April 22, 2002

Hitting The Skids: The Band from Ignoreland


The Mojo Wire hasn't heard of you either.
Originally posted to www.themojowire.com on 1/16/99.

Adam Hill is on a roll. Five beers after his band, the Mojo Wire, has finished a gig at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, the frontmanly singer-guitarist has forgotten the screwups and PA malfunctions of the performance and is holding court with his friends on the balcony of his Isla Vista, CA apartment. Adam, 20, joins drummer Bryn DuBois, also 20, in telling tall tales of the band's previous shows while Bryn's brother, bassist Keir DuBois, 22, and guitarist Joe Zulli, 19, look on and occasionally throw in comments of their own.

The drummer, who has refused alcohol tonight after a hideous hangover from yesterday, carefully translates Adam's increasingly surreal flights of fancy for fellow revelers and reporters alike. It sounds something like this:
Adam: Did I ever tell you about how we found Jesus? Yeah, we jammed with him! We found Jesus the other day. No, not in the religious sense- we saw him at a party-"

Bryn (interrupting): "Actually, it was just a friend of ours named Chris who lives a few blocks away. He has long hair and a goatee and looks a lot like Jesus, but is not in fact, the Son of God."

Adam: "Whatever. Anyway, yeah, we saw him at a party and he was playing the drums. We jammed with him all night and it was really cool because, well— hell, he's Jesus! You can't be cooler than that. We'd been struggling for a drummer at the time and Jesus would make a great drummer! He's Jesus! He would get all the women!"

Bryn: "Did I ever tell you about the time Adam got so drunk that—"

Adam: "No! No no no no. Not for our first interview, you asshole!"

Adam's apparent concern over his and the band's public image isn't in danger of inflating, however, as both soon forget about the potentially embarrassing saga of "Will Adam Drink It?" once they're asked about their performance. Bryn thinks they did okay but would have rather had a longer set to stretch out the tunes and get musically looser.

"If we'd been able to do that," he says, "we might have pulled off a really great show."

Adam is less optimistic. "If we had a better PA we could have pulled off a show, period," he answers.

Their roommate Ryan Hart disagrees. "I thought they were good," he argues, "for, you know amateurs." The band hoots and hollers at this cruel statement of truth. "No no," Hart qualifies, "I mean, I hear them practice all the time, enough so that I can sing all their songs at the shows, but that didn't help at this party because of the technical difficulties."

He shrugs. "Mostly no one knew them, so everybody looked at me like I was a choade for booking them."

"That and you distracted all the babes," retorts Adam.

Joe is nonplussed about the show. "I dunno," he responds coolly. "I.V. isn't really our scene anyway. Not like we have a scene- all the bars downtown have aggressively rejected our demos, so we have to stoop to the awful shame of frat party shows." He glares at Hart with less-than-mock derision, but the SigEp man has already moved on to other, less cerebral pursuits over at the beer bong.

The slump of tonight's gig is simply another check on the Mojo Wire's slowly burgeoning performance sheet. Like many neophyte college bands, they play wherever they can, rarely for a crowd bigger than their gathered friends at a party and never for any money (though not for lack of trying).

Bryn explains, "One time we played this, like, company Christmas party for one of Keir's old jobs. It got progressively worse every time they told us to turn it down."

His brother agrees, "Yeah, I got us into a no-win situation there. It was at a Holiday Inn down in south Orange County with lots of old people in the crowd." Keir cracks up at the thought of it. "I think that's enough for corporate sponsorship for a while," he laughs.

Still, the band tries its hand at most anything; Bryn recalls that their first gig "was on the deck of a forty-five foot boat in Newport Harbor, for a Christmas parade. It was cold as fuck and we had to play "Wipeout" about eighteen times for a group of ten-year olds dancing what they thought was the twist. It looked like the seven dwarves on LSD." That was in December of 1996, seven months after Adam, Keir, and Bryn (then playing guitar) got together with drummer Kevin Nerison in Dana Point, CA to play blues and surf songs in a band they called the Clap.

