AT 30th Anniversary - Q&A with Ludicra

Ross from Ludicra took time out of his busy schedule (everyone in this band seems to be an overachiever) to answer some stock questions about being on Alternative Tentacles. We released their critically acclaimed albums Fex Urbis, Lex Orbis and Another Great Love Song. The band follows up their Halloween show in Portland for the Fall Into Darkness festival by playing our November 6th Anniversary show in San Francisco.

What is your first memory of Alternative Tentacles? Were you on the ball in 1979, or did it come up later.

In 1979, I was a bit busy smashing a 3 3/4" Darth Vader into his 3 3/4" son, Luke (spoiler!). No, I'm afraid I was not on the ball. My first memory comes much later, when I came to the realization that there was more to life than comic books and cartoons, namely music and sex. A friend passed along to me a CD copy of Plastic Surgery Disasters, and I was hooked. Around the same time, there was the great Oakland Hills fire and the riots following the Rodney King trial, which so perfectly mirrored Jello's lyrics in "Forest Fire" and "Riot," it was eerie. I knew this was something smart I had to be a part of. I got everything I could from DK and ordered all the posters and lyrics sheets then available. My mother particularly loved the Giger penis collage. Later, my friends in high school contacted AT about having Jello come to help emcee a concert we were putting on through the school, ostensibly as a benefit to get clean underwear to the homeless. To our astonishment, Jello wrote back personally, and was supportive of our "Underwear Fest." What a stud! Unfortunately, dire events transpired to where he could not attend, but his support was an inspiration to me beyond our little concert. Alternative Tentacles forever wound around my heart and drove me mad, like some kind of Lovecraftian elder god.

What is your favorite Alternative Tentacles band? Favorite release?

Neurosis "Souls at Zero" changed what I thought was possible with punk. First, it perfectly crossed over into metal but kept the punk ethos. It heightened emotional levels with hypnotic melodies, leaving the listener humming the tunes after they'd been thoroughly crushed by the record. Neurosis was and still is a great band, but that seminal release, shepherded by Alternative Tentacles, was a genre-defining moment and changed extreme music for all time. In addition to that, I've always enjoyed the spoken word released by AT, from Jello's hilarious monologues to Noam Chomsky's sobering lectures.

When/why did Jello ask you to put out a record on AT?

Lord only knows why we were asked (did we beg?). I think Jello enjoyed our band's genre-defying inclusion of a coupla girls and a coupla jews, compared to black metal's stereotypical bands. I think he could appreciate our city-living cynicism, we having walked the same streets and meeting the same panoply of punks, spangers, junkies, and hipsters as he. Mostly, I'd like to hope he thought we were good, because AT has always seemed to make a priority not of quick albums sales, but of putting out things that Jello believes in.

How would your career/life be different if you hadn't had a record on AT?

I'd be a much less fulfilled person and musician, not least because I would have missed out on seeing Jello wearing a gold lame pimp costume at one of our Halloween shows.

Where do you see yourself in 2039?

I'll be singing that Beatles' song "When I'm 64," because that's how old I'll be, to an empty room. I'll be wondering who is going to need me, feed me, and also I'll add a line about changing my adult diaper, because I'll have just filled it.

Thanks to the folks who've worked at AT in the past, present, and future, for keeping a great symbol of musical integrity alive and kicking! Here's to 30 more years.

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