Human Eye, Timmy’s Organism & Clone Defects interview with Timmy Vulgar
Hey Timmy! How are you? I’m really glad we can talk about your music. What can you tell us about some of your early influences and where did you grow up?
I grew up all around Michigan and Arizona. I was born in Denver Colorado. Then my folks moved to Michigan when i was a few months old. Then we moved to Arizona when I was 10 years old. While living there, I got into skateboarding I was 11 or so. My older brothers were into metal and Rock and I really loved what I heard. I think music grabbed me at an early age. Stuff like QUIET RIOT, OZZY, PINK FLOYD, RUSH. Those are some of the bands I remember the most. My first favorite song in Kindergarten was “Come on feel the noise”- QUIET RIOT covering SLADE! And I also liked early Rap, I was pretty good at Break-Dancing in 1st and 2nd grade. . But I was still to young to really get into music all the way. I was to busy catching Lizards and poisonous insects, shooting my sling-shot and later on I started skateboarding. I was kind of a “Dennis the Menace” as a kid.
As I got older, I got more and more into music. I had to share a room with my older Brother Joe when we we’re about 12 and 14. He would listen to the CURE and the SMITHS and some other stuff I can’t remember. But I would barrow his tapes while he was gone and I would draw or read comics and listen to them. Batman and the CURE “Boys don’t cry” are vivid memories for me. I remember late one night Joe snuck outta the house to go to a Punk show and when he came back he reenacted “Slam Dancing” for me. He said..”Yeah Timmy it was crazy! All these crazy kids slam dancing in a circle like this!!!” And he slammed me across the bedroom!! And I bruised my hip on the window sill! I did’nt know what to think. Cause I was use to getting my ass kicked by him! All big brotherly love! hahhah!
So my family finally moved back to Michigan when I was 14. I was happy to get back “home”. When I started back up with school I started a band with some metal heads in my 8th grade class. I did’nt know how to play an instrument so I was the singer, Later on the Guitar player Evan Hershalman, gave me MISFITS “Walk among us” on cassette. That band sent my curiosity and interest in punk to new levels. Anyway. We played two of the school dances. We did cover songs by SLAYER, GUNS and ROSES, the DOORS and the SEX PISTOLS. There’s a live VHS tape floating around somewhere. It was the Novi Middle School Dance. In order to go to the dance as a student you needed at least a “C” grade average. Which I did not have, I was terrible in school!! The only A’s I received were in art. The principle and my teachers made an exception they let me play live at the dance but I had to be dropped off right before our performance then go home right after. Hahah! Kinda funny, It was like i was an exclusive rock star cause of my bad grades. Born to rock.
When I was 16 me and my life long best friend and cousin started a Punk band. We were called the “Kosby Kids” Cause our guitar player was a chubby black kid. We played Veterans halls and partys it was a blast we’d drink 40’s of Mickeys and get drunk and played Black Flag syle punk rock. We made fun of the straight edge kids even when our bass player was straight edge! hahaha! It was alot of fun.
A year later I met Ian Ammons (aka) Jack Shit and now Nai Sammon(guitarist writer for the PIRANHAS and EPILEPTIX) at a Kosby Kids show. We became friends right away and talked about starting a band. So we did, he put his girlfriend on bass and we found a good drummer and we started rehearsing everyday we could. We turned into an insane reincarnation of the GERMS. But were’nt trying to imitate anyone. Ian made it a point not to have a song that was a familiar riff to an old punk song. A rule I still live by.
Listening to punk and discovering old 70’s punk bands became a super obsession for Ian and I. We became best friends wrote a ton of songs. He wrote the guitar parts did all the arrangements and I wrote 90% of the lyrics. I learned so much playing in a band with him. Thats when I started messing around with the guitar. Ian taught me the basic bar chords etc. The band played out for about 4 years, put out three 7″ records and an LP.
I know one of your first band was called Clone Defects and you released two records.
