CORNELIUS ASPERGER AND THE BI-CURIOUS UNICORNS is the first new collaboration between vocalist Sammytown (previously known as Sam McBride) of Oakland, CA hardcore punk veteran crew FANG and guitarist Tom Flynn (ex live touring musician of the MELVINS). Both musicians formed FANG in 1980 and now are back with a new, raw, unhinged and noisy rock / punk effort produced by Tim Green (NATION OF ULYSSES, FUCKING CHAMPS) and also featuring bassist Dave Chavez (VERBAL ABUSE, SICK PLEASURE and CODE OF HONOR) and drummer Stark Raving Brad (HELLBILLYS, MARGINAL PROPHETS! The band’s self-titled full-length was released on January 29th in conjunction with Reptilian Records and Boner Records and IDIOTEQ took this chance to sit down with Tom Flynn and discuss the band, the new record, its twisted bluesy soul, and noisy, garage punk rockish soul.
Hey Tom! How are you? Today is the day of the premiere of your debut record. How does it feel to have it finally out? Tell us a bit about the process of preparation for sharing it with the public.
We followed the recipe, mixed up the ingredients, tenderly kneaded the dough, stuffed the huge bun in our ovens, and gave birth to a modern musical masterpiece. It felt pretty good coming out, I have to admit. Can’t stay inside forever.
How did you team up with Reptilian and Boner Records for this release?
Well, I cook the meals and clean the house of the owner of Boner Records, so that part was easy. I’ve been aware of Reptilian since they just had the record store in Baltimore, so I’ve watched their career with great interest, as they say. Liked what they’ve done with HEROINE SHEIKS, etc., so I contacted Chris and he graciously agreed to take the plunge. Reptilian’s latest death metal supergroup is HATEBEAK, apparently fronted by a large parrot. The HATEBEAK album will undoubtably sell much more than ours, since ours unfortunately only features human beings.
Photos by Greg’s Visuals.
Ok then, before we go deeper into your work, please introduce the band to those not yet aware of your sounds. How and when did CORNELIUS ASPERGERAND THE BI-CURIOUS UNICORNS begin and what on Earth possessed you to name your band the way that makes it almost impossible to remember?
On the contrary, the name is impossible to forget, much as we try. We’ve been playing for a few years now, I originally contacted Sam with some mumbling vagueness about playing something together or whatever the fuck, he contacted me back with his own vague half-baked plans of strange nothingness, and we had liftoff. Had barely seen each other since I stepped off the Fang rollercoaster 30 years before. We both knew Dave Chavez since the dawn of time, so we ignored his complaining and forced him to join. We purchased Stark Raving Brad at a slave auction in the basement of a leather bar in SF, and were pleasantly surprised that he could play drums in addition to performing his other advertised duties.
Was there an aim or main idea behind this project? What’s your goal?
Our goal was to find a cure for cancer, so I have to sadly admit that the project is a failure. The dream continues.
Haha. Cool. So how does it feel to reunite with your old buddy Sam after so many years?
I can only quote my good friends PEACHES & HERB:
Reunited and it feels so good / Reunited ’cause we understood / There’s one perfect fit / And, sugar, this one is it /We both are so excited ’cause we’re reunited, hey, hey
Considering your vast backgrounds and other projects you’ve been part of for so many years, I’m interested to know how you approach your creative process and composing. What role do musical influences have after so many year of doing it? Do you use other artists’ work for inspiration or it’s rather not the case now and it’s more like drawing from your past experience?
Who knows, you take things from outside, inside, sideways, whatever. You steal things from three different songs, put them together backwards, and call it a new visionary work of art. I will say that these songs are more composed than things I’ve done previously. I used to just come up with a four-note riff, add some random guitar stupidity, and call it a day.
How do you feel about the current digital music era and the overwhelming, wide range of online services, mobile apps and other tools that have changed thework environment for artists? What managing and ‘marketing’ skills have you taken from your earlier experience and what new things have you had to learn to be a part of this mad modern culture?
I enjoy listening to whatever I want online for free, but when it comes to my own band’s music I prefer that everyone pay good money for it. Makes perfect sense to me.
Are there some newer artists that you particularly admire? Can you share some of the ‘best of’s’ of 2015 and most exciting stuff anticipated this year?
The short answer is: Nope. I have no time to listen to anything remotely new cause I spend all my time sitting at home yelling at the TV.
Haha, fair enough. So what are the older records that always keep you coming back for?
ROXY MUSIC, BUTTHOLE SURFERS, FLIPPER, FUNKADELIC, DAVID BOWIE, BLACK FLAG, VELVET UNDERGROUND, COWS, MONKEES, STOOGES, STYLISTICS, RAMONES, T REX, MELVINS, BLACK SABBATH, GO GO’S, ROLLING STONES, CHEAP TRICK, BREEDERS. DEVO, ABBA, and on and on (and on). Can’t speak for everybody, we all like wildly different things, part of what makes the band what it is. Sam spends all his free time listening to disco. I think Brad is somehow able to admire THE POLICE. Dave inexplicably likes the hideous JOE BONAMASSA.
How’s your local punk scene nowadays? Gig-wise, how has things changed? How would you comment on youngsters’ involvement in doing shows, writing zines, attending and developing independent art movements?
Oh you know, punks gonna punk. Sixteen year old’s still be gettin’ they mohawks done up and everythang. I don’t know much about these youngsters you speak of; we usually play respectable venues that only allow entry to those old enough to responsibly handle their liquor, i.e. they can vomit in the bathroom like adults. The youngsters are stuck outside where they can smoke marijuana and fornicate in the bushes.
Ok Tom, so what comes next for the band?
March 5th in Oakland at the Night Light. They tell me we are playing in Portland and Seattle in April 2nd and 3rd and I choose to believe them
Thanks so much for your time! Take care!