a whole lotta guys in a hole

Fly, Bastard, Fly

Two Michaels from Vancouver's Superconductor

Interview by Darren Kerr
Photography by Paul Clarke

45-second excerpt from "The Bastard Overture" (351 Kb .au file)

The beauty of teamwork, the harnessing of chaos, the happy accidents -- all things that occur when six guitarists are used to stir the cauldron. I guess you could call it alchemy since each of the musicians known collectively as Superconductor holds a piece of the recipe for turning excess into gold. Give a listen to their three releases on Boner Records, Heavy with Puppy, Hit Songs for Girls and the latest, a concept album, Bastard Song, or to their two-volume eight-track-only live release, Anvil to the Fucking Head, to hear this process to its fullest effect.

a whole lotta guys on stage Michael Rohaly and Michael Kerley are two of the alchemists -- and are two people well-versed in the ridiculous of pop culture as well as a plethora of topics most interesting.

Bastard Song - The Concept

Rohaly explains: "The son of two gods has a confusing time, but it all works out in the end. He is in love with the blind telekinetic waitress in a strip bar. His mother was the goddess of fire, poetry, and handicrafts, who has fallen since being seduced by the trickster god, losing her virginity, and becoming a stripper, a strip oracle that is. When dry ice hits her nostrils, she prophecizes as she removes her clothing. The dry ice hits the bastard's face and he knows what he is and what his destiny is, which actually through the course of the album turns out to be not much," he laughs. "Every other character does a lot of stuff, but he's just kind of there."

Bastard Song - The Recording of

"It was difficult to record," recalls Rohaly. "All the arrangements, well... we didn't do much overdubbing. Most was pretty much live so we had to arrange where amps would be. We're a nightmare band. We had to mix a lot of stuff that would 'Bastardsong' cover never get into the final mix, there was so much going on. Thanks go out to Darryl Neudorf [Miller's Block Studios] who was really calm when other people would've told us to get moving or get the hell out." Pipes up Kerley, "It was easily the most fun I've ever had in a studio."

Aspirations of Stage and Screen

"We'll make a video whenever somebody comes up with twenty thousand dollars and gives it to us," chuckles Rohaly, "and restrains us from spending it on other things."

Kerley runs with this: "You see, we had a list of directors that we wanted to work with, but we haven't heard back from any of them. There is a Broadway production, well, it's not exactly Broadway, it's White Rock Summer Theatre. They're kinda losin' money now."

"We should go to B.C. Place like Aida," quips Rohaly majestically. Kerley interjects, "All I know is that bastard's gonna fly," while Rohaly gets in the last word: "Fly bastard fly, up up to the sky."

Carl Neuman and friends Super Songs Conducted

"One person, usually Carl [Neuman] these days, comes in with a song and it gets butchered," explains Rohaly. "There's a lot of little arrangement changes sometimes, sometimes not. Basically, everybody who wants to can have a say. Nobody is told to play this and often people who are told to play this can't play that." "More often people are told not to play what they're playing and play something else," quips Kerley.

Boner and Beyond

Rohaly states, "No more records. Tom [Boner magnate] doesn't want to release records anymore and anyway he's not so hot about concept albums as he is about straight ahead messy rock and roll. He made Boner out of love and I guess he just doesn't love it anymore." Kerley adds in, "All his other big bands have moved on, the Melvins, Steel Pole Bathtub." Rohaly continues: "Also his last bunch of albums ended up being a lot of work. The Melvins had put out an album called Lysol and Lysol heard about it so he had to go and black out every reference to Lysol on every record and CD. With us, we refused to have our name on the cover, which will always hurt sales. We wanted the cover embossed, double album."

wow, just one guy with a guitar! Kerley sheds some light on Superconductor's next move: "Boner is run out of Revolver Distribution who also has the Communion Record label there, so we're moving over to the next desk, which is Communion. The guy from Boner's roommate signed us to his label but we're not even signing anything, it's more of a nodding agreement."

Making the Sound Tech Sweat

Kerley smiles. "Ah, they were scared for a while. It was the sheer number of people in the band, and a lot of clubs wouldn't have enough microphones." Rohaly adds in, "This woman at a place called the Bottom of the Hill was great. It was like she took it as a little challenge. She really liked it all. That was wonderful. There was one guy, Mike, the total asshole who used to do sound at Club Soda, and he came up to us and said, 'I listened to every one of your guitars individually and they all sound awful.'"

First published in Drop-D Magazine on October 24, 1996

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