CLONE DEFECTS formed in 1998. I called up Chuck Fogg and asked him about starting a band he came by my house and we practiced a bunch. We hunted around for drummers tried a couple out but know body worked Then I met Fast Eddie at the Magic Stick. He was in a band called the Tonsil Boxers they were a fast hardcore punk band so I figured he was a good drummer. So ask him if he wanted play drums for us, So he came by and we jammed. The rest is history. Wild Mid Wes was my roomate and a great guitar player so he joined the band and we started some serious song writing. We were all friends before hand and in bands that played shows together so we locked in quick.
We brainstormed on a band name we almost called ourselves “Get Shocked!” Because we practiced in a suuuper shitty basement in detroit. There was water everywhere in the basement. I had to stand on top of an old door ,set on top of a big puddle. I was getting shocked on the microphone cause the grounding in that dungeon were so horrible. The wall was con caved like a beer belly and when it rained water would just pour threw the cracks. We played our first show in that shit basement!
We played around town alot and i feel like we became to the older rock n rollers their new favorite band.
So we got on alot of great shows that way. We would play with..ROCKET 455, DETROIT COBRAS, BANTOM ROOSTER, We would play shows with the GO and the WHITE STRIPES. We recorded three 45’s and two LP’S We toured alot. We recorded our first two singles in Jack Whites living room in southwest Detroit. We had alot of fun.He was a big fan. When WHITE STRIPES started to blow up they took us on a 6 day tour. We played for 800 to 2000 people a night. It was cool. When we broke up in 2003. I started jamming with Johnny LZR in Oct. of that year.
Human Eye was born around year 2004. How did you guys come together?
Johnny and I were acquaintances and we had talked about getting together and workin’ on some music. He was building peddles and was experimenting with synthesizers. So we got together and jammed. We connected right away it sounded great we just needed a bass player and a drummer. Tommy Hawk was Johnny’s roomate and he sorta knew how to play bass guitar so we asked him to jam. One night when i went over to their house for practice Thommy was building this science Model of the “Human Eye” i walked by Tommy and i said that’d be a good band name! HUMAN EYE! Thommy jammed with us that night. They mentioned that there friend James played the drums. We tried him out and it worked. We started writing and played our first show a few months later and recorded 10 songs for our first album.
In 2005 you released your first album. You made really interesting sound on the album and I would like to know what can you say about recording and producing this album?
We recorded the first album in the fall of 2004. Our friend Ryan Sabatis he was the drummer of Detroits most notorious and best punk band the PIRANHAS at the time. He wanted to record us. He was a friend and a fan and I wanted to record with him for the same reasons. His studio was in his basement he had a 16 track a-dat tape machine and some decent Mic’s. His studio was nick named the “Snake Pit” cause the people that lived there before him had at least a dozen pet snakes they kept down there. I imagine illegally. Poisonous exotic snake collectors in Detroit.
We had alot of fun recording and experimenting with weird sound overdubs & noises. We miked a blender, we put a sock around a mic and put in the dryer and turned on. We drank a “Lake Superior” worth of Milwaukee’s best ice! The album Took at least a couple of weeks altogether. It was thee best time I had recording an album. And one of my fondest memories in music for me.
What can you say about the cover artwork?
The album art is a collage/painting kinda thing. I bought a bunch of science books from some thrift stores and cut em up. Glue and pasted, no computers!!
Band Name, Album Art are just as important as the Music 100%. So I like to take my time on that stuff. So many horrible band names out there so many lazy album covers.
“Fragments of the Universe Nurse” is your next album. I’m sure you can tell us about making this album and btw I really enjoy the cover artwork.
Thanks glad you dig the art. That album cover is collage/paint markers/paint. I went with the same approach as the first album. The back cover is kinda of a symbolic to a “beast” or “monster of sound.” With the yellow green and red “sound waves” coming of the creature. “Fragments of the Universe Nurse” is sorta my favorite out of the tree albums we’ve done. It has more of variety to it in the song writing. We recorded half of that at the “Snake Pit” and half at “High Bias Recordings” With Chris Koltay. It was a weird time for the band back then, Billy Hafer our drummer moved outta state and we were getting ready for our first European tour. And we Brad Hales joined the band that year 2006.
