|Interview by Burt Wolf with Matt Foran, vocalist for CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS.
Interview done September, 21st 2004.
I KNOW CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS IS A FAIRLY NEW BAND IN THE SCENE, BUT COULD
YOU GIVE US THE HISTORY OF THE BAND SO FAR?
C.O.D.S. is about a year old at this point. Dan Raphael (guitars, programming & live keyboards) & I have been
working together for about four years under various different names such as TOILET DUCK & THE BABY
JESUS ABORTION. We decided to finally release a professional CD & intended for it to only be a studio effort.
But the Cd has really been attracting some attention so we decided to make this into a full live band & take the
CIRCUS on the road.
WHY WAS THE NAME CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS CHOSEN AS THE BANDS NAME?
To be completely honest with you, it was pulled right out of my ass. There is no deep meaning to our name, but I
do feel that it describes our sound very well. Very dark & morbid sounding with an obvious touch of goofiness
& humor. Plus, squirrels are absolutely insane.
WHO OR WHAT HAS HELPED INFLUENCE THE TWISTED MINDS OF C.O.D.S. TO HELP CREATE
YOUR STYLE & SOUND?
So many great things!! For music, I'd say Black Metal bands like DIMMU BORGIR, Industrial like KMFDM &
NIN, weirdo Rock shit like FAITH NO MORE & MR. BUNGLE & of course GWAR. The REN AND
STIMPY SHOW also warped my mind many years ago.
HAVE ANY OF THE MEMBERS OF C.O.D.S. BEEN IN OTHER BANDS BEFORE?
Guitarist Jay Kelly & bassist Matt Nodland are members of another band here in Ct. called STRAINED
EXISTENCE. Guitarist Derek Sendrak & I have been in other bands through the years, nothing that anyone
would give a shit about though.
YOU GUYS ARE HIGHLY TALENTED, ENERGETIC & REMIND ME OF THE BAND BILE FROM NY,
WITH A TOUCH OF HUMOR. WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS A FAIR COMPARISON & HOW WOULD
YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE & SOUND?
Thank You! I'd say that is very accurate. I might also describe our sound as an Industrial Satanic Extreme
version of GREEN JELLY. Though you'd have to replace the three little pigs with a sea monkey, Super Mario &
a psychopathic homosexual Gumby Christ. Then it would be perfect!
YOUR DEBUT CD RELEASE "INDOOR RECESS" HAS
BEEN OUT FOR A LITTLE BIT NOW. HOW HAS THE
RESPONSE BEEN TO THIS GREAT RELEASE SO FAR?
The response has been pretty good so far considering we've only
played out once so far. We've had a lot of interest from Europe,
which is flattering because everyone knows they create the best
music out there. But our popularity grows more & more each
day, and we are hopeful & confident that we have a successful
future ahead of us. "INDOOR RECESS" is only a preview of
what can be expected from C.O.D.S.
WHO DESIGNED THE COOL DEAD SQUIRREL ON THE
FRONT COVER OF THE CD?
I did all the artwork for the album. You know you are the only one who has said anything about that, I have been
crying since the day this goddamn album was released. I think I finally might be ready to put the gun
down......thanks Burt (sniff).
I LOVE YOUR ALBUM AS A WHOLE, BUT MY FAVORITE SONGS ARE "8 BIT PIECE OF SHIT" &
"SEA MONKEY KILL". WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG & WHY?
Yea, those are my favs too. Those are my "crackhead songs". But seriously I think those two songs represent
who we are the best (not to confirm band crack use or anything). Every style that we play on "INDOOR
RECESS" is thrown together in both of these songs. We had a ball recording them, too. I like "A Selfish Prayer"
a lot too because it is very personal to me.
DO YOU STILL THINK SUPER MARIO BROS. & DUCK HUNT ARE THE GREATEST GAMES OR
ARE YOU JUST RETARTED? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES TODAY?
Well I am retarted but that game is still unchallenged. It's cheesy as fuck but nothing is as tripped out & wacky
as SUPER MARIO BROS. I mean, nothing even makes sense in that game. DUCK HUNT is kind of shitty now
compared to games like HOUSE OF THE DEAD & TIME CRISIS but it's still pretty damn classic. I've been
loving MANHUNT & SLY COOPER 2 for PS2, really looking forward to the LEISURE SUIT LARRY game
HAVE ANY LABELS SHOWN INTERESTS IN C.O.D.S.? (THEY'D BE STUPID NOT TO!!!)
No!! What the hell is going on! If anybody wants us, we are waiting!!!
DOES C.O.D.S. PLAY OUT A LOT? IF SO, WHERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES YOU'VE PLAYED
& WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU'VE SHARED THE STAGE WITH?
We have actually only played out once so far, due to a few members leaving the band shortly after our first
show. But it ended up being for the best because with the new guys we sound so much tighter, get along great
(which has been very difficult to achieve in the past), and for the first time ever we have a solid devoted
drummer (Ryan Keegan). We have our comeback show October 26th at the Webster Theater in Hartford with
KMFDM (yes, I'm shitting my pants over this one!). Check our site for more dates
(www.CIRCUSOFDEADSQUIRRELS.com) because there will be many more to follow.
I HAVE MY OWN GREAT VISION OF WHAT YOU'D GUYS BE LIKE LIVE. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT
A C.O.D.S. LIVE SHOW IS LIKE?
