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I know what the two of you out there who read this column on a regular basis (Hi Rich! Hi Other Guy Who Reads My Column!) are thinking: "Hey, wasn't this supposed to be the sequel to the overlong, overdramatic Teengenerate/Firestarter column?" Why yes, it was. However, it looks like I won't be able to finish that column at the moment. Y'see that column is supposed to be brimming with optimism and end on a resoundingly upbeat note, but due to recent events I'm feeling anything but optimistic about life these days. Simply put, I can't fake my way through what is intended to be a life-affirming column when I'm overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness in real life. If anyone reads these things and actually cares one way or the other (and even if they don't) I will try to finish that column as soon as things start looking up for me. I promise.
Instead, this issue I offer to you a mini-interview with Daniel DiMaggio. Daniel is the man behind Home Blitz, one of the biggest out of left-field seven inch surprises to reach my turntable in recent memory. In fact the Home Blitz single was so enigmatic and initially hard to process that it took me a couple weeks to decide if I really liked it or not. I mean, for those of you who haven't heard it yet, at one point on the b-side he stops singing the song and says "I need to get some gum." How exactly is one to take something like that? Is it a contrived attempt to effect a hopelessly-late-for-the-trend 90's slacker aesthetic ala Pavement and other bands of that ilk, or is it the expression of a genuinely eccentric and innocent lack of interest in convention? After about 20 or so listens I decided it was the latter, and ever since I've been finding myself more and more charmed by various aspects of this record; from the silly non-sequitur lyrics, to the drums that sound like a Playschool kit (not far from the truth actually!), to lead guitar work that brings to mind Jonathan Richman on one song and WEIRD PUNK (TM Eric Lastname) such as Human Eye on the next - this is a record unlike anything I've ever heard. And in this case, that's a good thing. A very good thing.
Steve: Okay, first question. Who/what is Home Blitz? Are the songs on the record all solo recordings as I suspect, or are there other people involved?
Steve: Will this second single be another self release, or is someone else putting it out? Any chance we'll see ever see Home Blitz live, or would that go against the concept of it being a "Home Blitz?"
Steve: I noticed on the back of the sleeve that it said "songs recorded 2003-2005." This leads me to believe either A) you only record one song a year or B) you have a stockpile of unreleased material recorded. If, as I suspect, the latter is the case, around how many songs are you sitting on right now?
Steve: I'm going to have to plead ignorance on Sunburned Hand of the Man. Who is that? From the sound of the name, they probably deserve a dig or two.
Steve: I see. How important is it for you not to write songs that are too "stock" as you put it? The songs on the single have some great pop hooks, but it's very atypical stuff. Very hard material for lazy record reviewers like myself to describe for people...
Steve: One thing I've discovered with writing songs myself, is that sometimes you don't really get to choose how the songs come out. Sometimes it's just a case of the music you listen to subliminally influencing you to write a certain way. Would you agree with this? Also, what records are occupying a lot of time on your turntable lately?
Steve: Where do you think 'Starting Over' ranks amongst the Raspberries' LPs?
Steve: Personally, I like 'Side 3' the most, but 'Fresh' and 'Starting Over' are also classics. I saw them play in rural Wisconsin this summer and it was surprisingly great. I think Home Blitz covering "I Don't Know What I Want" would probably sound great. I would suspect you to go for "Hands on You" or something like that based on the songs I've heard. Moving on, there's one thing I've been dying to ask you ever since I first heard the single: what's up with the part in "Hey!" when you stop the song and say "I gotta get some gum?"
Steve: I mean, seriously, the first time I heard this I was really taken aback. I wasn't sure what to make of it at all. Now I think it's sort of charming. So, basically you're just like: "fuck this verse, I'm getting some gum," and then you just pick the song up from there?
Steve: This is the kind of scoop you're only going to read in TB folks. I've actually never tried to sing with gum in my mouth, but I imagine it wouldn't work that well. Speaking of recording vocals, do you find it easy to do since you are recording alone? I had to get a bit drunk in order to not be really embarrassed doing it in front of people.
Steve: How old are you if you don't mind my asking?
Steve: Well, you're certainly off to a great start with Home Blitz. How did you record the "solo" on "Apocalyptic Grades?"
Steve: How did you get the drums to sound so great on "AC S.S.?" Also, what is the AC S.S.? I would imagine it has something to do with the link between air conditioning and the Nazis...
Steve: So, did you hope to play this song at the Arts Council Summer Stage? Speaking of Nazi-chic, any plans to record a Skrewdriver cover? The Plastic Pets do "Antisocial" but I'm sure there's something you could do.
Steve: You should cover "Where's it Gonna End." That story about the drums is PERFECT. Seriously. What is your take on the first Reatards single?
Steve: Who is Tony Rettman? The only thing that really sounds like Home Blitz about that Reatards single is the low-budget, recorded in a bedroom feeling it has.
Steve: Ah, I'm probably not the best guy for knowing that kind of thing. The only new-music related things I read are TB and Agony Shorthand. Is there anything going on worthwhile musically speaking in Princeton NJ these days? What does a happening young man like you do for fun out there?
Steve: The single was pressed in a really small print run of 200 copies. Do you have any more left, and if so, around how many?
Steve: Why is electric guitar the gift that keeps on giving?
Steve: Me too.END INTERVIEW
Editor's Note: I'd just like to add this: Has anyone else noticed that "Apocalyptic Grades 2005 A.D." is a reference to Hellhammer's "Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D."?Contact Daniel/Homeblitz at: Homeblitz-at-gmail.com
To read past installments of Young Steve go here.
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