Protons and Electrons: Atom 4 – Paved Age / Nonagon – Saffir​-​Simpson

Atom 4 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available. The Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends side is a song called “Paved Age”, which is a song that is ostensibly about the founding of the Interstate Highway System.

The other side features the mighty Nonagon, with their song Saffir-Simpson.

Atom 4 of Protons and Electrons features the inimitable of Chicago, a scrappy and joyous noiserock/post-punk trio whose heart and tenacity have been as inspiring as their songs. A particularly blisteringly and badass set in 2014 that reminded me of everything I loved about making music was the clinching factor for putting together what would become Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends. I’m not saying you can blame them DIRECTLY, but… partial blame, sure. -Conan

Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mail order. There will be 12 of these in total. As per normal, free to listen to… $2 for a download and you can preorder the limited edition 7″ (only 300 ever!) all at the link. Spread the word around…


Protons and Electrons: Atom 3 – RECANT! / Thoughts Detecting Machines – Alllies

Atom 3 of the Protons and Electrons series is now available to listen and order. As always: Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is Conan Neutron, Tony Ash and Dale Crover (of (the) Melvins​) providing the A-Side: RECANT! and on the B-side is Mr. Rick Valentin of Thoughts Detecting Machines​ (and Poster Children​… of course) with Alllies.

Like all of the Protons and Electrons series, this is a digital single, paired with a physical 7″ release that is available to mailorder. There will be 12 of these in total.

RECANT! is riff heavy rumination on heresy and the process of heresy becoming fact.

Rick contributes an excellent guitar track to a future Protons and Electrons release, but most importantly he is part of this series because of what Thoughts Detecting Machines is.

A one man band in the sense of being a self-contained live and recording unit, not in the “bass drum strapped to back and cymbals between legs” sort of way, the way Thoughts Detecting Machines operates has been an inspiration to Team Neutron Friends.

Find a way to say “yes” to awesome opportunities, strip things down to their barest essentials and challenge yourself to dig deeper, try something different and let go of familiar anxieties.

In any case, you can listen to it here and you can order the 7″ as well. Thanks!

https://neutronfriends.bandcamp.com/album/protons-and-electrons-atom-3-recant-thoughts-detecting-machines-alllies


Protons and Electrons: Atom 2 – Hate Secretary / Quivers – Master of Dirt

Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – Atom 2 is available to listen to and purchase!
Secret Friends is Conan Neutron on guitar and vocals / Tony Ash on bass and Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums. Toshi Kasai engineers and produces. This song trends towards the poppy/hooky side of the band and is called “Hate Secretary”

Atom 2 of 12 in the Protons and Electrons split single series.
Side B is the excellent rock band Quivers from San Francisco, California

“Although nobody in Quivers has yet played in Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends, all members of Quivers have been playing together in some capacity before coming together in this Voltron like formation of excellent rock.

As one continues “in the game”, more and more people fall off or become a soft parody of what they once more. These rockers have doubled down and are doing some of their most interesting work. It’s a delight to have played with these fellas and their irresistible hooks in any permutation over the past 18 or so years, and I look forward to doing so for years to come!”

In any case, check it out. They don’t ship until the 1st… but the SF Secret Friends show will be the 7″ release show as both bands are playing. here it is:

https://neutronfriends.bandcamp.com/album/protons-and-electrons-atom-2-hate-secretary-quivers-master-of-dirt


Protons and Electrons: Atom 1 – Litany of Grievances / Trophy Wives – Tomorrowland

Hello! This is “A Litany of Grievances” the new single from Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends (Me: guitar/Vocals, Tony Ash: Bass, Dale Crover: Drums). This is Atom 1, the first volume of a 12 volume series called “Protons and Electrons”. Each Protons and Electrons volume features a great band on the B-side that either plays in Secret Friends, Records with Secret Friends or has some heavy relevance to how Neutron Friends came to be. In this case the other band is TROPHY WIVES, their first release in quite some time. Trophy Wives features the low end majesty of Mr. Tony Ash. Tony and I were label mates with previous bands and toured on multiple occasions. If I am the brain of the Secret Friends, he is absolutely the heart. It would probably exist without him, but I wouldn’t want it too. As per always the incredible Toshi Kasai is in the producer’s chair on this one, engineering and mixing as well, and in this case Cristy Joy provided some excellent background vocals.

The B-Side song: Trophy Wives – “Tomorrowland” was always a favorite of mine live, and it’s a pleasure to have it associated with this series. It’s an ass kicker.
Bob Weston of Chicago Mastering Company mastered and cut the lacquer.

This 7” is available for immediate purchase at $8 each, each one comes in a limited edition hand screened jacket by Christopher Williams of Plastic Flame Press, shipping later in March.
You can also purchase a digital version through bandcamp or through any of the usual ways one does that (as of later this week).

To say that this is a massive undertaking is an understatement of the highest order. It has been a grueling and involved process that is now just beginning to pay off with the actual release. Take all of the hassles of one release and multiply it by a dozen, and then involve other bands as well… yeah… let’s go ahead and say I have some tales. Yet, this is the way we wanted to present this material to you, as singles… months by months as part of this series.
What you will see is a digital single every month, followed by a physical single of the same song the next one.

