Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Plaza of the Mind Interview with Tesco Vee!

In the following interview I was able to share how I was first introduced to the musical stylings of Mr. Tesco Vee and his legendary band The Meatmen. I have been a huge fan of Mr. Vee's work since I was a West Michigan teen. Tesco inspired me in that he was a local boy made good. He wrote a song about the Beatles called 'One Down Three to Go' and coveted the works of Abba. In the era of U2 and Midnight Oil and their lament-pop of injustice and the environment I think that Tesco's refusal to apologize for wanting to focus on having a good time was a huge inspiration for me and my friends and a much needed elixir for that era of the guilt-trip.

I was thrilled that Mr. Vee accepted an invitation to the Plaza of the Mind. I found him to be every bit as friendly and irreverent as I had always imagined he would have been. The only thing that could have made me happier was if this interview had been conducted live and over some Bell's, but I will take what I can get.

[The Plaza of the Mind quotes appear in Bold-type, Mr. Vee's in normal-type]

Coming from nearly the same spatial environment that you have, yours was a much needed voice during my formative years, especially when I used to hang out at the Breton Village Mall and felt like I was like the Man Who Fell To Earth, what inspired you the most to be able to create such a controversial persona?

You know I've always had the 13 year old warped sense of humor, and have always been passionate about music..Punk just broke down that 'you have to be proficient on your instrument' barrier so anyone could do it...I was inspired by The Fugs, The Mothers, Captain Beefheart et al & nbsp; as far as the whacked out nonsense lyrics and rockin' Michigan combos like the MC5! Michigan has produced some of the greatest bands ever!

What was your favorite Meatmen era?

Hmmm, they all have merit and all were good fun...Think the tightest bunch was the 1994-96..the early days however had the magic..the whole hardcore thing was so new and exciting..the 80's saw us drawing much bigger crowds and the whole thing just blew up...

What has been your strangest fan interaction?

People have come up and asked me to do weird stuff like burn em with cigarettes, give em one of my turds, kookie stuff like that..I always went for the throat, and said the most ridiculous shit I could think of to get a rise out of folks..shock them out of their media induced stupor! That's why I'm dusting off the pipes..Its time to fuck up the next generation!

I always enjoyed the comic strips in the Meatmen liner notes - any chance that those will be collected into one volume?

Not sure..I'm trying to get in touch with Brian Pollack the genius who drew em to do the album cover of the new CD..all my favorite cover songs..The Meatmen 'Cover The Earth' out late 2008

What does a day in the life of Tesco Vee look like?

Fairly normal..I'm a Phone man, Family man, old Toy collector, Big Bore Japanese motorbike rider, micro brew swiller, Organized religion hater..all my waking hours are taken up with the aforementioned avocations and hobbies...and getting all the old CD's and T shirts back in print!

What is your favorite Kalamazoo hot spot?

The last time I went back there almost everyplace that I used to hang out at had been torn down. Ya kazoo has seen some hard times...I like the place to see bands and drink the Microbrew..Bell's is the greatest beer on the planet! 2 Hearted Ale will put hair on your weenbag! Downtown Kalamazoo still beats the fuck outta downtown Lansing, much hipper with cooler restaurants and watering holes.

I'm quite happy to see that you will be re-issuing the Meatmen oeuvre, it took me a while to track down a cd of 'Rock and Roll Juggernaut'. I used to have the cassette but I literally wore it out. I know people say that all of the time but that one was probably the only cassette that I ever actually wore out. My Uncle bought me a copy of 'We're the Meatmen and you Suck,' for the Christmas of '87 or '88 from Believe in Music. He said he knew I liked Metallica and that the Meatmen were close on the shelf and he thought the cover was cooler than the Metallica ones. I took an immediate love for that record and we played it for my whole family. My Uncle repeated this for several years, a Meatmen cassette for every Christmas of the late eighties. My father is German and my Uncle and I asked him to translate 'Dichstrudel'. He said 'it means 'give it to me up the ass', what the hell are you listening to?' I just wanted to share that with you. Any good tales of your youth in the Christian Reformed milieu of West Michigan?


Actually growing up in Kalamazoo was idyllic except for all the goddamn religion! Creek to swim in, woods, little girls to molest, it was great..then when I was 14 my parents moved us to King Of Prussia PA outside of Philly..really messed me up..I hated it there but made a lifelong friend..My high school principal was a mass murderer JC Smith...Joseph Wambaugh wrote a book about him..My dad was the school superintendent so I got beat up a lot!

Is there going to be any Abba on Cover the Earth?

Fuck ya! But I'm not telling which one...Its a rocker though...perfect for a meaty rendition!

In light of recent events will there be a 'two down two to go'?

We already have in Detroit last May..the song has been officially renamed!

What is your favorite form of architecture?

Hmmm..for the first time in my life I'm stumped me..I'll say the kind that Mike Brady designed on the Brady Bunch..

I always liked Kalamazoo better than Lansing. Did you know that Kalamazoo is home to one of the first pedestrian malls created by Victor Gruen, the man who invented the indoor mall?

I did not know that..I used to walk that mall as a yound boy..take the bus dowwn to Louie's Pipe Shop and buy a Mad Magazine or a Nudie Mag if Louie was feelin benevolent...I think both towns have their goodness,,,Lansing would be real lame if it wasnt for my beloved MSU! Go Green!

If I were to get a motorcycle, which kind would you recommend? I've always been a big David Cronenberg fan and I know he liked the Ducati but the whole subject seems rather complicated and inaccessible to me.

Ducati's are cool..I almost bought a 900 Monster once...I prefer big bore Jap..Suzuki..If I had 12 large laying around I'd drop it on a Hayabusa 1300...more sexy than a woman! Its not inaccessible at all..just hop on and twist the throttle and feel the slingshot acceleration, the white line fever, the high pitched whine of all that rice a burnin'..Its really a spiritual thing..nothing quite like it..unless you can afford a Ferrari...