"That was a great band name," says Keir, preposterously. When asked about how they came to name themselves after a venereal disease, he added, "It was funny! I mean, can't you see the marquees of places we'd play? They'd say 'Come catch the Clap tonight at 7pm!'"

After switching from their first name ("it was...unpoetic," muses Bryn) to the current moniker, swiped from Hunter Thompson's annoying fax device, the Mojo Wire began writing their own material in a bluesy vein and, for variety, absorbed several classic rock and roll covers. "We do a mean 'Margaritaville'," brags Adam, an unapologetically diehard Jimmmy Buffett fan. "We also played a lot of Clapton back then, and some surf covers too."

Keir was already attending school at UCSB when the group formed, and by the time Adam and Bryn made it into town, they had dozens of tunes, but were now drummer-less. By chance they recruited next-door-neighbor Brandon Klopp for a few months to fill the position. "Oh man, he could play," says Keir. "He made the three of us actually sound good. I mean, after we got him, we played well enough to throw keg parties just to show off." He deadpans, "We attracted dozens of people!"

"No," Bryn replies, "I think a big part of the attraction was the kegs-" (his face lights up suddenly) "...like the one you let get stolen!" This reminder is loud enough for all on the balcony to hear and then remember well enough to verbally pound Keir into the ground all over again for his stupidity.

"In any case," Keir continues, unfazed, "we actually recorded two demo CDs with Brandon- he had a DAT machine that made it pretty easy- but eventually he moved and we stayed and that was that."

Wasn't the band sorry to lose a great drummer? "Well, yeah." says Adam. "Of course," agrees Bryn, "but I bought half his old drum set before he left." Adds Keir, "Besides, his favorite band was Toto. That just didn't fly with me."
Adam looks hurt. "I like Toto..." he counters meekly.

The band chuckles quietly. The imminent completion of Seaside Hamlet Skids, their long-delayed third album, keeps them in high sprits. The new disc, now scheduled for release on April 20, will represent the culmination of a year's worth of gigging and recording. Bryn notes that the album's sound, however, may not resemble the band's current messy garage-rock leanings. "We started the initial demos for it back in June of last year," he says, "right after Adam and I got back from several escapades in Baja, one of which had us testing out the newer material around campfires with field-tripping high school students."

Recording for what would become the album commenced in September, with the help of sometime Mojo drummer Nerison. "We tracked about half the instrumentals at Kev's place in Laguna Niguel," recalls Keir. "However, only four songs ended up on the final sequence: 'I Fly Free,' 'So Cold,' 'The Shivering Sand,' and 'Wipeout.' Doing the surf cover was great. Ever since then we've been rotating it in and out of our set along with other classics like 'Pipeline' and 'Miserlou.'"

The remainder of the album was pieced together from various subsequent sessions at the band's base, the Bedrock in Isla Vista, where Bryn, who had been overdubbing guitar parts as the band's original co-lead guitarist, suddenly was pressed into recording drums as well. Adam notes that "the reason the album is a little quieter-sounding than the first two is that, in addition to basing it around the more acoustic and reverb-heavy surf tunes, we also had Bryn just beginning to learn to drum, so we didn't want to stretch his ability too much yet."

After the departure of second drummer Klopp, the Mojo Wire played a few gigs as a trio before conscripting Zulli as lead axeman. "What can I say?" said Joe. "Without me, their sound was so fragile it practically blew away," referencing one particularly cold show in November 1998. The overall Mojo Wire sound has become dramatically blunt ever since the Alice in Chains fan took over lead duties. "I really like it this way," notes Keir. "We get to show off how muscular some of this new stuff really is, in addition to bashing through the older, bluesier material.