At this point since we are still trying to perfect our sound our show is pretty standard. We play in our "official
C.O.D.S. member uniforms" (aren't we special) But even as we speak we are working on stage props, sets &
costumes. Eventually our show will resemble a satanic cartoon. Bendable Jesus, Mario (being mangled by the
Lord King Bowser of course), the Amazing Serial Killer Martian Sea Monkeys & Ariel the Little Prostitute
Mermaid will all be making appearances. A possibility of rubber duckies & raw fish flying through the air does
exist. It will be insane, I promise!
ANY GOOD ROAD STORIES OR LIVE SHOW STORIES YOU COULD SHARE WITH US?
No thorough answer to give at this time.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW MUSIC IN THE WORKS?
Plenty! Plenty! PLENTY! We are going to be dumping our filth & insanity all over the place in the next few
months! In early 2005 we will be releasing two full length albums. One Dan had written even before "INDOOR
RECESS" went into pre-production, it sounds very different than anything you've heard from us so far. I would
describe it as a much calmer & more Industrial influenced record. The other is a mixture of covers (including
"Safety Dance"), remixes (done by various other musicians & Dan & I are doing a remix of "Rubber Ducky
Fucker" called "Drowned In Semen"), two new songs from Dan & I called "Chainsaw In My penis" & "Utopia
Burning", plus the first four songs written by the complete new line-up.
WHAT DO THE MEMBERS OF C.O.D.S. DO
WHEN NOT DOING ANY WORK FOR THE BAND?
I'm a loser who works the graveyard shift at a Marriott
Hotel (yes, the company is definitely slipping). I've gone
back & forth to school, plan on returning at some point
to study either philosophy or illustration. Dan & Jay are
both audio engineering students, matt Nodland is a video
productions student (C.O.D.S. movies!!), and Dennis
Boehm (keyboards) is studying biology. Derek & I are
avid toy collectors (we love McFarlene shit), we are all
either computer or video game geeks, and Ryan is a
WHAT'S THE BEST & WORST THING ABOUT
BEING IN A BAND?
The best thing is simply creating music, to be able to
express yourself in such imaginative ways. The fans
are what makes this all worth it. Nothing can put a smile on this miserable face like knowing that someone enjoys
what we do. The worst thing (at least for this style of music) is the constant changes in order to achieve a good
live sound. When writing your material on keyboards & computer programs first it can be a real expensive pain in
the ass converting it into a live band, but it is definitely worth the aggravation when you get it right.
WHO DO YOU FEEL ARE SOME OF THE BETTER BANDS, LABELS & ZINES FROM THE CT.
COLLAPSE INTO REASON, STRAINED EXISTENCE & TORN ASUNDER are among the greatest bands
here in Ct. (check out their sites, just add a dot com to the name.) NONAMERADIO.com is an awesome
internet station that plays good shit like MINISTRY, MR. BUNGLE &...C.O.D.S. (visit this site to hear full
versions of our songs). There is a hair salon called THE ANGRY CHAIR (THEANGRYCHAIR.com) that
massively supports the local Metal scene in Ct. They play crazy shit while you get your hair cut (how perfect is
that?) and they have supported us from the beginning.
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC BESIDES WHAT YOU PLAY? WHO ARE SOME
OF THE BANDS YOUR CURRENTLY INTO?
Believe it or not, THE CRASH TEST DUMMIES are still one of my favorite bands. I also like some PINK
FLOYD & that chessy 80's trash pop shit (like "Safety Dance", we are going to annihilate this one!) I love the
sound of acoustic guitars, they can beautiful & frightening just the same. Currently I've been getting into bands
like THE KOVENANT, DEATHSTARS, NIGHTWISH, PROJECT HATE, SCORNGRAIN & THE
BERZERKER. Some all time favs are KMFDM, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, FAITH NO MORE, DIMMU
BORGIR, MEGADETH, ALICE IN CHAINS & GWAR.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES OR TV SHOWS?
THE BURBS (I want To Kill everyone, Satan is good, Satan is my pal), WHAT ABOUT BOB?, FALLING
DOWN, HALLOWEEN, FIGHT CLUB & MEMENTO are amongst my favorites. I love a lot of other horror
films & all of Tim Burton's masterpieces as well. I've been watching shows like RENO 911, CRANK
YANKERS & CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM lately. NINJA TURTLES, THE THREE STOOGES & THE
REN & STIMPY SHOW will always remain as the TV gods.
IF CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
It would be really confusing I'm sure & probably quite violent. I can picture it as being a cross between the
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE & THE MUPPET SHOW. Lots of silliness, lots of blood & gore, lots of
naked chicks & a completely off the wall non-happy ending. It would be a box office smash!
WHAT'S ONE INTERESTING THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I'm some what religious, believe in Jesus Christ & not satanic at all (although we all have our moments, mine just
occur a bit more than the average scumbag).
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW, WHAT WILL YOU DO AFTER?
Playing with myself before, disgusted with myself after.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE NEXT FROM CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS?
Expect a full force tour, merchandise which will be available on our site & shows, and lots of new music. We
will continue to promote more and more, so hopefully you will be seeing us all over the place. We plan on taking
this to the top. Prepare for the CIRCUS OF DEAD SQUIRRELS! HAHAHA!
WE HAVE REACHED THE END! THANX A LOT FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW. PLEASE FEEL
FREE TO ADD ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO CLOSE OUT!
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has bought "INDOOR RECESS" & supports us. You mean the
world to me! Burt, I want to thank you especially for this interview & EVERYTHING you have done for us. I
love what you are doing for the scene, and without people like you C.O.D.S. couldn't even exist against all this
MTV horseshit. Everyone please visit our website & drop us an email. WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!!!!!