Virtual Night Angel Interview in person with
Chad Bishop of Idiot Stare
February 29th, 1996
(left to right-Myke, Dave, Bruce, and Chad)
V.N.A. - What was the last video that you've done and where can we find it?
C. BISHOP - "Angelic" was the last video that we've done. Bruce did it and actually it's in his room.
V.N.A. - Do you think it will be out on a compilation eventually?
C. BISHOP - Yes. Our buddy, Justin Maxwell at KSPC, if you remember the World Wired Underground compilation video in 93' or 94'. Justin is doing the second one. Each band pays $300.00 and you get to be on it, that kind of deal. We said, "Hey man, we'll get Bruce to edit it and we'll be on it for free." So that's what's going on.
V.N.A. - Do you have any other new material beside the song, "Angelic" that I recently saw you perform live at The Whisky?
C. BISHOP - Do you remember the very first song we did?
V.N.A. - I don't remember the title of the song, but I knew it was a new one.
C. BISHOP - I screwed it up when you saw it, I skipped a whole chorus, it's called, "Afterbirth".
V.N.A. - Was it guitarist Myke Smith that helped you on the lyrics for that one?
C. BISHOP - No, he helped us with the guitar. Myke has been writing lyrics, but he won't show them to me yet. I think he's afraid I'm going to hate them or something.
V.N.A. - You perform live so often, any good show that goes on, you play. Often it's a free show or under ten bucks, how do you make any money?
C. BISHOP - We try. We don't. Day Job, Day Job, get the Day Job!
V.N.A. - I also notice that your performance keeps getting better and better.
C. BISHOP - That's because we use to suck, and when you suck, you can't get worse. See, you get better!
V.N.A. - Who's contacted you about remixing?
C. BISHOP - Oh, the loaded question. This would be Chase who owns Re-Constriction. We did a deal so I owed him some remixes. He did a favor for me. I remixed "Society Burning" a song called, "Waster" which is out now. Everyone on r.m.i. seems to like it so we're happy about that. I did a remix for "Collide", which is also on Chase's label.
"Violets Dance", the song's rad and they came to my house the other day, actually it was kind of cool, they live in Van Nuys. We did some finishing touches on it. I don't know when they're going to put it out
because the song I remixed wasn't the single. They weren't sure what they are going to do with it. So hopefully they will put it out somewhere.
V.N.A. - What are some bands you'd like to play with in CA, or from any other state?
C. BISHOP - Shit, the number one band we want to play live with is "Cubanate", so I wish they were better live (don't tell them that). I wish they didn't suck live, yeah they were really bad but their music rules, and we like them a lot so I'd love to play with "Cubanate" in Europe maybe. We play with just about everyone we want to play with in California. All the California bands we've done gigs with. They are all really fun to play shows with.
V.N.A. - It seems like there are some California bands that don't really play live at all like "Yeht Mae", "Cybertribe", "Pain Emission", and "Death Method".
C. BISHOP - Q from Death Method has gone techno. He got signed to City of Angels as "Uberzone". Q's a great guy but with "Death Method" it was just one dude. I wouldn't play live either if I was just one guy, like "Ultraviolence". What are you going to do, stand up there and say, Hi like "Ultraviolence", you know?
V.N.A. - But there is Claus Larsen of "Leæther Strip", I've heard there is footage of him playing alone.
C. BISHOP - Really? He's got big balls, that's what it is. He's crazy, anyone who gets up there alone, by themselves is a little sick in the head.
V.N.A. - Many bands use video footage to create images to help portray a song in a live performance, will "Idiot Stare" do this?
C. BISHOP - Oh my goodness, we'd like to but we are too lazy to do it. It costs a lot of money and time and all that kind of shit to do that kind of stuff. We kind of have a motto, "Message bands suck". So "Idiot Stare" has the same old, we're depressing message.
V.N.A. - Not at all, the opposite. "Idiot Stare" comes across as very happy, talented musicians.
C. BISHOP - I don't think we come across as an industrial band very much live, we're more of a goof around fun thing live, I guess. You could tell me how we appear better than I could. I don't know if TV's and film projectors and all that would really go with the show, it would be fun to do.
V.N.A. - When I see "Idiot Stare" live I think back to you in "STG". I think of "STG" as Hard-core/Industrial, "STG" got more Industrial as you went along.
C. BISHOP - That's up to the soundman.
V.N.A. - "Idiot Stare" is Hard-core/Industrial/Metal to me.
C. BISHOP - Yeah, definitely. We've tried to put a lot of techno into it which really doesn't seem to come accross. We like techno a lot and that would tie into the video projectors, disco balls and people on Ecstasy and stuff, so we're hoping to get some people on Ecstasy at the next show. Look techno is here!
V.N.A. - Where would you play live next if you could play at any location or venue?