If you wish you can purchase a “Friends of the Neutron” subscription and guarantee yourself a copy of each one as well as copies of the entire back catalog digitally, a custom t-shirt and another fun surprise. Either way, this is here for you to listen to now, and that makes us very happy. Spread the word!


Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track

Hello everybody!
There’s a quick and dirty B-Sides collection from Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends available to listen to here:

Perhaps that will be of interest to you?

Next up: Protons and Electrons


PRF West Coast IV – 2017: April 21st-23rd

The fourth west coast version of the PRF BBQ.

NO MORE ADVANCE PASSES AVAILABLE.

Passes available at the gate.

SCHEDULE:

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED AS OF MARCH 1st!

The fourth west coast edition of the PRF BBQ.
Friday – April 21st – The Nightlight, 311 Broadway, Oakland, CA – 21+. 6PM-1AM

Saturday – April 22nd – Mosswood Park Amphitheater, 3612 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94609, noon – 8.

Sunday – April 23rd – Mosswood Park Amphitheater, 3612 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94609, noon – 8.

Passes ABSOLUTELY should be purchased in advance at: http://prfbbq.org/
It’s $40 for the whole weekend. Passes available on March 1st.

21+ Friday, All Ages Saturday and Sunday.
12 and under free.

e-mail to prf@prfbbq.org

bands playing:
Motherfucker
Mike Morasky (of Steel Pole Bathtub) and Noah Landis (of Neurosis)
Bathysphere
Beat Drun Juel
Cartographer
Justin Trosper (of Unwound)
Catastrophe Girlfriend
Charmless
Cinder Cone
Color TV
Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends
Dryland
Externs
Flat Black
HalphioriO
Kind Fall
Magpies
Quivers
Reptoid
Rip Room
Roland
The Mass
The Tunnel
Tiny Peloton
Underpass Brass
War Brides


Conan Neutron Voting Guide – Nov. 2016 – General Election

Vote 2016
Image result for vote
PRESIDENT
Hillary Clinton
SENATE
US Senate: Kamala Harris
CONGRESS
 US House, District 13: Barbara Lee
US House, District 17: No Endorsement (Honda v. Khanna)
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE
State Senate, District 9: Nancy Skinner
State Senate, District 11: Jane Kim
State Assembly, District 18: No endorsement (Rob Bonta)
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Office No. 1: Scott Jackson
AC TRANSIT DIRECTOR, AT LARGE
Chris Peeples
AC TRANSIT DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Greg Harper
EAST BAY REGIONAL DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Audree Jones-Taylor
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1: Gail Murray
District 3: Rebecca Saltzman
Distrct 5: John McPartland
District 7: Lateefah Simon
CITY COUNCIL
At -Large- Rebecca Kaplan RCV
CITY ATTORNEY
Barbara Parker (Unopposed)
SCHOOL BOARD:
District 1: Don Macleay
PROPOSITIONS
STATE
51: No – School Construction & Repair Bond
52: Yes – Medi-Cal Matching Fees
53: HELL NO – Require Even More Bonds on the Ballot
54: Yes – Publish Bills 72 Hours Before a Vote
55: No – Extension of Income Tax on the 1%
56: Yes – Tax E-cigs & tax Cigarettes more.
57: HELL YES- Progressive Parole Reform
58: Yes – Allow Multilingual Education in Public Schools
59: Yes – Citizens United Sucks
60: HELL NO – Moralizing Crusade to Require Condoms in Adult Films
61: YES  – Prescription Drug Pricing Change
62: HELL YES – Repeal the Death Penalty
63: Yes – Gavin Newsom’s Vanity Gun Control Prop
64: HELL YES!!! – Marijuana Legalization
65: No – Redirect Money from the Disposable Bag Fee
66: HELL NO!!!! – Kill people faster with the Death Penalty
67: Yes – Protect the Plastic Bag Ban
LOCAL
Alameda County:
A1: Yes – Affordable Housing
City of Alameda:
B1: Yes – Extend Parcel tax for Schools
AC Transit:
C1: Yes – Mass Transit is cool
City of Oakland
G1: Yes – School District Parcel Tax
HH: Yes – Soda Tax
II: Yes – Maximum Lease time of city-owned real properties
JJ: YES!!! – Renter’s rights, and just cause, approval to raise rents.
KK: Yes – Pedestrian Infrastructure Bond
LL: YES!!!! –  charter amendment for citizen oversight of police department
BART
RR: Yes – More mass transit, uneasy
EXPLAIN YOURSELF!!!!
Vote 2016
PRESIDENT
Hillary Clinton
I’m so ready for this to be over, I truly am.
