far as i knew, that was music. it was no way to learn about music.

o: well thats more of an introduction than most kids have.

wd: yeah, but as soon as i was in the fourth or fifth grade, i realized that thats NOT what kids like! i figured out that it was NOT cool. elvis was cool. rockabilly was cool. surf music was cool. after hat, in the sixth grade, i started listening to punk, and thats when it really started coming together. thats all true. and there a tape on timestereo called 3/4 time, which is recordings of my grandfathers bands ive acquired and mixed. he recorded things, but nothing had ever been released. its a good one, too.

o: speaking of songs of the past, let's talk about your song "beech boys" on Stars on ESP. During a radio interview, you claimed that you never heard the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations."

wd: OK, im going to go on the record here. I think i just didnt really remember.

o: so you're going to tell me that you didnt lie?

wd: oh boy...is it possible to just remember incorrectly? is that different than lying?

o: i dont know. lets call ronald reagan...

wd: to me, early on, "good vibrations" was a psychedelic song. i dont think that now, but to me thats what it meant for a long time. usually what happens is you go to a place like los angeles, and theres a really smug, super intelligent dj or journalist who thinks that not only do they know everyhing about music, they themselves helped notate it. you cant tell them the truth. youre doing the world a great disservice to tell them the truth.

o: what do you think would have happened if you told the truth?

wd: someone whos in my situation shows up, and theyre like, "this is the hillbilly kid from michigan, the guy who just fell off the turnip truck. this guy doesnt know anything about music." theres an element of that that makes you want to go with it. you want to say, "OK, youre going to treat me that way, and now youre really going to get it. im going to sit here, youre going to ask me to play a song, and im going to play three folk songs from a hundred years ago. im going to act like this is what people play in michigan. im going to spend half an hour talking about playing country western and waltzes and polkas, and act like we dont even have electricity." plus, especially if youre in europe, you start to develop a southern accent.

o: it seems like europe is more accepting of your music, but do people in the industry have a lot of preconceived notions?

wd: you really have to put up with people who assume they know more about what youre doing than you do, and all you can do is shoot them down.

o: in europe or everywhere?

wd: everywhere.

o: so that's like youre, uh...

wd: thats my policy.

positive feedback motivate me to type another big chunk of the interview : ) warn talks about aliens and jumping of cliffs. hope your enjoying reading this as much as i am. this is a lot of typing tho...wearing me out : P.

here it is.

his name is a liar, part two ============================================================

o: your defense mechanism? maybe to help them open up their eyes a little bit?

wd: its really for their education.

o: i was reading in a livonia-era bio that you "write down words every day and record one song per week"

wd: {long pause} that, of course, would amount to a lot of songs...whether or not its three songs a week, i dont know, but theres an extremely large quantity of music being recorded and produced here-and remixed.

o: remixes! you recently did a remix for thurston moore on root.

(note- this is _really_ iteresting)

wd: yeah, that was a good one. that was the first remix i ever did where i did the remix without listening to what they sent before i did it. it was the first remix i did that contained no elements of the original tape.

o: thats what i was going to ask you about!

wd: it was the first remix i ever sang on.

o: so not only did it contain no original elements, but you actually sang on it. what was i you were supposed to remix?

wd: what he sent out was 30 different one-minute guitar pieces.

o: guitar excerpts that you didnt use. so what did you do instead?

wd: i sang and played guitar. and theres my interpretation of what i think thurston moore should be doing in 1999.

o: kind of like a tribute to him rather than a remix?

wd: it was more for his education. it was more like a subtle hint.

o: did he realize that thats what you did?

wd: i dont know. i have not gotten a response.

o: did the record label Lo realize what you did?

wd: no.

o: so they thought it was a remix.

wd: where remixes are at this point in time is so open to interpretation. like me, i would consider that a remix, although technically nothing was ever remixed.

o: i wonder what thurston would say about that one. i would seriously be interested in his response. im sure he listened to it. he probably thought, "he must have really strangely fit in something in a very suble way."

wd: right. it turned out real good, i think.

