Can't Get Much More Rock and Roll Than That!

crazy Kai Markus, live

Share a pint of gold flakes with Vancouver's Noise Therapy

Interview by Daniel Ewacha
Live photography by Rodney Gitzel

45-second excerpt from "Dunce" (various formats)

Noise Therapy are the essence of rock and roll. They eat, sleep, live and breathe rock and roll and the lifestyle it comes with. Bassist Rob Thiessen even told me he despised Bruce Dickinson's sarcastic Tattooed Millionaire album because that was his dream! Rob already has the tattoos and is working hard on the millionaire bit even as we speak. Can't get much more rock and roll than that. We even met for the interview at the Hard Rock Cafe. Can't get much more rock and roll than that... well, maybe you can, but for argument's sake, we'll say you can't.

When I ask the waitress for the time and she tells me it's 3:30pm and the interview was scheduled for 3:00, I'm not surprised. You ever heard of a concert starting on time? Why should an interview be any different? Shit. Half an hour late. All of a sudden, Terry, the band's manager, appears and tells me they've been waiting for a half-hour. Terry leads me downstairs, where I find Kai Markus (guitarist) and Rob Thiessen (bass) smiling and asking me where I've been. Figures. Trying to cover their arses by blaming someone else -- me. Can't get much get the picture.

Rob starts laying into the story of his drink of choice, "Goldschlager." He tells me that there are actual gold flakes in the drink, which I at first laughed off; but, to my surprise, it was confirmed by the waitress. To top it all off, Rob very casually points out that we are in the presence of a greater power by diverting my attention to the piece of music memorabilia located on the wall Rob Thiessen, live next to our table. There in all its glory are the pair of sequined underpants worn by Madonna on her "Girlie Tour." No matter how hard or long you try, you can't get any more rock and roll than that!

Now that the distractions are out of the way, we glide into schmooze mode and talk about the changes the band has gone through since I last talked to them in November. "We've got a new singer!" exclaims Rob. "His name is Dave Ottoson." A stickler for details, Rob proceeds to spell his last name for me. Just how many shots did you have, Rob? "You can call him Curious George. We call him that and he's fine with it because he asks so many damn questions."

The conversation turns to the subject of why Kai can't enjoy the fine rock and roll beverage on which Rob has been indulging himself. "When we got to Toronto, I got really ill, and wasn't able to play," Kai explains. "I was taken to the hospital and found out I had ulcers in my stomach, so they performed surgery." Kai shows me the end result of his hospital visit, a scar running vertically along his stomach. I quietly think to myself, "Cool idea for an album cover," but don't say anything. However, if they end up using my idea, I will demand 10% in royalties, thank you.

That album cover could be used for the new CD that Noise Therapy are currently in the studio working on. Rob promises an even more stronger effort this time around as a follow-up to their acclaimed self-titled debut. "I'm writing the lyrics this time and, unlike the last album, we're gonna understand what they're about." When asked for an example, Rob explains a track called "Dunce." Dave Ottosen, live "I have this friend who, when she goes to the supermarket, has this incredible knack of getting hit on by these losers. So she's a loser magnet and I immortalized her in this song. It's going to be on the Turtle Records' compilation and it has just been added to rotation on CFOX's Nocturnal Transmissions show."

"There's also a song called 'Goontard,'" Rob continues. "There's this saying in L.A., when you go out and get wasted you get 'gooned,' and when you wake up the next morning you feel like a retard, stupid for getting so gooned, so you're a goontard. It's about hating yourself the next morning after a night of binging." Was this written based on personal experiences? "Definitely!" Kai and Rob answer in unison, laughing.

Another song off the new album is "Down." "The lyrics were written a flashback off a hit of acid I took years ago. It's weird, cause I don't take it anymore but I was having a flashback or something and lyrics just came," says Rob with a hint of humour.

"This album as whole is pretty different than the first," Kai explains. "The last album was pretty much a straightforward rock album, not that this one isn't, but we did a lot of experimenting with this album. There's a bit of a jazz vibe at some points." Rob adds, "Part of it has to do with having a new vocalist. Dave is really versatile in his singing -- he can scream and shout with the best of them, but can also be really melodic when it's called for. He changes the element of our lives shows as well."

Band Press Photo Noise Therapy's debut album brought them a great deal of attention, so it's not surprising that there are more than a few deals on the table. Their new album will be distributed throughout North America and Europe. "We wanted to wait for the right deal," states Kai. "With the first album we did it all ourselves and we were pretty successful, so we weren't killing ourselves for a deal. We felt that sooner or later the right deal would come along." When I posed the question of that wait being a bit excruciating, Kai summed up the band's thoughts quite easily: "We've waited ten years to put the album out -- five more months won't hurt."

We change subjects for a moment and talk about the state of music for a bit, particularly the whole British Invasion of sorts. "For the most part it's shit," Rob explains. "We don't really listen to it but I gotta say I admire Oasis for that publicity stunt they pulled (storming off stage after having shoes and coins thrown at them); we're actually waiting to pull one ourselves. They got it all wrong, though. Oasis sucks, and we're the best band in the world!" He pauses, then adds, "If there was one band we listen to out of that [British] lot it would be Radiohead, because the lead singer looks like Martin Short."

The summer looks to be quite busy for the boys in Noise Therapy (or Nose Herpes, as one band dubbed them). They head out on tour soon with the Four Horsemen for three weeks, followed by a possible tour of Europe in August. With their new album being slated for release in September, Noise Therapy appear to be climbing the ladder to the position of Tattooed Millionaires ever so quickly. Eat their dust, Bruce!

First published in Drop-D Magazine on May 2, 1996

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