Look: I sucked it up and voted for Kerry / Edwards in 2004 and the third party choices were better that year and the Democratic Candidate weaker. Yet i’m still gnashing teeth because the primary and what Bernie built… look, you get it.
I don’t like Jill Stein, the anti-vaxx stuff is blown out of proportion (she really questions the FDAs role in it and approval, it’s a sane stance), but she is just annoying. She was in an annoying folk group, she plays those annoying hippie drums. She’s annoying! Like most of the things I dislike about the Green Party in one candidate, she’s ivory tower progressive personified, and the best thing about this cycle is that it’s made a Green Party candidate actually speak out on foreign policy beyond “don’t wage war”. As for Gary Johnson… come on… he has not fared well in this era of greater scrutiny. Enough said. Even Bill Weld knows what time it is.
So here I am, advocating for Hillary freaking Clinton. Yeah, I know.
Here’s why: we need to strike a blow for critical thinking, we need to strike a blow against what these years of Tea Party style over-represented white rage represent. It sucks that the champion has to be her, i’m sorry I’ve been listening to the arguments for her for years, I just don’t buy it. I yearn to be proven wrong.
I don’t know if Clinton deserves to win, but Drumpf and the Republicans *DEFINITELY* deserve to lose.
The one thing I LOVE about her is that she’s a ruthless tactician that won’t expect camaraderie and bipartisanship, she will treat it like the blood sport it is and give them the lack of mercy that they have earned. That, I look forward to, it’s been earned.
So that pisses off all of my Green and Libertarian friends, now let me irritate all of the Democratic party regulars and the beltway types I know.
Votes are earned, period.
If you don’t live in a swing state, vote for whoever you want and don’t let anybody guilt you otherwise. . Votes are earned, not transferred.
Don’t listen. IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN A SWING STATE.
If you do. Well, I’m going to ask you to suck it up.
I do think that an election where Clinton wins the electoral college and Drumpf wins the popular vote would be one of the worst possible scenarios I can envision, but don’t let anybody harangue you into voting for somebody you don’t want to. Me? I feel like we need to strike a blow for critical thinking, and insanely that means voting FOR Hillary Clinton.
She doesn’t need to be your favorite, she doesn’t need to be your ideal. You just have to realize that she is the bulwark against this heinous anti-intellectualism, sexist, racist, classist bullshit that we have going on. It’s not enough for that crap to lose, it needs to lose big.
That’s what this election cycle has done, the tire fire needs to go out. Drumpf’s supporters will not go away when he loses, neither will Drumpf… but we need a reset. Look: at this point i’m sure you made up your mind long ago, let’s just get this over with, ok?
She’ll probably be fine, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and make sure we keep the progressive pressure on, ok?
SENATE
US Senate: Kamala Harris
Everytime I endorse Kamala Harris, I’m a little less enthusiastic about it. She’s so careful, so painfully preparing for the next step up. It’s really annoying. She’s by far the better candidate of the two Democrats. Sanchez would be acceptable in a purple state or red state… but for me she’s a little too nutty. I also wish it was Feinstein retiring instead of Boxer, but hey… we’re at, where we are at. I’m sure Harris will be a fine Senator that will situate herself nicely for whatever her next thing is.
Oh yeah, here’s what I said in June when these two faced off in the primaries:
“What’d I say last time?:
“An attorney general who is against the Death Penalty. Yes! Still pisses me off she has taken little action against the Federal stomping on the Marijuana trade, but she is a dece AG. I wish she would take a stronger stance against the death penalty and for legalization of the weed. But, she has her eyes on bigger things. That’s fine. She’ll be good at that too.”Yeah, that’ll do. If she gets the Senate seat expect to hear a lot from Kamala Harris for years to come.