o: so would you jump off a cliff just because someone called you 'mister?' (note- a reference to a story in 'main street' [9/96]. the tidbit shown-"of the epiphany that he now lives by, defever says, 'we were in vancouver a couple of miles into the national forest and there were some 13-year-old kids cliff-diving. so we climbed up there just to take a look, and some kid at the bottom yelled, "hey mister, dont be afraid of your freedom," and at that point i had to jump. besides, id never been called mister before.'")

wd: yeah. now this is something ive been wondering about for a long time. that happened many years ago, probably 1988. but is all true. we were on tour with elvis hitler in british columbia. my brother and some other people were there....we were up on this cliff....checking out the scene, and some kid yells, "hey mister, dont be afraid of your freedom!" and that doesnt happen every day.

o: well, yeah, especially when your on top of a cliff.

wd: its part of the national park there, and we were probably two or three miles into the woods, and we came across this really scenic oasis with young boys with no shirts on, cliff-diving. it was really strange. so exciting....when the kid yelled at us, i took it to mean _me_. hes talking to _me_. that voice spoke to _me_. what do you do in that situation?

o: jump off a cliff, of course!

wd: you take off your shirt and you jump off a cliff. elvis jumped, too.

o: what was it like, jumping?

wd: it was very freeing. to me, it really opened up possibilities. the whole scene was very idealic to begin with. it was like we were on another planet, or in a dream. i think it definitely altered my course. it wasnt long after that that i quit elvis hitler and decided to concentrate on his name is alive full time.

o: so the next time i see you on a cliff, if i say, "hey mister..." would you still jump?

wd: sometimes you need a reminder.

o: what if there was cement at the bottom.

wd: hey, you cant be afraid.

o: sometimes when youre playing out of town, youll tell an audience that youre thinking of moving to their city, which youve had no intention of ever doing.

wd: the fact of the matter is that ive lived in livonia in the same house for 29 years, and im not going anywhere.

o: so youre saying that just to tease them.

wd: its a combination of a couple of different things. part of it is that its always good to tease your audience. its sort-of like an ironic take on saying, "i love your sports team," or making lame references to tourist sites and things like that. it works on a couple of different levels because as a group, the audience isnt thinking that hard. it really puts them, as a group, into being the audience, and they cheer- they get excited. "his name is alive is moving to our town? what great news is this?" but then, as a sociological experiment, you can see their faces as they realize, "theyre not going to move!" and they look disappointed. and then its sad, but what can you do?

o: well, i could give you a suggestion-

wd: and then after the show, people say, "youre not really going to move here, are you? this town sucks! you really dont want to move here." thats the funny thing- they warn us. and then ill say, "you know what? youre right! im not going to move here! thanks for the tip!" (note- as many times as ive read that, it still makes me laugh...)

o: so you still tell people that today?

wd: yeah.

o: well, we'd better warn everybody then.

wd: to me, thats just the traditional part of being a traveling entertainer. there was something hank williams would say in every city he visited. he'd say, "you know, ive never been to st. louis before, but if i come back, ill have been here twice." and it cracked him up every night. its a tradition. im just playing out my part.

o: it is claimed that you have sold at your shows a time stereo video called UFO doctor that contains an actual alien autopsy.

wd: yeah. my friends and i had discovered the body of what was apparently a UFO driver....in the detroit river.

o: you were...swimming in the detroit river???

wd: i cant remember what we were doing. but immediately we alerted the press and set-up a show this was a great opportunity to enlighten, educate and entertain the people of detroit. our attempts to resuscitate the alien were unsucessful.

o: this was done during a live show?

wd: at that point, there was no choice but to try and figure out how he died. actually, it ended up being a she.

o: a she? how did you figure that out?

wd:well, youve just got to look!

o: so theyre not much different?

wd: theyre not much different. theyre taller, though. a lot of people think we're shorter, but this one was very tall. we were very surprised by the things we found in it-her.

o: like what?

wd: there was a license plate. because it was in the detroit river, it was the typical things youd find in large fish or sharks.

o: so you think the alien was actually living in the river?

wd: im not sure how long this thing had actually been down there. its possible that thats just the kind of thing you get from the river. we'll never know!

o: so youre claiming that its an actual alien. from where?

wd: i have no idea. but it was tall. ============================================================ coming in the exciting conclusion, warn tells of his experience with some cmj thing (very funny!), his upcoming 'book' (solo album, actually..), and his work with stun gun (which comes out at the start of april).

