Friday, December 31, 2010

kevin rutmanis

kevin rutmanis

bassist for the cows and the melvins

and you may think that's all you really need to know about the guy

but there's more

SGM: as a founding member of the cows...what did you hope to accomplish there?

KR: Everyone says this...but we (my brother and I) were really sick of the local bands in Mpls...Once the Huskers and Soul Asylum (they were great before they released any records....REALLY GREAT!! ) had become national acts, there wasn't much in town...the most popular bands were trite and precious to our ears...we loved the stuff we heard from other regions, so we just started learning together...him on drums, me on the bass...we just played all the time bashing away as loud as we was so fun...

SGM: some folks may not know this...but before shannon selberg...there was a guy
named norm rogers fronting the band...what happened to him?

KR: Norm was our friend...he played drums in the Jayhawks when they first started...we shared a practice space with them (Marc Perlman the bassist was my room mate!) and he would sing with us, ...every decision was pretty much based on the fun element. We'd drink, take acid, and play for hours. He quit singing cuz it just wasn't comfortable for him live...very understandable in my opinion. Years later, he was the cows' drummer! He's a really great drummer...after a few years he got sick of touring so much and quit. I love that guy.

SGM: how did you find shannon selberg?

KR: Shannon was my upstairs neighbor, and friend. We hung out a lot, and he was really smart and funny and an odd ball. We'd play butthole surfers records blasting loud, and he would do these hilarious dance moves. I carelessly told him "If Norm ever quits, you've gotta be our singer!"..Much to my horror, he brought it up when Norm quit. Of course, he was great and totally understood the spirit of what we were doing...

SGM: in the minneapolis music scene of the early 90s...where did the cows see

KR: We were kind of in attack mode...we really resented the local bands that were getting attention...hideous gutless pop music with attractive band members...we were jealous! And cool bands that came into town were well attended shows strictly by word of mouth...7th street entry and uptown bar were two small clubs that had great shows weekly. And it just felt to us like there was nothing like "that" in mpls...whatever "that" was! What we thought was really funny and entertaining seemed to frighten/disgust/annoy the status quo of the locals. Mpls. had this condescending pc attitude that really chafed my hide. If you were messy, or said ugly things you were considered irrelevant and dishonest. We were noisy and messy and shannon said "bitch" in some songs...they thought we were showing off. I guess they never heard of fucking Celine.

SGM: this past august...there was a 3 day celebration marking the 25th
anniversary of amphetamine reptile...and the question coming out of everyone's
mouth was "are the cows going to be there?"...but cows...i interviewed thomas hazelmyer and i asked him about it and he said that he'd
been trying to get the band to reform for several years...and not even he could
make it the band collectively feel that everything had run it's

KR: WE didn't collectively think anything...I can only speak for myself, as we never discussed it as a band. Personally, I have ZERO interest in reforming. I loved that band, and I'm real proud of it, and feel like we accomplished whatever the hell our unspoken goal was. I know we all think of it differently... Realistically, I couldn't have come to Mpls. I have a job. I can't miss 2 weeks pay to fly to the midwest. What gear would we use. Where would we practice. I haven't talked to Shannon or Thor in at least 10 years. It was retarded to expect us to play a show that couldn't possibly be half as good as we once were. Feeding the memories of some imaginary glory days for a bunch of middle aged drunks was never really my goal, personally.

SGM: how did your involvement with amrep come about?

KR: Tom was my neighbor, and Pete Davis, our booker was friends with him...I was poking around asking him questions about how to release singles, and he offered to help us.

SGM: what split the band up in the first place?

KR: The writing was on the wall...we were all getting different ideas about priorities of the band...Thor said he didn't wanna tour anymore and that he would understand if we wanted to continue with a different guitar player. We just stopped at that sucked, but I think it was the right thing to do.

SGM: and from the moved onto the did all that go down?

KR: Buzz helped us mix the cows' final record...he asked me if I'd join shortly after that as they were getting rid of Mark. There was a brief overlap where I was in both bands, but then the cows unraveled. I was very lucky.

SGM: how did you feel filling a spot that had been filled so many times before?

KR: I felt lucky to get to play with them. It was a great experience. I learned a lot from them, and they were VERY generous with me. It led to a lot of other great experiences.

SGM: were buzzo and dale easy to work with?...or was it more of a "you're
here to do this" kind of situation?

KR: I loved working with them. They made me realize just how fun playing, rehearsing and recording and touring could be. "Artistically" (ug) they taught me to keep an open mind and to let ideas breath. I can't stress enough how much I learned from them.