C. BISHOP - We'd play the Palladium, that place rules! We'd open for someone cool like "Korn" or "Rage Against The Machine".
V.N.A. - Where is Garbage Studios?
C. BISHOP - My house, where ever I am is where it is, it's with me now, it's in your room.
V.N.A. - How did you get introduced to artist John Bergin who did the "STG" and "Idiot Stare" art?
C. BISHOP - Shane saw his comic books. His comics are on the lines of "The Crow", real gothic and dark. Shane liked that so he wrote him a letter and said, "Hey dude let me trade whatever for some of your comics?" John Bergin wrote him back and sent him a box of cool shit. Tapes, comics, a book of strange artwork, hand made jewelry all kinds of shit. Shane was like, Oh fuck, well we should send him all of our tapes. We sent him all of our "STG" tapes and John sent back all the "Trust Obey" stuff. We just basically met him though the mail, like that.
V.N.A. - That's a band, "Trust Obey"? What label are they on?
C. BISHOP - Yes, they're on Nothing Records but Nothing's not going to put it out, so John's kind of screwed. It's a lot like "Godflesh". It's very heavy, very slow, very scary, can't really understand what's going on with the vocals, that kind of thing-it's cool.
V.N.A. - The song "Blinded" rules, there are no vocals in it, but I like it a lot. What were you and the band thinking about while composing "Blinded"?
C. BISHOP - "Blinded" is the instrumental prelude to "Everything", sometimes I think everything is stupid, is the chorus which is about stupid business deals, things like that. So "Blinded" was like, you don't sign bad business deals unless your blind.
V.N.A. - I really like the vocal distortion on your voice in, "False Death". What kind of equipment did you use to achieve that?
C. BISHOP - We used about three different boxes for the whole thing which I borrowed from "29 Died", "Insight 23" and "Minus Sign", so we didn't own any of them. Thanks Guys! So I owe them a favor.
C. BISHOP - I'm going to guess on "False Death" it was Blayne's SPX900, the big one, Blayne's got the big one. That thing made nice cooking distortion sounds really well.
V.N.A. - Have you thought about having other engineers, producers, mixers work with you on a remix CD?
C. BISHOP - Oh yeah, the problem being is that to have a remix CD you have to have a financial reason to put it out; so I don't know if that's going to happen. Assuming that we did we'd include David Ogilvie at the top of the list, Q, Steven from "Hate Dept." so we could have one clean mix in our life. After that I'd probably get the guys from "Cubanate" to do one, "Sven Vath" for a trance sort of thing even though it's way off the subject. "Messiah" would be interesting to see what they'd do to our stuff.
V.N.A. - How long have you been a musician and what was the first instrument you used?
C. BISHOP - The first instrument I used was the guitar in sixth grade that was way too big so I quit doing that. I started playing drums in eighth grade or ninth grade until I was twenty or twenty-one. Then I started doing keyboards, getting into programming. I still can't play keyboards for shit, but I can program, you know like every other gearhead can. I kept playing drums and guitar for "STG" too, until we broke up. Now basically I decided I had to sing, because it's the only thing I didn't do yet.
V.N.A. - Was it after "STG" that you decided to sing? I thought you sang with them?
C. BISHOP - I sang with them. I helped Shane write some of the lyrics and vocal melodies and stuff like that. I wrote the lyrics to "Shallow Grave", that was when Peter was in the band. I always helped out but compared to Shane and Peter, I just let them do it.
V.N.A. - Your voice is awesome.
C. BISHOP - No it's not, no it's not, -okay it is!
V.N.A. - Have your parents ever seen you play live?
C. BISHOP - My parents saw me play live, but not as "STG" or "Idiot Stare". The last time my parents saw me play I was in a new wave type band.
V.N.A. - What are some of your favorite places to spend money in Los Angeles?
C. BISHOP - Record Trader on Receda in the Valley (Oh, my god) because they have all the records there for a buck. You just have to get there in time to get the cool shit.
V.N.A. - Has Shane Talada, one of the other main "STG" members hooked up with another band?
C. BISHOP - There has been like twelve other members in "STG". Shane Talada is in "Element". In the latest issue of Ghastly, there's a full page ad of their demo. They're very, very gothic. Their EP is called, "The Nightmare Of Life EP". I'm not sure if it's out now or not.
V.N.A. - On the "STG" CD it says Allan King, is that really guitarist Bruce King?
C. BISHOP - Yes. His full name is Bruce Allan King. He was Allen for about ten minutes. He said, "Nobody's calling me Allan."
V.N.A. - Chad Volpe also helped with "STG", now he's got a project called, "Backbone", what's going on with that? I heard a demo awhile ago and they were looking for a vocalist and some additional musicians, did they find anyone?