merry weekend!

well...ive finally finished. thank god. that was a bigger chore than i expected...well, here it is. the big finish. im probably gonna put all three parts together and format them right, and then stick them up somewhere on the web as a handy reference. enjoy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ his name is a liar, the final part!

o: when livonia first came out, you claimed that some of the shops in the area used stickers that said, " yes, theyre really from livonia."

wd: thats true!

o: thats _true_?

wd: i think so. i cant remember. that was ten years-

o: you cant _remember_??? we're back to that again?!?

wd: um, lets say they didnt. what would be wrong with that?

o: if they didnt?

wd: no, if i said that.

o: nohing, but this is an investigative report here.

wd: oh. right. the way i look at it, when you buy a magazine, its partially for education, but its primarily for entertainment. i find that extremely boring. i like things that are more fantastic, more exciting. i would say that 90% of all inerviews read exactly the same.

o: even if theyre not true?

wd: yeah, because the quality of music journalism is so low, that even when you read the most basic facts, theyre incorrect. if theyre going to get it wrong, i would rather be the person that got it wrong and have it be at least remotely interesting. if that means digging an alien out of the detroit river, then thats the way its got to be. thats what i have to do every day, is look around for these things. its part of my job.

o: even if you have to say during an interview, "its all lies, every word of it." (note- albany student press, oct. 9 1990)

wd: ultimately, its all lies anyway. there are so many lies....when i write my book-

o: now youre going to write a book??

wd: yeah-its going to have it straight!

o: wait, whats the book going to be about?

wd: im not sure.

o: its going to be about you?

wd: i think its just going to set the record straight, whether its about me or just what ive seen in this world.

o: is it going to set the record straight, or is it going to make it crooked?

wd: its going to name names and point fingers.

o: so youve already started working on this book?

wd: no.

o: oh. i thought you were going to say yes...

wd: see, that was a good opportunity...ive got notes, ive got a few chapters, outlines. i dont have a title yet. actually, its called I Want You to Live a Hundred Years.

o: hey, ive heard that before.

wd: oh boy.

o: where have i heard that before?

wd: thats the name of my new solo album! Warren Defever: 1899-1999: I Want You to Live a Hundred Years.

o: ahh, OK. well, where can you find this?

wd: uh, its not out yet. its going to come out on Lo recordings, and in the US itll be available on timestereo, probably closer to april.

o: just you and nobody else?

wd: just me. it was recorded in one day, and then mixed on a different day.

o: two days?

wd: yep. um, [volunteering!] i went to cmj this year, and i was on a panel to discuss the relationship between the actual artist and college radio. the host opened up the panet, and said, "im going to start the questions off with something for those of you on the panel that werent born or raised in this country. how has that affected your perception of college radio? his one will go out to Warren." all i could think was, "what country do they think im from? what story do i need to stick with, or do i tell them the truth?" i found myself in a very seinfeldian dilemma.

o: so what did you do?

wd: i took the mic and said, "when i was growing up in canada, we didnt have college radio. but sometimes we could hear some of the stations from detroit."

o: did anybody flinch?

wd: there were a couple of people from 4ad there, and the publicist was in the front. i could see them. they were just ready to die when they heard the question. they said that when they stuck my name to the question, my jaw just dropped-that i looked confused.

o: should we believe that you are currently doing work with stungun?(the rumor is that he's producing some songs)

wd: yes, but i wouldnt believe it until youve heard some. i think its going to surprise a lot of people.

o: how?

wd: the sound. the combination of them and me is something that you wouldnt expect either one of us to do.

o: how did you get involved with them?

wd: thats a good question. um, davin had met them at kinko's. they were admiring the electric bear rubber stamp.

o: so youre saying it wasnt at a show or anything? it was at kinko's?

wd: it was really the electric bear.

o: i would probably seem to a lot of people like a strange pairing, although it makes me very curious to hear the result.

wd: to me, thats what makes it exciting. you dont want to hear the obvious band doing the obvious thing. wheres the magic in that?

o: thats true. thats kind of like the premise of all these lies, too.

wd: its all about quality entertainment. people want to have a good time, and im here to give it to them.

[the end]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ well, thats it. hope you enjoyed it.


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