Friday, August 1, 2008

Dulce and Dead Milkmen

Every now and then we pull a classic interview from the files: This week an interview conducted with The Dead Milkmen from the early '90s. Note the part about Dulce, New Mexico, then an unheard of border town, but now part of the general UFO conspiracy iconography.

Rodney Anonymous a.k.a. H.P. Hovercraft, the nameless leader of the Philadelphia outfit know as The Dead Milkmen, was in rare form last week. Speaking by phone from his home he seemed to be priming comedy material as much as pushing his band on their Soul Rotation tour.
"I want to bring back progressive rock," H.P. said. "I want my rock stars to have Cambridge educations and wear silly gold outfits. I want to replace the members of Nirvana with members of Rush. And therefore have the song 'Smells Like Teen Spirit of the Radio.'"
The Milkmen's itinerary was to have taken them through the South before heading towards Texas but fate dictated that those gigs be rescheduled. Their drummer, Dean Clean, hurt himself at a gig in Hoboken.
"There was a wet floor and his feet went out, he went down, The next day we're supposed to play Asbury Park, which our roadie Matt hates anyway."
For a group that has foisted such titles on the alternative music scene as "If You Love Somebody, Set Them On Fire" and the tongue-in-cheek "Punk Rock Girl" the true nature of the deceased lactose ones comes out in the anarchic manner of their song writing. The individual members have home studios. Rehearsals are "a democracy [where] everybody puts in stuff." But the main ingredient to that process comes from Rodney's own favorite guilty pleasure: Constantly reading alternative newsletters.
"One said Jimmy Carter was our first android President." And space invaders should be aware because the Dairy Dudes are onto them. "Dulce [New Mexico] that's where the government has their genetics lab, so that the aliens would come and set up experiments. It explains the missing cattle," Rodney informs me adding "but according to them it also explains the children on the back of milk cartons.
"The point is I never dismiss anything somebody tells me, no matter how wild. In any descent conspiracy there's going to be a bunch of red herrings," he noted more seriously.
"The guy who took all those pictures [in Gulf Breeze] of the UFOs: The guy who bought his house found these UFO models in the attic.
The big one that I'm into is Area 51. And Dulce, New Mexico."
The Dead Milkmen have an instrumental, not recorded yet, called "Dulce". One of Rodney's sources for strange news, the magazine Far Out "had the guy from Megadeath talking about Dulce." Rodney, who spends a lot of time in library reference sections reading books like Weird America, found that the town of Dulce kept popping up. One reference book he was looking through had the page about Dulce cut out "I was like 'Ahh, Ahh.' I slammed the book and ran from the library."
The obvious alias Rodney uses, H.P. Hoovercraft, also has him busy on this particular day:
Penning a letter to a society that has found a mummy that was half-human, half-crocodile, he writes concerning a possible lead. "There's a Lovecraft story about this whole process of mummification. He ghost wrote it for Harry Houdini." In the story Houdini travels in Egypt and ventures out at night only to find intrigue in the desert night. From a secret ceremony on top of a pyramid "they threw him into the Temple of the Great Pyramid."
The Dead Milkmen will roll into Houston this Thursday, if their van hasn't been abducted, to play at the Vatican.
Rodney breaks away to make another call, this one to a reporter in Mobile, Alabama. The Dead Milkmen are booked there on the 21st at a club called Vincent Van Go Go's. "Hmm," muses H.P. "Sounds like the kind of place where I can disappear."


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