I think it’s fantastic that in a sea of white men in the Senate, California has regularly had two ladies representing us. Too bad one of them is Feinstein. Heh.

Kamala is easily the best of a huge field, Loretta Sanchez would be a great candidate for like: Arizona or something. Not California. I think it’s just fine that some of the rowdier parts of the left are all worked up about Harris. The one thing that gives me pause is the Eastbay cell phone surveillance plan she supported. That sucks.
At least there’s no Schwarzenegger this time.”
CONGRESS
US House, District 13: Barbara Lee
How great that one of the most awesome and brave progressive voices is my congressperson. She’s great. Someday she will retire, and that day will be sad… until then!
US House, District 17: No Endorsement (Honda v. Khanna)
Honda has some serious ethics issues, Khanna is totally the candidate of new tech. That’s the way the district is going. I’m glad I don’t live in this district and have to make a choice.
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE
State Senate, District 9: Nancy Skinner
I endorsed Nancy in June:
“I like Sandre Swanson, I’ve just never seen him do that much. It’s by a nose. Practically a coin flip with these two.
I hear a lot of talk about how Nancy Skinner both is and could BE a big Democratic leader though, and that’s what we need.
So i’m willing to take the plunge on this.
As an aside: I hate how people just switch around jobs with these statehouse roles. Annoying.”
State Senate, District 11: Jane Kim
Jane rules, look it up. She’s the real deal.
State Assembly, District 18: No endorsement (Rob Bonta)
I don’t like Bonta, i’ve gone on and on about it. I just think he’s boring, he’s a “loyal Democrat” for whatever that means. BAH!
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Office No. 1: Scott Jackson
Barbara Thomas is a vocal and active critic of rent control, I saw and talked to Scott Jackson at a Bernie Sanders rally.
Jackson.
AC TRANSIT DIRECTOR, AT LARGE
Chris Peeples
Seems to get how utterly boned AC Transit’s finances are.
AC TRANSIT DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Greg Harper
Same.
EAST BAY REGIONAL DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Audree Jones-Taylor
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1: Gail Murray
Her opponent Debora Allen has all the wrong ideas and takes money from anti-labor Senators.
District 3: Rebecca Saltzman
Great on the environment and seems to actually listen about racial justice and police accountability.
Distrct 5: John McPartland
I don’t like the guy, but his opponent is worst, another big time anti-labor zealot.
District 7: Lateefah Simon
Easily the best choice of this bunch, focus on making BART affordable, hold the police accountable and pretty darn good on labor issues.
CITY COUNCIL
At -Large- Rebecca Kaplan RCV
This one pisses me off, because Rebecca Kaplan is easily one of the best public servants I know, and just because she isn’t a rubber stamp for St. Libby and her tech agenda she has a well funded candidate in the likes of Peggy Moore trying to come after her seat. I still think she would have made  better mayor than Quan OR Schaff. Rebecca is always around to protect renters, to make sure the police aren’t running rampant and to generally be a force of extreme good. She does incredible work on a regular basis and doesn’t just do whatever the mayor wants. People (like the East Bay Times) get bummed out about her political ambitions. That’s foolish. She thinks big picture, and we’d be lucky to have her in any role.
Peggy Moore might very well be a great elected official at some point, but not this cycle and not this election. Kaplan not only doesn’t deserve to be fired, we NEED HER in there.
It’s RCV so you can also vote for Moore or Bruce Quan if you really want, but I left the other two spots blank in progress. Rebecca is the only one I want in there.
CITY ATTORNEY
Barbara Parker (Unopposed)
Well, that makes it easy doesn’t it?
SCHOOL BOARD:
District 1: Don Macleay
One of the most thoughtful and forward thinking guys i’ve ever met that run for public office. I met Don when I worked for Rebecca Kaplan’s mayoral run, he ran against her. He is honorable, has good ideas and is just downright great guy. The school board would be *LUCKY* to have somebody like Don Macleay on there and he deserves serious consideration and your vote if you live in this district.
This is the only school board election i’m weighing in on.
PROPOSITIONS
STATE
51: No – School Construction & Repair Bond
This one hurts, because we need it and we need it bad. However, it is costly and lacks protections to ensure that it will go to where it is truly needed. Construction companies will make out nicely, schools won’t. I’m with Jerry Brown on this. NOPE.
52: Yes – Medi-Cal Matching Fees
Use Federal dollars to pay for Med-Cal. That’s it. Seriously. It’s wonky and not-controversial. Vote Yes.
Easy.
53: HELL NO – Require Even More Bonds on the Ballot
COME. ON. Let me make this real simple, do you think there aren’t enough things to vote on in this election and every election? If that is the case, have I got the proposition for you. Look: to be a voter in California you have to do more research than a first year State Senate aide anyway, but this poorly constructed measure is going to make it even worse. This is nonsense. Not just no, but HELL NO.
54: Yes – Publish Bills 72 Hours Before a Vote
An excellent modernized good government procedure, it’ll dissuade the legislature from gutting bills at the last minute and let people know what these congress critters are up to. I mean, for Pete’s sake, with the amount of stuff we vote on every election i’m not sure what we are paying these people for anyway. Transparency sounds ok by me, there’s a lot of action that can be taken in 72 hours these days.
55: No – Extension of Income Tax on the 1%
Whaaaaa? What do you mean “NO”. As a good liberal aren’t I always supposed to support taxing the 1%. Well yes, but this was sold as a TEMPORARY tax for four years. Yeah, it’s still a problem… but people voted for it for that four year period. Here is what I wrote four years ago:
” Raises income taxes on top 2% for schools and vital services, quarter cent sales tax.
We love not paying for things in California! Schools are boned right now, I mean really boned. Sales tax is regressive, which I don’t care for. And I think the top 2% spend a lot of money NOT paying their taxes for the most part. But what the hell dude? State is broke. Sure could use those billions Enron defrauded California for ten years ago now, eh? Raise it. ¼ cent over 4 years is worth it.
That’s the key, worth it. And four years we have had this tax. It was sold to us as that time period though. A temporary tax, I love what it goes for but it is disingenuous to talk about it as “not raising taxes any more then they already are.” that is taking advantage of people’s short memories and the absolutely brutal amount of things we need to vote on every year. It also ties into a serious frame that right wingers have about taxation and the progressive left, that it isn’t tactical it’s punitive.
Maybe you disagree. The schools STILL need it and we still love to not pay for things.
I voted against it though.
56: Yes – Tax E-cigs & tax Cigarettes more.