Now we are moving to your side project called Timmy’s Organism. You released an EP in 2009 called “Squeeze the Giant”. I bet you are a huge Chrome fan? In 2010 you released album called “Rise of the Green Gorilla”, which is in my opinion really an interesting experimental record. Would you like to share your ideas behind the album?
I bought a tascam 4 track from a buddy for $50 bucks. I was addicted to that thing! I recording a ton of stuff. TIMMY’S ORGANISM “Squeeze the Giant” 2x7inch is a collection of home recordings I did on that machine. 3 of the songs on that record are by myself and 2 are with the “Organism” band.
Johnny Lzr left his Synth’s over so I started messing with them. I didnt have a drum set so I would base the guitars and vocals around the synth sounds. I was really inspired at the time and had so many ideas running through my head I had to lay down, it was a very strong creative time in my life.
Yes I’ve been a huge CHROME fan sents I was 17! That was definitely the first weird tripped out psychedelic/punk or whatever kinda band, I really got into. My oldest brother Paul made me a tape of Half machine Lip moves and Alein Sound tracks and it never left my tape deck. Me and my buddies would skip school and drive around in my “Dodge Omni” smoke weed and listen to that tape. It was pretty heavy on an acid trip too.
“Rise of the Green Gorilla” is a collection of home recording’s like “Squeeze the Giant.” Recorded around the same time and later. On the same 4 track. The cover art is one a handful of drawing’s my good friend Jimbo Easter(DRUID PERFUME & PIRANHAS) has drawn of me over the last 12 years.
I hope that album can tell someone a story especially the instrumentals.
This year you released another great album with Human Eye called “They Came From the Sky”. The album is very consistent and your sound is hmmm hard to describe…kinda garage flavoured acid rock?
HUMAN EYE-“They Came From the Sky” It’s really cool and flattering that reviewers have been saying that its our best work yet and that it’s our most consistent album. And that its my best work since the CLONE DEFECTS “Blood on Jupiter.”
The record got #1 album of 2011 on three of the reviewers lists on “Terminal Boredom” And it got 7.7 in a review on Pitchfork. Among other great reviews on the web and magazines. Really, really cool! Means alot. The songs on this record are inspired by classic Heavy Psych and Heavy Blues. And I guess just a mix of other stuff i’ve been diggin’, Kraut Rock and classic Punk etc. We recorded this album with Adam Cox he really has a good ear and vision for recording/mixing and engineering bands in the city lately. We recorded “They came from the sky” with him. And we recorded half of the 2nd TIMMY’S ORGANISM “Raw Sewage Roq!” (out in June 2012 on “In The Red Rec.”) album with Adam and other half with Warren Defever at the UFO Factory.
And as of now HUMAN EYE just recorded 9 songs with Adam Cox, We’ve been mixing and finishing it up. “the “Gentleman’s Club” is a great studio. Its inside a music class room in an old middle school in detroit. Its complete with lockers and stinky bathrooms.
What about touring? Anything crazy happened while touring?
We cant afford to tour as much as these other bands do but We tour a few weeks outta the year to keep people on their toes. I’ve toured the Mid west, north, west and east coast, down south, up through north/east canada. And we did a month in Europe we need to go back!! Crazy tour storys? Theres to many! I can’t type all that.
In Belgium a guy told me the Beer I was drinking was great with horse meat! And I said “you eat horse meat??” And he said “yeah!!” And I said “thats nasty!” And he said “Did I shock you, Timmy Vulgar?”
Hahah! I got glitter all over a guys quesadilla in Columbus OH. I made this mask that shot glitter and silly string and I walked threw the audience to get to the stage and on my way. A bunch of glitter dumped all over this dudes quesadilla, he had just bough itt from the bar and had’nt even taken a bite of it yet! He was suuper pist!! He threw it at me while we were playing. He wanted to fight me! hahaha! Dont mess with people when their hungry. They get animalistic.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2012
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