The NO PART OF IT Interview series was a strain of questions sent to a number of different people between February and March 2019. Each entry was scheduled chronologically to be thrust upon the world on a monthly basis since then. Each individual is introduced informally as if they were being discussed at a bar.
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Interview Series #5: Plastic Crimewave / Steve Krakow
Scheduled on February 17, 2019
Where to start... Steve Krakow, or Plastic Crimewave, has created a regular column for The Chicago Reader called The Secret History of Chicago Music, which also has an ancillary weekly radio show on WGN. His hard psych/acid punk band, in its various incarnations, has been active for almost 20 years, and has extended to a "Celestial Guitarkestra", with at times as many as fifty or more guitarists performing. There are a lot of other things that could be touched on here... Krakow's music label, zine imprint, regular mix tape series, DJ gigs, and side projects. His home is said to be a museum of pop cultural artifacts, and he's just an all-around nice guy, with a ridiculous encyclopedic knowledge of music history.
1. What types of things have you been getting into lately?
edgy 70s british sitcoms and their soundtracks
italian and german progressive rock
drawing just in pencil
Jonah Hex comics
old UK bands copying The Band (but I don't like The Band)
2. What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?
Technically speaking, been "pro" since my early 20s, and freelance "just art" for 15 years
but on a deeper level, i think living your art in every way possible, because it is your natural inclination to do, is important.
3. How would you describe what you do?
cartoonist/avant rockist musician/writer/booker/kinda historian/psychedelic impresario
4. How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?
In many ways a straight line, with interest in heady comics, music, films since my youth--but i suppose i prepared myself for a career in mainstream comics at first, got derailed by discovery of various other pleasures in life, and then picked up a guitar at age 19 and TURNED ON DUDE (ha)
5. How would you describe your philosophy?
Life is short and we're all doomed so pursue your dreams...
6. Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?
I want to believe in them. I def believe in forces we don't understand and energy being tangible...
7. What would you say was your most definitive experience?
Becoming one with the universe and seeing how all things were connected, it all made sense for ONE SECOND (or a million).
8. Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?
Hmm i have a lot of projects and no day job, so in many ways nothing is a "side," but currently playing in a more-occasional unit with my lovely lady and visual artist/flautist Sara Gossett, and my brother Adam aka Hands of Hydra called Spiral Galaxy--kinda mellow kosmische new agey vibe, slightly different than my usual thing, we're working on a layered record and we opened for and collaborated with Faust, which was dang exciting! Hmm, i guess no one knows i like 80s new romantic synthpop as much as i like any genre? Pretty big fan of mid-80s to mid-90s hip hop too...heh
9. Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?
oh god like a zillion, pretty typcial "rock pantheon" choices, as i was pretty reared on thee classics...
"Funhouse", "Forever Changes", "Wasa Wasa," "White Light/White Heat," "SF Sorrow", "Astral Weeks," "Parable of Arable Land," "Rehearsals for Retirement," "Revolver," "Never Never Land," "Power Plant," "Folk Roots, New Routes," "Doremi Fasol Latido" all come to mind...
10. What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?
I have vague memories of my P's townhouse at age 3, it had a pink bathroom (we moved at age 4).
11. Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws? To what extent?
Yes, I'm a fan of the MUSIC of Manson, James Brown, Throbbing Gristle, and Jimmy Page, I've enjoyed writers like Rimbaud and Nietzsche , trangressive films and art---that said, never liked R. Kelly and can't support him--is it because he's not old and dead? No, just mostly never liked his music. ah, the human condition.
12. Do you have any heroes or heroines? Who are they? Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out.
Yeah, a lot I wouldn't get along with personally or share politics with I'm sure (see above question)-- Syd Barrett, as to me, the pinnacle of a complete artist at one point, as well as Marc Bolan, Jack Kirby---fearless innovators who never even thought about it. Also Don Martin, Steve Ditko, Alastair Galbraith, Windsor Mckay, Devid Allen, Phil Ochs, Eno, Kevin Ayers, Gene Colan, R. Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Skip Spence, Jeff Lynne, all of Monty Python, Skip Williamson, Simon Finn, John Carpenter, Oliver Reed, Mick Farren, Duchamp, Jodoworsky, Keiji Haino, Danny Kirwan, Michael Moorcock, Phil Lynott, Bruce Russell, Mouse Kelley, George Herriman, Werner Herzog, Roger Corman, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
13. What would you like to have on your epitaph? Or what is your favorite quote?
Actually, I'm pretty happy with the distillation of my philosophy i came up with above in question #5, can i repurpose that here? ha
A quote I use a lot is David Thomas of Pere Ubu, who was describing "psychedelic music"--he called it, "Cinematic music of the mind"