Sin taxes bum me out. But kids are vaping, and lots of them. Teen smoking is WAY up.
I also personally find all tobacco usage deplorable and hateful.
Your mileage may vary. I know my vote was cancelled out in our household.
57: HELL YES- Progressive Parole Reform
Sensible criminal justice reform. This provides motivation for nonviolent offenders to better themselves. The scaremongers out there focus exclusively on the lack of clarity for who qualifies, but the fact remains that the “tough on crime” crowd went way, way, way too far. And why? Prisons make money. Period. This doesn’t just put criminals on the streets, it allows those that have worked to rehabilitate themselves and have shown good behavior to go before the parole board and have a chance at life. In 2011 the Supreme Court said that California prison conditions constituted cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a cold heart, or somebody letting themselves be ruled by fear that votes against this.
58: Yes – Allow Multilingual Education in Public Schools
ok, back in 1998 there was a really weird kind of xenophobix, proto-Trumpster propr that prohibited non-English languages from being used in public schools. The “speak English or die” crowd doesn’t want to admit that bilingual classrooms WORK. This prop allows educators and officials to make the choice of how they want to proceed with their methods. It should pass.
59: Yes – Citizens United Sucks
Absolutely non-binding and symbolic. But it does suck, sure! Let’s send a message about it… I guess.
60: HELL NO – Moralizing Crusade to Require Condoms in Adult Films
This is a big, fat HELL NO! So bad. Porn “actors” are already required to be tested for STDs every 14 days. The system works.
Again, I don’t even care about Porn, but making a state funded office that gets to be a porn magnate to approve who is and is not “doing it right.” that sounds like something out of a Parks and Recreation episode.
61: YES  – Prescription Drug Pricing Change
End price gouging by big pharma.
Man, look at who is against this, it’s a Murderer’s row of people like Martin Shkreli. Yeah, there are some unknowns here, but the orgy of profit that the pharmaceutical industry has been engaging in has to end. We have to send a message. Stand with me and Bernie Sanders and vote yes on this one.
62: HELL YES – Repeal the Death Penalty
The Government should not be in the business of killing people. Period. Full stop.
The only way you can rationalize the Death Penalty is if you think the justice system has never gotten it wrong. That has been proven untrue again, and again.
Life without possibility of parole is another big moral issue, but we need to step up and join other civilized societies and stop killing people.
63: Yes – Gavin Newsom’s Gun Control Prop
This really doesn’t do all that much, but allow Newsom to take credit for some other legislation that kind of does the same thing. I’m not even sure if this kind of gun control is the answer, but fuck’s sake… we have to do something. So, YES.
64: HELL YES!!! – Marijuana Legalization
Listen, the time has come. There are a lot of selfish and dumb arguments against it floating around. All almost exclusively by people who serve to profit from the way things are.
This isn’t how you do progress. FIRST you end prohibition, THEN you can amend the law to be what you want.
Anything else is utterly short sighted and selfish.
And saying you should let the legislature craft it? What a cop out! Why don’t you just stand over there and wait for Godot.
This is one of the best examples I can think of for the horribly flawed and frequently terrible direct democracy process and we are blowing it AGAIN.
This one is way better than the one we voted down, and i’m still hearing the same tired arguments against it.
Yeah, there will be some big box style folks competing, I wish there were anti-trust provisions.
Legalize it, tax it. Be on the right side of history.
END PROHIBITION AND REFORM THE LAW, THAT IS HOW GROWN UPS DO IT.
65: No – Redirect Money from the Disposable Bag Fee
No, this prop is a stalking horse.
66: HELL NO!!!! – Kill people faster with the Death Penalty
Insane, do you think we don’t kill people fast enough? Well! this is your proposition.
NO!
67: Yes – Protect the Plastic Bag Ban
Plastic bags suck. They are awful. Uphold the ban.
LOCAL
Alameda County:
A1: Yes – Affordable Housing
Property taxes will go up for this, but it makes affordable housing. I’ve never seen an affordable housing crisis like what is happening here. This will make it harder on home owners, but it needs to happen.
City of Alameda:
B1: Yes – Extend Parcel tax for Schools
Reauth a parcel tax that already exists.
A no vote means schools lose $12 million. It sucks that we have to fund the schools this way, but for this one we press on.
AC Transit:
C1: Yes – Mass Transit is cool
We need to invest in mass transit, we need to get more cars off the road where we can.
Again, with the parcel taxes… I feel bad for homeowners, but if you own property in the bay right now, you shouldn’t be in that bad of a spot.
City of Oakland
G1: Yes – School District Parcel Tax
There is literally no argument against this one. Yes.
HH: Yes – Soda Tax
I hate that this election has made me radicalized about something I DON’T CARE ABOUT. I don’t drink soft drinks. I haven’t in almost 20 years. We have been inundated with ads and mailers about the “grocery tax.”. NO! It’s a tax on soft drinks. Berkeley did it and it’s been a huge success. Yes, it’s regressive, but the campaign against it is so obnoxious that anybody even remotely contrarian would want to vote for it on general principle. I truly don’t care, but I want them to lose.
II: Yes – Maximum Lease time of city-owned real properties
Change city owned lease time from 66 years to 99 years. IT assists developers of affordable housing to more easily get the money they need to get the projects done. We need it. There is literally no argument against it.
JJ: YES!!! – Renter’s rights, and just cause, approval to raise rents.
This one is wonky, but worthwhile. Landlords need approval before raising rents more than COLA allowed in the city. Right now, Oakland has some of the weakest rent control in the bay and it shows. I know a lot of people personally that have been forced out because the rent keeps going up thanks to the dot com influx. Heck! If our rent was raised, we would have to leave. This is very necessary. An absolute YES!
KK: Yes – Pedestrian Infrastructure Bond
Sure.
LL: YES!!!! – charter amendment for citizen oversight of police department
OMG YES! Look: it’s been scandal after scandal with the OPD. They managed to go from being a sympathetic overworked agency, to seeming like something out of the Shield. I mean, the prostitution stuff? Three Police Chiefs in a week? Preposterous. Oakland always has it’s negatives amplified and it’s positives downplayed, but in this case it’s dead on. Citizen oversight NOW. Clean out the rot. ’nuff said.
BART
RR: Yes – More mass transit, uneasy
Yeah, I wrote uneasy there, because it makes me uneasy. $3.5 billion is a lot of money and frankly, I think the BART board can be kind of snakey. They the worst parts of a for profit entity and the worst parts of government. I totally get anybody wanting to vote no on it, and it was darn close to a coin flip for me. That said: public transit is important, so I said: Vote yes.

