The Dead Milkmen Deliver

"Offensive," says People magazine. "Who, us?" say the Milkmen.

Jack Smith: A lot of people speculate on the origin of the name
"Dead Milkmen," but I see your group as a fusion between the genre of "dead rock,"
exemplified by Grateful Dead or the Dead Kennedys, and more traditional mainstream dairy music.

Rodney Anonymous: We might use that - we haven't come up with an
explanation of our own.

Smith: I don't mean this to sound judgmental, but when was it you all got
your act together?

Dave Blood: Oh, about four and a half years ago.

Rodney:We're proud of the fact that we still have all these political
anarchist bands, they're always talking about sticking together and unity, and then you'll
see them a week later and they'll have a new bass player. And you'll ask them, what happened
to your bass player? And they say, "Oh, that guy was an asshole, we had to kick him out."
So we say, yeah, right. Good luck running the country, Ace.

Dean Clean: But the band really started with Joe.

Joe Jack Talcum: I was writing a parody of fan club newsletters and that's
how the band started. I was actually in the Paul McCartney and Wings fan club-I guess I was
the only one in Pennsylvania- and I used to get these ridiculous fan club newsletters-

Smith: What do you call a dog with wings?

Rodney: Linda McCartney.

Joe: Yeah, that's the kind of joke they'd have in their newsletters.

Rodney: So Joe made up the band.

Joe: Once we started it, it seemed we might be able to make a
living out of it.

Rodney: Technically, we're not really the original members,
'cause the original members never exisited, except on paper.

Smith: What was your very first appearance like?
I mean, nobody had heard of you, your audience could have been expecting
something like the Lettermen.

Dean: Our very first show was at the Harleysville Youth Center.
The band had never played a live show before- so we were kind of excited about it.
That was the first night I met Rodney. They said,"This is Rodney, he wrote the lyrics,
he's going to sing for you." There were about 14 people there.

Rodney: That was the night we discovered the power of the F-word.
I remember one women pulling her daughter out of the room by her hand, saying "Come on,
we're getting out of here." And her daughter was saying,"But I like it."

Smith: In the credits on the back of your album, I see you're breaking
new musical ground in use of power saws.

Dean: Actually, that was our manager- he was playing the power saw,
but that was me doing the screaming when you heard the saw going through the chunk of wood.

Rodney: I recommend the Craftman circular saw. Bob Dylan goes for that
tradional folk saw, and a lot of people say, use the jigsaw, but that's more of a funk instrument.

Smith: On your latest album, "Bucky Fellini," there was one cut-
"Surfin' Cow"- where the music sounded just like the kind of stuff they did in 1964.

Dean: It was- we lifted it off an old record.

Dave: You thought we could actually play that?
You've got to be kidding.

Smith: I heard that at one of your concerts you were shooting
pennies at the audience with a slingshot.

Rodney: No, it wasn't anything as primitive as a slingshot-
we're not animals, you know. They made the mistake of inviting us to the WMMR Hawaiian
Gonzo party and we had a gun that Dean had given me for my birthday. It fired
little tokens. We found out it would fire pennies too.

Dave: There were people in the audience eating Jell-O, and the pennies
were landing in their Jell-O.

Rodney: Most people don't get enough minerals in their diet.

Smith: What's the "art school skin" you talk about in one of your songs?

Rodney: It's a real, real, real pale skin. It's usally owned by people
who don't go to art school, but they want to look like they do.
What they do is, they go out and buy number 17 sun block, the heaviest you can buy,
and they smear it all over their body to get this incredible white complexion.

Dave: And they look as if they've been inside painting all day.

Smith: Do you enjoy abusing your audience?

Rodney: We don't aduse our audience, we make fun of everything- even
ourselves. We abuse people our audience couldn't abuse on their own. It's a big outlet for hate.

Dave: We're so tame compared to a lot of bands.

Rodney: My theory is, if you go looking for trouble, then you'll never
find it. If you're like Prince or Bon Jovi and write songs that don't have anything
to do with devil worship, then Pat Robertson will say they're about devil worship anyway.
But we write songs that are about devil worship, and nobody ever complains.

from February 1988 Philadelphia
Thanks to Brian Bubonic for this great article

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