C. BISHOP - I think Chad's going to do the vocals, they are still in progress. The band will eventually be, they have a bass player and Allan's playing drums. I think Chad's going to sing, but he keeps going back and forth between yes, I'm going to sing, no I'm not. It will happen one of these days.
V.N.A. - May I ask your birthdate; I'm sure many people would like to get you something special.
C. BISHOP - It is October 16th.
V.N.A. - The clip, "Fuck you maniac, Fuck you", on the song, "The Power" is from where?
C. BISHOP - It is from the movie, "Bad Lieutenant", it's Harvey Kietel cussing at a radio-strange movie, good for samples though. So is, because you'll ask me later, a sample, "You Do Believe In God, Don't You", from the same movie for the song, "Angelic". The main sample, "I Kick Ass For The Lord" is from "Dead Alive", the gory Australian film. We put that scene in the video, too.
V.N.A. - You are on the RAS DVA "There Is No Time", "Rivet Head Culture", and what other compilations have you been on?
C. BISHOP - We were on Chase's first compilation, "Torture Tech Overdrive", Cleopatra re-released it and didn't pay anyone for it- Fuckers, and "Scavengers In The Matrix".
V.N.A. - Have you heard the band "DeathRide 69"?
C. BISHOP - I haven't heard them in years, so I can't give you a good opinion. They use to have funny psychedelic paint on them and tape on their nipples, it was strange, but now they might be rockin'. I don't know, I've heard they're pretty good.
V.N.A. - What have been your favorite bands to listen to lately?
C. BISHOP - I was listening to "Baby Chaos" on the way down here.
V.N.A. - I wanted to buy that, how is it?
C. BISHOP - "Baby Chaos" is very grunge, it's a grunge record. It's cool, I like it because I like good song writing and it's well written, but it's grunge.
V.N.A. - I thought they had cool cover art for their CD's.
C. BISHOP - The cover, that's why I bought it. I was like oh, this covers cool, I got it home, yuck! Their singing, the guitars and then I listened to it for awhile and said, wait a minute, this is pretty cool. I listen to "Sven Vath", "Diatribe's" new/old demo and the new "Snog".
V.N.A. - Do you mean, "Dear Valued Customer"?
C. BISHOP - Yes, that one because it's got the boom, it's got some super bass so it sounds rad in my car. I'm sure I said "Cubanate" like five times by now, it's the only band we listen to sometimes. "Underworld", we listen to a lot of that.
PT. 2 "The Industry"
I really want to get focused in understanding the music business, so I can help out my favorites more effectively.
I thought the best way to do this is to talk to Chad Bishop who is very familiar with the benefits and downfalls of the music industry.
V.N.A. - At what point is it essential for a band to have a manager?
C. BISHOP - Whenever they want to get into the business world, I'd say.
V.N.A. - What are some of the key responsibilities/reasons for management involvement?
C. BISHOP - These are going to take awhile to answer, they are so much my opinion, too. A manager, the perfect manager should ideally take care of everything that is not music. A manager should have a good sense of what's going to better the band in a commercial market. The manager doesn't make any money off, "Wow, cool record man, that's really legit". Managers make money off of sales. A manager should steer a band towards making them more popular without selling them out. Just try to bring something out in the band, the manager should have an eye on the way they look, present themselves in public, getting interviews and press kits together. Managers can't legally book shows but at our level it doesn't matter. You need an Agency for booking, so it's mostly just interviews and tours. They make sure everything is where it is needs to be.
V.N.A. - Who do you feel are effective managers and what bands and experience do they have?
C. BISHOP - Oh, I could tell you the obvious ones like Concrete who handles "White Zombie", but I don't know him and I couldn't tell you how he does his job.
V.N.A. - What kind of payment arrangement is usually given to a manager?
C. BISHOP - A percentage. Our arrangement with Brian McNelis was 10% of our percent of record sales which was zero because we never got paid, either did Brian, so he was worth every penny we spent on him which was none. I think that's an open agreement/arrangement between the manager and the band. He wasn't booking our shows or anything like that. We didn't make any money at the shows anyway; so how you going to make money?
V.N.A. - You didn't make any money from Rotton Records?
C. BISHOP - We got an advance but Brian wasn't our manager yet and we spent the advancement on equipment, and it was gone. Rotton Records spent a lot of money on us actually. They did a lot of advertising and got us a lot of interviews, that kind of thing. I don't think we sold that many records, only a thousand or something and that isn't enough to pay the bills and you don't start getting paid until all your bills are paid, so that's how record companies screw you. And that's how you screw record companies, too.
V.N.A. - How many CD's does a band have before approaching a label?
C. BISHOP - Most people just put out demos, you know. It really depends on the kind of material the band has and if they think a record label is going to make money on it. Or, ideally you go the "Jane's Addiction" route which is pack clubs and have a bidding war. But none of us in the Industrial world are anywhere near that.
click for more info. from Chad on "The Industry"