Shiny Grey Monotone Interview with Conan

Conan answered some questions from Shiny Grey Monotone.

Here it is: Secret Friends are discussed, as well as Replicator, Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates all with candor and honesty.
Dale Crover, David Yow, Industrial guest appearances Radio NOPE and damn near everything else.

Also includes a weighty “awesome band” list is that would be a worthy homework assignment for any discerning rocker. I can already think of at least a half dozen bands I forgot to include. Damn!

Here it is.

conan neutron.
you may recognize the name.
and even if you don’t you’ll still find yourself saying “that’s a pretty kick-ass name. why couldn’t my parents name me conan neutron. i hate my parents!” and then running into your room and slamming the door behind you and then cranking up the stereo. and this is the point where’d you’d forgotten that you hadn’t taken out that BEST OF ABBA cd and now everyone knows your dirty little secret.

moving on.

and before all of this begins i need to clear something up: conan is in no way shape or form related to jimmy. don’t bring it up.  the last time that happened it wasn’t so nice. you may have heard about it on the news.

also: never mention that pointer sisters song either. just don’t.

moving on.

some of you may have heard of some bands with names like:
replicator
mount vicious
victory and associates

you may have even seen them around here on SGM island.
and if you haven’t you’ve just been voted off.

nowadays he’s fronting/playing guitar in a band with some of his secret friends.
and no i’m not going to tell you who they are.
that’s his job.

Q: seeing as how you and your secret friends league have just been brought up…tell us all about that.

A: Sure, this is like my weirdo rock version of the Avengers, or something. Every player is a superstar totally capable of badass acts of heroism and power on their own, but coming together for a greater purpose. I suppose that would make me Captain America. I guess Tony Ash is Iron Man and Dale Crover is the Hulk? Wait, no Thor. Toshi Kasai is… uh… Nick Fury?
Wait… this is dumb.
Another way to look at it, is this is my version of the the Bad Seeds or something. The players sometimes change and cycle in, but the basic core remains the same and the songs come from me originally before being twisted, contorted and shaped into whatever dark forces come together at the end. It’s my version of rock ‘n roll. And that includes a world where Melvins, Bon Scott era AC/DC, DEVO, Unwound, The Jesus Lizard and Thin Lizzy all should be lauded equally. You get me? It’s rock, but with the no bullshit or excuses attitude that can only come from people that live and breathe punk rock/noise rock or whatever the hell you want to call it.
From my standpoint, it’s a little bit of every band I’ve ever been in, and a little bit something entirely different, I’m writing the kind of music I’d like to hear and trying to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to make that a really cool thing. I’m surrounded by great and brilliant people and one of the best rhythm sections a guitarist could hope for. Pretty cool.

Q: dale crover. does he still like to stand around the water cooler and wait for folks to walk by so he can tell some of his grunge stories?

A: oh, constantly! He’s always like: “Man, this one time Tad and I pants-ed Krist Noviselic and he…” and we’re like: “OK! COOL DUDE, WE GET IT.”
No, in all seriousness Dale is one of the sweetest dudes in the world, and all of us have tour stories or crazy back in the day stories. It just so happens that some of his involve people that are incredibly, incredibly famous. It’s easy to forget because he’s such a nice fella.
Although he is always shouting: “ok boys, I really want you to GRUNGE OUT on this next one.”
Don’t know what all that is about.

Q: and seeing as how the secret friends are somewhat embedded into the melvins mythos…could there be a possible tour or collaboration of some sort?

A:Well, as far as collaboration. Buzz does backups on two of the songs on Art of the Murder, so that’s sort of already happened… it’s just under my banner so far fewer people paid attention. HAHAHAHA. That said, even with Dale playing drums for me it’s important to note that Melvins are one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s not lost on me, you know? There’s been talk. So far, that’s been it. That said, I think the two acts would compliment each other in interesting ways. Not just for the obvious shared member either.
Who knows? If it did, I would consider myself very lucky indeed to be even further involved in their world. They are the real deal as artists and humans and work harder than any band I can think of. I respect the hell out of their art , their fearlessness and their process, bands could learn a lot from how the Melvins work.

Q: now let’s travel back a bit. when i mention the name replicator what kind of feelings does it invoke? you were together for 8 years. what brought all of that to an end?

A: Great feelings! I loved that band and loved my time in it. We did everything exactly the way we wanted to do it and did a bunch of weird stuff that some people seemed to enjoy. It was completely on our terms and ended when it should have, cool. It meant something to some people, and I’m pretty sure we left the world a wee but better than how it was when that band came into being, or at least more confused.
I still love Ben and Chris and we played a one off for the PRF BBQ West Coast year before last that was a damn fine time and probably employed a good amount of bay area baby sitters.
What brought it to an end? It was time for it to end. That’s it. No drama. We broke up with plenty of advance notice and recorded an ep of our last songs that is one of the better things we did. Not a bad way to call it a day, right?
The weirdest thing is probably talking to young people in new noise rock bands who think that what you are currently playing is somehow the only thing you ever have, or ever will do. Nope. Settled that land, moved on. Still enjoy visiting and looking at the postcards though.