The band's live shows, like the one they just finished, have nevertheless taken on an unhinged quality that none of the members seem to be able to keep under control. "It's an absolute crapshoot every time we get on stage now," notes Bryn, "whether we're playing frat parties or pizza joints or keggers or whatever. This lineup isn't made for prime time, and we're glorying in that." He laughs and returns to re-capping the ups and downs of the night's SigEp gig with the rest of the band and their friends, and everyone stays busy talking, playing and drinking late into the night.

April 19, 2002

No, I said "Make it stop!"

Yet another survey, this time from Sam...

1. IF YOU COULD BUILD YOUR HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE? Wow, whoah there dude- what's with the giant all-caps? Dost we posseseth compensatory issues? I suppose I can deal with that. Let's try our "inside voice", shall we?

2. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? Hmmm, this doesn't seem to be getting better, so I guess I'll move on. Oops, forgot to answer the first question. For the record, I would not build my house. I'm far too lazy and unskilled in the arts of carpentry and cardboard-box fashioning to accomplish such a task. Indeed, my suburbian adolescence has instilled in me the fantastic ability to find comfort in said boxes, provided that they are accessorized with red-tile roofs, slathered in stucco-ish compounds, and sold by the realty firm that Adrienne Gaboury's dad works for (I forget the name, but it's real estate, so who gives a fuck?). As for #2, my favorite article of clothing is anything that fits. My last physical did not present me with my ideal weight, but since I abhor strenuous exercise (What? I bike to work and walk on the beach- I'm not a total slouch) I'm learning to deal with myself and dress appropriately.

3. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX? I'd like to say something cool like "the midriff" but I too dig the entire package. However, if the entire package is great but the pretty face is missing then forget it!

4. WHAT'S THE LAST CD THAT YOU BOUGHT? "Free All Angels" by Ash. They're a Loud Rock Band from Downpatrick in Ireland. No, I haven't actually listened to it yet, but I have a single or two from that album, so I'm not totally slagging it off.

5. WHERE'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? Your Mom's house. I know, I know, I won't start that again (see December 2001 survey), but it is my favorite place to be, after all.

6. WHERE IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? Right now, my least favorite place to be is at work (by bizarre coincidence, I'm at work right now!). Why, you ask? Hey, are you in California right now, like me? Look out the damn window!! It's a fantastically gorgeous day out there right now, and I'm stuck inside doing dumb office stuff. Gee, that was a bit rude of me, actually. Someone needs to sort out their life, don't you think? I mean, someone's obviously not happy with eight hours of their day, now are they?

7. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE MASSAGED? Uh, the ego. I enjoy my ego-stroking just as much as the next self-important jerk.

8. WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT, STRONG IN MIND OR STRONG IN BODY? I think I successfully answered this question in #6 above. The last time I actually "worked out" to become strong in body was about 3 weeks ago, and afterwards I was unable to perform even the most basic motor skills, so I've sworn off things like that. Strong in mind would be nice, but I've become increasingly stupid over the years, and the scariest thing is I don't know why. Gaah!!

9. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? 6:15 am. Actually, that's when Emily wakes up, and that usually stirs me a little before I pass out for another 45 minutes. I'd like to be able to do what she does, but then again she also loses consciousness at like 10pm, and I've still got stuff to do.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW? The Daily Show or The Simpsons. I watch way too much TV these days, and I actually wish I didn't. I've recently instituted a ban upon any network nightly news in my house, as I detest being bombarded with shit right when I come home from work. It hits me where it hurts the most.

11. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? The new Turbo-Ginsu knife-o-rama! It slices, it dices, it leaps small children in a single bound, it makes Marylin Manson cry, it does your homework, it checks for thongs at Prom, it takes email surveys, it audits tax returns, it processes passport forms, it changes diapers, it displays stock quotes, it makes Enron jokes, it offers encyclopedic anecdotes at the drop of a hat- basically anything you want. Yep, there's nothing it can't do- simply fire up this fucker and get out of the way!

12. WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? The misfortune of others. haHA (with flourish)! No no, of course that's not true. Lots of things make me laugh, like stupid puns, but I laugh derisively ("HAHaha!") at pretty much anything that utterly demolishes the bloated pretensions of self-important assholes (hey, like me!).

13. IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Bass guitar. Imagine that!

14. IF THERE WAS A MOVIE MADE ABOUT YOU, WHAT CURRENT/FORMER HOLLYWOOD STAR WOULD PLAY YOU? Vince Vaughan would have to gain some weight to play me. He'd also have to stay outta them bar fights. Billy Corgan would have to shrink, gain weight, and get a tan to play me. I've been told I look like both of them. I don't see it but I won't deny it. Don't know about any former stars either.

15. DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTERLIFE? Yes, and we all go to Pittsburgh if we're good and Cleveland if we're bad. If we're normal we go to Los Angeles, and if we're really, really bad we go to Maui. No, I didn't reverse any of those. I've read my Paradise Lost and Book of Revelations, thanks very much. Think about it: if we're good we go to Pittsburgh and stay in a 5-star hotel with plush cushiony beds and a harem of attendants; bad people go to Cleveland and have to play in the fetid Cuyahoga River all day. Normal people go to LA and it's pretty much the same. Evil people go to Maui and are kept in a greenhouse with no sunscreen. Mouhahahahaha!!

16. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? You know, I think Sam bested us all on this one. I won't be able to top her enthusiastic suggestion: "'The Magic Bone' by William Steig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Heh heh heh. You said.... oh never mind.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON? Used to be fall but now it's spring/summer. You'd think I'd hate spring and summer cause I'm indoors 40 hours a week, but in fact I like them lots more because of the higher possibility of booking outdoor gigs. Not that we have any, of course, but you get the point. Maybe.

18. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE HOUSEHOLD CHORE? Actually, to her vast and unflappable credit Emily tackles many of the more gruesome household chores. I like to think it's because she's being nice to me but I'm pretty sure it's cause she doesn't trust me to do as good of a job as she will. I do the big-dumb-male grunt work like moving furniture and stuff, which might make you think that I never do the dishes. Well I do. All the time. I guess my least favorite household chore would be cleaning up after all the filthy guys I live with, but since I don't live with filthy guys anymore I'm set!

19. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Since I'm so paranoid, it would have to be knowing for sure when people are lying to me, and what they're really hiding from me when they lie. That would have freaked my dad right out, for sure, not to mention a handful of ex-girlfriends. Of course, an even better super power would be to just not worry about any of that crap, but that's far beyond the bounds of my mere mortal comprehension.

20. IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT AND WHERE IS IT? I have a bass clef (looks kind of like a 9 with colon mark for you non-music folks) on my left shoulder blade, cause I play bass guitar. It's probably the only thing I won't be ashamed of in 35 years, assuming I'll still be able to play by then. Arthritis and carpal tunnel set in early among guitarists, secretaries, and writers. As of right now I'm all three of those things simultaneously, so as you can see I'm doomed.

21. WHAT SONG SHOULD YOU HAVE WRITTEN? "Until The End Of The World" by U2. Where the hell would we be without Judas, anyway?

22. DO YOU PREFER CATS OR DOGS? Dogs, even though they're messier. Cats are too damn pretentious, and as far as I'm concerned, there's no one allowed in my house who's more egomaniacal and selfish than me.

23. WHAT IS IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR? I....don't know what you're talking about. That's not my car.

24. FROM THE PEOPLE YOU E-MAIL THIS TO, WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST? Bryn. He always has to one-up me with these things, even though it so rarely happens. Sorry B, you'll have to settle for being the frontman.

25. FROM THE PEOPLE YOU E-MAIL THIS TO, WHO IS THE LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Sam. I got this from her, and she promised one time to never give me anything bad. I believe her too, so neener neener.

April 01, 2002

Adventures in HR


That photo is by future Kiwi Keith Kie, who caught me actually working at our office today. Well, not really working- more like answering an email Employment received today. There are many more emails like it. Every day. Always. As a boredom antidote I have chosen to respond to each individual point to maximize this person's shame and embarassment.