SGM: out of your time spent with the melvins...what would you say was your best

KR: I really couldn't say. When I first joined, I was really excited to be on BOOTLICKER cuz I thought those songs were great and very unusual. I guess HOSTILE AMBIENT TAKEOVER shows more of my musical personality than most records. I dunno. Who knows.

SGM: you left the band in 2005...and there's been a lot of speculation as to
why...and the only info folks could seem to get was "kevin rutmanis is no
longer in the melvins" you'd like to enlighten...what happened?

KR: I think speculation is probably a lot more interesting than my explanation of what happened!

SGM: and from went onto play in the "supergroup"
tomahawk...who approached you with that?

KR: I was already in Tomahawk by this time. Patton approached me via Buzz. I was extremely pleased to join.

SGM: were/are you a fan of any of the members other bands?

KR: I don't remember. I am not always aware of whats right in front of me...I tend to pay more attention to music that is different than what I'm doing.

SGM: what was it like working with mike patton?...did any of his orca whales
having sex vocal antics ever grate on your nerves?

KR: Sorry to disappoint...but I liked working with Patton a lot! We had fun, and he was always very nice to me...He was more interested in what racket I was capable of making then some fancy chops, which I don't have...It was really more of Duane's baby than Patton's.

SGM: you left the band for an unspecified reason during the recording of the
ANONYMOUS album...what happened? was the aforementioned vocal
antics...wasn't it?

KR: Hahaha! No, I didn't leave the band. They just never spoke to me after the Melvins. I found out they were recording through Greg Werkman at the label...It was news to me. They just didn't invite me. I heard the record sucked. I like to think it's cuz I wasn't involved!

SGM: you were also part of another mike patton "supergroup" as well
for a short time (fantomas) weren't you?

KR: Nah...there was a Fantomas/Melvins big band thing where the 2 bands all played together. We did songs from both bands. It was hard but great fun. I got to play live with Crover AND many people can say that?!

SGM:'re involved in hepa/titus....what's that business all about?

KR: Presently it's a 2 piece. Me on bass and my friend Sterling Riley on guitar. We've recorded a bunch of songs which are up on Reverb Nation and our Hepa/Titus facebook page. It's a big stinking racket with no drums. If we get a drummer, I want it to be like Ringo's drumming on "Long Long Long Time" where it's just giant fills here and there. I figure if you the listener don't know the beat by now, you never will! It was partly inspired by this lp by Ramleh, called Grudge for Life. It's hideous loud songs with no drums...I really like our songs. I've never sang before, so it's a weird new experience.

SGM: i've left out a few of the other projects you've been involved in (teenage larvae/gaswar) there anything you'd like to say about them?

KR: Teenage larvae was me and Dave Livingstone from the God Bullies. We've had a full length in the can for years...I don't know if it'll ever come out. Gaswar is the same story. It's me and Paul and Jeff from VAZ/Hammerhead. LP in the can....just waiting, waiting, waiting...

SGM: are there any bands out there that currently tickle your fancy?

KR: I've been really loving the Ramleh, Kleistwahr, Consumer Electronics and Whitehouse family...Gary Mundy and Philip Best are really interesting to me the last few years. They do stuff separately and together, I don't think people realize they are interconnected. Philip Best does superb artwork as well. Creation Books just put out a book of his art. It has a forward by Peter Sotos who used to be in Whitehouse and is a favorite writer of mine. Sotos sometimes includes his artwork in his books, which really enhances them. These 3 guys are so dear to me, and of course, largely ignored by the world. William Bennett too. He's the one constant in Whitehouse. Amazing vocalist. He does stuff as DJ Cuthands that is just great.

SGM: well...i think that i've probably taken up more than enough of your you'd like to drop some knowledge on the kids or have anything
else you'd like to talk about (you know...other projects etc.)...this be the

KR: I guess I'd like to promote my artwork and these weird books I've been making lately. Just friend me on facialbook,...there's always info on there of what I'm doing and how to get and or hear it. Oh yeah, KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL

kevin's facespace (tell him SGM sent you)

hepa/titus facespace


Anonymous said...

Prince is the best thing to ever come out of Minneapolis.

Anonymous said...

Considering you posted your "Prince" comment at 5am in the morning I'm going to guess your some insomnia driven fag because Prince is possibly the biggest piece of shit next to Lenny Kravitz.

Anonymous said...

lenny kravitz has GREAT hygene , remember his video where he brushs his teeth while in his boxer shorts ? what a great musician indeed .

Anonymous said...

Hey did Freddy Votel post the Prince comment? If so I'm sorry I was a Dick. I love your drumming! I just read hes a fan of Prince. Who else would post that here?

Anonymous said...

great interview... could you re-post as much of the cows discography as possible? it would make my life, which is sorely lacking in their great music - thanks, parker

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