Q: and during your time together you’d played a show as the jesus lizard and you went by the name of the jesus replicator. what kind of training did you go through in order to become david yow? how far into did you go? how long did it take for you to shake all of that off afterward? are you still in the shower trying to wash it away?

A:If you are trying to ask if I learned how to do a Tight ‘n’ shiny, I did not. In all seriousness though, I think Mr. Yow is not only a very gifted vocalist, but a hell of a front man. Some people seem to get it wrong, thinking that his presence is confrontation and violence, there’s just a strange ebb and flow to the energy between him and the crowd. He’s a masterful performer and full of genuinely thrilling unexpectedness. I once saw him sing an entire song from the inside of a t-shirt box at the Merch table. It was an inspiring moment for me.
That isn’t a joke.

Q: and then i’d seen that you took on the yow again at the 2010 PRF BBQ auktoberfest. there’s footage of you on the youtubes performing “puss” with a band called the hype. and i have to say that if someone were to close their eyes and place you and david yow under cups and shuffled you around you’d never be able to tell who was who.

A:ha! Yes! The Hype… a superstar PRF Karaoke band. Full of members that are in plenty of great bands themselves. Frighteningly accurate. In a better world they’d be the house band for a late night talk show. Maybe hosted by Mark Arm of Mudhoney or Eugene Robinson of Oxbow or something.
Anyway, thanks… it’s a hell of a song. I remembered all the words from that Halloween thing. I thought that was a pretty hilarious move to do a song by Chicago royalty when I’m an Oaklander/California boy through and through.
OH! Something that isn’t on youtube, but I was reminded of… in Replicator, we played with Qui some, both before and after David Yow joined the band. We actually asked him to play Wheelchair Epidemic with us one night. That was cool.
I think that exhausts the David Yow part of the interview.
Oh wait! He’s a great visual artist and did the art for the first Secret Friends record
“the enemy of everyone” too.
SEE? IT ALL COMES BACK TO ME AND MY MUSIC IN THE END. RECORDS STILL FOR SALE AT THE MERCHT TABLE!

Q: and that brings us to mount vicious. the band had 3 guitar players. which of you was the eddie van halen of the group?

A: Ha! I’d say… Alli for sure. IF, and only IF… Eddie Van Halen was played by Rowland S. Howard of the Birthday Party.

Q: the mount vicious bio reveals that mount vicious deliver a powerful live show and are very good at sex. was that in fact true?

A:Yes.

Q: the band didn’t seem to have been together all that long. what happened? did one of you finally get to the point of not being very good at the sex and just wanted to stop?

A:No, we were still all very skillful at it. We had a song called “We Enjoy Fucking (To This Music)” for Pete’s sake. We did more in a year than some bands do in their whole life. That also includes bitter, acrimonious break-ups.  It was my fault, but it was a good run. We made a good record. I learned, licked my wounds and moved on.

Q: i’ve always thought that victory and associates would’ve made the best name for a law firm. had you ever toyed around with maybe making some sort of a promo for the band in the form of one of those infomercials you only seem to see on the tv at 3:00am? because i would’ve totally watched that while sitting there with my bowl of cereal and nuQuil.

A: Only if we could flash our number really quick with a very long and disconcerting amount of disclaimers played as fast as possible afterwards.

Q: what brought about the demise of the victory and associates?

A: The other three dudes were wanting to work more collaboratively, writing more in the practice room. I wanted the exact opposite, to work more off of demos and concentrate on arrangements when we in the same room. Musical differences! HOW THRILLING!
Plus, people just get tired of people you know? Everybody parted as friends, brothers, etc. That’s the stuff that counts, that and the body of work.
Band breaks up, Ultimately not a lot of people cared. Replicator was important to a lot of people, Mount Vicious was starting to be when we called it a day. For the most part V and A just grinded, we never connected that deeply with most people. I don’t know, we liked it! V and A wasn’t really hard rock, post-punk, punk rock, noise rock or any of that. It was a little bit of all of that and totally it’s own thing. It was important to me that it exist as it’s own entity without relying on previous bands. Worked out great! Hahaha.
It’s tough to be a band that doesn’t have a gimmick, hook or schtick these days. You aren’t just competing for people’s attention with what came out that week, you are competing with all of music. That band was all heart and probably deserved better, but the world will keep on a spinnin’ none the less.
I do think Better Luck Next Life is a way better record than most people give it credit for. But damn, if that was the metric… that’s like: most of music.

Q: did i read somewhere that you’d been involved in something called “bitch stole my time machine”? and were you involved with a “band” called caustic?