>Are ya up to speed? Technologically speaking that is... Yet your recruitment for technologist is still in the "Dark Ages".

Oh, sorry. Let us take time out of our valuable day to totally change our hiring process to cater to each specific need of the hundreds of applicants we hear from every day. Believe it or not, there are some things that we’re just not able to do yet, like electronic signatures.

>>A. You assume we have all the resources you require, which is a pretty $hitty defer-

Wait a second. That $ sign is a big “Don’t take my pathetic whining seriously!!” If you’re gonna swear, have a backbone and do it without the geeky pseudo-slang. OK, go on:

>>ment and segragation technique for a University; like: time,

Well, I’d certainly hope so.

>>energy,

I’d hope so here too. Look, if you can’t get up off your ass to fill out an application, don’t be such a baby. Lots of folks do it every day, and you’re no different.

>>money,

There’s the rub, hmm? Quite a catch-22, yes, I understand. However, if you’re enough of a resourceful person to draw water from stone, or money from nothing, we’d certainly love working with you and would appropriately compensate your efforts. That’s not a promise, of course.

>>gas, a car,

Not me, pal. I bike to work. You assume too much yourself.

>>a computer, an ISP, internet access, a printer, paper, ink,

Well, what happened to your computer? Where did you learn your precious skills that would qualify you for this job? There’s lots of public places to access all of this stuff, like say, the library. You do read, don’t you?

>>a phone, extra money (new term),and on and on and on and on... I thought all one should need is the talent, the will, the desire and a chance, RIGHT!

Kind of. So how old are you, exactly? This is some awfully idealistic and naïve spew coming out of yon hole of yours.

>>Puttin' us to work already, aye?

Um, no. I thought that was the problem you had with us, actually, that we didn’t just give you the job like a free handout.

>>1. Download and print out a PDF App = Takes time and wastes paper (download 2 apps in case a mistake) Environmentally unnecessary, unconscious, disconcerted acts make me mad.

I’m sorry to hear that. Really. How about just downloading one copy onto your system and modifying it whenever you want to apply for a job? No! Surely not! That’s infinitely too easier, but wait, there’s more- it’s a Word document as well. Of course, environmentally conscious dudes like yourself probably boycott Microsoft, hmmm? Recycle the extra paper, doofus.

>>2. Fill out the 5 page app = hours of (my) time

Really? It takes you hours to fill that little thing out? How slow are you?

>>3. Send it back via snail-mail and the chances of you calling me days, even weeks later, are in the 1000s because I'm not local.

Are they that high? Are you sure? Have you checked? Like I said, we can’t process electronic signatures. As for the time period, bureaucrats move very slowly. That’s why we always drink coffee and take breaks. A university campus moves especially snail-paced, except for its labor relations department, which conversely moves hyperkinetically fast in order to cater to each childlike whim of our local union representatives.

>>4. You expect "us" to sit on pins-and-needles until you decide if I am worthy, or am I standing in a long, long, line.

Of course we do. It proves your mettle under pressure. You must not enjoy rejection very much, I gather.

>>5. Call you say. Again, technology omits having to spend extra $$$ for, I'm sure will be more than one long-distant call, just to be put on hold..., huh?. Right!!?

Wrong. We ask you to call so often because we’re lonely. Bureaucrats are sad, ugly, and lonely people, and we’re so desperate to talk to folks that we publicly implore them to call. Often. It’s totally opposite of what you think. We do enjoy periodically inflicting our pain upon others, however, as all humans do.


>>Are you paying me for my time? No! Hence you don't value my time.., only yours.


You jump to too many conclusions. To tell you the truth, I don’t value my time when I’m at work. You’ve been so self-righteously rude that it’s been fairly easy to not value your time. Besides, why the hell should we pay you for your time unless you’re some kind of fake professional consultant?