A: True on both counts! Jesus, nice digging there Columbo. “Bitch Stole My Time Machine” is a song by the excellent Industrial band Everything Goes Cold, who I toured with a few times as a keyboard player and backup vocalist. It’s not really my genre, but they are very good at it and the shows were a blast. Lots of crazy lighting and smoke machine and chicks in bondage gear and what not. I met Matt Fanale (AKA: Caustic) on one of those jaunts and we bonded immediately over old school Touch and Go stuff. All the stuff you would expect. We became pals and he asked if I would contribute a guitar track to a song on his album “the Man Who Wouldn’t Quit.” He wanted it to be somewhere between Wax Trax and T&G when both of those labels were doing legit aggro and heavy stuff. I said: “You bet!” and I gave him a guitar track that sounds like the things he asked for, with maybe a little Andy Gill thrown in.
It’s a fun track! I played it with him once, and was wearing a feather boa on stage. True story.
Oh! “Bitch Stole my Time Machine.” I played Thingamagoop on that, which is a cute little light activated oscilatting synth that looks like a robot. It makes excellent obnoxious noises. It’s very chaotic in a good way. I think it’s the only thing by EGC that I’m on that’s recorded. That band is really Eric’s baby though.
Man, that’s a whole lot of time I just spent talking about other people’s crap. ERIC! MATT! Where’s my check?!?

Q: besides the musician thing…what else do you have going on in the neutriverse? also: feel free to use that.

A: The “musician thing”. Oh, you mean the thing I devote my life to? hahahaha. Well, my radio show/podcast “Conan Neutron’s Protonic Reversal” is entering year 3, I think? Every time I’m about ready to quit it, I get some really nice feedback about some episode or another. So I’m going to continue to do those, talking to people that everybody SHOULD care about and what it means to be an artist and do what they do. Playing new and old tunes I love, that kind of stuff.
There are worse ways to spend time.
I launched a 24/7/365 radio station called Radio NOPE early last year that has achieved the purpose of being my favorite station ever! (that’s http://www.radionope.com kids!), there’s currently no ability for profit of course, but I kind of consider it a public service. Hey! Maybe there should be a SGM show on it? (hint, hint!)

Q: another PRFBBQ has come and gone. tell us about that business.

A:Which one? Oakland? Chicago? Louisville? Hahaha, they are all excellent. So many amazing bands, so many great people. I don’t know, anybody reading this is like the total target demo for these things. It’s just all badassery and your new favorite bands.
New discoveries for me this year were:
West Coast – The Tunnel, an already really great band totally stepping it up by mixing some serious Big Black into their late period Birthday Party. Impressive stuff! Also Quivers, who have kind of a Chavez plus Archers of Loaf thing going on.
Chicago-Rented Rooms who kind of slayed my mind, the songs of the dude from the Mekons Jon Langford… who I’ve never paid much attention to.
Louisville- Vibrolas, just really good down and dirty rock and roll, Multicult… kickass NYC noiserock, Them Teeth and War Brides. Great NR bands.

Q: are there any stories that you’d like to regale us with?

A: I’ve met Andrew Dice Clay in person, he’s a remarkably intelligent and soft spoken dude who asks a lot of questions about YOU. Well, not you… me. I guess. No, he did not tell any limericks.
We played Krist Noviselic’s signature Gibson Ripper on both the first two Secret Friends records, by that I mean it was the one Gibson actually gave to him and he later gave to Toshi and the Melvins for the studio. That’s a damn fine instrument there.

Q: so. music. i’m going to assume that you like it. are there any bands out there that you’d like to lay some lip service to?

A: Hurry Up Shotgun (Oakland, CA), B. Hamilton (Oakland, CA),  Porch (Oakland, CA),  Reptoid (Oakland, CA), Oxbow (San Francisco, CA) The Cell Phones (Chicago, IL) Nocturnal Habits (Justin from Unwound with Sara from Unwound on drums), Vibrolas (Lexington, KY), Motherfucker (Athens, GA), Lardo (Chicago, IL), the rutabega (South Bend, IN), Dead Halos (Louisville, KY), Trophy Wives (Louisville, KY), Waxeater (Louisville, KY), John Congleton and the Nighty Nite, SAVAK (Brooklyn, NY), Melvins (duh!), Whores (Atlanta, GA), Multicult (NYC), Manhandle (Alabama or some crap!), Nonagon (Chicago, IL), Buildings (Minneapolis, MN), Magpies (Missoula, MT), SEMINARS (Seattle, WA), Beat Drun Juel (Chicago, IL), THE HAND (Minneapolis, MN), Thoughts Detecting Machines (Bloomington, IL), Minutes and OUT (Those are two different bands, Kalamazoo, MI) Future of the Left (Cardiff) and Falco solo as Christian Fitness are both way legit. Oh! Quivers (San Francisco, CA) I’m sure I’m forgetting something really obvious, but that’s a pretty damn good listening list.
Just go Ask Jeeves all that stuff and you’ll be listening to new stuff before ya know it.
Anybody that says there isn’t any good new music needs to pull their head out of their ass.

Q: and now we’ve come to the part of the show where if’n you have any science you’d like to drop on the folks…..

A: Look! Just because my last name is Neutron doesn’t mean I’m a REAL scientist. That’s just a CHARACTER… Hahaha! Just joking kids, stay in school.

well,mr. neutron. i’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for stopping in for this interview. it was fun. now please exit the building before security has to be called. and don’t forget to stop by the front desk and take a complimentary anything you’d like out of the lost and found.