>>You want all our personal info, to confess our hearts and souls, beg, and our SS#,


We don’t want you to confess anything, unless of course you’ve been convicted of a felony. We don’t want all your personal info, and that which we do want is confidential. Honest. We have never, ever, ever asked for someone’s SS# on an application. That’s just stupid, and you’re stupid for assuming so.

>>when I don't know who's reading it, or who has access to it.., numerious Student Assistants I am sure?

Yep, but they try not to laugh too hard.

>>Only so YOU can scrutinize me!

Me? Listen pal, I decided otherwise a very long time ago!

>>How much talent passes you by? We are computer folks who are more capable than this.

Talent undoubtedly passes us by, especially when they ask for a higher salary than we can afford to pay. State funds are limited, and that’s the truth. We’re OK with losing out on the more arrogant and selfish types of “computer folks”.

>>Why should we bother? We can apply for 1000s of well paying jobs local and abroad in minutes.

Wait, are you dragging the rest of the “computer folks” into this thing with you? That’s a no-no; you don’t even know how the majority of them feel- most of them are still too afraid to even unionize.

>>I don't fill out apps until we talk and we both agree there's a definite possibility AND that we are NOT waisting each-others time, energy and money AND there's a 90% chance I'm a candidate.

Then you don’t fill out apps at all and we don’t hire you. Sorry, now you’re being unreasonable, mostly because that’s not how the real world does business. That’s giving you too much leverage that, based upon first impressions, you don’t really deserve. We get too many people who are happy to apply our way to pay attention to whiny punks like you. Unless of course you’re joking- but it’s not really wasting my time so I don’t care.

>>You should request resumes.

Resumes are fine. Just not unsolicited and not without an application. Talk to Gray Davis about this, please. I’m sure he’d care a little more than me.

>>Under staffed?

No. Don’t be an idiot.

>>Over budget?

Yes. Pay your fucking taxes so I can eat, asshole.

>>Over worked?

Not in the least. I wouldn’t be here if I was.

>>Beyond your control?

Yes, but that’s beside the point. I wouldn’t want that kind of responsibility here.

>>Do I wanna work in this kinda cob-web?

Probably not, but then why did you send us such a wimpy polemic attacking our hiring practices?

>>It's Policy.., How do you change policy? Get enough folks to bitch about it. :-D

Ha! If it were that easy, I’d be sitting at my desk half-naked surrounded by the Bahamas bikini team.

>>I'm poor.

Bummer. So am I- these jobs don't pay as much as you think.

>>I have no stamps, no gas, nor have I had dinner or breakfast, but I have over a decade of experience >>and 3 certifications to include a (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) MCSE in MS 2000.

Wow, that’s nice. You sound somewhat qualified. Maybe you should stop bitching and apply.

>>Ya'll better wake-up and snap out of it. Omit accient policy and get on the ball!!!

Or else what? What are you going to do about it?

>>You make me feel like a cog already.., did you know that?

Well, that’s not my fault if you’re hypersensitive. Need some axle grease to get over yourself?

>>Happy Easter Sunday,
Vince


Hey, thanks Vince. You sound like you had a happy Easter too. You know we laughed really hard at this, right? You also knew we were all elitist bureaucrat pricks anyway, didn’t you? If you’re going to take the time to carpet-bomb us with passive-aggressive insults then I think you need to spell check a little more efficiently- it really makes you look like a moron if you can’t spell, but you don’t have time for menial things like that, right? You’re a techie! Your brain works so much more efficiently than mine! Why did you feel the need to get all worked up about this? Did you need a new crusade this morning? If you’re so offended you don’t need to apply- seems like you overreacted and took certain hiring processes as a personal insult. That was a childish and stupid thing to do, but nevertheless very funny at 945am. Thanks for brightening our morning, and feel free to apply for any position at UCSB you feel you are qualified for. You’re entitled to be treated like everyone else, or at least you were. Now we’ll remember you and laugh harder.

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